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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2000

HMS DERBY (N 90) - Old Hunt-class Minesweeper

HMS Saltburn, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Later HUNT-Class coal burning minesweeper ordered from Clyde Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow in 1917 and  laid down  on  22nd December that year. Although originally intended to be named HMS DAWLISH this was changed in 1928 she was launched on 9th August 1918 and was the first Royal Navy ship to carry this name. Her build was completed in December 1918. Deployed for post-war war minesweeping she was then reduced to Reserve status and laid-up in Singapore. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign March 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil community of  Bakewell, Derbyshire.

B a t t l e   H o n o u r

LIBYA 1941


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

No details of a Badge are recorded in the Official Record but an “unofficial” Badge may have been used..



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 3 9


August                   Laid-up in Reserve at Singapore.

to November


December               Nominated for service and brought forward from Reserve.

                                (Note: Sister ships HMS HUNTLEY and HMS WIDNES had also been nominated.


1 9 4 0


January                   Commissioned for service at Singapore. Manned from Devonport Depot.

      to                       On completion of trials took passage to join East Indies Station.

April                       (Note: HMS HUNTLEY and HMS WIDNES had already sailed for Aden. As this ship

                                           was a Coal Burner this passage involved  coaling at sea in the Indian Ocean and

                                           in company with a Collier.)


May                        Deployed for convoy escort and patrol based at Aden.

      to                       (Note: The area in which the ship was deployed extended from the southern part of the

September                          Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.

                                           Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to J90)


October                 Joined HM Cruiser LEANDER, HM Destroyer KIMBERLEY, HM Sloops

                               AUCKLAND (RNZN), INDUS (RIN) and YARRA (RAN) with HMS HUNTLEY as

                               escort for Convoy BN7 (32 ships) during passage in Red Sea.

      21st                  Convoy under attack by four Italian destroyers  during which HMS KIMBERLEY

                               engaged the destroyer FRANCISCO NULLO and drove the enemy ship ashore.

                               (Note: HMS KIMBERLEY was subsequently damaged by shore batteries and disabled

                                            but towed to Port Sudan by HMS LEANDER. See Naval Staff History)


November            Transferred to 2nd Minesweeping Flotilla and took passage to Alexandria.


December             Joined sister ships HMS BAGSHOT,  HMS FAREHAM and HMS STOKE with HMS

                              HUNTLEY and HMS WIDNES in Flotilla and deployed for support

                             of military operations in Eastern Mediterranean.


1 9 4 1


January                 Convoy escort and support duties in continuation.

      to                     (Note: Ships of the Flotilla also carried stores and personnel between Egypt

April                                 and Tobruk, Mersa Matruh and Bardia to support local garrisons.)


May                      Detached for duty with Crete Patrol Force and took passage to Suda Bay.

                              (Note: This deployment was part of the Mediterranean Fleet support of  the

                                         defence of Crete after the evacuation of allied troops from Greece.)

                                         HMS WIDNES also transferred to Crete Patrol was damaged in air

                                         attacks and had to be abandoned. She was later salvaged used by

                                         Germany as Patrol Vessel UJ2109. This British minesweeper was

                                         sunk by British destroyers in October 1943. See Naval Staff History)


June                      Resumed duties with 2nd Minesweeping Flotilla at Alexandria after the

                              fall of Crete.

                              (Note: Flotilla then comprised HM Minesweepers ABERDARE, BAGSHOT,

                                         FAREHAM, HARROW and DERBY and carried out minesweeping

                                         as well as support of military garrisons.)


July                       Flotilla duties in continuation in Eastern Mediterranean.

                              (Note: Ships of the Flotilla also carried out patrol duties off Syria during

                                          military operations against Vichy French in Syria

                                          (Operation EXPORTER – See RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute.)

 August                 Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping off North African coast, convoy

      to                      escort and support of the isolated garrison at Tobruk.



1 9 4 2


 January               North Africa coast minesweeping, convoy defence and support in continuation

      to                    with Flotilla.



June                      Deployed with Flotilla at Alexandria for mine clearance of channels into

      to                     Port Said which was subject to concentrated air attacks including minelaying.



October                Deployed with Flotilla for convoy escort, minesweeping and support of

       to                   allied military advance in Western Desert.



1 9 4 3


January                Taken in hand for refit at Alexandria.

      to                     (Note: Flotilla was transferred to Malta for mine clearance.)



May                      On completion carried out post refit trials

     to                      Resumed Flotilla duties for Minesweeping in Eastern Mediterranean.



September            Deployed for detached duties at Alexandria

        16th               Embarked Commander-in-Chief (Levant), Admiral Sir John Cunningham at Alexandria

                               to meet surrendered Italian warships being escorted from Malta for demilitarisation.

                              (Note: This singular honour to wear the Admiral’s was a tribute the ships of the 2nd

                                          Minesweeping Flotilla whose contribution, despite their age and their

                                          disadvantages as coal burners, to the  part they had played in the victory in the

                                          Eastern Mediterranean.

         20th             On release from detached duties at Alexandria took passage to rejoin the

                              Flotilla in Malta.


October                Passage with Flotilla for minesweeping duties in based at Taranto.

                              Deployed for mine clearance in Adriatic to ensure safe passage of ships

                              supporting military operations in Italy.


November            Adriatic deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

to December


1 9 4 4


January                 Deployed with Flotilla in Adriatic for minesweeping

        to                   (Note:  Swept channels were cleared from Bari to Ortona to ensure

May                                   safe passage of mercantiles and warships.)



        16th               Released from Adriatic service with Flotilla


July                       Passage from Taranto to Malta


August                 Nominated for withdrawal from operational service and took passage from

                              Malta to Gibraltar for reduction to Reserve status.


September            Paid-off and Reduced to Reserve Status


October                Laid-up at Gibraltar

to December


1 9 4 5


January             Laid-up in Reserve at Gibraltar




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS DERBY remained at Gibraltar in Reserve after VJ Day. The ship placed on the Disposal List in 1946 and sold to G. MacGrail on 31st July that year. She was towed from Gibraltar for demolition in Spain later that year.


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revised 26/9/10
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