Ben Collins who served on MMS 1083.


(Ben Collins, front row, third from left.)

Farewell Party, given by the Officers, at Britannia Hotel, Sheerness 11 April 1946.

MMS 1078, MMS 1029, MMS 1083

The Killick, Wires, Cookie and Sparks having there tot of rum in the mess deck. Dec 44.

At this time the Wildfire III minesweepers had just completed the sweeping of the Scheldt Estuary and certainly deserved a well earned tot of rum!

MMS 1083.

Class:                     MMS II

Built by:               Wivenhoe Shipyard Ltd. (Wivenhoe, England, U.K.) 

Ordered:             3 Nov 1942 

Launched:           12 Apr 1944 

Commissioned: 6 Oct 1944 

Displacement      255 Tons
Length:                 126 Feet (38.4 metres)
Beam:                   26 Feet (7.92 metres)
Draft:                    10 feet 6 inches. (3.2 Metres)
Engine:                 Diesel. 500 BHP.
Speed:                  11.5 miles per hour. (10 knots)
Complement:      21 Officers and men.
Armament:          Two 20 mm Anti-aircraft guns
                              Two machine guns.
Sold:                      1946

Photographs and information by kind permission of Peter Collins whose father Benjamin  Collins served on MMS 1083 


Motor Minesweeper MMS 1083 together with other MMS’s from Wildfire III Minesweeper Base at Queenborough would Sweep ahead of the vital “Follow Up” convoys leading them to the D-day beaches.

Force “L”, the immediate follow up taskforce rendezvoused in the Thames Estuary. Sailing Group 1 and 2 from Harwich with sixty-five landing craft and ships and Sailing Group 3, 4 and 5 from the Southend anchorage with sixty-five Landing Craft, sixty-six Merchant Navy ships loaded with vehicles and three cable ships. With these went a fleet of escort vessels including Sheerness destroyers Meynell and Vivacious. Leading Force “L” were twenty Queenborough Motor Mine Sweepers amongst these MMS 1083.

MMS 1083 was kept very busy keeping the sea lanes free of mines and clearing mines from the Bay of the Seine, off the D-day beaches and clearing the  French coast as the Allied Army advanced.

MMS 1083 would eventually arrive at the Scheldt Estuary where it took part in clearing mines from the approaches to Antwerp. By then the Allied supply lines were greatly overstretched and a port closer the front was urgently needed.  

Watch these short videos about the Wildfire III Minesweepers.


D-day minesweepers:

Clearing the Scheldt:

The Relief of Holland:

Taffy painted the Carley float while steaming out Terneuzen. (In the Scheldt)

The ship (MMS 1083) taken off Margate, June 1945.

Grenade sweeping in the Scheldt Dec 44.  (Written on the back by Ben Collins)


MMS 1083 with other Wildfire III minesweeper would go on to open up the Dutch ports. The occupying German force had stopped trains going into Holland and the people were starving to death. They called it the hunger winter and over 20,000 people starved to death.

The minesweepers cleared the ports allowing humanitarian aid and food to go flooding into Holland.

Even with the ever-present danger of detonating a mine with devastating results, life goes on aboard MMS 1083

Prior to his service on MMS 1083, Lieutenant N. B. Lewis, commanded MMS.40. On the 27th June, 1944, MMS 40 detonated a mine and sunk but was later re-floated.


DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL,  PO Alfred Frederick Wise, LT/JX203776. On the 3 Apr 45, was awarded a DSM for “Minesweeping - DSM awarded for great gallantry and endurance in clearing the estuary of the Scheldt of mines during the period of October to November 1944.”

OFFICERS from Navy List December 1942
(Rank. Name, Date joined ship.)
Temp. Lieutenant RNVR. N. B. Lewis. 27 Aug 42

Navy Lists, October 1944

Temp. Lieut., N. B. Lewis, R.N.V.R. 10 Aug 44.  In Command.

Temp. Sub-Lieut., J. W. C. Cleland, R.N.V.R.  25 Aug 44

Navy Lists, January 1945

Temp. Lieut., N. B. Lewis, DSC. R.N.V.R. 10 Aug 44.  In Command.  

Temp. Sub-Lieut., J. W. C. Cleland, R.N.V.R.  25 Aug 44

Navy Lists, April 1945

Temp. Lieut., N. B. Lewis, DSC. R.N.V.R. 10 Aug 44.  In Command.  

Temp. Sub-Lieut., J. W. C. Cleland, R.N.V.R.  25 Aug 44

Navy Lists, April 1945

Temp. Lieut., R.N.V.R N. A. Ray. (In Command) June 45 (In Command)

Temp. Sub-Lieut., J. W. C. Cleland, R.N.V.R.  25 Aug 44

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.


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Clearing the mines from the Scheldt Estuary, leading to the vital port of Antwerp, was the most difficult and complex mine clearing task of World War Two. The job was given to Captain Hopper and the Wildfire Minesweepers from Queenborough.

MMS 1083 played a unique part in clearing the mines from the Scheldt. She had been fitted with a new device, known as the “washing machine”, to explode acoustic mines. In a very short time she exploded 11 mines. Her sister minesweepers were keeping a wary eye on her. The new device could explode mines a considerable distance away, and that distance was not yet known!  More worrying was that the explosion of one acustic mine could set off others.

Charlie having a go at Bob Martin's hair in the mess deck. Dec 44.

Charlie shaving Bunts neck in the mess deck .

MMS 1083

MMS’s (Motor Mine Sweeper) were purpose built, wooden, shallow draft, minesweepers with both SA and LL sweeping capabilities. SA is Sweep Acoustic, a device similar to a Kanga Hammer which makes a loud thumping noise which exploded the acoustic mine. LL (double L) is 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 which detonated the magnetic mine.

Four Hundred and two Motor Minesweeper were built for the Royal Navy between 1940 and 1945.