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Lt Peter PALLOT RNVR, a talented artist represents the necessary expansion of Royal Naval MINESWEEPING Operations, which were so important not just during the war but well beyond into ‘peacetime’ dangerous operations to safeguard shipping in national and international waters. About one in five minesweepers were lost and Peter served on 11 of them, witnessing at close hand mine explosions.
At the war’s end his minesweeper would be the very first Allied vessel into VENICE, as only when channels were swept could larger ships enter. After his sweeping in Britain he would see most of the harbour clearance operations and port approaches from Sicily and Italy up into the Adriatic including Yugoslav ports such as Split. In fact one of his biggest near misses was two days before the war ended when the New Zealand Division reached TRIESTE but in too small numbers not to be threatened by the Yugoslav partisans wanting to take the city over. It was most important for that reason as quickly as possible to pave the way for the cruiser HMS ORION to enter port with her guns pointing shorewards.
Beyond VE-Day his Naval Minesweeper would be actively sweeping RAF-laid, Allied, Italian and German mines in the Adriatic until his return just before Christmas, 1945 after that period of two and a half years mostly afloat. Once much earlier his vessel had to be towed into Malta and there saw the tail end of the siege, before seeing Rodney and Nelson on their way to support landings. He would be involved in sweeping the approaches of Port Augusta, Catania, Messina, Reggio di Calabria, Taranto (where so much of the Italian Navy ships were, including their pioneer midget submarines), Bari (going into that port just after the explosion when an American ammunition ship with 500 and 1,000lb aircraft bombs exploded catastrophically, killing over 300 people and devastating much of its harbour area), Ancona, Split, Sibenik and Zadar before extensive operations for Venice (stayed working there until September) and Trieste In Venice harbour the mine disposal specialists would quickly have to stop exploding the mines because of the threat to Venetian buildings’ structures. Once VE-Day came, Peter remembers the German Navy being most co-operative and handing over all their mining charts, which helped our own minesweeping operations considerably.