1894. Westward Ho was built by S. McKnight at Ayr on the west coast of Scotland.

4 November1914. Westward Ho was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted into a minesweeper serving out of Grimsby and on the River Tyne.

20 May 1919. Returned to owner.

1920.  Refitted.
13 September 1939.  Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted into a minesweeper serving out the Tyne.  Her armament was 1 x 12pdr and two light AA guns. 

 May/June 1940. Took part in the Dunkirk evacuation making 3 trips, rescuing 1,686 troops.

Monday 27th May 1940. Late on the 26th, the Admiralty ordered Operation Dynamo to commence.  Amongst the major warships participating in the evacuation of allied troops from the Dunkirk area was the 7th Minesweeping Flotilla which included, Westward Ho, Lt A L Braithwaite.  Queen of Thanet,  Cdr S P Herival. Plinlimmon Lt G P Baker. Devonia, Lt J Brotchie, and Brighton Queen, Lt A Stubbs.

1st June 1940. Westward Ho was working off Malmo beach, Dunkirk. 

The nights of the 2nd and 3rd of June. Westward Ho was at Dunkirk harbour.

June 1940. The Westward Ho (Cdr. A. L. Sanders) is recorded as being in the 7th Minesweeping Flotilla at Leith together with paddle minesweepers Plinlimmon (Lt Cdr. C. W. Arkwright)

Thought to be also in the 7th flotilla. Queen of Kent (Ty Lt J Dixon RNR) was at Chatham, Queen of Thanet (Ty Cdr S P Herivel) was at Granton, and Skiddaw (Ty Lt J A Harris RNR) was also at Granton,

January 1941. The 7th Minesweeping Flotilla was based at Granton. Plinlimmon,  Lt Cdr G P Baker. Queen of Thanet, Cdr S P Herivael. Queen of Kent, Lt N Psaroudis. Ryde, Lt E T Symons. Sandown, Lt H Runsam. Skiddaw, Lt R C Jones.  WESTWARD HO, Lt G B Anderton.

July 1941. Westward Ho was at Rosyth.

January 1942. The 7th minesweeping flotilla, Paddle Minesweepers Queen of Thanet, Plinlimmon, Queen of Kent, Ryde, Sandown, Skiddaw, and Westward Ho, where all based at Granton.

July 1942.  Converted to an Anti-aircraft ship with 1 x 12pdr AA, 2 x 2pdr AA (2 x 1) and 2 x 0.303 B7P gun turrets (2 x 4)

July 1943. Converted at Rochester to be an accommodation ship. Sent to Dartmouth. 

March 1946. Returned to owner.

August 1946. Scrapped.

​​WESTWARD HO was a heroine of Dunkirk making three round trips and rescuing 1,686 men from Dunkirk. By the time Westward Ho arrived at the Dunkirk beaches she was a grand old lady of 46 years old. Nevertheless, she played an important part in the evacuation.

Westward Ho, like other vessels, worked tirelessly bringing troops off the beach which had been transferred to her from smaller boats. She loaded these onto bigger vessels standing further out in deeper water. At some stage she tied up alongside the now famous East Mole, to take off full loads of men and return them to Dover.

During all of this she were constantly attacked by German aircraft. Dozens of Stuka Dive Bombers (Junkers Ju 87's) appeared overhead and one by one peeled off from their formations. They came screaming down towards the ships, seemingly to almost sea level, to drop their deadly bombs.

It was difficult to manoeuvre to avoid the bombs in the shallow waters, restricted by sandbanks, other vessels and everywhere sunken ships with their superstructure showing above water. Further out there were minefields.

Returning to England there was always the danger of magnetic mines which were dropped in the sea lanes by aircraft, ahead of the vessels. At night German E-boats would appear out of the darkness firing their deadly torpedoes.

Westward Ho, like other paddle steamers had a shallow draught and could get much closer to the beach than other vessels. On the 1st June 1940 all minesweepers, paddle steamers and small craft were ordered to work the Malmo Beach for one and a half miles from Dunkirk. This is possibly the locations of the three photographs taken by Lieutenant E. A. Cash.

By this time the Dunkirk perimeter had shrunk right down to almost its final position and the vessels working off Malmo Beach were within range of the enemy artillery. While they were loading troops the ships were straddled over and over again by artillery salvoes from enemy shore batteries.

The paddle minesweepers continued with the evacuation right to the very end, with five paddle steamers picking up men on the night of Sunday the 2nd June and four paddle steamers on the night of the 3rd June, the very last night of the evacuation. Time and again they returned to the hell which was Dunkirk with artillery shells falling like rain all around them.

​Unlike two of her sister paddle steamers, Westward Ho survived Dunkirk and World War Two.

The grand old lady of the sea and her gallant crew performed their duties in the proud tradition of the Royal Navy of which we can all be proud.

In 1942, Westward Ho was converted into an Anti-aircraft vessel. Paddle steamers with their wide decks made stable platforms for anti-aircraft guns. They could also intercept enemy aircraft before they reached land. with their loads of bombs.

HMS Westward Ho. Auxiliary Minesweeper, Auxiliary Anti-Aircraft Vessel, with additional superstructure after her conversion to an Accommodation ship.

Watch this short video about Dunkirk. Dunkirk: https://youtu.be/nPD7-guKKWI

Westward Ho when a passenger carrying Paddle Steamer. 

If you, your father or your grandfather have any additional information about this ship, crew lists, stories, photographs, please contact us.

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

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Signal flags which read, P 2 0 6 8.

Westward Ho's sister paddle minesweepers from the 7th mine sweeping flotilla, sweeping for mines.

This is why mines are sunk by gunfire and not blown up. A huge explosion of a mine, probably a magnetic mine having been detonated by the LL cables of Motor Mine Sweepers.

Officer, Westward Ho.

Crewman kneels on the deck of the Westward Ho above the paddle. He is shooting at a mine which has been cut from its tether. He is not trying to blow it up! No one wants a large explosion close to their ship. He is trying to hole it and sink it. Note, the ships boat is slung outboard. Should the Westward Ho detonate a mine it could sink in seconds. 

Crew of Westward Ho. 

Officers of HMS Westward Ho.

Firing at enemy aircraft possibly Stuka Dive Bombers (Junkers Ju 87) with anti-aircraft gun. An officer points out the target. 

Lieutenant E. A. Cash served on HMS Westward Ho and Motor Mine Sweeper MMS 45.

303 rifle at the ready. Transport ships and tugs waiting to rescue troops from Dunkirk. Burning oil tanks on shore.

Taken from HMS Westward Ho, Ships fight off air attacks as the wait to rescue troops from Dunkirk.
Blazing oil tanks send up columns of smoke.

Sweeps out. 

Westward Ho crew launch Oropesa Floats attached to wire cables to cut the cables of contact mines tethered to the seabed.  

Lieutenant E. A. Cash on HMS Westward Ho.

These two photographs show the Westward Ho carrying at least five ladders. Some of the vessels rescuing men from Dunkirk needed ladders to get the troops down from the walkway of the East Mole on to the deck of the ship.

Crew of Westward Ho. AA gun on right. 

HMS Westward Ho close to the Dunkirk beaches, possibly Malmo Beach, picking up troops. Paddle minesweepers with their shallow draft could get closer to the beach than other vessels.

Five of the crew of Windward Ho shoot 303 rifles at a mine to sink it. On the left a Carley Raft ready for immediate use. 

Photograph taken from the Westward Ho. They appear to be bombs exploding close to Westward Ho's sister paddle minesweeper.

Anti-aircraft gun on Westward Ho.

OFFICERS from Navy List, Sep 1939.
NOT ON LIST.

OFFICERS from Navy List, Dec 1939.

Commander A. L. Sanders (ret) 15 Sept 39.
Tempy Lieut, G.G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy Sub-Lieut. J. L. Lumb 17 Oct 39.
Tempy Sub-Lieut. J-Aikmaa 20 Oct 39.

OFFICERS from Navy List, May 1940.

Tempy. Lieut., R.N.R. Tempy. Lieut., H. Rumsam 18 Oct 39.
Tempy. Lieut., A. L. Braithwaite 28 Mar 40.
Tempy. Lieut., G. G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy. Lieut.,  J. L. Lumb 21 Sept 39
Tempy. Lieut., E. A. Cash 12 Feb 40.
Surg. Lieut., M. Urie, MB, chB, LRCP&S, 28 Dec 39.
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. (E), H. F. Pegler 18 Aug 1940.

OFFICERS from Navy List, Aug 40.

Tempy. Lieut., A. L. Braithwaite 28 Mar 40.
Tempy. Lieut., G. G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy. Lieut., E. A. Cash 12 Feb 40.
Surg. Lieut., M. Urie, MB, chB, LRCP&S, 28 Dec 39.
Tempy. Paym. Sub-Lieut., V. O. R. Rees, 3 June 40

OFFICERS from Navy List, Feb 41.

Tempy. Lieut., G. G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy. Lieut., E. A. Cash 12 Feb 40.
Surg. Lieut., M. Urie, MB, chB, LRCP&S, 28 Dec 39.
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. J. L. Gardner 10 Jan 41.
Tempy. Act. Sub-Lieut. L. C. Evans 10 Jan 41.
Tempy. Act. Sub-Lieut. I. C. Ferguson 10 Dec 40.
Tempy. Paym. Sub-Lieut., V. O. R. Rees, 3 June 40

OFFICERS from Navy List, June 40.

Tempy. Lieut., G. G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy. Lieut., E. A. Cash 12 Feb 40.
Surg. Lieut., M. Urie, MB, chB, LRCP&S, 28 Dec 39.
Tempy. Paym. Sub-Lieut., V. O. R. Rees, 3 June 40.
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. L. C. Evans 10 Jan 41.

OFFICERS from Navy List, Dec 1940.

Tempy. Lieut.Com. A. L. Braithwaite (act) 15 May 41.
Tempy. Lieut. W. N. Bishop-Leggett. 21 Oct 41.
Tempy. Lieut., G. G. Anderton 2 Nov 39.
Tempy. Lieut. (E) C. Bohin 10 July 41.
Surg. Lieut., M. Urie, MB, chB, LRCP&S, 28 Dec 39.
Tempy. Paym. Sub-Lieut., V. O. R. Rees, 3 June 40
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. L. C. Evans 10 Jan 41.
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. (E) J. Turnbull 10 July 41.

OFFICERS from Navy List, June 42.

Tempy. Lieut. J. C. Stamper 25 Jan 42
Tempy. Lieut. H. Roberts 10 Dec 41.
Tempy. Lieut. (E) C. Bohin 10 July 41.

OFFICERS from Navy List, June 43.

Tempy. Lieut.-Com., J. D. M. McFarlane 18 July 42.
Tempy. Lieut. (E), C. Bohin 10 July 41.

OFFICERS from Navy List, June 44.

Tempy. Lieut. R. E. Ferbrocke — Oct 43 (In Command)
Tempy. Lieut. D. Tumbull 18 Jan.

OFFICERS from Navy List, April 45.

Tempy, Lieut. D. Turnbull (In Command) 18 Jan 44.
Tempy, Lieut. D.W. Hickman. 24 Jun.

OFFICERS from Navy List, July 45.

NOT ON LIST

Launching the Oropesa Float to sweep for contact (tethered) mines. 

HMS WESTWARD HO.
Passenger Paddle Steamer.
Auxiliary Paddle Minesweeper 184. WW1.
 Auxiliary Paddle Minesweeper J 43. WW2.
 Auxiliary AA Vessel 4.390.
Accommodation Ship.

HMS Westward Ho, towing another paddle minesweeper. She is using her minesweeping cables to do so. Oropesa Float for sweeping contact mines can be seen on the left.

Thank you to Marion Wardell for the information and photographs. Marion's father, Lieutenant E. A. Cash served on HMS Westward Ho and Motor Mine Sweeper MMS 45.

Lieutenant E. A. Cash was on board HMS Westward Ho when she made three harrowing round journeys to Dunkirk being dived bombed by enemy planes. Westward Ho rescued 1,686 British soldiers returning them home to England. 

HMS WESTWARD HO.

Type:                    Passenger Paddle Steamer.
                             WW1, Auxiliary Paddle Minesweeper 184.
                             WW2,  1939, Auxiliary Paddle Minesweeper – J.43
                             1942, Auxiliary AA Vessel – 4.390
                             1943 Accommodation Ship, July 1943 refitted at Rochester. Transferred to Dartmouth as                                                          accommodation ship.

Other Names:           HMS West Hope, July 1918. HMS Western Queen, August 1918.
Owners:                     P & A Campbell Ltd., Cardiff.
Builders:                     S McKnight, Ayr Shipyard, (Yard No 42)
Year Built:                  1894.
Propulsion type:       Hutson.
Speed:                        17 knots.  
Tonnage:                    438 tons.
Length:                       225 feet.
Breadth:                     26 feet.
Depth:                         9 feet.
Armament:                 Auxiliary Minesweeper.1 x 12pdr, and 1 x 6pdr.
                                     Auxiliary AA Vessel 1 x 12pdr AA, 2 x 2pdr AA (2 x 1) and 2 x 0.303 B7P gun turrets (2 x 4)
Fate:                             Survived WW2, but scrapped in August 1946