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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS VANSITTART (D 64) -  V & W-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Vansittart, with wartime modifications (CyberHeritage, click to enlarge)

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Modified W Class-Destroyer ordered from Beardmore with the 13th Order of the 1918-19 Programme in January 1918. The ship was laid down on 1st January 1918 and was launched on 17th April 1919. She was the second RN warship to carry the name first used for a hired packet in 1821. After her completion on 5th November 1919 she joined the Fleet and in 1921 was part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. The Flotilla was transferred to the Mediterranean in 1925 but when it was replaced by new design destroyers returned to UK to pay off into Reserve. This ship was laid-up in Maintenance Reserve at Rosyth with a Special Complement when brought forward manned by Reservists for the Review of the Reserve Fleet at Weymouth in August 1939. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in December 1941 she was adopted by Kidderminster then in Hereford. (For details of this Class of destroyer see V AND W DESTROYERS 1917-45 by A Preston).

 

B a t t l e  H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC  1939-45 - NORWAY 1940 - MALTA  CONVOYS  1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge :On a Field Gold, a Demi-eagle Black.

 

M o t t o

Grata quies si merita:   'Rest is pleasant if deserved'

 

 

D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

 

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)

 

 

1 9 3 9

 

August                  Commissioned with RNR personnel for Royal Review at Weymouth.

                                War Station nominated for service with 15th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

September             Remained in commission and deployed in English Channel for convoy defence.

                12th        Deployed with HM Destroyer SCIMITAR as escort for military convoy DB1 from Solent during

                                passage to Brest with troops of BEF.

 

October                  Transferred to 17th Destroyer Flotilla for convoy defence and patrol in Western Approaches

                                Command based at Plymouth.

 

November              Deployed on Atlantic convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol in SW Approaches.

to

December

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence deployment in continuation.

to

February

 

March

                31st         Joined escort for inward Convoy HG24F from Gibraltar during passage to Liverpool in SW

                                Approaches.

 

April

                3rd          Detached from HG24F and returned to Plymouth.

                8th          Detached for duty with Hone Fleet after German attack on Norway.

                                Passage to Scapa Flow for deployment as escort for military convoys to and from Norway.

                22nd       Sailed from Rosyth with HM Destroyers CAMPBELL, IVANHOE, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE

                                and WITCH as screen for HM Cruisers GALATEA, SHEFFIELD and GLASGOW.

                                (Note: These ships were all taking troops to Andalsnes to reinforce earlier landings

                                (Operation SICKLE)

                23rd        Took return passage after disembarking troops.

 

May                        Deployed in support of operations off Norway and for convoy escort.

                10th        Sustained damaged during air attack at Narvik.

                20th        Deployed in evacuations from Dutch coast ports including Rotterdam and Hook of Holland .

                                (Operation ORDNANCE).

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to I64 after introduction of new

                                identities throughout RN.

 

June                        Deployed for convoy defence and patrol in SW Approaches and Channel.

                1st           During patrol in SW Approaches carried out depth charge attacks on submarine detected by

                                ASDIC.

                                Rescued survivors from ss CLEARTON sunk by U102 in position 47.3N 09.30W.

                                After rescue of survivors resumed hunt for submarine and sighted rising oil.

                                No further contact made and. further search abandoned.

                                Took passage to land survivors.

                                (Note : U102 is recorded as lost either by this attack or subsequently by- mine or other accidental

                                cause see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.

 

August                  Atlantic and Channel convoy defence in continuation.

 

September

                13th        Convoy defence and patrol in continuation.

                                Deployed with HM Destroyers MONTROSE, GARTH and Polish ORP BLYSKAWICA.

                                Transferred to 5th Escort Group based at Liverpool in continuation.

                                Joined HM Destroyers WALKER, WIVERN, WESTCOTT and CALDWELL

 

October                  Atlantic convoy escort duty in continuation based at Liverpool.

to

November

 

December              Detached for duty at Portsmouth.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Nominated for convoy defence based in Clyde and took passage from Channel.

                12th        Joined military convoy WS5B in Clyde for Local Escort in NW Approaches with HM Destroyers

                                BEAGLE, FEARLESS, HARVESTER, HIGHLANDER, JACKAL, LEAMINGTON, LINCOLN,

                                WATCHMAN and French destroyer LEOPARD.

                16th        Detached from WS5B with Local Escort and resumed Channel duties.

 

February

                22nd       Escorted HM Destroyer ICARUS for minelay off Le Havre (Operation JK).

                26th        Escorted HM Destroyers ICARUS, IMPULSIVE and INTREPID of 20th Destroyer Flotilla

                                during minelay off Cap d'Antifer (Operation JL).

 

March                    English Channel deployment in continuation

to

April

 

May

                26th        After sinking of HM Battlecruiser HOOD took passage to Plymouth to assist with search for

                                German battleship BISMARCK.

                27th        Resumed Channel deployment after BISMARCK had been sunk by ships of Home Fleet..

                28th        Assisted in rescue of survivors from HM Ocean Boarding Vessel REGISTAN with HM

                                Destroyers WIVERN and WILD SWAN.

                                (Note : This ship had been sunk after an air attack

                                Landed survivors at Milford Haven.

                31st         Joined military convoy WS8X in Clyde as Local Escort in NW Approaches with HM Destroyers

                                BRIGHTON, LEGION, ST MARY'S, SHERWOOD, WILD SWAN, WIVERN, SAGUENAY

                                (RCN) and Polish ORP PIORUN.

                                (Note : Although HM Cruiser NORFOLK was deployed to provide Ocean Escort during passage

                                to Freetown, in view of the threat presented by BISMARCK strong additional cover was

                                also made available.)

 

June

                3rd          Detached from WS8X with Local Escort .

                8th          Joined HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS with HMS WIVERN and HMS WILD SWAN.

                                (Note : HMS VICTORIOUS had been deployed in search for German blockade runner and

                                was on passage to Gibraltar for a Malta aircraft delivery (Operation TRACER).

                13th        After detaching from HMS VICTORIOUS took passage to Freetown with HMS WILD SWAN

                                as escort for military convoy WS9A during Atlantic passage.

                18th        Detached from WS9B with HMS WILD SWAN on arrival at Freetown.

                                Joined HM Destroyers BOREAS, BRILLIANT, VELOX, VIMY, WILD SWAN, WIVERN and

                                WRESTLER for convoy defence based at Freetown.

                20th        Provided Local Escort with HM Destroyers BOREAS, VELOX and WILD SWAN for WS9B on

                                departure from Freetown for Cape of Good Hope

                22nd       Detached from WS9B and returned to Freetown.

 

July

                16th        Joined military convoy WS9B with HM Destroyers BOREAS, BRILLIANT and VELOX for

                                Local Escort on departure from Freetown for Cape of Good Hope.

                18th        Detached from WS9B with Local Escort and returned to Freetown.

 

August                  Atlantic and Local convoy defence based at Freetown in continuation.

to

November

 

December

                3rd          Escorted coastal convoy (ST10) to Takoradi.

                14th        Carried out search for submarines reported operating in Bathurst - Cape Verde Islands.

                19th        Joined military convoy WS14 with HMS WILD SWAN to supplement Local Escort by HM

                                Destroyers BRILLIANT and HURWORTH during passage into Freetown.

                21st         Detached with Local Escort on arrival of WS14 at Freetown.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Freetown deployment in continuation.

                21st         Joined military convoy WS15 with HM Destroyer VIM3C as Local Escort.

                25th        Detached from WS15 on arrival at Freetown

 

February                Transferred to Gibraltar for Atlantic convoy defence.

to                            Passage to Gibraltar.

June                        Deployed at Gibraltar for convoy defence.

 

 July                        Nominated for detached service as escort for Malta relief convoy.

                17th        During passage to Clyde to join Malta relief convoy diverted to assist in search for survivors

                                from HMS WILD SWAN.

                                133 naval personnel and 11 Spanish fishermen were rescued.

                18th        Landed passengers at Milford Haven.

 

August                  Deployed with HM Destroyers FORESIGHT, FURY, ICARUS, INTREPID, LAFOREY,

                                LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT, WESTCOTT and WRESTLER as anti-submarine screen for HM

                                Aircraft Carriers ARGUS, EAGLE, INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers

                                CHARYBDIS, PHOEBE and SIRIUS during exercises in Atlantic (Operation BERSERK).

                                (Note : These exercises were to prepare for multi-carrier operations in defence of planned

                                Malta Relief Convoy WS21S during passage in western Mediterranean.

                                (Operation PEDESTAL)

                10th        Joined Force Z to provide cover for passage of Convoy WS21S to Skerki Bank with HM

                                Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, EAGLE and

                                VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers PHOEBE, SIRIUS and CHARYBDIS, HM Destroyers

                                WISHART LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT, QUENTIN, TARTAR, ESKIMO,

                                SOMALI, ANTELOPE, ITHURIEL and ZETLAND.

                11th        HMS EAGLE sunk by U73 east of Algiers.

                                Under air attacks

                12th        Under attack by submarines and resumed air attacks.

                                Force Z detached from convoy and remained west of Sicilian Narrows.

                                (For full details of passage of this crucial convoy see PEDESTAL by P Smith, Naval Staff

                                History, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and MALTA CONVOYS

                                by R Woodman.

                13th        Detached from Force Z with HM Destroyers AMAZON, ANTELOPE, ITHURIEL,

                                WESTCOTT, WISHART and ZETLAND as screen for HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS

                                RODNEY during return passage to Gibraltar.

                                (Note : Other snips of Force Z remained off Algiers to meet the snips of Force X which had

                                escorted WS21S ships to Malta through Sicilian Narrows.

                                For details see above references.)

                14th        Arrived at Gibraltar and resumed convoy defence duties on release from PEDESTAL.

 

September             Atlantic convoy defence duties in continuation.

to                            Nominated for conversion and refit.

November              (For details of conversion see V&W DESTROYERS by A. Preston.).

 

December              Passage to UK.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Paid-off and taken in hand for refit and conversion at commercial shipyard in Middlesbrough

 

February                Under refit

to

May

 

June                        Re-commissioned and carried out post refit harbour and sea trials.

 

July                         Worked-up for operational service.

 

August                  Resumed Atlantic convoy escort duty in Western Approaches Command..

to

December

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Deployed on convoy escort in Atlantic.

to                            (See Special Note below)

December              (Note : Did not take part in support or convoy escort during Normandy landings.

                                See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployed on convoy defence in Western Approaches.

to                            (Note : During this period Schnorkel-fitted U-boats were concentrating attacks on convoy focal

April                       points and convoys had been re-routed through the Channel since threat of air attacks from

                                aircraft based in France had been removed.

                                For these reasons escorts were extensively re-deployed and support of Channel convoys

                                increased.

 

May                        After VE Day withdrawn from operational service and placed in Reserve.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS VANSITTART was placed on the Disposal List In 1945 and sold to BISCO for demolition by J Cashmere on 25th February 1946.  She arrived in tow at the breakerís yard at Newport on 5th May 1946.

 

Special Note

 

Details of escorts for WS series military convoys were provided by Donald Kindell of Ohio, USA. These are gratefully acknowledged.

 

No details of specific engagements during service after conversion have been traced but the ship faced the ever present hazards of weather and enemy attacks during Atlantic service. She survived WW2 service despite her age and unsuitability, see General Information.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS VANSITTART

by Don Kindell

 

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

20/09/39

20/09/39

DB 005

21/09/39

21/09/39

22/09/39

22/09/39

DB 006

23/09/39

23/09/39

24/09/39

24/09/39

DB 007

25/09/39

25/09/39

27/09/39

27/09/39

DB 008

28/09/39

28/09/39

29/09/39

29/09/39

DB 009

30/09/39

30/09/39

17/10/39

17/10/39

OA 021

22/10/39

22/10/39

23/10/39

23/10/39

SA 014

24/10/39

24/10/39

22/01/40

03/02/40

HX 017

07/02/40

07/02/40

14/02/40

25/02/40

SL 020F

28/02/40

28/02/40

22/02/40

04/03/40

SL 021F

07/03/40

07/03/40

18/03/40

19/03/40

OA 112

20/03/40

21/03/40

10/03/40

24/03/40

HX 026

26/03/40

26/03/40

25/03/40

31/03/40

HG 024F

03/04/40

03/04/40

30/03/40

13/04/40

SL 026

15/04/40

15/04/40

01/05/40

01/05/40

HK 001

09/05/40

09/05/40

26/05/40

26/05/40

MT 074

26/05/40

26/05/40

30/09/40

11/10/40

HX 077

15/10/40

15/10/40

23/10/40

23/10/40

OB 233

27/10/40

27/10/40

16/10/40

28/10/40

HX 081

01/11/40

02/11/40

29/10/40

10/11/40

SC 010

13/11/40

13/11/40

30/11/40

30/11/40

OB 252

02/12/40

04/12/40

12/11/40

01/12/40

SL 055

02/12/40

02/12/40

02/12/40

02/12/40

OB 253

06/12/40

06/12/40

25/11/40

06/12/40

HX 091

10/12/40

11/12/40

16/12/40

16/12/40

OB 260

19/12/40

19/12/40

09/12/40

20/12/40

HG 048

23/12/40

23/12/40

24/07/41

24/07/41

SL 082

31/07/41

15/08/41

25/08/41

25/08/41

SL 085

28/08/41

17/09/41

23/08/41

09/09/41

OS 004

11/09/41

11/09/41

24/09/41

24/09/41

SL 088

27/09/41

08/10/41

04/09/41

24/09/41

SL 086

unknown

26/09/41

15/10/41

15/10/41

SL 090

20/10/41

06/11/41

03/10/41

21/10/41

OS 008

26/10/41

26/10/41

30/10/41

30/10/41

ST 007

04/11/41

04/11/41

06/11/41

06/11/41

SL 092

11/11/41

01/12/41

25/10/41

12/11/41

OS 010

18/11/41

18/11/41

30/11/41

30/11/41

SL 094

02/12/41

30/12/41

18/11/41

06/12/41

OS 012

11/12/41

11/12/41

13/12/41

01/01/42

OS 014

03/01/42

03/01/42

27/01/42

28/01/42

SL 099

14/02/42

16/02/42

22/10/42

22/10/42

KMS 001G

07/11/42

07/11/42

12/11/42

12/11/42

MKF 001X

19/11/42

19/11/42

03/12/42

05/12/42

ON 151

14/12/42

23/12/42

06/01/43

11/01/43

HX 222

22/01/43

22/01/43

26/07/43

27/07/43

ONS 014

05/08/43

09/08/43

09/08/43

13/08/43

SC 139

24/08/43

24/08/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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