HMS Lord Austin sunk by a mine in Seine Bay, Normandy on the 24th. of June in 1944

Lord Austin  was a steam trawler in the escort group of JW 53 Which left loch ewe Feb. 15 1943 for the Kola Inlet north Russia. I was on the SS City of Omaha and the Austin tied up next to us for a while at Molotovsk.

Naturally we got aquainted but lost track after oct when we headed back. I have heard the Lord Austin was lost at Normandie by a mine. I would like to find some information on her and possibly a picture. I can still see her in my mind still on station in mountainous seas that sent I believe 5 cargo vessels back to the UK with sea damage. Those trawlermen and corvette people were a sight to behold. Right there in all kinds of weather and fought those small vessels like they were some kind of destroyer. I found a picture of the flower class corvette Bluebell. Another heroic vessel lost with all hands I believe at Normandie. a veteran of the Murmansk run. She kept the "boogers" away from me in two convoys in 1942.

I'd love to have a picture of the Lord Austin to put side of the Bluebell. any help to head me in the right direction would be a God send.

S.C. Bushnell retired ch. eng. usmm


Thank you for your interesting mail. HMS Lord Austin was indeed sunk by a mine in Seine Bay, Normandy on the 24th. of June in 1944. I have been unable to run down a photo, but she was a coal burning Trawler, built in 1937, of 473 tons, and was taken over by the British Admiralty in September 1939, and converted into anti/Submarine

I will send separately a photo of the Northern Gem, also a Trawler, very similar to Lord Austin, and also with you on Convoy JW53.

I hope that is of some help to you.

Best wishes for the New Year, 2005 and beyond.

Mackenzie. Gregory.

HMS Northern Gem

HMS Northern Gem


Many thanks. I got the picture nice and clear. I'll go into town tomorrow and get some photo grade paper for this printer before I do anything. then get my grandaughter to do the work.  I call her "Bossy". because she is allways saying "you better let me do that". lol the picture is nearly a twin for the Austin and will do just fine  along side of Bluebell. I not long ago got the book "The Cruel Sea," fiction but barely.

In 1942 about the last of October I was docked in Liverpool and across the dock was a carrier that had come back from the med. I do believe. she was going into the graving dock for some bottom work just above the Liver Building. that incidently Lord Haw Haw said he was going to make those liver birds fly. They didn't but dropped either one or two bombs right in front of the building. the birds were chained at that time. It was said at the time the German bombers flew to Ireland to a coastal city that was lit made a course change and flew an exact time and dropped smack on Liverpool. They never got the American bar on Lime Street, or the Adelphi Hotel to my knowledge. If you happen to know what carrier that was let me know. The King came to look at her and we all met him. I thought he was an admiral until I got to the guard shack at the street and the guard told me who I had spoken to. I still remember the big clydsdale horses that were being used around the water front. Old aren't I? Thank you again and if you happen on any information about what carrier that was let me know and I'll start trying for a picture.

 s.c. bushnell


Thank you for your response. yes, as one gets older memories are very important. I am just short of being 83, so can really appreciate yor comments. Attached is a scan of the Northern Gem, a close resemblance to your Lord Austin.

Best wishes,

Here is a picture of The Liver Building.

In December 1940, I was docked in the Gladstone Dock in HMAS Australia. At that time Lord Haw Haw made his comments about making the Liver Birds fly. We had a 4000 pound land mine land in our dock between the ship and dockside, and about ten feet of water was in the dock to put out  
incendary bombs that landed on board and were kicked over the side, one of my jobs as a Midshipman on board at the time.

The land mine did not explode, it was still ticking away, after we had undocked, and the next ship had entered the dock and the water was pumped out. Much panic, as they flooded up again, and removed the ship, to cope with this beast.

I have fond memories of Liverpool over 1940/1941. Lime St Station, The Adelphi Hotel etc.

With the Liver Building and its Liver Birds dominating the Dockside skyline.

Happy days to you. 

Liver Building

Liver Building

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