HMS Hovingham M2637, Builders : Farlie Yacht, Built : 11/07/56

1956 - 57 Operational Reserve, Hythe/ Rosneath

Oct 1958 - Oct 62 Served in 120th Minesweeper Squadron based in Hong Kong Oct 1958 - Oct 62, participating in exercises and patrols around Hong Kong, including the Pearl River approach to Canton, Mirs Bay and islands bordering the Chinese Peoples Republic.

The squadron also visited, as part of multi-national SEATO exercises, the Philippines and North Borneo. They were relieved by three TONs in 1962, forming 8th MSS, who retained the “Pearl of the Orient” Squadron badge of 120 MSS.

1963 - 64 Operational Reserve, Singapore

1966 Sold for break up in Singapore.

HMS Hovingham was the Senior ship of 120 MSS in 1960/61, her Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr Peter Stigant, was the Senior Officer of the squadron. The village of Hovingham in Yorkshire was the home of Lady Katherine Worsley and when, in 1961 her engagement to the Duke of Kent was announced Lt Cdr Stigant sent the congratulations of all of the ship’s company of HMS Hovingham to the happy couple.

As a result, he was invited to their wedding.

However before that could take place, 120 MSS participated in a SEATO exercise in the Philippines during which it was to .clear a beach ready for a landing by US Marines. This meant operating in shallow water, less than 20 feet deep, for which the Inshores had been designed. One of Hovingham’s otters at the end of her sweep wires became entangled with a coral head that had not been visible from the surface, so the ship was effectively, albeit temporarily, anchored by her stern – an incident not unusual in the Inshore Flotilla, which often operated close to reefs.

The ship soon freed herself from this predicament BUT Royal Navy procedures required that Form S232, report of Collisions and Groundings, had to be completed and a Court of Inquiry convened to investigate the circumstances. A panel of expert navigators would hash over all the evidence about wind and tide, navigation lights and conduct of the ship’s officers to determine what lessons could be learned and (usually) to apportion blame – the RN does not favour “Acts of God”, so the Commanding Officer is usually held accountable.

When the signal announcing the date and time of the Court of Inquiry was received, Lt Cdr Stigant has the pleasure of advising the Flag Officer that he had a prior commitment on that day, attending a Society wedding in London – And he got away with it!!!

Details of this anecdote may not be 100% accurate but Peter Stigant used to regale appreciative audiences with it at Mess Dinners.