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.
outbreak of war HMS HAZARD was in Scotland.
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.
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 1940
In September 1941
she was converted in Belfast for arctic service. In November
SHARPSHOOTER and HAZARD were detailed to escort Convoy PQ5 from
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.
their way to meet PQ6 (8 ships), HAZARD (Lt Cdr J R A Seymour) and
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.
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
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
Article from the World Ship Society’s publication ‘Warship’
WAR OF THE HALCYONS 1939-1945
R A Ruegg
with additional information)