British Yard Mine Sweeper
BRITISH YARD MINE SWEEPERS
BYMS’s were built in the United States and transferred the Royal Navy under the Lend-lease Programme. “British Yard Mine Sweepers” are so called because they were built to the same design as the US Navy’s “Yard Mine Sweepers”.
Crews for the BYMS’s would sail to the United States, often on the Queen Mary, which could sail unescorted because of her greater speed, to collect their vessel. They would then have the formidable task of sailing their small vessel back across the Atlantic Ocean, often in winter.
MINE SWEEPING FLOTILLA: 164th MSF, West Africa: 2043, 2137, 2142, 2150, 2225, 2246, 2264, 2282.
Built by: Astoria Marine Construction Co., Astoria, Oregon, United States. (West Coast)
Laid down: 8 August 1942.
Launched: 19 March 1943.
Handed over to Royal Navy: 17 April 1943.
Returned to USA: 10 December 1945. Sold to an Italian concern and re-named Orchida. Later re-named Calisto.
Refitted in 2008 by Astoria Marine and is currently available for charter.
Wooden hull. Length, 130 feet. Beam, 25 feet 6 inches. Depth, 12 feet I inch. Draft, 8 foot 10.5 inches. Displacement 207-215 tons.
Engine: Two 800 bhp General Motors diesel engines.
Speed: 14.6 knots. 10 knots while sweeping. (Eight knots with double Oropesa sweeps)
Range: 2,500 at ten knots.
Compliment: 3 officers and 27 men.
Armament: One 3-inch HA/LA gun and two Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns.
BYMS’s were fitted with a drum on the stern with LL (double L) cables for sweeping magnetic mines, an acustic hammer on the bow for sweeping acustic mines and Oropesa floats for sweeping tethered mines.
All YMS and BYMS were built to the same design, the only variation was in the number of exhaust stacks. Minesweepers 1 to 134 had two sacks, 135 to 480 had one stack, 466 to 479 had no stacks.
17 April 1943, completed.
28 Sep 1944, Falmouth.
28 and 29 Sep 1944, Portsmouth.
30 Sep to 1 Oct 1944, Dover.
2 Oct 1944, Great Yarmouth.
3 Oct 1944, Humber.
24 July 1945, Humber.
26 Aug 1945, Cuxhaven, Germany. Opening up the port of Hamburg so that humanitarian aid could arrive for the desperate German people.
27 Aug 1945, Humber.
10 December 1945, returned to USA.
13 November 1943. BYMS.137, drowning.
POLICELLA, Joseph, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 99401, died.
AWARDS FOR MINESWEEPING
DSC: Distinguished Service Cross. DSM: Distinguished Service Medal. MID: Mention in Despatches.
Philip Henry UNDERWOOD, LT/KX132084, Stoker, BYMS 2137. 4 Sep 45. MID awarded for courage, resolution and skill in minesweeping operations clearing a channel from the Humber to Heligoland and thence along the North German Coast to Cuxhaven, Hamburg and Bremerhaven during May 1945.
BYMS 2137, the Calisto looking much different today than she did during World War Two. Available to hire from www.yachtcharterfleet.com
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, June 1943.
Tempy. Lieut., J. C. Cramer-Parry, 19 Apr 43. (In Command.)
Tempy. Sub-Lieut., W. Mellalieu, 19 Apr 43
Tempy. Sub-Lieut., C. Dugdale, 19 Apr 43
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, June 1944.
Tempy. Lieut., J. C. Cramer-Parry, 19 Apr 43. (In Command)
Tempy. Lieut., W. Mellalieu, 19 Apr 43.
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, July 1945.
Tempy. Sub-Lieut., V. Plimmer, 19 June 44.
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BYMS 2137, refitted and re-named Calisto.
Calisto's can be hired today for $65,000 a week and sleeps up to 12 guests in 7 rooms, including a master suite, 2 double cabins, 2 twin cabins and 2 single cabins