MMS 265, Built by Frank Curtis, Totnes, Devon.

Like many of the Wildfire III, Queenborough MMS 265 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.

OFFICERS from the Navy List June 1943.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. P. Jones, (In Command) 17 Feb 43.

OFFICERS from the Navy List Dec. 1943.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. P. Jones, (In Command) 17 Feb 43.
Temp. Sub-Lieut. RNVR, G. M. Cox. 27 April 43.

OFFICERS from the Navy List June. 1944.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. P. Jones, (In Command) 17 Feb 43.
Temp. Sub-Lieut. RNVR, G. M. Cox. 27 April 43.

OFFICERS from the Navy List January 1945.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. P. Jones, (In Command) 17 Feb 43.
Temp. Sub-Lieut. RNVR. J. H. Cooke. 29 Nov 44.

OFFICERS from the Navy List July 1945.
Temp. Lieut. RNVR, R. P. Jones, (In Command) 17 Feb 43.
Temp. Sub-Lieut. RNVR. J. H. Cooke. 29 Nov 44.

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.

Watch these short videos about the Wildfire III Minesweepers.


D-day minesweepers:

Clearing the Scheldt:

The Relief of Holland:

MMS 265

Motor Minesweeper MMS 265 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.

Crewman Harold O’Neill's story, MMS 265 - minesweeping.

Once back in Lowestoft Harold joined MMS 265, a wooden hulled ship employed in minesweeping. The ship was used first to clear the Thames Estuary of mines and then to clear paths across to Ostend and back to Dover. Harold said that there were ship’s masts sticking up everywhere inshore around the port since the water was relatively shallow and there had been heavy losses due to mines, etc. Harold’s next period of service came about because General Montgomery required the use of a large port to help supply the Eighth Army in its drive up the coast through Belgium and into Holland. The chosen port was Antwerp but this lies quite far inland and the approach had been very heavily mined and booby-trapped by the Germans. Additionally the German army still controlled access to Antwerp from the island of Walcheren which lies on the north side of the Scheldt.

The MMS 265 tied up at a small port where the pre-war river pilots had operated from. He found one searching in the rubbish bins ashore for food so Harold took him aboard and fed him. There was a very severe food shortage in Holland at this time. The operation of clearing the mines was very difficult. Many different types of mine had been sown, some dummies, many real, some magnetic, some not. Some had been placed in close to wrecks so that the normal sweeps couldn’t reach them and they had to be neutralised by hand, a dangerous job carried out in a great rush so as to be completed before the tide came in again. The job was complicated further by the difficulty the river pilots had in finding their way. After all, the river had had over five years to redesign its sandbanks and all the pre-war knowledge was of little use by now.

Harold’s war came to an end when he was in Queenborough, on the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames. He was told he could go up to London to take part in the Victory celebrations as long as he was back for 3am for sailing. Since his wife was nearby both were able to go. They travelled up to Piccadilly where an American band was playing but his small wife found the crush too much and they moved on to the Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace where another huge crowd had gathered in the hopes of seeing the King. Every nationality under the sun was represented in that crowd and all were in the end able to see King George, Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Winston Churchill appear on a balcony to wave to the excited crowd.

After the war Harold spent a number of months helping to clear the sea lanes of mines from Dover along to and up the Dutch coast. He worked to clear access to and from Antwerp, Rotterdam and along the IJmuiden to Amsterdam.

To read Harold's full story go HERE

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.

Click here

Click here