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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS SELKIRK (N 18) - Old Hunt-class Minesweeper

HMS Selkirk (Photo Ships, click to enlarge return to Contents List 

Later HUNT-Class coal burning minesweeper ordered from Murdoch and Murray in 1916 and laid down on 5th March 1918. Machinery was supplied by Rowan at Glasgow. The ship was launched on 2nd December 1918 as the first RN ship to carry this name. Her build was completed on 17th March 1919.and then  deployed for mine clearance work. Unlike her sister ships, on release from this work she was laid-up in UK when placed in Reserve. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign March 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Thorne, near Doncaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


NORTH SEA 1939-45 - ATLANTIC 1939-45 - NORMANDY 1944


   H e r a l d i c   D a t a

 On a field per fess black and white a Buckle, Silver

piercing a scallop shell Gold.


M o t t o

Hold fast



 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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September              Brought forward from Reserve at Chatham and commissioned for service in

to October             4th Minesweeping Flotilla.

                                Carried out minesweeping trials and shakedown for operational use.

                                Passage to Yarmouth to join Flotilla.


November              Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping off East Coast.

                                (Note: Flotilla also included HM Minesweepers KELLETT, FITZROY,

                                            DUNDALK*, ELGIN*, DUNOON* and SUTTON*.

                                            Ships marked * had been held in Reserve in Malta and Alexandria and

                                             were to take passage to UK for service in North Sea. due to increase

                                             in minelaying with magnetic mines which had had made necessary

                                             their redeployment in this vulnerable area.)


December               East Coast deployment to ensure clear passage of shipping in continuation.


1 9 4 0


January                   Transferred to Harwich in continuation of requirement.

       to                      (Note: Sister HUNT Class from Alexandria arrived in UK to complete the

February                             formation of  4th Minesweeping Flotillas.)


March                    East Coast deployment in continuation including special clearance of passages

                               for use by RN minelayers during the lay of the East Coast Mine Barrier  for the

                               protection of convoy routes against attacks by enemy craft.)

                               See THE BATTLE OF THE EAST COAST by JP Foynes and Naval Staff

                               History (Mining).


April                       East Coast deployment in continuation based at Harwich.

                                (Note: Sister ship HMS DUNOON was sunk after detonating a mine off Great

                                            Yarmouth on 30th  and was replaced by HMS SALTASH of this Class.)



                                East coast duties in continuation with Flotilla.

            28th             Joined HM Minesweepers GOSSAMER, LEDA, PANGBOURNE, ROSS, LYDD,

                                KELLETT and ALBURY of 5th Minesweeping Flotilla with HMS FITZROY, HMS

                                SUTTON and HMS DUNDALK of 4th Flotilla and took passage to assist in the

                                evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk (Operation DYNAMO).

            29th             Deployed off beaches to ferry troops to ships unable to go into shallow water.

                                Ships boats used to carry troops from beaches to HM Cruiser CALCUTTA.

                                Under air attacks and continued rescue operations.

                                (Note: Unlike the other ships of the Flotilla, this ship was not awarded the Battle

                                             Honour DUNKIRK that suggests she may have been withdrawn from

                                             DYNAMO due to damage. To be further investigated.)


June                        Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to J18.

                                Resumed deployment at Harwich with HM Minesweepers ALBURY, FITZROY,

                                ELGIN, SUTTON and DUNDALK as 4th Minesweeping Flotilla for minesweeping.


July                         Flotilla deployment in continuation.

        to                     (Note: Extensive anti-invasion measures were introduced during this period including

August                                 patrols off East Coast ports to intercept invasion craft.)


September              Detached for special duty.

                                Took passage to Sheerness with HMS SUTTON to join HM Minesweeper

                                SALAMANDER for Escort of RFA WAR NIZAM during passage to Calais.

                                (Operation LUCID Later LUCIFER. The RFA was to be used as Fireship and

                                placed inside the harbour. RFA WAR NABOB was similarly deployed and escorted

                                to Boulogne by HMS ELGIN.)

         25th                Passage to Calais with additional escort of  Light Coastal Forces craft.

         26th                Operation cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and returned to Sheerness.



            4th               Took passage to Calais with RFA WAR NIZAM and additional mercantile MYTILUS  

                                also  to be used as a Fireship. (Operation LUCIFER)

            5th               Operation again cancelled due to weather and returned to Sheerness.

                                (Note: Plan to repeat this operation during November was never implemented.)

           10th              Resumed Flotilla duties at Harwich.

           16th              During Flotilla operation off Bawdsey, HMS DUNDALK was damaged by a mine off

                                and taken in tow by HMS SUTTON but sank later on passage.


November               East coast minesweeping duties based at Harwich with Flotilla in continuation..

           to                  HMS PANGBOURNE and HMS LYDD transferred from 5th Flotilla to 4th Flotilla.

December                (Note: These ships replaced HMS DUNDALK and HMS ELGIN which was

                                                seriously damaged on 8th November and withdrawn for repair.)


1 9 4 1


January                    East coast minesweeping with Flotilla based at Harwich in continuation.

to March


April                        Transferred to Granton, near Edinburgh for minesweeping off Scottish East Coast.

 to                             (Note: 5th Flotilla which had been deployed for this duty had been disbanded.

June                                      The 4th Flotilla was the only one of this Class deployed in Home waters.)


July                          Transferred with Flotilla to Aberdeen and continued duties off Scottish coast.

to October               Flotilla nominated for clearance of British mines in Northern Barrage between

                                  Faroes and Iceland.

                                  (Note: This was to create a Gap for passage of allied ships.. See above reference.)


November                Deployed in NW Approaches.

          to                     Under air attacks during passages to and from operational area.



1 9 4 2


January                     On completion of clearance in Atlantic resumed duties in southern North Sea.

                                  Took passage to Yarmouth.

                                  Deployed with HM Coastal Minelayer PLOVER off the Dutch coast as escort

                                  during minelay (Operation HS See Naval Staff History  (Mining).)


February                   East coast deployment with Flotilla at Yarmouth in continuation.





           27th                During minesweeping operation by Flotilla off coast of Norfolk, ENE of Great

                                  Yarmouth, sister ship HMS FITZROY was sunk after detonating a mine.

                                  (Note: Flotilla was using experimental explosive cutters.)


June                           Transferred with Flotilla to Dartmouth for minesweeping in SW Approaches to

to August                 ensure clear passage for coastal convoys and to provide gaps in existing minefields

                                   to allow transit of allied warships during interception on enemy traffic off French coast.



            18th               Sustained serious damage during air raid at Dartmouth when a collier ss

                                   FARNWOOD was hit by a bomb


October                     On completion of repair resumed minesweeping duties in SW Approaches with

to December              Flotilla,.


1 9 4 3


January                      Channel deployment in continuation.

to May


June                           Transferred with Flotilla to Milford Haven for clearance of existing minefield off Irish

to December             coast.  This proved a long task due to weather conditions in the area which restricted

                                   sweeping. Carried out final check of area prior to new minelay by HM Cruiser



1 9 4 4


January                      SW Approaches minesweeping duties with Flotilla based at Milford Haven in

 to February               continuation


March                        Transferred to Portsmouth Command and took passage to Portsmouth.

                                   Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping operations prior to allied landings in

                                   Normandy  (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                   (Note: Ships transferred in Flotilla were ALBURY, ELGIN, KELLETT, LYDD,

                                               PANGBOURNE, ROSS, SALTASH and SUTTON.)

April                          Deployed with Flotilla for mine clearance in area to be used by cross-channel

                                   invasion convoys.

                                   Detached to take part in preparatory exercises with Assault Forces.

                                   (Note: These included minesweeping during darkness.)

May                            Mine clearance in Channel and exercises deployment in continuation.

             4th                 HMS ELGIN seriously damaged by acoustic mine off Portland and later declared

                                   beyond economic repair after survey at Chatham.

             8th                 Detached from Exercise FABIUS to recover bodies of personnel drowned after

                                   sinking of US Landing Ships during Exercise TIGER IN Lyme Bay.

                                   (See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)

                                   On release resumed minesweeping duties in English Channel

                                   (Note: Allocated for mine sweep in Channel 4 ahead of ships of Assault Force O to


June                            Deployed for support of Operation NEPTUNE.

              5th                Carried out sweep in Channel 4 ahead of invasion craft.

              6th                Completed sweep of Channel 4 without any incident.

                                    Commenced sweep of area between Channels 4 and 5 to create new Channel 34.

                                    (Note: Canadian 31st Minesweeping Flotilla, Danlayers and Motor Launches were

                                               also deployed. For details see above Reference.)

              7th                Returned to Portsmouth with Flotilla when Channel 34 work completed

              8th                Deployed for minesweeping away from beachhead.

                                   (Note:  Ships of this Class were not suitable for patrol deployment off the beachhead.)

              30th              After completion of NEPTUNE support Flotilla and resumed minesweeping in SW

                                   Approaches  with Flotilla.


                 5th             Deployed in Lands End area after report of  mine explosion by convoy escort.

                                    (Note: U-Boats concentrating attacks in coastal areas frequently laid mines.

                                                See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

August                       Transferred with Flotilla to Swansea for minesweeping operations in Bristol Channel

                                    and St Georges Channel.

                                    (Note: Atlantic traffic was still being routed through Irish Sea as mercantiles using

                                               English Channel were still vulnerable to air attacks.)

                                               HMS LYDD and HMS ALBURY were under repair at Devonport.)

September                  SW Approaches deployment based at Swansea in continuation.

to December              Nominated for withdrawal from operational use with other ships of 4th Minesweeping



1 9 4 5


January                       Passage to Milford Haven to Pay-off.

             to                    Reduced to Reserve status at Milford Haven. Paid-off and destored.

February                     Laid-up at Milford Haven.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS SELKIRK remained in Reserve until 1946 when she was placed on the Disposal List. The ship was sold to DOHMEN and HABETS of Ghent on 17th May 1947 and towed to Belgium for Demolition.


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