Hard luck minesweeper

In the 1950s, with mines being a big deal in opening stages of the Korean War, the possibility of the next naval war coming complete with thousands of Soviet M08 seamines, plus with a lingering half million unrecovered WWII era (and some even earlier WWI era) mines still unaccounted for in the waters that HMs ships sailed, the UK embarked on a new construction program of aluminium-framed, wooden planked hulled with non-magnetic fittings (easy to degauss) ocean-going sweepers– the Ton-class.

HMAS Curlew (M 1121), former HMS Chediston, served 1954-1991 and then for at least another 15 years as a fishing vessel, probably without the 40mm guns in the latter role...but you get the general idea.

HMAS Curlew (M 1121), former HMS Chediston, served 1954-1991 and then for at least another 15 years as a fishing vessel, probably without the 40mm guns in the latter role…but you get the general idea.

In all some 119 of these handy and versatile little 152-foot long ships were commissioned, serving not only in the RN but over 30 units went on to the navies of Argentina, Australia, India, Ireland, Malaysia, NZ, and South Africa. They did yeoman work both as MCM craft and as generic patrol boats and auxiliaries.

One, HMS Packington, gained immortality as “R/V Belafonte” in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which is appropriate as Cousteau ‘s Calypso was a 136-foot YMS-1 sweeper herself.


While Packington is still around as a luxury yacht in the Persian Gulf, the rest of the Tons have largely been Deep Six’d or sent to the breakers.

Except for HMS Bronington (M1115), whom seems to be cracking a bit of a sad lately.

HMS Bronington, Last of the Royal Navy’s Ton-Class, Sinks Next to Dock in England

From GCaptain:

A historic minesweeper formerly belonging to the Royal Navy has sunk while moored at Vittoria Dock in Birkenhead, England where it has been laid up for years.

The Bronington, one of the last vessels in the Royal Navy’s Ton-class, was discovered to have sank sometime between Thursday and Friday.

A witness told gCaptain on Friday that he last saw the vessel afloat Tuesday, but by Friday the ship had partially sank next to the dock in an upright position and was starting to roll onto its side.

The HMS Bronington was launched for the Royal Navy by Cook, Welton, and Gemmel shipbuilders in Yorkshire, England in 1953 and remained in active service until 1988. In 1989 the vessel was purchased by the Bronington Trust, a charity dedicated to her preservation and display to the public. The minesweeper was brought to Salford Quays and later opened to the public in 1992, but ownership eventually transferred to Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and the ship has been been laid up at Vittoria Docks since 2011.

HMS Bronington, Last of the Royal Navy’s Ton-Class, Sinks Next to Dock in England2

Images via Phil Owen of PBRStreetgang who seems to be keeping a running tab on the old girl.

Hopefully, jaguar shark will not be an issue in her recovery.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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