HMNZS Hickleton (M1131) was a Ton class minesweeper that operated in the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). She was named after a small village near Doncaster.
Built for the Royal Navy by John I Thornycroft of Southampton, the minesweeper was launched on 26 January 1955 and later commissioned as HMS Hickleton
She was commissioned into the RNZN in 1965 and decommissioned in 1966. After leaving New Zealand service, she was transferred to the Argentine Navy and renamed ARA Neuquen (M1).
New Zealand Era
Early in 1965, Indonesia was employing a policy of confrontation against Malaysia. New Zealand agreed to assist Malaysia by deploying two Royal Navy minesweepers then in reserve at Singapore. These were commissioned into the RNZN on 10 April 1965 and joined the Royal Navy's 11th Minesweeping squadron (also Ton class), taking part part in anti-infiltration patrols in Malaysian waters.
In her first year Hickleton, together with her sister ship Santon, carried out 200 patrols, with 20 incidents involving intruding Indonesians, often taking as prisoners those aboard the intercepted craft.
By the time the Indonesian confrontation policy ended in August 1966 Santon had steamed 62,000 miles. Following the withdrawal of Commonwealth ships from the anti-infiltration patrols, the RNZN crew took her back to England, where she paid off in reserve at Portsmouth.
HMNZS Hickleton and sister ship HMNZS Santon are the only commissioned RNZN ships never to have visited NZ.
The story of HMNZS Santon and HMNZS Hickleton are in the book A Kiwi on our Funnel