Motor Minesweeper's 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 explodes acoustic mines. 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 detonates magnetic mines.
Four Hundred and two Motor Minesweeper were built for the Royal Navy between 1940 and 1945.
Admiralty type; 1 to 118 and 123 to 313
Displacement 165 Tons
Length: 105 Feet (32 metres)
Beam: 23 Feet (7 metres)
Draft: 9 feet 6 inches. (2.9 Metres)
Engine: Diesel. 500 BHP.
Speed: 12.65 Miles per hour. (11 knots)
Complement: 20 Officers and men.
Armament: Two 20 mm Anti-aircraft guns
Two machine guns.
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.
MMS 149, Built by Frank Curtis, Par, Cornwall. Launched 21 November 1941. Completed March 1942. Sold 1949.
Like many of the Wildfire III, Queenborough MMS 149 took part in the D- Day landings and “Operation Calendar Two”. Clearing the vital water way of the Scheldt Estuary of mines and opening up the port of Antwerp to resupply Allied troops with over stretched supply lines.
For more information on areas in which MMS 149 operated. CLICK HERE. Where you will also find an account of sweeping mines in the Scheldt Estuary by Ralph Humphries on MMS 149.
A crew member writes, “I’m an ex wireman on MMS149. I worked out of Queenborough, Sheerness, sweeping around the Kent coast meeting Dover sweepers half way for 15 repeat sweep.”
8 May 1945. On VE Day the MMS 149 sailed for Rotterdam where it was amongst the first three British warships to enter the docks. The crew fed hungry Dutch children who had been surviving by eating tulip bulbs.
OFFICERS from Navy List August 1942.
Temp. Lieut., R.N.V.R., J. C. J. Poynton. 9 Mar 42
Temp. Lieut., R.N.V.R., L. H. P. Scott. 9 Mar 42.
OFFICERS from Navy List June 1943.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, J. C. J. Poynton. 9 Mar 42.
Temp. Sub-Lieut. RNVR, L. H. P. Scott. 9 Mar 42.
OFFICERS from Navy List Dec. 1943.
Vessel listed but no Officer names.
OFFICERS from Navy List June. 1944.
Vessel listed but no Officer names.
OFFICERS from Navy List January 1945.
Vessel not on List.
OFFICERS from Navy List July 1945.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. L. Lawrence. (In Command) 12 Aug 44.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, J. P. Ingram. 12 Aug 44.
ON MINESWEEPING PATROL.
An account of sweeping mines in the Scheldt Estuary by Ralph Humphries on MMS 149.
I was in the Royal Navy Patrol Service serving on the MMS 149 out of Queenborough Base at Sheerness - the largest minesweeper base in the UK. We were minesweeping along the Kent coast in November 1944 when all ships' companies were called to the pier for an operation to open up part of Antwerp. There were 30 - 40 minesweepers from the base and we sailed on 2/11/44 and laid off Brighton for a day waiting for the coastal port of Flushing to be taken by the Royal Marine Commandos.
We sailed on 3/11 joined by other minesweepers from Harwich. In the forefront of the sweepers were the Royal Marines in small boats trying to get snag-lines around the propellers of trawlers sweeping for contact lines. After that came the magnetic minesweepers sweeping for the unknown on the sea bed.
As we approached Flushing the shore batteries of the Germans opened fire - my heart started to turn over as we could see the traces coming towards us. We were sitting ducks! Somebody called for the RAF to come in with rocket-firing Typhoons who silenced the shore batteries, what a relief!
We went up the Scheldt as far as Terneuzen, where we stopped overnight - our biggest fear was dropping anchor because of the mines. The next day we continued sweeping up to Antwerp with the hazard of flying bombs (V2s) being targeted at Antwerp and the river. *A few days later one ML boat was sunk in the river and the dead were brought into Terneuzen and onto the decks of the boats.
We carried on sweeping the river till the end of November when the first US Liberty boat entered Antwerp to open up the docks in place of the Mulberry Docks. We carried on sweeping the Scheldt and outside into the North Sea where we ran into midget submarines - this was around Xmas '44 when the Battle of the Bulge was aiming for Antwerp. All unnecessary ships were sent back to the UK but I was unlucky and carried on sweeping till Feb '45.
We came back to the base at Sheerness where we were refitted then on VE Day sailed for Rotterdam where we were among the first 3 British warships to enter the docks.
Dutch children came aboard and were so hungry that they licked our plates when we finished our meals. From then on we gave as much as we could from our rations to make soup for the children who had been eating tulip bulbs because they were starving.
From there we moved to IJmuiden where we had a farewell drum head service for the British minesweepers with the Canadians taking the salute.
Motor Minesweeper MMS 149 would have looked the same as her sister ship, MMS 192. Note, the Acoustic “hammer” on the bow in the up position used to sweep for acoustic mines and the drum on the stern for the LL cables used to detonate magnetic mines.