BYMS 2240
Mine Sweeper Flotilla, MSF 162
(2033, 2053, 2075, 2174, 2175, 2212, and 2240)

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

Built by:                               The Stadium Yacht Basin, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. (On Lake Erie)
Launched:                           31 October 1942.
Completed:                         25 May 1943 and transferred to Great Britain.
Returned to U.S.A.:            7 May1946, transferred to Greece and renamed Ithaki (M 214)

Struck from the Greek Navy registry in 1966.

Specifications:

Displacement:    215 tons
Length:                130 feet
Beam:                   24 feet
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.

Movements:

14 June1943, Montreal.

2 July 1943, Halifax.

9 Aug 1943 New York.

13 Aug 1943, Halifax.

18 August 1943, St Johns.

27 to 28 August 1943, Londonderry.

15 October 1943 Milford Haven.

22 to 31 October 1943, Gibraltar.

8 November 1943, Malta.

25 May 1944, Port Said, Egypt.

26 May to 31 July 1944, Alexandria/

1 to 3 August 1944, Famagusta, Cyprus.

10 August 1944, Dardanelles, Turkey.

5 October 1944, Alexandria, Egypt.

15 February 1944, Alexandria, Egypt.

16 February 1944, Piraeus, (Port of Athens) Greece.

6 March 1944, Piraeus, (Port of Athens) Greece.

17 to 27 March 1944, Piraeus, (Port of Athens) Greece.

23 April 1944, Alexandria, Egypt.

THE LONG JOURNEY HOME.

BYMS 2240 was handed over to her British Crew on the 25 May 1943 at Cleveland, on Lake Erie. Before it reached St Johns, on the eastern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, the jump off point for the daunting Atlantic crossing, it would have a long journey. When 2240 left the ship builders, Stadium Yacht Basin, Inc., in company with BYMS 2236, Cleveland, Ohio, it would travel across Lake Erie, along Lake Ontario, stopping at Montreal, Quebec City, traversing the St Lawrence Sea Way and on to Sydney (Nova Scotia), For some unexplained reason instead of going on the St Johns, the 2240 was rerouted via Boston and New York. The 2240 eventually arrived at St Johns after a journey of 2,000 miles.

With additional fuel in forty-four gallon drums the 2240 then crossed the North Atlantic. When she arrived at Milford Haven on the 15 October 1943 this was not the end of her journey. The 2240 travelled on to Gibraltar to become the founding member of the 162nd Mine Sweeping Flotilla.

At the end of the year she was based at Bizerta in Tunisia with 2175 of 162nd MSF and 2031, 2056, 2068 of the 156th MSF.

BYMS 2240 PHOTOGRAPHS are from the collection of Douglas Crooks,

by kind permission of his daughter and son-in-law, Robert Carrier. 

Left and above, Crew BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

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

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The BYMS 224o football team, George front row, is second on the left.

Above and right, Crew BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

The BYMS 2240 football team, George front row, centre.

Engine Room, BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

BYMS 2240 at Malta.

Crew BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

HMS St Angelo, the Royal Navy Shore Establishment at Malta

BYMS crew member with ships bell.

Dave Hovell on the left, Malta.

A MOST EXTRAORDINARY MINE SWEEPING MISSION.

At the end of July 1944, the British Yard Mine Sweepers were sent on an extraordinary mine sweeping mission. Their primary mission was to sweep mines from the Dardanelles and Bosporus leading to the Black Sea. This was through Turkish territory and as yet, Turkey wasn’t in the war. It was indeed though that the retreating Germans would try to seal off the Black sea using minelaying aircraft. The mission was described by Lieutenant R. E. Davidson as a “dangerous secret mission.”

Mine Sweeper Flotilla 162 was in Turkish waters to “fly the flag” and as envoys. They were there to impress the Turks with their vessels, their seamanship and their minesweeping skills. They were there to convince the Turkish Government of our friendship and encourage them to join the Allies side in the war against Germany. With Turkey on our side, ships could deliver war supplies to Russia through the Black Sea and not via the undesirable Artic route. In all, the minesweepers stayed at Istanbul for six weeks.

Turkey declared war on Germany on the 25 February 1945 opening up the route to Russia for our convoys.

A DIFFICULT TASK.

Following this, Mine Sweeper Flotilla 162 set out for the Kinaros Straight, the main shipping lane and gateway from the south to the north Aegean, between Kinaror and the tiny island of Megalo Livadi.

What was expected to be a straightforward minesweeping job turned out to be very difficult indeed.

No sooner had the sweep begun when BYMS 2240 reported the sweeping gear had “lost its spread” and “she was almost certainly towing a mine which appeared to be jammed in the end cutter.

With the help of BYMS 2033, 2240 tried to shake off the mine to avoid losing its gear. But this was impossible. 2240 dragged the mine out of the sweep area and the mine was exploded with rifle fire from the 2033. It was found that instead of wire cables, the mines were anchored with chains making them much harder to sweep.

After this, 2240 swept three mines one after the other, the 20th, 21st and 22nd. Again, just after this 2240 dragged another mine by its mooring chain.

BYMS 2240, together with 2033 and a HDML had the honour of leading Force “A” through the cleared channel.

For this job, MSF 162 received the following message,

From: Vice Admiral Levant and Eastern Mediterranean.

“Credit is due to the senior officers, 162nd MSF flotilla for his handling of the operation and to the ships concerned for their perseverance and determination in sweeping these mines.”

When the WW2 finished, the men of the minesweeper continued sweeping and the danger to them also continued. 

For a period of time, for an unknow reason, there are no officers listed for BYMS 2240 on the Navy List. When they are listed again, Midshipman G. C. Davies is listed. A few months later, he has been promoted to Act. Sub-Lieut .,  G. C. Davies

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1944
Temp. RNR. Lieut. C. C. Boxall 1 Sept 43

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST October 1944
No officers listed.

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST January 1945.
No officers listed.

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST April 1945
Temp. Midshipman, R.N.V.R. G. C. Davies, Jan 45

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST July 1945
Temp. Act. Sub-Lieut., R.N.V.R. G. C. Davies — Jan 45

CREW
Douglas Crooks.
​Peter Titterrell, Signalman
 George Albert Brown, JX328578.


George Brown on the left.

Crew, BYMS 2240, Porch of Maidens, Athens,1945. 

Crew  BYMS 2240 1945-6 Greece . 
Stanley (Stan) Hardy, stoker class 1, is 2nd from left, back row (left of the bell).

Crew BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

Crew BYMS 2240, 1945-6 Greece. 

The BYMS 2240 football team, George front row, centre.

Football Team, BYMS 2240 crew at Malta.

Crew,  BYMS 2240. Acropolis, Athens,1 Greece. 1945 

The following photographs are from  Jim Hovell whose father David Johnston Hovell served on BYMS 2240 as a leading wireman  from 14/10/45 to 3/3/1946. 

Crew of BYMS 2040 with the 3-inch HA/LA, Gun.

Photographs and information by kind permission of Terry Brown.

Terry’s Dad George Albert Brown, JX328578, served on Minesweepers from 1942 to 1946.

George Brown was A Geordie. Born in Newcastle, he came south for work and lived in Horsham, Sussex, before and after War. He was football mad, like many men, and was captain of his ship’s football team.

George joined the Royal Navy on the 13 April 1942.

George underwent his initial training at HMS Collingwood, a Royal Navy Shore Training Base at Fareham, Hampshire.

He trained for minesweepers at HMS Europa, usually known as Sparrow's Nest, the the Central Depot of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, located at Lowestoft.

One of George Brown’s first tasks, was to sail to America, to commission his new vessel, British Yard Minesweeper BYMS 2240.

During this time he stayed at HMS Asbury, the Royal Naval shore establishment in New York, USA.

From there he and the new crew of BYMS 2240 had the daunting task of sailing their vessel back across the Atlantic Ocean.

In December 1945, George was transferred to MMS 1033, and even though the war had finished he continued to risk his life daily, clearing mines right up to April 1936 when he was discharged from the navy.