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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS WORCESTER (D 96) -  V & W-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Venomous, modified W-class sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Modified W-Class destroyer ordered from J S White at Cowes, IoW in April 1918 with the 13th Order of the 1918-19 Programme. The ship was laid down on 20th December 1918 and launched on 24th October 1919. She was the 8th RN warship to carry the name, introduced in 1651 for a 48 gun ship later renamed DUNKIRK, and last used in 1876 when the 1st Rate screw ship FREDERICK WILLIAM (Ex ROYAL FREDERICK) was renamed in 1876. On 19th October that year this warship began service as a training ship for merchant navy cadets and remained moored in the Thames at Greenhithe until sold in July 1948. One month later she foundered and was raised in 1953 to be broken up at Grays, Essex. This destroyer was transferred to Portsmouth after her launch and completed by HM Dockyard on 20th September 1922. She served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets before being placed in Reserve in the early 1930ís at Portsmouth. Brought forward for service as part of the mobilisation in 1939 this ship was adopted by the civil community of the City of Worcester following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 and had already a previous association with the city.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

DOVER 1652 - PORTLAND 1653 - GABBARD 1653 - CHEVENINGEN 1653 - PORTO FARINA 1653 - SANTA CRUZ 1657 - PORTO BELLO 1739 - CARTAGENA 1741 - USHANT 1778 -  SADRAS 1782 - PROVIDIEN 1782 - NEGAPATAM 1782 - TRINCOMALEE 1782 - CUDDALORE 1783 - DUNKIRK 1940 - ATLANTIC 1940 - NORTH SEA 1942-43 - DOVER STRAITS 1942 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1942-43 - ARCTIC 1943

 

H e r a l d i c   d a t a

Badge:  On a Field quarterly Black and Red, a triple towered

Castle. Silver.

 

M o t t o

In bello in pace fidelis: 'Faithful in peace and war'

 

 

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             Completed preparation for war service, commissioning. storing.

                                Nominated for convoy defence and patrol in Home waters

                                Passage to take-up war station.

 

October                  Deployed with 16th Destroyer Flotilla based at Portsmouth comprising HM Destroyers

to December          MONTROSE, VENOMOUS, VETERAN, WILD SWAN, VERITY, WHITSHED

                                and WIVERN for convoy defence

                                Carried out convoy escort and patrol in English Channel and SW Approaches.

                                (Note: Traffic from London River was routed via English Channel and escort

                                duties included cover of military convoys to ports in France for the

                                British Expeditionary Force. U- Boats ceased using the English Channel

                                after establishment of the Dover Mine Barrage which sank U12 and U40

                                whilst attempting passage to the Atlantic via Dover Strait. U16 grounded

                                during an attempt to make a submerged passage and was detected by a

                                protective magnetic loop, after which she was attacked by depth charges

                                and grounded. There were no survivors. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by

                                P Kemp, HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith and the Naval Staff

                                History for details of naval activities in Home waters during this period.)

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Flotilla deployment based at Portsmouth in continuation.

to April

 

May                        Transferred to Dover Command for support of military withdrawal of allied

                                troops and personnel after German attack on France and the Low Countries.

                24th        Took part in evacuation of troops from the beaches at Dunkirk

                                (Operation DYNAMO)

                                (Note: The ship made six trips to the beaches and carried 4,350 soldiers

                                to safety. For details see Naval Staff History and NINE DAYS TO

                                DUNKIRK by A D Divine and BEF SHIPS by J de Winser.)

                27th        Sustained damage during air attacks.

 

June                        Under repair.

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to I96.

 

July                         On completion resumed operational duties with Flotilla at Harwich.

                                Deployed in North Sea for patrol and convoy escort.

 

August                  Transferred to Western Approaches Command for Atlantic convoy defence

to December          Deployed in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: For details of tactics and weapons used by German U-Boats and by

                                convoys escorts see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre,

                                SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann, U-BOAT WAR IN THE

                                ATLANTIC (HMSO) and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Resumed service for North Sea convoy defence and patrol with 16th Destroyer

                                Flotilla based at Harwich.

                                Joined HM Destroyers MACKAY, WHITSHED and WALPOLE in Harwich

                                Escort Flotilla.

 

February                Harwich deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: For details of escort of convoys in North Sea see THREE CORVETTES by

                                N Monsarrat and THE BATTLE OF THE NORTH SEA by J P Foynes )

                                (Note: Ship had been fitted with an RAF Air-Surface radar identified as

                                Naval Type 286M by this time. For details of the development and use

                                of radar by the RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse. This radar

                                had a fixed aerial which limited its use on board ship. Later a naval

                                version, Type 286P was fitted using a rotating aerial).

 

March                    Passage in North Sea with HMS WHITSHED to join south bound Convoy FS29

                                as escort.

                                (Note: This convoy had been subject to air attacks on 6th March whilst off the

                                coast of Northumberland.)

                7th          Diverted by E-Boat carrying decoy operation to draw attention away from

                                concurrent attack by 1st German E-Boat Flotilla on northbound Convoy FN26.

                                Gave chase with HMS WHITSHED but unable to make contact and unable to

                                support HM Destroyer PYTCHLEY and HM Corvette PUFFIN in defence of

                                FS29. Two ships in convoy were sunk in attacks by the German Flotilla.

                                For details see THE BATTLE OF THE NORTH SEA.

                                (Note: This was a period of high E-Boat activity in the area and the ship had

                                engaged E-Boats on four occasions in the previous 16 days.

 

April                       North Sea deployment in continuation

to December          (Note: For further details of operations in North Sea see THE BATTLE OF

                                THE NARROW SEAS by P Scott which in particular deals with the

                                activities by Light Coastal Force craft.)

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  North Sea convoy defence and interception patrol to deter E-Boat attacks

                                in continuation with Flotilla.

 

February                Placed on alert state with Flotilla in anticipation of the possible break-out

                                from Brest by German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU

                                to return to Germany by the Dover Straits.

                12th        Deployed with HM Destroyers CAMPBELL and VIVACIOUS of 21st Destroyer

                                Flotilla and HM Destroyers MACKAY, WHITSHED and WALPOLE of 16th

                                Flotilla for exercises of tactical practices to be used in the event of German

                                passage attempt.

                                Carried out torpedo attack on enemy warships with combined force.

                                Sustained major structural damage from 11in and 8in guns in return fire

.                               Fires were started and extensive flooding in No 1 Boiler Room disabled ship.

                                Despite 17 fatal and 45 other casualties the shipís company were able to

                                raise steam and enable ship to return to Harwich without aid of tugs.

                                For full details of this gallant but forlorn action see THE CHANNEL

                                DASH by T Robertson, THE BATTLE OF THE NARROW SEAS and the

                                Naval Staff History.

 

March                    Under repair.

to August              Selected for conversion to Short Range Escort. See V&W DESTROYERS

                                1917-45 by A Preston and BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March.

                                Nominated for detached service with Home Fleet on completion of conversion

                                and post refit trials.

 

September             Passage to Scapa Flow to join Home Fleet.

                16th        Deployed with HM destroyers AMAZON, BULLDOG, COWDRAY, ECHO,

                                VENOMOUS and WINDSOR to establish a fuelling base at Lowe Sound,

                                Spitzbergen for use by escorts of convoys to and from North Russia.

                                (Operation GEARBOX Ė See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,

                                CONVOY ! by P Kemp, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by R Woodman and

                                THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield.)

                20th        Deployed as escort for RFA OLIGARCH with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE

                                and FURY to join return Convoy QP14 during passage from Kola Inlet to Loch

                                Ewe. See ARCTIC CONVOYS

                26th        Detached from QP14 and resumed Home Fleet duties.

 

October                  Home Fleet detached service in continuation.

to November

 

December              Deployed with HM Destroyers MONTROSE, MUSKETEER, RAIDER,

                                QUEENBOROUGH (RAN) and Polish destroyer ORP PIORUN as screen

                                for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, HOWE and HM Cruiser

                                BERMUDA to provide cover against attack by major German warships

                                during passage of Convoy RA51 from North Russia.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Nominated for return to Flotilla duties at Harwich on release from detached

                                service with Home Fleet.

                                (Note: Since the middle of 1942 a system of patrol lines for interception of

                                E-Boats on passage to attack North Sea convoys had been introduced

                                in Nore Command.)

 

February                Deployed with 16th Destroyer Flotilla based at Harwich for North Sea

to September         convoy defence and Z Line interception patrol duties..

                                (For details see THE BATTLE OF THE EAST COAST.)

 

October                  Harwich duties in continuation.

                24th        Deployed with HM Destroyer MACKAY and Light Coastal Forces craft

                                for interception patrol to cover passage of convoys FN1160 and FS1164

                                off coast of Norfolk against anticipated E-Boat attack.

                25th        Engaged E-Boats of 4th German Flotilla off Cromer with HMS MACKAY

                                and Coastal Forces craft. Enemy was attempting torpedo attacks on convoys

                                and these were repelled. Four E Boats did not return to Ijmuiden.

                                For details see above reference and THE BATTLE OF THE NARROW

                                SEAS.

 

November              North Sea convoy defence and interception patrol in continuation.

 

December              Deployed for interception patrol and convoy escort based at Harwich.

                23rd        Mined off Smiths Knoll and stern structure destroyed.

                                Taken in tow to Yarmouth.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Under repair and Survey

to April                  Declared beyond economic repair for operational use.

                                Paid-off and de-stored.

 

May                        Selected for user as an Accommodation Ship in London after completion

to December          of repair and de-equipping.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Passage London under tow and prepared for use locally.

to May

 

June                        Formally commissioned as HMS YEOMAN and continued nominated role.

to August

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS WORCESTER remained in use under her new identity after VJ Day until placed on the Disposal List in 1946. She was subsequently sold to BISCO and towed to the Breakerís yard at Grays, Essex to be broken-up in February 1947.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS WORCESTER

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

 

 

 

 

 

20/05/40

26/05/40

HG 031F

29/05/40

29/05/40

29/12/40

29/12/40

FS 0374

01/01/41

01/01/41

04/02/41

04/02/41

FN 0400

06/02/41

06/02/41

02/09/42

10/09/42

PQ 018

10/09/42

21/09/42

13/09/42

unknown

QP 014

25/09/42

26/09/42

20/11/42

20/11/42

CW 135

21/11/42

21/11/42

21/11/42

21/11/42

CE 133

22/11/42

22/11/42

15/12/42

15/12/42

CE 139

16/12/42

16/12/42

30/12/42

07/01/43

RA 051

10/01/43

11/01/43

19/03/43

19/03/43

CW 164

20/03/43

20/03/43

20/03/43

20/03/43

CE 162

21/03/43

21/03/43

22/05/43

22/05/43

CW 180

23/05/43

23/06/43

23/05/43

23/05/43

CE 178

24/05/43

24/05/43

19/06/43

19/06/43

CW 187

20/06/43

20/06/43

20/06/43

20/06/43

CE 185

21/06/43

21/06/43

25/07/43

25/07/43

CW 196

26/07/43

26/07/43

26/07/43

26/07/43

CE 194

27/07/43

27/07/43

02/08/43

02/08/43

CW 198

03/08/43

03/08/43

03/08/43

03/08/43

CE 196

04/08/43

04/08/43

22/08/43

22/08/43

CW 203

23/08/43

23/08/43

23/08/43

23/08/43

CE 201

24/08/43

24/08/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 12/7/11
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