United Kingdom
  • 1958-1964: Powderham
  • 1964-1995: Waterwitch
BuilderJ. Samuel White, Cowes
Launched27 November 1958
Completed22 May 1960
DecommissionedMarch 1995
Reclassifiedsurvey vessel, 1964
FateSold 1986
General characteristics
Class and typeHam-class minesweeper
NotesPennant number: M2720

HMS Powderham was one of 93 ships of the Ham class of inshore minesweepers named after villages ending in -ham, in this case Powderham in Devon. She was launched on 27 November 1958 by J. Samuel White & Company Ltd, Cowes and commissioned in 1959.[1] She was allocated pennant number M 2720.[2][3]

Commissioned as a minesweeper in 1959, she was allocated to the Special Trials Unit, Portsmouth Dockyard and the Forth Division Royal Naval Reserve, based at Rosyth.[2][3] In 1964 she was converted at Chatham Dockyard to an inshore survey vessel and renamed HMS Waterwitch.[2] Operating in the South Coast Survey Unit with civilian Port Auxiliary Service crew until 1974, she then had a refit before participation in the 1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead.[2] Thereafter, Waterwitch was attached to the Liverpool University Royal Navy Unit until she was paid off at Portsmouth in March 1995.[2]

Post-naval service

After decommissioning in 1995, Waterwitch was sold to Pounds Shipowners & Shipbreakers Ltd, Portchester and laid up in Portsmouth Harbour.[2] In 1997 she was acquired by "Project M2720", a voluntary non-profit-making group of ex-Royal Navy and Merchant Navy personnel and berthed in North Shields with a view to offering a shipboard training facility for disadvantaged young people.[4]


  1. ^ Colledge, J J. Ships of the Royal Navy: An historical index, Vol 1. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 433.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Waterwitch". Greenwich: National Historic Ships UK. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b Moore, John, ed. (1980). Jane's Fighting Ships 1980-81. London: Jane's Publishing Co. p. 575. ISBN 0-7106-0703-2.
  4. ^ "Survey craft given a new direction". Navy News. Ministry of Defence. 1 November 1997. p. 3. Archived from the original on 31 December 2019.