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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS CIRCE (J 214) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

HMS Golden Fleece, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 15th November 1940 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 21st July 1941 this minesweeper was launched on 27th June 1942 as the fifth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1785, built at Dover and wrecked in 1803. Last borne by a Torpedo Gunboat built at Sheerness in 1892 and sold in 1920, it was also carried by a minesweeper hired in 1939, but transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and renamed MEDEA in 1942. and sold in 1928. Build was completed on 16th October 1942 and she had been adopted by the civil community of Chadderton, Lancashire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in January 1942.

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field barry wavy of  twelve White and Blue,

upon a pomme, a demi-boar erased holding a

drinking cup Gold.


M o t t o

Fortuna Sequente: “Always somewhere about”.

Note: Circe was the daughter of Helios and lived on the island of Aeaea where she transformed her guests into beasts until Odysseus resisted and vanquished her charms thus  induce the release of her captives and their restoration into human form (Homer’s Odyssey)


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 2


October          Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 12th Minesweeping Flotilla.

      16th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                       On completion took passage to Tobermory for work-up and preparation for

                       operational minesweeping duties.


1 9 4 3


January           Completed minesweeping training and deployed in Home waters.


February         Home waters deployment in continuation.

                        Nominated for service in Mediterranean with 12th Minesweeping Flotilla.


March             Passage to Mediterranean.


April                Joined Flotilla with HM Minesweeper ESPIEGLE.

                        Nominated for duty with Flotilla for clearance of passage through Galita and Sicilian channels to

                         Tripoli to ensure safe passage for allied ships (Operation ANTIDOTE)

                         (Note: HM Minesweepers FANTOME joined later to replace HMS ALGERINE as




       5th             Flotilla deployment at Bizerta in joint operations with 13th Minesweeping Flotilla for Operation


     20th             Took part in rescue operations after HMS FANTOME sustained major damage when

                         mine exploded in sweep gear.


June                  ANTIDOTE deployment with Flotilla in continuation

       7th             Mine clearance completed with destruction of 126 mines by the 12th Flotilla.

                         HM Minesweepers FLY and MUTINE Flotilla, the former taking over duty as Leader.

                         Nominated for minesweeping and escort duties during planned allied landings in Sicily

                         (Operation HUSKY)


July                  Detached with HM Minesweepers ACUTE and ALBACORE for service with 14th Flotilla

                         during HUSKY.

                         For details of Operation HUSKY See engage the enemy more closely by C Barnett and

                         The Naval Staff History.)

      10th            Passage to eastern sector of Assault area as part of escort for military convoy.

      12th            Carried out minesweeping prior to landings and remained in area for anti-submarine patrol

                         and escort duties for traffic between Malta, Bizerta and beachheads.


September        Resumed Flotilla deployment for minesweeping support of planned landings on Italian

                         mainland at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE – See above references).

        8th            Deployed with Flotilla to ensure clearance of mines during passage to Salerno.

                          Sustained slight damage from near miss by shore fire during minesweeping off beachhead.

      16th            Released from AVALANCHE and deployed in Bay of Naples for minesweeping with


                         (Note: Flotilla dealt with 135 mines in Salerno area.)

      30th            Nominated for transfer to Capri on completion of service in Bay of Naples.



        1st            Deployed for support of operations off west coast of Sicily including mine clearance of

                         positions to be used by allied warships for bombardments prior to military advances.

                         (Note: Minesweeping operations were frequently target of heavy fire from shore batteries

                                     in the Gulf of Gaeta and often restricted in their ability to rapidly change because of

                                     sweeping operation in progress.. Air attacks were also frequent.)


November        West coast minesweeping duties and support off west coast of Italy in continuation.

to December    (Note: At the end of 1943 the Flotilla had swept 770 mines since arrival at Gibraltar

                                     in December 1942.)

                         Nominated for minesweeping in support of planned landings at Anzio (Operation SHINGLE).

                         Based at Naples to prepare for SHINGLE.


1 9 4 4


January             Passage to Anzio, 90 miles north of Naples.

       21st           Deployed with HM Minesweepers ACUTE. ESPIEGLE and SPANKER (of 19th Flotilla) to

                         clear minefield NW of Anzio during which five mines were cut.

                         On release from SHINGLE took passage to Naples.


February           Took part with ships of Flotilla and 19th Flotilla in minesweeping to ensure clear channels

to March           for passage ships supporting military operations, including clearance of areas selected for

                          naval gunfire support by cruisers.


April                 Mine clearance off Italian west coast in continuation.

        11th          Deployed with HM Minesweepers ESPIEGLE, ACUTE and SPANKER of Flotilla for sweep

                          of known minefield SW of Anzio during which five mines were cut.

         18th          Carried out mine clearance northwards and into Tiber River and under fire from shore.

         20th          Deployed for clearance sweep in western channel off Anzio and during night period for

                          anti-submarine patrol.

          23rd         During recovery of gear on completion of sweep mine caught in sweep exploded on board

                          causing many casualties. Took part in towing operation with HMS ESPIEGLE of Flotilla

                          for 100 mile passage to Naples..


June                   Under repair at Taranto

to October



        12th            Carried out sweep close inshore prior to bombardment by HM Cruiser DIDO, US Cruisers

                           BROOKLYN and PHILADELPHIA during which the ships came under heavy fire from

                           shore batteries.

                           On completion of bombardment requirements rejoined Flotilla in mine clearance of channel

                           from Naples to Anzio. 89 mines were cut.


June                    Carried out joint minesweeping operations with ships of Flotilla, 13th Flotilla and 28th

                           Motor Launch Flotilla .

          4th            Cleared entrance to port of Civitavecchia with joint minesweeping force.

        13th            Deployed for clearance of mines in anchorage area off Civitavecchia.


November          Carried out post refit trials on completion of repair work.

                           Passage to Malta to rejoin Flotilla.


December           Deployed with Flotilla for Aegean minesweeping in support of Greece re-occupation.


1 9 4 5


January               Greek waters mine clearance in continuation including Kinaros and Doro Channels.

to February


March                 Deployed at Malta,

         23rd           Took passage from Malta with HM Minesweepers ALBACORE, ACUTE, CADMUS,

                            MUTINE and ESPIEGLE to resume minefield clearance operations based at Naples.


April                   Deployed with Flotilla for clearance between Leghorn and Genoa.


May                    Deployed off Genoa.

          9th             Port Anchorage at Genoa cleared of mines.

                            First major warship to enter Genoa.


June                     Gulf of Genoa area mine clearance in continuation.

to August


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS CIRCE remained in the Mediterranean with the 12th Flotilla and continued deployment for mine clearance operations in Malta and off the Italian coast near Genoa. She sailed with her sister ships to UK in April 1946 and on arrival Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Sheerness. The ship was Laid-up at Harwich until brought forward for use as RNVR Drill Ship at Dundee. Placed on the Disposal List in1956 she was sold to BISCO for breaking-up by Arnott Young & Co. She arrived under tow at Dalmuir on the Clyde for demolition in March 1957.



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revised 23/4/11
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