14 September 1919. The Tocsin was serving as a minesweeper even though WW1 had ended. She would have been at work clearing British and German mine barriers.

November 1939. The Tocsin was Requisitioned by the Admiralty. (Another source says it was in June 1940. This may have been something to do with the change of name. Skipper R.N.R., G. H. Hatfield, was in Command of the Libra from the 2nd  Dec 1939.)

15th September 1940. The British Admiralty announced that the minesweeping trawlers HMS Libra (former name of Tocsin) and HMS Conquistador (Both Wildfire III, Queenborough vessels) destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft by gunfire.

15 September 1940. Nore Command Sheerness, Wildfire III, Queenborough.
M/S Trawler Group 122. Libra, (former name of Tocsin) Sanson and Saturn.

December 1940. Renamed Tocsin. (There was another vessel named Libra serving in the Dutch Navy)

1 July 1941, ROYAL NAVY SHIPS, Nore Command Sheerness, Wildfire III, Queenborough.
Minesweeping Group 121 - minesweeping trawlers BEN GLAS (Ty Lt N W Matson RNVR), FENTONIAN (Ty S/Lt C G Meachem RNVR) SANSON (Ty Sk A Wood RNR) repairing to comp 19 Jul, TOCSIN (Ty Sk G A Camburn RNR) refitting to comp 12 Jul, all at Sheerness

March 1944. The Tocsin was converted to an “Esso” a trawler used for refuelling other vessels. In most cases Trawlers were converted to fuel carriers shortly before D-day to be used in Operation Neptune. (The navy side of D-day)

6 June 1944. The Tocsin was off the D-day beaches, she was classed as a “Smoke Making Trawler” signal letters GRFX.

September 1945. Returned to owner.

To find out more of the Tocsin’s movements go to DRIFTERS AND TRAWLERS.

Extract from the D-Day Plan.
Operation Plan, Western Naval Task Force.

OPERATION PLAN NO. 2-44

OF THE

WESTERN NAVAL TASK FORCE,

ALLIED NAVAL EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.

Area Screen Plan.

18. All screening, vessels shall be prepared-to lay smoke on call. The general use of smoke is covered by Appendix 3 to this Annex.

USES OF SMOKE

4.            Smoke may be used to screen

(a) Convoys,
(b) Transport Area,
(c) Boat lanes,
(d) Beaches,
(e) Gunfire support ships,
(f) Minesweeping.
(g) Ports.

against

(h) Observation for control of gunfire, and
(i) Air attack.

Not be used unless ordered by the Senior Naval Officer-Present. In conditions of half light, at dawn and dusk, smoke laid by escorts, clear of the convoy to obscure the light horizon, and possibly also between the convoy and direction of attack should prove most effective against low level attack. It must be borne in mind that smoke is often as useful to the enemy as to-our own forces and smoke screens, unless properly placed, prevent effective use of aimed fire from short range weapons.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST Dec 39
Not on list as either Libra or Tocsin.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST July 40
Not on list as Tocsin, but on list as Libra.
Temp. Skipper R.N.R., G. H. Hatfield, 2 Dec 39.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 41
Tocsin still not on list. Libra on list.
Temp. Skipper R.N.R., R. Aughton, 17 July 1940.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 42
Tocsin is now on the list. Libra on list but no officers.
Temp. Skipper-Lieut., R.N.R., W. S. Dosdale (act), Dec 41.
Temp. Skipper, R.N.R., A. L. English, 26 Mar 42.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June 43
Tocsin is on the list. Libra is still on list but no officers.
Temp. Skipper-Lieut., R.N.R., W. S. Dosdale (act), Dec 41.
Temp. Skipper, R.N.R., R. D. Pratt. 28 Jan 43.

OFFICER ON NAVY LIST June, 44.
Temp. Skipper, R.N.R., J. C. Taylor, In Command. 14 April 1944.

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.

Thank you.
Contact: johntenthousand@yahoo.co.uk

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Trawler converted to Minesweeper, and later to a fuel carrier and smoke maker.
29

GY 687 (Grimsby)
Libra
1912

 

 

 211tons

 

 1 x 3 pounder in WW1
​Survived WW2 and returned to owner.

Type of Vessel:
Admiralty No.:
Pennant:                                            
Fishing Number:
Other Names                                    
Year Constructed:                           
Built by:
Built at:                               
Owner:                                                
Engine:
Speed:                                 
Gross Tons:                                        
Length:                                                
Beam:                                                  
Depth:                                                 
Armament:        
​Fate:   

HMT Tocsin
Wildfire III
Queenborough


The Tocsin served in both World War One and World War Two as a minesweeper. During WW2 she had the unusual job of being a Smoke Making Trawler.

Smoke was used to screen the ships of the Normandy Beaches from the Shore Batteries. It was also laid at dawn and dusk to stop the ships being silhouetted by the lighter horizon and from attack by torpedo boats and submarines.

 


 

Landing craft and ships at D-day for which HMT Tocsin would have laid a smoke screen.