Allied Warships

HMS Ilfracombe (J 95)

Minesweeper of the Bangor class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 95 
ModTurbine engined 
Built byWilliam Hamilton & Co. (Port Glasgow, Scotland): Whites M.E. 
Ordered28 Aug 1939 
Laid down11 Oct 1939 
Launched29 Jan 1941 
Commissioned20 Aug 1941 
End service 

Sold 1 January 1948.


Commands listed for HMS Ilfracombe (J 95)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1T/A/Lt.Cdr. Harry Layland Dudley Hoare, RNR22 Jul 194130 Jan 1943
2Lt.Cdr. James Ernest Clark, DSC, RN30 Jan 19433 Nov 1943
3T/A/Lt.Cdr. Robert Kenley Hart, RANVR3 Nov 194310 Jul 1944
4Lt. George Criddle, RN10 Jul 1944late 1945

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Notable events involving Ilfracombe include:

6 Sep 1941
HMS Otway (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HNoMS Eglantine, HMS Ilfracombe (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.L.D. Hoare, RNR) and HMS Northern Reward (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR). (1)

7 Sep 1941
HMS Otway (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Ilfracombe (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.L.D. Hoare, RNR) and HMS Northern Reward (Lt. C.N. Stewart, RNR). (1)

28 Nov 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dornoch (Lt. H.E. Jackson, RN), HMS Ilfracombe (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.L.D. Hoare, RNR) and two other vessels [unable to read the names of these two vessels in the log of HMS H 34]. (2)

5 Mar 1943
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Ilfracombe (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Clark, DSC, RN), Morden (T/Lt. J.J. Hodgkinson, RCNR), HMS Mignonette (Lt. H.H. Brown, RNR), HMS Balsam (Lt. J.E.L. Peters, RNVR), HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. W.B. Piggott, OBE, RD, RNR) and HMS Aberdeen (Lt.Cdr. H. Day, RN). (3)

14 Apr 1943
HMS H 50 (Lt. G.S.C Clarabut, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Whimbrel (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Moore, DSC, RNR), HMS Jonquil (T/Lt. R.W. Tretheway, RNR), HMCS Kenogami (T/Lt. J.L. Percy, RCNVR) and HMS Ilfracombe (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Clark, DSC, RN). (4)

31 Jul 1943

Convoy MKS 20.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 31 July 1943.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Ruthven (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), Empire Beatrice (British, 7046 GRT, built 1943), Empire Fal (British, 4880 GRT, built 1914), Empire Nightingale (British, 5698 GRT, built 1918), Fort Norman (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Franconia (British, 20175 GRT, built 1923), Helencrest (British, 5233 GRT, built 1941), Stirlingville (British, 1995 GRT, built 1937) and Ville de Strasbourg (British, (former French), 7007 GRT, built 1920).

Three of these vessels were damaged, the Franconia had her port engine out of action and the Fort Norman and Ville de Strasbourg had underwater damage and were both open to the sea in one hold.

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the minesweepers Shippigan (Cdr. M.H. Brown, DSC, RN), Tadoussac (T/Lt. J.P. Davies, RNR), HMS Ilfracombe (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Clark, DSC, RN), HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR), HMS Parrsboro (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Raven, DSC, RNVR), HMS Dornoch (Lt. H.E. Jackson, RN) and HMS Qualicum (T/Lt. H. Stevens, RNVR).

Later the escort destroyers HMS Viceroy (Lt. T.F. Hallifax, RN), HMS Woolston (Lt. F.W. Hawkins, RN) and HMS Wallace (Lt. D. Carson, RN) departed Gibraltar to overtake and join the convoy which they did around dawn on 1 August 1943.

Around 1700B/2, in position 36°34'N, 12°20'W, the light (AA) cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 2200B/4, in position 42°31'N, 15°58'W, HMS Scylla parted company with the convoy to join convoy MKF 20.

Around 2300B/4, in position 42°38'N, 15°58'W, HMS Viceroy, HMS Woolston and HMS Wallace were detached to proceed to Plymouth.

Around 2230B/6, in position 48°29'N, 15°51'W, the Franconia was detached to proceed ahead of the convoy as it had to reduce speed after the Fort Norman had sustained weather damage. Franconia took HMS Ilfracombe and HMS Qualicum with her as escorts.

Around 0930B/9, the Ville de Strasbourg parted company with the convoy to proceed ahead to Greenock.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters late on the 9th and the ships then proceeded to their respective destinations. The escorts proceeded to Moville (Londonderry). (5)

22 Jun 1944
HMS Ilfracombe (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.K. Hart, RANVR) was damaged by an aerially delivered mine off Normandy beaches. (source: Report by the Allied Naval Commander in Chief, Expeditionary Force, on Neptune, Volume II, Part II, Defence of the British Assault Area, Section V, Casualties Subsequent to the Assault, p. 23) (6)


  1. ADM 173/16862
  2. ADM 173/17243
  3. ADM 173/17814
  4. ADM 173/17827
  5. ADM 199/978
  6. Personal communication

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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