October 27. The minesweepers of WW II. Roll of Honour

Mine sweeping in WW2 was the main role of the Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS) which at its peak had 1,637 craft of various kinds including converted trawlers in which at least 12 men from NI lost their lives including William Allen from Limavady, Archie Cairns from Ballycastle and William McCalla, a well-known competitor in the UGP motorcycle races. In 1918 Larne men Michael Hagan, a Naval Reservist, and Robert McMullan were lost in HMS Neptunian, a fishing trawler that had been hired by the Royal Naval Reserve to carry out minesweeping duties when it sank after a collision 5 miles off Altacarry Lighthouse, Rathin Island. Beauchamp Butler, commanding officer of the Faughs, was killed in Italy in 1943 along with four NI members of his regiment. A short remarkable tribute by Brigadier Nelson Russell, commander of the Irish Brigade, is included in Colonel Butler’s entry. Today’s Veteran is RN. Lt. Commander George Bradshaw DSO. Born in Belfast, he was a Submariner and Marine Artist who after his discharge from the Navy in 1921 helped establish an art colony in St Ives, Cornwall where he died on this day in 1960.

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