Wildfire III, Queenborough
M/S Trawler Group 120
15th September 1940. Large formations of enemy bombers appeared over the Thames Estuary and flew towards London. British Spitfires and Hurricanes flew in and out of the formations and shortly bombers began falling towards the sea in flames. On that day the RAF was credited with shooting down 175 enemy aircraft. But later estimates concluded that 56 German aircraft were shot down. One of them was shot down by Queenborough Minesweeper the Conquistador with the help of the Libra, a Dutch minesweeper. The 15th September 1940 would come to be known as Battle of Britain Day. The German Luftwaffe would never mount another day light raid on London.
The British Admiralty announced that the minesweeping trawlers HMS Libra and HMS Conquistador destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft by gunfire.
Dawn (06.00) 21st November 1940, German aircraft dropped large numbers of mines by parachute in the Thames Estuary. Many of these mines were fitted with delaying mechanisms.
Queenborough Minesweepers swept and swept again the areas which the enemy aircraft were plotted over flying.
25 November 1940. A devastating explosion ripped through the Minesweeper Kennymore, killing four of her crew and wounding others. Her sister minesweeper the Conquistador also from M/S Trawler Group 120 was on hand to pick up survivors.
Shortly after rescuing the surviving crew from the Kennymore the Conquistador collided with the Capricornus and sank in the Thames Estuary.
Type of Vessel: Steam Trawler converted to Minesweeper.
Fishing Number: 1915 Glasgow GW 14. 1919 Fleetwood FD 42. 1924 Aberdeen A.53. 1929 Granton GN10.
Other Names: Glenbervie.
Year Constructed: 23 Aug 1915 Launched. Completed in September 1915.
Built by: Hall, Russell & Co. Ltd.
Built at: Aberdeen, Scotland.
Owner: Hesketh Steam Trawling Co Ltd, Fleetwood.
Engine: 83 hp T.3-cyl by Hall Russell & Co Ltd, Aberdeen.
Gross Tons: 224 tons’ gross. 100 tons’ net.
Length: 120.7 feet.
Beam: 22.7 feet.
Depth: 12.2 feet.
Fate: Sunk in a collision 25 December 1940. Afterwards salvaged and broken up.
Wildfire, Queenborough, Minesweeper Trawlers sweeping in the North Sea.
23 August 1915. Launched and named (Steam Trawler) S.T. Glenbervie FD42.
November 1915. Requisitioned and converted to minesweeper (Ad.No.438) based at Harwich.
1929. Renamed Conquistador Registered at Granton GN 10.
27 November 1939. The Conquistador was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an Auxiliary Patrol Vessel (Hire rate £61.12.0d/month)
June 1940. Converted to a minesweeper and based a Wildfire III, Queenborough.
JUNE 1940, ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command, Yarmouth.
Minesweeping trawlers - ATHENIAN (Sk J Cowie RNR) fitting out at Yarmouth, BEN TORC (Ty Sk T Meadow RNR) fitting out North Woolwich, BLIGHTY (Sk P R S Besford RNR) at Liverpool, CHARLES DORAN (Ty Sk R Snape RNR) fitting out at Milford Haven, CLOTHILDE (Ty Sk A G Freeman RNR) at Yarmouth, CONQUISTADOR (Ty Sk D W Catchpole RNR) fitting out South Shields, CONTENDER (Ty Sk A E Kettless RNR) at Yarmouth, COTSMUIR (Ty Sk L Oliver RNR) at Harwich, DOROTHY LAMBERT (Ty Sk G S Wright RNR) at Harwich, FONTENOY (Ty Sk J C Coaker RNR) fitting out at Pembroke, IRVANA (Sk J L Borrett RNR) fitting out at Milford Haven, MADDEN (Ty Sk S Amos RNR) at Harwich, PRINCESS MARY (Ty Sk C E Parker RNR) at Yarmouth, ONETOS (Ty Sk T W McLean RNR) at Yarmouth, SATURN (Ty Sk H C Watson RNR) at Yarmouth
5 August 1940. The Conquistador (Temp Skipper J. Paterson RNR) with the LIBRA (Dutch minesweeper Pennant No. FY867, Temp. Skipper R. Aughton RNR) shot down a German aircraft.
15th September 1940, Nore Command, Sheerness, Wildfire III, Queenborough.
M/S Trawler Group 120: Artic Hunter, Resolvo, Kennymore and Conquistador.
25 Nov 1940. Foundered following a collision on the Thames Estuary while returning to harbour with rescued crewmen from the HMT Kennymore (GY 38). (T/A/Skipper John Paterson, RNR)
To find out more of the Conquistador’s movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec 39
Not on List.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST July 40
Temp Skipper R.N.R., D. H. Catchpole, 11 June 40.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST August 40
Temp Skipper R.N.R., J Paterson. 18 Aug 1940 until her sinking on the 25 November 1940.
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