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

HMS ROMNEY (J 77) - Bangor-class Minesweeper

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

BANGOR-Class Minesweeper fitted with reciprocating machinery ordered on 28 August 1939 from Lobnitz and laid down at Renfrew on 22nd February 1940. She was launched 3rd August 1940 and build was completed on 12th December 1941.  The name may have been chosen for the first warship to carry the name in view of the association of Henry SIDNEY, Earl of Romney (1641 –1704) who was a supporter of William III. This 4th Rate ship was built at Blackwall, London in 1694 and wrecked 13 years later on the Scillies. In 1815 the last ship to bear the name was built  at Frindisbury near Chatham and was another 4th Rate which later was used as a Depot for  Free slaves in Jamaica before being sold there in 1845. This minesweeper was the 5th RN ship to carry this name, named, like others of the Class built in UK, after a coastal town. After a Successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was most appropriately adopted by the civil community of Romney. Kent


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

"Sibylle” 1794  - EGYPT 1801 - DIEGO SUAREZ 1942 - SICILY 1943 - NORMANDY 1944

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a leopard’s face in front of two trident

in saltire, also Gold and an anchor White.



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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Contractors trials and commissioning 9th Minesweeping Flotilla.


12th - Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials. On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.



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Deployed with HM Minesweepers BANGOR (SO), BRIDLINGTON. BRIDPORT and RHYL for Flotilla work-up and minesweeping trials at Scapa Flow. On completion deployed for minesweeping to ensure clear passage of Fleet units in and out of Scapa Flow and also of East Coast convoy routes between Aberdeen and NW of Scottish coast.


February to April


Flotilla minesweeping duties in continuation based at Scapa Flow. (Note: HM Minesweeper CROMER and BUDE joined Flotilla. Duties also included clearance of gunnery firing ranges off Cape Wrath.)




Transferred to English Channel for minesweeping duties with Flotilla.


June to November


Channel deployment with Flotilla including convoy escort as well as routine mine clearance on convoy routes of convoy routes between Dover and Plymouth. Based at Poole and Portland as required by commitments. RAF air cover was provided subject to UK air defence requirements and came under air attacks. (Note: Ships of the Flotilla were provided with balloons using specially fitted hand winches, for protection against bombing attacks, but their value was indeterminate. HMS SIDMOUTH and HMS TENBY joined Flotilla.)




Transferred to 14th Minesweeping Flotilla and joined HM Minesweepers CROMER, CROMARTY, POOLE, BEAUMARIS, RYE, TENBY and FRASERBURGH for North Sea minesweeping based at Rosyth. (Note: This work was vital and ensured safe passage of convoys between Thames Estuary as far north as Aberdeen



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January to February


Rosyth deployment in continuation Nominated with Flotilla for transfer to Mediterranean for convoy defence. (Note: This move was needed in view of the shortage of warships for anti- submarine work due to losses in defence of Crete and Greece as well as support of the Malta and the Tobruk garrison.).




Prepared for foreign service after release from North Sea duties. Passage to Gibraltar (Note: HM Minesweepers SEAHAM and WHITEHAVEN joined the Flotilla before departure.) Re-routed for passage via Cape of Good Hope and Red Sea.




On arrival at Durban detached from Flotilla with HMS CROMARTY, HMS CROMER and HMS POOLE for service in Indian Ocean with Eastern Fleet. Nominated for minesweeping support during planned landings in Madagascar (Operation IRONCLAD).




3rd - Passage to Diego Suarez


5th - Deployed with detached minesweepers and two FLOWER Class corvettes in advance of assault ships to clear mines laid in Amararata Bay. (For details see Naval Staff History and WAR WITH JAPAN ) (Note: HM Corvette AURICULA struck a mine became a total loss having broken her back.)


6th - Carried out minesweeping in Courier Bay to ensure safe anchorage for disembarkation of troops from Landing Ships. On release from IRONCLAD took return passage to Kilindini to join Escort Force for defence of convoys in Indian Ocean.


June to August


Deployed for convoy escort in Indian Ocean based at Kilindini




Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean with same detached ships and to rejoin Flotilla at Alexandria.


22nd - Took passage to Egypt from Kilindini 




Joined HMS BOSTON, HMS SEAHAM and HMS WHITEHAVEN at Alexandria for Flotilla minesweeping duties.


November to December


Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping off Egyptian and Libyan coast to ensure safe passage of supply convoys under air attacks. (Note: HMS CROMER was lost after hitting a floating mine . The ship sank quickly and survivors were rescued by ships of Flotilla.)



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January to May


Eastern Mediterranean minesweeping in continuation to ensure safe passage for supply convoys supporting advance of Eighth Army.




On completion of minesweeping to clear entrances to Libyan ports transferred with ships of Flotilla for minesweeping support of the planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY)




Deployed with Flotilla and ships of 13th Minesweeping Flotilla in preparation for HUSKY. See Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett for details)


9th - Carried out minesweeping in advance of British Support Force East and assault ships on passage to landing areas.


10th - Deployed for minesweeping in anchorage and bombardment areas.


11th - Deployed off Syracuse and under air attacks.


12th - During minesweeping off Augusta forced to withdraw because of shore batteries fire.




8th - Joined HM Minesweepers HYTHE, RYE, WHITEHAVEN, HM Sloop SHOREHAM, HM Australian Minesweepers GAWLER IPSWICH and MARYBOROUGH for escort of military convoy MKS21 during passage from Malta to Gibraltar. (Operation COCKATOO)


13th - Under air attack by He111 torpedo bombers which damaged two mercantiles in convoy which were taken in tow. Later a second air attack was driven off with one He111 shot down by of the escorts. A submarine attack later failed.


20th - Passage to Malta to resume minesweeping duties with Flotilla.




Deployment based in Malta in continuation. To be confirmed. Nominated for minesweeping operations to open up the Strait of Bonifacio between Sardinia and Corsica. (Note: This area was known to have been heavily mined with no known channels.


*October to November


Deployed with Flotilla for mine clearance in Strait of Bonifacio based at Maddalena. To be confirmed. (Note: A requirement for shallow draft minesweepers had been recognised before the start of this work, but only one Ex Italian Navy craft was available to deal with mines laid in shallow water. The loss of HMS CROMARTY on 23 October may have been due to failure to use a suitable vessel. 47 mines were swept by the Flotilla during these operations.




On relief by 13th Minesweeping Flotilla took passage with 14th Flotilla to Malta prior to leaving Mediterranean. Passage in Mediterranean and Bay of Biscay from Malta to UK. To be confirmed.



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On arrival in Home ports ships of Flotilla under routine maintenance and essential repairs. To be confirmed. Resumed operational deployment based at Plymouth for minesweeping in SW Approaches coastal convoy routes. Joined 14th Minesweeping Flotilla ships at Plymouth as Senior Officer's ship.


February to March


Plymouth deployment in continuation, Other ships in Flotilla were HM Minesweepers SEAHAM POOLE, RYE, WHITEHAVEN, GUYSBOROUGH, KENORA and VEGREVILLE. (Note: The last three were sister ships built in Canadian shipyards. Nominated for minesweeping support during the planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)




Allocated to Force U of Western Task Force and nominated for clearance of Swept Channel No 2 from south of the Isle of Wight to UTAH Beach landing area. (Note: HMS GEORGIAN, HMS PETERHEAD, HMS SIR GALAHAD and HMS SIR LANCELOT were attached to Flotilla for use as Danlayers to lay marker buoys marking extremities of swept area.) Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of Force U (Note: Exercise TIGER, a landing exercise in Lyme Bay came under E-Boat attacks and was a total disaster with many casualties. See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944 and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards for details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE.




Deployed as part of Force U for service in Western Task Force when not deployed for minesweeping. and took part in preparatory exercises with Ships of Force U. Passage to Portland to join Force U for NEPTUNE briefing.




Passage from Portland with Flotilla and Danlayers for designated Channel 2 mine clearance.


4th - Operation was delayed by 24 hours. See references.) After discovery of minefield 15 miles south of St Catherine Point, IoW deployed with Flotilla for a minesweep during which five mines were cut and two exploded in sweeps of Flotilla.


5th - Commenced sweep of Channel 2 with Flotilla and the attached Danlayers


6th - After undetected arrival off UTAH beach with ships of Flotilla commenced further clearance operations in area between Channels 3 and 4.


7th - Deployed for minesweeping off assault area.


8th - Carried out minesweeping operation off Brest with Flotilla (Note: During this operation HMS PETERHEAD, a sister ship converted for use as a Danlayer, was lost after hitting a mine.) Eleven mines were swept and 25 anti-minesweeping devices caused loss of sweeps and delayed work.)


25th - Deployed off Cherbourg with ships of Flotilla to clear approach channel to the selected bombardment area for US battleships USS TEXAS and USS ARKANSAS. On completion carried out further minesweeping off Cherbourg.


29th - Retained for minesweeping duties off Normandy on completion of NEPTUNE. For further details of minesweeping operations off Normandy see THEY LED THE WAY by J Williams.




Minesweeping support off French coast in continuation. Deployed off Brest after occupation by allied forces.




Released from support of landings in France and taken in hand for repair and maintenance.


September to December


Resumed Flotilla duties and carried out mine clearance in Channel and Nore Command areas.



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January to April


Minesweeping and convoy defence in continuation.




Deployed with HM Minesweepers SIDMOUTH, TENBY BLACKPOOL, BANGOR and RYE off southern Norway after VE Day for mine clearance. Based at Stavanger. Took part in longest continual sweep during WW2 which lasted nearly 79 hours and ensured safe passage for shipping.




On return from Norwegian deployment taken in hand for repair and maintenance.


July to August


Deployed with Flotilla in SW Approaches for mine clearance duties based at Plymouth

P o s t   W a r  N o t e s


HMS ROMNEY remained in commission after VJ Day and continued mine clearance duties in Bristol Channel and SW Approaches until July 1946 when she was Paid off and reduced to Reserve status. It is of interest that some ships of this Class were sold to Egypt, Norway and Portugal with others sold for mercantile use and one transferred to the RAF for use as a Tender. This ship remained in Reserve only until 1949 when placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO on 18th January 1950 for demolition by Granton Shipbreakers she arrived at the breaker’s yard in the Forth later that month.


Special Note: Deployments between September 1943 and February 1944 are to be confirmed.


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revised 24/4/11
further editing is required