HMS Yeovil

HMS Yeovil

An inter-war Hunt-class Minesweeper


HMS Yeovil was built on the Clyde for the Royal Navy in 1918 by Napier & Miller at Old Kilpatrick, Glasgow, and launched on 27 August 1918. She was required for urgent minesweeping duties in the North Sea in the wake of the Great War.

The Hunt-class minesweeper was a class of minesweeping sloop built between 1916 and 1919 for the Royal Navy. They were built in two discrete groups, the earlier Belvoir group designed by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company and the subsequent (and slightly larger) Aberdare group designed by the Admiralty. They were classed as Fleet Minesweeping Sloops, that is, ships intended to clear open water. The Belvoir group were initially named after British fox hunts. Those of the Aberdare group were originally named after coastal towns, watering places and fishing ports, some of which happened to be hunts by coincidence. However, all were soon renamed after inland locations to prevent confusion caused by the misunderstanding of signals and orders. HMS Yeovil was of the latter Aberdare group.

HMS Yeovil was 231' (70.41m) long, 28' 6" (8.69m) broad with a shallow draught of just 7' 6" (2.29m) and displaced 800 tons (725.7 metric tons). These ships had twin screws and had forced-draught coal burning boilers, that is, they burned pulverised coal in an artificially augmented airstream. One consequence of this was that they produced a lot of smoke, so much so that they were more usually referred to as Smokey Joes. Another was that if they were fed anything other than the Welsh Steam Coal they were designed for then the fuel consumption was enormous - one ship was bunkered with soft brown Natal coal and burnt 20 tons in a single day. Armament was one Quick Firing (QF) 4" (100 mm) gun forward and a QF 12 pounder aft, plus two twin 0.303" machine guns. They were equipped for sweeping with Oropesa floats only, that is, to cut the cables of moored mines.

Of the Hunt-class, six ships were completed as survey vessels, and the majority of the Aberdare group (including HMS Yeovil) arrived too late to see service during the First World War. Thirty five were cancelled after the Armistice but HMS Yeovil began her initial 5-month minesweeping tour of duty off the Scottish west coast on 16 November 1918 - just five days after the Armistice. In April 1919 HMS Yeovil was stationed in the Norwegian port of Lervick from where, in association with HMS Belvoir, 1710 mines were swept.

Interwar, eight of the Hunt-class ships were sold out of service, one was sold to Siam, one was converted to an RNVR drillship and fifty two (including HMS Yeovil) were scrapped. HMS Yeovil was sold for scrapping on 4 October 1928 and scrapped by Ward & Co at Pembroke Dock.




HMS Yeovil in a postcard of the 1920s.


HMS Yeovil at anchor.