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Royal Naval Patrol Service Association






RNPS Books: There have been quite a number of books written about the Royal Naval Patrol Service and as is to be expected, some are more academic than others!

One of our members, a bookseller who trades as 'A Book for all Reasons', has compiled a reading list of RNPS titles, not necessarily in stock but to look out for.

As a guide for this page he has used five categories to indicate the nature of contents of each book:

    1. Seriously researched studies of aspects of the Royal Naval Patrol Service
    2. Seriously researched studies not specifically about RNPS but containing important or interesting details about it
    3. More general accounts of Royal Naval Patrol Service including personal accounts
    4. More general accounts of the war at sea that include a mention of some aspect of RNPS
    5. Novels (and at least one novel describes minesweeping as well as any non-fiction book!)

His allocation of a category to any book is a subjective decision so please be guided more by the description of the contents. He usually has some RNPS titles available for sale so if you would like further information about any of them please contact him.


Toothy goes to War - Memoirs of a Dental Officer 1939-46

Category 3

Bagshaw, Robert

paperback original: Geo. R. Reeve, 1987,

the experiences of a dentist, during training in the early years of WW2 and then as a Royal Navy Dental Officer including a posting to HMS Europa at Lowestoft,

Glory Passed them By

Category 2

Brookes, Ewart

Jarrolds, 1958

the minesweeping work of the Royal Naval Patrol Service during WW2. The author was in command of a minesweeper at Dover in the early days of WW2 and relates the stranglehold effect of the mining of home coastal waters, the state of minesweeping capacity at the outbreak of WW2, the conversion of trawlers to minesweepers, the sweeping of moored mines, the discovery of magnetic, delayed magnetic and acoustic mines and the counter measures developed, the motor minesweepers (Mickey Mouses/Mice) and BYMS, in home waters and later the Mediterranean and European coast and estuaries, illustrated,

Proud Waters

Category 5

Brookes, Ewart

Jarrolds, 1954; reprinted Elmfield Press, 1976; paperback: Arrow Books, 1969; Sheridan Book Co., 1995

a novel, the author was in command of a minesweeper at Dover during WW2, this is a novel of minesweeping of the 'War Channel' and graphicly depicts the day-to-day life of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, under frequent air and E-Boat attack during WW2, described by Douglas Reeman: '...the best novel ever written about minesweepers during the Second World War',

Harry Tate's Navy

Category 3

Brown, Jimmy

paperback original, privately published, 1994

a brief history of the Royal Naval Patrol Service and an account of the author's time with RNPS from June 1943 until March 1946, seeing service as a telegraphist in the trawlers HMS Northern Isles and Le Tiger, illustrated,

Mine Warfare Vessels of the Royal Navy - 1908 to date (1993)

Category 2

Cocker, M.P.

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., illustrated,

Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol. 2 - Navy-Built Trawlers, Drifters, Tugs and Requisitioned Ships from 15thC to the Present,

Category 1

Colledge, J.J.

Greenhill Books, 1970; revised edn. 1984

a useful listing by name of all craft requisitioned by the Admiralty since 15th century, the majority during world wars 1 & 2, with details (where available) of dates, conversions, armament, name changes, service use and loss or final disposition. Most RNPS vessels were requisitioned. First published 1970, but 1984 edn. revised and enlarged. Also published by Naval Institute Press, Maryland, USA,

Humber Division Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Category 3

Dunning, John

paperback original: Bishop Burton Books, 1994

an account of the men of Humber Division RNVR who were mobilised in August and September 1939, their ships and experiences, illustrated,

Allied Minesweeping in World War 2

Category 2

Elliott, Peter

Patrick Stephens, 1979,

an account all types of mines - moored, 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., illustrated,

Ships May Proceed

Category 5

Fane, Robert

paperback original: Hurricane Books, W. H. Allen, ND c1943

small paperback, stories of coastal minesweeping,

We Clear the Way

Category 5

Fane, Robert

paperback original:Hurricane Books, W. H. Allen, ND [c1942]

small paperback, stories of coastal minesweeping,

Churchill's Pirates

Category 3

Featherbe, F. C. (compiler)

large format paperback original: North Kent Books, 1994

a collection of personal recollections of WW2 experiences from the veterans of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, illustrated,

More Tales from Churchill's Pirates

Category 3

Featherbe, F. C. (compiler)

large format paperback original: North Kent Books, 1996

a further collection of personal recollections of WW2 experiences from the veterans of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, illustrated,

The Terriers of the Fleet - The Fighting Trawlers

Category 2

'First Lieutenant'

Hutchinson, ND [c1943],

an account of the experiences of the anti-submarine trawlers Saint Loman during the Norwegian campaign and Arab in the early days of the Battle of the Atlantic, together with account of trawler routine, anecdotes of other trawlers, etc., ills. include Saint Loman, illustrated, uncommon,

Battle of the East Coast 1939-1945

Category 1

Foynes, J.P.

thick paperback original: privately published 1994

a comprehensive study 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, naval actions, air-sea rescue, mtb's, mgb's and e-boats, with 17 Appendices covering such details as Ships sunk in Nore Command (with maps), types of mines (with diagrams), Naval bases, Senior Naval Officers, Naval vessels (as at 22/06/41), etc., illustrated,

Life Line

Category 4

Graves, Charles


contemporary account of Royal Navy at work around the coasts of UK, ills. include corvettes, destroyers, submarines, ML's, MTB's, drifter and trawler, illustrated,

The Hidden Menace

Category 2

Griffiths, Maurice GM, Lt. RNVR

Conway Maritime Press, 1993,

after a chilling prologue setting out the relevance of mines today, a brief history of the introduction of mines as weapons of war followed by a more detailed description of the types of mines, countermeasures and sweeping during WW2, with an account of the work of Royal Navy's RMS (Rendering Mines Safe) in WW2, for which the author was awarded the George Medal, illustrated in line,

Lilliput Fleet

Category 3

Hampshire, A. Cecil

William Kimber, 1957; paperback: Kimber 1959; New English Library 1976,

an account of the setting up of the Royal Naval Patrol Service at Lowestoft in 1939, first known as Pembroke 'X' and then as HMS Europa, of the requisition of numerous buildings in the town, of the fighting force of trawlers and drifters converted into warships and the later purpose built Motor and British Yard Minesweepers, engaged in mine-sweeping, hunting u-boats and taking part in all landings from Madagascar to Normandy, with details of a number of incidents involving RNPS vessels including the winning of a VC at Namsos, illustrated (hardback),

The Minesweeper's Victory

Category 1

Hardy, Hilbert

paperback original: Keydex, Weybridge, 1976,

an account of mines, their types and development, and of minesweeping during WW2, how it adapted to the introduction of new mines, in home waters, the war channel, Arctic and western approaches, the Mediterranean, Normandy, South-East Asia, etc, incl. appendices of minesweeping bases, minesweepers, mines swept, awards, casualties, etc., limited distribution issue, illustrated, scarce,

P.A.D. or Minesweeper Nonsense Verse

Category 3

Harrisson, Lt Cdr J. A. B. and Galsworthy, Lt Cdr H. J.

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, uncommon,

His Majesty's Minesweepers

Category 2


large format paperback original: HMSO, 1943,

an official account of the Fleet and RNPS minesweepers including a brief history of minesweeping, training at HMS Lochinvar, how minesweeping is carried out (with diagrams), a contemporary account of the work including sweeping the war channel and dealing with new types of mine, the sweepers at Dunkirk, etc, ills. include RNPS (Stella Rigel) and Fleet vessels (unnamed), illustrated,

Our Light Coastal Forces

Category 4

Holland, Philip

small paperback original: Rolls House Publishing / Ross and Co., ND (c1943),

small booklet with descriptions and maps of the north sea and English channel, brief accounts of the work of MGB/MTB/ML's, minesweeping trawlers, air-sea rescue craftand landing craft, illustrated, uncommon,

The Battle of the Seas - The Fighting Merchantmen

Category 4

Hurd, Sir Archibald

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, illustrated,

Port War

Category 2

Jenkins, Ford

Cowell, Ipswich, ND [c1947]; paperback reprint: Panda Books 1984

a photographic record of Lowestoft during WW2, of ships and shipbuilding, vessels and service personnel from Royal Naval Patrol Service (HMS Europa), Coastal Forces (HMS Mantis) and the local minesweeping base (HMS Martello), of ARP, Civil Defence and WVS, many ills. of bomb damage to the town especially the 'Wallers' raid, with a diary of some notable events, a summary of local aircraft crashes and table of air attacks with details of date, time, location, casualties and bombs dropped, illustrated, uncommon,

Ordeal by Water

Category 4

Keeble, Peter

Longmans Green,1957,

an ex merchant seaman with a masters ticket, South African Lt. Cdr. Keeble transferred from minesweepers in 1941 to set up a salvage and mine disposal team in the Eastern Mediterranean,

Coxswain in the Northern Convoys

Category 3

Kerslake, S. A.

Wm. Kimber, 1984,

memoirs of the authors time with the Royal Naval Patrol Service 1939-45, first in the German built HMT Northern Gem on anti-submarine and convoy escort duties, in the Narvik campaign, on Arctic convoys PQ17 and QP14 and the Atlantic convoy JW51B, before leaving Gem and further service with the African Coastal Flotilla in the steam yacht Sidi Ifni, in Tunisia and Sardinia and finally as coxswain of MGB177 based at Leghorn in Italy, illustrated,

Warships of World War II

Category 2

Lenton, H.T. and Colledge, J. J.

Ian Allan, 1964 (2nd edition with additions 1974),

comprehensive index of all classes of ships of the British and Dominion Navies, from battleships and aircraft carriers to motor launches and landing craft, giving details of names or numbers, launch or acquisition date, displacement, dimensions, armament, machinery and engines as well as disposal/loss date, with in some cases brief details of notable commissions, illustrated,

Warships of World War II - Part 6 Trawlers

Category 1

Lenton, H.T. and Colledge, J. J.

paperback original: Ian Allan,1964

the 'trawler' section of the above publication in a separate paperback issue published before the combined hardback edn., illustrated,

Secret Naval Investigator

Category 2

Lincoln, F. Ashe Cdr. RNVR

Wm. Kimber,1961,

the war time exploits of a British Naval Officer whose brief direct from Churchill was to track down and neutralise German mines and torpedoes, covering the intelligence and research that went in to the counter measures that were developed, uncommon,

Mine and Countermine

Category 2

Low, Professor A. M.

Hutchinson and Co., 1940,

a history of mine warfare, mines and their uses, counter measures, methods of laying and sweeping together with experiences of the weapon in current use during the early stages of WW2, illustrated,

Atlantic Jeopardy (comprising PQ17 Convoy to Hell, Trawlers go to War, and Night of the U-Boats)

Category 3

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry

W. Foulsham and Co, 1990, 1st thus, omnibus edn.,

does NOT contain the illustrations of the original editions,

Out Sweeps! - The Story of the Minesweepers in World War II

Category 3

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry

W. Foulsham and Co, 1978; paperback: New English Library 1979,

from personal accounts, the story of the minesweepers of WW2. In 1939 the Royal navy's minesweeping capability consisted of about 40 mainly WW1 vessels, half coal-burning 'Smokey Joes'. To these were soon added the trawlers of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, then came the new fleet sweepers, the Halcyons, Algerines and Bangors as well as the RNPS's BYMs and BAMs. An account illustrated by personal reminiscences of the development of minesweeping in WW2, from the early days of combatting new types of mine, degaussing and the LL sweep, of the work of the RMS (Rendering Mines Safe) officers (later called BMDO's - Bomb and Mine Disposal Officers), in home waters, the Mediterranean and other theatres, illustrated (hardback),

The Fate of the Lady Emma

Category 5

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry

New English Library, 1978,

a novel of the Royal Naval Patrol Service, The Lady Emma, on the Northern Patrol between Orkney and Iceland, is sent to join a Murmansk convoy,

Trawlers go to War

Category 1

Lund, Paul and Ludlam, Harry

W. Foulsham and Co, ND c1971; paperback: New English Library 1972,

from personal accounts, the story of the Royal Naval Patrol Service in WW2 with its headquarters at Sparrows Nest, Lowestoft, (originally HMS Pembroke X, soon changed to HMS Europa), of the trawlers requisitioned and the many reservists mobilised, of the training and anti-submarine / minesweeping roles undertaken around the British coast and in many other theatres of the war, of the influx of hostilities only ratings as the war progressed, etc., illustrated (hardback), NOTE: by the 'category' rules this ought to be 3 but the content provides such compehensive picture of RNPS it is placed in 1,

Being in all Respects Ready for Sea

Category 3

Male, Herbert Gordon (Bertie)

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 (HMS Cocker, torpedoed) and landing craft of various types, line drawings,

Mainly in Minesweepers

Category 3

McAra, Charles

Leach and Co.,1991,

commissioned in the RNVR the author served with 9th flotilla minesweepers out of Portland, Portsmouth and Harwich before transfer to 13th flotilla for the allied landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and other Mediterranean areas, illustrated,

Coal-Scuttle Brigade

Category 2

McKee, Alexander

Souvenir Press, 1957; paperback: Corgi, 1958 (unabridged); 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, ills. include HMS Brilliant, unnamed trawler, convoys, MTB 48, air-sea rescue launch 130, coastal gun 'Winnie', etc., illustrated (hardback),

The Role of the Motor Minesweeper in World War II

Category 1

Melvin, Michael

Square One Publications, Worcester, 1992,

an 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, with reference to BYMS, the wooden minesweepers built in USA for British use, illustrated, uncommon,

The Coast is Clear - The Story of the BYMS

Category 1

Minett, Eric

large and thick paperback original: privately published, 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, uncommon,

Corvette Command

Category 4

Monsarrat, Nicholas

paperback original: Cassell, 1944,

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, illustrated, uncommon,

East Coast Corvette

Category 4

Monsarrat, Nicholas

paperback original: Cassell, 1943,

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, illustrated, uncommon,

Three Corvettes, comprising HM Corvette, East Coast Corvette and Corvette Command

Category 4

Monsarrat, Nicholas

paperback original: 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 and in the War Channel, 1940-43, illustrated,

My Sea Lady

Category 3

Ogden, Graeme

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, illustrated in line,

Escort -The Battle of the Atlantic

Category 2

Rayner, Commander D. A., DSC*, VRD, RNVR, edited by Roskill, Capt. S. W., DSC, RN

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', illustrated,

In Danger's Hour

Category 5

Reeman, Douglas

Heinemann, London, 1988, pb Pan Books, 1989,

novel of Lt.Cdr. Ransome in command HMS Rob Roy, a fleet minesweeper, working in the Dover Straits, the Mediterranean for the Sicily invasion, the East Coast War Channel and Normandy, with a short episode of Rendering Mines Safe,

Softly Tread the Brave

Category 2

Southall, Ivan

Angus and Robertson (Australia, 1950's): Companion Book Club, 1960,

the legendary account of the work of a group of Australian 'Rendering Mines Safe' Officers, amateur yachtsmen who joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and came to UK in October 1940. During officer training at HMS King Alfred they volunteered for RMS work and four were chosen. Such was the demand that they left their course unfinished and went straight for training at HMS Vernon, the RN School of Torpedoes and Mines at Portsmouth, afterwards dealing with numerous land dropped sea-mines in the towns and cities of the United Kingdom, illustrated,

Action Stations! - The Royal Navy at War

Category 4

Thursfield, H. G. Rear Admiral

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 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,

Royal Navy Trawlers: Part 1, Admiralty Trawlers

Category 1

Toghill, Gerald

Maritime Books, Liskeard, Cornwall, 2003

a comprehensive history of all Admiralty built trawlers of both World Wars, with details of their launch date, ownership (often sold for mercantile use and then requisitioned), displacement, service, armaments, etc., contains the glossary of abbreviations used in both volumes,

Royal Navy Trawlers: Part 2, Requisitioned Trawlers

Category 1

Toghill, Gerald

Maritime Books, Liskeard, Cornwall, 2004

a comprehensive history of all trawlers requisitioned by the Admiralty in both World Wars, with details of their launch date, ownership, displacement, service, armaments, etc. contains the index to both volumes

Service Most Silent - The (Royal) Navy's Fight against Enemy Mines,

Category 2

Turner, John Frayn

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, with details of their work on defusing mines dropped on land and an appendix of 40 personnel decorated for their work on 'rendering mines safe', illustrated,

Fishermen at War

Category 4

Walmsley, Leo

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, uncommon,


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