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Lest We Forget - The Minesweepers

During the First World War, 44,000 Royal Navy personnel and nearly 15,000 Merchant Navy personnel died at sea. Over 500 Royal Navy ships, including 214 minesweepers, and 3,000 British flagged merchant ships and fishing vessels were lost, many to mines.

When the Armistice was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the Royal Navy's Trawler Reserve comprised 39,000 officers and men of whom 10,000 were employed in minesweepers and the rest in the auxiliary patrol.

The 10 ex-torpedo gunboats available as minesweepers at the outbreak of the war had been replaced by purpose-built ships including 72 Flower Class single-screw fleet minesweeping sloops of the Acacia, Arabis and Azalea types, 107 Hunt Class and Improved Hunt (Aberdare) Class twin-screwed minesweepers, 24 'Class of 24' fleet sweeping sloops, 32 Ascot Class and Improved Ascot Class minesweeping paddle-steamers, 13 Grimsby Class minesweeping sloops and 10 Dance Class 'Tunnel Tug' inshore minesweepers. Total RN minesweeping forces comprised 762 ships stationed at 26 home ports and 35 foreign bases.

From the excellent naval-history.net website and with grateful appreciation for the work of the late-lamented Gordon Smith and Don Kindell:

 
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