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 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, with a hull 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 decommissioning 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[edit]

The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom received 115 Ton-class minesweepers during the 1950s. Several were later sold or transferred to other countries.

Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Ship name Pennant Launched Fate
Alcaston M1102 5 January 1953 sold to Australia in 1961, renamed HMAS Snipe, broken up in 1985
Aldington M1171 15 September 1955 sold to Ghana in 1964, renamed Ejura, broken up in 1979
Alfriston M1103 29 April 1953 broken up in 1988
Alverton M1104 18 November 1953 sold to Ireland in 1971, renamed LÉ Banba, broken up in Spain in 1984
Amerton M1105 16 March 1953 broken up in 1971
Appleton M1106 4 September 1953 broken up in 1972
Ashton (ex-Cheriton) M1198 5 September 1956 broken up in 1977
Badminton M1149 14 October 1954 broken up in 1970
Beachampton M1107 29 June 1953 converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1007, broken up in 1985
Belton M1199 3 October 1955 broken up in 1974
Bevington M1108 17 March 1953 sold to Argentina in 1968, renamed Tierra del Fuego, broken up in 1995
Bickington M1109 14 May 1952 broken up in 1988
Bildeston M1110 9 June 1952 broken up in 1988
Blaxton M1131 26 January 1955 sold to Ireland in 1970, renamed LÉ Fola, broken up in Spain in 1987
Bossington (ex-Embleton) M1133 2 December 1955 broken up in 1988
Boulston M1112 6 October 1952 broken up in 1975
Brereton M1113 14 March 1955 broken up in 1992
Brinton M1114 8 August 1952 sold in 1997, broken up in 1998
Bronington M1115 19 March 1953 became a museum ship in 1989, being scrapped as of 2016[5]
Burnaston M1116 18 December 1952 broken up in 1971
Buttington M1117 11 June 1953 broken up in 1970
Calton M1118 24 October 1953 broken up in 1968
Carhampton M1119 21 July 1955 broken up in 1970
Castleton M1207 26 August 1958 sold to South Africa in 1959, renamed SAS Johannesburg, broken up in 1989
Caunton M1120 18 December 1952 broken up in 1970
Chawton M1209 24 September 1957 broken up in 1977
Chediston M1121 20 February 1953 sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Curlew; used as a fishing vessel.[6]
Chilcompton M1122 6 October 1953 sold and broken up in 1971
Chilton M1215 15 July 1957 sold to South Africa in 1958 and renamed SAS East London
Clarbeston M1123 18 February 1954 broken up in 1987
Coniston M1101 9 July 1952 broken up in 1970
Crichton M1124 17 March 1953 broken up in 1987
Crofton M1216 7 March 1958 broken up in 1987
Cuxton M1125 9 November 1953 broken up in 1992
Dalswinton M1126 24 September 1953 broken up in 1973
Darlaston M1127 29 September 1953 sold to Malaysia 1960 and renamed KD Mahamiru
Derriton M1128 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 M1168 15 November 1954 sold to Malaysia in 1964 and renamed KD Jerai
Dufton M1145 13 November 1954 broken up in 1977
Dumbleton M1212 8 November 1957 sold to South Africa in 1958, renamed SAS Port Elizabeth, broken up in 1989
Dunkerton M1144 8 March 1954 sold to South Africa in 1955 and renamed SAS Pretoria; broken up in 2010
Durweston M1201 18 August 1955 sold to India in 1956 and renamed Kakinada
Edderton M1111 1 November 1953 converted to a survey vessel in 1964 and renamed Myrmidon, sold to Malaysia in 1969 and renamed Perantau
Essington M1134 26 September 1956 sold to Malaysia 1964 and renamed Kinabalu
Fenton M1135 2 December 1955 broken up in 1968
Fiskerton M1206 12 April 1957 broken up in 1977
Fittleton M1136 26 September 1956 broken up in 1977
Flockton M1137 3 June 1954 broken up in 1969
Floriston M1138 26 January 1955 sold in 1968
Gavinton M1140 27 July 1953 broken up in 1991
Glasserton M1141 3 December 1953 broken up in 1988
Hazleton M1142 6 February 1954 sold to South Africa in 1955 and renamed Kaapstaad; broken up in 1989
Hexton M1143 June 1954 sold to Malaysia in 1963 and renamed Ledang
Hickleton M1131 26 January 1955 transferred to New Zealand in 1965
Highburton M1130 2 June 1954 broken up in 1978
Hodgeston M1146 6 April 1954 broken up in 1988
Houghton M1211 22 November 1957 broken up in 1971
Hubberston M1147 14 September 1954 broken up in 1992
Ilmington M1148 8 March 1954 sold to Argentina 1967 and renamed Formosa; broken up in 2004
Invermoriston M1150 2 June 1954 converted to air-sea rescue vessel; broken up in 1971
Iveston M1151 14 October 1954 became a sea cadet training ship in 1993; broken up in 2015[7]
Jackton M1152 28 February 1955 sold to Australia 1961 and renamed HMAS Teal
Kedleston M1153 21 December 1953 broken up in 1992
Kellington M1154 12 October 1954 sea cadet training ship in 1993, broken up in 2009
Kemerton M1156 27 November 1953 broken up in 1975
Kildarton (ex-Liston) M1162 23 May 1955 sold in 1969
Kirkliston M1157 18 February 1954 broken up in 1991
Laleston M1158 18 May 1954 broken up in 1985
Lanton M1159 30 July 1954 broken up in 1970
Letterston M1160 26 October 1954 broken up in 1971
Leverton M1161 2 March 1955 broken up in 1972
Lewiston M1208 3 November 1959 broken up in 1986
Lullington M1163 31 August 1955 sold to Malaysia in 1966 and renamed Tahan
Maddiston M1164 27 January 1956 broken up in 1975
Maryton M1203 3 April 1958 broken up in 1969
Maxton M1165 24 May 1956 broken up in 1989
Monkton (ex-Kelton) M1155 30 November 1955 converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1055; sold in 1985
Nurton M1166 22 October 1956 broken up in 1995
Oakington M1213 10 December 1958 sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Mosselbaai; broken up in 1989
Oulston M1129 29 September 1953 sold to Ireland in 1971 and renamed LÉ Grainne, broken up in Spain 1987
Overton M1197 28 January 1956 sold to India in 1956 and renamed Karwar
Packington M1214 3 July 1958 sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Walvisbaai
Penston M1169 9 May 1955 broken up in 1970
Picton M1170 20 October 1955 broken up in 1969
Pollington M1173 10 October 1957 broken up in 1987
Puncheston M1174 20 November 1956 broken up in 1977
Quainton M1175 10 October 1957 broken up in 1979
Rennington M1176 27 November 1958 sold to Argentina in 1967 and renamed Chaco, broken up in 2004
Repton (ex-Ossington) M1167 1 May 1956 sold and broken up in 1982
Roddington M1177 24 February 1955 broken up in 1972
Santon M1178 18 August 1955 transferred to New Zealand 10 April 1965
Sefton M1179 27 November 1958 broken up in 1978
Shavington M1180 25 April 1955 broken up in 1987
Sheraton M1181 20 July 1955 sold in 1997
Shoulton M1182 10 September 1954 broken up in 1981
Singleton M1183 18 November 1955 sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Ibis
Soberton M1200 20 November 1956 sold in 1993
Somerleyton (ex-Gamston) M1139 1 July 1954 sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Hawk
Stratton M1210 29 July 1957 sold to South Africa in 1959 and renamed Kimberley
Stubbington M1204 8 August 1956 broken up in 1989
Sullington M1184 20 July 1955 converted to a survey vessel in 1965 and renamed Mermaid; broken up in 1970
Swanston M1185 10 September 1954 sold to Australia in 1961 and renamed HMAS Gull
Tarlton M1186 18 November 1955 sold to Argentina in 1967 and renamed Río Negro
Thankerton M1172 4 September 1955 sold to Malaysia in 1966 and renamed Brinchang
Upton M1187 15 March 1956 broken up in 1991
Walkerton M1188 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 M1189 28 February 1956 converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1089; sold in 1986
Wennington M1190 6 April 1955 sold to India in 1956 and renamed Cuddalore
Whitton M1191 30 January 1956 sold to India in 1956 and renamed Cannanore
Wiston M1205 3 June 1958 broken up in 1982
Wlkieston M1192 26 June 1956 broken up in 1976
Wolverton M1193 22 October 1956 converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1093
Woolaston M1194 6 March 1958 broken up in 1980
Wotton M1195 24 April 1956 broken up in 1992
Yarnton M1196 26 March 1956 converted to Hong Kong Patrol craft 1971 and pennant number changed to P1096

Argentine Navy[edit]

Flag of Argentina.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Chaco ex-HMS Rennington purchased in 1967 broken up in 2004
Chubut M3 ex-HMNZS Santon acquired in 1967 broken up in 2004
Formosa ex-HMS Ilmington broken up in 2004
Neuquén M1 ex-HMNZS Hickleton acquired in 1967 purchased in 1971 and broken up in 1996
Río Negro ex-HMS Tarlton purchased in 1967
Tierra del Fuego ex-HMS Bevington purchased in 1968 broken up in 1995

Royal Australian Navy[edit]

Naval Ensign of Australia.svg

The Royal Australian Navy bought six ex-Royal Navy minesweepers of the Ton class in 1961, and all were in service by 1962. Individual ships were decommissioned over the years until the final ship in service, Curlew, was decommissioned and repurposed as a civilian fishing vessel. Curlew had been updated as a mine hunter in 1967-1968 while the same treatment was given to Snipe in 1969-1970.[9]

Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Curlew M 1121 ex-HMS Chediston purchased in 1961 decommissioned in 1990, converted to civilian fishing vessel.[6]
Gull M 1185 ex-HMS Swanston commissioned 19 July 1962 decommissioned 7 November 1969
Hawk M 1139 ex-HMS Somerleyton commissioned 18 July 1962 decommissioned 7 January 1972, broken up
Ibis M 1183 ex-HMS Singleton commissioned 7 September 1962 decommissioned 4 May 1984
Snipe M 1102 ex-HMS Alcaston purchased in 1961 broken up in 1985
Teal M 1152 ex-HMS Jackton commissioned 30 August 1962 decommissioned 14 August 1970, serving as a training ship

Ghana[edit]

Naval Ensign of Ghana.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Ejura ex-HMS Aldington purchased in 1964 broken up in 1979

Royal Hong Kong Police[edit]

HK Marine Police Flag.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Beachampton P1007 ex-HMS Beachampton converted in 1971 broken up in 1985
Monkton P1055 ex-HMS Monkton converted in 1971 sold in 1985
Wasperton P1089 ex-HMS Wasperton converted in 1971 sold in 1986
Wolverton P1093 ex-HMS Wolverton converted in 1971 sold in Hong Kong in 1986 and converted to a floating restaurant; destroyed in a fire in 1991
Yarnton P1096 ex-HMS Yarnton converted in 1971 sold in 1986. broken up in 1986

India[edit]

Naval Ensign of India.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Cannanore ex-HMS Whitton purchased in 1956
Cuddalore ex-HMS Wennington purchased in 1956
Kakinada ex-HMS Durweston purchased in 1956
Karwar ex-HMS Overton purchased in 1956

Ireland[edit]

Naval jack of Ireland.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Banba M1104 ex-HMS Alverton purchased in 1971 broken up in Spain in 1984
Fola ex-HMS Blaxton purchased in 1970 broken up in Spain in 1987
Grainne CM10 ex-HMS Oulston commissioned 30 January 1971 broken up in Spain in 1987

Royal Malaysian Navy[edit]

Naval Ensign of Malaysia.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Brinchang ex-HMS Thankerton purchased in 1966
Jerai ex-HMS Dilston purchased in 1964
Kinabalu ex-HMS Essington purchased in 1964
Ledang ex-HMS Hexton purchased in 1963
Mahamiru ex-HMS Darlaston purchased in 1960
Perantau ex-HMS Edderton purchased in 1969
Tahan ex-HMS Lullington purchased in 1966

Royal New Zealand Navy[edit]

Naval Ensign of New Zealand.svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Hickleton M1131 ex-HMS Hickleton commissioned 10 April 1965 decommissioned in December 1966 and transferred to Argentina as Neuquén in 1967 (sold in 1971)
Santon M1131 ex-HMS Santon commissioned 10 April 1965 decommissioned in December 1966 and sold to Argentina as Chubut in 1967

South African Navy[edit]

Naval Ensign of South Africa (1959–1981).svg
Ship name Pennant Acquired Fate
Durban M1499 undergoing restoration at Port Natal Maritime Museum for exhibition as a museum ship
East London M1215 ex-HMS Chilton purchased in 1958 sold to an Italian film company
Johannesburg M1207 ex-HMS Castleton purchased in 1959 broken up in 1989
Kaapstaad P1557 ex-HMS Hazleton purchased in 1955 broken up in 1989
Kimberley M1210 ex-HMS Stratton purchased in 1959
Mosselbaai M1213 ex-HMS Oakington purchased in 1959 broken up in 1989
Port Elizabeth M1212 ex-HMS Dumbleton purchased in 1958 broken up in 1989
Pretoria P1556 ex-HMS Dunkerton purchased in 1955 broken up in 2010
Walvisbaai P1214 ex-HMS Packington purchased in 1959 sold to the Walt Disney Company to portray the R/V Belafonte in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; preserved in Dubai.[7]
Windhoek M1498

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. Maritime 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. ^ a b "Chediston M1121". tca2000.co.uk. The Ton Class Association. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b "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.
  9. ^ Chant, Chris (1979). The World's Navies. Chartwell Books. ISBN 0890092680.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]