Halcyon Class Minesweepers

HMS Britomart

Britomart 1939
Britomart 1940
Britomart 1941
Britomart 1942
Britomart 1943
Britomart 1944
Britomart Crew


HMS Britomart Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Britomart

Summary of History

Commissioned in August 1939, HMS Britomart (J22) joined the First Minesweeping Flotilla and immediately sailed for Scapa Flow where she helped to protect the Fleet. She remained in Scottish waters until February 1941, carrying out various duties including escorting convoys. She sailed to Harwich and on 15th March 1941 was dive bombed by a single aircraft, the bomb passing through the wardroom and killing the Commanding Officer.

In June 1941 Britomart joined the Western Approaches Command to act as a local escort at the UK end of the convoy routes. She was based at Stornoway although her activities took her to several other ports. 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. In late September 1941 she sailed to Archangel as part of the Ocean Escort for PQ1, returning almost immediately to Iceland and then going to Hartlepool to be fitted out for Arctic service.

On December 1942 she sailed with PQ7A to the Kola Inlet. She remained until April 1942, acting as local escort to incoming and departing convoys. She was hit by two bombs in January which failed to explode. Following a refit Britomart again sailed for Russia as Ocean Escort to the ill-fated PQ17. She helped to escort some of the ships from the scattered convoy safely to port despite many German attacks, arriving in mid-July. She remained in North Russia until 17th November when she joined the returning QP15, which met atrocious Force 10 weather. On arrival at Iceland she immediately sailed to clear a reported minefield, finally arriving at Grimsby for a refit on the 5th December 1942.

On 17th January 1943 Britomart again sailed for Russia with JW52. She remained until November, carrying out a range of duties in addition to escort duties. She often came under attack. Britomart and HMS Jason impressed the Russians so much they offered to buy the two ships. Arriving in Falmouth on 16th November Britomart received a message from C in C Home Fleet congratulating her on her excellent performance.

Following her refit Britomart joined the 1st MSF in its preparations for D-Day. The Flotilla carried out its D-Day tasks successfully but on 27th August 1944, while clearing mines off Cap d'Antifer, it was attacked in error by allied aircraft. HMS Britomart was sunk with the loss of 21 officers and men. A sad end for a good ship.

See also www.naval-history.net

Home | HMS Bramble | HMS Britomart | HMS Franklin | HMS Gleaner | HMS Gossamer | HMS Halcyon | HMS Harrier | HMS Hazard | HMS Hebe | HMS Hussar | HMS Jason | HMS Leda | HMS Niger | HMS Salamander | HMS Scott | HMS Seagull | HMS Sharpshooter | HMS Skipjack | HMS Speedwell | HMS Speedy | HMS Sphinx

This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012