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

HMS GOLDEN FLEECE (J 376) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

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

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Reciprocating propulsion machinery ordered for the Royal Canadian Navy on 25th November 1942 from Redfern at Toronto. The ship was intended to be named HMCS HUMBERSTONE but was transferred to the Royal Navy before completion of build. Laid down on 25th October 1943 this minesweeper was launched as HMS GOLDEN FLEECE on 29th February 1943. She was the first major RN ship to carry this name which had been used in 1653 for hired vessel which later took part in the action against Dutch warships known as the Battle of Gabbard. Build was completed on 29th May 1944. This warship was not adopted by a UK civil community after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign.


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 Gold a Fountain charged with a Fleece, Gold.



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



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July              Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 10th Minesweeping Flotilla.

     29th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.


September   Carried out Acceptance trials locally

                    On completion of local trials took passage to Newfoundland to complete sea trials.

                    Deployed at Halifax and St Johns to complete storing and shakedown for Atlantic



October       Passage to UK.

                    Commenced work-up for operational service

                    (Note: HMS COURIER, HMS FELICITY and HMS SERENE all of this Class and

                                built in Canada would have a similar routine and may have taken passage

                                to the Clyde either as an independent unit or as part of the escort of a

                                routine convoy from St Johns. Work-up was normally carried out at Tobermory

                                before taking passage to Forth for minesweeping trials.)


November   Commenced minesweeping work-up in Forth area based at Port Edgar with same

                     ships prior to joining Flotilla for service in Home Fleet.

                                     (Note: These trials included practice in working as a Flotilla carrying out minesweeping

                                against magnetic, acoustic moored mines.)


December    Deployed at Port Edgar for minesweeping trials.

                    (Note: HMS HARE and HMS WAVE of this Class which were completed

                                 in British shipyards in November went to Tobermory on completion of build

                                 and joined the Canadian built ships at Port Edgar for minesweeping trials.)


1 9 4 5


January       HMS JEWEL, completed in December joined the other five ships at Port Edgar and

                    all ships prepared for operational duties as the 10th Minesweeping Flotilla.

                    (Note: HMS LIBERTY which completed build in a British shipyard on 18th

                                January joined the Flotilla later.)


February     Passage to Scapa Flow with the seven minesweepers of 10th Flotilla and HM Danlayer

                   SHILLAY to commence Home Fleet service.

                    Nominated for minesweeping support of planned operation off Norway.

                    (Operation SHRED).

     21st        Sailed from Scapa Flow with Flotilla and designated Force 3 to carry out minesweeping

                    operation ahead of ships of Force 4.

                    (Note: A new shorter route was required to allow passage of Home Fleet ships to

                                Norwegian coastal waters. The new cleared passage was to be marked with

                                WINNER buoys to assist in navigation of Force 4 ships to Egersund area

                                for an air minelaying operation. Mines were to be laid by aircraft from the

                                two Escort Carriers.)

     22nd       On completion joined ships of Force 4 which comprised HM Cruiser DIDO, HM Escort

                    Aircraft Carriers PUNCHER and PREMIER, screened by HM Destroyers MYNGS,

                    SCORPION and CAVALIER during aircraft minelaying,

                    (Note: Strikes on coastal shipping and shore targets were also carried out by the

                                carrier aircraft.)

     23rd        Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of Forces 3 and 4.

     24th         Passage to Port Edgar with ships of Flotilla.


March          Deployed with Flotilla at Port Edgar.

                    HMS SERENE joined Flotilla on completion of minesweeping trials

                    Nominated for mine clearance duties based at Harwich with Flotilla.

                    Passage to Harwich with Flotilla.

     24th        Commenced mine clearance to ensure safe passage of East coast convoys

                    in North Sea between Thames and Forth.


April            Harwich deployment in continuation.


May             Minesweeping duties based at Harwich in continuation,

                    After VE Day transferred to 11th Minesweeping Flotilla.

                    Deployed for mine clearance duties off Norway to ensure safe passage of

                    coastal shipping.

                    (Note: Extensive allied and enemy minelaying was carried out between 1940

                                1945 and this area was considered of great importance since Norwegian

                                economy and movement of freight and passengers was primarily

                                carried out by use of sea routes.)


June            Norwegian coast deployment in continuation.


July             Future deployment under consideration.


August        Nominated for mine clearance duties in Far East.


September  Under refit.


October      On completion of post Refit trials prepared for foreign service based at Singapore.


November  Passage to Singapore.


December   Deployed for mine clearance on Far East Station.


1 9 4 6


January       Mine clearance in Far East in continuation




September   Nominated for reduction to Reserve status and took passage to UK to pay-off.


October       Paid off on arrival and destored.

to                 Reduced to reserve and laid-up.



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS GOLDEN FLEECE remained in Reserve until placed on the Disposal List in 1959. She was sold to BISCO for breaking-up by E Rees at Llanelli. The ship arrived in tow at the breaker's yard on 8th June 1960 for demolition.



For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see



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revised 23/4/11
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