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

HMS BLYTH (J 15) - Bangor-class Minesweeper

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

BANGOR-Class Minesweeper fitted with Reciprocating propulsion machinery ordered on 6th July 1939 from Blyth Shipbuilders. Laid down on 11th January 1940 this minesweeper was launched on 2nd September 1940 and after delay in completion was accepted for service on 17th June1941. She was the 1st RN ship to carry this name, which like others of the Class built in UK was that of a coastal town. The selection may also have been influenced by build in a local shipyard. Her build completion date as planned was in March 1941 but the final acceptance was delayed until 17th June 1941. She was adopted, most appropriately, by the civil community of the town of Blyth, Northumberland after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ENGLISH CHANNEL 1942 - NORTH SEA 1942        


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a demi-lion rampant, erased Gold, holding in the paw a pick-axe, Black.



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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March              Planned completion date and commissioning.


April                Delayed completion

to May



     17th            Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.


July                  Minesweeping work-up at Port Edgar prior to joining the newly formed 13th Minesweeping

to August        Flotilla. Anti-submarine exercises at Tobermory.


September       Joined Flotilla at Harwich for mine sweeping in North Sea to ensure clear passage for East

                         Coast convoys. Deployed as Flotilla Senior Officer’s ship

                        (Note: Flotilla included HM Minesweepers FELIXSTOWE, POLRUAN  and



       2nd           Sailed from Harwich with HMS EASTBOURNE and HM Minesweeper

                        BRIDLINGTON for minesweeping duties in English Channel.

                        (Note: HMS BRIDLINGTON had been detached from MS9 and left

                                     during Channel service to rejoin her Flotilla based at Portsmouth.)

       7th            Deployed in Channel and also took part in rescue of prisoners of war from

        to             French coast



November       Channel deployment in continuation.


December        Transferred to Harwich for special mine clearance off  East Coast

                         (Note: In view of possible attempt by the German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU

                                     to return to Germany from Brest through the English Channel instead of via NW Passage

                                     two gaps were to be made in minefields. These were required to enable destroyers based

                                     at Harwich to have speedy passage into the North Sea for interception of the German

                                     warships On arrival deployed with 9th Minesweeping Flotilla and ships of own

                         Flotilla for clearance of mines in both British Barrier and a known German

                         minefield off the Dutch and Belgian coasts (Operation QO).

                         (Note: Minesweeping operations were subject to air attack and delayed

                                     when weather conditions made these inevitable.

                                     9th Minesweeping Flotilla were also deployed in Channel.)


1 9 4 2


January             On completion of QO resumed service with Flotilla and based at Poole

                         to resume minesweeping in English Channel for safe passage of coastal



February           Transferred with Flotilla for special minesweeping operation in North Channel

                          and entry into Belfast (Operation MAGNET).

                          (Note:  Flotilla was required to carry out minesweep ahead of first incoming

                                       US troop convoy to ensure its safe passage into Belfast.)

                                       Operation was carried out in extreme weather conditions which

                                       caused structural damage in several ships.)

                          On completion returned to Channel.


March               Transferred to Plymouth Command and based at Falmouth for clearance

       to                of coastal routes in SW Approaches.    




       11th            Under low level air attack off Dartmouth and hit by bomb from FW190

                          which exploded alongside ship caused some damage and reduction of



July                   Transferred with Flotilla to Harwich for further service in North Sea for

                          East Coast minesweeping.

                          Nominated with Flotilla for minesweeping in support of planned landing

                          by British and Canadian troops at Dieppe (Operation JUBILEE)


August             Passage to Portsmouth to prepare for JUBILEE.

                          Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of 9th and 13th Minesweeping


                          (Note: Other ships in Flotilla then included HM Minesweepers

                                      EASTBOURNE, ILFRACOMBE. POLRUAN, STORNOWAY,

                                      CLACTON and FELIXSTOWE.)

        18th             Carried out joint operations to ensure safe passage of assault convoys.

        19th             On completion of sweep returned to Portsmouth.

        24th             Transferred with Flotilla to Portsmouth Command for Channel coast



September           Deployed with Flotilla and took part in special minesweeping operations

                            associated with clearance of passages for destroyers carrying out attacks

                            on German coast convoys off French coast.


October               Transferred to 9th Minesweeping Flotilla and joined HM Minesweepers


                            BLACKPOOL, EASTBOURNE and ILFRACOMBE.


November           Channel deployment in continuation.




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                            Operational deployment of this ship is in doubt and it is presumed

                            she was paid off because of a machinery or other defect which made

                            continuation of minesweeping impossible.

                            (Note: Study of Admiralty PINK LISTS which record intended

                                        movements of HM Ships is required to confirm this.)

                            The Flotilla was deployed in Home waters.

                            See 1 9 4 4


1 9 4 4


                            Operational minesweeping deployment before May is in doubt.

                            (See Note for 1944)


                            The Naval Staff History LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO)

                            records in Appendix A(1) on Page 28 the deployment of HMS BLYTH

                            as a Danlayer attached to 16th Minesweeping Flotilla which was

                            as Part of Force U to carry out sweep of Swept Channel No 1 to

                            UTAH Beach on 5th and 6th of June.


                            No Battle Honour NORMANDY 1944 was awarded although all other

                            ships of the 9th Flotilla which were actively deployed for minesweeping

                            did receive the award.


                            As none of the 42 Danlayers except BLYTH was commanded by

                            a Lieutenant Commander it would seem possible that this ship was

                            brought into service for use as a Danlayer during Operation NEPTUNE.


                            Pending further investigation it is presumed that on release from this

                            danlaying this ship returned to a Care and Maintenance or Reserve category.


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                           No record of deployment for minesweeping has been found and PINK List examination

                           is required to confirm. Danlaying deployment may have been continued until after VE Day.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS BLYTH was reduced to Reserve Status and placed on the Disposal List. Deployment for Danlaying during the extensive post war operations seems possible as the ship was not sold until 25th May 1948. She was then intended to be converted for mercantile use and renamed RADBOURNE but this was not completed and the ship was sold for demolition, presumably by the new owner in November 1952. This name has been introduced for the 2nd time and given to a Mine Countermeasures Vessel due to enter service during 2000.


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