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Crew of HMT Myrtle. Photos are courtesy John Murray, son of Second Hand John Murray, pictured holding the lifebelt.
HMT Myrtle T91
Watch this short minesweeping video.
Type of Vessel: Tree Class Minesweeper
Port Reg: H 472
Other Names: St Irene.
Year Constructed: 1928
Built by: Cook Welton & Gemmell.
Built at: Beverly.
Owner: 1928 - 1939 Thomas Hamling & Co Ltd Hull. 1939 The Admiralty.
Engine: 96 HP. Built by C D Holmes.
Speed: 10.6 knots
Gross Tons: 357 tons gross. 154 tons net.
Length: 140.4 feet
Beam: 24.0 feet
Armament: 1 x 12 pounder
Fate: Mine exploded when being pulled on board with the loss of all her crew.
Tree Class Minesweeper
Wildfire III, Queenborough.
Minesweeping Group 2
HMT Myrtle was a Royal Navy Tree Class Minesweeper before the commencement of World War Two. Tree Class Minesweepers were purchased by the Admiralty in two groups to be used as Minesweepers. The first group as early as 1935 and the second in 1939. The second group included Alder, Beech, Berberis, Hornbeam, Larch, Maple, Myrtle, Oak, Redwood and Tamarisk. Of these the Alder, Beech, Myrtle and Tamarisk were lost.
The Myrtle rescued survivors from the SS Lowland which had detonated a mine and sunk. Seven months later, while trying to pull a magnetic mine on board the Myrtle and all her crew were lost when it detonated.
February 1939. The Myrtle with others in the Tree Group was purchased by the Admiralty and converted to Minesweepers.
13 November 1939. HMS Cruiser Adventure and HMS Destroyer Blanche detonated mines with loss of life, many injured and great damage. The new and as yet impossible to sweep magnetic mines were suspected to have been laid in that area. The Destroyer Glowworm stationed herself east of the tongue Light Vessel to redirect shipping around the danger area, and the Minesweeper Myrtle positioned herself to redirect shipping coming out of the Thames.
22 November 1939. The SS Lowland detonated a mine, off Clacton on Sea and sunk with the loss of nine of her crew. HMT Myrtle rescued the survivors.
June 1940. ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command, Sheerness, Wildfire III, Queenborough.
Minesweeping Group 2 - minesweeping trawlers LARCH (Sk J T White RNR), MYRTLE (Ch Sk W G Cleveland RD RNR), PYROPE (Ty Sk A J Folkard RNR), TAMARISK (Sk S C W Bavidge RNR), all at Sheerness.
14 June 1940. When a magnetic mine was being pulled on board by her crew, it exploded with the loss of all her crew.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS. A DSC was awarded to James Cormack Penman, Stoker, R.N.R., H.M.T. Myrtle.
The above Appointment and Awards are for, unfailing courage, endurance and resource in H.M. Trawlers, Drifters and Minesweepers in their hard arid perilous task of sweeping the seas clear of enemy mines.
HMT Myrtle, ship loss. (MPK = Missing Presumed Killed)
ATKINSON, Thomas, Seaman, RNR (PS), LT/X 7794 C, MPK
BIRD, William, Stoker, RNR, C/KX 10040 S, MPK
CLARK, Alfred G, Ordinary Seaman, RNVR, D/MD/X 3007, MPK
CLEVELAND, William G, Chief Skipper, RNR, MPK
DAVIES, Vernon, Leading Cook, D/MX 53006, MPK
DILLON, Alfred S, Stoker, RNR, C/X 3172 V, MPK
GOWER, Frank, Seaman, RNR, LT/JX 181796, MPK
HOLMAN, Edward G, Leading Signalman, RNVR, C/LD/896, MPK
HURRELL, Roy, Seaman, RNR (PS), LT/X 10096 B, MPK
MACKAY, William, Stoker, RNPS, LT/KX 101739, MPK
MACPHERSON, George, Engineman, RNR (PS), LT/X 6067 ES, MPK
MURRAY, John, 2nd Hand, RNR, C/X 30 SB, MPK
OWEN, Frederick H, Leading Telegraphist, D/WRX 41, MPK
QUAYLE, William, Engineman, RNR (PS), LT/X 10145 S, MPK
SOUTER, James, Leading Seaman, RNR (PS), LT/X 9371 B, MPK
SPICKERNELL, Sidney S, Commander, Rtd, MPK
SUTHERLAND, Andrew C, Leading Seaman, RNR (PS), LT/X 7788 C, MPK
TAIT, William K, Engineman, RNR (PS), LT/X 5999 ES, MPK
WATSON, James T, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 177629, MPK
WINNEY, George F, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 170695, MPK
WINTER, William H, Ty/Skipper, RNR, MPK
WYLIE, John R, Seaman, RNR (PS), LT/X 9485 B, MP
To find out more of the Myrtle’s movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec, 39
On list but no Officers.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 40
Chief Skipper, R.N.R., W. G. Cleveland. 1 Sep 1039 to 14 June 1940 when he was killed when his ship detonated a mine.