In May 1915, the Admiral of Minesweeping reported that wartime experience with hired paddlers proved they were more efficient as minesweepers than trawlers in sweeping coastal waters as their light draught was a great asset.
The vessels ordered were named after racecourses. HMS Wetherby was built by Murdoch and Murray Ltd of Port Glasgow and launched on April 11, 1918. She was built under the Emergency War Programme.
l Load displacement 820 tons
l Length 249 feet 9 inches; breadth 29 feet (58 feet outside paddle boxes);
l Draught 6 feet 9 inches.
l Engines: 1,400 ihp
l Speed capacity: 15 knots
l Coal: 156 tons
l Armament: 2-6 pounder and 2-2 pounder guns
l Complement: 52 officers and men
l Port of manning: Portsmouth.
HMS Wetherby served in fleet sweeping flotillas at Liverpool, Buncrana (Ireland), Dover, Lervik (Norway) and Kirkwall.
On October 24, 1919 she was paid off in Portsmouth and placed on the disposal list.
On June 10, 1924 she was sold to Alloa Shipbreaking Co Ltd for breaking up.
The Ministry of Defence, writing in response to a query from Tony Pickard in 1986 quoted her short career in the Navy as having been a fairly routine, though valuable one.
An extract from Wetherby Parish Council handwritten minutes of June 11, 1918 sates:
“The chairman read a letter from a naval officer (R S Sloane, Eng. Lieut. RNR) notifying that one of His Majesty’s minesweepers had been named Wetherby after this town and asking for comforts for the men of the ship.
“The council resolved that the above be made as public as possible and appealed for comforts for the men, and Mrs Crossley was asked to bring the appeal before the public in the Wetherby News.