HMS Loyalty (J217)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Loyalty.
HMS Loyalty.jpg
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Loyalty
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast
Yard number: 1142[1]
Laid down: 14 April 1941
Launched: 9 December 1942
Completed: 22 April 1943[1]
Commissioned: 22 April 1943
  • Launched as HMS Rattler
  • Renamed HMS Loyalty in June 1943
Identification: Pennant number J217
Motto: "Fight for the King"
Honours and
Normandy 1944
Fate: Sunk on 22 August 1944 by U-480
Badge: On a Field barry wavy of six White and Blue, a sprig of three oak leaves, Gold
General characteristics
Class and type: Algerine-class minesweeper
Displacement: 850 tons
Length: 225 ft (69 m)
Beam: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
  • Geared turbines
  • two shafts
  • 2,000 ihp (1.5 MW)
Complement: 85 men
  • 1 × 4-inch (102 mm) AA gun
  • 4 × 20 mm guns (4x1)

HMS Loyalty was an Algerine-class minesweeper of the Royal Navy. She served during the Second World War. Commissioned in 1943, Loyalty saw action off the coast of Normandy during the Allied assault there in 1944. While performing duties off the coast, the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank.


Loyalty was laid down as HMS Rattler on 14 April 1941 at Harland and Wolff, Belfast, and launched on 9 December 1942. She was commissioned on 22 April 1943, and renamed HMS Loyalty in June 1943. She was adopted by the community of Ripley, North Yorkshire after a Warship Week national savings campaign in March 1942.

After commissioning she was assigned to the 18th Minesweeping Flotilla, joining them in June 1943. She and the other ships of the flotilla carried out sweeping operations in Lyme Bay and the English Channel. She and other ships of the flotilla were transferred to Harwich in August to sweep areas of the North Sea, but was soon transferred to the 9th Flotilla, at Dover. On 25 August Loyalty was part of Operation Starkey, an attempt to attract German aircraft to unusual minesweeping operations near the French coast. The ships of the flotilla came under fire from shore batteries, and Hydra was damaged. They returned to Dover, but were mistakenly fired on by British shore batteries, causing further damage. Loyalty did not return to minesweeping duties until October.

In November Loyalty transferred to Scapa Flow to join the 15th Minesweeping Flotilla with the Home Fleet. She transferred again in December to the Orkney and Shetland Command, operating out of Seidisfjord on anti-submarine patrols and local convoy escort duties. She remained here until being nominated to return to the UK in March 1944 and in April underwent a refit at Portsmouth, after which she was assigned to Force G to give minesweeping support to the Allied landings in Normandy. Loyalty spent May carrying out exercises and rehearsals, and also escorted sister ship Stormcloud into Portsmouth after she had been damaged by a mine. Loyalty then took part in the assault operations of 6 June, clearing Channel 6, and then remaining deployed off Gold Beach to cover operations. She remained off Normandy after the landings and throughout July, carrying out sweeps of the anchorages.


Loyalty was still off Normandy in August. She was returning to Portsmouth with the minesweepers Ready, Hound, Hydra and Rattlesnake when the sweep wires parted. Loyalty and the minesweeping trawler Doon were dispatched to recover the sweep. As they were doing this Loyalty was attacked and sunk by the German U-boat U-480 commanded by Hans-Joachim Förster at position 50°09′N 00°41′W / 50.150°N 0.683°W / 50.150; -0.683Coordinates: 50°09′N 00°41′W / 50.150°N 0.683°W / 50.150; -0.683 in the English Channel. She capsized in less than seven minutes, with the loss of her captain and 18 ratings. There were 30 survivors. Loyalty was replaced in the flotilla by sister ship Tanganyika. The wrecksite is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.


  1. ^ a b McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780752488615. 


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