HMS Echo

HMS Echo

Echo was launched at Appledore in Devon in 2002, and was designed to carry out a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations.

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HMS Echo achieves this through the collection of oceanographic, hydrographic and bathymetric data, which includes analysis of the ocean, its salinity and sound profile.

Her survey motor boat, Sapphire, is capable of operating independently, supporting a small group of surveyors who can live and work ashore to carry out surveys.

Echo, which is based in Devonport, was the first Royal Navy ship to use azimuth thrusters, where the propellers are part of a swivelling pod, allowing for precise manouevring.

To ensure she can operate in any environment she possesses a impressive array of weapons for force protection. Echo also carries a small detachment of Royal Marines.


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HMS Echo visits wall of honour in Georgia


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Echo to the rescue as survey ship joins international exercise in Cyprus


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Unit History

The First Echo1757

The first HMS Echo was originally a French privateer named Le Marechal De Richelieu, built in 1757. On 11 June 1758 she was captured by HM Ships Juno and Scarborough.

The First Echo1757

Taken into Navy as HMS Echo, she took part in operations leading to the capture of Quebec in 1759, and in 1762 was present at the capture of Martinique in February, and of Havana in August.

The Second Echo1780

The second was another French prize, the 18-gun corvette L'Hussard, built at Lorient in 1779 and captured by the 64-gun ship HMS Nonsuch off Ushant in July 1780.

The Third Echo1782

A new Echo was launched at Liverpool in October 1782, name ship of a class of 16-gun ship-rigged sloops; she was the first vessel specifically designed to carry the new carronades.

The Third Echo1782

The first six years of her service were passed mainly on the Newfoundland Station, before she paid off in 1788. With the outbreak of war in 1793 she was back in the English Channel.

The Third Echo1795

In 1795 she was part of a small squadron under the command of Vice Admiral Sir George Keith Elphinstone which seized the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch.

The Fourth Echo1796

A replacement Echo had been ordered in December 1796, and was launched at Dover in September 1797. The new HMS Echo was a flush-decked ship sloop, she had a crew of 121 officers and men.

The Fourth Echo1796

In 1804 she captured a French troop transport with 300 soldiers on board, and in October that year took the French privateer Hasard. She returned to home waters in 1806 and was sold in 1809.

The Fifth Echo1809

The next, the fifth of the name, was a Cruiser-class brig-rigged sloop, one of more than 100 built to the same design. The Echo was built at Frindsbury, Kent, and launched in July 1809.

The Fifth Echo1809

She had her successes, capturing the Capricieux in March 1810 and the 16-gun La Confiance in February 1811. With Napoleon's abdication in 1814 Echo was sent to the West Indies.

The Sixth Echo1827

The sixth HMS Echo was one of the first handful of steam paddle ships built for the Admiralty, and was launched at Woolwich Dockyard in May 1827. 

The Sixth Echo1827

She was the originator of the tradition of HMS Echo as a survey ship name; her first commission included surveys of the Thames and its estuary.

The Seventh Echo1887

The next Echo was a water tank steamer, purchased on the stocks at Sunderland in 1887, and in dockyard service at Gibraltar until 1916.

The Tenth Echo1934

The tenth HMS Echo was an E-class destroyer, built at Dumbarton by Wm. Denny & Bros., and launched in February 1934. She was commissioned in October 1934.

The Tenth Echo1934

In April 1941 she was in the escorting force for the raid on the Lofoten Islands and in May she joined the hunt for the Bismarck, and escorted the damaged Prince of Wales back to Iceland.


From November 1942 to February 1943 she was escorting North Russia convoys (including the hard-fought PQ18 and QP15 operations).


In September she participated in the invasion of the Italian mainland at Salerno; from that time on she took part in operations in the Aegean, supporting ground forces on Leros and other islands.

The Last Echo1958

The next Echo was a 106ft 160 ton Inshore Survey Vessel, built at Cowes and completed in 1958. She was one of the small ships of the Inshore Survey Squadron, with Enterprise and Egeria.

The Last Echo1958

She was a well-known ship around the harbours of the East Coast, and 'showed the flag' on many official visits to Belgian, Dutch and German ports on the North Sea coast, and as far inland as Cologne.

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