Nepean Naval and Maritime Museum

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Ton Class Minesweepers

The Ton class were coastal minesweepers built in the 1950's for the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy, but also used by other navies such as the South African Navy ,the Argentine Navy, the Ghana Navy, the Indian Navy, the Irish Naval Service, the Royal Malaysian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy and the South African Navy.

It was originally planned to name the RN ships after insects, with names like Red Ant, Green Cockchafer and so on, but this plan was abandoned in 1952 and the Royal Navy ships of this class were instead given names of British towns and villages ending in "-ton", hence the name of the class.

Design started at the Naval Construction Department in the City of Bath in 1947 and the first ship was ordered in September 1950; the class eventually numbered 119 vessels in the UK; and Australia had six. The lead constructor was John I. Thornycroft & Company, although Ton-class vessels were also built at fifteen other yards.

They were 52 ft (46 m) long, had a beam of 28 ft (8.5 m) and a draught of 8 ft (2.4 m). They were intended to meet the threat of seabed mines laid in shallow coastal waters, rivers, ports and harbours, a task for which the existing ocean-going minesweepers were unsuitable.

They were vessels of 440 tons displacement fully laden, largely constructed from aluminium and other non-ferromagnetic materials, the hull was composed of a double layer of mahogany planking. The propulsion for the Australian ships was originally supplied by a Mirrlees diesel, but later by a Napier Deltic. This produced 3,000 shp (2,200 kW) on each of two shafts. They were capable of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).

The Australian ships were armed with a Bofors 40 mm gun, an Oerlikon 20 mm cannon and an M2 Browning machine gun; and sweeping equipment for both moored and magnetic mines.

They sailed with a complement of thirty three men.