Oyzo, the ships dog.

Motor Launches in the English Channel.

Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg enjoying a well earned drink, for although the war was over, the men of the minesweepers risked their lives daily clearing enemy minefields.

Relaxing on the beach, Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg in the front 

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A swim in the sea. Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg at the back.

5, BYMS 2141 Crew. 

Photographs and information by kind permission of  Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg's son, John Rowe.


On 17.8.1943, not yet 18, after an interview at the Board of the Admiralty, I was put on the unpaid reserve of the Royal Navy and instructed to report for service for initial navy training at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, Hampshire under the “Y” entry scheme for potential commissioned officers. My rank was Ordinary Seaman No. JX 624512. My pay was 3 shillings (15 pence in today’s terms) a day. 

3, BYMS 2141 Crew relaxing after a swim. 

Navigating on board BYMS 2141. (No sat-nav back then!)

The following photographs are from Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg's collection. If you recognize anyone, please let us know.

4, BYMS 2141 Crew. 

2, BYMS 2141 Crew. 

9,  BYMS 2141 Crew. 

7, BYMS 2141 Crew. 

6.4.1946. We swept the US Missouri into Phaleron Bay. The USA Battleship, USS Missouri was chosen as the ship where the formal surrender of Japan took place.

Sweeping duties in the North Adriatic Sea including clearing Pola harbour of magnetic mines.

2.5.1946 I was appointed First Lieutenant – No.1. (Note: On 6.8.1946 Willie was demobbed and replaced by Lieut. Brigstocke RN.)

In 1946 I left BYMS 2141 and travelled by train across Europe to Calais and by ship to England, being finally released from the Royal Navy on 9.1.1947. War gratuity -£49.16.6d  

1, BYMS 2141 Officer. 

Sweeps out!

And finally, at the end of a long, hard, dangerous day.

Orpesa  float on the stern of a British Yard Mine Sweeper.

BYMS 2141

Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg's story.

28.11.1945 I was transferred to BYMS 2141, as Navigating Officer - C.O. H.R (Willie) Walker D.S.C., No.1 Colin E. (Butch) Smith, and sailed for Plymouth where, after a week-end leave, sailed on to the Mediterranean calling at Lisbon, Gibraltar and Malta, before arriving in Piraeus where we joined the 162nd Minesweeping Flotilla. BYMS 2141 spent some five months sweeping in the Saronic Gulf including Salamis Bay and Aegina Island.

6, BYMS 2141 Officers/Crew. 

On the 16.9.1944  HMML 212 sailed to Harwich on the East Coast to fit minesweeping gear. 

HMML 212  swept for mines off Ostend until ordered to sweep the channel to Flushing, Zeebrugge and in to the Scheldt with fighting still going on in Walcheren. 

On the 11th November 1943 I was drafted to HMS Corinthian, an armed merchant cruiser based at Rosythe in Scotland, as an officer cadet for sea-going training.

In January 1944 I reported to HMS King Alfred (III), Mowden School, Hove, Sussex to continue Officer training. I  passed the various exams and selection process and  was appointed Temporary Midshipman RNVR. My pay rose to 6 shillings and ten pence a day - £10 per month! 

British Yard Minesweeper, BYMS 2141.

8, BYMS 2141 Crew. 

On the 23rd April 1944 I was transferred to RNB Portsmouth on a Divisional Officers course – billeted at Royal Pier Hotel, Southsea. From here I was sent on a Gunnery course and to HMS Vernon, Brighton for a Torpedo course. 
On the 27.5.1944  I transferred to HMS St. Christopher, Grand Hotel, Fort William, Scotland for coastal forces training.

23.7.1944  I was appointed 3rd Officer to HMML 212, 15th ML Flotilla - CO. Gordon (Gerry) T. Holden, Number 1 Gerald Davies, based in Portland Harbour, Dorset where we carried out coastal and cross channel escort duty (Including entering Cherbourg Harbour after its capture by the Americans). 

Clearing the Scheldt and opening up the port of Antwerp was the biggest, most complex and dangerous minesweeping operation of World War Two.

Motor Launches with their shallower drafts led the way. There were 2 flotillas of Motor Launches of the 15th and 19th Flotillas equipped with Orpesa sweeps, sweeping for contact mines followed by British Yard Mine Sweepers and Motor Mine Sweepers. There was also four Dutch MMS Flotilla’s, 102nd , 110th , 139th , and 140th, equipped with magnetic sweeps 

It was though that Motor Launches with their shallow draft would sail over the top of the tethered contact mines. Motor Launches were the first Allied vessels to arrive at Antwerp.

Orpesa float in the sea.

Lieutenant Colin Rosenberg

I was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant and sailed to Immingham to join the Minesweeping task force destined for Germany.

The day following VE Day (Victory in Europe) HMML 212 arrived off Cuxhaven and swept for mines into the harbour. The boats of the 15th ML Flotilla were the first naval vessels into Germany. We then carried out sweeping duties from Cuxhaven up to Hamburg.