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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS HUSSAR (N 82) - Halcyon-class Minesweeper

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from John I Thornycroft at Woolston on 23rd February 1933 with sister ship  to 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 November 1941.


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, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 3 9


September             Deployed with HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER, LEDA, NIGER, SALAMANDER,

                                GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK, SPEEDWELL and SPHINX based at Dover as 5th Minesweeping

                                Flotilla. 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 shipyard.                          



                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 minesweeping.


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 Southampton.


August                  Under repair


September             Nominated for detached deployment in North Russia on completion

                                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 Woodman.)



                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 Williams.)


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 passage.)

                                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, HAZARD, SALAMANDER

                                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 Murmansk.

                                (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 Local Escort.

                17th        Deployed with HMS GOSSAMER, HARRIER, NIGER and two Russian destroyers

                                for Local Escort of inward Convoy PQ14 during final stage of passage into Kola Inlet

                                from Iceland.

                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 survivors.).

                                Returned to Kola Inlet for minesweeping and patrol duties


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 raid.

                                (Note: HMS GOSSAMER was sunk with heavy loss of life.)

                26th        Deployed with HMS NIGER, Home Fleet destroyers, corvettes and an AA Ship as

                                Ocean Escort for Convoy QP13 during passage to Iceland


July                         Convoy progress delayed by adverse weather conditions

                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 two trawlers.

                                See references.)

                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 refit trials

                                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 planned

                                landings (Operation PERPETUAL)


December              Deployed for convoy defence in western Mediterranean with Flotilla/


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

                                (Operation ANTIDOTE).

                7th          Took passage to join Flotilla for clearance of passage between

                                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 from ANTIDOTE.

                                .Passage to Humber for refit in commercial shipyard

                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 service


September             Worked-up for service


October                  Deployed in Home waters


November              Deployment for work-up prior to operational service to be confirmed.

                15th        Joined Convoy JW54A as part of Ocean Escort for passage to Kola Inlet.

                                (Note: Other ships in Ocean Escort were HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE,

                                ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL. HAIDA (RCN), HURON (RCN) and

                                IROQUOIS (RCN).

                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 Archangel.


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 Loch Ewe.

                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 battleship SCHARNHORST

                                engaged and sunk by HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruisers BELFAST,

                                NORFOLK, BELFAST and Home Fleet destroyers

                                See above references and Naval Staff History for details.

                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 Archangel.

                                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 SPEEDWELL.

                                (Note: Home Fleet destroyers were also deployed in Ocean Escort,

                                See references.

                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

                                anchorage areas.

                                (Note: Two minesweeping Motor Launches, one Isles-Class Trawler and three trawlers

                                Danlayers were attached to Flotilla for this specialised operation

                                Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of Force S (Exercise FABIUS)

                                Carried out night sweeping exercises with Flotilla.

                                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 for minesweeping

                                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 anchorages.

                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 Immingham

                                Passage to Humber.

                18th        Taken in hand for refit at commercial shipyard.


July                         Under refit

                27th        Carried out post refit trials after completion of shipyard work.

                                On completion took passage to resume Flotilla duties in English Channel.


August                  Channel deployment in continuation off Arromanches with HM

                                Minesweepers HARRIER, JASON, BRITOMART,  GLEANER and


                22nd       Transferred to Le Havre area for mine sweeping operation in anchorage

                                elected for bombardment of enemy positions by HM Battleship WARSPITE,

                                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 RAF TYPHOON

                                aircraft in which ship was hit and sank after direct hits.

                                (Casualty List - 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.

                                For details see OUT SWEEPS by Lund and Ludlam, FRIEND OR

                                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.)





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