Halcyon Class Minesweepers HMS Salamander 1942
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HMS Salamander - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Salamander


Date of Arrival


Date of Departure

Orders, Remarks etc






HMS SALAMANDER and Britomart arrive at Kola Inlet from UK


HMS Sharpshooter, Britomart and SALAMANDER carried out searching sweep for mines between Svyatol Nos and Gorodetski. Ships attacked by enemy aircraft on both days. On 24th HMS Britomart shot down one Ju88. HMS Britomart hit by two bombs which failed to explode, suffering only slight damage and two casualties; one killed and one wounded. No mines swept.


17/2 Intend to sail Hazard and SALAMANDER for UK with QP8. SALAMANDER requires repairs to Type 128A


Harrier, Hazard and SALAMANDER local eastern escort to PQ11 (13 ships)


The submarine spare crew and repair party were embarked in SALAMANDER and Hazard for passage to UK.


The Commodore of QP8 (15 ships) sailed in the EMPIRE SELWYN; the Ocean escort comprised just four ships, the 'Halcyons' HAZARD (Lt Commander J R A Seymour, Senior Officer Escorts) and SALAMANDER and the 'Flowers' SWEETBRIAR and OXLIP, the cruiser NIGERIA sailing in support was not sighted. HARRIER (MS6) and SHARPSHOOTER and the Russian destroyers GREMYASHCHI (Commodore) and GROMKI sailed as local escort for two days. SALAMANDER’s asdic was defective, Sweetbriar’s packed up on 3/3 and Oxlip’s refused to work. For the first three days, the sea was flat calm and sheeted with ice. Thereafter there were gale-force 10 south-westerlies then westerly winds which scattered the convoy. The empty, lightly ballasted ships presented a big surface to the wind making progress slow. On 5/3 clear visibility allowed the convoy to reform, but the merchant ships LARRINAGA and IJORA did not reappear, and the latter was sunk by prowling enemy destroyers.  By noon on 6/3 the convoy was again lashed by a Force 10 gale with waves 40 feet high. The remaining 13 ships managed to reform on 7/3 and at noon, 200 miles south-west of Bear Island, in falling snow, passed through convoy PQ12. A position check between Hazard and Kent revealed a longitudinal discrepancy of 95 miles. The convoy later altered course to avoid the ice that had given PQ12 problems.
The 'Halcyons' and 'Flowers' had stood up to ice on 6th March, and to waves forty feet high on the 7th. On 6 March the German battleship TIRPITZ was sighted at sea by the British submarine SEAWOLF and convoys PQ12 and QP8 were in fact given distant cover by the Home Fleet. The TIRPITZ passed 50 miles ahead of QP8 with one of the destroyers, Z25, was less than 12 miles ahead. It was one of Tirpitz’s destroyers who snapped up the IJORA. The convoy began to disperse to their destinations on 9/3. SALAMANDER and HAZARD sailed into Scapa Flow. 





27/2 from H M Admiralty: Vessel to be taken in hand by Messrs John Lewis Aberdeen for refit 16/3

7/3 from H M Admiralty: above signal cancelled. Vessel to be taken in hand by Frasers and Caledon’s of Dundee 21/3




12/3 Reference to docking etc of SALAMANDER at Dundee are cancelled. SALAMANDER will be taken in hand at Rosyth on 21/3




17/3 from Rosyth: SALAMANDER taken in hand for decking defects and alterations
24/3 Completes early May ex trials
1/5 D of C is 16/5 approx
21/5 D of C is 24/5




Further defect meant a return to Rosyth.




8/6 completes 11/6 ex trials
13/6 will complete 13/6
13/6 Trial satisfactory and no defects disclosed on subsequent examination




On 23 June SALAMANDER, HALCYON and BRITOMART departed Scapa Flow escorting the RFA GREY RANGER to Hvalfjord. 


Halcyon left Reykjavik with Britomart and SALAMANDER as part of the escort for PQ17. The minesweepers (with some other escorts) ringed the convoy at 3,000 yards range, closing to 1,000 yards when air attack was imminent. They were also in a position to investigate U boat activity.


In SALAMANDER one tinfish passed within 10 yards and another too close for comfort, but apart from one small casualty caused by shrapnel, a bloke with a flesh wound on his forearm, we came through unscathed.

Source: Extracts from the Diary of Leading Signalman V Shackleton, HMS SALAMANDER  IWM Ref
5148 96/22/1


0452 PQ17 suffered its first loss when the freighter Christopher Newport was hit by a torpedo from a single He115 attack. Britomart was sent to investigate whether the ship could be saved but reported at 0520 that the engine room and stokehold was flooded. The decision was made to sink the Christopher Newport. After unsuccessful attempts she was later torpedoed by U457.

2020 25+ He111’s and Ju88’s attacked the convoy badly damaging two ships such that Halcyon and Britomart were ordered to sink them.

2136 Convoy ordered to scatter. Britomart and Halcyon were ordered to sail with Palomares. 

The smaller escorts including Halcyon, Britomart, and SALAMANDER were ordered to North Russian ports as quickly as possible, spreading and proceeding independently. All were worn out and tried to get some rest, but we were bombed early on Sunday morning (5th) being narrowly missed.Shackleton

5.7.42 After being ordered to scatter SALAMANDER (Lt Mottram) with the rescue ship Zamalek, the freighter Ocean Freedom and the oiler Aldersdale, sailing together, were attacked by four Ju88’s. Their considerable AA firepower caused the first 3 aircraft to drop their bombs short but one pressed home its attack on Aldersdale, whose cargo included aviation spirit, 5 miles astern SALAMANDER, which was so damaged that the crew took to the boats. 

and in standing by to pick them up was narrowly missed by a Ju88 who sprayed the decks with his guns before dropping his load just off the beam. SALAMANDER had the satisfaction of pumping three drums of .5 armour piercing rounds after him. He sheared off, and SALAMANDER picked up the survivors, 56 in all. 

An hour later with her still being afloat, a boarding party was sent, I went with them to salvage charts and confidential books. I dumped my share of books and was giving a hand with some ammunition when the SALAMANDER shoved off and began signalling frantically. I chased back to the bridge and read the signal ‘Man your guns, plane is returning’. (Aldersdale mounted more armament than SALAMANDER). I turned to report it but found that the ship had again been abandoned, there was no one there on the bridge, the wheelhouse, the chartroom or the upper deck, there was no response from any of the voicepipes leading below, then I noticed the falls of the last remaining lifeboat had disappeared. The Captain was about to leave (down the falls he admitted later that he had entirely forgotten that I was aboard). I hollered out my message, but was immediately ordered to get in the lifeboat. 

Jerry made no attempt to complete his effort so we endeavoured to sink her by gunfire. (According to a witness on board what followed was like an episode from Harry Tate’s Navy. The first round from the 4” carried away the stanchions and guard rail on the starboard bows. On attempting to reload, the breech block fell off and couldn’t be replaced. The Oerlikons opened up with about as much effect as peashooters against an elephant and finally an attempt was made to ‘shake her up’ by lobbing a depth charge under her stern). 

We were halted in our task by a W/T report that said a German destroyer was hard on our tail, bolting along at 22 knots, so we stood not upon the order of our going but went, coaxing after much persuasion 17 knots from our engines. (SALAMANDER had been built and designed to give a maximum of about 15 knots). Mathematical calculation of a weird race began, with an unsettled future (in the water) as first prize, or a billet in Stalag for runner up. We could keep out of sight, by virtue of distance alone, for 12 hours at the most, and it was going to take all of that time to reach nearest land. This was at 1745 on the 5th.



Meanwhile, Zaafaran had been hit by bombs. On seeing this from miles astern her sister ship, Zamalek, headed towards her to pick up survivors, taking Britomart as anti-submarine protection. All but one of Zaarafan’s crew and passengers were picked up. Zamalek, Ocean Freedom and Britomart now proceeded after Palomares and Halcyon while astern of them, SALAMANDER, having abandoned her attempts to finish off Aldersdale, strove to catch up.


Sunday 5th
. Going NE all the time, almost up to the N Pole. Shadowing plane still around. 700 miles from NP. Dive bombers attacked at noon but were driven off by Britomart and AA ship, rescue ship and M Packet. Dive bomber attacked ship on horizon, it sank in about 15 minutes. We went to help and pick up survivors but R (rescue) ship was coming up so we did asdic sweep. Planes around all day. Salamander came up from astern about 2100. Panic on board, we thought it was a raider. No wireless all trip but just heard that M ship got finished.

Diary of LSBA William Maslen, HMS Halcyon    © Pauline Maslen MMIV


Shortly after midnight on the 5th/6th a mast head was seen by Halcyon on the horizon closing rapidly.  

At 0100 on the 6th we were engaged by our sister ship Halcyon, who, seeing the truck of our mast creeping up over the horizon, had fired on us in the belief that we were the destroyer that was causing the fluttering in the dovecote. Accordingly I had to climb the mast with a portable Aldis lamp to establish identity. How I regretted that I was the senior signalman on watch. We caught up with them eventually to learn that they had ‘spliced the mainbrace’ in anticipation of an action (our rate of closing was much faster than SALAMANDER’s maximum speed). No such luck for us though.


Later that day Britomart was sent around Cape Stolbovoi to make contact with the Russians at Lagerni, explaining (with some diffculty) that the ships wanted the haven of an anchorage. That afternoon, Palomares (towing the out of fuel walrus aircraft from HMS Norfolk), Britomart, Halcyon and SALAMANDER, the crowded rescue ship Zamalek and the single merchant ship Ocean Freedom dropped anchor. At a conference of the commanding officers, the Arctic expertise of the minesweepers’ officers was accepted that they should not attempt to break out east into the Kara Sea on account of ice. (The aircraft was refuelled and confirmed the impossibility of this idea).

Shortly afterwards they were joined by Pozarica, Poppy and La Malouine. Although it was not known if the surface threat had receded, La Malouine was sent to render assistance to any merchantmen she could find. She returned that evening with four ships, Hoosier, Samuel Chase, El Capitan and Benjamin Harrison, that struggled through the deteriorating weather to the anchorage. Shortly before midnight, Lotus, her decks crowded with survivors steamed into the anchorage to a chorus of cheers. 


At dawn on 7/7 three trawlers, Lord Austin, Lord Middleton and Northern Gem arrived, desperately short of steam coal. They replenished from Ocean Freedom.

At a conference aboard Palomares concerns were expressed that the anchorage could quickly turn from haven to trap if they were discovered. The merchant Masters wanted to wait for more naval support and rely on their massive AA firepower to protect them until it arrived.  It was, however, decided to sail and a message was passed to the SBNO Archangel via the Russians radio station.

At 1900, Lotus led the 14 ships out, running into fog which sent one of the merchantmen back.


Tuesday 7th
. Weather fine ‑ wind very strong. Novaya Zembla ‑ awaiting decision to carry on. Skipper of HM ship refuses to go on further without an air escort. Visibility moderate. 50‑50 chance getting through with it. Left N Z at 1700, seems to be taking a chance ‑ same way as we came in. 16 ships in all. 14 survivors taken aboard from Salamander.

Diary of LSBA William Maslen, HMS Halcyon    © Pauline Maslen MMIV


At 1630 the ships encountered an extensive ice field which broke up the convoy’s cohesion as for several hours they blundered about. Zamalek became stuck on an ice ridge for some hours. El Capitan found a boat with 19 survivors from the John Witherspoon. 

The anti-aircraft ship Palomares radioed all the ships to report their present locations by wireless, and all dutifully reported in except SALAMANDER, who thought any wireless transmission at this stage most ill advised. She maintained a discreet silence.

Source: The Destruction of Convoy PQ17 – David Irving


In the early hours, Britomart, Halcyon and Lotus broke out of the fog and ice, sighting Samuel Chase, Ocean Freedom, Lord Middleton and Northern Gem.

Some 40 miles ahead, SALAMANDER, El Capitan, Hoosier, Lord Austin, Poppy, La Malouine, Zamalek, Palomares and Pozarica also regained clear weather and, yet again miraculously, sighted the remaining 29 survivors from John Witherspoon who had been adrift in two boats for three days.

At 1100 a ‘small convoy’ (the ‘Palomares group’) was reported by the Germans and three U boats homed in on it. Aware it was being trailed, no attempt could be made to detach ships to put the sub down because of an acute shortage of fuel. This group was forced west by the ice and was now steaming south-west (towards the enemy airfields in Norway) in sunshine with 20 miles visibility and light winds. Forty Ju88’s appeared and moved in from different directions while U255 observed from astern. Three bombs damaged Hoosier and she was abandoned, the crew being rescued by La Malouine. With ammunition stocks becoming very low, Russian air cover was requested but no fighters appeared.


0200 El Capitan was damaged by near misses from bombs but continued her journey.

0400 Near misses stopped Zamalek’s engines but no ships were sent back to her. She made good repairs and chased after the group, catching it up to cheers from the other crews.

0600 A lone Ju88 stopped El Capitan with a near miss, her crew being rescued by Lord Austin.

1230 Two Russian destroyers joined and led the remaining ships of the ‘Palomares group’ into Gourlo where they headed for the River Dvina, securing alongside at Archangel at 1600.


1100 Sixteen Ju88’s attacked the second group of Samuel Chase, Ocean freedom, Lotus, Halcyon, Britomart, Lord Middleton and Northern Gem. The attack lasted 90 minutes, brining the Samuel Chase to a standstill. The group now split into two. Britomart and Northern Gem escorted Ocean Freedom while Halcyon took the Samuel Chase in tow and Lord Middleton provided anti-submarine cover.

The Samuel Chase was in serious difficulty. Just after passing Cape Kanin, Halcyon came upon her drifting helplessly. Her master signalled: ‘Two direct hits, three near misses, main steam line broken. Shall we abandon ship?' He replied 'Do not abandon ship - we will take you in tow.' There then followed a very fine piece of seamanship. The minesweeper had reciprocating engines, which enabled her to pull a considerable weight. Very efficiently a strong tow was shot over to Samuel Chase and Halcyon gradually increased engine revolutions and both screws began to thrust; the merchantman began to move. The two vessels made a steady five knots south to the White Sea, ready to cut clear if they should be attacked, until after some hours, the Americans, fired no doubt by the example of the little 1,000 ton sweeper, managed to get their engines going again and finish the journey under their own steam. In recognition of Halcyon's assistance the master of the Samuel Chase asked that the minesweeper be allowed to escort him into harbour, which she did.  

PQ17 Convoy to Hell by Paul Lund and Harry Ludlum

Both groups continued to fight off attacks with Ocean Freedom being damaged by a near miss but not stopped. In the late afternoon, Russian hurricanes at last provided air cover, Hazard and Leda hove into view and two Russian minesweepers joined, taking the weary convoy in to Archangel.


Dvina Bar




The survivors from the Honomu were rescued by Halcyon, SALAMANDER and Hazard - extract from PQ17 Convoy to Hell by Paul Lund and Harry Ludlum

‘One of the most dramatic rescues was made high up in the Barents Sea by SALAMANDER and Halcyon, along with a third minesweeper, Hazard. A Russian Catalina out on patrol had spotted three rafts and radioed back their position with an estimate of the direction on which they would drift. The three sweepers were sent out from Archangel to find them. They were given nine days for the search as they were needed for minesweeping work. This gave them three days to reach the area, three days to look for the rafts, and three days to return. 

On reaching the area of search the three ships found perfect weather but the first twenty-four hours of vigilance slipped fruitlessly by and everyone was beginning to feel disheartened. 'What sort of fools errand is this?' was the question asked on Halcyon. Every man was badly strained and tired after the activities of the past two weeks; no one had had more than four hours sleep for what seemed years. However, they were fortunate in having absolute quiet for their search on the sunlit sea, for no U-boat echoed on the Asdics, no bomber marred the blue sky. As they got back into regular routine men's spirits rose and they began to take an interest.

In the afternoon that began the third day of the box search the atmosphere was tense. The night hours passed quietly, the sun just on the horizon shedding on the ripples of the sea a path of crinkling gold liquid. It was an eerie scene and there was a sudden inexplicable feeling that they might find the lost seamen after all. This despite the fact that the survivors had been afloat for thirteen days, and the minesweepers were only going on calculations made a week before by the Russian pilot. Though they were tackling the impossible, excitement mounted and hopes rose as the short time grew shorter.  

But at 7.30 a.m. the black Arctic fog descended. This seemed the end. Their time was up at noon and they were helpless in the fog. All they could do now was to feel their way and hope. At 8.15 a.m. on Halcyon there was the usual anti-freeze routine on the guns, a few test rounds being fired by each. Now, all those not on watch below came and stood shivering on the upper deck, either cursing the fog or silently praying for it to rise. Sometimes it would lift just enough to let them see SALAMANDER, but not Hazard which lay 200 yards farther off. At 11 a.m. the coxswain served the rum and all went below for their tot, then returned. There was no argument or lively banter as usual, just a strained silence.

Halcyon's captain had ordered the Very pistols fired. He now sent the signal for the last lap. For this last half hour everyone lined the rails, watching waiting, praying; and at a quarter to twelve, just fifteen minutes to go, a miracle happened. The fog lifted. First they saw SALAMANDER, and then Hazard's ghostly shape appeared. A faint cheer sounded - or was it their overstretched imagination? No, it was not, for right between each ship was a raft crammed with men waving weakly. They began to shout 'God Save the King! We knew you would save us'. They had heard the gunfire and paddled wearily towards it.

The sweepers dropped their scrambling nets. On SALAMANDER a seaman missed with his first attempt to throw a line to one of the rafts. 'Limey', said a cracked and dry voice, 'I have been on this raft for thirteen days and could do better than that!' After taking thirteen men from one raft - there were more than thirty survivors in all from S.S. Honomu - SALAMANDER moved off to drop depth charges in case a U-boat was near. Aboard Halcyon the survivors were too weak, and their feet too swollen, to stand, but otherwise they were in surprisingly good shape; from the first day they had taken turns at four hours on the paddles and four off, and during the off period had washed their deadening feet with salt water. Only a coloured who would not do this later lost part of his foot with frostbite. The U-boat which sank Honomu had surfaced on the third and sixth days of their ordeal, giving them more water.’  


Kola Inlet


With 21 survivors from Honomu


Wednesday 22nd. Halcyon, Salamander, 4 sub chasers and 3 merchant ships on way to Archangel ‑ no scares. Weather very misty ‑ mist came on thicker at night and we had to drop anchor for the night. 

Thursday 23rd. Still at anchor waiting for fog to clear. Fog cleared about 1030 ‑weighed anchor and on way. One merchantman broke down. Salamander stopped with her and we went on with the others.

Diary of LSBA William Maslen, HMS Halcyon    © Pauline Maslen MMIV






A great morale booster for us while we lay alongside, came after a get-together of the officers from the fleet sweepers, and the three trawlers to help to try and get rid of the boredom that was creeping gradually over us all, both officers and men alike. They came up with the idea of holding inter-ship sports of various kinds; in some of the sports the trawlers were classed as one ship, the men from all three who wished to take part putting their names down for any type of sport which took their fancy, and were then chosen for a team to represent us all. This made for great rivalry, and despite the weather, we enjoyed some good sport and fun, either by taking part, or by just watching and cheering the teams on to do their best aided by some ribald comments.

The Northern Gem's own newspaper, the Sunday Buzz, Vol 1. No 1, for Sunday 2nd August 1942, gives this story and the following list of results:-

Sports. . . Despite inclement weather, we have enjoyed some good sport during the past week, in which the trawlers have by no means disgraced themselves. For the benefit of future historians the results are summarised below. We hope that these events are only the forerunners of a series of contests, thoughtfully provided to relieve the monotony of our sojourn.

Whaler Pulling


Whaler-cum- Canoe Race


(1) Halcyon

(1) Halcyon

(1) Halcyon

(1) Britomart

(2) Trawlers

(2) Britomart

(2) Leda

(2) Leda

(3) Britomart

(3) Leda

(3) Trawlers

(3) Trawlers

(4) Leda

(4) Northern Gem


(4) Halcyon

(5) Lord Middleton

(5) Britomart



Tug of War:  At the time of going to press this event had not been held.  

Source: http://www.naval-history.net/WW2Memoir-RussianConvoyCoxswain06.htm
Source: COXSWAIN IN THE NORTHERN CONVOYS  S.A. Kerslake (Northern Gem) published by William Kimber, 1984






Kola Inlet


HMS Bramble (MS1), Seagull, Hazard, SALAMANDER, Blankney, and Middleton arrived from Archangel at 2300 on 23rd August bringing about 402 survivors with them including 30 hospital cases. 

On account of the increasing air activity in the Kola Inlet, the prospect of having these ships here was not one that I enjoyed. Their arrival was timed for the darkest part of the night (it is still light enough to read a newspaper between 2300 and 0100 in clear weather) when German air activity was at its lowest, allowing the safe transfer of survivors and stores. After completing their transfers the four Halcyon minesweepers moved out to 'hide' under Kildin Island before daylight.

Report of SBNO North Russia Aug 1942






Tuesday 8th. September Went to sea at 0645. Sweeping with "Sally" [Salamander]. AM guard and minewatching at night.

Diary of LSBA William Maslen, HMS Halcyon    © Pauline Maslen MMIV


Britomart, Halcyon, Hazard and SALAMANDER joined QP14 (20 ships) from Archangel as local eastern escort. The ocean escort included Bramble, Seagull (until 26/9) and Leda (sunk on 20/9).


Britomart, Halcyon, Hazard and SALAMANDER joined PQ18 as local eastern escort.


25th Friday. September At sea. Patrol ‑ HalcyonSally [Salamander] and 2 Corvettes. Merchant ships stuck at bar. A.S. patrol. 

26th Saturday. Sally and 2 Corvettes returned to harbour but we stopped minewatching.

Diary of LSBA William Maslen, HMS Halcyon    © Pauline Maslen MMIV


SALAMANDER joined QP15 (28 ships) as ocean escort with Halcyon, Hazard, Britomart and Sharpshooter. 

Click Here for Escort Orders


QP15 ran into severe weather. 

‘QP15 taught me that there is nothing like the sea for cultivating humility.’ 

‘…all zigzagging was abandoned as we met the fury of a full gale hurled at us with hurricane force. Monstrous waves nearly mast high. Gradually we lost touch with the convoy realizing that in these extreme conditions it was to be every man for himself. Below decks was chaos as the ship rolled up to 45˚. Then a mooring wire was carried away and wrapped itself around the port screw, stopping the engine. Then a miracle occurred and the wire untangled itself. Then the steering linkage broke and we had to use the engines to steer. The situation was critical. We were close to breaking point. Drifting towards the Norwegian coast and the German airfields. Repairs were made and we set course slowly for Scapa to husband our fuel reserves.  

Then sea water started leaking into the boilers. We had to stop the engines and repair the leaks (three holes were plugged using matchsticks), We were sitting ducks while we waited. When the repairs were completed, we proceeded to Scapa and met some destroyers. An earlier search for us by destroyers had returned to Scapa with negative news and it was assumed that we had been sunk.  

Our survival was miraculous, we realized it, looking at the missing guard rails, the bent stanchions and widespread damage above deck, and remembering the chaos on the messdecks, the sickening rolls and the shuddering of the hull. Never was Scapa so welcome.’ 

Extracts from the Diary of Leading Signalman V Shackleton, HMS SALAMANDER  IWM Ref 5148 96/22/1
See also
press cutting from Daily Herald 2.1.43 – One Ship Against the Arctic by A J McWhinnie. 


0145 Convoy reached position Lat 75.06N Long 45.02E. Weather deteriorating, wind shifted to SSE force 7, wind and snow squalls. Visibility poor. Between squalls alteration of course at position CC was made to all ships.

1600 Convoy at position CC (Lat 75.06N, Long 40.36E). Necessary alteration of course was made for position DD. On this course the wind and sea were two points abaft the beam on the port side and ships were labouring considerably. Wind SSE force 7, frequent heavy wind and snow squalls of force 8/9, very high sea, visibility very poor and reduced to zero during squalls. Fog signal sounded at 15 minute intervals and leaders of columns to windward were heard but none from columns to leeward. By 1830 no fog signals from other ships were heard. 2200 Wind decreasing in violence, squalls less frequent but heavy confused seas running. 

Extract from ADM 237/166 Convoy PQ15, QP15 Report of Commodore Wm C Meeks


1150 SALAMANDER with several ships in company and steering on south-easterly course passed close astern from starboard to port. SALAMANDER signalled new route (via south of Bear Island) and gave her course as 225º. Visibility was low at the time and it was not certain that the whole signal was received. Course was immediately altered to 225º in an endeavour to keep contact with this party. 1200 Lat 75.06N,  Long 28.58E.

1300 Several merchant ships were dimly sighted on port beam and taken to be the SALAMANDER party. When called by Aldis Lamp a reply was received from Bryony stating that Sharpshooter with ten ships was there. Bryony took station on port bow. Ships on port side were lost sight of in darkness and haze.

Extract from ADM 237/166 Convoy PQ15, QP15 Report of Commodore Wm C Meeks


Even from the interchange of the few signals I had had first with SALAMANDER and now with Halcyon I could not but be impressed by the cheerful way in which these very small ships were coping with their difficulties. With so little reserve of speed, conditions in these vessels must have been even worse than in a destroyer. Halcyon must have wondered more than once what happened when his fuel gave out in a position of which he was very unsure; and I would like to express my admiration for the manner in which these small ships carry out their vital, arduous and unglamorous work. 

From Convoy Report by Rear Admiral L H K Hamilton Rear Admiral Commanding First Cruiser Squadron (ADM 199/721):


SALAMANDER developed serious condenser trouble and the destroyers FORESTER and IMPULSIVE stood by her until she had effected repairs. She reached Iceland and eventually Scapa Flow with HALCYON in company.




Halcyon, Britomart, SALAMANDER and Hazard making good defects.








6/12 SALAMANDER suffered a fatality while in Aberdeen when Stoker 1st Class Richard Dalton SPENCER (D/KX 80427, aged 30, from Bristol) fell from a gangway into the river, striking his head while falling.

My father, John Twigg, was with Stoker 1st class Richard Spencer when he fell and drowned in Aberdeen harbour. Source: Roger Twigg (son)

Taken in hand 7/12 refit Aberdeen. D of C 12/2

HMS Salamander


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