Historical Group


The Ton Class Association has had a specific Historical Objective since its foundation in 1987, namely “To compile a permanent record of all information and data relating to Ton Class Ships, for the benefit of historical research”.  The first Ton Class Historian, John Robbie, then spent 12 years assembling an operational record of each of the 117 Ships in the Class, until he was unable to continue due to his professional work load.


The TCA Historical Group was started in 1999 based on a idea developed by Bob Dean, at that time the Assistant Historian. The small Historical Group consists of Jeremy Stewart, who concentrates on the research and updating of the records and Bob Dean, now “Team Leader of the Historical Group” who also looks after the archives.  His role is to co-ordinate all research activity directed towards compiling a detailed operational record of each ship in the Class, enhanced by the inclusion of the personal reminiscences of officers and ratings who served in them. Additionally TCA member Gordon Palframan & his wife visit the National Archives at Kew to scrutinise the ships logs transcribing the relevant information and passing the records for the updating our records. The group also hope to establish relationships with other maritime archives, particularly the Royal Naval Museum at Portsmouth and the Naval Historical Branch.




The Ship Records form the core of the Ton Class database, and are compiled from all available sources, written and verbal:  Ships Logs, Reports of Proceedings, Training Records and personal Diaries, together with extracts from contemporary reports located in the National Archives at Kew.  Individuals who were in the RN or RNR are invited to contribute their own reminiscences, which are included in the record at the appropriate place, and attributed to each source by name.  Concurrently, records are being compiled of the ships which were dedicated to Ton support e.g. ABDIEL, WOODBRIDGE HAVEN , and of the technical and stores organisation in the many parts of the world where the ships were based.


Concurrent with the assembly of the Ship Records, the Group is gathering together a large and comprehensive library of  photographs and slides, coloured and b&w.  This collection is held on behalf of the Group by Bob Dean, who is preparing a catalogue showing the details and origins of each photo or slide.  The pictures depict each ship of the class, at various stages of their lives  and in different settings.  The collection also contains detailed pictures of operations in progress, and external and internal fittings.  Each picture in the collection is attributed, where ever possible, for copyright purposes.  Photographs can be made available to TCA Members, and to those members of the general public who care to make a voluntary donation towards the upkeep of the collection.


The Group holds some sets of detailed drawings of ships of the class in different roles, which are of interest to model makers. There is also a  collection of ship and equipment drawings on microfiche (currently unavailable), which have been loaned to the Association by the Ship Construction Division at Bath.  Further, the Group is collecting examples of the relevant Instructional Leaflets (ILs) which were produced by HMS VERNON to assist MCM  training courses. Further information can be obtained from Bob Dean.


The Group is steadily enlarging its collection of Newspaper Cuttings relevant to the Tons from the National and local Press, and from ‘NAVY NEWS’, together with relevant articles printed in magazines and periodicals.  These are also being catalogued.


10th MSS – Lisbon 1964


The Ship Records and associated collections described above are used to support a number of specific Projects being undertaken by members of the Group. Chief amongst these are:

A.  Operation ‘MUSKETEER’ – Tons at the 1956 Suez Landings   –  (Peter Kaufmann).

B.  HMS FISKERTON 1958-1969

C.  Tons sold/transferred to Foreign & Commonwealth Navies

D.  ‘Life in the Tons’ – Personal Experiences of Service in Tons  (Stan Hudson edited by Bob Dean)

E.  ‘Ships Company Project’  –  Nominal Lists of Ships Companies  (Jeremy Stewart)

F. Ton ‘Timeline’ –  (Jeremy Stewart)

G. Cyprus ‘Emergency’  –  (Jeremy Stewart)

We always need new volunteer Researchers: Research topics by negotiation. Please contact Bob Dean (See below)


The Group’s most important task is to support the Editor of the TCA’s bi-monthly journal ‘TON TALK’  with a steady stream of new articles, stories and pictures.  These are drawn from the Ship Records and photograph collection, and TON TALK is the normal medium for the publication of brief personal reminiscences, with the prior approval of the author.  The Directing Staff may also commission articles for this purpose.


The TCA’s Historical Database exists to supply other Historians and authors with pertinent material for articles in other journals and ultimately books. All articles and photographs published will be attributed by name.


The Historical Group is looking for a regular input of information, photographs and stories about Ton Class Ships and their crews, with nominal lists where available, and about technical and stores support for the class throughout its life.  All such material will be acknowledged,  copied and returned.



If you happen to be going through your old personal papers and come across any information about the Tons, however brief,  that you are willing to share with the Group , please contact Bob Dean by telephone or E-mail .       

Bob Dean‘s Telephone No. is  01730-233596 , E-mail



One Response to Historical Group

  1. Jean, many thanks for contacting us.
    The reason as to why HMS Corbrae is on our web site is just to show an early example of a Minesweeping Support Vessel. She was very much before our time consequently the minimum information shown. However I do have a collection of books that refer to WWII ships. I will look to see if I can find out more.

    Best wishes


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