HMS Ledbury

The present HMS LEDBURY has an illustrious forebear.
The first HMS Ledbury (L90) was ordered two days after the outbreak of the Second World War as an Escort Destroyer of the ‘Hunt’ Type 2 class with a full load displacement of 1580 tons. Laid down at the Southampton yard of J I Thornycroft Ltd on 24th January 1940, construction was delayed by bomb damage to the Yard and she was not launched until 27th September 1941. Following a ‘Warship Week’ National Savings campaign during December 1941, she was adopted by the citizens of Ledbury and, after seas trials, she was accepted into service on 11th February 1942.



HMS Ledbury was engaged in escorting major warships and Fleet auxiliaries between Scapa Flow and Iceland until late June 1942, when she was attached to the ocean escort of the ill-fated convoy PQ17. In August, Ledbury was allocated to the close escort of the ‘Pedestal’ relief convoy to Malta and played a major part in assisting the damaged tanker Ohio to reach Grand Harbour claiming to have destroyed three and five enemy aircraft.

In June 1943, HMS Ledbury proceeded again to the Mediterranean after further service on escort duties between Iceland and the Orkneys and took part in the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky). She was also involved in the Salerno landings in September 1943, but thereafter her main employment was as a convoy escort, based at first on Malta and latterly at Alexandria. Occasional offensive patrols in the Adriatic and Aegean were undertaken and she covered the return of British troops to Athens in October 1944. She was reduced to reserve status in March 1946 at Portsmouth, and was not again commissioned for active service before being sold for scrap in 1958.

The second HMS Ledbury (M30) was launched in December 1979, at the Vosper Thornycroft yard in Southampton and was commissioned on 11th June, 1981. It has a non-magnetic GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) hull for it's primary duties as minesweeper and mine hunter and has with a full load displacement of 750 tonnes. She is 60 metres long, 10 metres in the beam and has a crew of 6 Officers, 9 Senior Ratings and 29 Junior Ratings.

This is the second of the Royal Navy’s eleven Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMVs) and is a member of the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron based at Portsmouth. Shortly after becoming fully operational she was deployed to the South Atlantic in company with her sister ship HMS BRECON. Both ships were supported by RMS St Helena for mine clearance and bomb disposal operations around the Falkland Islands after the ceasefire.

HMS Ledbury carried out the last minesweeping exercise by the Royal Navy on 12 October 2005 off the Isle of Wight. From now on all conventional minesweeping is at an end and advanced minehunting systems and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) wil be developed.

The Royal Navy.
Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd).
Rob Hoole, RN Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers' Association.
Navy News.