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Pennant Number: M 84
Notes: A successful class of fast minelayers, also used for such duties as running special cargoes of ammunition to Malta. Soon after completion, WELSHMAN had 4 - 20mm AA added. Later, her twin 4.7" mounts were replaced by twin 4" HA mounts, and 8 - 20mm (twin mounts) added.
Like her sister ships of the ABDIEL class, WELSHMAN served two roles with the Royal Navy; she laid mines when required, but her high speed and cargo capacity were used to carry supplies to the beleaguered island of Malta. WELSHMAN's sorties to Malta was featured in the British movie "The Malta Story". During a sortie in early May, 1942, WELSHMAN's crew used plywood and other materials to disguise her as a French destroyer; the ruse worked, as several Axis aircraft spotted her but failed to properly identify her as a British ship. While in harbor at Malta, WELSHMAN was damaged by near-misses from Axis bombers. Upon her return to Gibraltar, she was sent to the United Kingdom for repairs. But upon arrival, it was decided to send WELSHMAN back to Gibraltar with more supplies for Malta. While arriving at Gibraltar on 1 June 1942, WELSHMAN collided with a tug and suffered damage to her bow and her port propeller; repairs to this damage took about two weeks. For the remainder of 1942 and into early 1943, WELSHMAN made many sorties in the Mediterranean, carrying much-needed supplies to Malta. At the end of January, 1943, WELSHMAN laid a minefield west of Sicily which claimed two victims; the Italian corvette PROCELLARIA and the torpedo boat GENERALE MARCELLO PRESTINARI. But while returning from this minelaying mission on 1 February 1943, WELSHMAN was struck by a single torpedo from the German submarine U-617 and sank 35 miles east-northeast off Tobruk, Libya.
A special "thank you!" to the following on-line sources for additional information on the WELSHMAN: