Halcyon Class Minesweepers HMS Speedy 1943
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Speedy - Crew


HMS Speedy mined May 1943 - Halcyon Class Minesweeper
HMS Speedy after hitting mine
(www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk )

Date of Arrival


Date of Departure

Orders, Remarks etc

Jan 1943

By the end of January the 17th MSF had accounted for 357 mines.

April 1943

By the end of April the 17th MSF had accounted for 419 mines


On 15/5 the Flotilla were sweeping four miles off St Elmo when SPEEDY hit a mine which exploded under her magazine, buckled the ship longitudinally, blew a hole in the hull (starboard side, forward) and put her shafts out of line. Two men were killed, two missing and eight injured. Although badly damaged SPEEDY was able to get back to harbour with the assistance of the others of the flotilla (towed stern first), but the damage was such that she would need to remain in the dockyard for some time. Taken in hand Malta. Temporary repairs to mine damage. Completes early July. 

The following four crewmen are buried in Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery Plot F:

Leading Stoker John Burgess P/KX 97648 age 21

Leading Stoker John A Deakin P/KX 104200 age 25

Electrical Artificer Philip Leah P/MX 59865 age 24

Chief Stoker James H Wilson P/KX63347 age 43


We were placed on standby for the invasion of Italy but we still had to go out and sweep the bay from Silema to Filfa Point.  A few days later we prepared to sweep the main channel and proceed for the invasion of Italy, it was about 06:00 and we were heading out to sea to sweep the channel.  Suddenly the lookout shouted “mine ahead” but there was no opportunity to turn the ship to either port or starboard.  The mine struck us under the bow section, just forward of the bridge.  We immediately took action closing all of the water tight bulkhead doors (x and y) throughout the ship.  Our routine as we were leaving Harbour was to get the ‘collision Mat’, which is used as a plug to cover as much of the damaged area as possible.  We managed to get the collision mat in place in about 20-30 minutes.  This stopped a lot of inflow of seawater.  At that time one of the sailors said there was someone trapped in the engineers mess deck so we took off our Seaboat falls (ropes) and lowered the end from the port hole in the area of the messdeck.  I climbed over the side, down into the mess deck, and entered through its port hole.   I found CPO Cartledge trapped by a table.  I expected the worst.  On getting the table out of the way I found he was OK so we made our way back to the porthole I had entered through.  I secured him onto the boat's fall and gave the order to pull him up out of the port hole up to the upper deck.  Then the boat's falls were lowered back down to me and I climbed out and back up to the upper deck, closing the port hole as much as possible.  The ship steadied and one of the sailors said, looking over the side, that it looks as if I was lucky.  The ship was keeling over from the mine damage the water level was only just below the port hole of the mess deck.  I then realised the danger I had been in and shock brought on a bout of the shivers.  We prepared to tow the ship back to the dockyards, which luckily was not too far away.  We had successfully saved the ship from sinking.

On being taken into the shipyard we were edged into our dock.  The ship was settled and shored upright until the dock was drained.  While this was going on I found out that the engine room had done a great job in shoring up the forward bulkhead as it had nearly burst through.  We only had about 3 or 4 casualties on the deck being drained down.  The mine had blown the entire magazine out of the ship leaving a hole big enough to take a double-decker bus!  I must pay tribute to the engine room staff for their quick action in shoring up the bulkhead as this took the strain of the pressure.  If it had given way the ship would have exploded.

Source: Duncan Christison


SPEEDY is returning to UK in MKS 21 (Operation Cockatoo) for permanent repairs to mine damage.
After leaving Malta the convoy was attacked by torpedo bombers and two merchant ships were damaged.








Temporary repairs








10/9 Taken in hand at Sheerness Dockyard, completion Feb 1944. To pay off into dockyard control 16/9.

13/12 Completes March ’44 approx ex trials


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This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012