Halcyon Class Minesweepers

HMS Skipjack

Skipjack Pre-War
Skipjack 1939
Skipjack 1940
Skipjack - Crew


HMS Skipjack 1934 - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Skipjack 1934

Summary of History

Skipjack (J38) was laid down on 4th April 1933 at John Brown Clydebank and commissioned on 3rd May 1935. She joined the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla and sailed to Alexandria, returning to Portland in April 1936. She then carried out the usual range of exercises until entering the Nore Reserve in April 1938. In September 1938 she commissioned with a full active service crew because of the International situation, returning to her former status on 29th October 1938. She again recommissioned on 15th June 1939 and joined the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla operating from Harwich and Grimsby for the first few months of the war.

In January 1940 SKIPJACK sailed to Invergordon where she was involved in two collisions requiring minor repairs. On 3rd Feb 1940, while sweeping with her two sister ships HMS Sphinx and HMS Speedwell, three enemy aircraft attacked the flotilla. Three separate attacks were made on SKIPJACK, the first and last from aft and the second from ahead, with intervals of about five minutes between attacks. In the first attack two bombs were dropped, one large and one small, both missed on either quarter at about 10 feet distance. In the second attack one small bomb was dropped which missed about 30 feet on the starboard bow. Each attack on SKIPJACK was accompanied by intense machine gun fire, the ship being repeatedly hit though no casualties were sustained. Sphinx was badly damaged and despite several attempts to tow her to port she later sank.

SKIPJACK then spent five weeks refitting at Grimsby and then sailed for Dover on 26th May in preparation for the evacuation of Dunkirk. On 1st June she was off Dunkirk (La Panne) and was subjected to repeated air attacks. Except when troops were boarding she circled at full speed to avoid the attacks. By 0800 only 12 rounds of 4" ammunition were left for each gun. By 0844, 275 troops had boarded when ten Ju88's attacked SKIPJACK and she was hit by two bombs. She lost way and developed a heavy list to port. Another three bombs hit the ship and at 0849 she turned turtle, remaining afloat for about 20 minutes. Survivors in the water were attacked by enemy aircraft. The majority of the troops were trapped in the hull. Nineteen crew and 275 troops were killed.


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This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012