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Royal Naval Patrol Service

A selection of books by members of and/or about some of the exploits of the Royal Naval Patrol Service and/or the work in which they were involved during WW2 and some concerning the history of mines and minesweeping. To a greater or lesser extent they will help those researching aspects of the Royal Naval Patrol Service in WW2.

Some are exclusively about RNPS, some have substantial references to RNPS and others are general reference sources about all ships which have some RNPS content. Included are histories of mines as weapons and of minesweeping, lists of RNPS vessels which built for the Admiralty or which were requisitioned for service with RNPS, naval and merchant vessels lost during WW2, accounts of rendering mines safe, etc. Separate sub-selections will be established when time permits.


Note: these lists are of suggested reading and/or reference about the aspects of RNPS described and are not lists of books we necessarily have for sale. For the the titles we currently have in stock see here.


Amess, John D.
HMS Deodar - Royal Naval Patrol Service Minesweeper Trawler T124
Privately published, 2004, large format paperback original, an account of the Admiralty trawler Deodar from ordering in Spring 1939, commissioned in July 1940 and appointed to 24th M/S Trawler Group with Acacia, Bay, Birch and Pine sweeping from  the Thames to Portsmouth, surviving the war and being sold into the mercantile fleet in 1947, illustrated,

Brookes, Ewart
Glory Passed them By
Jarrolds 1958, account of the work of RNPS in WW2 keeping open the War Channel and the Port Entry Channels, with examples of the various means devised to combat the moored, magnetic and acoustic mines, illustrated

Brookes, Ewart
Prologue to War - The Navy's Part in the Narvik Campaign
Jarrolds, London, 1966, an account of the Royal Navy's part in the Narvik campaign, 1940, which includes an account of the 15th and 16th A/S Striking Force, comprising the trawlers Aston Villa, Gaul, Arab, Angle, St. Goran, Bittern and others, at Namsen Fjord where Lt. Stannard, in command of the trawler Arab, won the Victoria Cross, ills. include HM ships Cossack, Forester, Bittern, Hardy, Glorious,

Brown, Jimmy
Harry Tate's Navy
Privately published 1994 paperback original, a popular account of the early days of the Royal Naval Patrol Service at HMS Europa (Sparrows Nest, Lowestoft) and of his own experiences, his callup and training in 1943, posted to South Africa for further training as a telegraphist at Durban before a draft to HM trawler Northern Isles and then HMS Le Tiger patrolling off South Africa until his return to home waters in October, 1945, illustrated,

Bull, Peter
To Sea in a Sieve
Peter Davies, 1956, pb Corgi Books, 1973, the British actor's WW2 experiences in the Royal Navy from a rating on a destroyer thro' King Alfred to appointment a landing Craft as First Lieutenant, later in I/C and later still a flotilla

Cocker, M. P.
Mine Warfare Vessels of the Royal Navy - 1908 to date
Airlife Publishing, 1993,  a complete guide to all Minelayers and Minesweepers by class from 1908 to 1993, the majority of the period 1939-45, including fleet minesweepers, Admiralty purchased and requisitioned trawlers, drifters and whalers, ML's, paddle vessels, motor minesweepers, landing craft, etc., includes description of types of mines, history of mines, etc.,

Colledge, J. J.
Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol. 2 - Navy-Built Trawlers, Drifters, Tugs and Requisitioned Ships from 15thC to the Present
Greenhill Books, 1970, rev. 1984,  a useful listing by name, with details of dates and uses, of requisitioned craft (many RNPS vessels were requisitioned). First published 1970, but 1984 edn. revised and enlarged. Also published by Naval Institute Press, Maryland, USA

Dunning, John
Humber Division Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Bishop Burton Books, 1994, laminated paper wrappers, an account of the men of Humber Division RNVR who were mobilised in August and September 1939, their ships and experiences

Elliott, Peter
Allied Minesweeping in World War 2
Patrick Stephens, Cambridge, 1979, an account all types of mines - moored and influence, contact, magnetic, acoustic and pressure, their discovery and recovery, the measures taken to counter their threat, the methods of minesweeping developed and the major operations that depended on minesweeping, including Normandy, the South of France and the Pacific, post-war mine clearance and appendices of minesweeper classes, minesweepers in commission, comparative specifications and losses, etc.,

Fane, Robert
Ships May Proceed
Hurricane Books, slim pb original Hurricane Books, W. H. Allen, ND [c1943],  stories of coastal minesweeping trawlers, uncommon

Fane, Robert
We Clear the Way
Hurricane Books slim pb original Hurricane Books, W. H. Allen, ND [c1942],  stories of coastal minesweeping trawlers, uncommon

Featherbe, F. C. (compiler)
Churchill's Pirates
North Kent Books, 1994,  A4 pb original, RNPS veterans stories, illustrated

Featherbe, F. C. (compiler)
More Tales from Churchill's Pirates,
North Kent Books, 1996, A4 pb original, more RNPS veterans stories, illustrated

'First Lieutenant' [pseudonym Lt. Trevor Blore, RANVR]
The Terriers of the Fleet - The Fighting Trawlers
Hutchinson, ND [c1943],  mainly about trawlers in the Battle of the Atlantic but also details of the Norway campaign, the Arctic and the East Coast convoys, illustrated, uncommon, (authorship establsihed by Colin Warwick, Really Not Required (ibid.) p251)

Foynes, J. P.
Battle of the East Coast 1939-1945
Privately published 1994, laminated paper wrappers,  a comprehensive study and account of WW2 on the coast and in the North Sea between Flamborough Head, Yorkshire and North Foreland, Kent and the enemy held coastline, roughly the limits of the Royal Navy's Nore Command. It covers the coastal defences, the air raids, invasion preparations, naval bases and lesser ports, mines and minelaying, the convoys and minesweeping, air-sea rescue, mtb's, mgb's and e-boats, and some major incidents, Dunkirk and the escape of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, in fact all aspects of the war in the area, illustrated,

Goodey, Charles and Rose, Jack (illustrated by Paul Durbidge)
HMS Europa
Royal Naval Patrol Service Association, Lowestoft, 1977, slim pb. original, the story of HMS Europa, the central depot of the Royal Naval Patrol Sevice during WW2, briefly known as HMS Pembroke X at the beginning of the war it was based in the requisitioned public park 'Sparrow's Nest' in Lowestoft which is still the site of the RNPS veteran's association and museum,

Griffiths, Maurice  GM, Lt. RNVR
The Hidden Menace
Conway Maritime 1993 Conway Maritime Press, 1993,  mines and minesweeping, the types and methods: the author served as Lt. Cmdr. WW2 in RMS (Rendering Mines Safe) for which he was awarded the George Medal,

Grosvenor, J. and Bates, L. M.
Open the Ports
William Kimber,  1956, (pb Kimber 1960), an account of the small branch of the Royal Navy in WW2, the 'P' Parties which, acting as human mineweepers, followed up the invading forces to clear the ports of underwater mines and booby-traps inaccessible to the standard methods of sweeping, with appendix of honours and awards, scarce,

Hampshire, A. Cecil
Lilliput Fleet
William Kimber, 1957, pb Kimber 1959 and New English Library 1976,  the fighting force of trawlers and drifters converted into warships of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, engaged in mine-sweeping, hunting u-boats and taking part in all landings from Madagascar to Normandy, illustrated,

Hardy, Hilbert
Minesweepers Victory
Keydex 1976 pb original Keydex, Weybridge, 1976,  history of minesweeping WW2, home waters, war channel, arctic and western approaches, Mediterranean, etc, incl. appendixes of minesweeping bases, minesweepers, mines swept, awards, casualties, etc., line maps, uncommon

Harrisson, Lt Cdr J. A. B. and Galsworthy, Lt Cdr H. J.
P.A.D. or Minesweeper Nonsense Verse
Warren and Son, Winchester, ND [1944],  an exchange of signals between two motor minesweepers, U3U and U7U in 1944, in verse and illustrated in line. A wonderful example of the banter between vessels, line drawings, scarce,

Hewitt, Nick
Coastal Convoys, 1939-1945 - The Indestructible Highway
Pen & Sword, 2008, an account of the East Coast convoys, the main route for the essential supplies between the industrial north of England to London and the south and the main target of the German mining offensive 1949-1942, illustrated,

British Vessels Lost at Sea 1939-45
Patrick Stephens, Cambridge, 1976 and reprints,  First published by HMSO as 'Ships of the Royal Navy: Statement of Losses during the Second World War'; and 'British Merchant Vessels Lost or Damaged by Enemy Action during Second World War', now combined into a single hardback volume with additions,

His Majesty's Minesweepers
HMSO 1943 quarto pb original,  a brief history of minesweeping, how minesweeping is carried out and a contemporary account of the work of both RNPS trawlers and fleet minesweepers, illustrated,

Hurd, Sir Archibald
The Battle of the Seas - The Fighting Merchantmen,
Hodder and Stoughton, 1941,  the armed merchant vessels of WW2, from minesweeping trawlers to troop carrying liners, and oil tankers and tramps, their work and wartime experiences,

Hutson, Harry C.
Grimsby's Fighting Fleet
Hutton Press, Beverley, 1990, pb original, an account covering all those trawlers which were part of the Grimsby fleet before being requisitioned by the Royal Navy and which encountered a U-boat during WW2, incl. HMT's Le Tiger, Blackfly, Northern Rover, Bedfordshire, etc., illustrated,

Jenkins, Ford
Port War
Cowell, Ipswich, ND [c1947], pb reprint Panda Books 1984,  account of the war at Lowestoft, includes coverage and illustrations of Europa, RNPS personnel, Coastal Forces, air raids, etc.,

Keeble, Peter
Ordeal by Water
Longmans Green, 1957,  an ex merchant seaman with a masters ticket, South African Lt. Cdr. Keeble transferred from minesweepers in 1941 to set up an underwater salvage and mine disposal team in  the Eastern Mediterranean,

Langmaid, Capt. Kenneth
The Approaches are Mined!
Jarrolds, 1965, an account of the development of the sea-mine from the earliest days of sea warfare, its experimental use from sixteenth until the twentieth century, and of the prominent part played by mines during WW1 and WW2, with details of the varying types of mines employed, the campaigns in which they were used, minesweeping and other countermeasures developed, etc.,

Lenton, H. T. and Colledge, J. J.
Warships of World War II
Ian Allan, 1964 (2nd edition with additions 1974),  comprehensive index of all classes of ships of the British and Dominion Navies, from landing craft to capital ships, giving details of displacement, dimensions, armament, machinery and launch or acquisition date as well as disposal/loss date,

Lenton, H. T. and Colledge, J. J.
Warships of World War II - Part 6 Trawlers
Ian Allan, 1964, paperback original,  the 'trawler' section of 'Warships of World War II' in a separate pb issue before the combined hardback edn., illustrated,

Lincoln, F. Ashe  Cdr. RNVR
Secret Naval Investigator
Wm. Kimber, 1961,  the story of the intelligence and research behind the counter measures for disarming mines and torpedoes,

Low, Professor A. M.
Mine and Countermine
Hutchinson and Co., 1940, a history of mine warfare and mines and their uses, counter measures and methods of laying and sweeping in current use,

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry
Atlantic Jeopardy (comprising PQ17 Convoy to Hell, Trawlers go to War, and Night of the U-Boats)
W. Foulsham and Co, 1990, 1st thus omnibus edn.,  an omnibus edition of the three titles, it does NOT contain the illustrations of the original editions, PQ17 is an account of the Russian convoy that scattered and Night of the U-Boats an account of one of the major U-boat victories of the Battle of the Atlantic, (for Trawlers Go to War see title below)

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry
Out Sweeps!
W. Foulsham and Co, 1978, (pb New English Library 1979),  from personal accounts, the story of the minesweepers of WW2, from the trawlers to the fleet sweepers, and the men who manned them, illustrated,

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry
Trawlers go to War
W. Foulsham and Co, ND c1971, (pb New English Library 1972),  from personal accounts, the story of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, HQ at Sparrows Nest, Lowestoft, trawlers requisitioned into the Royal Navy, WW2, on anti-submarine/minesweeping roles around the British coast and other theatres of the war, illustrated,

Male, Herbert Gordon (Bertie)
Being in all Respects Ready for Sea
Janus Publishing, 1992, one man's experiences of WW2 from Ordinary Seaman to full Lieutenant in command, from RNPS minesweepers in home waters, an Antarctic whaler in the Mediterranean (torpedoed) and landing craft of various types, line drawings,

McAra, Charles
Mainly in Minesweepers
Leach 1991 Leach and Co., 1991,  commissioned in the RNVR the author served with 9th flotilla minesweepers out of Portland, Portsmouth and Harwich before 13th flotilla at the allied landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and other Mediterranean areas, illustrated,

McKee, Alexander
Coal-Scuttle Brigade
Souvenir Press, 1957, (pb New English Library 1973 (abridged)),  the collier convoys and their escorts who kept Britain supplied using the swept channel around the coast from the North East to the South Coast of England, under almost constant attack by air, sea and, in the Channel, by long range coastal guns, illustrated,

Melvin, Michael
Minesweeper - The Role of the Motor Minesweeper in WW2
Square One Publications, Worcester,1992, account of the state of British minesweeping capacity on the outbreak of WW2, and by 1941 the introduction of the Motor Minesweeper (MMS) with details of where they served, etc, and ref. to BYMS, the wooden minesweepers built in USA for British use, illustrated,

Minett, Eric
The Coast is Clear
Scripsit,  Great Yarmouth, 2005, a detailed account of the class of small minesweepers, built for the RN in the USA, known as BYMSs - British Yard Minesweepers, covering the ships, the men who served on them (mainly members of the Royal Naval Patrol Service), builders, experiences of the men on operations in all theatres plus a complete BYMS listing, illustrated,

Monsarrat, Nicholas
Corvette Command
Cassell, 1944, pb original, later published in hardback as the third part of Three Corvettes, Lt. (later Lt. Cdr.) Monsarrat in command of HMS Winger as escort to coastal convoys in the War Channel,

Monsarrat, Nicholas
East Coast Corvette
Cassell, 1943, pb original, later published in hardback as the second part of Three Corvettes, Lt. Monsarrat's experiences as 1st Lt. of HMS Dipper, as escort to coastal convoys in the War Channel,

Monsarrat, Nicholas
Three Corvettes, comprising HM Corvette, East Coast Corvette and Corvette Command
Cassell, 1945,  the author was Sub Lt., Lt. (1st Lt. HMS Dipper), and Lt. in command (HMS Winger - later Lt. Cdr ) - his experiences in corvettes on convoy escort duties in the Western Approaches of the North Atlantic (HM Corvette) and in the War Channel, 1940-43 (East Coast Corvette and Corvette Command),

Naisawald, L. Vanloan
In Some Foreign Field
John F. Blair, Winston-Salem, North Caolina, 1972, an account of HMS Bedfordshire's visit to Canada and the United States arriving ibn March 1942 to help combat German u-boats sinking US shipping on the east coast, and of her subsequent loss, the recovery of some bodies and their burial on the island of Ocracoke, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, illustrated,

Ogden, Graeme
My Sea Lady
Hutchinson 1963 Hutchinson, 1963, based on the author's diaries, he was in command of HMS Lady Madeleine, one of the largest trawlers in service with the Royal Navy, on anti-submarine escort duties with convoys in the North Atlantic and Arctic,

Pawle, Gerald
The Secret War 1939-45
George Harrap, London, 1956, (later re-issued by Seaforth in 2009 as 'The Wheezers and Dodgers'), an account of the work of the Royal Navy's 'Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapon Development' whose major achievements included the anti-submarine weapon Hedgehog and the Mulberry Harbour, but who were also responsible for the Harvey and Holman Projectors and the rocket propelled PAC, all early anti-aircraft devices adopted on some RNPS vessels, illustrated,

Parker, Tim
Signalman Jones
Seafarer Books, Rendelsham, 2010, pb original, the recollections of Geoffrey Holder-Jones as related to the author, about his home life in Liverpool and RNVR before WW2, drafting to the minelayer HMS Adventure before being mined himself, to the minesweeper HMS Tritonia and recommednation for officer training as well as the DSM, HMS King Alfred and then appointment to HMS Wastwater and service across the Atlantic on the US east coast,

Rayner, Commander D. A., DSC*, VRD, RNVR, edited by Roskill, Capt. S. W., DSC, RN
Escort - The Battle of the Atlantic
William Kimber, 1955, the autobiography of a commander of escort vessels, from the armed trawler Loch Tulla, the corvette HMS Verbena, the destroyer HMS Shikari as senior officer 21st Escort Group, the destroyers HMS Warwick and HMS Highlander as 2IC B4 Escort Group, the corvette HMS Pevensey Castle as senior officer 30th Escort Group and then a shore posting of 'Senior Officer Escort Groups, Portsmouth',

Rigby, Albert
MMS 172 - A telegraphist's experience of wartime minesweeping
Kimble Press, Aylesbury, 1997, rthe authors experiences in MMS 172 minesweeping between 1942 and 1945 in the Bristol Channel, off Sardinia, Corsica and the west coast of Italy including at the Anzio beachead,

Rohwer, Jurgen
Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945
Chatham Publishing, London, 2005 (3rd edn)., a massive tome chronologically recording all naval actions, both Allied and Axis, all over the world but in relatively small areas such as: Western Approaches, English Channel, North Sea, Baltic, Arctic, Mediterranean, etc., and based on records from both sides.

Southall, Ivan
Softly Tread the Brave
Angus and Robertson 1950 Angus and Robertson (Australia, 1950's), also a later edition by Companion Book Club,  the WW2 exploits of two RMS Australian mines-disposal officers, John Stuart Mould GC GM and Hugh Randall Syme GC GM and bar, with the Royal Navy's Rendering Mines Safe dept. and the German sea-mines they encountered on land around Britain, illustrated and scarce,

Southall, Ivan
Seventeen Seconds
Hodder & Stoughton/Brockhampton Press, London, 1974, (pb Knights Books H&S, 1977), a version of Softly Tread the Brave by the same author and telling the same story of two young Australian naval officers in England, John Stewart Mould and Hugh Syme dealing with German mines on land, prepared for younger people and, in view of the scarcity of the original, well worth consideration,

Taffrail (Capt. Taprel Dorling)
Swept Channels
Hodder & Stoughton, 1935, a comprehensive study of mines and minesweeping in WW1 when the nucleus of the Minesweeping Service was the requisitioned trawlers, the experiences of the period leading to the development of sweeping methds as well as the founding of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, illustrated,

Thursfield, H. G.  Rear Admiral
Action Stations! - The Royal Navy at War
A. and C, Black, London, 1941,  fine quality photographs of different classes of Royal Navy ships. Because of the date they show early WW2 examples of mostly unnamed including craft incl. mtb's (stern launched torpedo type), trawlers, destroyers (Kelly, Cossack), Fleet Air Arm, submarines (Sealion) and others (Southampton class cruiser, Hood, Ark Royal, Illustrious, HMAS Sydney), illustrated,

Thwaites, Michael
Atlantic Odyssey
New Cherwell Press, Oxford, 1999, the experiences of the author during WW2 posted first to Ardrossan, HMS Fortitude, as liaison officer to 29 Group Group comprising HMT's Lord Essendon, Lord Austin, Lord Middleton, Lord Nuffield and Lincolnshire, before seagoing postings as  third officer in HMT Northern Dawn, first Lt. in HMT Gavotte and then to the whaler HMS Wastwater, illustrated,

Toghill, Gerald
Royal Navy Trawlers - Part 1 : Admiralty Vessels
Maritime Books, Liskeard, 2003, a record of the trawlers built for the Royal Navy originally in WW1, a practice which continued between the wars and into WW2, illustrated,

Toghill, Gerald
Royal Navy Trawlers - Part 2 : Requistioned Vessels
Maritime Books, Liskeard, 2004, a record of the trawlers requisitioned for service with the Royal Navy to meet the shortage of vessels built to the Navy's own design, illustrated,

Turner, John Frayn
Service Most Silent - The (Royal) Navy's Fight against Enemy Mines
George Harrap, ND [c1955],  the story of the department of the Royal Navy responsible for Rendering Mines Safe (RMS), work essential so as to discover how they worked and thus adapt or devise sweeping methods, illustrated,

Waller, Allan Lansley
Dawn Will Always Break (Ex Tenebris Lux)
Priavtely published by the author at RNPS Museum, Lowestoft, 1997, large format paperback original, the wartime experiences of the author from joining the London Division RNVR through training at HMS Royal Arthur (Skegness) as a signalman, posted to Pembroke X at Lowestoft and then to HMT Glen Heather at Milford Haven he served as a rating and an officer mostly in minesweeping and anti-submarine trawlers except for a year invalided ashore in Gibraltar on the staff of Vice-Admiral North Atlantic and, from December 1944, in the far east in tank landing ships,

Walmsley, Leo
Fishermen at War
Collins, 1941, reprinted White Lion, 1977,  an early record of some of the experiences of trawlermen during WW2, those still fishing and those in RNPS,

Warlow, Lt. Cdr. B., RN
Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy
Maritime Books, 2nd edition 2000 (revised and updated paperback), a list of static ships and establishments of the Royal Navy from the beginning of 19th Century incl. depot ships in WW2

Warwick, Colin
Really Not Required
The Pentland Press, Bishop Auckland, 1997, in response to a letter to the Admiralty about his three years apprenticeship with the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and his commission as a midshipman in the RNR he was told that his services were not required and that he would be placed on the Merchant Navy reserve list. Trying again after some weeks later he was commissioned in RNR, sent on an anti-submarine warfare course at HMS Osprey at Weymouth before being appointed first lieutenant in HMT Cape Passaro at Aberdeen, part of 15th A/S Striking Force, then in command HMT St. Loman and later in command of the frigate HMS Rushen Castle, 

Williams, Jack
Fleet Sweepers at War
Privately published, Blackpool, 1997, large format pb original, fleet minesweepers of the Royal Navy 1939-1945, covering Paddle Minesweepers and Hunt, Halcyon, Bangor, Bathurst, Algerine and BAM classes, illustrated,

Williams, Jack
The Algerines
Privately published, 1995, large format pb original, the fleet minseweepers of the Royal Navy 1942-1961, illustrated,

Williams, Jack
They Led the Way
Privately published, Blackpool, 1994, large format pb original, the minesweepers at Normandy in June, 1944, both fleet and RNPS, illustrated,

Young, John
A Dictionary of Ships of the Royal Navy of the Second World War
Patrick Stephens, Cambridge, 1975 and trade paperback reprint 1978,  includes ships built or specifically bought for RN but does NOT inlcude temporarily requisitioned vessels,

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