Third Fleet Sweeping Flotilla (Royal Navy)

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The Third Fleet Sweeping Flotilla was a formation of fleet minesweepers of the Royal Navy. It was one of several attached to the Grand Fleet during the war.


History

Before mid-1916, a growing number of minesweeping vessels had been attached to the Grand Fleet, but by 1 July the growth rate was such that it was deemed fit to break the assemblage into three flotillas: the First, Second and Third. The First would retain Lupin, which had long borne the Senior Officer and nine other sweeping sloops. The Second would be a mix of ten sweeping sloops and older torpedo gunboats, while the Third would be comprised of twelve paddle minesweepers. It is not clear whether the man in Lupin remained the Senior Officer for all three flotillas, or merely of the First.

June, 1916 – March, 1917

The flotilla is created of twelve paddle minesweepers. Despite the dangers one would assume the force would encounter, it operated without loss for months.[1]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Ascot Eridge Melton Haldon Chepstow Croxton
Plumpton Kempton Lingfield Atherstone Epsom Hurst

March, 1917 – June, 1917

Eridge, Haldon, Epsom and Hurst have been dropped from the roster and sent to work under the Vice-Admiral, Coast of Ireland Station.[2]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Ascot Melton Chepstow Croxton
Plumpton Kempton Lingfield Atherstone

June, 1917 – August, 1917

Kempton was mined on 24 June off Dover and Plumpton has been dropped from the roster and sent to work under the Vice-Admiral, Coast of Ireland Station.[3]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Ascot Melton Chepstow Croxton Lingfield Atherstone

August, 1917 – September, 1917

The flotilla has been completely re-invented at some point in August, with all the paddle sweepers departed: Melton and Lingfield to the Downs Boarding Flotilla and the others to join the Third Submarine Flotilla on the East Coast of England. They have been replaced by eight fresh players.[4]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Senior Officer
Holderness
Muskerry Cotswold Oakley Dartmoor Hambledon Belvoir Blackmorevale

August, 1917 – X

Tedworth, Pytchley, Heythrop and Croome have joined from the Second Fleet Sweeping Flotilla, increasing the Third's strength to twelve.[5]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Senior Officer
Holderness
Sweeping Sloops
Muskerry Cotswold Oakley Tedworth Pytchley Dartmoor
Hambledon Belvoir Blackmorevale Heythrop Croome

October, 1917 – April, 1918

Garth has swapped places with Croome in the Second Fleet Sweeping Flotilla, maintaining the strength at twelve. Muskerry would pay off in February, and Blackmorevale and Hambledon in March.[6]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Senior Officer
Holderness
Sweeping Sloops
Belvoir Blackmorevale* Cotswold Dartmoor Hambledon* Heythrop
Muskerry* Oakley Garth Pytchley Tedworth

April, 1918 – May, 1918

No change in the roster, but Cotswold paid off some time in April as Blackmorevale and Hambledonleft their paid off condition. Muskerry remains paid off.[7]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Senior Officer
Holderness
Sweeping Sloops
Belvoir Blackmorevale Cotswold* Dartmoor Hambledon Heythrop
Muskerry* Oakley Garth Pytchley Tedworth

May, 1918 – June, 1918

Cotswold is no longer paid off, but Holderness now is, and Meynell has joined and become Senior Officer's ship. Cottesmore has joined and Blackmorevale was torpedoed and lost on 1 May. Muskerry remains paid off and the strength is thirteen ships.[8]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Senior Officer
Meynell
Sweeping Sloops
Holderness* Heythrop Belvoir Cotswold Cottesmore Dartmoor
Garth Hambledon Muskerry* Oakley Pytchley Tedworth

June, 1918 – X

The formation balloons to seventeen ships with Penarth on loan from Twelfth Fleet Sweeping Flotilla in Clyde and Irvine, Kendal and Gaddesden on loan from Falmouth's Fifteenth Fleet Sweeping Flotilla. Holderness alone remains paid off, as Muskerry came back into service in June. wo ships bear a Senior Officer.[9]

Attached to the Grand Fleet
Sweeping Sloops
Belvoir Cotswold Cottesmore Dartmoor Gaddesden* Garth
Hambledon Heythrop Holderness* Irvine* Kendal* Muskerry
Meynell(S.N.O.) Oakley Penarth* Pytchley Tedworth Lewes(S.N.O.)

Senior Officers

Footnotes

  1. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1916). p. 12 and Supplements through March, 1917.
  2. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (April, 1917). pp. 12, 14 and Supplements through July.
  3. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1917). p. 12 and Supplements through September.
  4. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (September, 1917). pp. 12, 15, 16 and September's Supplement.
  5. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (October, 1917). p. 12 and Supplements through X.
  6. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 12 and Supplements through May, 1918.
  7. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1918). p. 12 and Supplements through June.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (May, 1918). p. 12 and Supplements through July.
  9. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1918). p. 12 and Supplements through X.
  10. Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/56. f. 56.
  11. Seymour Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/45/56. f. 56.

Bibliography

  • Dittmar, F.J.; Colledge, J.J. (1972). British Warships 1914–1919. London: Ian Allan.

See Also



British Minesweeping Formations
Minesweeping Flotillas
First | Second | Third | Fourth
Fleet Sweeping Flotillas
First | Second | Third | Sixth | Seventh | Eighth | Ninth | Tenth
Eleventh | Twelfth | Thirteenth | Fifteenth | Sixteenth | Eighteenth | Nineteenth
Twentieth | Twenty-first | Twenty-second | Twenty-third | Twenty-fourth