Queen of Thanet

Information about the vessels

This page gives brief details of the vessels shown in the photographs, and links to sources of more information.

HMS Algerine (J213)

This vessel was a minesweeper of the Algerine class, launched on 22 December 1941. She was torpedoed by an Italian submarine and sunk off Algeria on 15 November 1942 while clearing mines.

HMS Avenger (D14)

HMS Avenger was an escort carrier of the Avenger/Charger class launched on 27 November 1940. She was built in the USA and entered service with the Royal Navy in 1942 following modifications on the Clyde. She was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 15 November 1942 and sank off Gibraltar.

HMS Berwick (65)

HMS Berwick was a heavy cruiser of the Kent class (part of the County class) and was launched on 30 March 1924. She survived World War II and was broken up in 1948.

HMS Duke of York (17)

HMS Duke of York was a King George V class battleship launched on 28 February 1940. She was sold for scrapping in 1957.

HMS Dunbar (J53)

HMS Dunbar was a Bangor class minesweeper launched on 5 June 1940. She survived the war and was sold on 1 January 1948.

HMS Hood (51)

HMS Hood was an Admiral class battle cruiser launched during World War I, on 22 August 1918. She did not serve in that war as she was not commissioned until 1920. HMS Hood was for many years the largest warship in the world. In World War II she formed part of the Home Fleet. On 24 May 1941 she was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck near Iceland, all except three of the crew being killed.

HMS Nelson (28)

HMS Nelson was a Nelson class battleship launched on 10 September 1927. She was damaged by a U-boat on 4 December 1939 but continued in service, and was sold for scrapping in 1948.

HMS Queen of Kent

HMS Queen of Kent had quite a similar history to HMS Queen of Thanet. She was a minesweeper, a paddle steamer built for the Royal Navy at Troon in 1916 and initially named HMS Atherstone. Like HMS Queen of Thanet (built as HMS Melton) she was in the Racecourse class. After the war she was sold and converted to a pleasure steamer, sailing on the Thames and also across the English Channel. In 1939 she was requisitioned became a minesweeper again. After war service once more became a pleasure steamer on the Thames and Medway and latterly from Bournemouth. She was scrapped in March 1952.

HMS Queen of Thanet

HMS Queen of Thanet was a World War I minesweeper, a paddle steamer built in Port Glasgow in 1916. She was initially known as HMS Melton and was one 32 of in the Racecourse class (also known as the Ascot class). Following service with the Royal Navy, she was sold and became a pleasure steamer on the Thames. In World War II she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in her original role as a minesweeper. She took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in late May and early June 1940 after which she was based at Granton. After the war she became a pleasure steamer again, sailing from Bournemouth and other south coast ports, before being scrapped in 1951.

HMS Rodney (29)

HMS Rodney was one of two battleships in the Nelson class (the other was HMS Nelson). She was launched on 17 December 1925, decommissioned in November 1945 and sold for scrapping in 1948.

HMS Sandown

HMS Sandown was a paddle wheel ferry built in 1934 for the Southern Railway’s Portsmouth—Ryde service but requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1939 and converted to a minesweeper, and later in 1942 to an anti-aircraft ship. She was converted back to a ferry in 1945 and was scrapped in 1956.

HMS Skiddaw

This vessel was known in peacetime as the Britannia. She was built in Ayr in 1896 and requisitioned for war service in both World Wars, first as HMS Briton and then as HMS Skiddaw. Between the wars she spent much of her time sailing between Bristol and Ilfracombe. In the early to mid 1950 she operated from Swansea as a pleasure steamer until she was taken out of service in 1956 and scrapped

HMS Sylvana

HMS Sylvana was described as a danlaying yacht. A danlayer would follow the minesweepers and lay markers to show which channels had been cleared.

HMS Victorious (38)

HMS Victorious was one of three aircraft carriers forming the Illustrious class (the others were HMS Formidable (67) and HMS Illustrious (87)). Launched on 14 September 1939 she joined the Home Fleet in May 1941 after being fitted out and commissioned. She was involved in attacks on the German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz. The Victorious was lent to the USA for service in the Pacific Fleet but returned to the British Home Fleet in in late 1943. Following a refit she although she was hit by a Japanese Kamikaze on 9 May 1945 was undamaged. Victorious was decommissioned in January 1947 but brought back onto service later that year as a training carrier. The vessel underwent major reconstruction from during the 1950s, but was damaged by fire during a 1967 refit. It was decided that she should be decommissioned. This was done on 13 March 1968 and she was then sold for scrapping.

HMS Westward Ho!

This vessel was a minesweeping paddle steamer built in Ayr in 1894. In peacetime she was employed for much of her life as a Bristol Channel excursion steamer. She was scrapped in 1946.

HMS York (90)

HMS York was a heavy cruiser launched on 17 July 1928. On 26 March 1941 she was severely damaged by an air attack in Crete. The vessel was eventually scrapped where it lay in 1952.

County class cruiser

The County class was a class of heavy cruiser originating in the 1920s and including thirteen vessels, among them HMS Berwick.

Tribal class destroyer

The Tribal class, or Afridi class, were a class of destroyers built for the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Australian Navy that saw service in World War II. They originated in the mid 1930s as a response to new types of destroyer being constructed by other countries.

V & W class destroyer

The V and W class was a grouping of six similar classes of destroyer built for the Royal Navy during the World War I. In World War II, many were used as convoy escorts. The vessels’ names started with the letter V or W depending on which class they were in.

Tank Landing Craft

A Tank Landing Craft (TLC) was a specially designed vessel, generally with a hinged ramp at the bow, for carrying tanks and other vehicles and unloading them where required – for example on beaches. They were first introduced in World War II. After the war, some were used for civilian purposes, such as vehicle ferries.

More information

There is a great deal of information available in books and on the internet about the Royal Navy in World War II. The information here has been taken from the websites we have identified, and it is worth exploring other pages on them for more information.

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