A well earned rest.

When clearing the Scheldt and opening up the Port of Antwerp the crews of the Mine Sweepers worked very long hours. The Scheldt was cleared a week ahead of schedule and as such the men of the Mine Sweepers are credited with shortening the war.

Alf also tells of being trapped in thick fog one night in the English Channel when a very large, fast-moving ship almost run them down. It was so close they could have reach out and touch its hull. It caused their BYMS to rock violently. The large ship turned out to be a German warship being chased by the Royal Navy.

BYMS 2032 was part of ANCXF (Allied Naval Commander-in Chief, Expeditionary Force) which took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

British Yard Minesweepers including Flotillas 150th, 159th, 165th, 167th and British Motor Minesweepers  were given the role to sweep the inshore areas, especially the boat lanes between the transport areas and the beaches, and subsequently the artificial Mulberry harbours after the assault phase.

By 0330 on the morning of D-day, the inshore areas parallel to the landing beaches had been swept by the BYMS, (British Yard Mine Sweepers) and MMS (Motor Mine Sweepers)

With the Assault Flotillas moving towards Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha Beaches to arrive by H-hour, the bombarding squadrons of battleships, cruisers, monitors and destroyers were now ready to let loose the most concentrated firepower of naval ordnance ever experienced in the history of sea warfare against a land-based enemy.

The minesweeping flotillas, having been given the honour of leading the way for the Allied Assault Forces, now began widening the channels.

Len (Coxswain)

British Yard Mine Sweeper BYMS 2032

The stern of the minesweeper. The torpedo shaped-shaped Oropesa floats, for sweeping contact mines, can be seen on each side.

BYMS 2032  had a ship dog called Peggy.

BYMS 2032 swept ahead of the Allied D-day invasion fleet. The BYMS including BYMS 2032 swept each warship into its firing position and continued sweeping right up to the beach.

David James tells us his Dad, Alfred William David James, Signalman on BYMS 2032 related to him that " BYMS 2032  was sweeping the Normandy beaches at night, just before the commencement of the D-day landing bombardments. 

Photograph taken 31/08/43, probably  when James Nicol was at the shore base HMS Victory . James is the one looking away as he had been to the dentist that day and his mouth was swollen.

(If you recognise your Dad or Grandad in this photograph, please let us know.)

James Blair Nicol 

BYMS 2032 

Signatures on the back of the above photograph.

BYMS 2032 crew

Cliff Grimshaw

They were running silently without lights of any kind. They were so close to the D-day beach that they could hear the waves breaking on the beach and make out voices of the enemy on the shore.

Suddenly the oven in the galley caught fire, lighting up the BYMS’s interior. Panic set in and all hands hastily doused the fire. Luckily for them they weren't seen and could carry on sweeping. Alf always laughed about this.

Alf told how on D-day BYMS 2032, after sweeping the warships into position, continued sweeping inshore  for the landing craft. They were under the path of the battleship bombardment  and the sound of a big shell flying overhead was like a high speed train was deafening.  As they swept they always knew if it was an English or American battleship firing. The English would fire one round after another and the Americans would fire a broadside of all guns at once.  The memory of the deafening sound of a volley of big shells passing over stayed with him for many years.

Mick, (Alfred James) and crew mate on the 3 inch HA/LA, Gun.

Denis, Eric, Jamie boy (Alf James) and Jock 

The 159th Minesweeping Flotilla took part in clearing the Scheldt Estuary opening up the port of Antwerp and as such were given credit for shortening the war.

On the 4th November 1944 Minesweeping Force “A” under cover of darkness sailed into the Scheldt.

The straight between Breskens and Flushing was barely two and a half miles wide and as they passed through, the minesweepers came under fire from batteries and mobile artillery around Flushing. The LCP Minesweeper (flat bottomed) who’s job it was to sweep mines with snag lines were delayed, but despite the danger, the minesweeper continued without them. British troops were still crossing the Scheldt to Flushing in landing craft.

At 1725 three mines were swept in quick succession. One by the 157th Flotilla and two by 159th Flotilla. Which included BYMS 2032.

Following the successful opening of the Scheldt and the Port of Antwerp, BYMS 2032 cleared the approaches to the Dutch ports thereby saving the lives of thousands of Dutch People who were starving to death.

Crew member Alfred James tells how the children of Holland were starving and he and his crew mates would feed them from the ships supplies.  

When the war finished in Europe BYMS 2032 kept working, probably clearing the approaches to the German Ports and the German Mine Fields.

BYMS 2032 crew.

Alfred James, called Alfie by family and friends, but Mick
by his shipmates as there two crew members with the same name. 

BYMS 2032

Shipmate Shadow


MOVEMENTS.
10 April 1943, Completed.

27 June 1943, New York where she was taken over by her British crew.

3 to 15 July 1943, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, preparing to cross the Atlantic.

17 to 28 July 1943, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

4 and 5 August 1943t, Londonderry.

7 August 1943, Inverness.

10 to 14 August 1943, Humber.

15 to 22 August 1943, Rosyth.

15 to August 1943 to 25 April 1944, Humber.

25 April 1944, Great Yarmouth.

26 April 1944, Southend.

6 May 1944, Portsmouth.

22 May 1944, Humber.

22 June 1944, Southend.

25 and 26 June 1944, Portland.

9 July 1944, Portsmouth.

18 July 1944, Plymouth.

4 to 28 August 1944, Brixham.

29 August 1944, Newhaven.

13 September 1944, Portsmouth.

26 September 1944, Brest, France.

28 September 1944, Portsmouth.

MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES: Alexander Young, LT2035V, Chief Engineman, 16  January 1945. Awarded for gallantry and skill in minesweeping operations off the coast of France.

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, December 1943.

Temp. Skipper Lieut. R.N.R.  J. T. Shears (act) In Command.  Sep 43.
Temp Skipper R.N.R., J. B. R. Elder. Sep 43
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. E. Johnson. Sep 43

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, June 1944.

Temp. Skipper Lieut. R.N.R.  P.S. Farmery (Act) (In Command) 12 May 44

​Temp Skipper R.N.R., D. Slater, 22 Feb 44
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. E. Johnson. Sep 43

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, Oct 1944.

Temp. Skipper Lieut. R.N.R.  P.S. Farmery (Act) (In Command) 12 May 44

Temp Skipper R.N.R., D. Slater, 22 Feb 44
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. E. Johnson. Sep 43

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, April 1945

Temp Skipper R.N.R., D. Slater, 22 Feb 44
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. E. Johnson. Sep 43


If you, your father or your grandfather have any additional information about this ship, crew lists, stories, photographs, please send copies of them to be added to our records and this website.

Thank you.

Contact: Johntenthousand@yahoo.co.uk

RETURN TO BYMS PAGE
Click Here.


RETURN TO SHIP DATABASE.
Click here.

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM JAMES NICOL.

Thank you to Jack Nicol who sent the following Photographs from his Dad’s, James Blair Nicol's collection. Jack tells us, “James was born in Glasgow, and spent some time at Lowestoft being trained for the navy before being stationed at Portsmouth. James trained as a “wireman” (electrician) and served on the British Yard Mine Sweeper BYMS 2032, which preceded the fleet to the D-day landing beaches.” After the war James hitch hiked his way around Europe and met my mother in Belgium. They have 3 grown up sons and 7 grandchildren. James is now 94-year-old. (January 2019) 

‘Jock’ Slater (Skipper R.N.R., D. Slater)

BYMS 2032


YMS 2032. Flotilla 159 in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

Built by: at the American Car and Foundry Co., Wilmington, Delaware, USA.
Laid down:  11 May1942
Launched: 7 September 1942
Completed: 10 April 1943 and transferred to Royal Navy.
Reclassified:   HMS BYMS-2032.
Assigned to Flotilla 159 Nore Command.

Displacement:   207 tons (numbers 2001 to 2030)
                             215 tons (numbers 2031 to 2284)
Length:                130 feet
Beam:                   25 feet 6inches
Depth:                  12 feet 1inch
Draft:                    8 feet 1 inch
Fuel:                      Diesel.
Horsepower:       1200 Bhp. (2 shafts)
Speed:                  12 to 14.6 knots
Speed when sweeping, 10 knots. (Double Oropesa, 8 knots)
Range at 10 knots:     2500 miles
Complement:       3 Officers, 27 men.
Armament:           3 inch HA/LA, Gun.
                               2 x Oerlikons.

British Yard Mine Sweeper BYMS 2032

British Yard Mine Sweeper BYMS 2032