HMS Brocklesby (M33)

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HMS Brocklesby M33 BB.jpg
HMS Brocklesby in Portsmouth, October 2008
United Kingdom
NameHMS Brocklesby
OperatorRoyal Navy
BuilderVosper Thornycroft
Launched12 January 1982
Sponsored byViscountess Trenchard, the wife of Viscount Trenchard MC, then Minister of State for Defence Procurement
Completed25 October 1982
Commissioned3 February 1983
HomeportHMS Jufair, Bahrain
Honours and
Al Faw – 2003
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Class and typeHunt-class mine countermeasures vessel
Displacement750 t (740 long tons; 830 short tons)[1]
Length60 m (196 ft 10 in)
Beam9.8 m (32 ft 2 in)
Draught2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)
Propulsion2 × Caterpillar C32, 2 × FPP – 757 kW (1,015 hp)
Speed15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried
2 × MIB Diving Support Boats
Complement45 (6 officers & 39 ratings)
Sensors and
processing systems
Sonar Type 2193
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • SeaFox mine disposal system
  • Diver-placed explosive charges

HMS Brocklesby is a Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel of the British Royal Navy, her primary purpose is to find and neutralise sea mines using a combination of; Sonar, Mine Clearance Divers and the Seafox remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The Class are the largest warships of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) construction, which gives the vessels a low magnetic signature.[2] In addition to her Mine Counter-Measures activities, Brocklesby acts as an offshore patrol vessel, undertaking coastal patrol and fisheries protection duties.

Brocklesby is permanently based in Bahrain at HMS Jufair as part of four minehunters of 9th Mine Countermeasures Squadron[3] supported by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary Bay Class on Operation Kipion.

Operational history

Stern view of Brocklesby off Bahrain in 2021

Cherbourg incident

In 1993 she became involved in the Cherbourg incident, when Brocklesby challenged the French trawler La Calypso in the Channel Islands waters.[4]

2003 Invasion of Iraq

She gained a battle honour when she was among the first coalition ships into Umm Qasr during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She was part of a group of mine countermeasure vessels that cleared a mined channel into the port, enabling access to it by sea.[5]

2011 Libya operations

In 2011 she took part in surveillance and embargo operations off the coast of Libya alongside HMS Liverpool, as part of Operation Ellamy, the UK's contribution to Operation Unified Protector.[6] In early May 2011, she took part in a mine-clearing operation to secure the waters of Misrata Port, Libya, after mines were dropped by Muammar Gaddafi's forces to prevent aid from being delivered to the besieged city. Brocklesby used her sonar and SeaFox mine disposal system to locate and destroy a mine that was located 1.6 km from the harbour entrance, making the waters safe for aid ships to enter.[7][8]

Brocklesby's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Jim Byron DSC, said:

The Royal Navy has always had a great reputation for mine clearance and it is precisely this type of operation that shows the world just how good we are. We are extremely proud that we could use our skills and knowledge to open that port and allow humanitarian aid back into Libya where it is so desperately needed. Without this capability there could have been hundreds of lives lost through the detonation of that mine.

— Captain Byron, Royal Navy interview[8]

Brocklesby returned to Portsmouth on 5 July 2011 flying a special version of the Jolly Roger, indicating the successful destruction of a sea-mine.[8]

Exercise Joint Warrior 2013

In October 2013 she participated in Exercise Joint Warrior.[9]

Operation Kipion 2018-2020

During 2018 HMS Brocklesby departed the UK's waters and transited to the Middle East as part of the British commitment to promoting stability in the region. Operation Kipion saw four British mine hunters, as well as other warships, spend approximately two years forward deployed. The squadron is capable of operating both independently and as part of a larger multinational force to ensure the safe flow of oil and trade from the Middle East.[10] Brocklesby's move to the Middle East saw her take responsibility from HMS Middleton, subsequently allowing Middleton to transit back to the UK.[11]


  1. "Hunt Class Mine Countermeasures Vessels - Specifications". 11 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  2. Hunt Class Minesweepers/Minehunters at Naval Technology
  3. "RFA Cardigan Bay's winter in the Gulf". (in English). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  4. Arlidge, John (29 March 1993). "French fishermen burn patrol boat's ensign: Minister warns Navy will get tough after two new humiliations in fishing rights dispute". The Independent. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  5. "History of HMS Brocklesby". Royal Navy. Archived from the original on 8 December 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  6. "Libya: RAF Tornados destroy seven Libyan tanks". BBC News. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  7. Norton-Taylor, Richard (4 May 2011). "Libyan conflict enters psychological stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Ministry of Defence (5 July 2011). "HMS Brocklesby returns from Libya mission". GOV.UK. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  9. "Scotland Set To Host Exercise Joint Warrior". Royal Navy. 2 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  10. Operation Kipion - Mine Counter Measures (MCM)
  11. Protecting shipping lanes in the Gulf

External links