Ton-class minesweeper

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HMS Glasserton (M1141).jpg
HMS Glasserton in 1987
Class overview
Name: Ton class
Builders: John I. Thornycroft & Company, Southampton
Operators:
Preceded by: Algerine class
Succeeded by: River class
In service: 1951–1994 (Royal Navy)
Completed: 119
General characteristics
Type: Minesweeper
Displacement: 440 long tons (447 t)
Length: 152 ft (46 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 8 ft (2.4 m)
Propulsion: Originally Mirrlees diesel, later Napier Deltic, producing 3,000 shp (2,200 kW) on each of two shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 33
Armament:

The Ton class were coastal minesweepers built in the 1950s for the Royal Navy, but also used by other navies such as the South African Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. They were intended to meet the threat of seabed mines laid in shallow coastal waters, rivers, ports and harbours, a task for which the existing ocean-going minesweepers of the Algerine-class were not suited.

Description[edit]

The design of the class drew on lessons learnt in the Second World War when it had became apparent that minelaying in coastal waters was more effective than in the deep sea; the existing fleet minesweepers were not well suited to deal with this threat. Design started at the Naval Construction Department in the City of Bath in 1947 and the first ship was ordered in September 1950; the class eventually numbered 119 vessels. The lead constructor was John I. Thornycroft & Company, although Ton-class vessels were also built at fifteen other yards.[1] They were diesel powered vessels of 440 tons displacement fully laden, largely constructed from aluminium and other non-ferromagnetic materials, the hull was composed of a double layer of mahogany planking. Their small displacement and shallow draft gave them some protection against pressure and contact mines, and allowed them to navigate in shallow inshore waters. Primary armament was one Bofors 40 mm gun, although the South African variants also had an Oerlikon 20 mm cannon behind the funnel. RN vessels also had the same but they were gradually removed and an M2 Browning machine gun mounted midships. Sweeping equipment was provided for moored mines and magnetic mines.

It was originally planned to name the ships after insects, with names like Red Ant, Green Cockchafer and so on, but this plan was abandoned in 1952 and the Royal Navy ships of the class were given names of British towns and villages ending in "-ton", hence the name of the class. The contemporary but smaller inshore minesweepers were originally to be named after birds, but became the Ham-class, after towns and villages ending in "-ham".[1]

Sixteen of the class were converted to minehunters[1] by the incorporation of active rudders and the installation of the Type 193 minehunting sonar and associated equipment, including a very welcome enclosed bridge (the exception being HMS Highburton who retained her open bridge until de-commissioning in the 1970s, this actually becoming a source of manliness to her crew when meeting other Ton crews). These vessels only retained mechanical "Oropesa" sweep capability.

The Ton-class served as patrol vessels in Borneo, Malaysia, Northern Ireland and Hong Kong. The minehunters played a significant role in the Suez Canal clearance after the Yom Kippur war. They also provided the backbone of the UK's Fishery Protection Squadron (4th MCM).

With the rundown of the Royal Navy fleet in the 1960s, many were sent to become base ships for the Royal Naval Reserve allowing reserve crews to get to sea for short periods without a lot of effort to organise a crew of significant size. Some of these had their names changed to reflect the RNR Division they were attached to. Five of the class in Royal Navy service were permanently converted to patrol craft for service policing of Hong Kong's territorial waters in 1971. These vessels, comprising HM Ships Beachampton, Monkton, Wasperton, Wolverton and Yarnton had their minesweeping gear removed and were fitted with a second Bofors 40 mm gun aft of the funnel. They also received new pennant numbers: Beachampton P1007, Monkton P1055, Wasperton P1089, Wolverton P1093 and Yarnton P1096.[2] Two vessels were converted into survey ships, one an air sea rescue vessel and one a diving tender.[1]

At the start of the Falklands War in 1982, the elderly Ton-class vessels were deemed to be unsuited to the long voyage to the South Atlantic, so five deep-sea trawlers were hired and hastily converted into minesweepers, although the crews were largely taken from the Ton-class mine countermeasures flotilla based at Rosyth.[3]

The RNR vessels lasted until the introduction of the River-class minesweepers in 1984. The remainder of the regular RN ships began to be retired with the introduction of the Hunt-class MCM vessels from 1980. The last RN Ton-class ship to be withdrawn was also the last to have been built; HMS Wilton (M1116) had been built in 1971 - 1972 with a hull made of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) instead of wood. She was the first major warship in the world using this technology, which was used for all of the succeeding Hunt-class ships. Decommissioned in 1994, Wilton now serves as a floating clubhouse for the Essex Yacht Club at Leigh-on-Sea.[4]

Ships[edit]

Royal Navy:

  • Alcaston, launched 5 January 1953; sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Snipe; broken up in 1985.
  • Aldington, launched 15 September 1955; sold to Ghana in 1964 and renamed Ejura; broken up in 1979.
  • Alfriston, launched 29 April 1953; broken up in 1988.
  • Alverton, launched 18 November 1953; sold to Ireland in 1971 and renamed 'LÉ Banba; broken up in Spain 1984.
  • Amerton, launched 16 March 1953; broken up in 1971.
  • Appleton, launched 4 September 1953; broken up in 1972.
  • Ashton (ex-Cheriton), launched 5 September 1956; broken up in 1977.
  • Badminton, launched 14 October 1954; broken up in 1970.
  • Beachampton, launched 29 June 1953; converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1007; broken up in 1985.
  • Belton, launched 3 October 1955; broken up in 1974.
  • Bevington, launched 17 March 1953; sold to Argentina in 1968 and renamed Tierra del Fuego; broken up in 1995.
  • Bickington, launched 14 May 1952; broken up in 1988.
  • Bildeston, launched 9 June 1952; broken up in 1988.
  • Blaxton, launched 26 January 1955; sold to Ireland in 1970 and renamed LÉ Fola; broken up in Spain 1987.
  • Bossington (ex-Embleton), launched 2 December 1955; broken up in 1988.
  • Boulston, launched 6 October 1952; broken up in 1975.
  • Brereton, launched 14 March 1955; broken up in 1992.
  • Brinton, launched 8 August 1952; sold in 1997; broken up in 1998
  • Bronington, launched 19 March 1953; became a museum ship in 1989. Being scrapped.[5]
  • Burnaston, launched 18 December 1952; broken up in 1971.
  • Buttington, launched 11 June 1953; broken up in 1970.
  • Calton, launched 24 October 1953; broken up in 1968.
  • Carhampton, launched 21 July 1955; broken up in 1970.
  • Castleton, launched 26 August 1958; sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Johannesburg; broken up in 1989.
  • Caunton, launched 18 December 1952; broken up in 1970.
  • Chawton, launched 24 September 1957; broken up in 1977.
  • Chediston, launched 20 February 1953; sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Curlew; used as a fishing vessel.[6]
  • Chilcompton, launched 6 October 1953; sold in 1971; broken up 1971.
  • Chilton, launched 15 July 1957; sold to South Africa in 1958 and renamed East London; fate unknown.
  • Clarbeston, launched 18 February 1954; broken up in 1987.
  • Coniston, launched 9 July 1952; broken up in 1970.
  • Crichton, launched 17 March 1953; broken up in 1987.
  • Crofton, launched 7 March 1958; broken up in 1987.
  • Cuxton, launched 9 November 1953; broken up in 1992.
  • Dalswinton, launched 24 September 1953; broken up in 1973.
  • Darlaston, launched 29 September 1953; sold to Malaysia 1960 and renamed Mahamiru; fate unknown.
  • Derriton, launched 22 December 1953; broken up in 1970. The machinery and fittings were reconditioned and installed in the prototype Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) minehunter HMS Wilton, launched on 18 January 1972 and commissioned on 14 July 1970; Preserved 2001.
  • Dilston, launched 15 November 1954; sold to Malaysia in 1964 and renamed Jerai; fate unknown.
  • Dufton, launched 13 November 1954; broken up in 1977.
  • Dumbleton, launched 8 November 1957; sold to South Africa in 1958 and renamed Port Elizabeth; broken up in 1989.
  • Dunkerton, launched 8 March 1954; sold to South Africa in 1955 and renamed Pretoria; broken up in 2010.
  • Durweston, launched 18 August 1955; sold to India in 1956 and renamed Kakinada; fate unknown.
  • Edderton, launched 1 November 1953; converted to a survey vessel in 1964 and renamed Myrmidon; sold to Malaysia in 1969 and renamed Perantau; fate unknown.
  • Essington, launched 26 September 1956; Purchased Malaysia 1964 and renamed Kinabalu; fate unknown.
  • Fenton, launched 2 December 1955; broken up in 1968.
  • Fiskerton, launched 12 April 1957; broken up in 1977.
  • Fittleton, launched 26 September 1956; broken up in 1977.
  • Flockton, launched 3 June 1954; broken up in 1969.
  • Floriston, launched 26 January 1955; sold in 1968.
  • Gavinton, launched 27 July 1953; broken up in 1991.
  • Glasserton, launched 3 December 1953; broken up in 1988.
  • Hazleton, launched 6 February 1954; sold to South Africa in 1955 and renamed Kaapstaad; broken up in 1989.
  • Hexton, launched June 1954; sold to Malaysia in 1963 and renamed Ledang; fate unknown.
  • Hickleton, launched 26 January 1955; sold to Argentina in 1971 and renamed Neuquén; broken up in 1996.
  • Highburton, launched 2 June 1954; broken up in 1978.
  • Hodgeston, launched 6 April 1954; broken up in 1988.
  • Houghton, launched 22 November 1957; broken up in 1971.
  • Hubberston, launched 14 September 1954; broken up in 1992.
  • Ilmington, launched 8 March 1954; sold to Argentina 1967 and renamed Formosa; broken up in 2004.
  • Invermoriston, launched 2 June 1954; converted to air-sea rescue vessel; broken up in 1971.
  • Iveston, launched 14 October 1954; became a sea cadet training ship in 1993; broken up in 2015.[7]
  • Jackton, launched 28 February 1955; sold to Australia 1961 and renamed HMAS Teal; Currently a training ship.
  • Kedleston, launched 21 December 1953; broken up in 1992.
  • Kellington, launched 12 October 1954; Became a sea cadet training ship in 1993. Broken up in 2009.
  • Kemerton, launched 27 November 1953; broken up in 1975.
  • Kildarton (ex-Liston), launched 23 May 1955; sold in 1969; fate unknown.
  • Kirkliston, launched 18 February 1954; broken up in 1991.
  • Laleston, launched 18 May 1954; broken up in 1985.
  • Lanton, launched 30 July 1954; broken up in 1970.
  • Letterston, launched 26 October 1954; broken up in 1971.
  • Leverton, launched 2 March 1955; broken up in 1972.
  • Lewiston, launched 3 November 1959; broken up in 1986.
  • Lullington, launched 31 August 1955; sold to Malaysia in 1966 and renamed Tahan; fate unknown.
  • Maddiston, launched 27 January 1956; broken up in 1975.
  • Maryton, launched 3 April 1958; broken up in 1969.
  • Maxton, launched 24 May 1956; broken up in 1989.
  • Monkton (ex-Kelton), launched 30 November 1955; converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1055; sold in 1985; fate unknown.
  • Nurton, launched 22 October 1956; broken up in 1995.
  • Oakington, launched 10 December 1958; sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Mosselbaai; broken up in 1989.
  • Oulston, launched 29 September 1953; sold to Ireland in 1971 and renamed LÉ Grainne; broken up in Spain 1987.
  • Overton, launched 28 January 1956; sold to India in 1956 and renamed Karwar; fate unknown.
  • Packington, launched 3 July 1958; sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Walvisbaai, then sold to the Walt Disney Company to portray the R/V Belafonte in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; preserved in Dubai.[7]
  • Penston, launched 9 May 1955; broken up in 1970.
  • Picton, launched 20 October 1955; broken up in 1969.
  • Pollington, launched 10 October 1957; broken up in 1987.
  • Puncheston, launched 20 November 1956; broken up in 1977.
  • Quainton, launched 10 October 1957; broken up in 1979.
  • Rennington, launched 27 November 1958; sold to Argentina in 1967 and renamed Chaco; broken up in 2004.
  • Repton (ex-Ossington), launched 1 May 1956; sold in 1982; broken up in 1982.
  • Roddington, launched 24 February 1955; broken up in 1972.
  • Santon, launched 18 August 1955; sold to Argentina in 1967 and renamed Chubut; broken up in 2004.
  • Sefton, launched 27 November 1958; broken up in 1978.
  • Shavington, launched 25 April 1955; broken up in 1987.
  • Sheraton, launched 20 July 1955; sold in 1997; fate unknown.
  • Shoulton, launched 10 September 1954; broken up in 1981.
  • Singleton, launched 18 November 1955; sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Ibis; fate unknown.
  • Soberton, launched 20 November 1956; sold in 1993; fate unknown.
  • Somerleyton (ex-Gamston), launched 1 July 1954; sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Hawk; broken up.
  • Stratton, launched 29 July 1957; sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Kimberley; fate unknown.
  • Stubbington, launched 8 August 1956; broken up in 1989.
  • Sullington, launched 20 July 1955; converted to a survey vessel in 1965 and renamed Mermaid; broken up in 1970.
  • Swanston, launched 10 September 1954; sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Gull; fate unknown.
  • Tarlton, launched 18 November 1955; sold to Argentina in 1967 and renamed Río Negro; fate unknown.
  • Thankerton, launched 4 September 1955; sold to Malaysia in 1966 and renamed Brinchang; fate unknown.
  • Upton, launched 15 March 1956; broken up in 1991.
  • Walkerton, launched 21 November 1956; used as Dartmouth Training Ship (Britannia Royal Naval College) in the 1970s; reversed onto the Plymouth breakwater in 1977;[8] broken up in 1990.
  • Wasperton, launched 28 February 1956; converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1089; sold in 1986.
  • Wennington, launched 6 April 1955; sold to India in 1956 and renamed Cuddalore.
  • Whitton, launched 30 January 1956; sold to India in 1956 and renamed Cannanore.
  • Wiston, launched 3 June 1958; broken up in 1982.
  • Wlkieston, launched 26 June 1956; broken up in 1976.
  • Wolverton, launched 22 October 1956; converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1093; sold in Hong Kong in 1986 and converted to a floating restaurant; destroyed in a fire in 1991.
  • Woolaston, launched 6 March 1958; broken up in 1980.
  • Wotton, launched 24 April 1956; broken up in 1992.
  • Yarnton, launched 26 March 1956; converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1096; sold in 1986. broken up in 1986.

South African Navy:

SAS Pretoria
  • SAS Durban (M1499); Museum ship (Undergoing restoration), Port Natal Maritime Museum.
  • SAS East London (M1215), ex-HMS Chilton – sold to Italian film company, fate unknown.
  • SAS Johannesburg (M1207), ex-HMS Castleton, broken up in 1989.
  • SAS Kaapstad, (P1557/M1210), ex-HMS Hazleton; ex-HMS Blue Firefly, broken up in 1989.
  • SAS Kimberley (M1210), ex-HMS Stratton, fate unknown.
  • SAS Mosselbaai (M1213), ex-HMS Oakington, broken up in 1989.
  • SAS Port Elizabeth (M1212), ex-HMS Dumbleton, broken up in 1989.
  • SAS Pretoria (P1556/M1144), ex-HMS Dunkerton; ex-HMS Golden Firefly, broken up in 2010.
  • SAS Walvisbaai (M1214), ex-HMS Packington – sold to The Walt Disney Company, preserved in Dubai.[7]
  • SAS Windhoek (M1498), fate unknown.

Royal New Zealand Navy:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Ton History". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Critchley, Mike (1978). British Warships & Auxiliaries. Maritme Books. ISBN 0 9506323 0 9. 
  3. ^ Hoole, Rob (June 2007). "The Forgotten Few of the Falklands". www.mcdoa.org.uk. Mine Warfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Wilton M1116". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "The Final Indignity". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Chediston M1121". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c "Iveston M1151". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Three careers and a brush with death – but still a driven man". westernmorningnews.co.uk. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]