HMS Protector (A146)

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HMS Protector.jpg
HMS Protector in 1952, prior to be being refitted for Antarctic service
Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Protector
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders, Glasgow
Laid down: August 1935
Launched: 20 August 1936
Commissioned: 30 December 1936
Reclassified: Antarctic patrol ship in 1955
Fate: Sold 10 February 1970 for breaking up
General characteristics
  • 2,900 tons as net layer
  • 3,450 tons as ice patrol ship
Length: 346 ft (105 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draught: 16 ft (4.9 m)
  • Four Admiralty 3-drum boilers
  • Two British Thomson-Houston geared turbines
Speed: 19 knots
  • 21 officers
  • 238 ratings
  • Twin 4-inch gun mounting
  • Twin Oerlikon mountings
  • One Hotchkiss 3-pdr saluting gun
Aircraft carried: Two Westland Whirlwind helicopters

HMS Protector was an Antarctic patrol vessel of the Royal Navy between 1955 and 1968. She was built in 1935.


Protector was laid down as a fast net layer by Yarrow Shipbuilders in Glasgow in August 1935, launched in August 1936 and commissioned on 30 December 1936. Her sister ship, HMS Guardian, was built in 1932 and scrapped in 1962.

Protector served in the South Atlantic and in the Norwegian Campaign during World War II before being hit by an aerial torpedo in the Mediterranean. She was towed to Bombay and repaired before returning to Britain after the end of hostilities.

In 1953, the ship took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind wearing Penguin symbol after service aboard HMS Protector in the late 1960s.

After time in the fleet reserve as a training ship, Protector was refitted as an ice patrol ship in Devonport, with a rudimentary hangar and flight deck for two Westland Whirlwind helicopters. She made her first Antarctic patrol in the winter of 1955/56, serving the Falkland Islands and the British Antarctic Survey bases. She returned to the Antarctic 13 more times in her career. During her patrols the ship rescued the passengers and crew of the icebound MV Theron, including Sir Edmund Hillary and Dr Vivian Fuchs.[2] In 1957, Protector rescued the passengers of the RRS Shackleton, which had struck an iceberg and had to perform emergency repairs to keep from sinking.[3]

Protector was sold for scrap at Inverkeithing on 10 February 1970. She was replaced by HMS Endurance.


  1. ^ Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
  2. ^ "HMS Protector Association". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013. (new site)
  3. ^ "Antarctic Ship Aided; Scientists Taken Off British Vessel Damaged by Floe". The New York Times. 2 December 1957. p. 6. Retrieved 15 March 2011. (Subscription required (help)).