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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS WANDERER (D 74) -  V & W-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Wanderer (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 
 
Modified W-Class destroyer ordered from Fairfield of Govan, Glasgow in January 1918 with the 13th Order of the 1917-18 Build Programme for a Repeat V & W destroyer. The ship was laid down on 7th August 1918 and launched on 1st May 1919. She was the 7th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in 1806 for a Sloop sold in 1907 and last borne by a Paddle Minesweeper, renamed WARDEN in 1918. Build was completed on 18th August 1919 and after acceptance she served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets until replaced by a post war A-Class destroyer in 1931.This destroyer was deployed at Chatham in the Nore Local Flotilla and used for training duties. Although allocated for service at Rosyth in the 15th Destroyer Flotilla before the outbreak of war, this was changed later and she joined Western Approaches Command. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings in December 1941 she was adopted by the civil community of Sutton Coldfield, then in Warwickshire. Her record during WW2 was quite outstanding in anti-submarine operations in defence of Atlantic convoys. This included sinking of five U-Boats, more than any other ship of this Class.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

GUADALOUPE 1810 - CHINA 1842 - BLACK SEA 1854 - ATLANTIC 1939-44 - NORWAY 1940 - SICILY 1943 - NORMANDY 1944 - ARCTIC 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field Blue, a bee Gold

 

M o t t o

Vagantes numquam erramus: 'Wandering we never stray'

 

 

Refuelling from astern (Navy Photos)

 

Apparently replenishing, possibly on the same occasion (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock)

 

 

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                  Prepared for war service and Reservist personnel joined.

                                Passage to Plymouth.

 

September             Joined Western Approaches Command at Plymouth for service in 15th Destroyer Flotilla.

                                (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Destroyers VANITY, VANSITTART, VOLUNTEER,

                                WHITEHALL, WITCH, WITHERINGTON and WOLVERINE.

                13th        Deployed with HM Destroyer WHIRLWIND as escort for outward Convoy OB4 for initial

                                stage of passage in SW Approaches.

                                (Note: In the early months of WW2 Convoys were escorted to a Dispersal point south of

                                Ireland from whence they proceeded independently.

 

October                  Western Approaches convoy escort and patrol deployment in continuation.

to                            (Note: Escorts were provided for inward bound Trade Convoys which were met after

December              southward convoys dispersed or by special arrangement. See ALLIED CONVOY

                                SYSTEM by A Hague for details of convoy identities.)

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

                3rd          Relieved HM Destroyer ACTIVE as escort for inward Convoy HG13F in SW Approaches with HM

                                Destroyer VETERAN for final stage of passage into Liverpool from Gibraltar.

                5th          Detached from HG13F with escort on arrival at Liverpool.

                10th        Deployed with HM Sloop ENCHANTRESS and HM Destroyer WARWICK as escort for outward

                                Convoy OG14F on formation in SW Approaches.

                                Detached with HMS WARWICK leaving HMS ENCHANTRESS as escort and took passage to join

                                inward Convoy HG14F in SW Approaches as escort to Liverpool

                11th        Joined HM Sloops ABERDEEN, BIDEFORD and LEITH in escort of HG14 with HM Destroyers

                                WARWICK and WITCH.

                15th        Detached with escort on arrival at Liverpool.

 

February                Western Approaches deployment for convoy defence in continuation.

                                (Note: For details of U-Boat deployments in 1939-40 see U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC

                                (HMSO) and HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR Vol 1 by C Blair.

 

March

                25th        Deployed with HM Sloop ABERDEEN, HM Destroyers CAMPBELL, WALKER and VOLUNTEER

                                as escort for outward Convoy OG23 to Gibraltar on formation in SW Approaches during initial stage

                                of passage to Gibraltar.

                26th        Detached from OG23 with HMS WALKER and HMS VOLUNTEER.

 

April                       Remained in Western Approaches for convoy defence after German invasion of Norway.

                                (Note: HMS WOLVERINE was transferred soon after these attacks.

                27th        Transferred to Home Fleet for support of evacuation of allied troops from Norway

                29th        Passage to Andalsnes with HM Destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, SIKH, WALKER and

                                WESTCOTT as screen for HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD, ARETHUSA and GALATEA for

                                evacuation of troops (Operation ALPHABET)

                30th        Detached with HMS SIKH on arrival and took passage to Alfarnes.

                                After embarking 150 troops grounded and towed clear by HMS SIKH.

May

                1st           Independent passage to Scapa Flow with troops.

                                (For details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NAVAL OPERATIONS OF THE

                                CAMPAIGN IN NORMAN (HMSO), NARVIK by D Macintyre, CARRIER GLORIOUS

                                by J Winton and THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams.)

                3rd          Resumed Western Approaches convoy defence duties with Flotilla based at Plymouth.

                                (Note: NOT deployed for evacuation at Dunkirk.)

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to I74 to conform to alterations of

                                identities for RN warships.).

 

June                        Deployed for support of evacuation of allied troops from French Channel Ports.

                                (Operation CYCLE)

                6th          Deployed at Boulogne for support of evacuation.

                7th          Provided naval gunfire support during evacuation at Treport with HM Destroyer VESPER.

                                See BEF SHIPS by J de Winser,

                                On release from CYCLE resumed Western Approaches convoy defence.

 

July                         Deployed in Channel for ant-invasion patrol and convoy defence.

 

August                  Transferred to Liverpool in continuation of convoy defence duties.

                                (Note: HQ of Western Approaches was transferred to Liverpool after routing arrangements

                                for mercantile traffic were changed to use NW Approaches.

 

October

                30th        Sailed from Liverpool with ships of Group as escort for outward Convoy OG45 to Gibraltar.

 

November

                11th        Detached from OG45 on arrival at Gibraltar.

                20th        Return Passage to Liverpool

                                (Note: Escort for inward Convoy HG47 to be confirmed)

 

December              Liverpool convoy escort deployment in continuation.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

to

April

 

May

                31st         Deployed as escort for outward Convoy OB239 during passage in Atlantic to Newfoundland..

                                Sailed from Liverpool

 

June

                2nd         Carried out anti-submarine operations with HM Corvette PERIWINKLE and sank U147

                                in position 56.38N 10.24W, west of Skerryvore in defence of outward Convoy OB329

                                of 41 ships.

                                (Note: U147 had made a solo attack on OB329. There were no survivors.

                                For details see HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR, Vol. I and U-BOATS DESTROYED by

                                P Kemp.)

                6th          Detached from OB329 when it dispersed and returned to Liverpool.

                                (Note: There were no loses from OB329.

                                Ship may have joined an inward convoy as escort back to Liverpool.)

 

July                         Atlantic convoy defence in continuation

                12th        Joined military Convoy WS9C in Bristol Channel with Dutch AA cruiser HEEMSKERCK

                                Polish destroyer ORP GARLAND, HM Destroyers GURKHA and VANOC as Local

                                Escort for passage in Irish Sea and NW Approaches.

                                (Note: This convoy was part of Operation SUBSTANCE, the passage of a relief convoy

                                to Malta. Other ships joined later for Ocean Escort including HM Destroyers

                                COSSACK, LIGHTNING, MAORI, NESTER (RAN), SIKH, HM Battleship

                                NELSON, HM Cruisers MANCHESTER and ARETHUSA. See MALTA

                                CONVOYS by R Woodhead and Naval Staff History for details.)

                15th        Detached from WS9C in NW Approaches with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

                                (Note: WS9C comprised nine ships.)

 

August                  Passage from Gibraltar to join inward convoy SL81 of 18 ships during passage from

                                Freetown as reinforcement of escort to Liverpool with HM Destroyer ST ALBANS

                                and HM Corvette HYDRANGEA

                2nd         Convoy sighted by U204 which remained in contact pending arrival of other submarines

                                deployed in the area.

                3rd          SL81 under attack by U204 and U401.

                                Carried out depth charge attacks on U401 with HMS ST ALBANS and HMS HYDRANGEA

                                which was sunk without survivors.

                4th          Took part in defence of SL81 against submarine and aircraft attacks

                6th          Enemy attacks ceased after additional air support provided by RAF Coastal Command.

                                (Note: Five ships in SL81 were sunk. See above references.)

 

September             Atlantic deployment in continuation.

to

December

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation

to August              (Note: No notable operations have been traced but a number of convoys were escorted by

                                the group without any loss. See ALLIED CONVOYS.)

                                During this period Atlantic convoys were escorted throughout passage and refitted

                                in Canadian and US shipyards.)

 

September             Under refit or repair in US Navy Yard, Brooklyn, New York.

                                (Note: Photograph in MAN OíWAR, Arms and Armour Press 1979.)

 

October                  Resumed Atlantic escort duties on completion.

to

November

 

December              Nominated for conversion as Long Range Escort.

                                See V&W Class Destroyers by A Preston and BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Taken in hand for refit and conversion by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

 

February                Under conversion

to                            (Note: For details of the development of new antisubmarine weapons and of new tactics

April                       see SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann, THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by

                                D MacIntyre and BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS by J Terraine.

 

May                        Post refit trials and work-up at Tobermory for operational service.

 

June                        Resumed Atlantic convoy defence with 1st British Escort Group.

                                Nominated for service in support of planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).

 

July

                1st           Sailed from Clyde as part of escort for Follow-up military convoy KMF19 in support of allied

                                landings in Sicily.

                9th          Detached from KMF19 and took passage to join Escort Group V of Support Force Eastern

                                for deployment in support of HUSKY operations.

                                For details see BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and the Naval Staff History.

                                On release from HUSKY deployed with Group for convoy defence in western Mediterranean

                                and Atlantic with HM Destroyers HURRICANE and WATCHMAN.

 

August                  Convoy defence deployment in continuation.

                                Escorted outward joint Convoy OG92/KMS24 during passage in Atlantic to Gibraltar.

                23rd        Carried out anti-submarine operations in defence of convoy after receipt of sighting and

                                attack on U523 by WELLINGTON aircraft of 179 Squadron RAF

                25th        Following radar and sonar contact on U523 carried out depth charge and Hedgehog attacks

                                with HM Corvette WALLFLOWER. Submarine forced to surface engaged by main armament.

                                Submarine crew abandoned and 37survivors rescued U523 sank in position 43.02N 18.002W

                                west of Vigo. See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR Vol 2 and U-BOATS DESTROYED for details.

 

September             Detached deployment for convoy defence in continuation.

to

October

 

November              Released from detached service

                23rd        Joined inward Convoy MKS31G as escort during passage from Gibraltar to Liverpool

 

December

                12th        Convoy MKS 31 arrived at Liverpool.

                                (Note: This convoy had merged with inward Convoy SL140 from Sierra Leone.

                                Ship may have detached before arrival at Liverpool.)

                                Resumed convoy defence in North Atlantic with Group.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers WHITEHALL, WRESTLER, HM Fleet Minesweepers HYDRA,

                                HOUND, HM Corvettes HONEYSUCKLE and OXLIP as Local Escort for Russian Convoy

                                JW55B during passage from Loch Ewe to join Ocean Escort

                                (Note: This ship may have detached after a seaman was rescued after falling overboard.

                                See ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation and deployed in the Support role with HM Frigate

                                GLENARM and HM Corvette GERANIUM

                17th        During search for German blockade runner in Atlantic intercepted U305 which was on return

                                passage to base in France. Carried out HEDGEHOG attack after weak sonar contact.

                                Despite current Admiralty policy remained in area and continued attacks. U305 was sunk

                                in position 49.39N 20.10W south west of Cape Clear.

                                (Note: Credit was shared with another ship, variously quoted as GERANIUM and GLENARM.

                                See references and THE U-BOAT PERIL by R F Whinney.

                                This author commanded this destroyer after her conversion and the book includes

                                further details of the period after April 1943.

 

February                Nominated for deployment with HM Destroyer WATCHMAN, HM Frigates BYRON and

                                STRULE as escort for HM Escort Aircraft Carrier CHASER to join Russian Convoy JW57

                                during passage to provide air cover.

                22nd       Joined JW57.

                27th        Detached from JW57 and took passage to Faeroes to refuel.

 

March

                2nd         Return Convoy RA57 sailed from Kola Inlet with HMS CHASER.

                                (Note: Return of this ship as part of RA57 defence is to be confirmed.)

                10th        RA57 arrived at Kola Inlet.

                                Resumed support duties in Atlantic.

 

April                       Nominated for escort duty with Escort Group 105 during allied landings in Normandy.

                                (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                Transferred to English Channel and prepared for NEPTUNE on release from Western Approaches.

 

May                        Deployed in English Channel.

                28th        Escorted HM ML10 during menially off Brittany (Operation HOSTILE 38).

                                (Note: This was the last minelaying operation before D Day. See Naval Staff History.)

 

June                        Passage to Milford Haven to join HM Frigate TAVY, HM Corvettes DIANELLA and GERANIUM

                                as EG105

                4th          Escorted Convoy EBM2 comprising 30 MT Ships and five others for passage from Bristol Channel

                                to the Solent with EG105 and HM Canadian Corvettes SUMMERSIDE, WOODSTOCK and

                                REGINA

                5th          Passage delayed by 24 hours.

                6th          On completion of loading of nine MT ships escorted EMB2 through swept channel to Eastern

                                Task Force unloading area off Normandy.

                7th          Return passage to Falmouth.

                9th          Deployed with Group for escort of Build-up convoys.

                25th        After termination of NEPTUNE retained in Channel for escort of convoys.

 

July

                5th          During escort of northbound convoy off Pointe de Barfleur with HMS TAVY detected submarine

                                and carried out joint HEDGEHOG anti-submarine operations.

                                Sank U390 in position 49.52N 00.48W from which there was only one survivor.

                                See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR Vol 2 and U-BOATS DESTROYED.

 

August                  Channel deployment in continuation.

to                            (Note: Increased submarine activity against coastal traffic in Home waters made necessary

December              additions to escort and support requirements. See BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS,

                                HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR and HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Channel and SW Approaches deployment in continuation

to                            (Note: With the removal of the air threat from French bases Ocean convoys were re-routed

April                       via English Channel and St Georgeís Channel.)

 

May                        After VE Day deployed for support of re-occupation requirements.

                                Nominated for reduction to Reserve status.

 

June                        Paid-off and de-stored.

 

July                         Laid up pending decision on disposal.

to

August

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS WANDERER remained in Reserve until placed on the Disposal List. She was sold to BISCO on 31st January 1946 for demolition by Hughes Bolcow at Blyth and towed to the Breakerís yard later that year.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS WANDERER

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

 

 

 

 

 

12/09/39

12/09/39

FS 0004

14/09/39

14/09/39

29/10/39

29/10/39

OA 027

31/10/39

unknown

04/12/39

16/12/39

HX 011

18/12/39

18/12/39

20/12/39

20/12/39

OB 057

23/12/39

23/12/39

12/12/39

24/12/39

HX 012

27/12/39

27/12/39

31/12/39

31/12/39

OG 013F

03/01/40

07/01/40

29/12/39

03/01/40

HG 013F

05/01/40

05/01/40

07/01/40

07/01/40

OB 068

10/01/40

10/01/40

10/01/40

10/01/40

OG 014F

10/01/40

15/01/40

05/01/40

11/01/40

HG 014F

15/01/40

15/01/40

15/01/40

15/01/40

OB 072

unknown

18/01/40

17/01/40

17/01/40

OB 074

unknown

20/01/40

12/01/40

21/01/40

HXF 016

unknown

24/01/40

18/02/40

04/03/40

SL 021

05/03/40

07/03/40

23/03/40

23/03/40

OB 115

unknown

25/03/40

25/03/40

25/03/40

OG 023

26/03/40

31/03/40

11/06/40

18/06/40

TC 005

21/06/40

21/06/40

07/07/40

07/07/40

OB 180

10/07/40

10/07/40

29/06/40

11/07/40

HX 054

14/07/40

14/07/40

19/07/40

19/07/40

OB 186

22/07/40

22/07/40

11/07/40

23/07/40

HX 057

26/07/40

26/07/40

23/07/40

29/07/40

TC 006

01/08/40

01/08/40

02/09/40

17/09/40

SC 003

18/09/40

18/09/40

19/10/40

19/10/40

OB 231

22/10/40

23/10/40

12/10/40

23/10/40

HX 080

27/10/40

27/10/40

29/10/40

29/10/40

OG 045

03/11/40

13/11/40

11/11/40

11/11/40

OB 242

unknown

15/11/40

31/10/40

15/11/40

HG 046

19/11/40

19/11/40

24/11/40

24/11/40

OB 249

27/11/40

28/11/40

17/11/40

29/11/40

HX 089

unknown

01/12/40

16/02/41

16/02/41

OB 287

unknown

21/02/41

03/02/41

24/02/41

HX 107

20/02/41

28/02/41

09/02/41

24/02/41

HX 108

27/02/41

27/02/41

05/03/41

05/03/41

OB 294

09/03/41

09/03/41

18/02/41

10/03/41

SL 066

14/03/41

14/03/41

19/03/41

20/03/41

OB 299

24/03/41

25/03/41

11/03/41

24/03/41

HX 114

30/03/41

30/03/41

27/03/41

10/04/41

HX 117

15/04/41

15/04/41

18/04/41

19/04/41

OB 312

24/04/41

25/04/41

09/04/41

27/04/41

SC 028

28/04/41

28/04/41

09/05/41

10/05/41

HP

12/05/41

24/05/41

18/05/41

18/05/41

OB 324

24/05/41

27/05/41

09/05/41

24/05/41

SC 031

29/05/41

30/05/41

31/05/41

31/05/41

OB 329

05/06/41

05/06/41

25/05/41

02/06/41

HG 063

09/06/41

09/06/41

30/05/41

19/06/41

SL 076

21/06/41

21/06/41

08/07/41

19/07/41

HG 067

24/07/41

24/07/41

30/07/41

01/08/41

OG 070

01/08/41

12/08/41

13/07/41

03/08/41

SL 081

08/08/41

08/08/41

13/08/41

14/08/41

OS 003

18/08/41

01/09/41

29/08/41

29/08/41

OG 073

02/09/41

13/09/41

15/08/41

03/09/41

SL 084

08/09/41

08/09/41

09/12/41

09/12/41

ON 045

16/12/41

16/12/41

08/12/41

19/12/41

HX 164

22/12/41

23/12/41

02/01/42

03/01/42

ON 053

09/01/42

19/01/42

02/01/42

13/01/42

HX 168

13/01/42

13/01/42

23/01/42

24/01/42

ON 059

29/01/42

06/02/42

26/01/42

04/02/42

HX 172

07/02/42

07/02/42

05/04/42

05/04/42

SC 078

09/04/42

22/04/42

04/04/42

15/04/42

ON 083

17/04/42

17/04/42

26/04/42

26/04/42

HX 187

29/04/42

08/05/42

21/04/42

03/05/42

ON 088

08/05/42

08/05/42

24/05/42

24/05/42

HX 191

28/05/42

06/06/42

19/05/42

01/06/42

ON 096

07/06/42

07/06/42

08/06/42

08/06/42

BX 023A

10/06/42

10/06/42

14/06/42

14/06/42

HX 194

17/06/42

26/06/42

09/06/42

20/06/42

ON 102

unknown

25/06/42

10/07/42

10/07/42

SC 091

13/07/42

24/07/42

10/07/42

19/07/42

ON 111

24/07/42

24/07/42

25/07/42

25/07/42

BX 030B

27/07/42

27/07/42

31/07/42

31/07/42

SC 094

02/08/42

13/08/42

25/07/42

05/08/42

ON 116

10/08/42

12/08/42

06/08/42

15/08/42

ON 119

18/08/42

20/08/42

24/10/42

24/10/42

SC 107

28/10/42

10/11/42

16/10/42

30/10/42

ON 139

01/11/42

01/11/42

03/11/42

03/11/42

HX 214

06/11/42

18/11/42

09/11/42

12/11/42

SC 109

16/11/42

30/11/42

09/11/42

20/11/42

ON 145

22/11/42

25/11/42

07/11/42

25/11/42

ON 144

27/11/42

27/11/42

25/11/42

04/12/42

SC 111

08/12/42

17/12/42

01/07/43

01/07/43

KMF 019

11/07/43

11/07/43

10/07/43

14/07/43

MKF 018

16/07/43

23/07/43

31/07/43

04/08/43

MKF 020

09/08/43

11/08/43

17/08/43

17/08/43

KMS 024G

25/08/43

30/08/43

04/09/43

04/09/43

MKS 023G

13/09/43

17/09/43

27/09/43

30/09/43

ON 204

08/10/43

15/10/43

11/10/43

17/10/43

SC 144

26/10/43

27/10/43

05/11/43

09/11/43

OS 058KM

18/11/43

18/11/43

18/11/43

18/11/43

KMS 032G

19/11/43

19/11/43

24/11/43

26/11/43

SL 140MK

06/12/43

07/12/43

14/12/43

20/12/43

SL 142MK

21/12/43

28/12/43

10/12/43

22/12/43

HX 270

22/12/43

26/12/43

16/12/43

23/12/43

ON 216

23/12/43

03/01/44

06/01/44

11/01/44

SL 144MK

12/01/44

18/01/44

03/01/44

11/01/44

OS 064KM

12/01/44

15/01/44

06/01/44

18/01/44

HX 274

20/01/44

21/01/44

28/01/44

08/02/44

HX 277

10/02/44

13/02/44

29/01/44

11/02/44

SC 152

12/02/44

15/02/44

20/02/44

22/02/44

JW 057

26/02/44

28/02/44

12/06/44

12/06/44

ECM 005

13/06/44

13/06/44

13/06/44

13/06/44

FWM 004

14/06/44

14/06/44

19/06/44

19/06/44

FCM 010

20/06/44

20/06/44

27/06/44

27/06/44

FCM 015

28/06/44

28/06/44

17/07/44

17/07/44

EPM 007

17/07/44

17/07/44

20/07/44

20/07/44

EPM 010

20/07/44

20/07/44

26/07/44

26/07/44

EPM 016

26/07/44

26/07/44

29/07/44

29/07/44

EPM 019

29/07/44

29/07/44

03/08/44

03/08/44

EPM 024

03/08/44

03/08/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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