S.T. Ben Bheula A422

Additional information courtesy of David Slinger


Admiralty Number: 3724
Official Number: 146616
Yard Number: 311
Completed: 1917
As built: 360disp 125.6 x 23.5 x 12.8 feet.
Gross Tonnage: 275
Net Tonnage: 108
Length: 125.6 ft
Breadth: 23.4 ft
Depth: 12.6 ft
Built: J. P. Rennoldson & Sons Ltd, North Shields
Engine: 480ihp T.3-cyl by Shields Engineering Co Ltd, North Shields


16.11.1917: Launched by J. P. Rennoldson & Sons Ltd, North Shields (Yd.No.311) (“Castle” class) for The Admiralty as THOMAS DOWDING (Ad.No.3724).
22.12.1917: Completed as a minesweeper (1-12pdr & W/T). Based Falmouth.
7.7.1918: At 1035, grounded at Basse de Respects, near Cape St. Matthew. Suffered minor bottom damage.
1.10.1918: At Penzance F.C.T. Escort
16.8.1922: Registered by The Admiralty as a fishing vessel at London (LO550).
11.1923: Sold to Hellyer Bros Ltd, Hull.
23.11.1923: London registry closed.
26.11.1923: Registered at Hull (H861).
12.1923: Registered at Hull as LEONATO (H861)
Pre-1927: Sold to Hull Northern Fishing Co Ltd, Hull (W. R. Nowell, manager).
Pre-1930: Hellyer Bros Ltd became managers.
10.1936: Sold to R. Irvin & Sons Ltd, Aberdeen.
8.10.1936: Hull registry closed.
9.10.1936: Registered at Aberdeen as BEN BHEULA (A422).
8.1939: Requisitioned for war service on examination service and as a minesweeper (P.No. FY.1681) (Hire rate £80.4.2d/month).
13.1.1942: Sold to J. Marr & Son Ltd, Fleetwood for £8200.
6.10.1945: Returned to owner and re-classed at Glasgow.
24.7.1946: Sold to Pegasus Trawling Co Ltd, Fleetwood for £20,000. William Stevenson, St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea appointed manager.
11.3.1949: On West of Scotland grounds (Sk. W. Cowell). Off Barra in heavy weather and hail storms, started to take in water in boiler room; pumps choked with ashes and unable to cope. In response to radio message, trawler CYELSE (FD67) (Sk. J. C. Smith) arrived on scene, connected and towed into Castlebay for shelter.
13.3.1949: With CYELSE still connected in hail and sleet, BEN BHEULA swept by high seas on to reef. Fourteen crew abandoned in boat and taken onboard, later taken by Barra lifeboat to Castlebay. Trawler CONCERTATOR (FD276) arrived from Fleetwood with pumps and salvage operation commenced with Mr H. T. Chapman insurance engineer in charge.
14.3.1949: Refloated and beached, temporary repairs carried out and refloated.
16.3.1949: Homeward in a heavy swell off Port Askaig, Islay, leak opened up again and with boiler room flooding, attended by Islay lifeboat (Cox Duncan McNeill) which connected and commenced tow to Port Askaig. After 5 miles decided to beach at Caolila, Sound of Islay. Attended by salvage tug METINDA III (593grt/1945), temporary repairs carried out and refloated.
22.3.1949: Delivered Fleetwood. Permanent repairs undertaken and returned to service.
1952: Managers became J. Marr & Son Ltd, Fleetwood.
16.5.1953: Last landing at Fleetwood. Laid up.
16.7.1953: Sold for breaking up.
9.1.1954: Aberdeen registry closed “Vessel broken up”.

(Thomas Dowding, Quartergunner (prest), age 38, b. Dorset – VICTORY (SB458))

Click to enlarge image

S.T. Leonato H861

S.T. Leonato H861
Picture from the Internet

S.T. Thomas Dowding LO550

S.T. Thomas Dowding LO550
Picture from the Internet

HMT Ben Bheula

HMT Ben Bheula
Picture reproduced under IWM Non-Commercial Licence

16/01/2009: Page published. 7 updates since then.
16/01/2017: Removed disputed image.
29/12/2017: Removed FMHT watermarks from images.
20/08/2019: Added an image and updated information.