Allied Warships

HMS Speedwell (J 87)

Minesweeper of the Halcyon class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 87 
ModFirst group 
Built byWilliam Hamilton & Co. (Port Glasgow, Scotland): William Beardmore & Co. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Ordered2 Mar 1934 
Laid down20 Jun 1934 
Launched21 Mar 1935 
Commissioned30 Sep 1935 
End service 

During the war HMS Speedwell took part in the Dunkirk evacuations, convoy duties in the North Atlantic, a raid on the Norwegian Lofoten Islands in December 1941. From early 1942 she operated from Murmansk, Russia. In December 1942 she participated in the North Africa landings. Later she returned to Russia. She returned home to prepare for the Normandy landings. When the war in Europe was over she participated in minesweeping operations in the North Sea.

Sold on 5 December 1946.


Commands listed for HMS Speedwell (J 87)

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1Lt.Cdr. (retired) Frederick Richard Guy Maunsell, RN15 Jun 193926 Feb 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Joseph John Youngs, RNR26 Feb 194110 Jul 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Thomas Edward Williams, RNR10 Jul 194213 Dec 1944
4T/A/Lt.Cdr. Herman Arnold Ledeboer, RNR13 Dec 194420 Jun 1945
5A/Lt.Cdr. Roderick Charles Oliver, DSC, RN20 Jun 1945mid/late45

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Notable events involving Speedwell include:

29 Jun 1941
German U-boat U-651 was sunk south of Iceland, in position 59°52'N, 18°36'W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Malcolm (Cdr. C.D. Howard-Johnston, DSC, RN), HMS Scimitar (Lt. R.D. Franks, RN), the corvettes HMS Arabis (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Stewart, RNR) and HMS Violet (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Nicholson, RNR) and the minesweeper HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RNR).

13 Apr 1942
HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Youngs, OBE, RNR) picks up 21 survivors from the Panamanian merchant El Occidente that was torpedoed and sunk in the Arctic in position 73°28'N, 28°30'E by German U-boat U-435.

2 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN), HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RD, RNR) and HMS Middleton (Lt. C.S. Battersby, RN). (1)

6 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RD, RNR). (1)


  1. ADM 173/18214

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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