Allied Warships

HMS Elm (T 105)

MS Trawler of the Tree class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeMS Trawler
PennantT 105 
Built byA & J Inglis Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) : Aitchison Blair 
Ordered5 Jun 1939 
Laid down13 Jul 1939 
Launched12 Dec 1939 
Commissioned10 Mar 1940 
End service 
HistorySold in 1946.


Commands listed for HMS Elm (T 105)

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1T/Lt. John Hutchinson, RNR5 Mar 1940mid 1940
2T/Lt. Edward William Charles Dempster, RNVRmid 194013 Mar 1942
3T/Lt. Cecil William Hancock, RNR13 Mar 1942early 1943

4T/Lt. Kenneth Alexander Grant, RNVR6 May 194317 Jan 1945
5T/Lt. Bernard Wallace Webb, RNVR17 Jan 194511 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Elm include:

1 Jun 1940

Sinking of the transport Astronomer.

The transport Astronomer (8401 GRT, built 1917) was en-route from Rosyth to Scapa Flow with naval stores escorted by the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Leicester City (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR) and HMS Stoke City (Lt.Cdr. N.C.H. Scallan, RNR).

Late in the evening of June, 1st, the Astronomer was hit by one torpedo from the German submarine U-58 but she did not sink.

Early the next day two more torpedoes single torpedoes were fired by the German submarine and one hour after the last hit. The trawlers then picked up the survivors.

A report of the damage to the transport was received at 0100/2 and in response the destroyer HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) was sent out from Scapa Flow.

At 0215/2 the destroyer HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) departed Scapa Flow to assist HMS Kelvin in the A/S hunt.

The auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Paul Rykens (Skr. G.C. Lawrence, RNR) HMS Peter Hendricks (Skr. G. Bryan, RNR), which were on patrol, were ordered to proceed to the area to assist.

The rescue tug St. Mellons departed Scapa Flow but returned after it became apparent that the transport had sunk.

A/S trawler HMS Leicester City obtained an A/S contact in the vicinity at about the time the transport was hit for the last time but she was also busy picking up survivors with together with HMS Stoke City. A total of 104 were picked up by the trawlers which then took them to Aberdeen. HMS Stoke City made a depth charge on a contact she obtained but without result. Apparently this was indeed an attack on U-58

At 0640/2, an aircraft attacked a submarine in position 57°25'N, 00°56'W, twenty five miles south of of the attack position. Destroyers HMS Mashona and HMS Kelvin were ordered to search the area of the aircraft attack but no contact was obtained.

At 1100/2, the destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and escort destoyer HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) departed Rosyth. HMS Atherstone arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200/2. HMS Encounter was was to join the search for the submarine.

At 1800/2, HMS Atherstone. while en-route to Scapa Flow, reported a line of mines near the sinking position of the Astronomer.

The boom defense vessel HMS Barbican (T/Boom Skr. J.F. Rendall, RNR), escorted by M/S trawler HMS Elm (T/Lt. J. Hutchinson, RNR), was ordered to the area. Barbican recovered the mooring buoys, covered by HMS Encounter and HMS Mashona.

HMS Kelvin returned to Scapa Flow at 0315/3.

HMS Encounter and HMS Mashona arrived at Scapa Flow at 1130/3. (1)

15 Nov 1940
The light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.L.S. King, CB, MVO, RN) destroyed the existing W/T station in Jameson Bay on Jan Mayen Island. A German expedition was to have landed between 0600/15 and 0600/17 and the British were aware of this.

The next day, at 0430 on the 16th, two M/S trawlers arrived from Iceland to assist HMS Naiad, these were; HMS Elm (T/Lt. E.W.C. Dempster, RNVR) and HMS Wistaria (Skr. A.S.H. Robb, RD, RNR).

At daylight on the 16th, HMS Naiad sighted a trawler, the Hinrich Freese (384 GRT, built 1930 ), to the northward of Jameson Bay. Unable to escape the Germans grounded their trawler but the members of the expedition were captured non the less except for two who had drowned. The enemy trawler was then destroyed with gunfire.

HMS Naiad returned to Scapa Flow on 18 November. HMS Naiad sustained some weather damage during this operation. The two British trawlers returned to Iceland. (2)

5 Jan 1944
HMS Elm (T/Lt. K.A. Grant, RNVR) and HMRT Earner together pick up 45 survivors from the British merchant Empire Housman.

22 Jan 1945
HMS Taciturn (Lt.Cdr. E.T. Stanley, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Trusty (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, DSC, RN), HMS Viking (Lt. R. Bannar-Martin, DSC, RN) and their escort, HMS Shikari (Lt. E.H.U. Cautley, RNVR), all arrived at Scapa Flow. HMS Trusty and HMS Shikari remained at Scapa Flow while HMS Taciturn and HMS Viking departed later this day for Lerwick where they arrived later the same day. These last two submarines were now escorted by HMS Elm (T/Lt. B.W. Webb, RNVR). (3)

23 Jan 1945
HMS Sea Nymph (Lt. M.I. Usher, RN) departed Lerwick for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Elm (T/Lt. B.W. Webb, RNVR).

Early the next morning, off Scapa Flow, she was joined by HMS Unsparing. HMS Shikari (Lt. E.H.U. Cautley, RNVR) then took over the escort. (4)


  1. ADM 199/376
  2. ADM 199/393
  3. ADM 199/1444
  4. ADM 173/19605

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

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