HMS Asheldham


HMS Asheldham was  launched on 9 September 1953 as one of the Ham Class of inshore minesweepers.  

The pennant number as seen on the side of the vessel was M2604.

Asheldham displaced 120 ton when empty and 159 tons fully laden.

It's dimesions were 32.5 metre x 6.4 metres x 1.67 metre

Armananmts included one 40mm gun and one twin 20mm gun

A crew of 15 were required.

In total 93 Ham class minesweepers were built and all were names after villages whose names ended in ham.

The suffic ham was taken from and Anglo Saxon word which meant Homestead or small village which was felt an ideal name for these small but sturdy vessels.

This class of inshore minesweepers was commisioned in part to help replace some of the Naval losses during World War Two and secondly to provide the capability of dealing with the menace of mines that had proved so costly during World War 2 and had been once again used with great success by both regular forces and guerillas during the Korean War (1950 to 1953). With the prospect of further conflict in the Region a new generation of minesweepers was required.

Paxmans Engineering works at nearby Colchester was commisoned to develop a new engine with a very low magnetic signature for use in minesweeping vessels. The YHA engine that was developed was so successful that it was adopted by the Admiralty as a standard engine and fitted to all of the Ham calss of minesweper.

HMS Asheldham was equipped with three of these engines  of which one was used for pulse generation and the other two for propulsion.

The engines provided a top speed of 14 Knots and a  range of 2700 miles at 9 knots

By 1959 the Navy felt the need to support emerging Navies of friendly countries by supplying some of it's vessels.

On 1 April 1959 the Asheldham was one of four inshore minesweepers transferred to the newly formed Royal Malaysian Navy where it was renamed the RMN Sri Perlis.

The Asheldham continued to sail the Malaysian waters until 1967 when it was declared surplus again and broken up for scrap.