of Minesweeping 1st
November 1937 - 31st October 1938
Fisheries Protection and Minesweeping, Portland
SEAGULL Divisional Commander
HMS SHARPSHOOTER Divisional Commander
on Fisheries Protection
Penzance, HMS GOSSAMER (LFNO Scotland), HMS
Doon, HMS LEDA (North Sea), HMS
employment of Flotilla during the year under review.
31st October 1937 until 9th December all ships were stationed at Portland
exercising and training Reserve officers. HALCYON was relieved by HEBE
on 10th November and passed into Reserve at Chatham.
Flotilla dispersed to Home Ports for Christmas leave on 9-10th December. During
this leave period HARRIER
was relieved by SHARPSHOOTER,
passed into reserve and HUSSAR
commenced re-arming with a 2/5ths complement.
Flotilla reassembled at Portland to continue the normal training programme on
16th January 1938. Trials of 'O' sweeps Mark II and III were carried out by
and the capabilities of ships were carried out during this period. Ship's
companies were also put through the range. Ships dispersed to Home Ports for
Easter leave on 17-18th March.
R C Fitzroy relieved Captain PCW Manwaring
as Senior Officer of the Flotilla on 1st April. HUSSAR relieved SKIPJACK
reduced to 2/5ths complement to re-arm. SKIPJACK passed into the Reserve at
Flotilla reassembled at Portland on 23rd April and returned to the training
programme. Large scale sweeping operations were carried out on 7-8th June.
completing gunnery practices the Flotilla visited Brixham from 10-15th June
where the Flotilla pulling regatta was held, the winner being SPEEDWELL.
The Flotilla visited Dartmouth from 15-19th June. Both these visits were a
Flotilla anchored in Weymouth Bay in their allotted berths for the visit of HM
King George VI. All ships took part in the searchlight display on 22nd June.
HMS Niger and HMS Hazard
(Source: NMM N10273)
21st June the Flotilla swept ahead of the Fleet when His Majesty flew his
Standard in Nelson.
One dummy mine was cut.
23rd June, HEBE,
sailed for Portsmouth. HAZARD
proceeded for trials with deep danbuoys, and HUSSAR
commenced another series of trials with the Mark III sweep. SPEEDWELL
returned to Chatham to pay off on relief by SEAGULL.
Portsmouth rehearsals for operations to be carried out in Exercise COX were
rejoined at Portsmouth on completion of trials and the Flotilla sailed in
company with units of the Home Fleet for the Combined Operations Exercise (COX)
on July 5th. On July 7th, on completion of this exercise, ships dispersed on the
summer cruise. Details are as follows:
- 7-9th July Devonport, 9-14th July St Peter's Port, 15-22nd July Rouen, 23rd
and HAZARD -
7-9th July Devonport, 9-14th July Fowey, 15-22nd July Dieppe, 23rd July Chatham.
Photo of Sharpshooter & Hazard at
9-15th July St Helier, 15-22nd July Exmouth, 23 July Devonport.
- 8-9th July Portland, 9-15th July St Helier, 16-22nd July Dover, 23rd July
ports, most popular were Rouen, Dieppe and St Helier.
Ships completed summer leave and sailed to rendezvous with HEBE
off the East Goodwin Light Vessel at 1100, 27th August. SALAMANDER rejoined the Flotilla. The
Flotilla sailed for the Baltic. HEBE,
visited Copenhagen, while SHARPSHOOTER,
and HUSSAR visited
Frederiksted. Divisions arrived at each port on 31st August and sailed on 4th
September. Copenhagen proved to be the more popular port. The Flotilla
reassembled off the Skaw and proceeded to Invergordon, arriving September 6th.
Sweeping in 'G' formation was practiced during the passage.
arrival at Invergordon the Flotilla fuelled in preparation for Exercise MSA, due
to commence on 7th September at 2000. GOSSAMER
were attached to the 1st MSF for the purposes of exercises MSA and MSB. The 1st
MSF and attached vessels, including
Motor Minesweepers 1, 2
and 51 were engaged
in these exercises until pm 15th September. During the period, the international
situation was deteriorating, and the 1st MSF was completed to war
20-23rd September, a visit was paid to Nairn, which proved a welcome change from
the night of 23-24th September the international situation became critical
(Czecho-Slovakian crisis), and the 1st MSF, then in Inverness Firth, was ordered
to sea at daylight to sweep a channel from the entrance to Cromarty Firth in a
north-easterly direction. The Flotilla sailed at dawn and swept a
channel two miles wide and
miles in extent from the Whistle Buoy.
1st MSF arrived at Scapa Flow on 24th September with the Home Fleet. The weather
was bad, and in the gales four ships out of seven dragged. Considerable periods
had to be spent at anchor watch. While at Scapa, ships of the Flotilla were
employed ferrying Naval and Military units from Scrabster to the Orkneys.
who had been detached for rough weather trials in Icelandic waters on 15th September
arrived at Scapa on 27th September having experienced sufficient rough weather
to give a thorough test of the structure of SEAGULL.
LEDA and GOSSAMER
were detached on 28th September, proceeding westabouts to Devonport.
Flotilla left Scapa on 8th October, having been prevented by foul weather from
sweeping the war channels at Scapa. They arrived at Invergordon on the same day.
While at Invergordon ships carried out gunnery practices, and reduced to peace
complement. The Flotilla sailed for Portland on October 17th, calling at Rosyth
en route, and arriving at Portland on 21st October.
remainder of October was employed on gunnery and other exercises and ships
commenced to half yearly docking programme.