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This page last updated 14th July 2009

The 6th MSF
(Minesweeping Flotilla)

The 6th MSF first came together at Plymouth in mid-March 1944 when preparing for the forthcoming invasion of Normandy. Led by VESTAL (SO), the others were FRIENDSHIP, GOZO, LIGHTFOOT, MELITA, PERSIAN, POSTILLION and LARNE. The flotilla was given the responsibility of clearing channel five (one of ten channels) in the Gold sector of the British assault area, and subsequently for clearing the water between channels five and six.

The work of the 6th was similar to that of the other Algerine flotillas engaged in "Neptune" and was accomplished in similar exemplary manner. On 6th July FRIENDSHIP suffered minor damage from a near miss from an exploding mine and a few days later a similar accident happened to GOZO. About this time LARNE left to become the Senior Officer of the newly forming 5th MSF. The flotilla was in further trouble on 10th August when VESTAL was hit by an electric trackless torpedo, fired from near Le Havre, necessitating her withdrawal for repair. As a result of this incident FRIENDSHIP took over as SO of the flotilla and VESTAL, after repair, was transferred to the 7th MSF.

Further minesweeping of the approaches to the Channel ports followed and with additions and replacements, the flotilla then comprised FRIENDSHIP (SO), GOZO, LIGHTFOOT, POSTILLION, MELITA, LENNOX, PELORUS and PERSIAN. On 8th April 1945, the 6th left UK for the Far East spending some time on escort duties at Colombo. On 2nd July the flotilla joined Force 62 (cruisers, carriers and destroyers) for Operation “Collie” an air and sea bombardment off Cape Nicobar (Malaya). In five days, although not having performed operational sweeping for some time, the flotilla gave a good account of itself sweeping 167 mines.

On 15th August as the war in the Far East ended, the 6th joined the 7th in a sweep of the Malacca Strait, clearing the way for the Singapore occupation force, More mine clearance work by the flotilla ended in March, 1946 when the 6th MSF returned to the UK.

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