The Royal Naval Patrol Service
- A Very Special Service Indeed
The Royal Naval Patrol Service. sometimes known as Harry Tate's Navy or Churchill's Pirates, made up the larger part of His Majesty's main Royal Naval Auxiliary Fleet. This was the same fleet that lost more vessels than any other branch of the Royal Navy.
The men of the RNPS carried out their duty on the harsh Russian Convoys, protecting the east coast of America, serving in the Mediterranean, Africa and the Far East and mine sweeping and patroling the entire coast of the British Isles
Collected here are just a few stories told by the men and women that were attached to the RNPS. Quite often these memories are conveyed through the good-spirited humour of the 'Harry Tate's Navy', but more importantly they give the reader an idea of what it was like to be part of this once proud service.
Bill (Nobby) Clark (1924-1999)
Stoker first class on armed trawlers
My father's war time experiences were sometimes filled with danger but he remembered more the amusing exploits and good comradeship.
Telegraphist with HMS Northern Isles & author of the book The Harry Tate's Navy One man's story of the Royal Navy Patrol Service - writes about his experiences.
Stoker with HMS Bedfordshire, Sam talks about the strange twist of fate, that was to make him the only crewman to survive the sinking of HMT Bedfordshire.
Signalman with HMS Twostep Jim remembers his time at Tobermory and Commander 'Monkey' Stevenson, in home waters and escorting coastal convoys in Africa.
Lieutenant RNVR and author of the book 'Being in all respects Ready for Sea'. Bertie describes in vivid detail, the horrifying experience when his escort vessel HMS Cocker was torpedoed by U-331.
Alf Forshaw (crossed the bar 15th September 2002)
Ch.PO. Engineer Alf remembers his time with BYMS. 2008 and the 152nd Minesweeping Flotilla attached to the British Pacific and East Indies Fleet.
Joe Steele Remembers the dangerous job of minesweeping and his time as a signalman with HMS Dalmatia & HMS
Wireman L. with HMS Inkpen & HMS Finisterre, Geoff talks of his time with A/S trawler HMT Inkpen in Sierra Leone and the loss of the A/S trawler HMS Birdlip when she was torpedoed by U-547.
Steward Ted Godding talks of the loss of his first ship HMS Kurd and his time on Motor Minesweepers.
Telegraphist with HMS Wastwater & HMS Fuday Henry James McGarry (aka Bob) Tells of his unique experiences as a Telegraphist during and after the war.
Able Seaman Don served in the Far East with motor minesweepers and other craft including MMS 199 & LST (Q) 3007
George reflects on a particular experience his ship would often encounter while 'out sweeps' in the Channel.
Lieutenant (E) RNVR Took part in every theatre of war including Dunkirk, D Day & the surrender of Japan By 1946. Frank Mathews experienced many key events in the WW2 conflict.
Able Seaman John began his Navy service on the ill fated aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and later joined the men of the RNPS aboard the small motor minesweepers.
Signalman with minesweeper HMT Lois. Denis served at Dover from 1942 to 1945 carrying out minesweeping and patrols duties and convoy work.
Stoker Engineman R.P.O. with MMS 220 Ron talks of the motor minesweeper (or 'Mickey Mouse' ), and the colourful characters of her crew.
Lieutenant RNVR remembers his experiences in Italy when his ship HMS Twostep played its role in the Anzio Landings.
Seaman SD with HMS Duncton. Vic recalls his experiences with the AS trawler particularly when she had to be 'sailed' to safety when adrift for several days in dangerous waters
Lieutenant Commander remembers his time with the 'smaller ships' of the fleet including AS/MS trawler, HMS Twostep. His experiences are told in two parts and uniquely illustrated by his own paintings.
Wireman with BYMS 2049 remembers the minesweeper's duties operating out of Dover.
Frederick James Jenkins
Remembers with fondness his time with HMT Clythness and her role as a minesweeper in the English Channel. His story also perfectly illustrates the many dangers minesweeper crews faced .
Doreen Bryant (nee Winter)
Doreen was a Wren based at Lowestoft and she remembers her time at the base with much fondness and admiration for all those that were with the Royal Naval Patrol Service.
Signalman reminisces about his war service, from his early training at HMS Royal Arthur, Skegness through to his posting overseas to Freetown, West Africa whilst serving with HMS Butser.
'Hostilities only' Gunnery Rating recalls his time with HMT Coventry City as she carried out minesweeping and anti-uboat duties- 'a very lucky ship - and also a very happy ship'
'He was on the early Russian convoys'. Eric's son Dave, remembers his father's stories later learning that his armed trawler Le Tiger sank U-215 on the 3rd July 1942.
Albert remembers his experiences with minesweeper HMS Cloughton Wyke
Magnus Johnson Cogle
A brief chronicle of Magnus Johnson Cogle’s service history during World War.2 by his son Derek
John 'Jakey' Crockett RNR
From James M. Crockett son of Skipper John Crockett
This is an account of how my late father escaped from Nazi occupied Norway during World War 2
Bill remembers his war-time experiences as a stoker in the north Scotland and visiting Reykjavik with A/S trawler HMS Wistaria
Edwin W Sams
Eddie looks back with fondness for his old ship HMS Bretwelda and her crew. He remembers a particularly difficult crossing when the trawler had to deliver an important cargo.
Fred Albins remarkable story of joining the Royal Naval Patrol Service and later spending time with special forces as a Commando.