The History of Leith

December 22, 2010


A substantial volume would be needed to do justice to all the
adventures of ” Stornoway.” During her working-up period the town
of Stornoway was visited and the ship and crew were given a great
ovation. “Stornoway” became one of the famous I3th Minesweeping
Flotilla and steamed over 60,000 miles and swept up over 2000 mines ;
did duty off Irish coast, English Channel, and attended at Dieppe raid,
and survived countless air and E-boat attacks; transferred operations
to North African coast and took part in Pantellaria and Sicilian
landings; swept channel in front of fleet during King’s visit to Malta
in July 1943 ; present at all operations on Italian coast and survived
attacks from R-boats, bombers, and coastal batteries; visited Capri
where inhabitants organised and held first dance since Italy entered war.

Whilst having Christmas dinner at La Maddalena was attacked by
bombers. In June 1944 captured island of Giannutri, a former Eboat
base, found the Germans had left inhabitants without food, so
fourteen days’ rations were left. Later, an R-boat was sunk by a
direct hit. The next operation was to sweep channels to allow food
ships to enter Greek ports. Whilst on this duty a mine exploded and
stopped one engine.

At Preveza in Greece the natives gave the ship’s company a tremendous welcome. On one Greek island German garrison pleaded
to be taken prisoners, but the crew being busy told them to report next
morning. Sure enough when dawn broke all the Germans were ranged
on the jetty awaiting transfer to the ” Stornoway.” On the voyage to
Taranto, one German appeared among the ” request ” men to interview
the Commander. His request was to be allowed to remain on board as
one of the crew. The ship’s pets were two tortoises whose shells were
always camouflaged with paint in keeping with the ship. One had its
shell cracked by a bomb splinter; the crack was filled with putty, with
apparently satisfactory results.

During the Mediterranean operations the crew engaged with other
ships’ crews in water polo and cricket contests and were often victors.
Belonging to the i}th Minesweeping Flotilla, they claim to have much
factual evidence that the thirteenth is their lucky day.

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