When the Second World War was at its height, this ship and her crew were sent out on risky missions, sometimes with their life at stake. Today the minesweeper Bremön is moored at the dock of the Naval Museum, open to all visitors who want to know more about her fascinating history.
Named after a lighthouse station – Brämon, in the Swedish province of Medelpad – that stood on the Eriksberg mechanical workshop in Gothenburg, the Bremön was launched in June, 1940. Today, the ship lives a quiet life as a museum ship at the Naval Museum in Karlskrona but she has had an eventful and sometimes a very dangerous life.
Bremön is the only preserved warship of the original 14 ships of the so-called Arholma class that were built in the years 1937–1940. All of these ships were named after lighthouses along the coast of Sweden. Bamön and her sister ship were minesweepers, and when the Second World War was at its height both would disarm and lay out mines, but they would also help in escorting and preventing foreign ships from entering Swedish waters. Bremön is driven by two steam turbines of 1600 horsepower each, has a height of 56.7 meters and is 7.6 meters wide. The ship is armed with two cannons and during its service life in the navy, it had 40 mines and 50 depth bombs on board.
Bremön was a segregated world. The ordinary crew's living quarters were extremely crowded and they had only one cook for forty people. The three officers had relatively good rooms and access to their own cook and butler.
In service when Europe was in flames
The war years, 1939–1945, entailed great tests for the Swedish military, and particularly for the navy. Although our country was neutral, there were many mines in Swedish waters, and Bremön and her crew lived a hectic and dangerous life. In November 1941, the ship was working on disarmament, to the south of Öland, when a mine exploded. The rescue picket boat 282 Lebonon, which participated in the work, exploded in the air and ten men died.
In 1943, Bremön was a part of, and escorted many Danish warships that succeeded in escaping Swedish waters The taut ship went into the blackness of the night with extinguished lanterns, and Bremön's captain had received orders to open fire if needed.
An important mission for Bremön during the war was to protect the merchant ships. The risk that they would be subjected to airstrikes, artillery fire, torpedoes and mines was ever present at sea; also too far inside the Swedish waters. About 1,500 Swedish seamen in the merchant shipping died in service during World War II but the figure would have been much higher if the Swedish fleet had not been present. During the war years, approximately 4,000 mines around the Swedish coast were disarmed and around 16,000 merchant ships were escorted away.
Escaped the scrapyard
Peace came in 1945 but life for Bremön was a still long way from a risk-free. Several years after the war, the ship worked with clearing up mines on the Swedish waters. In the 1960s, she became a mother ship to the Swedish navy's first mini-submarine Spiggen. From 1966 and 14 years forward, Bremön worked as a training ship in the Karlskrona warship schools.
Bremön is the only minesweeper of the Arholma class that escaped the scrapyard. In 1987, she was gifted to the Naval Museum, and is open to vistors during the summer months. With fittings, weaponry and other equipment in plenty and quite intact from the war years in the 1940s, Bremön is one of the museum's most popular ships.