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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS PETERHEAD (J 59) - Bangor-class Minesweeper

HMS Blackpool, sister-ship (Pauline Biddlecombe, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

BANGOR-Class Minesweeper fitted with Reciprocating propulsion machinery ordered on 6th July 1939 from Blyth Shipbuilders. Laid down on 15th March 1940 this minesweeper was launched on 31st October 1940 and after delay build was completed on 11th September 1941. She was the 1st RN ship to carry this name, which like others of the Class built in UK was that of a coastal town. She was adopted by the civil community of  Dover, Kent after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.


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 Hartís head caboosed Argent. armed Gold.

S u m m a r y   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

(Note: Further research is required to improve this record.)


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 1


September            Contractors Trials

              9th             Commissioned for service.


October                  Worked-up for operational service.


November              Deployed for minesweeping trial in Forth area.


December               Joined 9th Minesweeping  Flotilla for mine sweeping and convoy escort duties in

                                the English Channel based at Portsmouth, Poole and Portland..

                                (Note: Pending further investigation it is assumed that the Battle Honour ATLANTIC

                                            may have been for mine clearance under attacks  during this month)


1 9 4 2


                                Deployed in Home Waters

                                (Note: The Flotilla comprised HM Minesweepers BANGOR, BLACKPOOL

                                             BRIDLINGTON, BRIDPORT, RHYL joined during the year by

                                             SIDMOUTH and TENBY.

                                             In 1942 all of these ships took part in Operation JUBILEE, the attack on

                                             Dieppe in August.

                                             However although all were awarded the Battle Honour DIEPPE, this was

                                             not awarded to PETERHEAD and it is there presumed she was not deployed

                                             for mine clearance ahead of the assault force.

                                             The Flotilla also was deployed in the North Sea in October for the clearance of

                                             British mines from the East Coast Barrier to enable safe passage for destroyers

                                              to and from Harwich (Operation QO).

                                              The award of the Battle Honour NORTH SEA may be for this operation.


1 9 4 3



January                  Nominated for conversion for Air Sea Rescue duties.

to                            South Coast minesweeping and convoy defence on continuation

April                       Left Flotilla and taken hand for conversion


May                        Under conversion and minesweeping gear removed together with depth charge

to August              throwers.


August                  Deployed for Air Sea Rescue duties

to December          (Note: Port of deployment to be investigated.

                                             As this service was provided by the Royal Air Force and since the ship was

                                             designed for use in deep waters, the ship may have been deployed in the

                                             Atlantic Ocean or Bay of Biscay during the extensive anti-submarine

                                             operations in that area.)


1 9 4 4


January                  Air Sea Rescue deployment in continuation.

to April


May                       Nominated for service as a Senior Officer, Danlayer and transferred to Force U of

                               Western Task Force. Took part with Flotilla in preparatory exercises with 14th

                               Minesweeping Flotilla.

                                (Note: This Flotilla comprised HM Fleet Minesweepers ROMNEY (SO), POOLE,

                                               RYE, WHITEHAVEN, all British-Built BANGOR Class and KENORA,

                                               GUYSBOROUGH and VEGREVILLE with HM Minesweeper GEORGIA

                                               HM Trawlers SIR GALAHAD and SIR LANCELOT for use as Danlayers.

                                               (Operation NEPTUNE).

                               Nominated for this duty during clearance of Channel 2 to UTAH Beachhead in

                               advance of US Assault ships in Force U.

                                (For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see OPERATION

                                  NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO).



June                       Passage with Flotilla and commence Danlay for Channel 2.

                                (Note: Operation was delayed by 24 hours. See references.)

                   5th       Deployed for Dan lay in Channel 2.

                    6th      After undetected arrival off UTAH beach with ships of Flotilla commenced further

                               clearance operations in area between Channels 3 and 4.

                    7th      Deployed for minesweeping off assault area.

                    8th      During minesweeping operations off Brest ship was wrecked and ship's company were

                                rescued from sinking ship.

                                (Note: The precise circumstances of this loss are not recorded in the references but

                                               the ship is recorded as being wrecked and later salved. See WARSHIPS OF

                                               WORLD WAR II by HT Lenton and JJ College. It is not recorded in many

                                               other standard references relating to losses, possibly because the

                                                hulk was salvaged. See Post War Notes


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS PETERHEAD was salvaged, presumably after the end of war in Europe. After survey she was declared a Constructive Total Loss and placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO in 1947 and taken in tow to Pembroke Dock for demolition by G  Hayes where the ship arrived in May 1948. This summary is to be revised when more information becomes available.


thanks to John Nicholson (25 Jul 2010)

John emailed "Your record refers to the "sinking" HMS PETERHEAD on the 8th June 1944. Speaking to someone who served on her, he told me she survived the war, but was damaged at Cherbourg and that this was mentioned in in the book "They Led the Way" by Jack Williams. He then goes on to say she was sold to the Netherlands Navy at the end of the war, but ran aground and was returned to the Royal Navy for scrapping. There is also a report by her Commander David Croom-Johnson about her being damaged at Cherbourg."

There a number of other internet accounts including "mined off Normandy on 8 June 1944 and declared a CTL" ( and "mined off Utah Beach on 8 June 1944 ... and declared a total loss" (Wikipedia). Lt Cdr Mason in his history of HMS ROMNEY states "Carried out minesweeping operation off Brest with Flotilla on 8 June 1944". During this operation HMS PETERHEAD, a sister ship converted for use as a Danlayer, was lost after hitting a mine.)

From Don Kindell (19 Dec 2010) - "In FLEET SWEEPERS AT WAR by Jack Williams - the 14th Minesweeping Flotilla S.O. (LCDR David Croome-Johnson, RNVR) reported on the activity of the danlayers in Swept Channel Number 2 to  Utah Beach on 8 June, but made no mention of damage. Neither is there any mention of damage in John de S. Winser's D-DAY SHIPS. The official history said she was lost off Utah Beach on 6 June. In April 1946, PETERHEAD was in Reserve: Category C; not in Dutch list for this issue.  Still in NAVY LIST July 1946 with Reserve Complement. In short, no definitive answers."

Update (17 Mar 2013)

PETERHEAD did survive the war. She was with the 7th & 5th Submarine Flotillas until August 1945 when she went in to the Reserve Fleet. This is recorded at the National Archives Ref. ADM 187 ( Pink Sheets ), which show the stations and movements of allied and naval ships. Unfortunately the records for 1946 to 1949 are missing so that is where the trail ended !


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