HM Minesweeper Monarda with troops evacuated from Dunkirk  31 May 1940.


Monarda, Minesweeper, Requisitioned trawler Monarda originally a Fishing Drifter.

Length:                  91 feet
Breadth:                19 feet 4 inches
Draught:                9 feet 7 inches
Construction:        Wood. 

MONARDA
Minesweeping Drifter based at HMS Wildfire III, Queenborough.

Dunkirk Veteran.


​World War One had taught the British the danger of sea mines and the importance of minesweepers. Even before World War Two started ships suitable to be used as minesweepers were requisitioned by the Admiralty. These 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.

The Monarda was a drifter. Initially, in addition to a gun mounted on her bow, the Monarda was fitted with tethered mine sweeping gear. This was a long cable with a serrated edge to cut the mine mooring tether. On the end of the Serrated cable there was a float designed to move away from the minesweeper allowing a strip of sea to be swept.

As the war continued and new types of mines were introduced the minesweeper were equipped 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.

God bless her captain and crew for their true British spirit and bravery.


Lieutenant Pearce Trewhella Lovelock DSC, RNVR was the captain of Monarda during the Dunkirk Evacuation. On 3rd September 1940 he was gazetted for the award of a DSC "for bravery, skill and enterprise in minesweeping off the coasts of Holland, Belgium and France".

1941. It was reported in 1941 that “the work done in the Naze by Queenborough minesweepers was now second in importance only to Grimsby.”

30 August 41. Sheerness minesweepers Monarda, Internos, Forerunner and Vernal blew eleven acoustics and three magnetic mines in just over an hour on the North Thames foreshore off Southend.  Acoustic mines are prone to go off in batches by chain reaction, five exploded simultaneously and then blowing of two nearby magnetic triggered another pair.

Forerunner and Monarda were both sunk within the next ten weeks

8 Nov 41. HMT Monada activated a mine and sunk in the Thames Estuary just north of Sheppey.


OFFICERS from Navy List 30 Dec 39
(Rank. Name, Date joined ship.)

Temp. Skipper, RNR, R. H. Soames

OFFICERS from Navy List August 1940

Temp. Skipper, RNR, R. H. Soames

OFFICERS from Navy List April 1941

Temp. Skipper, RNR, G. Ellis. 7 Dec 40


OFFICERS from Navy List June 1941

Temp Lieutenant. RNR. V. E. Kennard. 1 Apr 41
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. RNR.  J. A. McLay. 7 Apr 41
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. (E) RNVR.  W. T. Davies. 28 Feb 41
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. (E) RNVR.  R. Matcham. 31 Mar 41
Temp. Skipper, RNR, G. Ellis. 7 Dec 40


OFFICERS from Navy List Oct 1941

Temp Lieutenant. RNR. V. E. Kennard. 1 Apr 41
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. RNR.  D. J. B. Vale.  5 Aug 41. (In lieu of Specialist (N) Officer)
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. (E) RNVR.  W. T. Davies. 28 Feb 41
Temp Sub-Lieutenant. (E) RNVR.  R. Matcham. 31 Mar 41
Temp. Skipper, RNR, G. Ellis. 7 Dec 40

 
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


RETURN TO SHIP DATABASE.
Click here


RETURN TO FRONT PAGE.
Click here


H.M. Drifter "MONARDA" embarking troops from the mole at Dunkirk, 31 May 1940


28 march 1940 It wasn’t until this date that the first Minesweepers equipped for magnetic minesweeping arrived at HMS Wildfire, Queenborough. The first operational LL Trawlers were the Lichen, Monarda, Tilly Duff, and Vernal.

31st May1940. The Monada and Strathelliott were sent from Queenborough to assist in the Dunkirk evacuations. Temporally Commanded by Lieutenant Pearce Trewhella Lovelock DSC RNVR the Monarda made its way through  the openings in the minefield towards the column of black smoke which came from the burning oil tanks at Dunkirk. Almost at once the Monarda was in the worst Dunkirk had to offer with near misses from bombs shaking the ship violently.  She picked up 135 troops, fifteen of who were wounded and 5 French sailors from a sinking French Trawler. On the way back to Ramsgate she rescued Squadron Leader H. D. McGregor whose Hurricane had been shot down.

1st June 1940. The Monarda embarked a second load of troops from the Mole at Dunkirk. Shortly after leaving Dunkirk she rescued 25 men from a sinking ship and straight after another forty from a sinking navel cutter. She arrived back at Sheerness towing a French Trawler and with 110 troops on board