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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 1999

HMS SQUIRREL (J 301) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Squirrel (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

ALGERINE-Class Minesweeper with Turbine machinery ordered on 30th April 1942 from Harland and Wolff at Belfast. The ship was laid down on 20th August 1943 as Job Number 3333 (Yard No 1142) and launched on 20th April 1944 as the 12th RN ship to carry the name. It had been used by a Discovery Vessel lost near the Azores in 1583 whilst returning from an expedition led by Sir Humphrey Gilbert to set up the first English colony in North America at St John's Newfoundland. There were no survivors including Sir Humphrey when the ship foundered in a storm. The name was last used by a Coastguard Vessel sold in 1921. Build of this ship was completed on 16th August 1944. She was not adopted by a UK civil community following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in 1941 - 2.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue a Plate charged with a Squirrel sejant holding a nut proper.


M o t t o

Assiduitate:   ' By diligence '.



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 4 4


August                  Commissioned for service in 6th Minesweeping Flotilla and Contractor's trials.

              16th          Build completion.

                                Passage to Tobermory for work-up on completion of acceptance trials.


September              On completion of work-up at Tobermory took passage to join Flotilla.

                                Joined HM Minesweepers LIGHTFOOT, MELITA, POSTILLION and LARNE for minesweeping

                                operations off Belgian coast.

                                Deployed as HQ ship for BYMS type minesweepers carrying out clearance of mines preventing use of

                                ports in Belgium and Holland.


October                   Mine clearance duties in continuation with BYMS


November               Nominated for transfer to 7th Minesweeping Flotilla for service in East Indies.

                                (Note: This transfer was made to ensure ships of 7th Flotilla were all fitted with turbine machinery

                                             in order to simplify maintenance requirements.)

                                Relieved in 6th Flotilla by HM Minesweeper PELORUS.


December                Under refit at Barry , Glamorgan at commercial shipyard prior to foreign service.


1 9 4 5


January                    On completion rejoined Flotilla for minesweeping operations in Channel area.


February                  Flotilla deployment in continuation

                                 (Note: Some ships in Flotilla were withdrawn to take passage to Ceylon.)


March                      Deployed with HM Minesweeper FANCY to tow Floating Dock during passage to India.

                                 Sustained serious weather damage in Bay of Biscay.

                                 Returned to Plymouth after Floating Dock was sunk in storm.

                                 Repair arranged in London at Canning Town commercial shipyard.


April                        Under repair.


May                          Sailed from London to Falmouth.

                9th             At Falmouth.

               13th            Took passage from Falmouth to join Flotilla in Ceylon.


June                           Passage in Mediterranean and Red Sea.


July                           Arrived at Trincomalee and joined Flotilla.

                                  (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were refitted at Durban and Port Elizabeth prior to minesweeping

                                              operations in support of the planned allied landings in Malaya

                                              (Operation LIVERY. For details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) and THE FORGOTTEN

                                              FLEET by J Winton.)

                                   Deployed with HM Minesweepers PLUCKY, PINCHER, VESTAL and RIFLEMAN.

                                  (Note: HM Indian Minesweepers PUNJAB and DECCAN were also deployed for use as

                                               Dan Layers during mine clearance operations off Phuket Island, Burma.

             19th              Sailed from Trincomalee with Flotilla as part of Force 63 for LIVERY.

                                  (Note: Cover was provided by HM Battleship NELSON, HM Cruiser SUSSEX, HM Escort

                                              Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS and AMEER screened by HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM

                                              RACEHORSE, RAIDER and PALADIN.)

              24th             Commenced sweeping operations on arrival off Phuket Island.

                                  During fourth lap of the operation ship was unable to turn into swept water when HM Minesweeper

                                  PLUCKY detonated a mine in her sweep.

                                  Ship then struck another mine and sustained major damage to forward structure killing seven of

                                  ships company.

                                  Took on heavy list due to flooding after two and a half hours

.                                 Abandoned and ships’company taken off.

                                  Sunk by gunfire of Force 63 ships.

                                 (Casualty List - note on casualties)


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


This name was carried forward after WW2 and used by ships of the Fishery Protection Squadron. It was borne by the ship allocated to the English Channel area and carried in turn by HM Motor Fishing Vessel 1151 in 1946, HM Motor Launch 1151 in 1956 and HM Inshore Minesweeper BURLEY in 1959. This identification ensured that the Fishery Protection Vessel in the Channel retained the same identity to ensure no confusion by the fishing vessels using this area. After 1968 this name was no longer used by ships of the Squadron and has not since been used.



For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see



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revised 23/4/11
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