JACK EVE, HM Minesweeper

Minesweeping Drifter based at HMS Wildfire III Queenborough.

Dunkirk veteran.


Jack Eve was a “Drifter” fishing vessel taken over by the Admiralty at the beginning of World War Two. The vessels best suited as minesweepers were mainly trawler and drifter fishing vessels. Trawlers were the larger ocean going vessel which dragged a trawl net behind the ship. Drifters were smaller fishing vessels which fished the North Sea with long (curtain) drift nets.

Jack Eve, a drifter, was requisitioned by the Navy in November 1939. She survived the war and the extreme hazards of minesweeping to be returned to her owners in November 1945.

In December of 1939 the first magnetic mines began to appear in the Thames Estuary. These were
“Ground” mines which rested on the sea bed instead of floating on a tether which could be cut by conventional minesweeping. At first the British were struggling to devise counter-measures to the magnetic mine. But on 23 December 1939 a mine landed in shallow water off Shoeburyness in the Thames Estuary. This mine was accessible at low tide and two very brave men Lieutenant-Commander John Ouvry and Chief Petty Officer Baldwin disarm it.

With this new information the LL (double L) system of minesweeping was devised. LL sweeps are a pair of electric cables which are towed parallel to each other on floats and emit a strong electric pulse which generates a magnetic field to detonated magnetic mines.

Jack Eve is recorded as being at the Nore Command, Sheerness (Wildfire III, Queenborough) in 1941 and 1942.

LL Drifters - BOY PHILLIP, EGERIA, EUNICE & NELLIE, FORERUNNER under repair, INTERNOS, JACK EVE, SOLSTICE, TILLY DUFF, VERNAL, WELCOME HOME, all at Sheerness

 In 1939 and 1940 the minesweepers were often targeted by the Luftwaffe. In small groups, moving in straight lines,  Mineswepers made easy targets to bomb or strafe. But the minesweeper fought back. They were armed with Lewis guns and other anti-aircraft guns. On occasion they have blown enemy aircraft out of the sky.

Jack Eve also appears on the List of Ships which were at Dunkirk and assisted in the evacuations, although little is known about her exploits.

While many of the Wildfire III, Queenborough minesweepers would have been doing the vital job of keeping the evacuation sea lanes free of mines the Jack Eve in order to be listed must have swept for mines close to the beaches and taken men off the beaches returning them to England. She would have almost certainly helped in the rescue of survivors from other sunken ships. She would have experienced shelling from the land and bombing from the air.

To find out more of the Jack Eve's movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.

OFFICERS from Navy List MAY 1940 (Prior to Dunkirk)
(Rank. Name, Date joined ship.)

Skipper R.N.R. A. H. Britton. 4 Jan 40

OFFICERS from Navy List August 1940
Temp Skipper R.N.R.  J. W. High.  3 June 40

OFFICERS from Navy List June 1941 
Temp Skipper R.N.R.  J. W. High.  3 June 40 

OFFICERS from Navy List June 42.
Skipper R.N.R. N. Roch. 26 Aug 41
Temp Skipper R.N.R. A. F. Meacock.  June 41

OFFICERS from Navy List June 43
Skipper R.N.R. N. Roch. 26 Aug 41

OFFICERS from Navy List June 44
No officers listed

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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