Allied Warships

HMS Sphinx (J 69)

Minesweeper of the Halcyon class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 69 
ModThird group 
Built byWilliam Hamilton & Co. (Port Glasgow, Scotland): J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 
Ordered26 Aug 1937 
Laid down17 Jan 1938 
Launched7 Feb 1939 
Commissioned27 Jul 1939 
Lost3 Feb 1940 
Loss position57° 57'N, 2° 00'W

Upon completion she joined the 6th Minesweeping Flotilla shifting to the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla in September 1939.

On 3 February 1940 HMS Sphinx (Cdr. John Robert Newton Taylor, RN) was sweeping an area about 15 nautical miles miles north of Kinnairds Head (near Fraserburgh) in position 57º57'N, 02º00'W when attacked by enemy aircraft. A bomb pierced the fo'c'sle deck and exploding destroying the fore part of the ship. She remained afloat and was taken in tow by HMS Halcyon but steadily flooded and capsized and sank. The wreck was later washed ashore north of Lybster and was sold for scrap. The Commanding Officer and forty of the men were killed in the explosion.  

Commands listed for HMS Sphinx (J 69)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Cdr. John Robert Newton Taylor, RN28 Jul 19393 Feb 1940 (+)

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Notable events involving Sphinx include:

15 Oct 1939
HMS H 43 (Lt.Cdr. W.A.K.N. Cavaye, RN) departed Sheerness for Portsmouth. She was escorted by HMS Sphinx (Cdr. J.R.N. Taylor, RN) (1)


  1. ADM 173/15730

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

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