HMT Pine. Information from Guildford BSAC NAS Survey.
Gross weight of 530 tons. Dimensions of 164ft OA X 27 ft 6 inches. One shaft reciprocating engine 850 IHP 11.5 knots. Armed with 1 x 12pdr, 2x 0.5 inch AA $x LG and a crew of 35.
Hms Pine was built in the Hall, Russell and Co. Ltd yard in Aberdeen. She was laid down on 29th September 1939, launched on 25 March 1940 and commissioned on 3 July 1940.
Her commanding officers were :
1940 - 1941 Lt.Cdr Charles ‘Bunty’ Palmer Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserves.
1941 - 1943 T/Lt Charles Meldon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.
1943 - 1944 T/Lt J Hird Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.
Convoy CW-243, the final voyage of HMS Pine.
Convoy Cw-243 consisted of 10 merchant vessels and 7 escorts destined for St.Helens Roads from Southend, comprising Hms Haslemere, Hms Albrighton, Hmt Rehearo, Hmt Lorraine, Hmt Blackthorn, Hmt Walnut and Hmt Pine. The merchant vessels including among others Caleb Sprague, Emerald, Balduin, Ara and Jernland.
The convoy left Southend on the 30th January 1944 bound for St. Helens Roads. It would be passing through the infamous E-boat alley, a popular hunting ground of German fast attack boats out of Calais. The first day passed uneventfully as the convoy steamed at 7 knots along the south coast. Late into the day a Sunderland of coastal command spotted a U-boat on the surface but it soon submerged and nothing more was reported.
On into the night the convoy pressed slowly passing Beachy Head. The three Tree class armed trawlers Walnut, Pine and Blackthorn in the van of the convoy on mine-seeping duties clearing the path for the merchant vessels behind. Leading the port column of vessels was the Fleet Auxiliary Hms Haslemere commanded by the convoy commodore. Tailing the port column of merchant vessels was Hmt Lorraine and behind the starboard column Hmt Rehearo, finally tailing the convoy was the destroyer Hms Albrighton.
At 0145 a radar operator on the Sussex shore spotted 10 new plots on his screen headed straight for the convoy plodding along at 7 knots. The new blips on his radar were headed for the convoy at 40 knots and it could mean only one thing. A pack of E-boats was hunting and had found the convoy. The civilian radar operator then made a fatal mistake of following procedure to the letter and went to find a senior naval officer to give him permission to make a plain language transmission to warn the convoy. All the time the E-boats closed in on the convoy.
The E-boats had lain waiting in the channel with their engines turned off and watching for the lights and listening for the transmission of the convoy proceeding down the channel. When they confirmed their target they started their engines and raced towards the convoy at 40 knots, splitting into 2 groups they encircled the convoy and began to fire torpedoes at the advancing merchant vessels.
One group of E-boats attacked the centre of the convoy and in the ensuing melee the Caleb Sprague and The Emerald were both sank in quick succession. At this time the call of ‘action stations’ had passed along the escorts and Hms Albrighton charged in between the lines of merchant vessels and engaged the E-boats as best she could.
The second group of E-boats had made their way around the front of the convoy and were now attempting to engage the convoy from the coastal side. It was at this time that Hms Pine was torpedoed by S142 commanded by Oberlutenant zur See Hinrich Ahrens. The torpedo hit Hms Pine on the bow and blew it clean off, 10 men were instantly killed in the attack.
Kindly sent by the grandson of RPO Tom McGabe
‘…and then tragedy for one of our flotilla, the minesweeper 'Pine'. We were in convoy with the Pine when we got the alarm during the night when we were on the last lap to Portsmouth. 'Action Stations' the usual star shell, tracers and very loud bangs and flashes. There were a couple of terrific flashes and it was rumoured that two small tankers in the convoy had vanished in them, more flashes and the Pine was hit and blown clean in two by a torpedo - the stern half remained afloat, the rest had just disappeared. A few survivors including two officers were fished out of the water and shortly afterward they went back onboard to salvage the stern half of their ship. They managed to get it taken in tow but a couple of hours later it also sank without warning and the survivors had to swim for it again. The culprits had been E boats on a pitch dark night lying in wait in the swept channel with their engines switched off. We had regularly lain alongside the Pine in harbour and we knew most of those lost fairly well, so it came as a great shock to all of us.'
The E-boats seemed content with their 3 ‘kills’ and left as quickly as they had arrived. The convoy stayed on high alert and began to ‘hug the coast’ to try and avoid a further anticipated attack form the e-boats. The convoy was ordered not to slow down and make best speed towards the safety of Portsmouth, leaving the crippled Hms Pine adrift behind them.
It was Lt-Commander Leslie close by in Motor Launch 206 who quickly came to save those still on board Hms Pine. He took 20 survivors from Hms Pine and with encouragement from the survivors again went alongside Hms Pine and a boarding party took further 7 survivors from below decks onto M.L.206. Lt.Cdr Leslie then stayed on station with Hms Pine until the Hmt Rehearo came alongside and took Hms Pine under tow towards Newhaven.
M.L.206 quickly made its way into Newhaven to disembark its survivors. The Naval Officer in command then ordered Hms Pine to be towed to Portsmouth where there were better repair facilities, so Hmt Rehearo turned and towed Hms Pine towards Portsmouth. 2 of Hms Pines surviving officers asked to be put back on board Hms Pine for the tow back into Portsmouth. M.L.206 quickly came along side Hms Pine and the 2 officers transferred across. The 2 officers weren’t on the Hms Pine for long, before, 6 miles from Selsey Bill at 1345 on the 31st January 1944, she suddenly sank.
Today she she still rest 6 miles or so from Selsey Bill at
Those who lost their lives on board Hms Pine:
AUDIS, Raymond G E, Ordinary Signalman, RNPS, LT/JX 405841, MPK
ELLIOTT, Robert T, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 231951, MPK
FAULKNER, Albert V, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 203620, MPK
HAYWARD, Arthur, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 436311, MPK
HOBSON, Loris, Cook, RNPS, LT/MX 107746, MPK
MARTIN, Edward, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 355532, MPK
MARTLAND, John, Leading Cook, RNPS, LT/MX 84970, MPK
MASON, Stanley, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 532715, MPK
PECKHAM, Cecil C, Ordinary Telegraphist, RNPS, LT/JX 370193, MPK
SHERIFF, Ronald B, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 379840, MPK
Another good day out on the boat yesterday, Paige and Justin both did their first sea dive. We saw baby cuttle fish, dog fish, rays, scallops chattering and congers. The Mullberry Harbour was particularly full of fish life.
Adrienne has written a report on the recent club Dive on the M2, It was obviously a great dive. Video to Follow.
The report is in the usual place Club Info >> Reports, Pics and Video. (dont forget to log in first)
The Rib was out yesterday, typical British diving conditions: Force 1-2 wind, flat calm seas and brilliant sunshine. We dived the Jaffa as planned and I for one had a great dive. Viz was interesting, the water was crystal clear at the surface but dropped to about 2m at 26m. I guess the Algae bloom is finally clearing down so things are getting better. Plenty of fish life as per normal in the channel (just to get in the way of the wreck :)) with a smattering of crabs, Lobster and smaller crustaceans. Some conger were spotted on the wreck by everyone else. I suppose the boilers and the prop are the main features on interest left on this wreck that was sunk in 1918, and they are quite impressive. The only kit failure was the pen used for recording Marshall sheets. Great day, thanks to all involved and especially Joe for Boat handling etc. All looking really good for IOW next week, have fun, I wish I was going to be there.
What a day, a cloudless Sunny Day, a relatively quiet beach for a Bank Holiday, not bad drive home and a nice pint at the end of the day.
Now the diving! 10 -15m vis, crystal clear water, and life galore. We saw Cuttle Fish, Angler Fish, Pipe Fish, a huge selection of Nudibranchs, crabs, lobsters, and just about every fish you can see in the UK, all with a pleasant 14 degree water.
Amy and Paul both got in the water for their first dives. Amy notched up three dives, Paul two. Helen, Izzie and Damien had a couple of nice dives too.
All in all one of the best days diving in the UK for a long time. I’ve warned Amy and Paul it’s not always like that!!
Thanks to all for coming mucking in and making a great day.
Congratulations to Amy and Paul who passed thier Ocean Diver theory exam last night.
A bit late with this, but our April18 trip to Dartmouth was a great weekend, the weather was fine and the accomodation was 1st class. We dived from Falcon 2 and were made very welcome on board. Whilst the viz could have been better, we dived a good assortment of marks and I'm certainly looking forward to diving the Bretagne again in the future.
Thanks to the organisers for a good trip.
New Dives next week on Far Mullberry Harbour. Ideal for first dive of year shakedown or Ocean divers wnating to dive from the Rib.
TRY Dives on the 17th April at Guildford all welcome, book through website contact menu or club facebook page.
As planned the last committee meeting addressed the future of the club and how we see it developing. In keeping with the BSAC national policy and reflecting national popular concerns, we discussed how to increase the attraction of our club and diving as a sport to women. Barriers were identiifed as lack of women appearing in promotional material and the perception, albeit incorrect, that the club may be heavily male dominated. Plans were put in place to change where necessary our promotional material and online presence and to offer female only try dives with only female club representatives in the pool these will be advertised shortly.
To see the full minutes go to the club documents in the members area.
We're kicking off the season with a dive on Easter Monday, more details of the following weeks will be released shortly. The Dartmouth expedition is soon a approaching so take the opportunity to get out on the Rib and check out your dive gear and technique.
2018 has arrived and we finally managed to hold our 2017 AGM last Tuesday. Nothing can stop us now.
There is just a chance that the size of the committee outnumbers the non -committee members in our club. Not daunted by this I am delighted that Simeon has joined us to lead on marketing, social media and communication. The only other change is that Paul Elliot will be our Diving Officer and Paul Stafford takes on the training role. Thanks to everyone for their contributions to a positive 2017.
We were pleased to welcome another Paul on Tuesday evening. He will be try diving with us next Tuesday. We will again be using the pool at Guildford Spectrum. We have 4 Try divers and further interest in the pipeline. I am optimistic that we will be able to run an Ocean Diver course this year. The big message from our last Try Dive evening, is that the more people who get involved, the better the event.
The willingness to get involved was further evidenced by the response to John’s appeal for help with maintaining our trailer. A work - day is planned for March and a beer or two afterwards will no doubt make it all worthwhile.
We are looking forward to our trip to Dartford – or is it Deptford? It looks like Dartmouth 2018 will be the first 7 Seas trip with an indoor swimming pool, gym and sauna. Or am I dreaming?
As a club we are giving considerable thought as to how we build our numbers and encourage people who would love to dive, but may feel our sport is not something for ‘people like them’. I feel we are in a stronger position to move forward with getting our message out into the community and deliver a great experience for those who take up the opportunity of a ‘Try Dive’. We should be able to deliver a first class training course. Brilliant stuff if we all get involved in any way we can.
We will hold our next meeting in February to nail down these ideas with a plan for the year. I will put out the date when I remember it! I was completely lost when my phone died on Tuesday and my diary was inaccessible. Progress!
So wishing you all a safe New Year. Thanks for renewing and keeping your involvement going. We hope to have more social events in the coming weeks to encourage people out during the remaining winter months.
Catch up soon
Paul - Chair
Happy new year to all members and followers of the club.
Should be a good diving year.
Come along to the Waterside on 5th December or a very exciting Event. ! Project Highball with speaker Mark Paisley
My last update spoke about growing the club and the exciting opportunities opening up with BSAC Guildford. So its good news that we have agreed to run a 'Try Dive' evening with sole access to Guildford’s pool facilities.
Paul and Helen have arranged a try dive date on 21 November 2017 for a group of older scouts. We also have three potential new trainees/ members who we would like to encourage to come along. This is a great opportunity to hone our pool skills, give something to the community, grow club funds, increase our membership and run a training course early next year.
We will invite the Scouts to a dry session in Sutton the week before to do all the paper work and get sized up for kit. What makes try dives a success is the involvement of the whole club especially on the pool side to assist instructors and others in the pool. We will also need some extra kit to enable us to maximise the numbers we can put through.
So this is a rallying call for all to get involved. Please confirm your availability and role you would like to take on. Also whether you have some spare kit we can use. The sooner we have names, the easier it will be to confirm our plans and make the evenings a success. Please reply to me.
This builds on our social and training event next Tuesday. Don’t forget the AGM set for 28 November 2017. As always, if you fancy taking on a committee role - let me know. The club will need a renewed sense of drive if we are to capitalise on the great things we have done this year.
2018 is already looking positive, with trips to Dartmouth and the Isle of White planned and the promise of warmer climes towards the end of the year.
See you on Tuesday at 8pm
Paul - Chair.
Helen is running a First Aid Refresher on the 24th October in aid of club funds.
The evening will be £15 including fish and chips and a class covering CPR, Choking prevention, AED training as well as other items.
Open to all, please bring family and friends and make it a great social night and well as refreshing and learning a vital skill.
All proceeds go to the club funds.