Allied Warships

HMS La Capricieuse

Minesweeper of the Elan class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeMinesweeper
ClassElan 
Pennant 
Built byA & Ch Dubigeon (Nantes, France) 
Ordered 
Laid downJan 1938 
Launched19 Apr 1939 
Commissioned7 Jul 1940 
End service6 Jun 1945 
HistorySeized by the British on 3 July 1940 while at Portsmouth.
Operated by the Royal Navy until returned to France on 6 June 1945.
Stricken in September 1964. 

Commands listed for HMS La Capricieuse

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Sidney Albert Jones, RNR7 Jul 194021 May 1941
2Lt.Cdr. George William Dobson, RNR21 May 194118 Oct 1943
3Lt.Cdr. (retired) Clement Meyrick Norman, RN18 Oct 1943mid 1944

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Notable events involving La Capricieuse include:


27 Nov 1940
HMS H 34 (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Jones, RNR) and HMS Van Oost. (1)

14 Jun 1941
HMS Osiris (Lt.Cdr. T.T. Euman, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN). The submarines were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

No log is available for this period so no map can be displayed. (2)

24 Jun 1941
Convoy attack exercises were carried out in the Clyde area.

The convoy was made up of HMS Cyclops (A/Capt. R.L.M. Edwards, RN), which served as the 'main target'. She was escorted by HMS Alecto (Cdr. R.M.G. Gambier, RN), HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A.E. Johnston, RN), HrMs Z 5 (Lt. J.J. Steensma, RNN), HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) and FFS La Moqueuse.

This convoy was attacked in the morning by two submarines; HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) and HMS H 43 (Lt. J.D. Martin, RN).

In the afternoon the convoy was attacked (near Campbeltown) by HMS L 27 (Lt. H.N. Edmonds, DSC, RN), HMS H 31 (Lt. R.J. Hemingway, DSC, RN) and HMS H 32 (Lt. B.G. Heslop, DSC, RN). (3)

22 Oct 1941
HMS H 31 (Lt. F.B. Gibbs, RN) departed Sheerness for Rothesay. She was escorted until 2120 hours by HMS Cottesmore (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, RN).

At 0745/25 H 31 made rendez-vous with HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) for onwards passage to Rothesay under escort. (4)

3 Nov 1941
In the morning HMS Rorqual (Lt. L.W. Napier, RN) made rendez-vous off Trevose Head with her escort HMS La Capricieuse (former French) (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (5)

7 Dec 1941
HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN) departed Dundee for Gibraltar. She was escorted until Bishops Rock by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR).

As no log of HMS P 35 is available for this period it is not possible to display a map of the passage to Gibraltar. (6)

23 Dec 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) departed Rothesay for Milford Haven. She was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (7)

5 Apr 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) departed Portsmouth for Rothesay. She was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (8)

8 Apr 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN) and her escort HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) arrive at Rothesay. (8)

6 May 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. R.E. Boddington, RN), HMS H 32 (Lt. J. Whitton, RN), HMS P 614 (Lt. D.J. Beckley, RN) conducted practice attacks on a convoy made up of the submarine tenders HMS Cyclops (Capt. R.L.M. Edwards, RN), HMS Titania (Cdr. H.R. Conway, RN) and their escort HMS Breda (Capt.(Retd.) A. E. Johnston, RN), HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR) and HMS Boarhound (Skr. S.G. Jinks, RNR). (9)

23 Oct 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. C. Gordon, RN) departed Rothesay for Scapa Flow. She made the passage north together with HMS Tuna (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN). Escort was provided by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (10)

5 Nov 1942
HMS Trooper (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSO, DSC, RN) departed from Holy Loch for the secret base of Port H.H.Z. (at Loch Cairnbawn) where she arrived the next day. Here she will take on board her Chariot human torpedoes.

Passage was made together with HMS P 216 (Lt. A.R. Daniell, DSC, RN) and HMS P 312 (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Favell, RN) that were both en-route to Lerwick. They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (11)

12 Nov 1942
HMS P 311 (Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) departed from Port HHZ (on the North-West coast of Scotland) bound for Malta. She is not stop at Gibraltar so not to alert the German and Italian spies stationed in 'neutral' Spain on the Chariot containers on her deck.

Passage south through the Irish sea was made together with HMS Trooper (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (12)

19 Nov 1942
HMS Graph (Lt. P.B. Marriot, RN) departed from Holy Loch for her 2nd war patrol. She is to patrol in the Bay of Biscay. During the passage south through the Irish Sea she was escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (13)

7 Dec 1942
HMS P 223 (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN) and HMS P 49 (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN) both departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (14)

1 Nov 1943
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN) departed Holy Loch for Dundee. She makes the passage together with the British submarine HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR). The submarines are escorted by the British minesweeper HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN).

Early on the 3rd, off Scapa Flow, the other two ships left O-23 and the British ASW trawler HMS Thornwick Bay (A/Skr.Lt. J. Windram, RNR) took over the escort. (15)

27 Nov 1943
HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. She was escorted to Bishops Rock by the British minesweeper HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN). (16)

29 Nov 1943
At 1045 hours HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) and her escort, the British minesweeper HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN), parted company off Bishops Rock. (16)

4 Dec 1943
HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) arrived at Falmouth. She (and HMS Trident (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN)) were escorted in by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN) with which they had made rendezvous the previous day of Bishops Rock. (17)

6 Dec 1943
At 1825 hours, HMS Unrivalled (Lt. H.B. Turner, DSC, RN), made rendez-vous with HMS Trident (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN), HMS Unshaken (Lt. J. Whitton, RN) and HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN) which came from Falmouth. They then proceeded north up the Irish Sea. (18)

7 Dec 1943
HMS Sceptre (Lt. I.S. McIntosh, MBE, DSC, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Lerwick. She departed for Holy Loch later the same day together with HMS Sea Nymph (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR). In the moring of 9 December by HMS La Capricieuse (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.M. Norman, RN) took over the escort. (19)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16308
  2. ADM 199/2564
  3. File 2.12.03.7131 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 173/16734
  5. ADM 199/400
  6. ADM 199/1813
  7. File 2.12.03.6369 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  8. ADM 173/17200
  9. ADM 173/17201 + ADM 53/116690
  10. ADM 173/17218
  11. ADM 199/424
  12. ADM 199/1909
  13. ADM 199/1827
  14. ADM 173/17467
  15. ADM 199/1879
  16. ADM 199/1871
  17. ADM 199/1823
  18. ADM 199/1821
  19. ADM 199/1841

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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