Naval History Homepage and Site Search




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

HMS PICKLE (J 293) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

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

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 30th April 1942 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 11th January 1943 at the same time as sister ship PINCHER this ship was launched on 3rd August 1943. The ninth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1800 for a Cutter which was later renamed HMS STING in 1802 which was wrecked off Cadiz in 1808. The name was last used in 1914 for the German whaler STURMVOGEL. seized after war was declared and sold in 1920. The build of this minesweeper was completed on 15th October 1943. She was adopted by the civil community of Lunesdale Lancashire following the loss of HM Fleet Minsweeper GOSSAMER which had been originally selected in March 1942 after a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


NORMANDY 1944 - BURMA 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a 

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Caduceus erect and two ears of wheat in saltire Gold,

surmounted by a lozenge Gold charged with a fleur-de-lys, Blue.



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


October           Contractors trials and commissioned for service with 7th Minesweeping Flotilla on


      15th           Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                        On completion of Acceptance Trials and took passage to commence work-up for

                        operational service at Tobermory


November       Deployed at Tobermory.


December        Deployed at Tobermory

      26th           Despatched with HM Minesweeper PELORUS to take part in operation to intercept the

                        German battleship SCHARNHORST believed to be on passage to attack Atlantic shipping.

                        (Note: This was probably a precautionary move in case the enemy ship was able to

                                      escape action with Home Fleet ships which later engaged and sank her on this day.

                                      Battle of North Cape.)

       30th          Returned to Tobermory on release from this operation.


1 9 4 4


January            Passage to Granton for minesweeping training.

                         Carried out minesweeping training in Firth of Forth area with HMS PELORUS

                         On completion took passage to Harwich with sister Minesweepers PELORUS and

                         PLUCKY to join HM Minesweepers FANCY and PINCHER

                         (Note: All these ships were allocated to the 7th Flotilla.)


February           Deployed at Harwich for North Sea minesweeping duties to ensure clear passage for East

                         Coast convoys.

                         HM Minesweepers LARNE, LENNOX, RECRUIT and RIFLEMAN joined to complete

                         Flotilla. Senior Officer’s Ship was HMS PELORUS.


March             Deployed with Flotilla in continuation of North Sea duties.

                        Nominated for service in Force J for minesweeping support during planned

                        allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).



        8th           Passage to Portsmouth with ships of Flotilla to join Force J in Solent.

      12th           Deployed for minesweeping off Portsmouth.

      20th           Deployed in Thames Estuary with Flotilla.

      29th           Returned to resume service with Force J at Portsmouth for exercises prior to



May                 Nominated with Flotilla for clearance of Channel 8 to beach head areas.

                         (Note: An Isles Class Danlayer, A Motor Minesweeper and three Motor

                                      Launches were allocated for duty with the Flotilla for laying of

                                      markers and to provide assistance during NEPTUNE.)

                         Deployed with Flotilla for exercises including night sweeping and major

                         exercise FABIUS III in Bracklesham Bay.

                         (Note: During FABIUS III Flotilla came under E-Boat attack.)

                         Returned to Solent ion completion to prepare for NEPTUNE.

                         For details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE see LANDINGS

                         IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE

                         by K Edwards.



       4th             Operation delayed for 24 hours.

       5th             Sailed from Portsmouth with Flotilla for clearance of Channel 8 ahead of first

                         Assault convoys.

       6th             After arrival off JUNO Beach deployed for local minesweeping and for

                         widening approach Channels.

                         (Note: During Assault Phase continued minesweeping off Normandy and

                                      later during Build-up Phase was part of TROUT Defence Line for

                                      anti submarine patrol. Deployed for convoy escort and returned to

                                      Portsmouth for refuelling and replenishment.)


July                  Retained in Forward Area for minesweeping after termination of NEPTUNE.

                         (Note: During this period enemy minelaying and torpedo attacks were carried

                         in French coastal waters. See references and HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)

                         Nominated for refit and withdrawn from operational use.



       2nd            Taken in hand for refit.


September        Under refit

                          (Note: Did not take part in North Sea Air Sea duties in support of air landings at

                                      Arnhem (Operation MARKET GARDEN)



         16th         On completion of refit carried out post refit trials and prepared to rejoin Flotilla. which

                         had been redeployed in Nore Command

                         Passage to Harwich

                           Deployed for mine clearance duties in Scheldt estuary and for escort of military convoy

                           to Antwerp.


November          Transferred to Plymouth Command with Flotilla and took passage to

                           Falmouth for anti-submarine patrol duties.

                           (Note: SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats were being deployed in SW Approaches at convoy

                                       focal areas and level of escort and patrol was increased to meet this threat.)


December           Nominated for foreign service with and taken in hand for refit

                            (Note: HMS PELORUS and HMS LENNOX were replaced by HMS SQUIRREL and

                                        HMS VESTAL in order to have all ships in Flotilla with Turbine propulsion

                                        machinery. This would ensure compatibility of maintenance requirements.

                                        Ships were withdrawn for refit in rotation to ensure some of Flotilla were

                                        available for Channel minesweeping and escort or patrol duties.)


1 9 4 5


January               Under refit and on completion prepared for passage to Colombo to join the

                            East Indies Fleet for minesweeping duties during planned landings.



February             Passage to rejoin ships of Flotilla in Channel.

                            Channel minesweeping and escort duties in continuation


March                 Took passage to join ships of Flotilla as Senior Officer’s ship during for service with the

                            Eastern Fleet based at Colombo.

                            (Note: Ship may have joined escort for Atlantic convoy during passage to Gibraltar.


April                   Passage in Indian Ocean.

        14th            At Colombo with HM Minesweepers PINCHER, RECRUIT, CHAMELEON,

                           VESTAL, PLUCKY and RIFLEMAN. Senior Officer’s Ship.

                           Took passage with Flotilla to Trincomalee to commence Fleet duties.

        24th            Nominated minesweeping support of planned landings at Rangoon with Flotilla and Indian

                           37th Minesweeping Flotilla as Force 65 (Operation DRACULA.)

                           Took passage to Akyab with Flotilla.

        29th            Sailed with ships of Force 65 as part of escort for Convoy ABLE for minesweeping

                           operations in support of assault.

                           (Note: For details off other naval activities associated with DRACULA see WAR

                                          WITH JAPAN (HMSO) and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)



         1st             Commenced minesweeping to clear approach passage for assault ships.

         3rd             Deployed with Force 65 to ensure clear passage to enable ships to berth at Rangoon.

                           On release from DRACULA returned with Flotilla to Colombo.

                           Nominated for refit in South Africa and took passage to Durban.

                           (Note: Ships of Flotilla were successively withdrawn from service for refit and

                                       maintenance pending support of  planned British landings in the Andamans

                                       and Malaya. HMS CHAMELEON also went to Durban or Port Elizabeth in

                                       South Africa.)


June                  Taken in hand for refit.


July                  Under refit


August             Took passage to UK to Pay-off at Plymouth.

                         (Note: The fact that this ship did not rejoin the Flotilla in the East Indies Fleet for

                                      further service suggest that there were defects preventing her operational use.)


September        On arrival at Plymouth reduced to Reserve status after Paying-off


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS  PICKLE was initially laid-up at Plymouth but transferred to Harwich in April 1951. When the Harwich Division of the Reserve Fleet was closed the ship was towed to Portsmouth and remained  in Reserve. As part of the reduction in the Reserve Fleet following the Defence Review in 1957 she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to the Singalese Navy in July 1958. After  tow to Devonport for docking and essential repair the ship was handed over on 18th August that year and renamed PARAKRAMA. On completion she was sailed to Ceylon with a Singalese crew and remained in service until 1964 when sold for demolition in Hong Kong.



For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see



back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 23/4/11
further editing and formatting is required