HMT Earl Essex
Wildfire III, Queenborough
Minesweeper Trawler Group 3


Based at both Wildfire III, Queenborough and Harwich HMT Earl Essex served in both World War One and World War Two as a minesweeper.

The Earl Essex came under attack from enemy aircraft on a number of occasions with near misses from bombs.

The Earl Essex was perhaps the unluckiest minesweeper in the war! After serving in WW1 and WW2 clearing hundreds of mines she was blown up after the war ended. Almost a year after the war in Europe had finished, while trawling for fish, her nets caught a mine. As the nets were pulled on board the mine exploded killing ten of her eleven civilian crew.  Joe Taylor from Grimsby was the sole survivor from the Earl Essex.

Watch these short minesweeping videos.
Minesweepers:
https://youtu.be/aTsYiZFzv5M
A Bad Day in December 1940:
https://youtu.be/Lw2pW31qH4s

Newspaper clipping and note by kind permission of Lynne Smith   whose dads brother,  Joe George Taylor, was the sole survivor of the Earl Essex

A Formation of Dornier 17 German Bombers over England the type which would have attacked HMT Earl Essex.

Type of Vessel: Steam Trawler converted to minesweeper.
Pennant: FY. 852
Admiralty Number: 292
Fishing Number: GY 48
Year Constructed: 1914 
Built by: Cook, Welton and Gemmell.
Built at: Beverley. 
Owner: Earl Steam Fishing C., Grimsby. 
Engine: 68HP.
Speed: 9.5 knots. 
Gross Tons: 225 Gross tons. 112 Net tons. 
Length: 117 feet. 
Beam: 22 feet. 
Depth: 12.7 feet. 
Armament: 1 x 12 pounder and a 20 mm aft, also two Lewis machine-guns .
Fate: Survived  WW2, but trawled up a mine after wars end and sunk with the loss of ten of her crew. There was one survivor.

HISTORY.

1914 to 1919. Earl Essex served in World War One as a minesweeper.

May 1917.  The trawler Alexander Hills was in a collision with the Earl Essex.

November 1939. Requisitioned in November and converted to a minesweeper.

16 April 1940. C. G. C. COOMBE was appointed First Lieutenant of HMT EARL ESSEX (based at Sheerness) as a Temporary Skipper with a seniority of 9 Jan 1940.

15th September 1940, Nore Command,  Harwich
117th M/S Trawler Group: Refundo, Exyahne, Earl Essex and Staunch.

January 1941, ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command. Harwich.
Minesweeping Group 117 - minesweeping trawlers EARL ESSEX (Sk Lt E C Rose RD RNR) at Sheerness, EXYAHNE (Ty Sk W A George RNR) at Harwich, STAUNCH (Sk J Donaldson RNR) at Sheerness

22 June 1941. Naval Vessels in the Nore Command, Battle of the East Coast, Queenborough, (Wildfire III)
Minesweeper Trawler Group 17, (part) Earl Essex. Staunch.

January 1942.  ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command, Harwich
Minesweeping Group 117 - minesweeping trawlers DE LA POLE, EARL ESSEX, STAUNCH, WILLIAM STEPHENS, all at Harwich.

24th April 1946: Returned to owners. Mercantile loss. Trawled up a mine in the North Sea on 24th April 1946. The mine exploded sinking the vessel. There was one survivor, Joe Taylor, ten of here crew were lost.

To find out more of the Earl Essex movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec 39
NOT ON LIST (Although Temp. Skipper R.N.R. J. C. Hodge, was on board the 1 Dec 39)

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST July 40
Temp. Skipper R.N.R. C. G. C. Coombe, 16 Apr 40
Temp. Skipper R.N.R. J. C. Hodge, 1 Dec 39

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 41
Skipper-Lieut., R.N.R. E. C. Rowe, RD., 30 May 40
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. G. C. Coombe 16 Apr 40  ( Skipper Cecil Gordon Chudley Coombe, was on HMS Rifsnes when it was sunk by enemy aircraft off Ostend, Belgium, on 20.05.1940)

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 42
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., H. S. Lee, 28 May 41
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., G. T. Page, 29 May 41

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 43
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., H. S. Lee, 28 May 41
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., G. T. Page, 29 May 41

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June, 44
Temp. Lieut., A. E. West, (In Command.)  9 Feb 44
Temp. Act. Sub-Lieut., R.N.V.R., J. H. Cooke, 3 Apr 44

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 45
NOT ON LIST. (Lieutenant A. E. West joined her on the 9 Feb 1944)

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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