The picture is of a ship that my late father is believed to have served on, I can find no identification marks on the photograph, so even a type of vessel would be a great help, as I have no records of his service history.

enter image description here

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    The miracle of image search. Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 18:40

4 Answers 4


That photo is of the HMS Liberty, retouched to remove identifying information.

This Google image search1 finds images identified as both HMS Lysander and HMS Liberty.2 Looking at those two pages, they're the same photo, but with retouching to remove the flags, land, and ship's numbers:
animated difference

Looking closely at your photo, the area where the ship's numbers would be shows signs of editing:
Numbers retouched

The flags were airbrushed out too:
flags retouched

I wrote to the Imperial War Museum and got a response back from a curator there:

Thank you for contacting the IWM with this information. These two records are both clearly the same image of HMS Liberty, and represent an interesting example of wartime photographic censorship.

I have amended the catalogue records of both entries to reflect the relationship between the two, and these changes will migrate into our Collections Search database in due course.

The photo is definitively of the HMS Liberty, but was previously identified as being of the HMS Lysander for reasons unclear. Hopefully narrowing the possibilities to those two ships helps with determining which ship your father served on.

1 Based on Retroswald's answer.
2 When originally written, the retouched photo was identified as the HMS Lysander on the Imperial War Museum's page (and others). It's unclear how it came to be identified as such, but the records have since been corrected because of this answer. Observation is participation.

  • Great sleuthing! Have you contacted the IWM about this?
    – Schwern
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 21:19
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    @Schwern I just sent them an email. We'll see what comes of it.
    – blahdiblah
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 21:37
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    According to this source, J391 is HMS Liberty, so both photos are of HMS Liberty. The OP's father could have served on almost any Algerine Class.
    – Schwern
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 18:13
  • @Schwern I'm curious as to how the IWM came to identify OP's photo as being of the HMS Lysander.
    – blahdiblah
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 19:31
  • @blahdiblah It says it is the Lysander if you do a google image search. Unless you dig deeper to find out what this person did, then it is, at first glance, the Lysander.
    – Joehot200
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 10:24

With the help of Search Google for this image, that ship is HMS Lysander.

For more info click the following links.

  1. World Naval Ships Website

  2. UBoat.Net Website

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    Readily done in Chrome. Maybe not so easy in other browsers. +1 for including the answer and method.
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 18:16
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    It would be really nifty if you could include the resulting search page too, linked to your "Search Google" text. Easy to do here with the editor.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 17:24
  • Thank you for the rapid response and the, for me very valuable information. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 18:05
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    Just so you know, that is one of a class of ~110 Algerine Class Minesweepers.
    – Kobunite
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 10:01

I have 2 of my father's pictures from his service in the Royal Navy in WW2-they are identical to this and it is HMS Lysander-fleet minesweeper.

  • Could you add those photos as source? Would improve the answer.
    – Marakai
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 0:51

Pennant number J391 was allocated to HMS Liberty, she was sold to Belgium post war and became Adrien De Gerlache

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    That part number wasn't in the question though, so this is really more of a comment on another answer, isn't it? Also how did you come by this information?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:14

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