Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Dardanelles minesweeping 1915


Recommended Posts

I understand this to be a 'paravane'

and the plaque at the Çanakkale Naval Museum Command suggests that it was used during the 1915 Dardanelles operations.



However, my impressions from H M Denham's 'Dardanelles – A Midshipman's Diary' is that a somewhat older technology was employed here in 1915: see his diagram below.


Can anyone comment on whether or not such a paravane was available to, and employed by, the RN in the Dardanelles in 1915?

Thanks in advance


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michael, The Hidden Threat - The Story of Mines and Minesweeping in WW1 by Jim Crossley, Pen and Sword p73 shows a sketch and says The paravane was a most important development in anti-mine warfare. First coming into service in 1916 etc.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kath & LRVC,

Many thanks for your information & for the useful links

From The Paravane Adventure by L. Cope Cornford the following time-line emerges:

- first practical experiment at Harwich in May 1915

- “In June 1915, the Admiralty approved of the ordering of a number of sets of Burney's new gear, and of the use of a destroyer for experimental purposes.”

- “the new anti-mine Paravane was fitted to the experimental destroyer, H.M.S. Melampus ; and on 4th November [1915] at Spithead, moored mines were cut for the first time by the Paravane.”

- February 1916 – demonstration to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, of the anti-mine paravane

- “by the end of February 1916, was formed the new Paravane Department under the Admiral of Mine-sweeping. Early in March the department was working.”

- “Early in 1917, then, while the Paravane department at Portsmouth was supplying vessels of war with the mine-protector Paravane gear, Messrs. Vickers in London began to equip the merchant ships of the world with the Otter.”

It seems therefore that the system used in the Dardanelles in 1915 was almost certainly that as described by Denham. The paravane which is today seen at the Çanakkale Naval Museum may well be British and may have been used by them locally, but not in 1915.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The newly published book 'Echoes From The Deep' is more cautious than the museum;

there the writers put a photograph of the same paravane on a page devoted to the wreck of the minesweeper/trawler Renarro, which sank on 10th November 1918.

This happened after the armistice with Turkey, when the Renarro was sweeping halfway between Cape Helles and Kephez Bay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Denham's picture illustrates a 'Deep Team Sweep' with 'kites' serving a dual function to both keep the kites wires running astern (they would otherwise tend to 'middle' between the two minesweepers giving a very narrow swept path) and also to keep the sweep wire at the best sweeping depth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

H2 – many thanks for that information

I understand that the destroyers were put to minesweeping because they could make better headway than the civilian trawlers, against the Dardanelles current and thereby they presented less of an easy target for the Turkish shore batteries.

[see the Naval OH, Vol II, p.209 (March 14th & 15th 1915) where the Admiral informs London of the need for more powerful sweepers, and his 'makeshift' fitting out of destroyers with light sweeps.

The Admiralty replied by sending out a further 30 of the 'fastest trawlers from Lowestoft' and requesting the French to provide 'any 15-knot boats they could lay their hands on]

I also understand that like the RN destroyers, the civilian trawlers also swept in pairs,

can I take it therefore that their system was similar to the 'Deep Team Sweep' employed by the Beagles?

best regards


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Mike,

Dr Piotr Nykiel is well respected in this field,

however I think that in this case he is mistaken in his conclusion that the paravane seen at the Çanakkale Naval Museum was lost in March 1915

The time line given above illustrates that the paravane was not available during the campaign of 1915, the first experiments only being carried out at Harwich in May 1915 and the first moored mine cut during a demonstration at Spithead in November 1915

It seems to me much more likely that the paravane seen today at the Çanakkale Naval Museum was lost during some post-1915 sweeping operations, such as those which resulted in the sinking of the Renarro on 10th November 1918.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The quote there from Swept Channels by Taffrail

In one case, when the wire was being hauled in, two mines came up foul of the kite, struck the stern of the ship, and exploded with very sad results.”

This is probably a reference to the Renarro mentioned previously in this thread. Sonar images in the recent book Echoes from the Deep show that the wreck has damage on her starboard side, near the stern

casualty list from the Naval History Net [http://www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1918-11Nov.htm ]

Renarro, hired trawler, minesweeper, mined and sunk in Dardanelles

ADDISON, Alexander, Engineman, RNR, TS 4780

BARBOUR, George, Leading Deck Hand, Newfoundland RNR, X 1681

BARNES, Charles H, Trimmer, RNR, TS 1166

BOLDERSTON, William B, Telegraphist, RNVR, Clyde Z 2374

COULTHARD, George W, Ordinary Seaman, J 58196 (Po)

FAIRNIE, Simon, Ty/Skipper, RNR

JAMES, Samuel, Able Seaman, RNVR, Wales Z 1613

MANCEY, Walter, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 4188

PRICE, Harry, Engineman, RNR, ES 373

RENDALL, Laurence, Seaman, RNR, A 2846

RETALLACK, Llewelyn M, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 10436

WILLIAMS, John H, Trimmer, RNR, ST 3102

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...
Guest rhb39wp

Does anyone know if the Renarro skipper and crew received any recognition for their effort also a report was given by the only survivor Lieutenant William Wright is it possible to see this anywhere?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may find something of interest at the NA who have a file on the loss of the Renarro - ADM 137/3806

see http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Details?uri=C4115477

Regarding the use of trawlers as minesweepers in the Dardanelles campaign itself;

in Vol.II of his 'From the Dreadnaught to Scapa Flow' Arthur J Marder has the following

the sweep “consisted of 2½-inch wire, whose depth was regulated by a heavy wooden kite, towed between two sweepers steaming about 500 yards apart. Generally, the momentum of the sweep-wire could, in the case of fast sweepers, cut through the moorings of mines. But until serrated wire was introduced in 1916 slow sweepers like trawlers usually had to circle slowly round a mine and drag it out to sea or into shallow water, where they could sink it by gunfire. This was complicated enough in daylight. (In Home waters this was the only time it was performed.) At the Dardanelles it had to be carried out at night and under heavy fire.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...