British Yard Mine Sweeper 2079.
Nore Command, World War Two 1939 to 1945.
BYMS 2079, FLOTILLA 163.
Built by: Wheeler Shipbuilding Corp., Whitestone, New York, USA.
Laid down: 29 October 1942.
Launched: 22 May 1943.
Completed and transferred to Royal Navy: 24 July 1943,
Reclassified: HMS J-879 later HMS BYMS-2079.
Assigned to the Nore Command, Flotilla 163.
Took part in the D-day landings.
Leonard Victor Wright who served on BYMS 2079.
Distinguished Service Cross awarded to Temp. Lieutenant H. R. Walker.
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, June 1944,
Temp. Lieut, R. N. R., H. R. Walker 15 Nov 43 (In Command)
Temp. Lieut, R. N. R., N. H. Cleare, 25 July 43.
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, July 1945.
Temp. Lieut, R. N. R., H. R. Walker DSC. 15 Nov 43 (In Command)
Temp. Lieut, R. N. V. R., H. Blackwell, 7 July 44.
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Steve Wright tells us, "my father served on BYMS2079. He was Leonard Victor Wright of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. DOB 01/03/1914 Died Circa 1960.
I believed he volunteered for the Royal Navy around the outbreak of war and trained at HMS Ganges at Shotley.
Family stories suggest that he served mainly in the North Sea and English Channel e.g. Mother visited him from Great Yarmouth by rail when docked in Aberdeen early March 1943. This must have been prior to serving on BYMS 2079.
Family stories also suggest that on D-day they went into the Le Harve estuary and they were possibly shelled or another boat hit a mine. He was severely shocked by this. In August 1945 I’m told he was in Hamburg which fits with “movements” listing of Cuxhaven. He went in to a diabetic coma and was airlifted home August 1945.
It would not be an exaggeration to say the men in the Minesweepers changed the course of World War Two. They kept the sea lanes open allowing the build-up of war supplies in the South East of England for the successful invasion of Europe by the Allies. They cleared the Scheldt Estuary of mines and opened up the Port of Antwerp and by so doing shortened the war. They opened up the Dutch Ports allowing ships carrying humanitarian aid to be delivered to a Dutch population who were starving to death and by so doing saving many thousands of lives.
The following photographs are from John Grimley whose father Raymond Grimley served on HMS BYMS 2079.
BYMS 2079's MOVEMENTS.
24 July 43, Completed.
19 Sep 43, New York.
23 Sept 43, Boston.
25 to 27 Sep 43, Halifax.
29 Sep to 11 October 43, St John’s. Crossed Atlantic Ocean from Canada to the U.K.
18 Oct 43, Londonderry.
25 and 26 Oct 43, Plymouth.
1 Nov 43 Southend.
25 April 44 Harwich.
7 May to 23 May 44 Harwich.
D Day, 6 June 44. BYMS (British Yard Mine Sweepers) 2079 swept the inshore areas off the D-day landing beaches, especially the boat lanes between the transport areas and the beaches.
24 June 44 Southend. Leading military convoys on way to D-day beaches
24 June to 5 July 44 Harwich.
5 July to 25 July 44, Southend23 Aug 44 Lowestoft.
23 and 24 Aug 44, Harwich.
24 and 25 Aug 44, Southend.
18 Sep 44, Le Havre. As the army advance overland taking the ports, the minesweepers cleared the mines from them.
18 Sep to 30 Oct 44, Portsmouth.
2 Nov 44, Portsmouth.
20 to 23 Nov 44, Lowestoft.
23 Nov 44, Humber.
13 June to 8 July 45, Humber.
9 July to 20 Aug 45, Cuxhaven, Germany. Although the War in Europe is over, mines still need clearing from German harbours and ports.
21 to 23 Aug 45, Lowestoft.
23 Aug to 7 Sep 45, Dover.
7 Sep 45. Lowestoft.
1947 at Foulmouth.
8 May 48, Sold.
Leonard Victor Wright
BYMS 2079's gun was used to give supporting fire to the troops landing on D-day when she and her sister minesweepers led the Allied Invasion Fleet to the Normandy Beaches. The Minesweeper went closer to the beaches than any other vessels apart for the landing craft. With shells falling between the vessels and their sweeping gear they continued to sweep up to the beaches until the sea got too shallow to do so.