HM TRAWLER Turquoise T45 – originally named Warwickshire before being requisitioned by the Royal Navy – was built in 1935 by Smith Dock Company at Southbank-on-Tees in the northeast of England. Armed with a deck gun fore and aft, depth-charges and a top speed of 12 knots, the 641-ton Turquoise served as an anti-submarine and escort trawler based at Harwich on the east coast of Britain. (1) (2)
Turquoise’s patrol area extended around the coast of East Anglia from the Humber Estuary in the north to the mouth of the Thames in the south. (3)
The area became known as ‘E-Boat Alley’ because the German Navy’s (Kreigsmarine) fast patrol boats – Shnellboote, known to the British as E-Boats – would regularly leave their coastal bases in Occupied Europe to harass and attack coastal merchant shipping.
By January 1944 the vessel had spent four years protecting the area. (4)
The images above show members of the crew on 21 December 1943 making preperation for Christmas with the vessel’s cook – complete with cigar and a bottle – emerging from below decks carrying a traditional Christmas pudding in its muslin cloth wrapping.
In another image in the same set a Leading Rating climbs aloft to set a Christmas tree at the mast head.
With the Christmas holiday over, the final image shows HMT Turquoise setting out on patrol on 14 January 1944.
The trawler survived the war, returned to civilian working and was scrapped in 1957.
All the above images were made by Lieutenant J E Russell RN.
Top left image – IWM catalogue reference A 21072. Image copyright © IWM. Original source https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205153455 – retrieved 10 November 2019.
Top right image – IWM catalogue reference A 21070. Image copyright © IWM. Original source https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205153453 – retrieved 10 November 2019.
Bottom image – IWM catalogue reference A 21378, Image copyright © IWM. Original source https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205153707 – retrieved 10 November 2019.
(1) https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/6490.html – retrieved 10 November 2019.
(2) http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/warships/trawlers/ – retrieved 10 November 2019.
(3) http://www.coastal-forces.org.uk/history.html – retrieved 10 November 2019.
(3) https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205153707 – retrieved 10 November 2019.