The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 HMS REDSTART - Yard No 263 - Indicator Loop Mine Layer - Royal Navy - Built 1938

Leith Shipyards

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HMS REDSTART - Yard No 263 - Indicator Loop Mine Layer - Royal Navy - Built 1938



The first of two Indicator Loop Mine Layers.
Built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb to carry out some very secret work during World War II

 HMS REDSTART steaming out of Portsmouth harbour

(Photo is from

Owners    Admiralty (MoD)
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Indicator Loop Mine/Layer Launched    03/05/1938
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    145' 0" Weather    
Beam    27' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     14' 0"      
G.R.T.    425 tons      
Props    1      
Armament     2 x Lewis guns      
Other known names        
Current Status    Scuttled in Hong Kong Harbour 1941    
Content on HMS REDSTART will be added as and when available. 


HMS REDSTART showing her loop cables hanging over her port side. 

Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
and in the case of a Royal Naval ship she has to be commissioned into the "Senior Service".

With war clouds on the horizon the Admiralty had started to place orders with shipyards for vessels considered very much needed. Such was the case for the Indicator Loop Cable ships, whose very dangerous and secret job was to protect harbours and naval installations from mines that had been layed by enemy forces by air or sea, there job was to detect the mines that had been laid during the night.
HMS REDSTART was posted out to the far east base of Hong Kong. 

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.

Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Story as told below by Lt. Cmdr Henry Collingwood-Selby's Son Richard.

 Lt. Cmdr. Henry Collingwood-Selby was the captain of the Redstart in 1941 and received the order to scuttle her-

My father commanded the Redstart for probably over a year (but I have not found the date of his appointment). I do know that he took the ship from Hong Kong to Singapore embarking on 10th January 1941 and arriving in Singapore harbour on the 17th.  He spent the next few months laying and relaying mines at Singapore.  Then he took Redstart back to Hong Kong, leaving on 4th April and arriving at Hong Kong on Saturday 12th April.

My father was still in command of Redstart when the Japanese attacked Hong Kong on 8th December 1941.  The ship was attacked several times but managed to survive, although its only armament was two Lewis guns.

The ship spent its last few days between Aberdeen harbour and Deepwater Bay.  On Friday 12th the crew painted the ship brown and green for camouflage purposes.  It was in Deepwater Bay, close in to the shore, on Friday 19th at about 10.30 a.m. when my father received orders to scuttle the ship.  He opened the sea cocks and Redstart sank as the crew landed ashore and proceeded to Aberdeen harbour for further orders.  A contingent went with my father into the hills, where my father was wounded and taken prisoner two days later.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.


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0 #1 Richard Collingwood- 2011-09-17 20:13
My father, Lt. Cmdr. Henry Collingwood-Sel by was the captain of the Redstart in 1941 and received the order to scuttle her - which was one of the saddest moments of his life. Subsequently he, with members of the crew, fought the Japanese on shore until he was wounded and taken prisoner.

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