Halcyon Class Minesweepers Report of SBNO (extracts) - June 1942
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Source: ADM 199/1104


Advantage was taken of a period of thick weather in the middle of the month to carry out anti submarine sweeps in the north and east of Kola Inlet. A sweep was made by two minesweepers on the night of the 10th/11th and again on the 12th/13th.

The soviet icebreakers Krassin and Montcalm were escorted to Archangel by HMS Bramble, Leda, Hazard and Seagull. HMS Intrepid and Garland were sailed later to act as cover against possible surface attack. The whole force arrived at Archangel on 21st June.

The tanker Hopemount was escorted to Archangel by HMS Leda and Hazard on the 29th.

Ice prevented minesweeping in the White Sea until late in the month. The channel was however swept ahead of the icebreakers and again ahead of the outgoing convoy on the 28th. It is being swept again before the arrival of PQ17.

HMS Gossamer was sunk by bombs off Mishukov point in the Kola Inlet on 24th June, with the loss of 3 officers, 20 other men killed and 14 wounded. Report of Board of Enquiry is being forwarded.

Murmansk town is now in ruins and it seems likely that more attention will now be paid to ships and perhaps Polyarnoe. Luostari aerodrome ( Petsamo) is less than 50 miles from Murmansk so the risk is grave that all ships coming to the port will be damaged or sunk during the next two months.

The principle of 'dispersal' of ships at anchor has been successful, ships being scattered in berths over a distance of 20 miles along the inlet. This entails difficulties in communication both by signal and by boat, but it is necessary and effective. At times 35 to 40 ships were berthed in the Kola Inlet.


The number of survivors awaiting passage has been greatly reduced. Captain Faulkner and 105 other officers and ratings ex Edinburgh were sent home in HMS Ashanti and Martin and 800 survivors went home in QP13.

Apart from the sick there are now about 150 survivors, including those from HMS Gossamer.  51 Chinese crew from SS Empire Starlight are now the only merchant seamen left. They hope to return to China overland and thus reach home whilst avoiding the perils of the sea.



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