Motor Minesweeper MMS 39 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.

MMS 39 Built at Richards Ironworks, Lowestoft. Launched 4 January 1941. Completed April 1941.
MMS 39 was the first of the Motor Minesweepers to be lost in World War Two.  On 7th August 1941 MMS 39 detonated a mine and sunk.

The following crewmen lost their lives:

JENSON, Viggo E H, Engineman, RNPS, LT/KX 107991, MPK  (Missing Presumed Killed)
THIRKELL, Norman C, Ordinary Telegraphist, C/JX 251466, MPK (Missing Presumed Killed)
WATERS, William T, Wireman, P/MX 64582, died.

Seventeen survivors of MMS 39 owe their lives to an air-sea rescue float (an anchored vessel equipped with water, food medical supplies and signal lights) which they swam to after their minesweeper sunk.

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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The survivors of the MMS 39 swam to air-sea rescue float after their Minesweeper detonated a mine and sank.

Watch these short videos about the Wildfire III Minesweepers.
D-day minesweepers:
Clearing the Scheldt:
The Relief of Holland:

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 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.

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.

MMS 39