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This page last updated 14th July 2009

The 5th MSF
(Minesweeping Flotilla)



July, 1944 found the 5th MSF comprising LARNE (SO), WELFARE, OCTAVIA and CLINTON leaving Londonderry bound for the Mediterannean. On arrival at Malta, the flotilla spent a short time exercising minesweeping techniques in preparation for its first operation, the landings in the South of France. For this event the flotilla was to be joined by STORMCLOUD now repaired after her enforced absence from the Normandy invasion. LARNE had already been bloodied in battle, having been attached to the 6th MSF for D-day and she now had the unique distinction among Algerines of being the only one to take part in both major invasions. In the course of its activity during the invasion, the 5th MSF came under heavy gunfire whilst sweeping but suffered no casualties or damage.

Augmented by a further addition, SYLVIA, and after a brief stay at Malta, the flotilla was called upon to sweep a channel through Kithera Strait towards Poros and the approaches to the Greek port of Piraeus. By October the port was open, but not without loss to the flotilla. First the leader, LARNE, hit a mine and a few hours later in the same sweep, CLINTON also hit one. LARNE had to be beached and, as a result of the damage, became a total loss to the Royal Navy. CLINTON managed to reach Poros although well down at the bows. She was out of action until September the following year.

Fortunately relief arrived in the form of TRUELOVE and SKIPJACK, and with WELFARE now the Senior Officer, the flotilla continued more sweeping around the Greek Islands. The next job for the 5th was a clearance sweep of the approaches to the Dardanelles, opening up the way for the naval forces attending the meeting of the "Big Three" (Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt) at Yalta. For this operation the 5th was joined by the 12th MSF, also Algerines. Apart from ACUTE going aground on the Turkish shore, and the appalling weather encountered, this operation is best remembered by the Senior Officer (Cdr. Humphery Jenkins) as the occasion when fourteen Algerine minesweepers swept in line abreast with "A" sweep streamed (all joined together by sweep wire), truly a magnificent sight and probably unique in minesweeping.

Further routine clearance sweeps off Greece were followed by the 5th joining up with the 19th with WELFARE as Senior Officer, for the sweep in the Adriatic to Venice and Trieste. This satisfactorily completed and the war in Europe over, the flotilla joined in the hard slog of clearing the Mediterannean of the tens of thousands of mines scattered by all nations during the previous six years. By December, 1945 the flotilla had accounted for 1,000 mines with STORMCLOUD (271), the winner and the runners-up OCTAVIA (216), SKIPJACK (163) and TRUELOVE (148). Although the flotilla remained in the Mediterannean after 1946 Commander Jenkins and other commanding officers left at the end of 1945 and effectively that part of the life of the 5th MSF was ended.


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