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HMS Seagull Niehuis & Van Den Berg's Shipyard Rotterdam Copper Tray
HMS Seagull was a Halcyon-class minesweeper, completed on 30 March 1938. and the first Royal Navy ship to be built entirely without rivets. She was adopted by the civil community of Christchurch, Hampshire after a successful Warship Week National Savings campaign in February 1942. During the Second World War she won Battle Honours for the Artic Convoys in 1942 and helped escort 21 Arctic convoys. Subsequently she won further Battle Honours for Normandy in 1944 when she participated in Operation Neptune. After VE Day HMS Seagull was deployed on mine clearance duties in the North Sea and Channel areas but in August 1945 she was allocated for conversion to a Survey Ship and Paid-off from the Royal Navy.
HMS SEAGULL was taken to Niehuis & Van Den Berg's Shipyard Rotterdam (which is still in business) for the conversion to her new role and two months later went to Chatham for completion of this work, including the installation of specialist hydrographic equipment in HM Dockyard and on completion in April 1946 the ship recommissioned for surveying duties. From June onwards she carried out surveys in Home Waters until again paid-off and reduced to Reserve Status in March 1951. In the sequence of images attached here the final shot shows a period image of HMS Seagull as a minesweeper and below how she looked after conversion to a survey ship proably taken in 1946. In he4r final season Seagull was employed in the Bristol Channel, mainly sweeping for wrecks. She was laid-up at Devonport and towed to Leith in 1955 for used as a Drill Ship for the RNVR Division. She was finally sold to BISCO for breaking-up by Demelweek and Redding at Plymouth and taken in tow from Leith on 1st May 1956 for her final voyage.
Our copper ashtray remains in fine original condition as shown and was clearly made by Niehuis & Van Den Berg's Shipyard and is engraved with the company name, HMS Seagull, 1- VIII and 8-X1 and 1945 so the exact dates when the conversion work in Holland took place. We can only assume this was presented to the ships company when the conversion work was completed; her Commander in September '45 was Lt. Cdr. Colin Courtenay Lowry. We purchased ithis item in Devon so it may have been recovered from the ship when she was broken up in Plymouth 64 years ago. This would make a unique present for the nautical collector in your life or a perfect gift for if you happen to have family who served on HMS Seagull! Measures 6.25" diameter (15.5 cm)