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Waveney / River Class Minesweepers

A Royal Naval Reserve, formed from professional merchant mariners, was first established in 1858. In 1990, the RNR had eleven 'River' Class mine countermeasures vessels (MSFs) and ten patrol craft permanently attached to its Sea Training Centres.

By 1994 the Royal Navy's River class vessels retained only a very limited mine countermeasures capability as a result of significant advances in mine technology. Consequently, over the year, these vessels had been either re-roled or withdrawn from service as surplus to requirements. Under 1994 plans, five River class vessels will remain in operational service with the Royal Navy, four as patrol craft and one as a training ship. The remaining seven vessels in the class would be sold, as eventually all were.

Vaving a squadron of 11 MCMVs, originally MSCs, then MSCs and MHCs, and finally MSFs, which the RNR could use for training at weekends, and for annual fortnight training enabled the reservists to get their hours in to qualify for promotion and advancement, and develop their operational skills until they were comparable with regular levels.

The Consultative Document announced that the eleven MSFs assigned for RNR use were to be withdrawn. The seagoing RNR therefore lost its basic training tool. The 'Ton' class, and 'River' class, minesweepers were arguably the smallest vessels in which officers and ratings can obtain and practise the basic naval skills of shiphandling, coastal and ocean navigation, fleetwork and cornmunications, firefighting and damage control, and gunnery. Putting aside the question as to how the volunteer reservist is to train at weekends in frigates, destroyers and the other ships of the surface flotilla. how is he or she to get the basics?.

Reliance on the RNR to the extent proposed postulates a certain future for the naval reserves; according to Defending Our Future (Statement on the Defence Estimates 1993), the current Plans MCMV force level for Mid-1990s was 25, with a Note that "MCMV numbers will fall below this figure for a period following pay-off or redeployment of Ton and River Class minesweepers and until new vessels come into service." Since vessels of this type had been the mainstay of RNR training and operational commitment the policy decision arising from the Open Government Document The Future of Britain's Reserve Forces was keenly awaited, as it must bear directly upon the capacity of the RNR to inculcate the sponsored students with 'the RN's ethos and discipline.'

WaveneyM200308 Sep 1983 03 Oct 1994to Bangladesh
CarronM121223 Sep 198203 Oct 1994to Bangladesh
DoveyM121307 Dec 198303 Oct 1994to Bangladesh
HelfordM121416 May 198403 Oct 1994to Bangladesh
HumberM121517 May 1984 1995to Brazil
BlackwaterM121629 Aug 1984 03 Oct 1994to Bangladesh
ItchenM121730 Jun 19841998to Brazil
HelmsdaleM121811 Jan 19851995to Brazil
OrwellM121907 Feb 19852001to Guyana
RibbleM122007 May 19851995to Brazil
SpeyM122122 May 19851998to Brazil
ArunM122220 Aug 19851998to Brazil

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:59:52 ZULU