Crew of BYMS 2230 Donald James Cansdale is seated 4th right on the front row with his hands crossed
7 July 43, Completed.
29 Aug 43, New York.
2 and 3 Sep 43 Halifax.
5 to 10 Sep 43, St John’s. Crossed Atlantic Ocean from Canada to the U.K.
17 to 20 Sep 43 Londonderry.
21 Sep 43 Fort William.
22 Sep 43, Inverness.
25 and 26 Sep 43 Humber.
25 April 44, Great Yarmouth.
3 Aug 44, Great Yarmouth.
3 Aug 44, Southend.
8 Aug 44 Needles.
3 Aug 44, Cherbourg. Clearing mines from Cherbourg, France after American forces had captured it.
13 Aug 44, Needles
7 Sep 44, Portsmouth.
8 Sep 44 Dover.
13 Sep 44, Ramsgate.
2 Nov 44, Sheerness, Preparing to go to the Scheldt. Helped in clearing the Scheldt of mines, the most crucial minesweeping event of WW2. Part of 157th Flotilla which was shelled from shore when they reached Cadzand (Holland) close to the Scheldt estuary mouth.
18 Nov 44 Southend.
18 Nov 44, Great Yarmouth.
3 Jan 45 Great Yarmouth.
4 March 45, Sheerness.
4 March 45 Ostend.
24 April 45, Great Yarmouth, (TIH)
9 May 45, Ostend. The winter of 1944–1945 was very harsh for the people of Holland. Food was cut off by the Germans and 18,000 people starved to death. Relief came at the beginning of May 1945 when minesweepers cleared Dutch ports of mines an ships carrying humanitarian aid arrived.
21 June 45 Pst. ?
1 Jan 47, Returned to USA.
Feb 47, sold to Holland.
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, June 1944.
Temp. Sub-Lieut, R. N. V. R., D. J. Cansdale 15 Nov 43.
OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST, July 1945.
Temp. Sub-Lieut, R. N. V. R., D. J. Cansdale 15 Nov 43
Temp. Sub-Lieut, R. N. V. R., A. R. Oxley 30 March 45.
British Yard Mine Sweeper 2230.
Nore Command, World War Two 1939 to 1945.
Crew of BYMS 2230.
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.
DONALD JAMES CANSDALE, Sub- Lieutenant, BYMS 2230.
The following information and photographs are by kind permission of Roger Cansdale. Rodger tells us about his father Donald James Cansdale.
My father, Donald James Cansdale, was an RNVR Acting Sub-Lieutenant on BYMS 2230. He went across to Canada on the Queen Mary and then went down to New York by train to pick up the ship. One of his stories was that every time the train stopped, there were sailors leaping off and heading for the nearest bar. The engine would then hoot before leaving and there would be a mad scramble to reboard. I don't know how many got lost on the way.
They crossed the Atlantic without incident and sighted Ireland within half an hour of my father's ETA; he was navigation officer. They then went through the Caledonian Canal, bending the propellor by going through a wiggly bit too fast and hitting the rocky bank; they had to wait some days before the replacement propellors arrived on another ship. They then formed part of the 157th Minesweeping Flotilla operating out of Great Yarmouth and went over to Holland to sweep the Scheldt. See Clearing the Scheldt, HERE.
The formal picture of the crew includes the captain, Lt Andy Baxter with my father sitting on his left with his hands crossed in his lap. I believe the dog's name was Chopper.
The crest was devised by my mother with the motto "I came across the ocean" contributed by my father. The ship's chippy made a wooden shield, which my mother painted and was hung on the wheelhouse; it might even be visible in the photo on your website. When they finally packed up, Andy Baxter nicked the shield but my mother had done another one which hung in the wardroom, which my father took and which now hangs in my study. According to what my mother wrote later on the back of it, she and I (aged about 3) had drinks in the wardroom; needless to say, I have no memory of this.
Other stories (I can't vouch for the truth of them!):
Someone came into port forgetting to lower the barrage ballon that was trailed to discourage dive bombers and hit power lines which blacked out Great Yarmouth.
The captain of one of the ships which was undergoing some sort of refit returned to his ship and found the dockyard maties sitting round playing cards. He was so angry that he took a pot shot at them with a Luger that he had acquired and hit one of them in the leg. He was duly sentenced to be severely reprimanded, after which the admiral shook him warmly by the hand and told him he had always wanted to do that.
One of the flotilla took a shot at a German aircraft and actually hit it, bringing it down in the sea. Someone else tried to do the same thing, missed and got bombed; general feeling was that he shouldn't have annoyed it.
Following Operation Market Garden, the Germans cut off supplies of food to much of the Netherlands. The minesweepers arrived in Dutch Ports to find a starving population. The men of BYMS 2230, like many other minesweepers shared their food with Dutch children. See The Relief of Holland HERE.
Breakfast was usually brought up to those on watched and was often a bacon or sausage sandwich. One morning Donald asked for a mug of tea and a sandwich. He was rather surprised to be given a very soggy porridge sandwich.
He made it all sound great fun, but I strongly suspect that it wasn't and he didn't talk much either about being torpedoed earlier in the war and spending 19 hours bobbing about in the Atlantic on a life raft before being rescued by Portugese fishermen.
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.
BYMS 2230, Flotilla, 157 in 43 and 44, 167 in 45.
Built by: Frank L. Sample, Jr., Boothbay Harbour, Maine, USA.
Laid down: 7 September 1942.
Launched: 20 February 1943.
Completed and transferred to Royal Navy: 7 July 1943.
Reclassified: HMS J-1030 later HMS BYMS-2230.
Assigned to the Nore Command, Flotilla 157.
BYMS 2230 aground in River Scheldt.
BYMS 2230 crest.
Officers of the 157th Minesweeping Flotilla on Queenborough Pier.
BYMS 2230 crossing the Atlantic. British Yard Mine Sweepers carried additional fuel in 44 gallon drums for the crossing.