Wildfire III, Queenborough
Minesweeper Trawler Group 120
On the 24 July 1940 the Emilion was attacked by enemy aircraft. She returned fire and put up a gallant fight as three of her crew were Mentioned in Despatches. Sadly, one was killed.
The 24 October 1941 was a bad day for Wildfire III, Queenborough with two of her minesweeping HMT Emilion and HMS Lucienne Jeanne detonated mines and sank in the Thames Estuary. They sunk close to each other while clearing the same mine field in Barrow Deep. Mercifully there are no records of any of their crews being killed or MPK (Missing Presumed Killed) There are no records of injuries either, but explosions violent enough to sink a minesweeper is very likely to injure many of the crew. The most common injury being broken legs as the vessel violently erupts beneath them, often throwing them into the sea in a dazed condition.
During 1941 more mines were swept in the Nore Command than any other year, with 1257 Ground Mines (Magnetic and Acoustic) and 28 Contact Mines being destroyed. Off the South East Coast of England, the Sheerness Sub-Command was taking the brunt of the German mining offensive.
The cargo vessels Empire Ghyll with the loss of seven crew and Mahseer were both sunk in the Thames Estuary a few days before the Emilion on the 18 October 1941.
Type of Vessel: Steam Trawler converted to Minesweeper
Pennant: FY 853
Fishing Number: GY.243 Grimsby
Year Constructed: 1914 September.
Built by: Smith Docks Co. Ltd.
Built at: Middleborough.
Owner: Consolidated Fisheries Ltd.
Gross Tons: 201 gross tons. 78 net tons.
Length: 112.3 feet
Beam: 21.6 feet
Depth: 11.6 feet
Armament: 1-12 pounder WW1.
Fate: Detonated a mine and sunk in the Thames Estuary 24 October 1941
1914 – 1918. In service 15 April 1919 as minesweeper during WW1. HM Trawler Emilion - 1 Casualty.
November 1939. The Emilion was requisitioned by the Admiralty as a Minesweeper.
June 1940. ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command. Humber.
Minesweeping trawlers - ALDER (Sk S F Cleveland RNR) at Grimsby, BALMORAL (Ty Sk J Gardner RNR) at Humber, EMILION (Ty Sk W E Bland RNR) at Grimsby, KINGSCOURT (Ty Sk E B Morley RNR) at Humber, RECONO (Ty Sk H Forester RNR) at Grimsby, REGARDO (Ty Sk G Jack RNR) at Grimsby, RODINO (Ty Sk J C Winning RNR) at Humber, RONSO (Ty Sk H G Harris RNR) at Humber, SEAMIST (Ty Sk W S Hawes RNR) at Grimsby, TAIPO (Ty Sk C Clark RNR) at Humber, WAR DUKE (Ty Sk H Leach RNR) at Humber
24 July 1940. George MAIR, Seaman, LT/JX 190015, was killed on the Emilion on this day. The Emilion and other vessels were attacked by German planes, bombed and machined gunned. On the same day HMT Fleming was bombed in the Thames Estuary with the loss of 19 of her 22 crew. The Kingston Galena was sunk with the loss of 16 of her crew and the Rodino with the loss of 4 of her crew off Dover.
George Mair, LT/JX. 190015. RN. Patrol Service. H.M. Trawler Emilion. 24th July, 1940. Age 27. Son of Catherine Mair, of Portknockie, Banffshire.
January 1941, ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command. Sheerness, Wildfire III, Queenborough.
Minesweeping trawlers (ungrouped) - BEN GLAS (Sk G E Craig RNR) at Blackwall repairing, EMILION (Ty Sk C Young RNR) at Sheerness, HEROINE (no CO listed) at Sheerness, LIBERIA (Ty Sk T F Bunce RNR) at Humber, WARDOUR (Sk C J Euston RNR) at Sheerness repairing.
22 June 1941. Naval Vessels in the Nore Command, Battle of the East Coast, Queenborough, (Wildfire III)
Minesweeper Trawler Group 120: Arctic Hunter, Emilion, Saturn, Sunlight.
24 Oct 1941. The Emilion detonated a mine and sunk in the Thames Estuary. The wreck was later blown up as it was a danger to navigation
MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES.
SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 4 OCTOBER, 1940.
Mention in Despatches (Posthumous).
The late Seaman George Mair, R.N.P.S., H.M.T. Emilion.
Mention in Despatches.
Ordinary Seaman Alan Cameron, R.N.P.S., H.M.T. Emilion.
Seaman Alexander Main McKenzie, R.N.P.S., H.M.T. Emilion.
For courage and devotion to duty when their ships were attacked by enemy aircraft.
To find out more of the Emilion’s movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec 39
Not on List. (Temp Skipper R.N.R., J. H. Feeney, joined her 27 Nov 39)
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST July 40
Temp Skipper R.N.R., W. E. Bland, 21 May 40
Temp Skipper R.N.R., J. H. Feeney, 27 Nov 39
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 41
Temp Skipper R.N.R., C. Young, 26 Aug 40.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 42
Temp Skipper R.N.R., J. W. S. Allison, 28 May 41.
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