Requisitioned Auxiliary – Helper




Official Number:                     68324

Builder:                                 J Crown & Sons, Monkwearmouth

Pennant No:                   PP 1246

Launched:                             1873

Into Service:                           1 April 1915

Out of service:                        1919

Fate:                                      1929 believed scrapped


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:  One of an additional group of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW1 for service as an Auxiliary Minesweeper to take advantage of her shallow draft, high speed and maneuverability


Career Data:

1873 launched by Wm. Allsup & Sons, Preston as Yard Nr: 22 named Sir Francis Drake for West Cornwall Railway Committe, Plymouth

June 1873 completed as a paddle tender at Plymouth

1878 owners taken over by Great Western Railway Co., London – name unchanged

1908 renamed Helper by her owners

1910 purchased for £3,500 by the broker Joseph Constants

October 1911 acquired by Cosens & Co Ltd., Weymouth to ferry personnel to the Fleet anchored in Portland Harbour – name unchanged. Cosens had the sole contract to do this

1 April 1915 requisitioned for Admiralty service as a Naval inspection Vessel at Weymouth – name unchanged

June 1915 in collision off Portland with the armed trawler HMS FANE

September 1916 became an Inspection Vessel at Newhaven

1 December 1916 requisitioned for Admiralty service as an Auxiliary Minesweeper and commissioned as HMS HELPER. Based at Larne

11 November 1918 at Hospital Engineer Lieutenant James Frederick Sheppard RNR discharged dead from influenza and pneumonia. He is buried in Bootle Cemetery in grave Section 11 CE629

November 1918 laid up at Larne

30 December 1918 Engineer Lieutenant Stanley F Fox RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 February 1919 decommissioned, refitted and returned to her owners as HELPER

June 1919 became surplus to requirements with the ending of the Admiralty contract at Weymouth

1922 purchased by Alderney Steam Packet Co – name unchanged

3 October 1922 arrived in the Channel Islands

4 July 1926 at Gurnsey Able Seaman Walter Clifford Masterton discharged dead from double pneumonia

1929 withdrawn from service and presumably scrapped. She was the last paddle steamer on the Inter-Island services