Minesweeper ordered from HM Dockyard
Devonport on 1st July 1936 with sister
ship to be
named HMS LEDA. Propulsion machinery was
supplied by Richardson Westgarth of West
Hartlepool. This ship was laid down on
15th February 1937 and launched on 28th
October that year. She was the
9th RN warship
to carry this name which had been
introduced for a 16
gun Brig Sloop, built at Rotherhithe. The
a Torpedo Gunboat built by HM Dockyard,
1889 and sunk in Collision on 30th
whilst being used as a
Build was completed
May 1938 and she commissioned
in the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla based at
Portland. During WW2 this ship was adopted
by the civil
of Christchurch, Hampshire after a
successful WARSHIP WEEK National
Savings campaign in February 1942.
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
ARCTIC 1942 -
e r a l d i c D a t a
a field barry
wavy of six white and blue a
seagull flying proper.
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9 3 9
Carried out minesweeping trial in Lyme Bay for Flotilla.
(Note: This field had been specially laid
to establish minesweeping capabilities.)
Took up War Station with Flotilla at Scapa
Other ships in Flotilla were HM
Minesweepers BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, HAZARD,
HEBE, SHARPSHOOTER and SPEEDY
Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla
(Note: Ships were engaged in ensuring
clear passages from Scapa Flow for Fleet
the gaps in East Coast Mine Barrier.)
Transferred to Clyde and cleared British
mine field off Gourock
(Note: Home Fleet units were moved to
Clyde area after sinking of HM Battleship
ROYAL OAK at anchor in Scapa Flow by a torpedo from U47 which penetrated
Resumed North Sea Service to ensure
passages through East Coast Mine Barrier
clear of mines.
(Note: Extensive enemy minelaying using
magnetic mines was being carried
out in North Sea. See above references.)
Transferred to Stornoway for Atlantic
convoy escort duties with Flotilla.
1 9 4 0
Atlantic convoy defence in continuation
based at Stornoway
Deployed for escort of convoys during
passage to and from Canada.
Returned to Scapa Flow after anchorage made safe
Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla for mine clearance in entrances and in
Remained at Scapa Flow in continuation of Fleet minesweeping duties
(Note: NOT deployed for support of
evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk
DYNAMO. Pendant Number for visual
signalling purposes changed to J85.)
1 9 4 1
Scapa Flow deployment in continuation
Transferred with Flotilla to Harwich for
clearance of convoy routes between
Sea and Solent to ensure safe passage.
Transferred to Western Approaches Command
with Flotilla and deployed for Local
of Atlantic convoys in NW Approaches.
(Note: This redeployment was made in view
of the acute shortage of escorts due to
and extensive repair of suitable ships in
the evacuations of allied troops during
and early 1941)
Ships of the Flotilla not deployed for
escort duty carried out minesweeping in
coastal waters. No record has been traced
of this ship being deployed as an Escort.)
Home waters minesweeping deployment in
Nominated for service in North Russia to
provide Local Escort of convoys and for
minesweeping to ensure clear passage for
convoys on entry and departure.
Prepared for service in the Arctic but not
Passage to Scapa Flow to join HM Cruiser NORFOLK, HM Destroyers ICARUS
HM Minesweepers BRAMBLE and SPEEDY of
Flotilla for escort of Russian Convoy PQ2
during passage to Archangel.
(Note: For details of all Russian Convoy
operations with names of the
mercantiles and the escorts see CONVOYS TO
RUSSIA by RA
Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B
Schoefield, CONVOY !
by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R
Sailed from Scapa Flow with PQ2 and
HM Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HUSSAR and LEDA
joined QP2 as Local Escort.
(Note: These sister ships were on detached
service from the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla
had arrived with Russian Convoy PQ1 on
11th October for similar duties.)
Arrived at Archangel with PQ2 and escort.
This convoy had an uneventful passage.
Commenced detached service in North
Deployed with HMS BRAMBLE and HMS LEDA for
Local Escort of return Convoy QP2
during first stage of passage to Scapa
(Note: Ocean escort was provided by same
ships as for PQ2)
Detached from QP2 with Local Escort and
returned to Archangel.
Deployed as Local Escort for Russian
Convoy PQ3 with HMS BRAMBLE and HMS SPEEDY
during final stage of passage into
(Note: Ocean Escort for PQ3 comprised HM
cruiser KENYA, HM Destroyers BEDOUIN and
INTREPID, HM Trawlers MACBETH and HAMLET.)
Detached from PQ3 with escorting ships on
arrival at Archangel .
Joined Russian Convoy PQ4 with HM
Minesweepers GOSSAMER, a and SPEEDY as
Escort for final stage of passage into
(Note: Ocean Escort from Hvalfjord
comprised HM Cruiser BERWICK, HM
OFFA and ONSLOW, HM Trawlers BUTE and
STELLA CAPELLA, which detached
on arrival of Local Escort.)
Detached from PQ4 with Local Escort on
arrival at Archangel.
North Russia deployment in continuation
for minesweeping and convoy defence
Joined Russian Convoy PQ5 with HMS BRAMBLE
as Local Escort for final stage of passage
Archangel and relieved HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD, HM Minesweepers HAZARD and HEBE as
escort from Hvalfjord.)
(Note: HM Minesweeper SHARPSHOOTER with
PQ5 on passage for duty in North Russia
remained with convoy as part of Local
Detached from PQ5 with Local Escort on
arrival at Archangel.
Deployed with HMS LEDA, HMS SPEEDY, HMS
BUTE and HMS STELLA CAPELLA
as Local Escort for return Convoy QP4
during first stage of return passage.
(Note: HMS SPEEDY had been damaged in
action with German destroyers on 17th
and was returning to UK for repair
escorted by HMS SEAGULL and HMS LEDA
which were to be “Articised” prior to
resuming service in North Russia.)
1 9 4 2
Detached from Locals Escort of QP4 after
arrival of HM Cruiser EDINBURGH, HM
ECHO and ESCAPADE as Ocean Escort.
After independent passage to UK with HMS
SPEEDY and HMS LEDA took passage for refit
On completion of post refit trials took
passage to Clyde to join Russian Convoy
Sailed with HMS BRAMBLE, HMS LEDA, HM
Trawlers CAPE PALLISER, CHILTERN,
NORTHERN PRIDE and VIZALMA as part of
escort for Russian Convoy PQ15 during
passage to Reykjavik.
(Note: HM Destroyer LEDBURY was part of
escort with Fleet Tanker GRAY RANGER
but returned to Lerwick during passage,
presumably after refuelling.)
Sailed from Iceland with same escort.
HM Auxiliary AA Ship
ULSTER QUEEN, HM Destroyers BADSWORTH, BOADICEA,
MATCHLESS, SOMALI, VENOMOUS and Norwegian
destroyer ST. ALBANS joined
PQ15 to reinforce escort.
Passage with PQ 15 in continuation
(Note: During Home Fleet operation to
cover the passage of PQ15, HM Battleship
GEORGE V was involved in collision with HM
Destroyer PUNJABI in which the
destroyer was sunk and the battleship
sustained serious damage.
Under submarine attacks and heavy and
sustained air attacks.
Carried out successful attack on submarine
with HMS ST ALBANS.
(Note: This was later identified as the
Polish ORP JASTRZAB which was outside her
allocated patrol area and therefore
Under further air attacks.
Detached from PQ15 on arrival at Murmansk and resumed detached
service in North Russia.
Deployed with HMS BRAMBLE, HMS GOSSAMER
and HMS LEDA , HM Destroyer
MARNE, HM Auxiliary AA Ship ALYNBANK and
three Russian destroyers including
SOKRUSHITELNY as Local Escort for Russian
Convoy PQ16 during
passage into Archangel. Under heavy and sustained air attacks
(Note: This was the largest convoy sent to
North Russia to this date and comprised 36
seven of which were lost on passage.)
Detached from PQ15 with Local Escort on
arrival at Archangel.
Deployed for local minesweeping
Joined HMS BRAMBLE, GOSSAMER and LEDA,
Russian destroyers GROZNI and
SOKRUSHITELNY for Local Escort of return
Convoy QP12 during initial part of passage
from Kola Inlet to Iceland.
(Note: Ocean Escort also sailed and
comprised HMS ULSTER QUEEN, HM Destroyers
BADSWORTH, VENOMOUS, BOADICEA, ESCAPADE,
Norwegian destroyer ST ALBANS, HM Minesweeper HARRIER, HM Trawlers
CAPE PALLISER, NORTHERN PRIDE,
NORTHERN WAVE and VIZALMA.)
Detached from QP12 with ships of Local
Escort and returned to Kola Inlet.
Joined HM Minesweepers BRAMBLE, HAZARD and
LEDA, Russian destroyers
GROZNI, GREMYASCHI and KUIBYSHEV as Local
Escort for return Convoy QP13
during first stage of passage from
Archangel to Iceland.
(Note: Ocean Escort comprising HMS
ALYNBANK, HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD,
INTREPID, ACHATES, VOLUNTEER, Polish
destroyer ORP GARLAND,
HM Minesweepers HUSSAR, NIGER, HM
HYDERABAD (RIN), STARWORT, Free French
ROSELYS, HM Trawlers
MADELEINE and ST ELSTAN with HM Submarine
TRIDENT also sailed
with QP13 which also included HMS ALYNBANK
to provided additional
defence again air attacks.)
Detached from QP13 with Local Escort and
returned to Archangel.
(Note: This convoy entered a British
Iceland in poor visibility on
and as a result HMS NIGER and five
mercantiles from the convoy were sunk)
Deployed for minesweeping operations in
(Note: Russian Convoy operations were
suspended following a reappraisal of the
defence requirements and political
repercussions after the tragic passage of
PQ17. See above references.)
Nominated with HMS BRAMBLE and HMS LEDA
for return to UK
Joined HMS BRAMBLE and HMS LEDA for return
passage to Loch Ewe as part of
Ocean Escort for return Convoy QP14.
(Note: This convoy also included ships
carrying survivors from PQ17 and ships
which had survived the grievous attacks
resulting from the decision to
scatter that convoy.)
Other ships in the Ocean escort were:
HM Auxiliary AA Ships ALYNBANK, PALOMARES
HM Destroyers BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, HM
LOTUS, POPPY, LA MALOUINE, HM Trawlers
LORD AUSTIN, LORD MIDDLETON and NORTHERN
Home Fleet major warships joined QP14 to
reinforce Ocean Escort.
Under attack by U-Boats during which HMS
LEDA was sunk by U435 with many
casualties. HM Destroyer SOMALI was also
hit by a torpedo from U703 and was
disabled. Taken in tow by HM Destroyer
ASHANTI the stricken ship sank in gale
conditions on 24th.
Detached from escort on arrival at Loch
Ewe and made independent passage for
Under refit during which Radar Type 271
On completion of post refit trials
prepared to resume duties in North Russia
passage to join escort for Russian Convoy
JW51A during passage to Kola Inlet.
Deployed with HM Destroyers, BLANKNEY,
CHIDDINGFOLD and LEDBURY,
HM Corvettes HONEYSUCKLE, OXLIP, HM
Trawlers LADY MADELEINE and
NORTHERN WAVE as escort for Russian Convoy
JW51A during passage from Loch
Ewe to Kola Inlet.
Home Fleet destroyers joined JW51A to
provide Fighting Escort.
Addition Home Fleet ships including HM
Cruisers SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA with
destroyer screen joined JW51 escort.
Detached from JW51A with escort on arrival
at Kola Inlet without enemy attacks and
resumed detached service in North Russia.
1 9 4 3
Deployed with HMS HARRIER for Local Escort
of Russian Convoy JW51B for final stage of
passage to Kola Inlet.
Detached from JW51B with HMS HARRIER on
arrival at Kola Inlet.
Deployed for local mine clearance.
Joined HMS HARRIER for passage to UK as
part of escort for return Convoy RA52.
(Note: Escort included: HM Destroyers
BEAGLE, BULLDOG, FORESTER, ICARUS
MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT,
ONSLOW and Polish
ORP PIORUN, HM Corvettes HONEYSUCKLE,
RHODODENDRON and OXLIP. HMS ONSLOW was
returning to UK after
serious damage during Battle of Barents
Sea. See references.)
Detached from RA52 on arrival at Loch Ewe.
(Note: Deployed as SO Escorts when Home
Fleet destroyers detached for passage
to Scapa Flow.
Deployed in Home Waters.
(Note: Ship may have been refitted in this
period. To be confirmed)
Return passage to Kola Inlet.
Nominated for escort of mercantiles which
had remained in North Russia during
the period that Russian Convoys were
suspended (Operation FR)
Passage to Kola Inlet as part of escort
with other Home Fleet ships to collect
(Note: Other ships taking part in FR
included HM Destroyers MAHRATTA,
MATCHLESS, MILNE, MUSKETEER, SAUMAREZ,
SAVAGE, SCORPION, WESTCOTT, HM Corvette
HM Minesweeper HARRIER.
Resumed detached service in North Russia.
Deployed with HMS HARRIER, and two Soviet
destroyers including GROMKI
as Local Escort for return Convoy RA54A
during initial stage of passage to UK
from Kola Inlet.
(Note: Ocean Escort comprised HM
Minesweepers JASON and BRITOMART
(returning to UK from detached service in
North Russia), HM Corvette
EGLANTINE, HM Destroyers MAHRATTA,
MUSKETEER, SAVAGE, SAUMAREZ, SCORPION,
Detached from RA54A and returned to Kola
Inlet with Local Escort.
Deployed with HMS HUSSAR and HM Trawler
LORD AUSTIN as Local Escort
for return convoy RA54B for initial stage
of passage from Archangel to Loch Ewe.
Detached from RA54B with HMS HUSSAR and
returned to Archangel.
Deployed for local minesweeping, patrol
and convoy escort in Barents Sea.
Provided Local Escort for return Convoy
RA55A for first stage of passage from Kola
Inlet to Loch Ewe.
(Note: Other escorts on sailing were HM
Destroyers BEAGLE, WESTCOTT,
METEOR, MILNE, MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER,
VIRAGO, ASHANTI and Canadian ATHABASKAN )
HM Corvettes DIANELLA, POPPY and Norwegian
Detached from RA55A and returned to Kola
1 9 4 4
Passage to Loch Ewe to join escort for
Russian Convoy JW56B.
Sailed from Loch Ewe with HM Destroyers
WRESTLER*, WHITEHALL, WESTCOTT,
HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Corvettes HONEYSUCKLE*
HM Minesweepers HYDRA* and ONYX *as escort for JW56B.
Ships of Local Escort (*) detached when HM
Destroyers MAHRATTA, MILNE,
MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE and SCOURGE joined as
Escort reinforced by destroyers from Kola
Inlet which had escorted the previous
Detached from JW56B with destroyers from
Kola Inlet, except HMS HARDY which
was hit by a torpedo from U278 and had to
be sunk.. Took passage to Archangel
Joined HMS GLEANER for Local Escort of
return Convoy RA56 during
initial stage of passage from Kola Inlet
to Loch Ewe.
Detached from RA56 and returned to Kola
(Note: Other ships in escort on sailing
were HM Destroyers WESTCOTT.
WHITEHALL, HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Corvettes
OXLIP, POPPY and RHODODENDRON as Close
Escort with the
Home Fleet destroyers.
Joined return Convoy RA57 with HM
Minesweeper GLEANER as part of escort for
passage to UK on completion of detached
service in North Russia
(Note: Other escorts for RA57 Ocean
Passage were HM Destroyers BEAGLE,
KEPPEL, WALKER, HM Corvettes BLUEBELL,
and RHODODENDRON. Cover was provided by HM
Cruiser BLACK PRINCE
and HM Aircraft Carrier CHASER with screen
of Home Fleet destroyers.
Detached from RA57 and took passage to
Scapa Flow with HMS BEAGLE
(Note: Only one ship of the convoy was
lost and three U-Boats were sunk, two by
aircraft from HMS CHASER.)
Passage to rejoin 1st Minesweeping
Nominated for minesweeping support of
allied landings in Normandy
Allocated to Force S based at Portsmouth
for mine clearance of Approach
Channel 9 with ships of Flotilla.
Carried night minesweeping exercises with
Flotilla prior to deployment with ships
of Force S for Final exercises with Forces
J, G and U.
(Note: Other ships in Flotilla were: HM
GLEANER, HALCYON, HARRIER (SO), HUSSAR,
SALAMANDER and SPEEDWELL.)
Took part in preparatory exercises
including and Exercise FABIUS series with
(Note: For details of naval activities
before and during NEPTUNE see
LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO) and
NEPTUNE by K. Edwards. For specific information about minesweeping
activities see THEY LED THE WAY by J
Three Motor Launches and four Isles-Class
Danlayers were attached to
the Flotilla for this specialised
On completion of defence exercise deployed
in Solent for briefing and
Deployed at Portsmouth for briefing and
preparations for minesweeping of Channel
9 in advance of Assault convoys taking
troops of 3rd Infantry Bde to SWORD
Operation delayed by 24 hours.
Sailed from Solent to commence Channel
clearance. No mines cleared or exploded.
On completion deployed for mine sweeping
Deployed for widening the area between
Approach Channels 5 and 6 and
carrying out interception patrols defence
patrols off Eastern Task Force area.
Deployed for escort of Channel convoy as
Channel minesweeping and convoy defence in
(Note: Under threat of attack by E-Boats
and midget submarines.)
Nominated for refit in commercial shipyard
at Lowestoft and took passage.
(Note: This ship was therefore not with
the Flotilla, which was subjected to air
attacks by RAF TYPHOON aircraft using
rockets, whilst carrying out a
minesweeping operation off Arromanches on
27th. HMS BRITOMART
and HMS HUSSAR were sunk by the rocket
attacks, HMS SALAMANDER
damaged beyond repair and scrapped, and
HMS JASON damaged.
On completion of post refit trials resumed
service with Flotilla.
(Note: Other ships of Flotilla were HM
Minesweepers HARRIER, HALCYON,
SPEEDWELL, GLEANER, HAZARD, SHARPSHOOTER
Deployed for Channel minesweeping.
Transferred with Flotilla to carry out
minesweeping off north east France and
Belgium, and based at Ostend.
Minesweeping deployment in southern North
Sea in continuation
(Note: HM Danlayer COLSAY was sunk by a
human torpedo (NEGER) off
Ostend during these operations on
2nd.November. Provision of clear
approach Channels to ports in Europe was
an essential to passage of
military convoys supporting allied advance
in the Low countries.)
1 9 4 5
Transferred with Flotilla to Harwich for
minesweeping in southern
(Note: During this period extensive enemy
minelaying was being carried out by
submarines, aircraft and small surface
After VE Day deployed with ships of
Flotilla for clearance of allied and
mines in North Sea and Channel areas.
Nominated for future deployment as a
Survey Ship and Paid-off
o s t W a r
N o t e s
SEAGULL was taken in hand
at Rotterdam for the conversion to her new
role in September and two months later
went to Chatham
for completion of this work, including RN
specialist hydrographic equipment in HM
completion in April 1946 the ship
recommissioned for surveying duties. From
June onwards she carried
out surveys in Home Waters until again
Paid-off and then reduced to Reserve
Status in March 1951. She was laid-up at
Devonport and towed to Leith in 1955
for used as the Drill Ship for the RNVR
Division. Placed on the Disposal List in
1956 she was sold to BISCO for
breaking-up by Demelweek and Redding at
Plymouth and taken in tow from Leith
on 1st May that year.