Lancashire At War.co.uk
Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire
Dazzleships in World War Two
ABOVE: HMS Fancy (J308) adopted by the town of Rawtenstall during WW2
Minesweeper of the Algerine class, The Royal Navy
Built by Blyth Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Ltd. (Blyth, U.K.) : White
Ordered 25 Jun 1941
Laid down 22 Jul 1942
Launched 5 Apr 1943
Commissioned 21 Nov 1943
"Ex-Petty Officer George Wilkinson wrote in 1987 - 'No one except those that served at sea will know how grateful we were for the gloves, scarves, helmets and games we received from the good people of Rawtenstall'."
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Dazzle ships were first used in World War One (SEE OUR PAGE HERE) and for various reasons come World War Two, their use was very limited amongst the British Navy, though the Americans continued their use. And so it was a surprise that when researching a Lancashire sponsored ship that we discovered one that had a bit of "dazzle" about it.
In the book 'Spirit of Rawtenstall - Waterfoot, Newchurch & The Whitewell Valley - the 20th Century in Photographs" by Kathy Fishwick there is a photograph of HMS Fancy.
The book says that Rawtenstall adopted the ship which had a crew of 100 and was one of the leading ships on D-Day - part of a 10 floating flotillas clearing safe passages through the German minefields for the invasion fleet following. Later clearing mines in the Adriatic and by1944 had swept 233 mines.
Interestingly, if you look up Algerine class minesweepers of the second world war, many have a bit of dazzle about them. They seem to be the last British ships of the Royal Navy (from our knowledge) to continue this paintwork. Just Google Image "Algerine class minesweepers" and you will see what we mean.