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
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
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.
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
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.