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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS BRIXHAM (J 105) - Bangor-class Minesweeper

HMS Polruan, turbine-engined sister ship (David Hill, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

BANGOR-Class Minesweeper fitted with turbine propulsion machinery, ordered on 9th September 1939 from Blyth Shipbuilders and laid down at Blyth, Northumberland on 6th November 1939. She was launched on 21st  October 1940 and build was completed later*. 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. In March 1942 she was most appropriately adopted by the civil community of Brixham, Devonshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign (* The date of completion is to be confirmed.)


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 White, an anchor and trawl beam in saltire.



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


August                  Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 13th Minesweeping Flotilla

                19th        Commenced Acceptance Trials on completion of build.

                                Passage to Rosyth carry out minesweeping work-up.

                                (Note: The delay in completion is not clear since the ship was launched in October 1940.

                                Further investigation is required as first confirmed date in service is two years later.)


September             On completion joined Flotilla for operational duties in the English Channel.

                                (Note: Flotilla was carrying out special minesweeping operations

                                associated with clearance of passages for destroyers carrying out attacks

                                on German coast convoys off French coast.


October                  Nominated with ships of Flotilla for support of planned allied landings in

                                North Africa (Operation TORCH)

                                Prepared for foreign service.

                                (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Minesweepers RHYL (Leader), CLACTON,

                                EASTBOURNE, FELIXSTOWE, POLRUAN, ROTHESAY and STORNOWAY.)

                14th        Took part in exercises for planned landings in Irish Sea with Flotilla..

                                (Note: During these HMS EASTBOURNE collided with HMS ILFRACOMBE

                                and had to remain in UK for repair.)

                                These two ships were replaced by HMS BUDE and HMS RHYL

                21st         Although intended to be part of escort for advance military convoy to Gibraltar

                                prior to landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH) departure delayed.


November              Passage to Gibraltar for minesweeping support.

                                Nominated for minesweeping prior to landings at Bougie (Operation PERPETUAL).

                12th        Carried out minesweeping operations off Bougie

                                On release deployed for minesweeping along North African coast to ensure

                                clear passage for coastal convoys and warships carrying out interception patrols.

                                (Note: For details see Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                CLOSELY by C Barnett.)


December              North African coast deployment in continuation with ships 12th and 13th Flotillas.


1 9 4 3


January                  Deployed for minesweeping and convoy defence between Algiers and Bone.

to March


April                       Took part in joint operation with ships of Flotilla and those of the 12th Minesweeping Flotilla

to May                   to clear minefields as far east as Tripoli to enable passage of routine convoys to be resumed

                                from Gibraltar to Port Said.

                                (Note: 13th Flotilla then comprised HM Minesweepers RHYL (Leader), BUDE, POLRUAN

                                CLACTON, FELIXSTOWE, POLRUAN, ROTHESAY and STORNOWAY.

                                14th Flotilla was made up of the larger ALGERINE Class Fleet Minesweepers.)


June                        On completion of clearance of convoy route transferred with Flotilla for duty in Malta.

                                Nominated for minesweeping support of planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).

                                Took part in preparation for HUSKY and deployed for minesweeping in central Mediterranean.



                9th          Deployed in advance of assault convoys to ensure clear passage to British beachheads.

                10th        Carried mine sweeping in selected anchorage for assault ships.

                                On completion deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping in support of allied advance.

                                (Note: For details see Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.)


August                  On release from operations off Sicily returned to Malta

                                Nominated for minesweeping support of planned landings on mainland of Sicily at Salerno.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE.)


September             Prepared for AVALANCHE in Malta with Flotilla..

                                (Note: HMS FELIXSTOWE and HMS ROTHESAY were detached for duty as Danlayers

                                with the 12th Flotilla. See above references,)

                7th          Deployed for minesweeping in advance of assault convoys

                8th          Carried out clearance of mines in the north of Salerno Bay prior to landings by US troops.

                12th        Released from AVALANCHE and took return passage to Malta

                                (Note: 36 mines were swept during these operations.)


October                  Deployed for minesweeping in central Mediterranean.

to November         Nominated with ships of Flotilla to relive 14th Minesweeping Flotilla in an operation to clear

                                mines in Straits of Bonifacio.


December              Passage to Maddalena with Flotilla.

                16th        Deployed for Minesweeping operations off Corsica and Sardinia.

                18th        During operation off Sardinia, HMS FELIXSTOWE detonated a mine in position 3 miles east

                                of Cape Ferro and sank without any loss of life. Rescue was carried out by ships of Flotilla.

                31st         During minesweeping off east coast of Corsica HMS CLACTON sank when a mine collected

                                in her sweep wire exploded on the quarterdeck. 43 survivors were rescued.


1 9 4 4


January                  Deployed for continuation of Minesweeping operations with the five remaining ships

                                of Flotilla.

                                (Note: HMS RHYL was refitting in Malta.)

                20th        Straits of Bonifacio operations in continuation without HMS BUDE and HMS ROTHESAY

                                which had been detached for service as Danlayers with 12th Flotilla during minesweeping

                                support of planned allied landings in north of Italy at Anzio. (Operation SHINGLE)


February                Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping in western Mediterranean including off west coast

to                            of Italy.

April                       (Note: Ship may have refitted in Malta during this period.)


May                        On relief by a ship of 19th Minesweeping Flotilla took passage with HM Minesweepers

                                STORNOWAY, BUDE and POLRUAN to Naples for joint operation with ships of 12th

                                Minesweeping Flotilla to provide clear passage between Naples and Anzio for supply of

                                by sea of stores and personnel for military operations.


June                        Deployed with same ships of both Flotillas to clear entrance to port of Civitavecchia


July                         HMS ROTHESAY joined 13th Flotilla to replace HMS BUDE.

                                Deployed with the other four of the 13th Flotilla, ships of 12th and 19th Minesweeping

                                Flotillas to clear passage between Anzio and Leghorn. (Operation LOBSTER).

                                (Note: This covered an area of 234 square miles from which 250 mines were accounted for.

                                A number of Danlayers and auxiliary minesweepers were also used to support

                                this extensive operation


August                  Nominated for minesweeping support of planned allied landings in South France

                                (Operation DRAGOON – Formerly ANVIL)

                                (Note: This operation was under overall US Navy Command.

                                For details of DRAGOON see LANDINGS IN SOUTH FRANCE (HMSO).

                                Took passage to Naples on completion of LOBSTER.

                9th          Sailed from Naples as part of escort for Convoy SS1B (ALPHA) during passage to Ajaccio.

                                (Note: HM Minesweepers ROTHESAY, RHYL, BUDE, POLRUAN, STORNOWAY,

                                LARNE, CLINTON, OCTAVIA, STORMCLOUD, WELFARE, US Destroyer FC

                                DAVIES and 18 smaller craft were also deployed for escort of SS1B (ALPHA)

                13th        Rejoined convoy on departure from Ajaccio.

                14th        Arrived at nominated rendezvous position

                15th        Joined by HM Minesweeper ARIES of 19th Flotilla and carried out sweep in advance of the

                                assault craft on passage to YELLOW Beach south of St. Tropez.

                                After arrival deployed of beaches for minesweeping to clear all landing areas.

                16th        Deployment for minesweeping in landing areas continued.

                18th        Deployed with CTG80.10 under command of Commander Messmer USN and deployed to

                                clear Bormes Roads and Hyeres Roads during which 11 mines were accounted for.

                24th        Deployed for clearance of Gulf of Fos and under shore fire from batteries between Cape

                                Mejean and Cape Couronne without damage. Sweeping suspended.

                25th        Resumed operations.

                31st         Completed operation and released from DRAGOON.

                                (Note: 173 mines were dealt with and their positions had been determined by air



September             Passage to Malta for R&R and routine maintenance.

                                Nominated for minesweeping duties off Greek coast to ensure clear passage for support

                                of military operations.

                                Passage to carry out minesweeping for clearance of Gulf of Patras and Gulf of Corinth.

                                (Note: HMS RHYL rejoined Flotilla for this operation.)

                                For details of military operations see Military Staff History.)


October                  Minesweeping to clear entrances to ports in southern Greece in continuation.

to November         (Note: 353 mines swept. Many explosive and other devices intended to delay

                                minesweeping were encountered with consequent need to replace parts of sweep gear.)

                                Nominated for return to UK to pay—off and reduce to Reserve status

                                Passage to Malta to prepare for passage to UK


December              Took passage to Devonport to pay-off and de-store


1 9 4 5


January                  Paid-off and de-stored.


February                Reduced to Reserve status

to March


April                       Laid-up in Reserve Fleet

to August


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS BRIXHAM was placed on the Disposal List in 1948 and sold to BISCO on 7th July that year for demolition by Clayton & Davie at Dunston, County Durham. The ship was taken in tow to the Tyne and handed over to the shipbreaker.


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