Allied Warships

HMS Arctic Explorer (FY 162)

ASW Trawler

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeASW Trawler
Class[No specific class] 
PennantFY 162 
Built byCochrane & Sons Shipbuilders Ltd. (Selby, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched30 Dec 1936 
CommissionedNov 1939 
End service 

Completed in March 1937.
Taken over by the Admiralty on 1 September 1939.
Displacement: 501 tons.
Armament: 1 4" gun.

Sold in 1945.
Renamed Captain Oates in 1947.
Renamed Arctic Explorer in 1948.
Scrapped at Bo'ness around mid 1967.


Commands listed for HMS Arctic Explorer (FY 162)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Skr. Charles Lamb Buchan, RNR10 Nov 1939Mar 1941
2T/S.Lt. Frederick Lorraine Mackenzie, RNVRMar 1941Mar 1942
3T/Lt. Christopher Pawley, RNVRMar 1942Feb 1944
4T/Lt. Denis Hugh Crampton, RNRFeb 19444 Aug 1944
5T/Lt. Arthur Robert James Tilston, DSC, SANF(V)4 Aug 1944Jun 1945

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Notable events involving Arctic Explorer include:

29 Dec 1939

Convoy ON 6.

This convoy departed Methil on 29 December 1939 and arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 1 January 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Highlander (British, 1216 GRT, built 1916), Rigel (Finnish, 1477 GRT, built 1937), Salerno (British, 870 GRT, built 1924), Vienti (Finnish, 1715 GRT, built 1911) and Wanda (Finnish, 1902 GRT, built 1897).

The small minelayer HMS Ringdove (Lt. C.R. Pilgrim, RN) was also part of this convoy.

A close escort was provided for the convoy made up of the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) and the submarine ORP Orzel (Lt.Cdr. J. Grudzinski).

A close cover force, made up of the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) departed Rosyth on 30 December.

At 0050Z/30, the Highlander parted company to proceed to Aberdeen escorted by HMS Eclipse. HMS Eclipse rejoined the convoy screen around 1000Z/30.

During the night of 29/30 December, the Vienti had straggled from the convoy and was not seen again before the convoy arrived in Norwegian waters.

At 1100Z/30, HMS Eclipse was again detached but now to escort HMS Ringdove towards Scapa Flow. At 1555Z/30, the escort was taken over by the auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Arctic Explorer (Skr. C.L. Buchan, RNR). HMS Eclipse rejoined the convoy screen around 15 minutes later. By that time the Rigel and Wanda had also straggled from the convoy being unable to keep up even at 6.5 knots. They rejoined the convoy the next day after the remainder of the convoy had doubled back for a while as Capt. Benson had been ordered to do so due the important cargoes the ships had on board.

The convoy arrived in Norwegian waters on 1 January where it was dispersed.

22 Jan 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN) departed Plymouth for Portsmouth. She was escorted by HMS Arctic Explorer (T/Lt. F.L. Mackenzie, RNVR). (1)

2 Apr 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Monkshood (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR), HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR), HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Arctic Explorer (T/Lt. C. Pawley, RNVR). (2)

3 Apr 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Arctic Explorer (T/Lt. C. Pawley, RNVR), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), USS Temptress (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Kirvan, USN) and USS Fury (Lt. N. Adair, Jr., USN). (2)


  1. ADM 173/17197
  2. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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

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