Allied Warships

HMS Fareham (J 89)

Minesweeper of the Hunt class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 89 
Built byDunlop Bremner & Co. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched7 Jun 1918 
CommissionedAug 1918 
End service 

HMS Fareham was laid up in reserve at Singapore when the Second World War started

Became a base ship in 1944 being renamed St. Angelo II.
Sold 24 August 1948.


Commands listed for HMS Fareham (J 89)

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.

1Lt. William Ashton, RNOct 193928 Dec 1939
2Lt. William John Patrick Church, RN28 Dec 193924 Aug 1941
3Lt.Cdr. Norman Herbert Barton Bloye, RNR24 Aug 1941Aug 1942
4A/Lt.Cdr. Henry Silvester Warren, RNRAug 1942???

5T/Lt. George Gordon Chisholm, RNVR???Mar 1945

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Notable events involving Fareham include:

20 Mar 1940
Around 1223Z/20, HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to make rendezvous with the 2nd Minesweeper Flotilla coming from Singapore. HMAS Hobart was to escort them to Colombo. The 2nd Minesweeper Flottila was made up of the following ships; HMS Abingdon (Capt. (Retd.) A.R. Farquhar, DSC, RN), HMS Bagshot (Lt.Cdr. J.F.B. Gage, RNVR), HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN), HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) and HMS Stoke (Cdr.(Retd.) C.J.P. Hill, RN).

Rendezvous was effected around 0721Z/22.

They arrived at Colombo around 1330Z/23. (1)

5 Jul 1940
The minesweepers HMS Abingdon (Lt. G.A. Simmers, RNR) and HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) plotted enemy minefields off Alexandria. They were escorted by the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN). (2)

29 Oct 1940

Operation BN.

Landing of British troop on Crete.

29 October 1940.

By 0130 hours the Mediterranean Fleet had left Alexandria Harbour. For this operation the fleet made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Valiant (A/Capt. J.P.L. Reid, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN, flying the flag of A/Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruisers HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN), HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN). Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Defender (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN).

On clearing the swept channel the fleet set a course of 315° at 15 knots.

At 0700 hours, A/S patrols were flown off.

At noon, the fleet was in position 32°32’N, 27°30’E.

At 1350 hours, the fleet altered course to 350°.

At 1400 hours, a convoy carrying troops, made up of Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers Olna (7073 GRT, built 1921), Brambleleaf (5917 GRT, built 1917), the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakla (Cdr. L.C. Bach, RD, RNR) and HMS Fiona (Cdr. A.H.H. Griffiths, RD, RNR), departed Alexandria for Suda Bay. They were escorted by the AA cruisers HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), net tender HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN), the destroyers HMAS Vampire (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Wryneck (Lt.Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the minesweeper HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN).

At 1800 hours, the fleet altered course to 290°.

At midnight the fleet was in position 34°10’N, 25°04’E.

30 October 1940.

There were no incidents during the night. A/S patrols and aircraft to search a sector 270° to 000° to maximum depth were flown off.

At 0800 hours, the fleet was in position 35°00’N, 22°50’E, course 310°, speed 16 knots. Visibility was poor and the earlier launched air search sighted nothing.

At 1130 hours, HMS Dainty obtained an A/S contact. Later an Italian report was picked up that the fleet had been sighted by either an aircraft or a submarine at 1120 hours.

At noon, the fleet was in position 35°20’N, 22°00’E.

At 1230 hours, a second air search was launched but again these sighted nothing.

At 2000 hours, the fleet was in position 36°35’N, 20°43’E steering 340°.

31 October 1940.

At 0330 hours, when in position 38°18’N, 19°25’E the fleet altered course to 160°.

At 0430 hours, HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN), departed Alexandria with troops for Suda Bay.

At 0645 hours, an air search was flown off to search between the Greek coast and 270°.

At 0800 hours, the fleet was in position 37°22’N, 20°35’E steering 090°. The air search did not sight the enemy but three Greek destroyers were sighted.

At 1020 hours, HMS Warspite catapulted her Walrus aircraft to take the Fleet Gunnery Officer to Suda Bay.

At 1150 hours, the fleet was sighted and reported by an enemy aircraft.

At noon, the fleet was in position 37°02’N, 21°25’E. During the afternoon the fleet proceeded to the southward.

At 1600 hours, the fleet was in position 36°17’N, 21°37’E. A second air search during the afternoon had sighted nothing.

At 1450 hours, HMS Juno and HMS Defender were detached to Suda Bay to refuel.

At 1530 hours, HMS Nubian and HMS Mohawk rejoined the fleet having been detached late in the morning to investigate Navarinon Bay.

At 1630 hours the convoy arrived at Suda Bay less Olna escorted by Calcutta and Wryneck, these ships arrived at 0630/1. The Australian destroyers remained out on A/S patrol until HMS Protector completed a net barrier on 2 November.

At 1830 hours, when the fleet was in position 36°15’N, 21°30’E course was changed to 280°.

At 2300 hours, the fleet altered course to 100°.

At midnight the fleet was in position 36°20’N, 20°25’E.

1 November 1940.

At 0100 hours, the fleet changed course to 120°.

At 0630 hours, A/S and search aircraft were flown off. The search was to take place between 270° and the Greek coast.

At 0650 hours, HMS Ajax arrived at Suda Bay.

At 0700 hours, HMS Juno returned from fuelling at Suda Bay. With her was HMAS Voyager. She would take the place of HMS Defender who had fouled the nets at Suda Bay.

At 0800 hours, the fleet was in position 35°23’N, 22°38’E steering 280°. The fleet remained west of Crete to cover the Suda Bay operations.

At 1020 hours, the fleet was reported by an enemy aircraft and at 1155 hours an enemy aircraft was shot down in flames by the fighter patrol.Another Italian aircraft was damaged by them.

At noon, the fleet was in position 35°43’N, 22°00’E steering 130°.

At 1630 hours, the Commander-in-Chief, in HMS Warspite and with HMS Illustrious, HMS York, HMS Gloucester, HMS Jervis, HMS Hero, HMS Hereward, HMS Hasty and HMS Ilex split off and proceeded towards Alexandria.

At midnight, the Commander-in-Chief (HMS Warspite) was in position 33°52’N, 24°25’E.

2 November 1940.

At 1340 hours, the group of ships not with the Commander-in-Chief were attacked by four Italian torpedo bombers in position 32°39’N, 27°11’E. All torpedoes however missed astern.

At 1900 hours, the Commander-in-Chief, in HMS Warspite, arrived at Alexandria.

HMS Orion and HMAS Sydney arrived at Alexandria shortly before midnight.

The remainder of the fleet did not enter the harbour during the dark hours due to the weather conditions. They arrived at Alexandria in groups the next day. (3)

2 Nov 1940
HMS Wryneck (Lt.Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN) and HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) departed Suda Bay for Piraeus. They were escorting the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Olna (7073 GRT, built 1921). (3)

25 Jan 1941

Convoy AS 13.

This convoy departed Piraeus on 25 January 1941 for Alexandria / Port Said.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels; Ais Giorgis (Greek, 2098 GRT, built 1908), Cavallo (British, 2269 GRT, built 1922), Diamantis (British, 5253 GRT, built 1919), Doris (Greek, 4604 GRT, built 1917), Efthalia Mari (Greek, 4195 GRT, built 1919), El Hak (British, 1022 GRT, built 1929), Frinton (Greek, 1419 GRT, built 1903), Helka (British, 3471 GRT, built 1912), Iris (Swedish, 1974 GRT, built 1886), Ovula (Ducth, 6256 GRT, built 1938), Palermo (British, 2797 GRT, built 1938), Pancration (Greek, 2171 GRT, built 1920), Petros J. Goulandris (Greek, 4693 GRT, built 1923), Tanais (Greek, 1545 GRT, built 1907), Tassia (Greek, 3034 GRT, built 1904) and Trajanus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930).

Escort for this convoy was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wryneck (Lt.Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhodes, RAN). The minesweeper HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN) later joined at sea having sailed from Suda Bay.

On 27 January 1941 the Alexandria section of the convoy arrived there escorted by HMS Coventry, HMAS Vendetta and HMS Fareham.

The Port Said section continued on escorted by HMS Wryneck. They arrived there on the 28th. (4)

12 Feb 1941

Operation Shelford.

Clearence of Benghazi harbour.

At 0730B/12, HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, CB, CVO, RN) and HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, RN) departed Alexandria to make rendez-vous in position 34°00'N, 21°00'E with the Aegean Force.

The Aegean force, made up of HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) and HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN) departed Suda Bay at 1700B/12 to make this rendez-vous.

The whole of this force was to cover the entry of the Inshore Squadron into Benghazi, advancing into the Gulf of Sirte at night and to retire towards Crete by day.

HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.O. Campbell, DSC, RN) entered Benghazi during daylight on the 12th.

HMS Chakla (Cdr. L.C. Bach, RD, RNR), HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN), HMS Fareham (Lt. W.J.P. Church, RN), HMS Peony (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) M.B. Sherwood, DSO, RN) and HMS Hyacinth (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F.C. Hopkins, DSC, RNR) left Tobruk at 0730B/12 to reach Benghazi early on the 13th.

On the 13th, HMS Chakla, HMS Fareham, HMS Peony and HMS Hyacinth entered Bengazi harbour with the destroyers remaining out on patrol. Between 0600B/13 and 0630B/13, first HMS Hereward (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and then HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) joined the destroyers on patrol. Several air attacks then followed. Later HMS Hereward, with minesweeping gear embarked, entered Bengazi harbour.

In the afternoon HMAS Vampire was detached to return to Tobruk to escort the monitor HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) from there to Benghazi.

The remaining destroyers conducted a covering sweep to the north-west of Benghazi during the night.

On the 14th, HMS Hereward rejoined the other destroyers on their return from patrol. P.M. HMS Decoy and HMS Hereward were detached to proceed to Alexandria and HMAS Voyager to Tobruk. HMAS Stuart set course to proceed to Derna. (5)


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart from 1 October 1939 to 31 March 1940
  2. Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla for July 1940
  3. ADM 199/387
  4. ADM 199/414
  5. ADM 53/113721 + ADM 53/115234 + Report of proceedings of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla

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

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