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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS BRAVE (J 305) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

HMS Brave (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 30th May 1941 from Blyth Dock. The ship was laid down on 23rd April 1942 and was, launched on 4th April 1943 as the fifth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1566 for ship hired by the City of London which fought against the Armada. It was last used for a Gunboat built by Laird in 1856 and broken up in 1869. The build of this minesweeper was completed on 5th August 1943.and had been adopted by the civil communities of Bungay, Beccles and Halesworth in Suffolk after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in March 1942. In 1942 it was proposed to use this name for a Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier but this was changed later to HMS WARRIOR.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ARMADA 1588* - CADIZ 1596* - SOUTH FRANCE 1944

(Note: * The awards are recorded in both Manning (1959) and  Thomas (1988) as being made to the first ship which in fact was mercantile. An award MADAGASCAR 1796  recorded in Manning cannot be reconciled since no ship of this name can be traced as being in service and no Honours for an action on this date have been found. None of these three are recorded in Kemp 1988).

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field White the Headers of a Red Indian Proper.



D e t a i l s  o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 3


August                 Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 19th Minesweeping Flotilla

         3rd                Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                              On completion took passage to Tobermory to work-up for operational service.


September             Passage to Port Edgar and deployed in Firth of Forth for minesweeping training

                              On completion of work-up.

                              Passage to Kyle of Lochalsh to join Flotilla on formation.


October                 Joined Flotilla on formation.

                              (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Minesweepers RINALDO (SO), ROSARIO,

                                            WATERWITCH and SPANKER.)


November             Nominated for foreign service with ships of Flotilla and took passage from Clyde

                              to Milford Haven.

                              Deployed as escort with ships of Flotilla, for Convoy KX12 during passage from

                              Milford Haven to Gibraltar

                              (Note: Convoy comprised two mercantiles and eight smaller minesweepers

                                           and a coal burning trawler which limited speed of convoy to 6 k knots

                                           and produced sufficient smoke to be a constant source of danger !)


December           Took passage from Gibraltar with HMS RINALDO and HMS WATERWITCH to


           .                (Note: HMS SPANKER was detached for service as a convoy escort at Algiers

                                         and HMS ROSARIO remained at Gibraltar for similar duties.)

                            Deployed for local minesweeping and escort duties in Malta on arrival.


1 9 4 4


January                Malta deployment in continuation.

        14th             Took passage from Malta with HMS BRAVE and HMS WATERWITCH for

                            detached service at Naples with HM Fleet Minesweepers ROTHESAY and


                            On arrival prepared for minesweeping in support of allied landings at Anzio

                            as part of 2nd Minesweeping Group.

        21st             Under repair and Naples and did not sail with HMS WATERWITCH for clearance

                            of mines in advance of assault ships.

        23rd             Joined Group off Nazi and carried out mine clearance operations.

        26th             Released from SHINGLE and took passage to return to Malta.


February              Deployed at Malta with ships of Flotilla including HMS SPANKER, which had

                            Rejoined from Algiers.

                            Carried out local minesweeping and escort duties

                            (Note: HM Minesweepers ARIES, ANTARES and ARCTURUS, of this Class, built

                                        in Canada joined Flotilla in Malta during this period.)

        21st             Detached for loan service with HMS WATERWITCH and took passage to Naples

                            for minesweeping duties with 12th Minesweeping Flotilla.


March                  Minesweeping deployment off west coast of Italy in support of military

                            operations by ensuring clear passage for allied warships and shipping.).



          5th             Relieved in detached service with 12th Flotilla by HMS SPANKER and took

                            Passage to rejoin Flotilla in Malta.

                            (Note: HMS ROSARIO of Flotilla joined 12th Flotilla later)

                            Deployed for preliminary minesweeping off Pantellaria prior to planned landings


May                     Joined by ships of Flotilla to carry out minesweeping operations in Straits

                            of Bonifacio Northern Sardinia, based at Maddalena

          29th           Detached for loan service with 12th Flotilla and took passage to join 12th

                            and 13th Minesweeping Flotillas for clearance of mines off Civitavecchia

                            to clear channel into port.



          13th           Returned from service off Italian west coast and rejoined Flotilla.

          16th           Deployed with Flotilla to carry out minesweep in advance of ships on

                            passage to carry out landings on island of Elba (Operation BRASSARD).

                            (Note: 40 mines were swept). This clearance enabled bombardment of

                                        shore positions to be carried out by HM River Gunboats APHIS,

                                         COCKCHAFER and SCARAB.)

                                  On release from BRASSARD took passage with Flotilla to resume

                                   minesweeping operations off west coast of Italy.


July                             Deployed with Flotilla in joint minesweeping operations off Civitavecchia

                                    to clear a channel north of Cape Corso (Operation LOBSTER)

                                    (Note: Ships of 12th and 13th Minesweeping Flotilla also took part.)

         18th                    On completion of LOBSTER continued west coast deployment for

                                    clearance of a passage towards Leghorn.


August                        Returned to Naples with ships of Flotilla to prepare for planned allied

                                    landings in South France.

                                    (Operation DRAGOON formerly ANVIL)

                                    (Note: Royal Navy ships were under overall command of Vice Admiral

                                                 HK Hewett US Navy. This ship was allocated to DELTA Attack


          12th                   Deployed with HM Minesweepers RINALDO (SO) ROSARIO, ANTARES

,                                   ARCTURUS, SPANKER and five US Navy Patrol Craft as escort for

                                    military convoy SF2A (DELTA) during passage to assault area.

                                    (Note: Convoy comprised three Landing Ships (Infantry).

           13th                  Called at Ajaccio with SF2A

           14th                  Sailed with convoy from Ajaccio as escort to St Tropez for landings.

           15th                  Detached from escort with ships of Flotilla to carry out minesweep in

                                    advance of assault convoy. No mines were swept.

                                    On completion of swept channel work cleared area to be used for naval

                                    gunfire support.

                                    (Note: Ships assigned to DELTA area for gunfire support included:

                                                 US battleships USS TEXAS and USS NEVADA, US cruiser

                                                  PHILADELPHIA, French Cruisers GEORGES LEYGUES and


                                    (For details of Operation DRAGOON  See INVASION OF THE SOUTH

                                    OF FRANCE (HMSO), ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C

                                    Barnett and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.)

                                    Involved in collision with a Tank Landing craft and sustained structural


                                    (Note: The Naval Staff History records that this was due to congestion

                                                 shipping in the area which was within a heavy smoke screen

                                                 released by ships to cover the bombardment anchorage.

                                    Withdrawn from service and took passage to Naples for repair

                                    Returned to operational area and joined ships of Task Group 80,1 carrying

                                    programme of mine clearance to enable ports of Toulon and Marseilles

                                    to be used.

                                    (Note: Both German and French mines had been laid in these areas.)


September                   Task Unit minesweeping operations deployment in continuation.

             4th                  Flotilla released from service with US Navy and took passage to Malta.

           15th                  Resumed service under RN administration after R&R Period

                                    (Note: Some ships of Flotilla were then deployed at Taranto for

                                                 minesweeping and convoy escort)

                                    Took passage to Taranto with Flotilla


October                        Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping in Adriatic.

              2nd                 Took passage with HMS BRAVE and HMS SPANKER to Ancona for

                                     clearance of passage between  Ancona and Sibinek, Yugoslavia for

                                     use by ships deployed in support of military operations.



               11th               Deployed with HM Minesweepers ARCTURUS, ANTARES, RINALDO and

                                     SPANKER ahead of HM Cruiser DELHI during passage through islands

                                     into Split for support of shore operations.

                                     (Note: Area around Split had been retaken by Partisan forces on 10th.)

                12th              Deployed for night patrol to intercept E-Boats and continued mine

                                     clearance of cross Adriatic passage during daylight.

                                     (Note: During latter apart of month new type of mine (OBOE) was

                                                  encountered for first time. This type exploded when surfacing

                                                  after being cut from mooring cable and were intended to

                                                   damage any following minesweeper.)

                                     Ships of the Flotilla were also used to carry out interception patrols

                                     after darkness to provide defence against E-Boat attacks.


December                    Cross-Adriatic channel clearance in continuation.

                   6th             Clearance of cross-Adriatic channel completed.

                                     (Note: This task had taken nine weeks during which 214 mines were swept.

                                     Returned to Ancona before taking passage to Malta

                                     Deployed for local minesweeping.

                  26th            Despatched for investigation of possible air minelay.

                                     (Note: This deployment was suspect and no mines were swept.)

                                                   See FLEET MINESWEEPERS AT WAR by J Williams.)


1 9 4 5


January                        Deployment at Malta in continuation.

                  25th            Took passage with Flotilla for minesweeping southern Adriatic.

                                     (Operation ANTAGONIZE III)

                                     (Note: During this operation HMS ANTARES was badly damaged by a

                                                  mine and never rejoined the Flotilla.)


February                       Southern Adriatic deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                                     for further mine clearance between Ancona and Gruz


March                           Adriatic deployment in continuation.

                                      On completion transferred to Taranto.

                  21st             HM Fleet Minesweeper FANCY joined Flotilla to replace HMS ANTARES.


April                             Nominated for minesweeping operations to clear entrances to Genoa

                                      and Trieste in Northern Adriatic.

                                      Joined by ships of 5th Minesweeping Flotilla.


May                               Joint minesweeping operations with 5th Flotilla in continuation.

                                      Deployed with Flotilla to provide clear passage for traffic to Trieste.

                                      (Note: During this period in the northern end of the Adriatic ships were

                                                   released for maintenance and R&R at Ancona.

                  12th          Channels to Trieste and Genoa completed. 77 mines were swept.


June                           Transferred to Trieste with ships of Flotilla.

                                   Deployed with HM Minesweepers BRAVE, WATERWITCH and FANCY for

                                   the widening of existing swept channels in northern Adriatic.



                    2nd         Sailed from Trieste with HM Fleet Minesweepers RINALDO, WATERWITCH,

                                   FANCY and ARIES to carry out further local widening operations.

                                   (Note: During this series of operations HMS ARIES was seriously damaged by

                                                a mine which exploded when sweep wire parted. Four of ships company

                                                lost their lives.)

                                   On completion returned to Malta for mine sweeping in central Mediterranean.

August                       Central Mediterranean mine clearance in continuation with ships of Flotilla.

                                   (Note: During war service the Flotilla accounted for 1,908 mines.)


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS BRAVE remained in the Mediterranean for mine clearance off Malta, and in the Aegean until returning to UK in May 1946. The ship was Paid-off after arrival and was placed in Reserve after de-storing. In 1951 she was selected for RNVR training duties at Newcastle where she served as HMS SATELLITE until placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO in 1957 for demolition by Clayton and Davies she arrived at the breakers yard in Dunston on 25th November that year.



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revised 23/4/11
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