british British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN HMT James Ludford (T16) [+1939]
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nationality british
purpose war
type minesweeper (ex-patrol boat)
subtype/class Mersey class trawler
Mersey class trawler Thomas Cornwall HMT [+1918]
propulsion steam
date built 1919
live live
weight (tons) 326  grt
dimensions 42.1 x 7.2 x 3.96 m
material steel
engine 1 triple expansion engine, 1 boiler, 1 screw
armament 1 x 12 pounder forecastle mounted deck gun; Depth-charge thower [*]
power 45  n.h.p.
speed 11  knots
yard no. 875
about the loss
cause lost mine
date lost 14/12/1939  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.17rank: 640
about people
Cochrane & Sons Shipbuilders Ltd., Selby
engine by
Holmes C. D. & Co. Ltd., Hull
last owner
[1]British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN, London
HMT James Ludford (T16) [+1939]
period 1939 ~ 1939
prev. owners
[2]British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN, London
HMT James Ludford
period 1919 ~ 1939
captain Harry Richard John Lewis
no. of crew 20
about the wreck
depth (m.) 50 max. / 43 min. (m)
orientation 140°
war grave
 Miramar Ship Index
entered by Lettens Jan
entered 27/08/2008
last update Racey Carl
last update 25/03/2014

[*] means that the value was inherited from Thomas Cornwall HMT [+1918], the reference for Mersey class trawler.
Lettens Jan06/08/2012
latitudeUK hydro member
longitudeUK hydro member
AISUK hydro member
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 UK Hydrographic Office
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  The Wreck today  

Lettens Jan04/04/2013

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 UK Hydrographic Office

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  Hydrographic Service UK  
Racey Carl13/12/2012"On 14 December 1939 JAMES LUDFORD (Lt.Cdr. Harry Richard John Lewis, RN retired) was searching for mines and was some 5-miles east of Tynemouth, when a mine detonated and she sank with the loss of 17 crewmen.
The trawler, which was based at North Shields, had been out searching for mines all day on the 13 December and on the way back to port, another mine was located; however Lt.Cdr Lewis said “We will mark it and take it in tomorrow”.
Next morning Leading Seaman John Mitchell from Lossiemouth and a man from Golspie near John O’Groats, were working on deck when Lt.Cdr Lewis informed the crew that the mine was to be taken on board the trawler, which was his idea and not the way the men had been taught to treat mines. Ld/Sn Mitchell then moved away from his colleague and at that moment the mine exploded and blew John Mitchell to pieces. The other man was thrown clear over-board and into the sea, where he grabbed a broom handle and bits of wood from the sinking vessel. A ship then rescued him and he was taken to North Shields.
The man was given special leave and on arriving home, he told his father what had happened; he then wrote to John Mitchell’s wife’s mother, informing her of the incident and blamed the Skipper for the loss of the vessel and crew; only three out of the twenty men on board survived.
The men who died were: Allam, George, Petty Officer, P/J 104781, MPK. Bourner, Leonard, Signalman, P/J 109164, MPK. Carpenter, Albert 36yrs, Stoker, P/K 61240, MPK. Crichhton, Alexander 31yrs, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), LT/X 7989 C, MPK. Graham, Malcolm, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), LT/X 7618 C, MPK. Kay, Charles Henry 36yrs, Stoker 1st Class, P/K 56987, MPK. Lewis, Harry Richard John 47yrs, Lieutenant Commander, MPK. Macarthur, Dugald 46yrs, Chief Skipper, RNR, MPK. Main, Alexander King 23yrs, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), LT/X 18718 A, MPK. Matheson, Alexander 31yrs, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), LT/X 77650, MPK. Meredith, Matthew, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), LT/X 7313 C, MPK. Mitchell, John 39yrs, Leading Seaman, RNR, D/ 6092 D, MPK. Parfitt, Thomas Frederick 44yrs, Chief Mechanician, P/K 26982, MPK. Pocock, Stanley John 40yrs, Stoker 1c, P/SS 121559, MPK. Stowell, William Charles, Seaman, RNR (Patrol Service), P/X 10322 B, MPK. Treagus, Arthur Frank, Stoker Petty Officer, P/K 23304, MPK. Warwick, Frederick 33yrs, Leading Stoker, P/KX 77134, MPK.
ref. used: 
 Young, Ron
Racey Carl13/12/2012On 14th December 1939 the JAMES LUDFORD, commanded Lt. Cdr. Harry Richard John Lewis, retired, RN, was on patrol some five miles east of Tynemouth when she detonated a mine and foundered; only three of the twenty man crew survived.
Bronte's Kriegsmarine destroyers: Z-4 (Richard Beitzen), Z-8 (Bruno Heinemann), Z-14 (Friedrich Ihn) and Z-15 (Erich Steinbrick) had laid the mines during the night of 12/13 December 1939, under the cover of Z-19 (Herman Kunne).
ref. used: 
 Young, Ron, The Ultimate Shipwreck Guide: Whitby To Berwick

HMS James Ludford (Mersey class, pennant-T 16),built by Cochrane, Selby, launched 6/1918, commissioned 1/5/1919. Employed as a Mark Buoy Vessel, 1939.

HMS James Ludford was mined in the Tyne area on 14 December 1939, on a field laid on the night of 12-13/12 by KzS Bonte´s DDs: Hermann Künne, Richard Beitzen, Friedrich Ihn and Erich Steinbrinck. Sinking position is recorded as 55.02.30 N, 01.16.15 W in 44 metres of bottom

Length 148 feet 
Complement 20 men 
Armament 2 3" guns (2x1) 
Max speed 11 knots
Engines Reciprocating engine, 1 shaft 
Power 600 
One of the large class of ´naval trawlers´ completed in 1917-1919, and named after naval crew who fought at Trafalgar

ref. used: 
 Arie de Lange
Lettens Jan06/08/2012UK hydro member
ref. used: 
 UK Hydrographic Office

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About Owners
British Royal Navy - Admiralty - RN, London

In 1509 when Henry VIII was crowned he realised the growing navel power of King James IV of Scots. James had built an impressive fleet to control the Western Isles and was allied to France. Henry built up of his own fleet, the Navy Royal, as it was then known. New ships were constructed, the best known being the Mary Rose. Smaller types of warships (galleases) combining the best features of oars, sails and guns were also built. By Henry's death in 1547 his fleet had grown to 58 vessels.

In 1546 a 'Council of the Marine' was established which later became the 'Navy Board'. The Navy Board was in charge of the daily administration of the navy until 1832 when it was combined with the Board of the Admiralty.

Elizabeth I inherited a fleet of only 27 ships in 1558. Instead of building up her own fleet Elizabeth encouraged private enterprise against Spain's new empire. Men like Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake to command groups of Royal and private ships to attack the Spanish. When Spain threatened invasion with its Armada in 1588 the Navy of England both Royal and private defended the realm.

Early in the Seventeenth Century, larger galleons were built with heavier armaments. the largest English ship was Sovereign of the Seas built for prestige purposes by Charles I in 1637. The first ship with three gun decks to carry her 102 guns, she was the most powerful ship in the world for many years.

When King Charles II came to the throne in 1660 he inherited a huge fleet of 154 ships. This was a permanent professional national force and the beginning of the Royal Navy as we know it today.

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About Builders
 Cochrane & Sons Shipbuilders Ltd., Selby
Cochrane and Sons was owned by Andrew Cochrane who originally founded a shipyard in 1884 at Beverley, but then moved in 1898, 50 miles away from the sea by river to Selby in Yorkshire, England. Cochrane and Sons built their reputation for building trawlers and coasters for the Hull and Grimsby fishing fleets. - - - In 1965 control of the yard passed from the Cochrane family to Ross Group Ltd who then sold on to the Drypool Group Ltd in 1969. In 1976, the Selby yard was bought up by United Towing Co. Ltd of Hull. The company’s name was changed to Cochrane Shipbuilders in 1977 and built an average of four ships per year for the next 15 years, mainly tugs, trawlers, oil rig supply vessels, ferries dry-cargo coasters and coastal tankers.

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Holmes C. D. & Co. Ltd., Hull
In 1869 Charles D. Holmes was founded in Hull as marine engineering company.

In 1959 the company was privatized.

During the 1960's the company built tugs for the Humber fleet, as well as companies from further. The company were general marine engineers, boiler makers, welders, metal sprayers, and makers of marine diesel engines with 400 employees. In 1963 purchased the yard of Cook, Welton & Gemmel.

During the 1970s the yard made more tugs for the Navy, BP and the Iranian Government. The yard was acquired by the Drypool Group in 1975 and after building one further ship, went into liquidation again.

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Lettens Jan  04/11/2010
Minesweeping in WWII
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Minesweeping in WWII
Minesweeping in WWII
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