MENESTHEUS 1

MENESTHEUS 1 

Official Number:                    161134

Laid down:                              

Builder:                                   Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Dundee

Pennant No:                 M 93    B 406 

Launched:                             6 August 1929

Into Service:                          22 June 1940

Out of service:                       26 July 1946

Fate:                                        10 June 1953 condemmed for demolition

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data: This vessel, along with her sister AGAMEMNON were originally requisitioned late in 1939 and firstly commissioned as auxiliary minelayers. The world-wide nature of WW2 frequently led to the creation of bases in isolated areas where there were limited or no shore facilities. The Admiralty had these two vessels specially converted into Amenities Ships for Pacific Operations conducted from forward bases quite devoid of normal shore facilities and far removed from main bases. These vessels provided recreational facilities far in excess of those normally borne shipboard, and were fitted with cinemas, “wet” canteens which included an onboard brewery, swimming facilities, etc where sailors could take local leave aboard between operations. They were manned by mercantile crews, some from the RFA

 

Career Data:

 

6 August 1929 launched by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Dundee as Yard Nr: 326 named Menestheus for Ocean Steamship Co Ltd., (A Holt & Co., Managers) Liverpool

December 1929 completed. Served on the Company's Liverpool - Far East service, with continental ports visited on the inbound leg and also on their round-the-world service

16 January 1930 passed Gibraltar

17 October 1934 sailed Singapore

16 August 1939 sailed Penang

20 August 1939 at SIngapore

14 December 1939 requisitioned for Admiralty service initially as a Minelayer - name unchanged

15 April 1940  Captain William H D Friedberger Royal Navy appointed as Commanding Officer

June 1940 at Govan fitting out

22 June 1940 commissioned as an Auxiliary Minelayer and renamed as HMS MENESTHEUS. Was fitted with 3 x 4-inch, 2 x 2pdr and 4 x 0.5 inch AA guns. Also carried 410 mines

5 July 1940 sailed the Clyde for Scapa Flow and the Kyle of Lochalsh

July 1940 joined the First Minelaying Squadron based at the Kyle of Lochalsh. Other ships in the Squadron were HM ships AGAMEMNON, PORT NAPIER, PORT QUEBEC and SOUTHERN PRINCE

10 July 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's INGLEFIELD, ATHERSTONE, HAMBLEDON and FERNIE (Operation SN1)

11 July 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh

25 July 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's INGLEFIELD, ATHERSTONE, HAMBLEDON, GARTH and FERNIE (Operation SN31)

28 July 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh

11 August 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's COSSACK, DUNCAN, SIKH and MAORI (Operation SN13)

13 August 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh the escorts going to Scapa Flow

17 August 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's INGLEFIELD, JAGUAR, JAVELIN and FIREDRAKE (Operation SN12)

19 August 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh with some of the escorts going to Scapa Flow

21 August 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's INGLEFIELD, ECHO, ESCAPADE and ECLIPSE (Operation SN2)

22 August 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh with the escorts going to Scapa Flow

27 August 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's TARTAR, BEDOUIN and ASHANTI (Operation SN14)

30 August 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh

4 September 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's ZULU, KASHMIR, SIKH and KIPLING (Operation SN5A)

6 September 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh

11 September 1940 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS's SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER and  PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's JACKAL, ELECTRA, VERSATILE and VIMY (Operation SN41)

12 September 1940 arrived back at the Kyle of Lochalsh with the escorts going to Scapa Flow the following day

4 February 1941 sailed Lyle of Lochalsh for mine laying when she struck a mine some 20 miles off the western end of the minefield SN3 causing damage to her engines. Taken in tow by HMS AGAMEMNON arriving back at Lochalsh on 7 February 1941

12 February 1941 Captain John S Crawford DSO Royal Navy appointed as Commanding Officer

24 April 1941 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS SOUTHERN PRINCE and escorted by HMS BRIGHTON and covered by the Home Fleet for Minelaying in the Denmark Strait (Operation SN7D)

25 June 1941 sailed Kyle of Lochalsh together with HMS AGAMEMNON and escorted by HMS BRIGHTON and covered by the Home Fleet for Minelaying off Iceland (Operation SN70B)

15 August 1941 Able Seaman Frank Lees P/SSX31720 discharged dead

31 October 1941 together with HMS WELSHMAN and HMS PORT QUEBEC minelaying in the northern part of Faeroes Gap escorted by HMS's OFFA, ORIBI and ONSLOW and covered by HMS SHEFFIELD (Operation SN83A)

9 November 1941 with HMS PORT QUEBEC continuation of minelaying north of Faeroes Gap escorted by HMS's NEWARK, CHARLESTON and MONTROSE and covered by HMS KENYA (Operation SN83B)

15 January 1942 Captain Rudolph H F de Salis DSC OBE Royal Navy (Retired) appointed as Commanding Officer

9 February 1942 with HMS AGAMEMNON and escorted by HMS LANCASTER with the continuation of minelaying in the Faeroes area (Operation SN56)

16 February 1942  with HMS AGAMEMNON and HMS PORT QUEBEC and escorted by HMS's LANCASTER and SOMALI with the continuation of minelaying in the Faeroes-Iceland gap (Operation SN85)

8 May 1942 with HMS PORT QUEBEC, HMS SOUTHERN PRINCE, HMS AGAMEMNON and HMS ADVENTURE for minelaying on Faeroes Bank escorted by HMS's CASTLETON, CHARLESTON and WELLS (Operation SN3A)

11 June 1942 together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron continued with the minelaying of the Faeroes Bank minefield escorted by HMS's CASTLETON, NEWARK, SCOTT and WELLS (Operation SN3B)

21 June 1942 formed part of Force X - a decoy convoy covering passage of Russain Convoy PQ17 together with HMS's CASTLETON, SOUTHERN PRINCE, AGAMEMNON and ST. MARY'S

23 June 1942 sailed with HMS SOUTHERN PRINCE, HMS AGAMEMNON and escorted by HMS's OAKLEY, CASTLETON and St MARY'S for minelaying (Operation ES)

10 July 1942 together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron and HMS ADVENTURE continued with the minelaying of the Faeroes Bank minefield escorted by HMS's ST. MARY'S, SALISBURY, SARDONYX and SCOTT (Operation SN3C) - cover was also provided by ships of the Home Fleet

31 July 1942 together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron and HMS ADVENTURE minelaying of the Faeroes - Iceland Gap escorted by HMS's CASTLETON, NEWARK and LANCASTER. HMS SCOTT was deployed to ensure accuracy of the minelay and the operation was covered by HMS DELHI (Operation SN82)

21 August 1942  together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron and HMS ADVENTURE minelaying in the Denmark Strait escorted by HMS's CASTLETON, NEWARK and CHARLESTON. Home Fleet cover was provided by HMS AURORA and three Fleet Destroyers (Operation SN73)

2 September 1942 together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron and HMS ADVENTURE minelaying in the Denmark Strait escorted by HMS's LANCASTER, NEWARK and CHARLESTON. Home Fleet cover was provided by HMS JAMAICA (Operation SN89)

1 November 1942 together with the other minelayers of the First Minelaying Squadron and HMS ADVENTURE minelaying in the Northern Barrage escorted by HMS's LANCASTER, WELLS and CHARLESTON. After delay caused by bad weather in the laying area (Operation SN3F) 

1942 4 x 20mm AA guns were added

26 May 1943 with HMS PORT QUEBEC and HMS AGAMEMNON deployed minelaying in the Faeroes - Iceland Gap escorted by HMS's LANCASTER, CASTLETON, ST MARY's and NEWARK. Home Fleet cover was provided by HMS BELFAST (Operation SN111B)

4 September 1943 with HMS PORT QUEBEC and HMS AGAMEMNON deployed during the final Northern Barrage minelay in the Faeroes - Iceland Gap escorted by HMS's LANCASTER, SARDONYX, METEOR and SCIMITAR (Operation 222B)

October 1943 converted at Vancouver, Canada into a Fleet Recreation Ship

 

Menestheus Brewer ship 2

As a Fleet Recreation Ship

 

15 November 1944 Acting Captain Henry F Nash Royal Navy Retired appointed as Commanding Officer

18 June 1946 Air Mechanic 2c Austin C Brett L/FX68426 discharged dead

26 July 1946 returned to her owners and reverted to normal commercial service as MENESTHEUS

 

Menestheus After Brewer ship

After service as a Fleet Recreation Ship

 

16 April 1953 was abandoned by her crew in position 25.28N 113.21W off the coast of California after an explosion in an electrical generator had started a fire which subsequently gutted her

20 April 1953 towed into Magdalena Bay

5 May 1953 arrived at Long Beach in tow

10 June 1953 was condemned for demolition by Boston Iron and Metal Company, Baltimore

 

Notes:

Served with the British Fleet Train hence the B-Pennant No

 

 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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