Minesweeper ordered from HM Dockyard,
Devonport on 1st July 1936 with sister
ship to be named HMS SEAGULL as part of
the 3rd Group of this Class.. Her
turbine propulsion machinery was to be
supplied Richardson Westgarth of West
Hartlepool. The ship was laid down on
16th November 1936 and launched on 8th
June 1937 as the 6th RN warship to carry
this name which had been introduced for
a 5th Rate built at Rotherhithe in 1783.
The name is derived from Classic Greek
legend. Last used for a Torpedo Gunboat
built by HM Dockyard, Sheerness in 1892
and sold in 1920. Build was completed on
19th May 1938. Before her loss in 1942,
after a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in February
1942, this ship was adopted by the civil
community of Kingsbridge, Devon.
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
1793 - EGYPT 1801 - CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
1806 - BUENOS AIRES 1806 - JAVA 1811 -
ATLANTIC 1939-41 - DUNKIRK 1940 - ARCTIC
e r a l d i c D a t a
a field Blue, upon water in base barry
wavy White and Blue
swan roussant Proper gorged with a
collar, chained Gold, the chain
by a hand issuant in chief also Proper.
a n n i n g D i v i s i o n
u m m a r y
o f P r e - w a
r S e r v i c e
1 9 3 8
Commissioned for service on completion
of build and commenced Acceptance
On completion deployed for Fishery
Protection duties in Home waters.
Home waters deployment in continuation.
(Note: This organisation was responsible
for monitoring British fishing
activities to ensure
adherence to internationally agreed
rules and to prevent ships of other
from fishing in territorial waters.
Larger ships of the squadron were
in areas as far apart as the Arctic Sea and SW Approaches including
1 9 3 9
Fishery Protection deployment in
War Station nominated for duty in 5th
e t a i l s o f
W a r
S e r v i c e
more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
type name in Site Search
Deployed in SW Approaches.
Passage from Gibraltar to join HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER,
SALAMANDER, GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK,
SPEEDWELL and SPHINX based at Dover.
as 5th Minesweeping Flotilla.
Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping
in Nore Command.
Transferred to Grimsby with ships of
Flotilla to ensure clear passage of East
Coast convoy routes.
(Note: Extensive enemy minelaying
including magnetic mines was being
For details see THE TORPEDOMEN by EN
Poland, HM MINESWEEPERS (HMSO),
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C
Barnett and the Naval Staff History.)
1 9 4 0
Transferred with Flotilla to Rosyth in
continuation of North Sea duties.
(Note: HMS HALCYON and HMS HUSSAR
remained at Grimsby as part of 4th
Deployed in Moray Firth with Flotilla for minesweeping.
Under air attacks in snow storm 15 miles
north of Kinnaird Head.
(Note: HMS SPHINX was sunk during these
North Sea deployment in continuation.
(Note: Anti-submarine operations were
carried out in this period.)
Remained with 5th Minesweeping Flotilla
when all other HALCYON Class
were transferred to 4th and 6th
Joined by HM Minesweepers KELLETT, LYDD,
PANGBOURNE, ROSS and
SALTASH and based at Rosyth for service
in North Sea.
Deployed in North Sea with Flotilla
Detached to take part in evacuation of
British and allied troops from Dunkirk
Arrived at Dunkirk with HMS GOSSAMER and
(Note: Sister ships SHARPSHOOTER,
SKIPJACK, HALCYON, HEBE and SPEEDWELL
from 1st, 5th and 6th Flotillas and HMS
SALAMANDER also took part in DYNAMO.)
Sustained slight damage in collision
Pennant Number for visual signalling
changed to J93
DYNAMO rescue operations in
Involved in collision and sank French
tug MARESHAL FOCH during passage.
Forward structure holed and required
Passage to Sheerness.
Taken in hand for repair
Passage to Harwich to resume Flotilla
duties on completion of repair.
Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping
duties to ensure clear passage in East
Flotilla minesweeping duties in North
Sea based at Harwich in continuation.
to Grimsby with Flotilla.
Despatched with HM Minesweeper SALTASH
to assist in rescue operations after HM
Destroyers ESK, EXPRESS and IVANHOE were
mined off the Texel during minelay.
(Operation CBX5 – See Naval Staff
Took part in recovery of disabled
destroyer IVANHOE with HMS SALTASH.
Transferred tow to tugs sent from
Felixstowe and remained as escort for
passage to Humber.
Resumed Flotilla Minesweeping duties.
Deployed with Flotilla off Scottish
Sustained serious damage in Tiller Flat
when ship dragged anchor into path of an
Taken in hand for repair in commercial
shipyard in Aberdeen.
Resumed Flotilla minesweeping duties in
1 9 4 1
Transferred to southern North Sea with Flotilla in continuation of clearance of safe
passage for coastal convoys inside
existing British minefield.
(Note: In addition to hazard from mines
laid by aircraft and E-Boats. Surface
were a common feature of all escort and
Remained in southern North Sea when Flotilla was transferred to Granton in Forth Estuary
for service off Scottish coast.
Embarked three Dutchmen from HM
Destroyer MEYNELL for passage to Harwich
(Note: These men had been found adrift
in an open boat near Sunk Light Vessel
escaping from occupied Europe. The
destroyer was part of escort for an East
Transferred to 6th Minesweeping Flotilla
Ships in Flotilla were all HALCYON-class
and included HM Minesweepers
HALCYON, HARRIER, HUSSAR, SPEEDWELL and
GOSSAMER based at
Harwich for east coast minesweeping.
Taken in hand for repair at Leith in
Transferred to Rosyth
Taken in hand for further repair by HM
Resumed Flotilla duties with 6th
(Note: The Flotilla had been transferred
to Western Approaches Command for convoy
escort duties in view of the lack of
escorts available and the fact that this
of minesweeper was fitted with ASDIC
underwater detection equipment and
some had surface warning radar Type 271
fitted during recent refits.
See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse for details of development and use.)
Deployed for Local Escort of Atlantic
convoys based at Stornoway.
(Note: When not required for escort and
anti-submarine patrol carried out
minesweeping as required by Local
Nominated for detached service in North
Russia for minesweeping operations
to ensure safe passage of Russian
convoys to and from Iceland.
(Note: HM Minesweepers BRITOMART,
GOSSAMER and HUSSAR were also
nominated and the four HALYCONs were to
join H0M Minesweepers
HALCYON, HARRIER and SALAMANDER already
Nominated for service in North Russia
(Note: Ships of this Class were
“Articised” during which bow structure
strengthened and additional insulation
provided for deckheads and internal
bulkheads. In view of the short time
available before deployment this work
may not have been undertaken in this
Passage to Iceland to join escort for
Russian Convoy PQ1with HM Minesweepers
BRITOMART and GOSSAMER.
(Note: For full details of all Russian
convoy passages with names of the
mercantiles see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA
Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P
Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS
by R Woodman.)
Joined Ocean Escort for Russian convoy
PQ1 at Hvalfjord with HM Cruiser
HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE and ESCAPADE,
HMS BRITOMART, HMS GOSSAMER,
and HMS HUSSAR.
HMS ANTHONY detached from escort and
relieved by HM Destroyer ESCAPADE.
HMS ANTELOPE detached from escort.
HMS HARRIER joined PQ1 as Local Escort
Arrived at Archangel after uninterrupted
(Note: Ships were deployed for local
duties in North Russia including
convoy defence, minesweeping and patrol
in White Sea.)
Joined inward convoy QP2 for Local
Escort into Archangel with HMS GOSSAMER
and HMS HUSSAR
(Note: HM Fleet Minesweepers BRAMBLE,
SPEEDY and SEAGULL had been part of
Ocean Escort and were joining for
service in North Russia.)
Arrived at Archangel with PQ2 after
Deployed as Local Escort for Convoy QP2
with HMS BRAMBLE and HMS SEAGULL
for initial stage of passage from
Detached from QP2 with Local Escort and
returned to Archangel.
(Note This convoy arrived in Scapa Flow on 17th without incident.)
Deployed for local minesweeping.
Local minesweeping in continuation.
Despatched to join inward convoy PQ6 in
place of HMS SPEEDY which had been
attacked and damaged in action against
German destroyers whilst on passage to
provide Local Escort into Murmansk with
Deployed for Local Escort of PQ6 with
HMS HAZARD into Murmansk
Arrived at Murmansk with PQ6,
Joined return convoy QP4 with HM
Minesweepers SEAGULL, SPEEDY, BRAMBLE
HEBE, HM Trawler BUTE and HM Trawler
STELLA CAPELLA for escort during passage
1 9 4 2
Remained with QP4 when HM Cruiser
EDINBURGH, HM Destroyers ECHO and
ESCAPADE joined as reliefs for HMS
BRAMBLE and HMS SPEEDY.
Detached from QP4 with HMS SEAGULL,
SPEEDY and the two trawlers when QP4 was
dispersed on arrival in Home waters.
Took passage for refit.
Under refit in commercial shipyard.
(Note: This refit included
On completion of post refit trials took
passage to Iceland to resume service in
Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweepers
BRAMBLE, SEAGULL. HM Destroyer LEDBURY
and four trawlers as part of escort for
inward convoy PQ15 during passage into
HM AA Ship ULSTER QUEEN, HM Destroyers
MATCHLESS, SOMALI, VENOMOUS and
Norwegian ST ALBANS joined with HM
Submarine STURGEON to supplement escort
with cruiser cover provided by HMS
LONDON and HMS NORFOLK
(Note: This convoy was also given
particularly strong Distant Cover by RN
major warships. During their cover HM
Battleship KING GEORGE V had collided
in fog sinking HM Destroyer PUNJABI
whilst east of Iceland.)
Convoy under heavy and sustained attacks
by submarines and aircraft
after sighting by reconnaissance
aircraft. Three mercantiles were lost.
(Note: Submarine contact by HMS SEAGULL
and HNorMS ST ALBANS
was attacked and later it was
established that this was the Polish
JASTRAB which had been out of her
allotted patrol area and had been sunk.
During further air attacks one
mercantiles was hit and damaged but
was able to reach Murmansk.
(Note: 15 of the mercantiles in PQ15
were US flagged.)
For full details of all Russian Convoy
operations with names of warships
and mercantiles see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by
RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P
Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS
by R Woodman.)
Detached from PQ15 after arrival at Murmansk.
Resumed minesweeping and Local duties
after return from PQ15
Deployed with Russian destroyers GROZNI
and SOKRUSHITELNY, HMS BRAMBLE,
HMS GOSSAMER and HMS SEAGULL as Local
Escort for outward Convoy QP12 during
initial stage of passage from Kola
Detached from PQ15 with Local Escort and
took return passage to Kola Inlet.
Joined Local Escort for inward convoy PQ
16 by three Russian destroyers including
GROZNI and SOKRUSHIELNY, HM Minesweepers
and SEAGULL during passage into North
Russia with HM Destroyer MARNE and
HM Auxiliary AA Ship ALYNBANK for escort
of ships bound for Archangel.
(Note: This convoy had been subject to
air attacks on 28th.)
Under unsuccessful air attacks during
passage and detached on arrival at
Detached from ships from PQ16 on
Deployed for minesweeping in North
Under air attack off Mishokvo. Near
missed by six bombs and slightly
Deployed with Russian destroyers GROZNI,
GREMYASCHI and KUIBYSHEV,
HMS BRAMBLE, HAZARD and SEAGULL for
Local Escort of outward Convoy
PQ13 during initial stage of passage to
Detached from QP13 with Local Escort and
returned to North Russia.
(Note: During later passage in fog off
Iceland this convoy went into a British
and suffered many losses including that
of sister ship HMS NIGER which was
returning to UK as part of the escort.)
Deployed for minesweeping duties in
Despatched to take part in search
operations for merchant ships dispersed
inward Convoy PQ17 after perceived
threat of attack by major German
including the battleship TIRPITZ. See
THE CONVOYS IS TO SCATTER by
J Broome and the Naval Staff History.
Deployed with HM Minesweepers BRAMBLE,
HAZARD, HM Corvette DIANELLA
and HM Auxiliary AA Ship POZARICA as
well as Russian destroyers in search for
boats with survivors and shipping,
Deployed with HMS BRAMBLE to escort
found mercantiles into Archangel.
Resumed minesweeping deployment in North
Nominated for return to UK for refit
with HMS BRAMBLE.
Joined return convoy QP14 with HMS
BRAMBLE as part of Ocean Escort
for return to UK. Other ships of Ocean
(Note: HM Cruiser SCYLLA, HM Escort
Aircraft Carrier AVENGER,
HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR,
INTREPID, MARNE, METEOR, MILNE, OFFA,
ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE, SOMALI, TARTAR,
WILTON, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, HM Trawlers
LORD AUSTIN, LORD MIDDLETON, NORTHERN
Auxiliary AA Ships ALYNBANK, PALOMARES
Distant Cover was provided by ships of
Home Fleet in view of any
attack by German heavy warships.
This convoy was also carrying survivors
from the ill fated PQ17.)
Passage in heavy weather with no
immediate threat of interference.
Under attack by seven U-Boats. See
HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR, Volume 2
by C Blair.
Whilst in position astern of convoy in
poor weather, hit by two torpedoes
fired by U435.
Ship sank one and a half hours later in
position 76.48N 06.00E with the loss of
the Surgeon LT, RNVR, 43 ratings, and
two MN survivors (until then). Six
these were among the
86 of the
ship's company who were rescued, and who
(Note: In the continuing submarine
attacks, ss SILVER SWORD, which had
PQ17 was sunk. The destroyer HMS SOMALI
was hit by U703 and
disabled. Taken in tow by sister HMS
ASHANTI the stricken ship
sank in heavy weather on 24th.)