Sure enough, if you Google “HMS Aries” > images, the second picture that comes up shows three sailors, the one at the back at the left with his hat tilted back is my Dad. The picture was posted as part of a family history which featured John Taylor (right). Clearly they were friends, but sadly both John and my Dad died some years ago so I have no more information.
HMS Aries was an Algerine Class minesweeper, built in Canada for the war effort. My dad joined the crew around 1943 and like many of his generation didn’t talk much about his experiences. I learned from my mother that a ship he was aboard had hit a mine, killing one of his close friends. This was confirmed as HMS Aries when I spoke with the Algerine association.
I also know my Dad was injured while on Aries; after his death I found an MOD “Certificate of Hurts and Wounds”, in his effects, which details how he was injured by anti aircraft fire. I also recall when I was young, my mother showing me his campaign medals, one of which was the Adriatic Star; I believe Aries was involved in minesweeping operations as part of the landings in southern Italy.
The crews of the Algerine class minesweepers are represented today by the Algerine Association; two memorials have been erected to the class and their crews in Portsmouth. The vessels were built in wood during WWII so as to be effective for minesweeping duty; their motto was “show the way.”
My little girl at her passing out parade, with her - er gun!! Grandad would have been proud.