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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 WATCHMAN (D 26) -  V & W-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Wrestler, Admiralty W-class sister ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

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Admiralty W-Class destroyers ordered from John Brown of Clyde bank under the 1916-17 Programme in the 10th Order on 9 December 1916. The ship was laid down on 17th January 1917 and launched on 2 December 1917. She was the 1st RN warships to carry the name. After completion on 26th January 1918 she served in the Grand Fleet. This ship was deployed in the Baltic during 1919 and was in action against Russian warships. In 1921 she was in the 1st Destroyer Flotilla and later placed in Reserve (See General Information). Brought forward for service in 1939 the ship was deployed at Gibraltar for contraband control and convoy defence duty. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during November 1941 she was adopted by the civil community of Erlerley Hill then part of Staffordshire.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC   1940-41 - NORMANDY 1944 - ARCTIC   1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Black, a Lanthorn Gold, with panes Red.

 

M o t t o

Securitas: ' Safety '

 

 

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

 

September             Deployed at Gibraltar with 13th Destroyer Flotilla for contraband control patrol duties.

 

October                  Patrol and convoy defence in continuation with Flotilla.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Gibraltar patrol and convoy escort in continuation

                8th          Deployed as escort for inward Convoy HG12 during initial stage of passage to Liverpool

                10th        Detached from escort and returned to Gibraltar.

 

February                Deployment with Flotilla at Gibraltar in continuation.

 

March

                12th        Deployed with HM Destroyer VORTIGERN as escort for inward convoy HG22 during passage from

                                Gibraltar to Liverpool.

                18th        Detached from HG22 on relief by Local Escort from Plymouth in SW Approaches.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers VORTIGERN and WISHART were also part of escort.)

                29th        Deployed as escort for outward Convoy OG24F during passage to Gibraltar from formation in SW

                                Approaches.

 

April

                4th          Detached from escort of OG24F on arrival at Gibraltar

                5th          Deployed with HM Sloops BIDEFORD and FOWEY as escort for inward convoy HG25 during

                                initial stage of passage from Gibraltar.

                7th          Detached from HG25 and returned to Gibraltar.

 

May                        Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to I26 in conformity with

                                changes made to all RN ships.

                                Gibraltar deployment in continuation.

 

June

                12th        Attacked Italian submarine CAPALLANI off Gibraltar.

                                (Note: Result was later assessed as severe damage.)

                26th        Flotilla placed at disposal of Force H on formation, as required.

                                (For details of Force H operation in 1940 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C

                                Barnett and Naval Staff History HMSO (2002). ).

 

July                         Gibraltar duties in continuation.

                                Nominated for return to UK.

 

August                  Passage to UK for convoy escort duty in Western Approaches.

                5th          Joined military convoy WS2 with HM Destroyers HARVESTER, HAVELOCK, HIGHLANDER,

                                HURRICANE, FORTUNE, FURY and VORTIGERN for Local Escort during passage in the NW

                                Approaches.

                7th          Detached from WS2 with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

September             Joined 6th Escort Group based at Liverpool.

 

October                  Atlantic convoy escort duty in continuation.

                                Deployed with Rosyth Escort Force.

 

November

                1st           Under air attack during escort of North Sea convoy with HM Corvette PINTAIL and HM

                                Destroyer VERDUN

December              Deployed with Group in Western Approaches.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                12th        Joined military convoy WS5b in Clyde with HM Destroyers WITHERINGTON,

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

                                LINCOLN, VANSITTART and Free French destroyer LEOPARD.

                16th        Detached from WS5B with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

February                Deployment with Group for Atlantic convoy defence In continuation.

to                            (For details of U-Boat deployments in 1941 see U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO))

June                        and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

 

July                         Transferred to 8th Escort Group for Atlantic convoy escort.

 

August                  Part of escort for outward Convoy HX143 with Group.

 

September             Atlantic escort with Group in continuation.

 

October                  Part of escort for outward Convoys ONS23 and ON30 with Group.

 

November              Part of escort for outward convoy HX160 with Group.

 

December              Part of escort for outward convoy ON51 with Group.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Deployment with 8th Escort Group in continuation.

to

March

 

April                       Transferred to 1st British Escort Group and joined H M Destroyers HURRICANE and

                                ROCKINGHAM, HM Corvettes BORAGE, DAHLIA, MEADOWSWEET, MONKSHOOD,

                                WALLFLOWER and ANCHUSA.

 

May                        Deployed with Group for convoy defence in Atlantic.

to                            (For details of development and use of new weapons by both escorts and U-Boats

July                         see SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D

                                MacIntyre)

 

August                  Carried out trial of prototype Radar Plan Display (PPI) - Later Outfit JE.

                                (For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse).

 

September             Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

to

December

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

to                            Nominated for conversion to Long Range Escort.

March                    (For details o this crucial stage of the Atlantic war see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                CLOSELY and above references.)

 

April                       Taken in hand for refit and conversion by commercial shipyard at Liverpool.

 

May                        Under refit and conversion.

to                            See BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March and V AND W DESTROYERS by A Preston).

July                         (Note: Ahead Throwing Anti-submarine weapon (HEDGEHOG) was fitted

                                See SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann.)

 

August                  Post refit harbour and trials.

                                Passage to work-up

                                On completion of work-up rejoined EGB1 for escort of Gibraltar convoys.

 

September             Deployed for escort of UK-Gibraltar convoys with Group.

to

October

 

November              Transferred to Gibraltar Escort Force.

                18th        Despatched from Gibraltar to reinforce escort of merged Convoys MKS30 and SL139 with

                                HM Destroyer WINCHELSEA.

                19th        Joined convoy which was under sustained U-Boat attacks by SCHILL Group.

                21st         Under attack by Hs293 Glider bombs from He117 aircraft which were repulsed by the

                                AA fire from the escort although one mercantile was sunk and another damaged.

 

December              Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

 

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Nominated for Russian Convoy escort duty with Home Fleet.

 

February                Escorted HM Escort Carrier CHASER with HM Destroyer WANDERER, HM Frigates

                                BYRON and STRULE during passage to join Russian Convoy JW57

                22nd       Joined JW57 escort.

                26th        Detached from JW57 and resumed Atlantic convoy defence duty.

 

 March                   Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

to

April

 

May                        Nominated for escort of assault convoys to Normandy beach head (Operation NEFTUNE).

                                Transferred to join HM Canadian Corvette LINDSAY, HM Trawlers SCALPAY and

                                GANILLY as Escort Group 138.

                                (For details of naval activities prior to and during Normandy assault landings see OPERATION

                                NEPTUNE by K Edwards, LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO) and D DAY

                                SHIPS by J de Winser ).

 

June                        Passage to Milford Haven for escort of Convoy EBC3 with Group.

                5th          Departure of convoy delayed by 24 hours when D-Day postponed.

                6th          Escorted 11 Stores Coasters, three Empty MT Ships, two 2 Armament Stores Carriers and a

                                Water Tanker to Solent.

                8th          Passage through swept channel to Western Task Force area as escort for MT Ships, Armament

                                Carriers and Water Carrier

                                Attack by E-Boats during passage driven off.

                11th        After arrival detached from convoy and returned to Milford Haven.

                13th        Commenced escort of Build -Up convoys to beachhead.

                                On release from NEPTUNE deployed in English Channel for coastal convoy defence and patrol.

 

July                         Channel deployment in continuation.

 

August

                21st         During escort of convoy off Beachy Head with HM Destroyers MELBREAK and FORESTER

                                drove off attacks by E-Boats of 8th German MTB Flotilla.

 

September             Channel deployment in continuation.

to

December

 

 1 9 4 5

 

January                  Convoy defence in English Channel and SW Approaches in continuation.

to                            (Note: Atlantic convoys were re-routed via Channel in this period and Schnorkel

March                    fitted U-Boats were concentrating attacks in focal points. See above references)

 

April                       Part of escort for military convoy VWP16 in Channel.

                6th          Sank U1195 by HEDGEHOG after attack on convoy.

                                (Note: This submarine had sunk the troop transport CUBA in the convoy

                                For full details see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

 

May                        Withdrawn from operational service after VE-Day and paid off into Reserve.

 

June                        Placed on the Disposal List.

 

July

                23rd        Sold to T W Ward for breaking-up.

 

August                  Awaiting demolition.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS WATCHMAN was towed to Inverkeithing after VJ Day. Her long service as an escort well deserves the Battle Honours awarded and her sinking of a submarine just before the end of the war in Europe was a fitting end to her service.

 

Special  Note

 

Details of escorts for WS series military convoys were provided by Donald Kindell, Ohio USA from an unpublished source. This is gratefully acknowledged.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS WATCHMAN

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

 

 

 

 

 

06/11/39

06/11/39

HG 006

unknown

14/11/39

08/12/39

08/12/39

HG 010

10/12/39

16/12/39

05/12/39

10/12/39

OG 009

11/12/39

11/12/39

12/03/40

12/03/40

HG 022

19/03/40

22/03/40

28/03/40

29/03/40

OG 024F

04/04/40

04/04/40

05/04/40

05/04/40

HG 025

07/04/40

15/04/40

20/05/40

20/05/40

HG 031F

23/05/40

29/05/40

20/05/40

23/05/40

OG 030

26/05/40

26/05/40

28/05/40

28/05/40

HG 032F

29/05/40

06/06/40

25/05/40

28/05/40

OG 031F

30/05/40

30/05/40

31/05/40

01/06/40

HG 032

02/06/40

unknown

29/05/40

02/06/40

OG 031

03/06/40

04/06/40

21/06/40

21/06/40

HG 035

22/06/40

01/07/40

05/08/40

05/08/40

WS 002

07/08/40

08/08/40

10/08/40

11/08/40

ZA

unknown

19/08/40

25/09/40

25/09/40

FS 0291

27/09/40

27/09/40

28/09/40

28/09/40

FN 0293

30/09/40

30/09/40

02/10/40

02/10/40

FS 0298

04/10/40

04/10/40

05/10/40

05/10/40

FN 0300

07/10/40

07/10/40

14/10/40

14/10/40

FS 0309

16/10/40

16/10/40

17/10/40

17/10/40

FN 0311

19/10/40

19/10/40

25/10/40

25/10/40

FN 0319

27/10/40

27/10/40

30/10/40

30/10/40

FS 0323

02/11/40

02/11/40

02/11/40

02/11/40

FN 0324

04/11/40

04/11/40

11/11/40

11/11/40

FS 0333

13/11/40

13/11/40

14/11/40

14/11/40

FN 0334

16/11/40

16/11/40

20/11/40

20/11/40

FS 0340

22/11/40

22/11/40

24/11/40

24/11/40

FN 0341

26/11/40

26/11/40

23/03/41

23/03/41

OB 301

27/03/41

27/03/41

15/03/41

27/03/41

HG 056

02/04/41

02/04/41

06/04/41

06/04/41

OG 058

12/04/41

21/04/41

16/04/41

19/04/41

OB 311

unknown

25/04/41

16/04/41

25/04/41

HX 121

unknown

03/05/41

19/04/41

01/05/41

SC 029

04/05/41

08/05/41

30/04/41

12/05/41

HX 124

15/05/41

20/05/41

29/04/41

12/05/41

SC 030

15/05/41

20/05/41

06/05/41

18/05/41

HX 125A

22/05/41

22/05/41

01/06/41

15/06/41

HX 130

18/06/41

20/06/41

21/06/41

22/06/41

OB 338

26/06/41

03/07/41

16/06/41

27/06/41

HX 133

30/06/41

03/07/41

07/07/41

07/07/41

OB 344

11/07/41

16/07/41

26/07/41

27/07/41

ON 001

31/07/41

09/08/41

22/07/41

02/08/41

HX 140

05/08/41

06/08/41

11/08/41

13/08/41

ON 006

15/08/41

24/08/41

05/08/41

18/08/41

HX 143

20/08/41

20/08/41

30/08/41

01/09/41

ON 011

04/09/41

11/09/41

24/08/41

07/09/41

SC 041

11/09/41

11/09/41

13/09/41

13/09/41

ON 016

19/09/41

27/09/41

10/09/41

20/09/41

HX 149

25/09/41

25/09/41

04/10/41

05/10/41

ON 023

11/10/41

19/10/41

05/10/41

13/10/41

HX 153

17/10/41

19/10/41

26/10/41

29/10/41

ON 030

02/11/41

09/11/41

23/10/41

04/11/41

SC 051

09/11/41

09/11/41

15/11/41

18/11/41

ON 037

22/11/41

30/11/41

15/11/41

25/11/41

HX 160

28/11/41

30/11/41

07/12/41

09/12/41

ON 044

12/12/41

15/12/41

04/12/41

15/12/41

SC 058

19/12/41

21/12/41

03/12/41

16/12/41

HX 163

19/12/41

19/12/41

27/12/41

28/12/41

ON 051

02/01/42

11/01/42

27/12/41

07/01/42

HX 167

10/01/42

11/01/42

01/02/42

02/02/42

ON 062

06/02/42

15/02/42

01/02/42

09/02/42

HX 173

13/02/42

14/02/42

19/02/42

26/02/42

AT 012

01/03/42

02/03/42

06/08/42

06/08/42

ON 119

10/08/42

20/08/42

02/08/42

09/08/42

HX 201

13/08/42

14/08/42

22/08/42

25/08/42

ON 124

03/09/42

06/09/42

06/09/42

09/09/42

HX 206

17/09/42

18/09/42

26/09/42

29/09/42

ON 134

10/10/42

17/10/42

11/10/42

17/10/42

SC 105

29/10/42

31/10/42

11/11/42

17/11/42

HX 215

24/11/42

25/11/42

03/12/42

05/12/42

ON 151

14/12/42

23/12/42

19/12/42

26/12/42

SC 114

06/01/43

07/01/43

23/01/43

23/01/43

ON 162

03/02/43

11/02/43

03/02/43

10/02/43

SC 119

21/02/43

22/02/43

04/03/43

09/03/43

ON 171

19/03/43

23/03/43

18/03/43

24/03/43

HX 230

01/04/43

02/04/43

16/11/43

19/11/43

SL 139MK

22/11/43

26/11/43

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

15/12/43

24/12/43

OS 062KM

28/12/43

02/01/44

25/12/43

01/01/44

SL 143MK

03/01/44

06/01/44

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

30/03/44

30/03/44

DS 051

01/04/44

01/04/44

01/04/44

01/04/44

SD 051

03/04/44

03/04/44

25/06/44

25/06/44

EBC 022

27/06/44

27/06/44

27/06/44

27/06/44

FCM 016

28/06/44

28/06/44

10/07/44

10/07/44

EBC 037

12/07/44

12/07/44

14/08/44

14/08/44

EBC 072

16/08/44

16/08/44

15/08/44

15/08/44

EBC 073

16/08/44

17/08/44

29/12/44

29/12/44

BTC 022

01/01/45

01/01/45

23/03/45

23/03/45

VWP 103

24/03/45

24/03/45

12/04/45

12/04/45

VWP 123

13/04/45

13/04/45

16/05/45

16/05/45

VWL 173

17/05/45

17/05/45

31/05/45

31/05/45

TA 208A

01/06/45

06/06/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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