HMS Niger (J73)

HMS Niger was a Halcyon-class minesweeper of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1936 and was sunk during the Second World War.

Niger in 1940
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Niger (J73)
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 5 February 1935
Builder: J. Samuel White, Cowes[1]
Laid down: 1 April 1935
Launched: 29 January 1936
Homeport: Dover, Kent
Fate: Sunk on 5 July 1942 from damage caused by a mine off Iceland.
General characteristics
Class and type: Halcyon-class minesweeper
  • 815–835 long tons (828–848 t)
  • 1,310–1,372 long tons (1,331–1,394 t), full load
Length: 245 ft 3 in (74.75 m)
Beam: 33 ft 6 in (10.21 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Vertical triple-expansion, 2,000 ihp
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h)
Range: 7,200 nmi (13,330 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 80

In fog on 5 July 1942 HMS Niger mistook an iceberg for Iceland’s North Western Cape and led six merchant ships of Murmansk to Reykjavík convoy QP 13 into Northern Barrage minefield SN72 laid one month earlier at the entrance to the Denmark Strait.[2] Every ship detonated British mines. There were no crewmen lost aboard the Soviet freighter Rodina (4441 GRT),[3] the Panamanian-flagged freighter Exterminator (6115 GRT), or the American freighter Hybert (6120 GRT); but 46 civilian crew and 9 Naval Armed Guards died aboard the American Liberty ship John Randolph (7191 GRT) and freighters Hefron (7611 GRT) and Massmar (5825 GRT);[4] and there were only eight survivors of the 127 men aboard Niger. Only Exterminator could be salvaged.[5] The value of the Northern Barrage was questioned following the accident.[6]


  1. Naval Ships of J. Samuel White
  2. "Mines and Mine Laying in Iceland WWII". Icelandic Coast Guard. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  3. Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 190. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.
  4. "Ships Sunk or Damaged July 1942 (63 ships)". American Merchant Marine at War. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  5. "Convoy QP.13". Convoy Web. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  6. Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey B. Mason (2006). "British Naval Minelaying in World War 2". Retrieved 12 January 2011.

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