The badge of HMS CATTISTOCK, used since 1940
HMS CATTISTOCK prior to the current refit

Few villages can claim the distinction of having a Royal Navy ship named after them and for that ship still to be in service.  But the village of Cattistock has that honour.  Or, more correctly perhaps, the Cattistock Hunt has the honour because HMS CATTISTOCK (M31) is a Hunt Class Minehunter all of which are named after hunts.  She is the third Royal Navy ship to be fortunate enough to bear the name of our village.

Launched in 1981, HMS CATTISTOCK is a mine counter-measures vessel whose role is to detect and destroy mines and other seabed anomalies. Displacing just 750 tons and powered by 2 diesel engines she has a maximum speed of about 17knots and a ship’s company of 45, comprising 6 officers and 39 ratings. She is of GRP construction with a minimal magnetic signature to safeguard her from magnetic mines. Mines are detected using very high-definition sonar and destroyed by placing an explosive charge beside them.

The first HMS CATTISTOCK, minesweeper in World War 1
The 2nd HMS CATTISTOCK L35 Destroyer in World War 2

The first HMS CATTISTOCK was a First World War minesweeper.  In those days minesweeping was exactly that.  Minesweepers towed steel trawl wires supported by paravanes with explosive cutting devices to cut the wires of moored mines which were then sunk or blown up by gunfire.  No hi-tech sonars in those days.  Mindful of the old naval adage “Every ship is a minesweeper – once” these ships were at least designed for the job.

The Second HMS CATTISTOCK (L35) was a World War 2 destroyer that served with distinction throughout the war.  She was present off the Normandy beaches on D-Day and subsequently badly damaged by shellfire with many casualties.  After repair she served until the end of the war.  This picture shows HMS CATTISTOCK entering Hamburg in July 1945. 

The 2nd HMS CATTISTOCK entering Hamburg July 1945
A more recent aerial view of the current HMS CATTISTOCK, pre refit
Links with the current HMS Cattistock began when She was commissioned in 1982 and the entire Ship’s company marched through the village from the Fox & Hounds to the church. In the intervening years they have supported many village events, regularly helping out at the fete, and attending Christmas Carol and Remembrance Day services in the church, the latter as recently as 2022. Since 1984 villagers have been invited to spend time on board the ship on several occasions when She has been berthed locally. 
One highlight was the cricket match that was played against the Ship’s company in May 2013, which was followed by a very lively evening in the Fox and Hounds! The following day a number of villagers accepted an invitation to go on board HMS Cattistock which cruised from Poole back to her home berth in Portsmouth and provided the opportunity to have lunch in the wardroom and fire her machine guns at targets in the sea.

Unfortunately, the current policy of rotating entire crews through RN Ships, sometimes as frequently as every 4 months, means that building a relationship with the Ship’s Company these days is extremely challenging.  We hope that at some point in the future we will be able to invite some of the Ship’s Company to the village, and perhaps organise a visit to the Ship if She visits a port close-by. 

HMS CATTISTOCK during refit at Portsmouth
HMS CATTISTOCK during refit