HDML Boats 1201 to 1250

HDML 1201

Nichol, Durban, South Africa 6/8/43

Known Crew

  • SLt G C Bluett SANF(V) SLt 5/1/42 HMSAS Immortelle (Escort) HDML 1201 Lt 1/7/44
  • SLt J H L Dickinson SANF(V) SLt 17/12/43 HDML 1201 Blanuwberg
  • TSLt T F Bywater SANF (V) TSLt 9/11/42 HMSAS Good Hope (Frigate) HDML 1201
  • Mid D H S Trevhaethen SANF(V) Mid 5/8/44 HDML 1201
  • Mid K M Quarmby SANF(V) Mid 1/12/42 HDML 1201 HDML 1331

Wartime Activities

  • South African Navy

Post War History

  • South African Navy = ML 1201
  • Listed to 1961

HDML 1202

Nichol, Durban, South Africa 3/8/43

Known Crew

  • TLt G D Bowen SANF(V) TLt 2/4/41 HMS Afrikander (Simonstown, South Africa) Commanding Officer HDML 1202 24/6/43 Commanding Officer
  • HDML 1122 27/12/43 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria, Egypt)
  • SLt K N Woolley HDML 1202
  • SLt M J Duncan SANF(V) SLt 1/4/43 HDML 1202
  • Mid J S Bennett HDML 1202
  • Mid A McN Barrett SANF(V) Mid 5/8/44 HDML 1202 5/8/44

Wartime Activities

  • South African Navy

Post War History

  • South African Navy = ML 1202
  • Listed to 1961

HDML 1203

Spadbrow, Durban, South Africa 22/7/43

Known Crew

  • TLt B P Whyte SANF(V) TSLt 1/2/41 HDML 1204 Oldberg TLt 1/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1203 17/5/43 HMS Kongoni (Durban)
  • TLt D A F Smuts SANF(V) TSLt 1/2/41 HDML 1204 Oldberg TLt 1/10/44 HDML 1203
  • SLt N Easton-Sordy HDML 1203
  • Mid R D Kingon SANF(V) Mid 24/8/43 HDML 1198 HDML 1203
  • Mid D H Brown SANF(V) Mid 12/8/43 HDML 1204 HDML 1203

Wartime Activities

  • South African Navy

Post War History

  • South African Navy = ML 1203
  • Listed to 1961

HDML 1204

Spadbrow, Durban, South Africa 10/12/43

Known Crew

  • TLt B P Whyte SANF(V) TSLt 1/2/41 HDML 1204 Oldberg TLt 1/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1203 17/5/43 HMS Kongoni (Durban)
  • SLt R Mackie SANF(V) SLt 19/9/43 HDML 1204
  • SLt D A F Smuts SANF(V) TSLt 1/2/41 HDML 1204 Oldberg TLt 1/10/44 HDML 1203
  • Mid D H Brown SANF(V) Mid 12/8/43 HDML 1204 HDML 1203
  • Mid P M Butcher SANF(V) Mid 20/4/44 HDML 1204

Wartime Activities

  • South African Navy

Post War History

  • South African Navy = ML 1204
  • Survey Ship = Haerlem
  • Listed to 1977

HDML 1205

Sussex Truscott, St Joseph, Michigan, USA 29/12/44

Known Crew

  • TSLt M J Phillips RNVR TSLt 1/6/44 HDML 1205 1/45 HMS Phoebe (Cruiser)

Post War History

  • 1946 Loaned to Burma
  • 1949 Listed

HDML 1206

Sussex Truscott, St Joseph, Michigan, USA 28/6/45

Known Crew

  • TSLt C A Johnson RNVR TASLt 26/7/43 HDML 1377 8/43 TSLt 26/1/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1206 3/45
  • TMid D H Norman RNVR HDML 1206 3/45

Post War History

  • 1946 Loaned to Burma
  • 1949 Sold to Burma

HDML 1207

Sussex Truscott, St Joseph, Michigan, USA

Post War History

  • (29/12/44 Cancelled)

HDML 1208

Sussex Truscott, St Joseph, Michigan, USA

Post War Fate

  • (1944 Cancelled)

HDML 1209

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 11/5/42

Known Crew

  • TLt M C G Daveney RNVR TSLt 19/10/41 HMS Edinburgh Castle (Freetown, Sierra Leone) for MLs 8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1209 1/9/42 TLt 17/10/43 65th ML Flotilla based HMS Mentor II, Stornoway ML 531
  • TLt E C Thatcher RNVR TSLt 9/4/43 ML 492 16/5/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1209 7/12/44 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown, Sierra Leone) TLt 9/4/45

Wartime Activities

  • 4/9/42 ML 1209 and ML 1089 joined from U.K. by freight
  • 5/11/42 ML 285, ML 1019, ML 244, ML 1041, ML 1209, HMS Bengali sailed to search for submarine reported by Catalina aircraft in position 17 miles 140 degrees from Takoradi, whilst on passage Lagos to Bathurst. Negative result
  • 6/11/42 ML 1209, ML 1041, ML 1052, ML 285, HMS St Wistan arrived at Takoradi
  • 4/2/43 HMS Inkpen and HMS Arran, with ML 1141 and ML 1209, sailed from Freetown for Bathurst and Dakar with 3 merchant ships.
  • 7/2/43 HMS Arran with ML 1141 and ML 1209 arrived Bathurs,t escorting one merchant ship
  • 12/2/43 HMS Inkpen with ML 1141 and ML 1209 sailed from Bathurst to meet Convoy SR 1
  • 14/3/43 ML 1209 and ML 1141 arrived in Bathurst from Dakar, escorting SS Matang

Post War History

  • 18/12/45 Sold Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1210

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 25/6/42

Known Crew

  • TLt G S E Robinson RNVR TSLt 30/4/42 HMS Forte IV (Falmouth) for MLs 20/7/42 ML 175 5/8/43 TLt 30/10/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1210 3/11/44

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 11/42 Operation Torch – Invasion of Algeria

Post War History

  • 1946 Sold
  • Yacht = Perchance

HDML 1211

Thornycroft, Hampton 24/11/42

Known Crew

  • TLt C M Watt-Smyrke RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/11/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1211 9/11/42 TLt 31/7/43 Commanding Officer ML 838 12/5/45
  • TSLt C R Cowie RNVR TSLt 19/4/43 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) ML 385 ML 839 25/5/44 TLt 19/4/45 Commanding Officer HDML 1211 6/5/4

Post War History

  • 6/46 For disposal at Alexandria

HDML 1212

Thornycroft, Hampton 11/12/42

Wartime Activities

  • 4/43 Lost in transport

HDML 1213

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1214

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1215

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1216

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1217

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1218

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1219

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1220

Thornycroft, Singapore

  • 2/42 Lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1221

Moody, Swanwick Shore, Southampton 6/8/42

HDML1221

London Gazette 21/12/43 – For Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily

  • MID ALtCdr William McInnes RNR
  • BEM AB John Warden D/JX305376

Known Crew

  • ALtCdr William McInnes RNR Lt 20/5/40 HMS Forte IV (Falmouth) for MLs 29/1/41 HMS St Christopher for MLs 18/7/42 HDML 1221 For Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily MID HMS Loch Eck (Frigate)
  • TLt Alfred John Keith Anderson RNVR TSLt HMS Skirmisher II (Milford Haven) for MLs 27/4/42 TLt 9/10/42 HMS St Christopher HDML 1242 31/3/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings Commanding Officer HDML 1221 13/1/44 Commanding Officer ML 386 31/7/44 For services in the clearance of the Aegean and the relief of Greece DSC
  • TLt D B Martin RNVR TLt 23/4/42 ML 468 23/4/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1221 14/7/44
  • AB John Warden D/JX305376 HDML 1221 For Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily BEM
    George Francis

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 28/10/42 ML 172, ML 173 and HDML 1221 sailed at 0900 to patrol off Malaga in an endeavour to intercept Spanish Rosa N Illueca and bring her in to Gibraltar.
  • 11/42 Operation Torch – Invasion of Algeria
  • 10/7/43 Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily

Post War History

  • 22/8/45 Loaned to Greece
  • Greek Navy = Bizani
  • 1962 For disposal

HDML 1222

Moody, Swanwick Shore, Southampton 9/3/43

London Gazette 1/1/45 – New Years Honours 1945

  • MID TLt Cyril Rodney Sage RNVR

Known Crew

  • TLt Cyril Rodney Sage RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 27/4/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1222 24/9/42? TLt 25/9/42 HMS Gregale (Malta) New Years Honours 1945 MID
  • TLt R G A Parvin RNVR HMS St Christopher for MLs 8/9/41 18th ML Flotilla (HMS Mentor II, Stornoway) ML 234 6/9/41 TSLt 1/11/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1259 12/4/43 TLt 24/1/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1222 24/12/44 HMS Gregale (Malta)

Post War History

  • 1946 Sold

HDML 1223

Sussex Shipbuilding Company, Shoreham, Sussex 9/3/43

HDML 1223

Known Crew

  • TLt D C Hernaman RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 16/2/42 HMS Mosquito Alexandria for MTBs 7/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1223 14/6/43 TLt 8/8/43 Commanding Officer ML 839 25/5/44
  • TLt W F Cannell RNVR TASLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/11/42 TSLt 7/2/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1223 6/44 TLt 7/2/45

Post War History

  • 1945 French Navy = VP 3
  • 1956 Cambodian Navy = VP 748
  • 1972 Listed in Janes Fighting Ships as VP 212

HDML 1224

Sussex Shipbuilding Company, Shoreham, Sussex 6/43

London Gazette 21/12/43 – For Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily

  • MID TSLt Cyril Herbert Moss RNVR

Known Crew

  • TSLt Cyril Herbert Moss RNVR TSLt 29/1/42 ML 211 6/4/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1224 1/6/43 For Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily MID TLt 25/7/44 Commanding Officer ML 861 31/5/45
  • TSLt I C MacDonald RNVR HDML 1270 14/2/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily Operation Avalanche Salerno Landings TSLt 25/9/43 31st ML Flotilla ML 560 5/6/44 Operation Dragoon – Landings in Southern France Commanding Officer HDML 1224 16/5/45
  • TSLt H E Keighley RNVR TSLt 7/10/44 HDML 1224 HMS Gregale (Malta)

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 10/7/43 Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold
  • Yacht = Santa Clara
  • 2002 = Anna B

HDML 1225

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 6/8/42

HDML 1225

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 11/42 Operation Torch – Invasion of Algeria
  • 1944 Free French VP 12
  • Transferred in Algeria

Known Crew

  • George Francis

Post War History

  • French Navy VP 12

HDML 1226

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 12/10/42

London Gazette 5/9/44 – For an action in the Mediterranean 9/3/44

  • DSC TSLt John Edward Hickford RNVR
  • DSM Sea Benjamin Grant Bremner LT/JX242826

Known Crew

  • TLt F C E Potter RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 1/6/42 TLt 26/2/43 HDML 1142 Commanding Officer HDML 1226 22/6/44 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) HMS Hornet
  • TLt J A C Latham RNVR TSLt 23/2/42 First Lieutenant MTB 42 15/04/42 24th MTB Flotilla Based at Malta First Lieutenant MTB 85 23/07/42 TLt 30/4/44 28th ML Flotilla ML 295 28/10/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1226 15/4/45
  • TSLt John Edward Hickford RNVR TSLt 25/12/41 HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/3/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1226 14/9/42 For an action in the Mediterranean 9/3/44 DSC Commanding Officer ML 840 15/6/44 Wind up of the war in Europe MID TLt 25/6/44 Birthday Honours 1946 MID
  • SLt Newman HDML 1226 1944
    AB Herbert Stanley Crowe C/JX 658048 HDML 1226. Died killed 04/10/1945, aged 19, when HDML 1226 was mined off Alexandropolis (Aegean). Son of Ernest Robert and Gertrude Ethel Crowe, of Briston, Norfolk.
  • AB Flewin HDML 1226
  • Sea Stanley Cecil Barber LT/X 20851 HDML 1226. Died in action 07/03/1944, aged 30. Son of George and Kate Julia Barber, of North Shields, Northumberland; husband of Ina Barber
  • Sea Benjamin Grant Bremner LT/JX242826 HDML 1226 For an action in the Mediterranean 9/3/44 DSM
  • Sea Henry Edward Caton LT/JX 181775 HDML 1226. Died 04/10/1945 when HDML 1226 was mined off Alexandropolis (Aegean)
  • Sea Barry Downing Davies LT/JX 191696 HDML 1226. Died in action 07/03/1944, aged 23. Son of David and Eva Elizabeth Davies, of Swansea
  • Eng James Doig LT/KX 154283 HDML 1226. Died 04/10/1945, aged 23, when HDML 1226 was mined off Alexandropolis (Aegean)
  • Sto Challis

Wartime Activities

  • Aegean
  • 6-7/3/44 Landed party of commandos on island of Niseros
    HDML 1226 recovered equipment from another island and returned to Niseros. Commandos had captured two lighters and set sail in them for Deremen.
  • 7/3/44 On passage with five wounded German prisoners as stretcher cases on the upper deck and the mayor of Niseros and his family crowded into the wardroom. (Seven adults and two children).
  • 0146 “A schooner under full sail and burning navigation lights was sighted off Cape Krio. Action stations was sounded and I proceeded to close and board her. The boarding party under Sub Lieutenant Newman were satisfied she was a Turkish vessel with correct papers, and after an exchange of food and cigarettes we parted amicably”.
  • 0245 HDML 1226 sighted three lighters and a schooner.
    “I closed to investigate and the leading lighter attempted to escape inshore at maximum speed. I increased and closed her and boarded her. The crew of eight Germans and a naval officer immediately surrendered. The boarding party searched them for weapons. They had none and were forced into the bows and covered by Able Seaman Flewin with a 9mm Lanchester and a Greek from the Niseros party with a stripped Lewis. Stoker Challis investigated the engines and reported he could control the lighter from the wheelhouse. I then left the three of them on board and told them to follow us”.
  • HDML 1226 sheered off and other vessels opened fire, damaging HDML 1226. Ammunition in deck lockers began to explode and forward gun crew killed, with several German wounded. HDML 1226 broke off the action. Two ratings left on lighter were attacked by the crew and jumped over the side. The Germans opened up with a machine gun and killed one of the ratings in the water. The other rating reached the shore and went into hiding. He later contacted Greek partisans who returned him to Casteloriso.

Post War History

  • 4/10/45 Mined off Alexandropolis (Aegean)

HDML 1227

Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company, Kent 24/11/42

HDML1227 crew

Known Crew

  • TLt G W A Green RNZNVR HMS St Christopher for MLs 27/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1227 23/10/42 TLt 5/3/43 HMNZS Cook (depot & training establishment, Wellington, NZ) 1944
  • TSLt D S Cole RNVR TSLt 9/10/42 HMS Razorbill (Algiers) 33rd MTB Flotilla MTB 651 20/2/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily Commanding Officer HDML 1227 1/5/44 TLt 9/4/45
  • Sea Peter Blackstock LT/JX195889. Prisoner of War, previously served in minesweeping trawlers
  • Sto James Arthur Joy Joined in Malta in July 1944. Prisoner of War

Peter Blackstock

Seaman – Peter Blackstock

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 7/44 Transferred from Malta to the Aegean
    Employed in transporting SBS and LRDG personnel using two canoes to transfer them to shore.
  • 5-6/10/44 Transferred troops into Kythria and waited offshore before returning to recover them. Sunk by German surface ship gunfire off Piraeus. ML 1227 had encountered TA 38 and TA 39 whilst they were conducting a defensive minelaying operation. The crew were rescued and taken to Athens, were they were interrogated and then placed on a train heading for Germany. The train travelled mostly by day. Attacked by American fighter planes, the guards let the POWs leave the train and run into fields as fast as they could, everyone reboarding the train when the planes had gone. They left the train and then were marched and transported by lorry to Slaanske Brod where they suffered another air raid.
    They entrained again for Berlin and were sent to Stalag IIIA at Luckenwalde 40 miles south west of Berlin.
  • On 21/4/45 the German Commandant formally handed the camp over to the Senior Allied officer and the guards left.
  • The Russians liberate Stalag IIIA on 22/4/45 and order the prisoners to stay put. There was a rumour that they would be returned via Russia, however the American lines were about 90 miles away. Sto James Arthur Joy joined two other prisoners in an attempt to reach the Americans. They were stopped by a Russian patrol who ordered them to return, but they pressed on amongst the refugees. After three days they reached Maldonbirg bridge where they were stopped and questioned by Russians until an American soldier intervened. They showered, had food and were given American uniforms and were repatriated the next day via a US Air Base in France.
  • After about a month, British, American and allied prisoners were repatriated.

HDML 1228

Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company, Kent 23/1/43

Wartime Activities

  • 1944 Free French VP6
  • Transferred in Algeria

Post War History

  • French Navy VP6
  • 1963 Cameroun Navy replacing VP 747 (HDML 1423)
  • 1972 Listed in James fighting Ships as VP 768 Patrie Du Cameroun

HDML 1229

McGruer, Clynder, Scotland 19/10/42

HDML1229

Known Crew

  • TLt C J G O’Brien TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 20/4/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1229 24/8/42 TLt 12/2/43 Commanding Officer ML 355 12/10/44
  • TLt P De L Butcher RNVR 3rd ML Flotilla HMS St Angelo (Malta) 11/42 ML 134 6/2/43 TSLt 14/2/43 Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily Operation Shingle Landings at Anzio HMS Gregale (Malta) ML 135 24/2/44 TLt 14/2/45 Commanding Officer HDML 1229 9/5/45
  • TSLt Arthur Attwell HDML 1229 1944-45
  • TLt D F Milligan RNZNVR TSLt 30/4/42 HMS Forte IV (Falmouth) for MLs 3/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1229 2/12/44 TLt 30/10/44

Wartime Activities

  • Transported as deck cargo, with two other HDMLs, in SS City of Christchurch as part of convoy KMS 11.
  • 21/03/43 SS City of Christchurch in convoy KMS 11, transporting three HDMLs, was bombed and badly damaged off Portugal by an Fw 200 of I/KG.40. Her master intended to make Lisbon and left the convoy escorted by HMCS Morden..
  • 22/03/43 By 1645, SS City of Christchurch had her stern awash and was abandoned, with the crew being taken off by HMCS Morden. Before leaving, the crew cast off the lashings on the HDMLs in the hope that they would float off. HMCS Morden then fired into the forward part of the ship to increase the chances of her sinking horizontally. Around 1900, SS City of Christchurch sank. HDML 1229 and one other floated clear but the other boat hds a broken back. A volunteer crew from HMCS Morden was then put aboard HDML 1229 and they sailed her to Gibraltar arriving two days later.
  • Mediterranean
  • Aegean

Post War History

  • 1946 Sold
  • French Navy VP749

HDML 1230

McGruer, Clynder, Scotland 3/12/42

London Gazette 7/12/43 – For Operation Antidote (Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/1943)

  • MID TLt Kenneth Oliver Hilliary Hand RNVR
  • MID POEng Alexander Ralph LT/KX149473

Known Crew

  • TLt Kenneth Oliver Hilliary Hand RNVR TLt 20/4/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1230 1/12/42 For Operation Antidote (Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/1943) MID Commanding Officer ML 578 27/1/44
  • TLt J H Robertson RNVR 24th ML Flotilla ML 340 19/10/42 TSLt 17/1/43 TLt 17/1/45 Commanding Officer HDML 1230 21/2/45 Commanding Officer HDML 1395 18/5/45
  • TSLt E M Gardiner RNVR TSLt 20/7/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 12/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1230 26/11/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1155 4/12/44 TLt 10/1/45
  • TSLt Alan John Bowden RNVR TSLt 21/8/41 HMS St Christopher First Lieutenant HDML 1230 Commanding Officer HDML 1285 12/43 TLt 21/2/45 HMS Braganza
  • POEng Alexander Ralph LT/KX149473 HDML 1230 For Operation Antidote (Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/1943) MID
  • LSea Victor Chaplin Coxswain 1/43 HDML 1230
  • AB George Hughes RNPS HDML 1230
  • AB Main RNPS HDML 1230
  • AB McDougal RNPS HDML 1230
  • Sto2 Edgar HDML 1230
  • Tel John Read HDML 1230 (Until May 1943)

Wartime Activities

  • Carried as deck cargo from Barry to Algiers
  • Anti-submarine patrols at Algiers
  • Converted to a minesweeper
  • 3/43 Operation Antidote
  • ML1230 is engaged in minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse, Tunisia

Memoir of Alan John Bowden…

“It was in November 1942 that I developed a more than passing interest in HDMLs for the Drafting Office at Coastal Forces Training Base at Fort William had just decided that I was to go as the First Lieutenant of HDML 1230, then building at McGruer’s Yard in Clynder, on Gareloch. Together with Ken Hand, my new CO, I duly appeared at McGruers in the first week of December to find that HDML 1230 was still building on a slip. Within a day or so she had slid into Gareloch, helped by a bottle of fizz across her bows, and floated out to a mooring where Hand and I stored her in between “sea” trials using McGruer’s staff as crew. We picked up a largely Patrol Service crew from Helensbrough Pier,and then in the days following loaded depth charges and ammunition whilst attempting to work up a very mixed bunch of young men into a warship’s crew. On Christmas Day 1942, being considered “in all respects ready for sea and war”, we proceeded to Ayr off which port a fairly inebriated Gunnery Inspection team fired our guns and sent us on our way. Through the Arran Boom into the Irish Sea, by which time it was apparent that we were in for a rough passage. By nightfall the Coxswain had declared that “this was not what he had joined up for” and had retired to his bunk where he stayed for the rest of the voyage to Barry. By evening of Boxing Day we went in to Holyhead, only to be ordered straight out again. We made the centre of the harbour, dropped anchor and finally got some rest.

Appreciating that we were not exactly welcome in Holyhead, we were up early, got the anchor up and with it a very large electric cable that looked as if it might be of importance. Not having the gear to slip the cable Hand decided to sacrifice a CQR anchor plus half a shackle of cable so that we could depart without further fuss. The following morning found us, with a clutter of other small craft circling Barry Lightship waiting for a pilot, who eventually took us alongside in Barry Docks where HDML 1230 was to be shipped as deck cargo – we were not sure where.

A couple of days leave and officers and crew were together in a trooper bound for Algiers, but with one change. Our Coxswain had been removed and we had come by a Leading Seaman from the regular navy who understood that his job was to bring some discipline into our fishermen crew. The intention may have been there, but it was not very long before we had a good hard working, happy ML crew with but a distant relationship to the pusser Navy!

HDML 1230 arrived in Algiers shortly after her crew and soon after we were plodding across Algiers Bay, “Slow Ahead” on one engine on the inevitable harbour patrol. Dead boring, until one night, we had just turned under Cape Matifou when we heard an aircraft heading for Algiers, on a flight path which suggested that it was not one of ours. Our Engineman, who was taking the air at the Engine Room hatch, grabbed the Port stripped Lewis and, when the plane came overhead, opened a very controlled fire which appeared to be hitting. The plane disappeared toward Algiers and we reverted to boredom as we plodded across Algiers Bay. Alongside later in the morning, we began to pick up a buzz that an enemy bomber had been brought down during the past night and that its pilot had been shot up with .300 bullets. Our stripped Lewis was the only gun firing .300 that night, so a claim was submitted for one enemy aircraft destroyed. In due course, we had to share with an Army AA unit but we had a letter of congratulation from C in C on the Wardroom bulkhead, and half a swastika painted on the front of the bridge. Ship’s morale was also greatly improved!

Shortly after this we were told that we, with HDMLs 1236 and 1145, were to become minesweepers. Depth charges and smoke floats were landed to be replaced by a pair of Mk 9 Oropessa sweeps, to be worked through a mass of blocks and wire, from our winch which was on the fo’csle. Having shown that we could work the gear we were required to do a demonstration for the Press who were led by the local Press Officer Captain Taprell-Dorling RN (Rtd) who was better known as the author of Naval stories ,“Taffrail”. By the time we had the sweeps out, the Press was hanging over every rail, green faced, and very sea sick. Even the Press Officer, a destroyer man in his time, remarked upon the unusual motion of the HDML.

The reason for this change from Seaward Defence to Minesweeping was that, at last, Bizerta was to be occupied, with most of the required supplies for the occupying force going by sea. At a very late stage it had been appreciated that the opposition had been laying mines at a depth which meant that Algerines would not be protected, so wooden HDMLs, which only drew about 3feet, were required to go ahead of the main sweeping group. HDML 1230, as Senior Officer of 141 ML Flotilla (I think that was our number), would be the lead ML. Thus it was that, having got ourselves to Bone,

HDML 1230 found itself at sea heading a convoy for Bizerta made up of three HDMLs in front of two Flotillas of Algerines with their associated MMSs and drifters/trawlers, an AA cruiser, the convoy of merchantmen with their escorts, whilst over the horizon, making sure that we came to no harm, were HMS Howe and KGV, with their escorts. All on a lovely May morning with sweeps running true!

Convoy delivered, there seemed to be no one who wanted three HDMLs so we were told to sort ourselves out in Bizerta. We found a comfortable berth at a swimming club, secured beneath the diving board. After a day or two it was apparent that food was running out so I was despatched to improve the situation, only to find that no one seemed to be responsible for our three minesweeping HDMLs. We were however reminded that we still had some duty free, and that there were American landing craft near our berth, and that initiative should be used. It was, together with several bottles of Eau de Vie de Prunes which had been come by in our travels. After that, we ate fairly well and had many American friends!

One cannot have three small warships hanging around a bathing beach for too long before someone decides that they ought to go off and patrol to seaward – or at least across the entrance to Bizerta – so we started to do slow ahead on one engine accordingly but, my recollection of that time some 67 years later is that it was all a bit casual. We went through the motions but little more. Coming in one evening from such a day we met HDML 1154 on her way out to relieve us. We did not know her, or her company, having never worked with them before but, we stopped alongside, had a brief chat about what had happened on our patrol, passed over some Duty Free as they had run out, and went our separate ways. Next morning, as we went out, some unusual activity was observed ashore and we heard that ML 1154 had disappeared. A body part and a bundle of letters had been recovered, but nothing else. An explosion had been heard during the night but the initial concern was that the ML had been fired on by an American Army battery from ashore. It is only recently that I have seen the official cause of her loss given as Mined.

It was about then that the Algerines working around Cape Bon had “Fantome” damaged, and an MMS sunk and decided that they would like to have the HDMLs back again. So, most mornings, the HDMLs would lead the first two cuts into a minefield, then break off, recover their gear, and become dogs bodies for the Algerines for the rest of the day. Basically, we sank moored mines that had been cut – we became quite accurate with our rifle fire – or recovered sweep gear from the Algerines that had come adrift for any reason during the day’s sweeping. Then we would return what we had recovered to the appropriate ship in the evening. That done we moved at the beck and call of the SOs of the Algerines – mail, people, equipment, you name it, we moved it. As a variation, one or other of the HDMLs would go into Bizerta, or be sent round the coast to do a recce of a bay which might be used as a night anchorage in the future, which meant a single ship sweep to ensure that it was reasonably mine free. I see also from some letters of that time that we were, on one occasion, given a small convoy of our own to sweep through on their way to Malta.

There was also the matter of “Irene” the Walrus. On one of our independent runs we had come across a Walrus amphibian floating unmanned and we had been told to take her to Sousse. Now, how to tow an amphibian had not been included in either the King Alfred or the Fort William training. Nor had how to steer an amphibian whose controls one does not understand. So, having secured “Irene “ astern, with a crew of two sailors, we set off for Sousse – where we did eventually arrive to deliver our tow to the RN but only after a very zig zag journey, much foul language, and the odd laugh. Again, it is only within the past year that I have come across a possible explanation as to why an apparently undamaged RN aircraft was floating around the Med. I think that she had been on an air sea rescue, had been unable to take off with the rescued air crew, so had been driven across the sea until either fuel ran out, or a rescue launch took over her crew and passengers.

At Sousse we were required to lead a minesweeping group for the occupation of Pantellaria. We did a dummy run to within sight of the island, and then the Italians decided to surrender, so there was no need to do the operation seriously.

After that, back to our Minesweeping Group to find that changes were afoot. Someone in the distant Admiralty had decreed that HDMLs could work quite satisfactorily with but one officer so, all the First Lieutenants in North Africa seemed to be being removed and sent elsewhere. John Stephenson had already left HDML1145 for the Aegean, whilst I was on a Draft List to proceed to HMS Tana. By the end of June 1943, HDML 1230 was on her way to Malta and I was beginning to hitch hike to Mombassa.”

Post War History

  • 9/46 Scuttled off Malta

HDML 1231

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 7/10/42

Wartime Activities

  • 3/4/43 ML 1231 and ML 1089 sailed from Freetown to meet and escort stragglers from Convoy SL 127 and returned with them to Freetown
  • 5/4/43 ML 1231 and ML 1089 returned to Freetown having been unable to meet the stragglers from Convoy SL 127, which arrived in Freetown independently
  • 18/4/43 HMS Burdock, HMS Crocus, HMS Portsdown and HMS Butser with ML 209, ML 272, ML 1072, and ML 1231 sailed from Freetown escorting Convoy FT 7 (five ships).
    HMS Burdock and HMS Crocus with ML 1072 and ML 1231 to Bathurst with SS New Northland and SS Pinto. HMS Burdock and HMS Crocus to escort remaining ships towards Trinidad, subsequently to disperse and proceed to Recife to escort HM LSTs to Freetown.
  • 20/4/43 HMS Portsdown and Butser, with ML 1072 and ML 1231, arrived Bathurst from Freetown escorting SS New Northland and S.S. Pinto
  • 24/4/43 HMS Orfasy, with ML 1072 and ML 1231, sailed from Bathurst escorting Cable Ship Lady Dennison Pender to repair cable
  • 26/4/43 HMS Orfasy with ML 1072 and ML 1231 arrived in Bathurst from Dakar escorting Cable Ship Lady Dennison Pender
  • 30/8/44 Free French = VP23
  • Transferred at Dakar

Post War History

  • French Navy VP 23
  • VP 758

HDML 1232

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 23/11/42

Known Crew

  • TLt J E I Barber RNVR TLt 1/4/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/11/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1232 1/6/43 Commanding Officer ML 911 29/5/44
  • TLt S V Slight RNVR TSLt 28/3/41 HMS St Christopher for MLs 8/12/41 28th ML Flotilla ML 443 26/6/43 TLt 28/2/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1232 18/4/44

Post War History

  • 1946 Sold
  • 1950 French Navy VP8

HDML 1233

Anderson Rigden & Perkins, Whitstable 2/10/42

Wartime Activities

  • 1/6/43 Free French = VP3
  • Transferred in Algeria

Post War History

  • 1950 French Navy VP3

HDML 1234

Anderson Rigden & Perkins, Whitstable 19/10/42

HDML1234

Imperial War Museum

Known Crew

  • TLt Joseph Kenneth Glover RNVR TSLt HMS Forte IV for MLs 30/3/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 15/6/42 TLt 13/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1234 14/1/44 – 7/45. Previously served in HMS Edinburgh (Cruiser), Born 28/4/15 and died in Cardiff, Glamorgan 07/2000
  • TSLt Richard Henry Beale RNVR TSLt 13/5/41 HMS Wildfire for MLs 24/6/41 HDML 1070 1/10/42 Based at HMS Orlando, Greenock HMS St Christopher 3rd ML Flotilla Based at HMS Gregale, Malta Commanding Officer ML 135 6/2/43 Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily Commanding Officer HDML 1234 23/10/43 TLt 8/11/43 ML 135 For opening up the ports of Piraeus and Itea MID
  • LSea John Victor Robinson LT/JX 241460 HDML 1234. Died 01/03/1943, aged 25. Cause unknown. Son of George and Elizabeth Robinson, of South Shields, Co. Durham; husband of Isabella Robinson, of South Shields. Buried in Bone War Cemetery, Annaba
  • Sea John Charles Loader LT/JX323672Born 02/03/1923

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 10/7/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily

Post War History

  • 1/46 For disposal at Gibraltar

HDML1234

Pictures courtesy of Diane Barker
(Daughter of Sea John Charles Loader)

HDML1234

HDML 1235

Anderson Rigden & Perkins, Whitstable 4/9/42

Known Crew

  • TLt L S Smith RNVR TLt 16/7/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 23/9/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1127 13/6/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1235 2/3/44
  • TSLt N R Stoate RNVR TSLt 31/7/41 HMS Cormorant (Gibraltar) for MLs 10/11/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1235 16/6/43 TLt 31/1/44 ML 909 22/4/44

Post War Fate

  • 1/46 For disposal at Gibraltar

HDML 1236

Hillyard, Littlehampton, West Sussex 21/10/42

London Gazette 7/12/43 – For Operation Antidote Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/1943

  • MID TLt Norman Alfred Wright RNVR
  • MID ALSea David John Fratten LT/JX242278

Known Crew

  • TLt Norman Alfred Wright RNVR TLt 12/9/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 21/9/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1236 12/10/42 For Operation Antidote Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/1943 MID
  • ALSea David John Pratten/Fratten?? LT/JX242278 HDML 1236 For Operation Antidote (Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse) 3/1943 MID

Wartime Activities

  • Converted to a minesweeper at Algiers
  • Operation Antidote

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold
  • Yacht = Neba

HDML 1237

Berthon Boat, Lymington 30/7/42

Known Crew

  • TLt H W Gwynn RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 20/7/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1237 20/7/42 TLt 11/12/42 ML 483 Commanding Officer ML 462 26/6/44
  • TLt F Hartley RNVR TLt 12/3/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 18/5/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1237 7/11/43
  • TLt B A Shearman RNVR TSLt 31/7/42 6th MGB Flotilla 2/11/42 First Lieutenant MGB 315 22/2/43 59th MTB Flotilla Based at Great Yarmouth, Dover, Newhaven MTB 700 Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy For an action in the Dover Straits 17/7/44 MID MTB 789 1944 TLt 31/1/45 Commanding Officer HDML 1237 26/5/45
  • TASLt M O Wright RNVR TASLt 25/12/44 HDML 1237 24/5/45
  • TASLt R Cocking RNVR TMid First Lieutenant HDML 1277 15/2/44 HDML 1237 9/5/44 TASLt 5/9/44 TSLt ML 283 30/5/45

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 11/42 Operation Torch – Invasion of Algeria

Post War History

  • 9/46 Scuttled off Malta

HDML 1238

Berthon Boat, Lymington 17/9/42

Known Crew

  • TLt Wilfred Sidney Slate RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 10/5/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1238 24/8/42 TLt 12/2/43 Commanding Officer ML 215 26/3/45 Born 1916 Edmonton district, Hertfordshire / Oxfordshire / Buckinghamshire / Middlesex
  • TLt T E Powell RNVR TSLt 12/3/42 HMS Iron Duke (Scapa Flow) for MLs 14/5/42 15th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow ML 218 17/8/42 TLt 12/9/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1238 25/12/44 HMS Gregale (Malta)

Post War Fate

  • 11/46 Sold

HDML 1239

Berthon Boat, Lymington 14/10/42

Known Crew

  • TSLt G B Elliott RNVR TSLt 23/12/41 HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/3/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1239 3/10/42 TLt 25/6/44 Commanding Officer ML 105 17/4/45
  • TSLt D H Atkinson RNVR TSLt 30/4/43 HMS St Christopher ML 557 Commanding Officer HDML 1239 7/3/45
  • Sea Daniel Haughton LT/JX 281610 who died on Saturday 28 October 1944 Age 35 cause unknown. Son of Daniel and Rose Haughton; husband of Alice Haughton, of Custom House, Essex. Buried in Florence War Cemetery

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean

Post War History

  • 26/3/46 To Italy

HDML 1240

Berthon Boat, Lymington 14/11/42

HDML 1240

Wartime Activities

  • 1/6/43 Free French = VP4
  • Transferred in Algeria

Post War History

  • French Navy VP4

HDML 1240

HDML 1241

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 5/2/43

Known Crew

  • TLt A D Kingsford RNVR TLt 24/10/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 16/11/42 HDML 1241 20/1/43 Commanding Officer ML 458 14/6/44
  • TSLt W A Merrick RNVR TSLt 31/7/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 2/11/42 31st ML Flotilla ML 564 2/11/42 Commanding Officer ML 558 28/2/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1241 12/5/44 Commanding Officer ML 576 1/6/45

Post War History

  • 9/46 Scuttled off Malta

HDML 1242

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 31/4/43

London Gazette 3/7/45 – For opening up the port of Livorno 1944

  • DSC Lt William Ashton
  • DSM LSea Walter Henry Dunford C/JX260490

London Gazette 11/12/45 – Wind up of the war in Europe

  • MID LMtrMch James Lane C/MX500897
  • BEM AB Richard Norman Bowers D/SSX22221

Known Crew

  • TLt Alfred John Keith Anderson RNVR TSLt HMS Skirmisher II (Milford Haven) for MLs 27/4/42 TLt 9/10/42 HMS St Christopher HDML 1242 31/3/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings Commanding Officer HDML 1221 18/1/44 Commanding Officer ML 386 31/7/44 For services in the clearance of the Aegean and the relief of Greece DSC
  • Lt William Ashton Commanding Officer (see further details below) HDML 1242 1/44- 8/45 For opening up the port of Livorno 1944 DSC
  • TSLt A W H Bush RNVR TASLt 25/12/42 HMS St Christopher HDML 1242 31/3/43 TSLt 25/6/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings HDML 1254 31/1/44 25th ML Flotilla ML 238 12/8/44
  • LSea Walter Henry Dunford C/JX260490 HDML 1242 For opening up the port of Livorno 1944 DSM
  • LMtrMch James Lane C/MX500897 HDML 1242 Wind up of the war in Europe MID
  • AB Richard Norman Bowers D/SSX22221 HDML 1242 Wind up of the war in Europe BEM

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 9/9/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings
  • 1944 Opened up the port of Livorno, including salvage work whilst under fire.

Post War History

  • 9/46 For disposal

Lt William Ashton was a specialist survey officer:

  • 1938 HMS Flinders off the south coast of England
  • 1938-39 HMS Herald off Borneo and Malaya and then in minesweepers at Singapore
  • Flying back to the United Kingdom, he survived a crash off Taranto
  • 1940 Staff of Flag Officer Dover
  • 5/40-42 HMS Scott in northern waters
  • 3/42-6/43 HMS Endeavour in the Red Sea and Suez Canal
  • 6-12/43 Port Survey Parties in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He was mentioned in despatches and awarded an American Bronze Star for services in Naples.
  • 1/44 ML 1242 in command and awarded a DSC for salvage work, under fire at Livorno
  • 8/45 Returned to the United Kingdom
  • 10/45 HMS Scott off the east coast of England
  • 3/47 SML 585 in command with the mine clearance force off the east coast of England
  • 11/47 HMS Challenger in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean
  • 1949-50 HMS Seagull off the west coast of England
  • 3/50 Trials in HMS Cook at Devonport
  • 8/50 HMS Scott in command off the south coast of England
  • 10/51 HMS Challenger in command as an acting commander. Ship was in Japanese Waters on a world cruise
  • 1953 Hydrographic Department
  • 1955 Retired

HDML 1243

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 29/5/43

Known Crew

  • TLt Donald McLean RNVR TSLt HMS Wildfire (Sheerness) for MLs 10/11/41 105th ML Flotilla Based at Sheerness HDML 1010 1/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1243 12/5/43 TLt 1/12/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 20/1/44 28th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer ML 307 12/10/44 Wind up of the war in Europe DSC
  • TSLt C H R Croot RNVR TASLt 19/2/43 TSLt 19/8/43 HDML 1243 24/5/43 TLt 1/12/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 20/1/44 ML 283 9/10/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1308 31/5/45

Wartime Activities

  • ML 1124, ML 1135, ML 1153, ML 1243, ML 1245, ML 1256, ML 1282, ML 1294 and ML 1296 are all transferred to the Turkish Navy. ML 1153 is lost on passage to Turkey
  • 18/11/43 To Turkey = LM8
  • 19/11/43 ML 1243 arrived at Iskenderon from Beirut for delivery to Turkey

HDML 1244

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 20/8/43

Known Crew

  • TLt J Holdron RNVR TLt 7/5/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1244 28/7/43 149th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1421 15/7/44
  • TASLt A W P Moore RNVR HDML 1244 26/7/43
  • TASLt A W P Godwin HDML 1244 26/7/43 TSLt 2/10/43 HMS Attack (Portland) 1944

Wartime Activities

  • 25/11/43 Lost in transport

HDML 1245

Robinson, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 3/4/43

HDML 1245

Imperial War Museum

Known Crew

  • TSLt H E S Scarlett RNVR Commanding Officer HDML 1245 7/6/43 Transfer to Turkey TSLt 12/8/43 TLt 1/6/45 HDML 1050 1/6/45
  • TASLt W Millard RNVR TASLt 4/6/43 HDML 1245 6/9/43 TSLt 4/12/43 ML 356 HMS Fabius (Taranto)

Wartime Activities

  • ML 1124, ML 1135, ML 1153, ML 1243, ML 1245, ML 1256, ML 1282, ML 1294 and ML 1296 transferred to the Turkish Navy. ML 1153 lost on passage to Turkey
  • 11/10/43 ML 1245, ML 1282 and ML 1294 at Alexandria on passage to Turkey.
  • 26/10/43 ML 1245 and ML 1282 and ML 1294 arrived Iskenderon, from Beirut, for delivery to the Turks. Had reached the Levant in convoy KMS 27. ML 1243 still to follow
  • 26/10/43 To Turkey = LM 7

HDML 1246

Robinson, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 14/4/43

London Gazette 5/9/44 – For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba)

  • DSO TALtCdr Harry Donald Davis RNVR

Under heavy fire, found alternative landing place, provided smoke, reconnoitred inner beaches despite heavy fire. Displayed courage of highest order, efficiency, complete disregard for enemy

London Gazette 7/9/44 – For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba)

  • DSM PO Samuel Lamont D/SSX27986
  • DSM POEng Archibald Kiel Smith LT/KX114664
  • MID Sea Owen Williams LT/JX203813

Known Crew

  • TALtCdr Harry Donald Davis RNVR HDML 1246 For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba) DSO
  • TLt E T J Shinn RNVR TSLt HMS Midge (Great Yarmouth) for minelayers 16/2/42 TLt 11/12/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 5/4/43
  • TLt John Malcolm Hirst RNVR HMS Lauderdale TSLt 14/8/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 16/11/42 ML 557 16/11/42,, TLt 1/8/44 Commanding Oficer HDML 1246 22/10/44 Commanding Officer ML 480 6/4/45 Minesweeping in the Adriatic from Porto Corsini to Trieste 3/45 DSC Commanding Officer ML 155 1945
  • TLt Donald Mclean RNVR TSLt HMS Wildfire (Sheerness) for MLs 10/11/41 105th ML Flotilla Based at Sheerness HDML 1010 1/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1243 12/5/43 TLt 1/12/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 20/1/44 28th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer ML 307 12/10/44 Wind up of the war in Europe DSC
  • TLt J L C Isotta RNVR TSLt 23/4/43 ML 567 7/5/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 2/4/45 TLt 23/4/45
  • TLt W Roy Tyllesley RNVR Commanding Oficer HDML 1246 45 – 1/46
  • TLt C H R Croot RNVR TASLt 19/2/43 TSLt 19/8/43 HDML 1243 24/5/43
  • TLt 1/12/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1246 20/1/44 ML 283 9/10/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1308 31/5/45
  • TSLt K F Metcalf RNVR TASLt 6/10/44 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MGB 659 10/11/44 TSLt 6/4/45 HDML 1246 7/5/45
  • TSLt J S Guiney RNZNVR TSLt 25/12/42 HDML 1246 5/4/43 HMNZS Cook
  • TSLt A J H Durham RNVR HDML 1246 4/3/44 TSLt 8/4/44 ML 135 9/5/45
  • PO Samuel Lamont D/SSX27986 HDML 1246 For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba) DSM
  • POEng Archibald Kiel Smith LT/KX114664 HDML 1246 For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba) DSM
  • LSea Norman Anderson LT/JX205273 HDML 1246. Died 16/08/1943, aged 23. Cause Unknown. Son of Arie and Jane Anderson; husband of Joan Anderson, of Penzance, Cornwall. Buried in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily
  • Sea Owen Williams LT/JX203813 HDML 1246 For Operation Brassard (Invasion of Elba) MID

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 9/9/43 Operation Avalanche – Salerno Landings
  • 17/6/44 Operation Brassard – Invasion of Elba
  • Adriatic (Winter 1944 – 45)

Post War History

  • 12/12/45 Arrived in Alexandria for repairs to Alexandria for Port Said
  • 20/12/45 Trials for Palestine Police
  • 21/12/45 Slipped for inspection
  • 5/1/46 Palestine Police

From a Daily Telegraph obituary published 19/01/98:

John Malcolm ‘Jim’ Hirst was born 20/04/21 and was educated at Solihull Grammar School. At the outbreak of war, he joined HMS Glendower (Butlins at Pwilheli) and served in HMS Lauderdale as an ordinary seaman on Atlantic convoys before being commissioned. He served in ML 557 during Operation Brassard. He then commanded HDML 1246 in the Adriatic during the winter of 1944 – 45 before commanding ML 480 clearing mines in the approaches to Trieste where he won a DSC. His final command was ML 155 based at Flekkeford, Norway supervising German minesweepers clearing mines in the Skaggerrak.

Post war he studied Agricultural Botany at Reading University. He joined Rothamstead Research Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire in 1950 and was appointed Head of Plant Pathology in 1967. He was awarded the Research Medal of theRoyal Agricultural Society of England and, in 1959, the International Botanical Congress’s Jakob Eriksson Gold Medal.

He was an international authority on plant biology and pathology and invented the Hirst Trap which revolutionised monitoring of airborne particles which cause diseases.

In 1970 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Between 1975 and 1984 he was director of Long Ashton Research Station near Bristol and professor of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences at Bristol University. He carried out work for the Overseas Development Corporation, Forestry Commission, Potato Marketing Board, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau and the World Bank. He was also specialist adviser to the Overseas Development Sub Committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

He was a member of the CFVA and hung the bell of ML 155 in his hall where his wife used it to summon him from the garden. He died in January 1998.

Reminiscence by Jim Hirst on the BBC People at War Website:

Soon after the South of France landings I had to leave the 31st. ML Flotilla to take command of HDML 1246 in the Adriatic. In an attempt to bring some order to the various warring factions in the islands and coastal regions of Yugoslavia the Royal Navy had placed a cruiser in each of the ports of Dubrovnik, Split and Zara (Rechristened Zardar by Tito). We were assigned to Zardar (in Croatia) to accompany and protect HMS Colombo from limpeteers, human torpedoes, etc. The normal duties of these small (72 ft.) boats was harbour defence but their size, quietness and extreme manoeuvrability made them capable of much more active but cryptic roles `among the islands’. These varied from placing or retrieving agents or air-crews to tying to coastal rocks under camouflage nets to detect and report enemy movement. (When I took over I understood that HDML 1246 was one of these `Special Service HDs’. I later learnt that several hours before the landing on Elba, she had a difficult time landing commandos to capture two `Flak-ships’ (F lighters) and to establish the `Beach Captain’ in readiness for the arrival of the main assault.) We had an extremely rough crossing from Ancona to Zara and stove in the forrard messdeck hatch cover but fortunately the deck level hatch survived. In Zara we berthed on top of a capsized German F Lighter for several weeks before someone thought of looking to see what it had been carrying. They found 70 (moored magnetic) mines each with c. 700lb HE. They were of course not armed but we felt relieved that by the winter of 1944-1945 raids by air or sea were almost over. We had a relatively gentle time but “Jugland” displayed chaotic confusion with six different land or naval forces of whom one did not know from day to day who was really friend or who foe. We found it strange to witness daily `tribal’ type dance performances by grenade-festooned partisans on the jetty alongside us. Fifty years later the troubles of Bosnia have sadly brought much more general realization of the local racial and religious hatreds. They seem no nearer to solution now than they were then. I enjoyed my brief spell in “1246”. It was a reliable, diesel-powered, strongly built boat that was extremely manoeuvrable, and had a tough largely Glaswegian crew. It offered a good start `in command’ but lasted only a few winter months.

HDML 1247

Robinson, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 22/4/43

HDML 1247

Known Crew

  • TLt J E Pegram RNVR TSLt 50th ML Flotilla 27/4/42 ML 108 21/5/42 TLt 29/1/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1247 12/4/43
  • TSLt H E Creasy RNZNVR TSLt 16/10/42 HDML 1247 12/4/43 TLt 19/1/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1252 3/9/44
  • TSLt E C Butt RNVR TSLt 1/3/42 HDML 1247 12/3/44 ML 469 16/12/44
  • TSLt A F I Attwell SANF(V) TSLt 19/11/44 HDML 1247 16/11/44

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 9/9/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings

Post War History

  • 3/47 Sold

HDML 1248

Robinson, Lowestoft, Norfolk 2/6/43

London Gazette 10/7/45 – Operations off the coast of Arakan from November 1944 to March 1945

  • MID POEng Donald MacKenzie Grant LT/KX160857
  • MID LSea Geoffrey Andrew Lowey X9976B

Known Crew

  • Lt J A Brown RCNR Lt 3/1/40 HDML 1248 TALtCdr
  • TLt B C Smith SANF(V) HMS Minos II (Lowestoft) 13th ML Flotilla 14/4/42 TSLt 15/1/43 ML 202 15/4/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1248 10/5/43 HMS Afrikander 1944 (Simonstown)
  • TSLt L N Parsons RANVR TSLt 5/2/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1248 10/5/43 HMAS Torrens (RAN base, Adelaide) HMAS Rushcutter (RAN base, Sydney, NSW)
  • TASLt T Clarke RNVR First Lieutenant HDML 1248 7/7/44 TSLt 7/10/44
  • TASLt J A Rump RNVR(Sp) TASLt 14/12/43 HDML 1248 HMS Jay 1944
  • POEng Donald MacKenzie Grant LT/KX160857 HDML 1248
  • LSea Geoffrey Andrew Lowey X9976B HDML 1248 Operations off the coast of Arakan from November 1944 to March 1945 MID

Wartime Activities

  • 11/44-3/45 Operations off the coast of Arakan
  • 12/1/45 Operation Pungent
    Assault on Myebon, Burma
    British TF.64 (RAdm. Martin) Destroyer HMAS Napier, the Indian Sloops Narbada and Jumna, HMDL 1248 and ML 854, with transports and landing craft, landed troops of 3 Commando Brigade near Myebon between Akyab and Ramree (Burma).
    ML 854 and HDML 1248 launched COPP teams, prior to the Myebon assault for reconnaisance and demolition missions. Succeeded in placing marker buoys in estuary, having identified two suitable landing sites.
  • 2/45 ML 854 and HDML 1248 surveyed approaches to Ruywa. COPP teams from HDML 1248 surveyed landing beaches.
    Employed on surveying duties in the Bay of Bengal
  • 9/9/45 Operation Zipper – Invasion of Malaya for survey duties.

Post War History

  • Employed on surveying duties in the Bay of Bengal
  • 4/7/46 Singapore Customs
  • = Panah

HDML 1249

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 11/11/42

HDML 1249

Wartime Activities

  • 16/4/43 Free French = VP1
  • Transferred in Algeria

Post War History

  • 1950 French Navy VP1

HDML 1250

R A Newman, Hamworthy, Dorset 1/12/42

HDML 1250

Known Crew

  • TLt E A Brown RNVR TSLt 25/9/41 HMS St Christopher for MLs 9/11/42 TLt 30/4/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1250 30/4/43 Commanding Officer ML 356 12/8/44

Wartime Activities

  • 16/12/43 Free French = VP10
  • Transferred in Algeria

Post War History

  • French Navy VP10
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