HMT Caroline 1941
N51 42.253 W5 08.328
The image to the left is of mine sweeper and ex trawler Loughton Wyke (1918-1942). This is what the Caroline probably looked like.
The Caroline was a Dutch built fishing trawler and was one of 33 Dutch trawlers requisitioned by the British government in world war II. She had been converted to a minesweeper and fitted with a 76mm gun. It probably initially has machine guns and us upgraded later.
She was sunk by a mine on 28th April 1941 whilst sweeping for mine in the entrance to Milford Haven harbour. All fifteen members of her crew were killed. All fifteen bodies were recovered and are buried in the local cemetary.
The explosion caused the vessel to break into two sections. She originally sank in position 057 deg 14.45 cables from St Ann’s Head. In 1955 the wreck was removed in two sections. The detached bow of approx 35 ft long and weighing 60 tons was deposited close alongside the Dakotian. The stern section approx 90 ft long 23 ft wide and 13 ft draught was placed in position 65 deg distance 10.1 cables from St Ann’s Head lighthouse.
Steam Fishing Trawler / Minesweeper
NV. Vissch Maats ver Seenkolenhadel
Built in 1930 by:
Bonn & Mees N. V., Rotterdam
Triple expansion, one boiler, and single screw.
Between 1901-1944, when the Caroline was built, Bonn & Mees were taken over by Pieter Leenheer
Mr. M. Mees had been able to interest several ship brokers in de Nieuwe Bergingsmaatschappij. Grandfather Jan Leenheer already held a power of attorney at Bonn and Mees. His son Pieter was therefore allowed to study shipbuilding at university. However, in 1916 this company was dissolved and sold to N.V. Maatschappij Drijvende bokken, formerly Bonn and Mees, managed by Mr. J. Mees and Pieter Leenheer. In 1930 Mr. Mees withdrew from the wharf and sold the sheerlegs to P. Leenheer (who had a starting capital of NLG 8,000.00). Activities at the wharf at Scheepsbouwerstraat were scaled down and it was eventually shut down in 1936. This was partly because in 1937 it would have had to make way for the Maas Tunnel and Mr. Mees saw no benefit to be gained from moving the wharf for the umpteenth time in one century. The business moved to Sluisjesdijk, where it is still located today.
The Caroline was fitted with a 76mm gun. Unfortunately the gun had been removed before I could identify it although we had removed a few parts from the wreck in 1976. The adjustment wheels had “Recht” and Links” on them confusing us into thinking it was a wreck of a German ship. The gun was probably a 76 mm Bofors sourced in Holland hence the Dutch wordings on the controls.
The following is an image of what the gun possibly looked like and some of the items removed from it in 1976.
Records indicate various positions for the wreck but it sank in one position in two parts and both parts were moved to different positions in 1955 in order to clear the channel entrance to Milford Haven. The following chart shows the position of the initial sinking and where the two sections of the wreck are today. Today she lies upright in 15m of water.
Below is the last entry in her log
76 mm shell case, Porthole and gun control items found on the wreck