HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from John I Thornycroft at Woolston on 23rd February
1933 with sister
be name HMS HARRIER as part of the 1st Group of this Class. Her reciprocal propulsion machinery was
to be supplied by the builder. The ship was laid down as
Yard No 1118 on 28th August 1933 and launched on 27th August 1934 as the 10th RN warship to carry this name which
had been introduced for a 6th Rate built at Chatham in 1757. It was last used for a Torpedo Gunboat built by HM
Dockyard, Devonport in 1894 and sold in 1920. Build was completed on 16th January 1935. She was adopted by the civil community of Kirkburto in the West Riding of Yorkshire after.
a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
RAISON action 1795 - JAVA 1811 -
DARDANELLES 1915-16 - ARCTIC 1941-44
NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - ATLANTIC 1943
- NORMANDY 1944
H e r a l d i c D a t a
On a Field Red, two light cavalry sabres Proper
M a n n i n g P o r t
D e t a i l s o f W a r
S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 3 9
September Deployed with HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER, LEDA,
GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK, SPEEDWELL and SPHINX based
at Dover as 5th Minesweeping
Mine clearance in Nore Command..
October Minesweeping based at Dover in continuation..
November Transferred to Grimsby with ships of Flotilla to ensure
clear passage of East Coast convoy routes.
4th Sustained slight structural damage in collision
with HMS SPEEDWELL
20th During operation near Humber LV detonated mine in
sweep which exploded causing damage
but no casualties.
December Resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea on completion of repair.
1 9 4 0
January Transferred to 4th Minesweeping Flotilla with sister
ship HMS HALCYON and remained at
Grimsby minesweeping and convoy defence in
southern North Sea.
(Note: Other ships of 5th Flotilla moved north
to Rosyth for minesweeping off Scottish east cast.
February Humber based deployment in continuation
15th Detonated mine during sweep ahead of a routine FN
series convoy near Smiths Knoll.
March North Sea minesweeping with 4th Flotilla based at
Grimsby in continuation.
April Transferred with HMS HALCYON to newly formed 6th
Minesweeping Flotilla based at Dover
(Note: HM Fleet Minesweepers HARRIER, SKIPJACK
and SPEEDWELL also joined this
Flotilla on formation.)
May Deployed in Nore Command with Flotilla
15th Under attack by aircraft off coast of Holland and
hit by bomb which exploded and damaged
quarter-deck killing three and wounding ten of
the ship’s company.
Passage to North Shields for repair
Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes
changed to J82 as part of changes of these
in all RN warships.
21st Taken in hand for repair in commercial
21st On completion resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea based at Harwich
10th Under air attack whilst sweeping off Ordfordness
Sustained damage and withdrawn from Flotilla.
Paid off at Chatham
August Deployed at Chatham
to Future under consideration
September Repair arranged at Grimsby
October Passage fro Chatham to Humber
18th Taken in hand for refit.
7th Carried out post refit trials and resumed
operational service at Harwich with 6th Flotilla.
December North Sea deployment in continuation with Flotilla.
1 9 4 1.
January North Sea deployment in continuation.
April Nominated for deployment in Western approaches
6th Under repair at Rosyth.
17th Resumed Flotilla duties in Western Approaches
May Deployed in Western Approaches for convoy defence and
June (Note: Also deployed for convoys escort between
Greenock and Forth.)
2nd Under repair at Aberdeen
15th Resumed Flotilla duties in Western Approaches.
16th Under repair at
August Under repair
September Nominated for detached deployment in North Russia on
Passage to Hvalfjord to joined escort for Convoy
PQ1 during passage from Iceland to Archangel.
29th Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweepers BRITOMART,
GOSSAMER and LEDA for
defence of PQ1,
(For details of all warships and mercantiles
involved in convoys to and from North Russia
see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B Schoefield,
CONVOY! by P Kemp and THE RUSSIA CONVOYS by R
11th Arrived at Archangel after unscathed passage and
commenced minesweeping duties in North
(For details of deployment of minesweepers in
North Russia see FLEET SWEEPERS AT
WAR by J
November Nominated for return to UK to be “Articised”.
27th Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER as escort of Convoy QP2
during passage from
Archangel to UK
(Note: HMS GOSSAMER was also to be “Arcticised”.
The standard of habitability of this Class of
minesweeper had been found too
inadequate for service in northern latitudes.)
10th Detached from QP2 on dispersal with Russian flagged
ships destined to UK when the other
mercantiles took passage to Iceland.
(Note: There was no enemy interference during
Proceeded independently from Kirkwall to Tees on
release from Russian ships.
15th Taken in hand for “Articisation” by Commercial
shipyard in West Hartlepool.
1 9 4 2
January Under refit
February Nominated for further service in North Russia on
completion of refit work
Passage to Kirkwall from Hartlepool.
8th Sailed from Kirkwall as escort for Convoy PQ11 with
HM Escort Destroyers AIREDALE,
MIDDLETON, HM Fleet Minesweeper NIGER, HM
Corvette OXLIP and three RN
trawlers during passage to Murmansk.
22nd HM Cruiser NIGERIA. HM Fleet Minesweepers HARRIER,
and three Russian destroyers
Detached on arrival at Murmansk after uneventful
passage and commenced North
Russian patrol and minesweeping duties.
March Deployed in North Russia
16th During patrol in
Barents Sea with HMS GOSSAMER
sighted U-Boat on surface which
Anti-submarine operations were carried out for
some hours without success.
21st Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER, HMS HARRIER, HMS
NIGER, HMS SPEEDWELL
and a Russian destroyer for Local Escort of
Convoy QP9 during initial stage of passage
from Kola Inlet to Reykjavik.
23rd Detached from QP9 with Local Escort and returned to
(Note: HMS GOSSAMER one of the Ocean Escort
rammed and sank U655 which was
attacking the convoy.)
29th Joined inward Convoy PQ13 with HM Destroyer ORIBI,
HMS GOSSAMER, HMS
SPEEDWELL and two Russian destroyers for Local
Escort during final stage of passage
from Iceland into Murmansk.
April North Russia deployment in continuation.
10th Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER, HMS HARRIER and two
Russian destroyers as
Local Escort for Russian Convoy QP10 during
initial stage of passage from Kola Inlet to
12th Detached from QP10 and returned to Murmansk with
17th Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER, HARRIER, NIGER and two
for Local Escort of inward Convoy PQ14 during
final stage of passage into Kola Inlet
19th Detached from PQ14 on arrival.
28th Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER, HMS HARRIER, HMS NIGER
and two Russian
destroyers for Local Escort of Convoy QP11
during initial stage of passage from
Murmansk to Reykjavik.
(Note: Ocean Escort comprised Home Fleet
destroyers, corvettes and a Trawler.
HM Cruiser EDINBURGH and destroyer screen
arrived on 30th April.)
29th Detached from QP11 for return to Murmansk.
30th Diverted with ships of Local Escort to assist in
defence of HMS EDINBURGH
which had been damaged by torpedo from U456
2nd Took part in defence of HMS EDINBURGH against
arracks by German destroyers
HERMANN SCHOEMANN, Z24 and Z25.
For details see references.
(Note: HMS EDINBURGH sustained further severe
damage including another
torpedo hit HMS HARRIER and GOSSAMER rescued
Returned to Kola Inlet for minesweeping and
June North Russian deployment in continuation.
(Note: Extensive air attacks were made on port of Murmansk during this period.)
24th At anchor off Murmansk with HMS GOSSAMER during air
(Note: HMS GOSSAMER was
sunk with heavy loss of
26th Deployed with HMS NIGER, Home Fleet destroyers,
corvettes and an AA Ship as
Ocean Escort for Convoy QP13 during passage to
July Convoy progress delayed by adverse weather
4th Deployed with HMS NIGER, HM Corvette ROSELYS and
two Trawlers for escort
of 16 mercantiles destined for Iceland when PQ13
divided and other ships took passage
to Loch Ewe.
6th In continued adverse weather conditions acted as
visual link with HMS NIGER which
had gone ahead to make a landfall.
(Note: HMS NIGER sank after detonating a
British laid mine off Iceland.
Survivors were rescued by HMS ROSELYS and the
7th Obtained accurate position fix and escorted
mercantiles into Reykjavik.
Passage to UK for refit.
17th Taken in hand for refit at Milford Haven refit
August Under refit
October Nominated for minesweeping support of planned allied
landings in North Africa
and convoy defence as part of the 12th
Minesweeping Flotilla. (Operation TORCH)
10th On completion of shipyard work carried out post
Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweeper SPEEDWELL as
part of escort for military
convoy during passage from UK to Gibraltar
(Note: This convoy was taking troops and
personnel to Gibraltar prior to TORCH
Deployed at Gibraltar and prepared for TORCH support.
6th Sailed from Gibraltar to join escort for military
convoy KMF1 during passage to
CHARLIE Beach Head off Algiers.
8th Deployed for minesweeping support off Algiers
10th Passage to Bougie for minesweeping support during
landings (Operation PERPETUAL)
December Deployed for convoy defence in western Mediterranean with
1 9 4 3
January Mediterranean deployment in continuation for
minesweeping and convoy defence.
30th Taken in hand for repair at Gibraltar by HM Dockyard.
April Nominated for mine clearance in Central
Mediterranean with Flotilla on completion
7th Took passage to join Flotilla for clearance of
western Mediterranean and Tripoli to enable
passage of mercantiles through
May ANTIDOTE deployment in continuation.
June Nominated for return to UK for repair and withdrawn
.Passage to Humber for refit in commercial
26th Taken in hand for refit in Hull
July Under refit
Nominated for further detached service in North
Russia on completion.
August Carried out post repair trials
On completion commenced work-up for operational
September Worked-up for service
October Deployed in Home waters
November Deployment for work-up prior to operational service to be
15th Joined Convoy JW54A as part of Ocean Escort for
passage to Kola Inlet.
(Note: Other ships in Ocean Escort were HM
ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL. HAIDA (RCN), HURON
24th Detached from convoy cruiser Cover and Distant Cover
were provided by
ships of Home Fleet, including HM Battleship
ANSON and USS TUSCALOOSA.
25th Deployed for duties in North Russia.
26th Provided Local Escort for outward Convoy RA54B with
HM Fleet Minesweeper
SEAGULL during initial stage of passage from
Archangel to Loch Ewe.
28th Detached from RA54B and took return passage to
December Deployed for local duties at Archangel.
20th Provided Local Escort for inward Convoy JW55A with
three Soviet destroyers
during final stage of passage to Kola Inlet from
22nd Detached on arrival of JW55A at Kola Inlet
28th Provided Local Escort for inward Convoy JW55B with
HMS HALCYON and
three Soviet destroyers during final stage of
passage to Kola Inlet from Loch Ewe.
This convoy was under threat of attack by German
engaged and sunk by HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK,
HM Cruisers BELFAST,
BELFAST and Home Fleet
See above references and Naval Staff History for
30th Detached from JW55B on arrival in Kola Inlet.
31st Provided Local Escort for outward Convoy RA55B with
HM Fleet Minesweepers
HALCYON and SPEEDWELL during initial stage of
passage from Kola Inlet
to Loch Ewe.
1 9 4 4
1st Detached from RA54B and took return passage to
Deployed for local duties in North Russia
February Nominated for return to UK
3rd Joined Ocean Escort for return
Convoy RA56 during passage to Loch Ewe
with HM Fleet Minesweepers HALCYON and
(Note: Home Fleet destroyers were also deployed
in Ocean Escort,
10th Detached from RA56 before arrival at Loch Ewe
Transferred to newly re-formed 1st Minesweeping
Flotilla based at Scapa Flow
(Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Fleet
Minesweepers HARRIER (SO).
BRITOMART, GLEANER, HALCYON, JASON, SALAMANDER
SEAGULL and SPEEDWELL.)
28th Deployed with HMS HARRIER, HMS JASON and HMS
SPEEDWELL for anti-submarine
Nominated with ships of Flotilla for
minesweeping support during planned
allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
9th On completion of anti-submarine exercises carried
out minesweeping exercises with other ships
of 1st Flotilla.
April Passage to Portsmouth with calls at Rosyth, North
Shields and Harwich.
Joined Force S with ships of Flotilla.
May Nominated with Flotilla for mine clearance of
approach Channels to the beach head
(Note: Two minesweeping Motor Launches, one
Isles-Class Trawler and three trawlers
Danlayers were attached to Flotilla for this
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of
Force S (Exercise FABIUS)
Carried out night sweeping exercises with
For details of naval activities before and
during landings see LANDINGS IN
NORMANDY JUNE 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards
. and D-DAY SHIPS by J de Winser.
June Deployed at Portsmouth for briefing and preparations
of Channel 9 in advance of Assault convoys.
4th Operation delayed by 24 hours.
5th Sailed from Solent to commence Channel clearance.
No mines cleared or exploded.
6th On completion deployed for mine sweeping of
8th Deployed for widening approach Channels and defence
patrols off Eastern Task
Force landing areas.
Carried out Channel convoy escort as required.
Released from Force S and nominated for refit at
Passage to Humber.
18th Taken in hand for refit at commercial shipyard.
July Under refit
27th Carried out post refit trials after completion of
On completion took passage to resume Flotilla
duties in English Channel.
August Channel deployment in continuation off Arromanches with
Minesweepers HARRIER, JASON, BRITOMART, GLEANER
22nd Transferred to Le Havre area for mine sweeping
operation in anchorage
elected for bombardment of enemy positions by HM
HM Monitors EREBUS and ROBERTS.
23rd Under shore fire during minesweeping operations.
26th Permission to remain in area instead of taking
passage back to Arromanches
approved in order to complete clearance.
27th During final clearance came under rocket attacks by
aircraft in which ship was hit and sank after
note on casualties)
(Note: HMS BRITOMART
was also hit and sunk, with
major damage to HMS
SALAMANDER in stern structure and later declared a Total Loss. HMS JASON
and two trawlers were also hit.
details see OUT SWEEPS by Lund and Ludlam,
FOE by P Kemp and Naval Staff History.
This disaster was directly due to failure of
Flag Officer British Assault Area
to ensure that approval of extended minesweeping
operation had been advised to
all concerned with air operations.)
by Bill Burn