Halcyon Class Minesweepers HMS Scott 1944
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HMS Scott 1944 - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Scott 1944 (Ritchie)

 HMS SCOTT Principal Surveys 1944

J M Sharpey-Schafer

S J Hennessey

Scotland, East Coast.

English Channel

Firth of Forth.

Normandy landings; North French ports.


Source: ADM 101/668

HMS SCOTT Medical Officer’s Journal 1st Jan – 31st Mar 1944 (Extracts) 

Medical Officer R T James 

General Remarks 

Meteorological: January and February were months of damp and cold most of the time. Mist and sleet were common. Snow was encountered in the latter part of February. March provided fine weather and good conditions with occasional rain.

Engine room max temp 108˚
Boiler room max temp 98˚ under steam 

Lectures: None delivered during this quarter 

Vermin: No vermin reported during this quarter. 

General Conditions:

  1. Opportunities for organised and un-organised exercise have been many, and fully used, especially since the arrival of a very keen Sports Officer, in the person of S/Lt Thomson RN. Surveying work had been carried out in good weather.
  2. Good weather has also permitted the full use of all natural ventilation in the ship during the long periods that she has spent in harbour.
  3. Fresh vegetables and milk have been obtained, and eggs and oranges have proved a welcome addition to the diet.
  4. Standard of cleanliness is excellent.

Attending List:

            No cases of note. Approx 70 men treated. Mostly minor infections of the respiratory tract, and common skin conditions. Dental treatment has been arranged for approx 30 men. Spectacles have been issued to four.  

Boats and Floats, First Aid Boxes in:

Besides their function as lifeboats, the ship’s boats, of which there are seven, during a normal survey, work away from the ship for long periods. The work which the ship will be called upon to perform in the event of landings on the European coast may entail their working away from her for longer periods and in dangerous waters, possibly out of contact with medical organisations of any service. 

First aid boxes have therefore been re-packed and made watertight and placed in five of the boats (those which are likely to be isolated as described). Each box contains instructions for the use of the materials and for the use of survivors at sea. The three Carley floats have been supplied with tins (two to each float) which contain stores and instructions.

Officers and men are to receive instructions in the use of first aid materials supplied in the boxes.


CLICK HERE to see Standing Orders for RESCUE OF SURVIVORS 

CLICK HERE to see Standing Orders for FIRST AID IN ACTION 

HMS Scott January 1944 (IWM FL 18808) - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Scott January 1944
(IWM FL 18808)

Date of Arrival


Date of Departure

Orders, Remarks etc

















By February 1944 I was first lieutenant of H.M.S. SCOTT which, with FRANKLIN, was one of only two surveying vessels in commission in Home Waters. It was generally understood both ships would be involved in the landings in Europe which were to open the Second Front, by now clearly in preparation. 

SCOTT took part in two very cold invasion exercises in the Firth of Forth: a battalion of infantry was landed on the beaches at Gullane, and the port of Methil was 'taken' from the sea. The landing techniques were still somewhat tentative and I was far from clear as a result of these exercises what our roIe in the invasion was to be. In early March the ship moved to Larn ostensibly to survey the port, but it became apparent that Northern Ireland was our 'holding area' for greater things to come.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie 









Source: ADM 101/668

HMS SCOTT Medical Officer’s Journal 1st Apr– 30th June 1944 (Extracts) 

Medical Officer R T James 

General Remarks 

Attending List: Total of 126 individual cases, none of which unusual. 47 accounted for by widespread ‘toe rot’, found at half yearly examinations, 9 other skin conditions, one case of scabies.

Dental treatment arranged for 14. Much remains to be done, but pressure of work on shore establishments does not permit of rapid completion.

Vaccinations : 25. Inoculations: 40, one refusal (notified).

Routine examinations: drafting – 10; joining – 25; half yearly – 117. 

Meteorological: This quarter was generally fine, with some very fine periods. There were many days of wind and rain, and from 19th to 21st June, a full gale. 

Maximum Engine Room temperature (under steam) 115˚
Maximum Boiler Room temperature (under steam) 110˚

Lectures: First aid lectures and demonstrations were given to the ship’s company in general and to the boat’s crews in particular, who are always liable to isolation from the ship for periods of hours. An intensive course of lectures and practices was given to the First Aid Parties, in which the assistance of L/SBA Carter was invaluable – he has 20 years in active first aid experience on which to draw. Anti-gas organization has been brought up to date, and the first aid parties practiced in the decontamination and treatment of gas casualties or contaminated wounded, working with the general ship’s decontamination parties.

The blood groups of the whole ship’s company have been determined, the distribution was found to be the same as that in the UK as a whole. Cross matching technique has been practiced, using the RN Blood Transfusion Unit centrifuge, reliable results being obtained in 20-25 minutes. Donors were asked for, and no less than 36 names received, in Group 4 alone. 

Vermin: A few cockroaches have appeared in the CPO’s mess, but their numbers are being steadily reduced.

General Conditions: Opportunities for sport have been fewer in the latter part of this quarter, but every advantage has been taken of those available. Sailing, boat pulling and bathing when the weather permits. A fol-bot has proved very popular. Lately lack of exercise has produced in some proportion constipation.

Fresh vegetable and fruit have not been procurable in the last month.

Fine weather has enabled the natural ventilation of the ship to be used fully. Cleanliness remains at a high standard. The ship has been taking part in the Normandy landings and during the leave-less and mail-less periods during this operation, the ship’s cinema has proved a very welcome interest. 

In mid‑April we (SCOTT) were ordered to Lough Foyle where shoaling in the long approach channel to the berths at Lisahally was causing difficulties for the many frigates now based there.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie






Milford Haven



Before D‑day Edgell issued his instructions to the surveying forces to be engaged. They were in very general terms, detailing the ships and craft to specific forces and tasks, and then telling them to be ready to act in accordance with the wishes and needs of the various force commanders to which they were attached. They were as follows : 

SCOTT, under Hennessey, and the pilot cutter Astral, under Wood, based at Portsmouth, were to lay the pre‑assault buoys, assisted by the Trinity House vessels Warden, Discovery II, Alert, G.de Joli and A. Blondel, and then to stand by to assist the survey party for the western, US Mulberry off St Laurent. Thereafter SCOTT was to survey minor ports as they were captured and to be ready to work for the opening of Cherbourg and ports west of the Cotentin. Astral would maintain the swept channel buoyage and survey and mark any wrecks. 

Franklin, under Irving, was held in reserve at the Nore during the assault, and would then support the detailed survey of the site for the Arromanches Mulberry and follow up with port surveys to the east, hopefully culminating in opening Le Havre.

Source: EXTRACTS from: Charts and Surveys in Peace and War – The History of the RN Hydrographic Service 1919 – 1970 by Rear Admiral R O Morris CB


By 22nd May SCOTT lay anchored, with many other vessels, in the Solent and, as all leave was now cancelled, our captain, Commander Syd Hennessey, my old tutor of Herald days, was able to tell the ship's company something of our task in 'Operation Neptune' which was hourly awaited. The main object of the operation was to land British and American armies across the beaches of the Bay of Seine; to facilitate this two military ports were to be established off the open coast. To form the breakwaters for such a port it was planned to sink blockships and concrete caissons, the latter, known as 'Phoenix', being towed across the Channel to be sunk in their assigned positions on arrival.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie

In June 1944, SCOTT sailed from Spithead in the van of Invasion Fleet and D-Day found her laying marker buoys in the approaches to the invasion beaches and charting obstructions and natural dangers off the Normandy Coast. SCOTT also assisted with the construction of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches by fixing the positions of the Block Ships and Phoenix Piers. Only a few days after this harbour was complete, SCOTT's chart of Arromanches wartime harbour was available to the fleet.

On D‑Day itself everything went, hydrographically, according to plan. Thereafter the AGA buoys used initially to mark the channels (similar to clan buoys and thus light enough to be carried and laid by the smaller survey ships and craft) proved both too inconspicuous and too easily carried away when struck by passing vessels. They were replaced by a smaller number of navigational buoys, laid by the Trinity House tenders, and by two lightships at key points. Until this could be done SCOTT and Astral were kept busy replacing AGAs.

Source: EXTRACTS from: Charts and Surveys in Peace and War – The History of the RN Hydrographic Service 1919 – 1970 by Rear Admiral R O Morris CB


Shortly before dawn on 6th June 1944 SCOTT weighed anchor, and at her best speed of fifteen knots joined a veritable armada streaming out to sea. Southwards we sailed, flanked as far as the eye could see by landing craft loaded with troops buffeting into a boisterous sea with white spray flying. Our first assignment began at 'Piccadilly Circus', half way across the Channel, where the leading assault craft had closed in behind the minesweepers that had been clearing mines from the channels running in towards the beaches for the past thirty‑six hours. From there on our task was to lay a series of acetylene gas accumulator lighted navigation buoys (AGAs) at regular intervals astern of the minesweepers to mark the centre of the main swept channel into Arromanches. 

Whilst SCOTT had lain in the Solent a small blue box, to which was connected an insignificant copper wire aerial strung to the yardarm, had been brought aboard; only the captain and navigator were instructed in its use. As we moved southwards into the Bay of Seine the navigator called me to the charthouse to be initiated into the mysteries of 'QM'. Two dials on the box, later known as the 'blue gasmeter', provided him with constantly changing numbers which he read off at intervals, using them to plot the ship's position with reference to two sets of numbered hyperbolic curves overprinted on the navigational chart. To me it savoured of pure magic. 

At the earliest stages of planning an invasion of north‑west Europe it became clear that some type of ship location other than visual would be required to control the extensive pre‑invasion minesweeping by day and night within the ebb and flow of the strong tidal streams of the English Channel. The task of the minesweeping force was to establish exact swept channels leading the assault ships and craft infallibly to their assigned beaches. 

As we moved in towards the beaches we could hear a constant rumble of gunfire ashore as the invading infantry spread out like thousands of ants scrambling up over the low sand dunes from their beached assault craft. We recognised the uniquely diverse houses of the region used by Berncastle and Glen for their reconnaissance survey and which we would employ for the survey of the harbour that was so soon to be established as Mulberry B off Arromanches. One of the seaside homes was partially destroyed, whilst smoke billowed from another. 

Our first task was to lay a floating beacon to mark the western side of the harbour entrance as a datum point for the sinking of Phoenix to form the western breakwater. Next we located and marked the wreck of the Norwegian minesweeper Svener which had been sunk earlier that morning in the approaches to the proposed harbour. We then had further Aga buoys to lay in assigned positions to facilitate navigation in the inshore waters, which became increasingly congested as more and more vessels of every kind arrived to perform their allotted tasks.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie


By D+2 Lieutenant Glen had positioned and sunk the first of a dozen or so blockships which were to form the eastern breakwater; and Lieutenant Commander Lansdown had arrived in his surveying motor launch to begin the survey of the port, which was developing daily on the plan that had been based upon the reconnaissance survey. Teams from SCOTT, using our surveying boats, augmented Lansdown's sounding work

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie


Mulberry Harbour


Six hundred tons of military stores had been landed at the 'spud' piers, which had been constructed within the eastern part of the port before a great north-easterly gale struck on D plus 13 and brought every activity to a halt for three days. With the boats hoisted we lay to both anchors and watched our bearings, only about three cables under the lee of the western breakwater, as we prayed the Phoenix would withstand the ferocity of the waves that broke continually upon them. A ragged line of figures stood by guardrails on the nearest caisson waving pathetically towards us: whatever their needs, food or warmth, we were powerless to help. Their evacuation from the Phoenix had been frustrated by the onset of the gale. Close westwards of us a destroyer, unprotected by the Phoenix breakwater, dragged rapidly and hopelessly ashore and soon lay wrecked broadside on the rocks. 

In the aftermath of the gale the beaches were scattered with wrecked landing craft of every description, including Dukws, one of which we salvaged for use as an extra survey boat. Many of the Aga buoys marking the continually searched channels had dragged from their positions during the gale and these had to be re-sited until Trinity House vessels, now arriving, could lay larger and more heavily moored navigation buoys as replacements.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie 


Early in July SCOTT sailed westwards to Mulberry A in the Western Assault Area to buoy mark a number of newly sunk wrecks. Contact was made there with Lieutenant Commander Passmore, in his survey launch GuInare, who was urgently in need of stores and assistance as he surveyed the developing port area.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie






19/6 SCOTT is to be relieved from assault area after 1st July by Franklin. 

As SCOTT had been either underway or under short notice for steam for five weeks boiler cleaning and minor repairs were necessary so she was ordered to Chatham Dockyard.

SCOTT acted as mother ship to the smaller survey units until she moved west to work in the approaches to Cherbourg, being relieved off Arromanches by Franklin


Source: ADM 101/668

HMS SCOTT Medical Officer’s Journal 1st Jul– 30th Sept 1944 (Extracts) 

General Remarks 

Meteorological. Weather has been fair during most of this quarter, and in August, while the ship was in France, very fine indeed. In the last two weeks it has become more Autumnal. 

Max Eng Room Temp (under steam) 115˚ , Boiler Room 113˚. 

Lectures: No health lectures given. Warnings regarding water, food, diseases etc ashore in Brittany were promulgated. This information was kindly provided by the US Naval Medical authorities, who were also of assistance with regard to treatment. 

Vermin: Cockroaches were reported in the ship’s galley, but energetic action soon cleared them away. No vermin were picked up as a result of contact with persons ashore. 

Exercise etc: While in Brittany, fresh provisions were easily obtained, with fresh sea and shell fish. Weather has been good enough to permit of bathing, cricket and football (one game played against the FFI. Boat pulling and sailing, and canoeing have also been popular. During this quarter the ship’s company have had eight days leave. Bedding has been aired. 

Attending List:  55 cases treated, no unusual conditions. 20 men received dental treatment, 18 treated for minor injuries. 45 inoculations performed. One rating made unfit for duty in surveying ships. 

The ship remained for some time at Carentec, Finistere. During our stay the US Naval Medical authorities established a 25 bed Sick Quarters ashore in the village, equipped for major surgical procedures but not for radiography, in charge of two medical officers. A US field hospital has been established at Morlaix, eight miles away by road, to which cases may be sent for X-rays. When we left a jetty was under construction, so that there should now be no difficulty in landing cases. Previously this had to be done by beaching boats, or by dukw at high water, or by small craft up the river to Morlaix itself, again when the depth of water permitted.  





10/7 Taken in hand for boiler cleaning Chatham




30/7 SCOTT to be sailed to Loch Ryan previous to surveying duty in Overlord










Our next mission was to Cherbourg, which had been in the hands of the U.S. Army since D+20. Our main task was to locate and survey suitable sites in the vicinity of Cherbourg for the landing of 'Pluto' (pipeline under the ocean) an ingenious petroleum supply line which was shortly to be laid from huge floating bobbins, each holding seventy miles of flexible pipe, as they were towed across the Channel from the Isle of Wight. 

A new form of anti‑boat mine had been laid by the enemy at Cherbourg. From a mine laid on the seabed, green buoyant snag lines trailed near the surface ready to foul a passing boat's propellers. This called for a sharp‑eyed lookout in the bows of the sounding boats. 

On completion of work at Cherbourg SCOTT was ordered by signal to return to Plymouth, but before sailing a countermanding signal came diverting us to Morlaix in Brittany...

...The Germans were doggedly holding out in the great naval port of Brest under continual bombardment from U. S. artillery surrounding the fortress city. U‑boats, operating from their heavily protected submarine pens, were still a severe menace to the Allied supply lines in the Eastern Atlantic. The siege could be a protracted one as every round of ammunition had to be carried 350 kilometres by road from Cherbourg, diverting vital transport from the United States First and Third Armies which were now thrusting south and east into the heart of France. If ammunition could be landed from ships moored in the Morlaix River, only sixty kilometres east of Brest, the shortening of the supply lines would be dramatic. 

The range of the tide at Morlaix is about twelve metres so that the estuary varies from a great expanse of sheltered water to a narrow river channel winding through a waste of mudflats depending on the state of the tide. The plan was to berth Liberty ships at mooring buoys placed in the deep river channel so that their military cargoes could be discharged into a fleet of Dukws to be landed across the mudflats. Our objective therefore was to verify the approach channel southwards through the Baie de Morlaix, where the rocky pinnacled seafloor provides many a hidden danger, and then to delineate exactly the deep river channel within so that the mooring buoys could be precisely sited to provide the maximum number of berths for the ships. 

An unexpectedly easy recovery of French triangulation stations, together with the augmentation of our little squadron of three sounding boats by two U.S. Dukws fitted with echo‑sounders, enabled the survey to be completed and plotted within a week. This necessitated the ship remaining at anchor in the river for a further few days awaiting the arrival of the mooring craft with the buoys. This brief period turned out to be an oasis of happiness in the wartime desert. 

During the search for triangulation stations we had been welcomed everywhere by the local peasantry who. since the Germans' hurried departure, had been virtually leap‑frogged by the Americans on their way to Brest. During the waiting period therefore our captain suggested that officers and men might wish to go ashore on either side of the river to meet the French people emerging from their long ordeal. 

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie




27/9 It is intended to withdraw SCOTT from control of CTF125 temporarily

29/9 C in C Plymouth is requested to sail SCOTT to Dieppe. SCOTT should be prepared to land an advance survey party to proceed to Boulogne by land as arranged by FOBAA. N O i/c Dieppe should then sail SCOTT to Dover.









From now on SCOTT and FRANKLIN divided the task of surveying the ports along the north coast of France as each was taken by the First Canadian or the Second British Army; all the facilities were extensively damaged by the departing enemy, blockships were sunk, locks were destroyed and debris bulldozed into the alongside berths. FRANKLIN dealt with Dieppe, Le Havre and the River Seine, while SCOTT was to be responsible for Boulogne and Calais, moving our base from Plymouth to Dover. Our work followed to a greater degree the pattern established by our units in North Africa and Italy, where, as soon as the port fell to our forces, we attempted to get an advanced survey party in by road, or along the coast by Dukw.

I was landed at Dieppe on 1st October with an advance party to make my way to Boulogne using a Dukw for the preliminary survey. Our work here was to be of particular importance because no less than sixteen Pluto lines were to be laid across the Channel to their terminal in Boulogne. I found that the Germans had sunk about twenty blockships across the entrance to the inner harbour with many other wrecks littering the Rade Carnot, the outer roadstead.

To facilitate our work we were provided with copies of the largest scale French charts with details in the water areas blocked out to permit the entry of our own work. A basic triangulation was put together by observations from, or into, still existing conspicuous buildings such as lighthouses, church steeples and water towers from which secondary marks around the quays could be fixed. By the time, a week later, that the minesweepers gave clearance for SCOTT and three salvage vessels to anchor in the Rade I had completed the preliminaries and the ship's boats were able to assist the salvage teams in their massive task of harbour clearance.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie 

Source: ADM 101/668 

HMS SCOTT Medical Officer's Journal 1st Oct– 31st Dec 1944 (Extracts) 

Surgeon Lt R T James RNVR 

General Remarks 

DANSIE Charles Brandon, Lt RN, age 23

WHITMORE Walter G, PO (Temp) C/JX 144194, age 25

PECKITT Thomas, Ldg/Sea (Temp) C/SSX 33242, age 26

RICHARDS Leslie F, AB (Actg) C/JX 548878, age 18

FLYNN John O, Sto 1st C, C/KX 143595, age 19 

These men formed the volunteer crew of one of the ship’s motorboats which put to sea during a gale on the night of 13.10.44, in an attempt to rescue 

            BOOTH John A, Lt Cdr RNR (O.C. BYMS 2215)

            EDWARDS Ronald Charles, Marine, CH/X 101993, age 22

            NICHOLSON John James, Marine, CH/X 106325, age 32, 

who were adrift in a dory. Both boats were lost. A court of enquiry was held by N.O. i/c Boulogne on 14.10.44. All bodies were recovered with the exception of those of Lt Cdr Booth and Ldg/Sea Peckitt, who are presumed drowned.

Those recovered were seen by me on 16.10.44. The appearance was consistent with death by drowning.......... all were identifiable by facial appearances and also by personal possessions. The funerals took place on 17.10 44 and is being reported by N.O. i/c Boulogne. At the request of the Mayor of Ambleteuse, Pas De Calais, where the bodies were washed ashore, the cause of death was certified by me on the forms required by the French civil authorities.

[They are buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, Plot 11 Row C Graves 8 – 13]

Attending List:
About 100 fresh entries in this quarter, none of any great interest. Dental appointments for 21 have been arranged, and dentures issued in three cases. Spectacles have been issued to one rating. 

Meteorological: October. Weather poor becoming very bad, with gales. November: generally poor in first week, becoming colder and very wet in last week. December: Cold and wet (rain, hail, sleet) improving temporarily then becoming very cold (UK). 

Vermin: Cockroaches in large numbers appeared in galley, PO’s mess, starboard mess deck and officers’ bathroom. Energetic cleaning and disinfection appear to have succeeded in clearing them away. A.L.63 with DDT has been demanded. 

General Conditions: Messing remains very good and the food is of a satisfactory variety. Opportunities for organized games have been fewer but full advantage has been taken of those available. The football team has now played in France, Belgium and Holland. There have been opportunities for night leave on the continent, but conditions ashore have not proved greatly attractive. Three days leave given to a third of the ship’s company and later ten days to the whole ship around Christmastime.

SCOTT came east to open Calais and Boulogne, where the entrance was blocked by no less than 26 sunken ships. It was at Boulogne that one of the few fatalities of the campaign for the survey ships occurred when a boat and her crew of five were lost in heavy weather going to the assistance of another boat in difficulties.

Source: EXTRACTS from: Charts and Surveys in Peace and War – The History of the RN Hydrographic Service 1919 – 1970 by Rear Admiral R O Morris CB


We remained at Boulogne for the month of October and on one fatal night a westerly gale required that the boats be hoisted whilst we rode out the gale at anchor in the roadstead. As dusk fell we were amazed to see three soldiers in an open service dory making towards us from the shore. The seas were breaking over the craft and when only a couple or so cables distant a wave snuffed out the outboard motor and as the three men struggled to get their oars out the craft drifted rapidly downwind. Securing a lifebelt to the end of a grassline we paid it out astern, but the grasping hands of the soldiers failed by a few feet only to secure the lifebelt and they scudded rapidly and hopelessly into the gloom. 

The captain had called away the lifeboat's crew to man Penguin, the port survey boat secured at the davit heads. By the time I got to the boatdeck Leading Seaman Peckett, Penguin's coxswain, had got his crew into the boat and Lieutenant Charles Dansie, a young surveying officer who had volunteered and had been briefed by the captain, was climbing in. I gave the order to lower and as the boat reached the waves her experienced crew neatly unhooked the falls, the engine started at a touch, and in moments the headrope was cast off. Penguin turned downwind and disappeared into the night. 

The Rade Camot obtains some protection from a long mole running from the western shore before curving north eastwards. To the east the Germans had established some form of protection boom, now in considerable disarray with half submerged massive metal buoys and a tangle of wires between them fouling the area. These buoys provided a plethora of targets on the ship's radar and Penguin was lost in the clutter, made worse by the considerable sea running. We saw for a while the boat's Aldis signalling lamp searching across the turbulent waters; but then nothing. 

It was impossible to take the ship into the tangle of booms in the shallow waters where Penguin's searching light had last been seen. All that could be done was to scan and scan again with radar and binoculars through the long night until dawn revealed nothing but the grey seas breaking on the jumble of rusty red buoys. Only when a shore party searched the eastern beaches was the terrible evidence discovered. Eight bodies, including five of the finest men in our company, and a few broken planks from Penguin's hull, bore testimony to a ghastly collision with the derelict German boom during a desperate attempt to rescue three British soldiers. Thousands had died from enemy action since D‑Day, but this tragedy had come upon us from no such cause. We never found out why the soldiers were coming out to SCOTT on such a wild night.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie






With work completed in Boulogne by the end of October, a detached survey party was sent on by Dukw to Calais where the ship was able to enter a week later. Due to enemy demolition there were no wharves alongside which a vessel could lie, but good berthing was found by breasting the ship off with anchors and lying about fifteen feet off the damaged Gare Maritime.

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie




12/11 SCOTT will be available on completion of Calais survey about 15/11




To Ostend

Nearly a month before Calais fell to our forces on 30th September, a British armoured column had swept on to take Antwerp, perhaps the most important supply base in the whole campaign, but its use was denied as the Germans were still entrenched on the banks of the lower Scheldt River which gives access to the port of Antwerp. 

Minesweepers at Terneuzen

Three lines of blockships had been sunk in the harbour entrance to Ostend which the salvage teams disposed of by massive demolition charges. When FRANKLIN was able to enter Ostend, Egg, in his forceful style, sent on one of his survey boats on a tank transporter to Ghent whence it sailed along the canals to Terneuzen, to begin the survey of this important basin on the south bank of the Scheldt. The glorious assault on Walcheren Island on Ist November by the Canadian Army and Royal Marine Commandos succeeded in removing the Germans from the banks of the Scheldt and the minesweepers immediately moved in to clear the seventy miles of channel from the sea upriver to Antwerp. FRANKLIN and SCOTT moved up to Terneuzen at the end of November and together were engaged on wreck location and marking, reinstating the buoyage and sounding the seventy‑mile long channel, permitting the arrival in Antwerp of the first convoy of Liberty ships in mid‑December when SCOTT sailed for Chatham for boiler cleaning, minor repairs ‑ and Christmas leave!

Extract from ‘No Day Too Long’, G S Ritchie


Terneuzen (Scheldt)






23/12 Revised date of completion is 30/12


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