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 Consequently, over the year, these vessels had been either re-roled or withdrawn from service as surplus to requirements.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The Consultative Document announced that the eleven MSFs assigned for RNR use were to be withdrawn.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.'
|Waveney||M2003||08 Sep 1983||03 Oct 1994||to Bangladesh|
|Carron||M1212||23 Sep 1982||03 Oct 1994||to Bangladesh|
|Dovey||M1213||07 Dec 1983||03 Oct 1994||to Bangladesh|
|Helford||M1214||16 May 1984||03 Oct 1994||to Bangladesh|
|Humber||M1215||17 May 1984||1995||to Brazil|
|Blackwater||M1216||29 Aug 1984||03 Oct 1994||to Bangladesh|
|Itchen||M1217||30 Jun 1984||1998||to Brazil|
|Helmsdale||M1218||11 Jan 1985||1995||to Brazil|
|Orwell||M1219||07 Feb 1985||2001||to Guyana|
|Ribble||M1220||07 May 1985||1995||to Brazil|
|Spey||M1221||22 May 1985||1998||to Brazil|
|Arun||M1222||20 Aug 1985||1998||to Brazil|
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