Yarnton M1196


M1196                                         P1096

YARNTON was converted to a Patrol Craft, for duties in Hong Kong, in 1971. She was on stand by when the Queen Elizabeth 1 caught fire and sank in Hong Kong Harbour.

Laid Down: 21st October 1954

Built By: William Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland

Completed: 16th January 1957

Time to Build: 27 Months

Commissioned: 11th May 1957 for 100th MSS based in Portsmouth

Years Fully Operational: 26

Conversion: To Patrol Craft at Hong Kong, July to December 1973 (part conversion in October – November 1971)

Outline of Operational Career:

June 1957 Joined 100th MSS

1st – 12 September 1958 100th MSS deployed to Malta for Cyprus Patrols

18th September – 25th November 1958 First (and only) Cyprus Patrol

1st – 11th December 1958 100th MSS returned to Portsmouth

1959 – 1964 Exercises & Visits in Northern European Waters

10th June 1959 100th MSS transferred base to Port Edgar

1st October 1962 100th MSS renumbered 2nd MSS

18th January 1965 2nd MSS paid off to man 11th MSS at Singapore

August 1965 Recommissioned at Port Edgar for 2nd MSS

January – October 1966 Long Refit at Chatham

17th October 1966 Sailed from UK to join 9th MCMS at Bahrain

16th November 1966 Arrived Bahrain. 4 months repairs post cyclone

1967 – 1971 Patrols, Exercises & Visits in Gulf/Indian Ocean

3rd June – 19th September 1967 Deployments to Aden during & after 6 Day War

22nd July – 23riad December 1968 Deployment to Singapore for refit

1st October 1970 – 29th April 1971 Deployment to Singapore for refit

14th August 1971 9th MSS disbanded. Yarnton to Hong Kong

17th September 1971 Joined 6th Patrol Craft Squadron at Hong Kong

1972 – 1984 Local Patrols, exercises & visits in South East As

Significant Events:

9th– 30th May 1963 Took part in Operation Clear Road based Esjberg

17th June – 11th July 1963 Took part in Operation Cable Way based Den Helder

9th – 26th September 1963 Took part in Operation Ice Scott based Iceland

16th – 25th April 1964 Took part in Operation Clear Road 2 based in Den Helder

9th – 10th November 1966 Encountered Cyclone in Arabian Sea. Bad damage

16th – 27th January 1970 Dhofar Coast Patrol during Insurgency

9th January 1972 Assisted Queen Elizabeth 1 fire at Hong Kong

31st July 1977 Hong Kong Squadron awarded Wilkinson Sword of Peace

Paid Off: 12th November 1984

Disposal: 1986 sold to Pounds of Portsmouth for local disposal in Hong Kong

15 Responses to Yarnton M1196

  1. Joined Yarnton in Hong Kong on January 3rd 1973 as as a skin young 24 year old ME1 . During my time on the Yarnton my CO was none other than a 25 year old Lt Alan West, later to become the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty and now (2014) Baron West of Spithead GCB DSC PC. When he took command of the Yarnton he was the youngest serving Royal Naval officer to have taken command of a British warship in peacetime history..
    He was supported on board by the first Lt who was Lt Richard ( I can not remember his surname but I believe he was a TAS rating prior to Dartmouth)……. whom had the accolade of being awarded the fastest advancement on completion of his SD course.. So two firsts for the Big Y as she was affectionately known always flying the Yankee flag .

    L/Sea (MW) Sam Cook was our Buffer who was and still is well known and respected throughout the mine warfare world. Sam is now the TCA’s Standard Bearer.
    The ships bell is proudly hung in the bar of the Red Lion in Yarnton Oxfordshire. It was presented to the pub in 1985 when the ship was withdrawn decommissioned at the request of the Yarnton Parish Council who asked if it could have the bell to hang in the pub, to maintain the link between ship and shore. . The friendship between the ships company and the villagers of Yarnton and the ships company raised many hundreds of £’s for local charities organised by the Yarnton locals. It is rumoured that the new pub owners are considering changing the name of the pub to The Yarnton Bell.

    In 1974 the admiralty decided to have the 5 Ton’s that made up the Dragon Squadron be converted from their role of a mine sweeper to that of a Patrol craft. This involved a refit to remove the Pulse generator replacing it with equal weight ballast namely a large slab of aluminium and erecting a beer and spirit store in the genny room. The magnetic loop winch was removed from the upper deck and a second 40mm boffar mounted aft of the funnel on top of were the winch used to be.
    The patrols were sequenced on a 3 out 4 in, 4 out 3 in routine on illegal immigrant patrols till her final days.
    A great ship with a fantastic crew and wonderful memories.

    Eric ( Stan) Wootton

    • Eric,
      Many thanks for your recollections. Young bit of ‘skin’ at 24 ???
      Can you keep an eye (all the way from Cyprus) on the pub at Yarnton so that should they change the name we are informed. I feel a good run in the offing.
      Had a chat with Sam today. As always he has something new and interesting to say.

  2. Can you please tell me when M1196 was commissioned and retired?

    • Good morning Fiona,
      HMS Yarnton was commissioned 11th May 1957 for the 100th Minesweeping Squadron (MSS) based at Portsmouth.
      She Paid Off 12th November 1984 and sold to Pounds (Portsmouth) for local disposal in Hong Kong.
      I will be writing the ships ‘potted’ history on this web site soon.

      Many thanks for contacting us.
      Best wishes

  3. Bob,
    I have recently typed up an article of my time on Yarnton (passage Bahrain to Hong Kong) transfer to Hubberston and returning to the UK on her
    becoming the squadron CY for 2MCM when it formed at Vernon in Jan 1972.
    How can I have it being posted on the RNCA website and would like to post it on TCA, who do I need to email it too

    Colin (Kilo) King

    • Colin,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      I can not comment as to how you get your dit on the RNCA web site as you would have to get in touch with their web master and/or administrator. However I would welcome receiving it for possible placing not only on our web site but also in the ships history records we hold.
      Sending as an attachment to an e-mail to me would probably be the best way.
      I look forward to hearing from you idc.

      Best wishes


  4. Hi

    My dad served on the yarnton in Hong Kong from around 1975-1979 and I was christened on board. Just read the ships bell has gone missing from the red lion pub in yarnton, Oxfordshire. Always hoped to see the bell one day and my name but now live in Australia and by the looks of it the bell was stolen. I’m setting up a Facebook group for this who served on board and to collect images, stories and articles on her.

    Feel free to join and would appreciate any comments or memories of your time on board

    • Bernard Emslie

      Hi Robbie, I hope you are well. If your dad was a CPO tiff or Mech and he was the Chief of the boat then I was on the Yarnton at the same time. I was at your christening and have a couple of pictures of around that time. One of the pictures is of all the senior rates, including your dad on a night out in Hong Kong. The other two are of me feeding you and changing your nappy in your mum and dads married quarters during your Christening party. I was a POMEM, Fred Emslie. One crew member he may remember is, MEM Mac Mckenna who I am still in touch with. The Captain s name was Richard Benham, and the 1st Lt. Was Don Todd and his wife Rita. It was a great ship, one of the best I have ever served in and have many happy memories of my time on the ship and crew.
      Yours Fred

    • mick rollason

      served with your dad in 1976 and was at your christning and had many nights babh sitting you when your mum and dad brought the beer and took his stokers out to the china fleet club

  5. Hi Robbie, I hope you are in good health. Ask your dad does he remember RPO Billy Fisk the gun crazy Cox’n who he may have to have shared a cabin with and survived and A/B Pilot the ships dog. Pilot we were told by the outgoing crew was nurtured and could not have puppies untill she got pregnant and gave birth to 4 puppies in the electrical shore supply box on the jetty. We had to go on a 3 day patrol so the skipper arrainged for another sweeper to look after dog and family. This upset some of the crew who walked off the ship thinking that the ship should go to sea with the full crew which included Pilot and family. Billy Fisk was sent ashore to get the crew back on board, luckily with no gun as he would have demolished crew, dog, puppies and electrical supply box in the process. He arranged fo the local RSPCA to come and collect dog and family, the crew returned onboard and we went on our 3 day patrol. The ship returned after 3 days and dog, puppies, crew and ship was happily reunited and the electrical shore supply box continued to supply electricity to any ship birthed adjacent to it.
    Hope this lets you know of some of the hardships we had to endure defending Queen and Country abroad.

    • Michael rollason

      I served on yarnton in1976 wth Shawn mc Kenna,billy wills goerhe gaff and fred emslie,can remember your dad and rpo bill fisk ,mick rollason

    • Hi Bernard, I was on Yarnton end of 77-79 looked after pilot a great dog, if you would like a photo or anyone else reading this I would be happy to send it to you.

  6. Hello Stan,
    his name was Richard Albery, and I met him again in 84, he was skipper of the “Starling” and they were tied up next to 3 Basin. They were preparing to go to Hong Kong, and I was COB on the Bronington in 3 Basin. He was divorced from Anne, as I was from my wife Liz, but he was pleased to see me although clearly busy.

  7. Dear all,

    I had the horrible job of Yarnton’s last WEO. The best draft ever ….. The C.O. (on joining) was Lt. Adrian Johns, a WAFU Lynx pilot . . . soon to be Lt CDR. and currently, the Governor of Gibraltar. We had 2 more COs after Ade, one being the pilot that fired on and holed the Argentinian Sub. during the Falklands War.
    I didn’t know Percy Pound’s family bought her for scrap, poor lady.
    The Buffer was Danny Maxwell, COB was Robin Young (much later became a Lt CDR teaching at the Portsmouth NBCD School on Whale Island.

    Chris B

  8. I joined Hubberston 6 MCMS Hong Kong 7 March 71 – 17 Sep. Switched crews with Yarnton 18 Sep 71 -16 July 72

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