Halcyon Class Minesweepers

HMS Hazard

Hazard 1937
Hazard 1938
Hazard 1939
Hazard 1940
Hazard 1941
Hazard 1942
Hazard 1943
Hazard 1944
Hazard 1945
Hazard Post-War
Hazard Crew


HMS Hazard - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Hazard

Summary of History

HMS HAZARD (J02) was commissioned on the 23rd November 1937 and was allocated to the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla in the Home Command. In 1938 she took part in exercises and was present at the Fleet Review by King George VI at Weymouth in June. The Flotilla then dispersed in July for its summer cruise and HAZARD went with Sharpshooter to Fowey and Dieppe before rejoining the Flotilla to visit Frederickstad in the Baltic. She spent the autumn in Scotland before returning to Sheerness. In March 1939 she sustained damage while berthing and had to be docked for repairs, emerging in May when she was on standby to assist with the salvage of HMS Thetis in Liverpool Bay.

At the outbreak of war HMS HAZARD was in Scotland. In the Firth of Clyde at the end of November 1939 she fouled an obstruction in the swept channel and consequently spent January/February 1940 refitting at Grangemouth. HAZARD spent most of 1940 in Scottish waters, including much time at Scapa where the Fleet needed her protection when it sailed forth and returned to harbour. In 1941, following the loss or damage of so many escorts at Dunkirk it was decided to bring HAZARD into the Western Approaches Command to act as local escort at the UK end of the convoy routes. The Halcyons were ideally suited to this role of escorts, being fitted with both Asdic and more recently with the new Radar (271 sets). HAZARD was based at Stornoway although her activities took her to several other ports including Oban, Inverary, Aultbea, Londonderry, the Clyde and Iceland. Normal minesweeping duties were carried out when not required as an escort, although she was ready at immediate notice to be sent off for patrol or escort duties.

HMS Hazard Bridge & Gun

HMS Hazard 1940

In September 1941 she was converted in Belfast for arctic service. In November HEBE, SHARPSHOOTER and HAZARD were detailed to escort Convoy PQ5 from Iceland to Archangel. In fact they escorted four of this convoy's seven ships from Kirkwall to Hvalfjord. In December HAZARD carried out local minesweeping duties with SPEEDY before going out to meet Convoy PQ6. While on their way to meet PQ6 (8 ships), HAZARD (Lt Cdr J R A Seymour) and SPEEDY were attacked by four German destroyers that had been sent out to find PQ6 (Z23, Z24, Z25, Z27) and were laying mines. This was the German’s first attempt to intercept a convoy. The Germans mistook the British ships for much larger Soviet destroyers and did not press home their attack. Although the Germans fired star shell the minesweepers managed to escape in the gloom under a smoke-screen. SPEEDY was hit four times. Among her local duties in North Russia in Jan./Feb.1942, HAZARD met PQ7B (9 ships) and PQ11 (13 ships). She then acted as Senior Officer's ship for the escort of QP8 (15 ships), which sailed homeward on 1 March 1942. The Ocean escort comprised just four ships. They met gale-force 10 south-westerlies then westerly winds which scattered the convoy. On 6th March the TIRPITZ, searching for PQ12, passed 50 miles ahead of QP8 with one of her destroyers, Z25, passing less than 12 miles ahead. Fortunately the convoy was not detected.

After refitting in Aberdeen, HAZARD joined PQ16 which was heavily attacked as it fought its way from Iceland to Russia in May 1942. She then spent the rest of the year in Russia helping to bring in the few surviving ships from PQ17, escorting other convoys on the local stages of their voyages, clearing mines and carrying out a range of local duties. In November 1942 HAZARD formed part of the ocean escort for QP15 (28 ships), again meeting gales and losing two ships to U-boats. After making good her storm damage in Iceland she sailed to Hull for a refit.

HMS HAZARD spent the first three months of 1943 escorting the convoys in Icelandic waters but in May sailed for the Mediterranean to take part in the invasion of Sicily in July. She then spent the next 14 months in the Med and was present at Taranto in Oct 1943 when the Italian fleet surrendered and sailed for Malta. Early in 1944 HAZARD was lent to the 46th Escort Group and spent most of the year on escort duties. In October 1944 she arrived back at Harwich for a refit and rejoined the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla. She then spent most of 1945 clearing mines between the East Coast and the continent.

In June 1946 HMS HAZARD was disarmed and placed in the Reserve. She remained in the Royal Navy until 22 April 1949 when she was handed over to the British Iron & Steel Corporation who arranged for her to be broken up at Grays in Essex.

Source: Article from the World Ship Society’s publication ‘Warship’
THE WAR OF THE HALCYONS 1939-1945  R A Ruegg  (supplemented with additional information)

HMS Hazard - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Hazard

See also www.naval-history.net

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This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012