HM Minesweeper Staunch.
Wildfire III, Queenborough
Minesweeper Trawler Group 3
Based at both Wildfire III, Queenborough and Harwich HMT Earl Essex served in both World War One and World War Two as a minesweeper.
HMT Staunch did not take part in the Dunkirk evacuations as she was busy keeping the East Coast sea-lanes free of mines. During the Dunkirk Evacuations when a spitfire crashed into the North Sea the Staunch went to its rescue.
Without even interfering with her sweep, Leading Wireman A. L. Elliott, with two other ratings, dived into the sea, swam to a Carley float which had been slipped and rescued the pilot, who had been badly shaken in the crash.
In 1944 the Staunch was converted into a fuel carrier. Although it is not known if the Staunch was at D-day, many trawlers were converted at this time to refuel the vessels at the Normandy landing beaches.
Shortly after D-day (6 June 1944) on the 25th July, 1944 a crew member of the Staunch, Robert Hetherington died of his wounds. Prior to this the Staunch must have been in some sort of action with the enemy.
Watch this short minesweeping video. Minesweepers: https://youtu.be/aTsYiZFzv5M
We don't have a photograph of HMT Staunch, but she would have looked like this model of a Minesweeper Trawler.
November 1939, The Bengal was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper.
1939 – 1940 The Bengal was renamed the Staunch.
15th September 1940, Nore Command, Harwich.
117th M/S Trawler Group: Refundo, Exyahne, Earl Essex and Staunch.
January 1941, ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command. Harwich.
Minesweeping Group 117 - minesweeping trawlers EARL ESSEX (Sk Lt E C Rose RD RNR) at Sheerness, EXYAHNE (Ty Sk W A George RNR) at Harwich, STAUNCH (Sk J Donaldson RNR) at Sheerness.
22 June 1941. Naval Vessels in the Nore Command, Battle of the East Coast, Queenborough, (Wildfire III)
Minesweeper Trawler Group 17, (part) Earl Essex. Staunch.
January 1942. ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command, Harwich.
Minesweeping Group 117 - minesweeping trawlers DE LA POLE, EARL ESSEX, STAUNCH, WILLIAM STEPHENS, all at Harwich.
1944. The staunched was converted to a Fuel Carrier.
Tuesday, 25 July 1944. Robert HETHERINGTON, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 517372, Died of Wounds.
November 1944, Returned to owner.
20 May 1955. Scrapped at Charlestown.
To find out more of the Staunch’s movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec 39
NOT ON LIST as either Bengal or Staunch. Although Skipper S. M. Norton, R.N.R. was on board from 1 Dec 1939.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST July 40
Skipper R.N.R., J. Donaldson, 19 June 1940
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 41.
Skipper R.N.R. C. H. Winter, 30 April 41.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 42.
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., F. K. Butler, 7 Sept 41.
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., W. W. Jobson, 29 May 41.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 43.
Temp. Lieut. Com., R.N.V.R., F. K. Butler, (act) 7 Sept 41
Temp. Lieut. R.N.V.R., W. W. Jobson, 29 May 41
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June, 44
Skipper Lieut., R.N.R., C. Sutcliffe (act) (In Command) 14 Apr 44.
Temp. Act. Sub-Lieut., A. E. B. Lloyd, 10 Jan 44.
Temp. Skipper, A. Montader (act) 14 Apr 44.
OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 45
Not on List.
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.
Type of Vessel: Steam Trawler converted to a minesweeper.
Pennant: FY 1591
Other Names: HMS Bengal
Year Constructed: Launched 30 Oct 1905. Completed on 1 January 1906.
Built by: Cook, Welton & Gemmill.
Built at: Beverley, U.K.
Owner: Sir Thomas Robertson and Son, Grimsby.
Engine: 60 RHP, Triple expansion.
Speed: 11 knots.
Gross Tons: 211 gross tons, 83 net tons.
Length: 115.4 feet.
Beam: 21.6 feet.
Depth: 11.5 feet.
Fate: Survived the war. Scrapped in May 1954.