The History:

HMS ELFIN, tender to HMS TITANIA, photo: Wright and Logan Ordered 12.5.1933 by the British Royal Navy, her keel was laid during June Elin's Builder plate1933 by J. Samuel White of East Cowes as their yard number 1754, she was launched 20.11.1933 and commissioned in 16.1.1934. Samuel White's builders number 1753 was ELFIN's sister ship HMS REDWING which was ordered for the torpedo school HMS Defiance at Devonport.
 The two ships were sometimes described as Tender, Special service or torpedo recovery vessel. Navy Lists from 1934 up to the outbreak of World War II show her as a Particular Service Vessel of 222t displacement Tender to the Submarine Depot at Portland. HMS ELFIN was tender to the submarine depot-ship HMS TITANIA, for the 6th Submarine Flotilla.
HMS REDWING, tender to DEFIANCE, Devonport, Photo: R. Perkins


Engine room ELFIN, photo: Homburg, NHD Displacement: 249 tons.
Dimensions: Length 108' beam 25' draught 6 1/2.
Machinery: 2 sets reciprocating compound engines 250IHP
Speed 9.5 knots.
Complement 12.
Pendant number T.25

Pre-war movements:

Arrived Portland 12.1.1934 departed 19.1.1934
Arrived Devonport 19.1.1934 departed March 1934
Arrived Portsmouth March 1934 departed 13.3.1934
Arrived Guernsey 13.3.1934 departed 14.3.1934
Arrived Portland 14.3.1934 departed 12.7.1935
Arrived Portsmouth 12.7.1935 departed 15.5.1937
Arrived Yarmouth 15.5.1937 departed 21.5.1937
Arrived Portland 21.5.1937 departed 5.6.1937
Arrived Portsmouth 5.6.1937 departed 29.6.1937
Arrived Portland 29.6.1937 departed 10.12.1937
Arrived Portsmouth 10.12.1937 departed 20.1.1938
Arrived Portland 20.1.1938 departed 2.12.1938
Arrived Portsmouth 2.12.1938 departed 17.1.1939
Arrived Portland 17.1.1939 departed 12.6.1939
Arrived Torquay 12.6.1939 departed 20.6.1939
Arrived Portland 20.6.39 ---

World War II

During 1940 the 6th Flotilla accompanied by ELFIN moved up to Blyth, HMS NETTLE, photo: G. Ransomewhere on 20.8.1941 ELFIN was renamed NETTLE and given the Pendant number T.94. Skipper F. Dale RNR was appointed in command 12.8.1941 NETTLE was re fitted at Blyth between March and April 1942 and is shown in Pink Lists from July 1943 as serving at Rothesay. During the War the crew did some heroic stuff. For a particular brave action several crew members were rewarded.

HMS CYCLOPS, submarines and ELFIN (right) in 1942

Post War

In October 1945 shown as "Deleted for disposal" this did not take happen as she is shown in June 1946 as at Portland attending the 7th Submarine Flotilla and in January 1948 attending the 2nd Flotilla. In September 1952 in attendance on X craft (midget subs) at Portland. For sale at Portland in June 1957 she was sold 14.8.1957 to Pounds at Portsmouth. At the time of the sale, she appeared in the movie The Key with Sophia Loren, William Holden and Trevor Howard. The film came out in 1958 and the actors actually walked over her bridge deck.

A new life in Amsterdam

Soon after the film was shot, she was transported to her new owner the Amsterdam Drydock Company (ADM).HOM7 ex NETTLE ex ELFIN in Amsterdam as Tanker Cleaning vessel, photo: M. de JonghIn 1958 she was transferred into into a tanker cleaning vessel under a new name: Droogdok 18, later she was renamed H.O.M. 7 and in the eighties TCA1. In this function she was the very last industrial steamship in the Netherlands and was in use until as late as 1989. In that year activities stopped on board of the once proud steamer. Worn off she had done her duties and she slowly turned into oblivion.

Thanks to George Ransome and the late Gus Britton for information about the history of HMS ELFIN, and a very special Thanks to Dennis Feary, who unearthed almost everything available! All pre 1957 information is from them.