My father, Samuel Owen, served in the (British) Royal Navy as a Petty Officer aboard the minesweeper HMS Larne, in the Mediterranean. He and his shipmates aided allied landings on the south coast of France during Operation Dragoon in August 1944; and in October 1944 his ship was so badly damaged by a mine off the coast of Greece during Operation Edgehill that it was out of action for the remainder of the War.

Samuel Owen
Petty Officer
Royal Navy

HMS Larne (ii) (J 274) Minesweeper of the Algerine class
Navy Royal Navy
Type Minesweeper
Class Algerine
Pennant J 274
Built by Lobnitz & Co. Ltd. (Renfrew, Scotland)
Laid down 25 Jan, 1943
Launched 2 Sep, 1943
Commissioned 22 Nov, 1943
History Allocated to 7th Minesweeper Flotilla. 31 July 1944, sailed for Mediterranean. Allied landings south coast of France 13 August 1944 (Operation Dragoon). On 15 October 1944, HMS Larne, Commander Humphrey Leoline Jenkins, was involved in sweeps off Cape Kalouri as part of Operation Edgehill when she hit a mine which caused a tremendous explosion next to her boiler room and No. 1 fuel tank and two of her engine room crew were killed. The leading sweeper, HMS Clinton, also caught a mine under her bow and stopped, down by the head, with vented steam feathering from her funnel steam pipes. HMS Larne was towed into Poros Bay, East Coast of Greece, and was eventually patched up, as was Clinton. (Comdr. Jenkins transferred to HMS Sylvia and the next day to HMS Welfare which he commanded until 19th March 1946.) HMS Larne was out of action for the rest of WWII. Sold to Italy in 1946, renamed Eritrea. Became orphanage ship 1951, renamed Alabarda. Broken up 1981.

All photos Copyright © 2010 Scott Owen
Reproduction and/or use without written permission prohibited.

Many thanks to Nick Stanley (Twitter: @AlgerinesAssoc) who very kindly provided additional information for many of the pictures.

If you have or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Scott@ScottOwen.org

Click on the images to enlarge

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 1 - hms larne 01
hms larne 01
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: "Mulberry" Prefabricated Harbour Sect.
Additional info: Probably taken off the South coast of England in the run up to D-Day.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 2 - hms larne 02
hms larne 02
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Bridge H.M.S. Larne Captain Lt Com. Clarke Lt Vangch (?) Lt Nunn Lt Smith
Additional info: Lt Cdr Clarke commanded HMS Larne during the Normandy landings but was relieved on 3 July 1944 when the ship transferred flotillas to become Senior Officer's ship of the 5th Flotilla under Cdr Humphrey Jenkins DSC RN. Jenkins was commanding HMS Larne for the invasion of S. France (Operation Dragoon).

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 3 - hms larne 03
hms larne 03
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 4 - hms larne 04
hms larne 04
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 5 - hms larne 05
hms larne 05
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta Sept 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 6 - hms larne 06
hms larne 06
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: waterside La Madellina
Additional Info: Waterside Promenade La Maddalena Italy? Ristorante Belvedere pictured.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 7 - hms larne 07
hms larne 07
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 8 - hms larne 08
hms larne 08
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta Sept 1944 Salemia
Additional info: Sliema?

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 9 - hms larne 09
hms larne 09
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta Sept 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 10 - hms larne 10
hms larne 10
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta Sept 1944 Samuel Owen

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 11 - hms larne 11
hms larne 11
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 12 - hms larne 12
hms larne 12
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Propriano Corsica

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 13 - hms larne 13
hms larne 13
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: L.L. Minesweeping
Additional Info: The Double L sweep was an influence sweep to activate magnetic mines, comprising 2 electric cables towed astern of the sweeper.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 14 - hms larne 14
hms larne 14
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 15 - hms larne 15
hms larne 15
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: HMS Larne deploying or recovering a sweep in perfect weather conditions. The two floats in the water are called 'Oropesa' floats, used to stop the sweep sinking towards the seabed.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 16 - hms larne 16
hms larne 16
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: HMS Clinton closing for an underway replenishment/transfer or (more likely given the number of crew on her decks) just doing a close pass during which the ships would pipe one another and the crew would sometimes exchange banter or hurl rotten fruit & veg!

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 17 - hms larne 17
hms larne 17
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: South of France Mr Churchill on board the destroyer
Additional info: As the note says, Prime Minister Churchill is aboard the destroyer.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 18 - hms larne 18
hms larne 18
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Ships of the Dragoon invasion force.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 19 - hms larne 19
hms larne 19
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Invasion South France
Additional Info: Ships of the Dragoon invasion force.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 20 - hms larne 20
hms larne 20
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Battleships and cruisers of the shore bombardment force. Larne and her sister ships would have had to sweep clear the firing areas for these units

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 21 - hms larne 21
hms larne 21
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: L.S.T Invasion force S. France 1944
Additional Info: Ships of the Dragoon invasion force.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 22 - hms larne 22
hms larne 22
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Ships of the Dragoon invasion force.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 23 - hms larne 23
hms larne 23
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Battleships and cruisers of the shore bombardment force. Larne and her sister ships would have had to sweep clear the firing areas for these units, firing in action.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 24 - hms larne 24
hms larne 24
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Battleships and cruisers of the shore bombardment force, firing in action.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 25 - hms larne 25
hms larne 25
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Battleships and cruisers of the shore bombardment force.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 26 - hms larne 26
hms larne 26
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 27 - hms larne 27
hms larne 27
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: S. France. M.L. escaping under heavy smoke screen
Additional Info: Smokescreen and Motor Launch in the far distance, with another Algerine-class minesweeper in the foreground.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 28 - hms larne 28
hms larne 28
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: HMS Larne laying a smokescreen that was laid to hide the invasion force (especially the vulnerable landing ships and transports) from the fire they were receiving from shore.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 29 - hms larne 29
hms larne 29
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Smokescreen. The taller plumes are the splashes from the shore batteries firing at the sweepers.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 30 - hms larne 30
hms larne 30
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Smokescreen. The taller plumes are the splashes from the shore batteries firing at the sweepers. A row of smoke pots on the surface, adding to the smokescreen.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 31 - hms larne 31
hms larne 31
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Smokescreen. The taller plumes are the splashes from the shore batteries firing at the sweepers.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 32 - hms larne 32
hms larne 32
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: S. France Jerry does his best
Additional Info: Smokescreen. The taller plumes are the splashes from the German's shore batteries firing at the sweepers.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 33 - hms larne 33
hms larne 33
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 34 - hms larne 34
hms larne 34
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Probably a couple of near misses from a heavy gun.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 35 - hms larne 35
hms larne 35
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Probably a mine detonation.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 36 - hms larne 36
hms larne 36
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: H.M.S. Larne not long after hitting mine 15th Oct 1944
Additional Info: Crew remaining professional and good-spirited in the aftermath of the mine strike which had killed two of their number.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 37 - hms larne 37
hms larne 37
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 38 - hms larne 38
hms larne 38
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Extent of the list after the explosion.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 39 - hms larne 39
hms larne 39
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Extent of the list after the explosion.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 40 - hms larne 40
hms larne 40
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Barcombe (?) takes us in tow 15th Oct 1944 Pireaus apperation(?)
Additional Info: Believed to be Boom Defence Vessel HMS Barcombe which is towing HMS Larne.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 41 - hms larne 41
hms larne 41
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: After Hitting Mine 15th Oct 1944 Greek Bim helping 23 list

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 42 - hms larne 42
hms larne 42
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Listing heavily.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 43 - hms larne 43
hms larne 43
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: HMS Larne after having been towed and beached at Poros.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 44 - hms larne 44
hms larne 44
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 45 - hms larne 45
hms larne 45
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta Sept 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 46 - hms larne 46
hms larne 46
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: H.M.S. Larne Oct. 1944
Additional info: HMS Larne after having been towed and beached at Poros.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 47 - hms larne 47
hms larne 47
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: HMS Larne after having been towed and beached at Poros.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 48 - hms larne 48
hms larne 48
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 49 - hms larne 49
hms larne 49
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: H.M.S. Larne Poros, Greece Oct 1944
Additional Info: HMS Larne after having been towed and beached at Poros.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 50 - hms larne 50
hms larne 50
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 51 - hms larne 51
hms larne 51
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Island of Poros, 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 52 - hms larne 52
hms larne 52
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: MY FRIEND TAF KEW HIS BURIAL AT SEA POROS, GREECE
Additional Info: Burial of Petty Officer Stoker Ivor "Taff" Kew, one of two killed by the mine strike. He may have been on loan to HMS Larne from the destroyer HMS Gurkha, but had clearly been onboard for long enough to have become a friend of my father's. Sam Owen at bottom right.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 53 - hms larne 53
hms larne 53
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Sam & Arnold Oct. 1944.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 54 - hms larne 54
hms larne 54
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Poros Nov 1944 Left to Right... Arnold, Freida, Chryssoula, Sam & Greek Friend

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 55 - hms larne 55
hms larne 55
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 56 - hms larne 56
hms larne 56
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Poros Greece Nov. 1944.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 57 - hms larne 57
hms larne 57
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: To Samoulaki (with personal note)
Additional Info: Chryssoula / Chrysulla (in her handwriting and she spells her name in two different ways)

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 58 - hms larne 58
hms larne 58
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: (personal note)
Additional Info: Chryssoula / Chrysulla, and possibly her brother

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 59 - hms larne 59
hms larne 59
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 60 - hms larne 60
hms larne 60
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 61 - hms larne 61
hms larne 61
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 62 - hms larne 62
hms larne 62
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Chryssoula Vasileiou & Brother

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 63 - hms larne 63
hms larne 63
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944 Arnold Cooper Samuel Owen & Greek Friend Luke also an R.A.F Friend

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 64 - hms larne 64
hms larne 64
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 65 - hms larne 65
hms larne 65
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 66 - hms larne 66
hms larne 66
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 67 - hms larne 67
hms larne 67
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 68 - hms larne 68
hms larne 68
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 69 - hms larne 69
hms larne 69
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Royal Palace Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 70 - hms larne 70
hms larne 70
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 71 - hms larne 71
hms larne 71
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 72 - hms larne 72
hms larne 72
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 73 - hms larne 73
hms larne 73
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 74 - hms larne 74
hms larne 74
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 75 - hms larne 75
hms larne 75
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 76 - hms larne 76
hms larne 76
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 77 - hms larne 77
hms larne 77
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Athens & Pireaus Area Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 78 - hms larne 78
hms larne 78
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 79 - hms larne 79
hms larne 79
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Marathon Dam near Athens Nov 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 80 - hms larne 80
hms larne 80
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Marathon Dam near Athens 1944

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 81 - hms larne 81
hms larne 81
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 82 - hms larne 82
hms larne 82
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: H.M.S. Larne Malta May 1945
Additional Info: Repairs to the hull of HMS Larne. The mine had gone off next to the engine room, hence the fact that the two killed were engineers.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 83 - hms larne 83
hms larne 83
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Repairs to the hull of HMS Larne.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 84 - hms larne 84
hms larne 84
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: H.M.S. Larne Malta May 1945
Additional Info: Repairs to the hull of HMS Larne.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 85 - hms larne 85
hms larne 85
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Malta

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 86 - hms larne 86
hms larne 86
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Aircraft carrier?

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 87 - hms larne 87
hms larne 87
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: On the left, HMS Larne Chief Stoker Patrick Nicholson;
second from left, Warrant Mechanician William Winchester.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 88 - hms larne 88
hms larne 88
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Sam Owen (r) with possibly Arnold Cooper pictured earlier.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 89 - hms larne 89
hms larne 89
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Additional info: Athens

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 90 - hms larne 90
hms larne 90
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 91 - hms larne 91
hms larne 91
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 92 - hms larne 92
hms larne 92
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 93 - hms larne 93
hms larne 93
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 94 - hms larne 94
hms larne 94
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 95 - hms larne 95
hms larne 95
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 96 - hms larne 96
hms larne 96
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: Your Brothers Trader Horm.(?) & Gary. Local Boys.
Additional Info: In someone else's writing, the names are very difficult to read and probably incorrect.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 97 - hms larne 97
hms larne 97
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: John 1944 Alexandria My Pal Yoff(?). You should meet him we are quite a pair
Additional Info: I believe this is Sam Owen's brother, John S. Owen, on the left.

Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII: image 98 - hms larne 98
hms larne 98
Sam Owen - HMS Larne - WWII
Written on back: It's the Old Mug Himself Alexandria
Additional Info: I believe this is Sam Owen's brother, John S. Owen.

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