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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 ACTIVE (H 14) -  A-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

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A-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie at Hebburn, Newcastle on 6th March 1928 under the 1927 Programme and laid down on 10th July that year. She was launched on 9th July 1929 as the 23rd R N ship to carry this name, introduced in 1758 for a Frigate and last borne by a 1904 cruiser sold in 1920 and a trawler hired for use as minesweepers in 1915. Build was completed on 9th February 1930 and she commissioned for service on 10th April 1930. Her pre-war service, apart from refits in UK was with the Mediterranean Fleet until October 1938 when she was placed in Reserve. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings Campaign in February 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Beeston and Stapleford in Nottinghamshire. This ship had the distinction of serving in many areas abroad during WW2 and was one of the very few destroyers built before 1939 to survive without major damage.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

LAGOS 1759 - TRINCOMALEE  1782 - CAMPERDOWN 1797 - EGYPT 1801 - LISSA 1811 - PELAGOSA 1811 - ASHANTEE 1873-4 - JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC  1939-45 - BISMARCK 1941 - ARCTIC 1941

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Chamois saliant Gold.

 

M o t t o

Festina lente: 'Hasten slowly'

 

 

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 with 13th Destroyer Flotilla based at Gibraltar.

                3rd          Nominated interception patrol to enforce blockade and convoy defence.

 

October                  Escort and patrol in Atlantic in continuation.

                                Nominated for refit.

 

November              Under refit at Gibraltar.

 

December

                1st           On completion of Post Refit trials rejoined Flotilla and resumed Local Flotilla duties.

                29th        Joined outward Convoy HG13F with HM Destroyer WISHART as escort for initial stage of

                                passage to Liverpool.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

                3rd          Detached from HG13F on relief by HM Destroyers VETERAN and WANDERER and took

                                passage to Gibraltar with HMS WISHART.

                21st         Deployed as escort for outward Convoy HG16F with HM Destroyer WHITEHALL during

                                initial stage of passage to Liverpool.

                28th        Detached from HG16 with HMS WHITEHALL and took passage to Gibraltar.

 

February

                9th          Deployed as escort for outward Convoy HG18 with French destroyers VALMY and

                                VIKINGS during initial stage of passage to Liverpool

                10th        Detached from HG18 and took passage to Gibraltar

                17th        Joined HM Sloops BIDEFORD, LEITH and HM Destroyer VERSATILE escorting inward

                                Convoy 18F during passage into Gibraltar and detached on arrival.

               22nd       Joined inward Convoy OG 18 during final stage of Atlantic passage to Gibraltar and 

                                detached on arrival at Gibraltar

 

March

                4th          Deployed with HM Destroyers VELOX, VIDETTE and VIMY as escort for outward

                                Convoy HG21 during initial stage of passage to Liverpool.

                6th          Detached from HG 21 and took passage to join French destroyers TIGRE and VIKINGS

                                escorting inward Convoy OG22F from Liverpool to Gibraltar.

                7th          Detached from OG22 on arrival.

                9th          Joined HG22F with French destroyers TIGRE and VIKINGS. as escort for initial stage of

                                passage to Liverpool.

                                Detached from HG22F with French destroyers and returned to Gibraltar.

 

April                       Local Flotilla duties at Gibraltar in continuation.

to

May

 

June                        Transferred to Force H for temporary duty when Force formed at Gibraltar after arrival

                                of Home Fleet ships.

 

July

                3rd          Participated in actions against units of French Fleet at Mers el Kebir.

                                (Operation CATAPULT - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli

                                Barnett, Naval Staff History (HMSO-2001) and RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W. Tute).

 

August                  Transferred to Home Fleet to supplement Western Approaches convoy defence.

                                Joined 12th Destroyer Flotilla..

                29th        Detached for escort, of ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron with HM Cruiser CAIRO,

                                HM Destroyers TARTAR, BEDOUIN and ASHANTI during lay of northern end of North

                                Sea Mine Barrier (Operation SN14).

 

September             Deployed for anti-submarine defence in Western Approaches.

 

October                  Nominated for escort of military convoy during passage in NW Approaches.

 

                7th          Joined Convoy WS3B Fast in Clyde with HM Destroyers OTTAWA (RCN), DOUGLAS,

                                ARROW, SABRE and VIMY, HM Cruiser KENYA provided Ocean Escort during passage to

                                Freetown.

                12th        Detached from WS3B Fast with Local; Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

November              Escorted Convoy HX83 in Western Approaches.

                                (Note: One ship of this convoy was sunk by U99 on November 5th.)

                                Taken in hand for refit at Liverpool.

 

December              Under refit.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Under refit.

to

February

 

March                    On completion transferred to 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet for A/S defence of Fleet units.

 

April                       Deployed with Home Fleet.

 

May

                23rd        Took part in search operations for BISMARCK with Home Fleet.

                                (For details see BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim-Rechburg and the Naval Staff

                                History.)

 

June                        Deployment with Home Fleet in continuation.

to

July

 

August

                16th        Escorted first Russian convoy with HM Destroyer IMPULSIVE (Operation DERVISH).

                29th        Detached from DERVISH convoy and took passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin Home Fleet.

 

September             Embarked RAF personnel for passage to North Russia.

                28th        Joined 1st return convoy from Archangel with HM Destroyer ELECTRA as Ocean Escort

                                during return passage.

                                (Note: This convoy was identified as QP1.).

 

October                  Nominated for refit.

                5th          Detached to tow disabled Trawler HMS OPHELIA to Akureyri. Iceland.

                10th        Arrived at Akureyri

                                Passage to resume Fleet duties

                20th        Taken in hand for refit.

 

November              Under refit

                                Nominated for duty with Force H at Gibraltar.

 

December              On completion of Post Refit trials took passage to join 38th Destroyer Division at Gibraltar.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Deployed for convoy defence based at Gibraltar.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR THE

                                MEDITERRANEAN by Donald MacIntyre and MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman

                                for details of operations in western Mediterranean.).

 

February                Nominated for escort of military convoy from UK to Indian Ocean.

                                Passage to Clyde to join Convoy WS16

                16th        Joined Ocean Escort for WS16 with HM Destroyers ANTHONY, BLANKNEY, CROOME,

                                DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE, LAFOREY and LIGHTNING.

                                (Note: HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Cruiser HERMIONE, HM Aircraft Carriers

                                EAGLE and ARGUS on passage to Gibraltar provided cover during Atlantic

                                passage. H M Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE on passage to Indian Ocean was

                                also with this convoy.)

                21st         Detached from WS16 as screen for HMS MALAYA, HMS HERMIONE, HMS EAGLE and

                                HMS ARGUS with HM Destroyers BLANKNEY, CROOME, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING

                                for passage to Gibraltar.

                27th        Nominated for escort of HMS EAGLE during aircraft delivery to Malta.

                                (Operation SPOTTER I)

                                (Note: Aircraft delivery to Malta by HMS EAGLE, covered by HM Battleship MALAYA

                                and HMS HERMIONE screened by HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTING,

                                ACTIVE, ANTHONY, DUNCAN, WHITEHALL, WISHART, BLANKNEY and

                                CROOME.)

                28th        SPOTTER I cancelled. See MALTA CONVOYS.

                                (Note: Incorrect design Long Range Fuel Tanks had been fitted on the aircraft to be

                                delivered.)

 

March

                6th          Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE during delivery of aircraft to Malta.

                                (Operation SPOTTER II).

                                (Note: Escort comprised same ships as SPOTTER except HM Destroyer EXMOOR

                                replaced HMS DUNCAN,

                                The correct type of fuel tanks were installed before execution of SPOTTER II.)

                                Nominated for detached service in support of landings in Madagascar.

                                (Operation IRONCLAD).

                                Passage to Freetown from Gibraltar.

 

April

                1st           Joined escort for military convoy WS17 with HM Destroyers .ANTHONY and WILD SWAN,

                                HM Corvette HYDRANGEA and Free French Corvette Commandant DETROYAT during

                                passage in Atlantic.

                                (Note: WS17 included troopships taking assault force to Durban for IRONCLAD and

                                also ships destined for Aden and Indian ports.

                6th          Detached from WS17 with Local Escort

                                on arrival at Freetown.

                9th          Joined military convoy WS17A on departure from Freetown with HM Destroyers

                                ANTHONY, INCONSTANT, JAVELIN, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, LIGHTNING and

                                PAKENHAM as escort during the passage to Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: WS17 split into two sections at Freetown.)

                18th        At Capetown with WS17A.

                22nd       Convoy WS17A arrived at Durban.

 

May                        Prepared for support during Operation IRONCLAD.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, THE

                                WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson, Naval Staff History and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

                7th          Provided Anti-submarine defence during assault.

                                (Note: HM Cruiser HERMIONE, HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT

                                and ANTHONY from Force H at Gibraltar also took part in IRONCLAD.)

                8th          Sank Vichy French submarine MONGE with HM Destroyer PANTHER which was

                                attempting to attack HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE.

 

June                        Remained in Indian Ocean for convoy defence and escort of Fleet units.

                3rd          Sailed as part of screen for HM Battleship RAMILLIES with HM Destroyers DECOY and

                                DUNCAN in Force F for passage to Durban.

                                (Note: HMS RAMILLIES had been torpedoed by a Japanese midget submarine on 31st

                                and required repair.)

 

July                         Deployed in Indian Ocean for convoy defence and patrol.

to

August

 

September             Nominated for support of final occupation of Madagascar (Operation STREAM).

                                Joined 3rd Destroyer Division of Force M with HM Destroyers ARROW, BLACKMORE

                                and INCONSTANT.

                9th          Provided escort for Force M ships and protection during landings at Majunga.

                                (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO), Volume III).

                30th        Resumed convoy defence duties on release from STREAM

 

October                  Convoy defence in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic in continuation.

                                Deployed at Capetown with HM Destroyers ARROW, FOXHOUND, NIZAM (RAN) and

                                HM Corvette ROCKROSE for anti-submarine operations after significant increase in the

                                attacks by U-Boats in the area.

                                (For details see HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair, Volume 2)

                8th          Sank U 179 by depth Charges attacks and surface gunfire in position 33.28N 17.05E west of

                                Capetown.

                                (Note: Ship had been engaged in rescue of survivors from ss CITY OF ATHENS when

                                submarine was detected by radar. .See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and

                                above reference.

                                There were no survivors from this Type IXD (U-cruiser).

 

November              Convoy defence role in continuation.

to                            Nominated for refit in UK.

December

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Passage to UK for refit.

 

February                Under refit.

to

April

 

May                        Nominated for duty with 13th Destroyer Flotilla at Gibraltar.

                19th        After post refit trials joined HM Destroyer CLEVELAND, Polish destroyer SLAZAK, HM

                                Sloops LOWESTOFT, WELLINGTON and WESTON, HM Frigates NESS and EXE,

                                HM Cutter GORLESTON as escort for joint military convoy WS30/ KMS15 during its

                                passage to Gibraltar

                                (Note: HM Cruiser SUFFOLK and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser ASTURIAS provided

                                cover during passage and FM Aircraft Carrier UNICORN was with convoy. )

                23rd        In company with HM Frigate NESS attacked and sank Italian submarine LEONARDO DA

                                VINCI off Cape Finisterre.

                                There were no survivors.

                25th        Detached from joint convoy and escorted ships of KMS15 to Gibraltar.

 

June                        Deployed with Flotilla for convoy escort duty in Atlantic and Mediterranean.

to

October

 

November              Took part in sinking of U340 with HM Destroyer WITHERINGTON, H M Sloop

                                FLEETWOOD and Wellington aircraft of 179 Squadron RAF in position 35.49N

                                05.14W (Straits of Gibraltar, east of Ceuta.)

                                (See U-BOATS DESTROYED for details. 48 survivors were taken from Spanish trawler

                                by HMS FLEETWOOD.)

 

December              Deployed on A/S escort for convoys in Western Mediterranean.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Mediterranean convoy defence role in continuation

to

August

 

September             Nominated for transfer to Hang Waters to supplement coastal convoy defence.

                                (Note: Increase in attacks by Schnorkel-fitted U-Boats was expected.)

October                  Transferred to 1st Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth D1 based at Portsmouth.

 

November              Nominated for duty in Eastern Mediterranean and taken in hand for refit.

 

December              Under refit

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  On completion of post refit trials took passage to join 3rd Destroyer Flotilla at

                                Alexandria.

 

February                Deployed in support of shore operations in Eastern and Central Mediterranean.

                28th        Captured landing craft during operations in Central Mediterranean.

 

March                    Deployed for convoy defence and support of military operations in Aegean.

to

April

 

May                        Took part in re-occupation of Piscopi (Tilos) in Aegean.

                                Embarked General Wagner and other German officers for formal surrender at Symi.

 

June                        Transferred to Gibraltar Local Flotilla for service in Western Mediterranean and

                                Atlantic.

 

July                         Deployed at Gibraltar.

to

August

  

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS ACTIVE returned to UK in September 1945 and reduced to Reserve status at Barrow. The ship was used for target trials in 1946 before being placed on the Disposal List. She was sold to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers on 7th July 1946 for demolition and arrived in tow at the breaker's yard in Troon during August that year.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ACTIVE

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

 

 

 

 

 

08/12/39

08/12/39

HG 010

unknown

16/12/39

29/12/39

29/12/39

HG 013F

03/01/40

05/01/40

21/01/40

21/01/40

HG 016F

28/01/40

28/01/40

09/02/40

09/02/40

HG 018

10/02/40

19/02/40

11/02/40

unknown

OG 018F

17/02/40

17/02/40

12/02/40

12/02/40

OA 090G

unknown

15/02/40

15/02/40

unknown

OG 018

22/02/40

22/02/40

04/03/40

04/03/40

HG 021

06/03/40

13/03/40

01/03/40

06/03/40

OG 020

07/03/40

07/03/40

09/03/40

09/03/40

HG 022F

unknown

18/03/40

21/04/40

21/04/40

HG 027

28/04/40

unknown

28/05/40

28/05/40

HG 032F

01/06/40

06/06/40

20/08/40

01/09/40

HG 042

01/09/40

03/09/40

30/08/40

02/09/40

OB 206

04/09/40

05/09/40

01/09/40

13/09/40

HX 070

16/09/40

16/09/40

19/09/40

19/09/40

OL 003

21/09/40

22/09/40

10/09/40

23/09/40

SC 004

26/09/40

26/09/40

07/10/40

07/10/40

WS 003B

12/10/40

28/10/40

31/10/40

31/10/40

OB 237

02/11/40

02/11/40

24/10/40

04/11/40

HX 083

06/11/40

07/11/40

13/11/40

13/11/40

OB 243

18/11/40

18/11/40

26/11/40

26/11/40

OB 250

29/11/40

29/11/40

12/11/40

30/11/40

SL 055

02/12/40

02/12/40

10/12/40

11/12/40

OB 257

13/12/40

13/12/40

03/12/40

13/12/40

HX 093

18/12/40

18/12/40

24/12/40

24/12/40

OB 264

29/12/40

29/12/40

15/12/40

29/12/40

SC 016

30/12/40

31/12/40

10/04/41

16/04/41

TC 010

19/04/41

19/04/41

21/06/41

26/06/41

TC 011

30/06/41

30/06/41

12/08/41

16/08/41

DERVISH

29/08/41

31/08/41

28/09/41

28/09/41

QP 001

05/10/41

10/10/41

26/01/42

04/02/42

CARNIVAL

04/02/42

04/02/42

20/10/42

20/10/42

CF 007

02/11/42

02/11/42

04/11/42

04/11/42

CF 007A

unknown

17/11/42

19/05/43

25/05/43

KMF 015

28/05/43

27/05/43

10/06/43

10/06/43

MKS 014G

11/06/43

11/06/43

28/05/43

15/06/43

UGS 009

17/06/43

25/06/43

16/06/43

16/06/43

KMS 016

22/06/43

27/06/43

18/06/43

22/06/43

XTG 002

unknown

29/06/43

13/07/43

13/07/43

KMS 020G

14/07/43

14/07/43

19/07/43

19/07/43

GC 025

20/07/43

20/07/43

18/07/43

22/07/43

GUS 010

23/07/43

09/08/43

12/07/43

29/07/43

UGS 012

05/08/43

10/08/43

29/07/43

30/07/43

KMS 021

05/08/43

10/08/43

14/08/43

25/08/43

SL 135

26/08/43

27/08/43

04/10/43

04/10/43

MKS 026G

05/10/43

05/10/43

17/10/43

27/10/43

KMS 030G

01/11/43

01/11/43

18/11/43

18/11/43

OS 058

28/11/43

28/11/43

02/12/43

02/12/43

SL 142

14/12/43

14/12/43

25/02/44

25/02/44

KMS 042

06/03/44

06/03/44

15/03/44

15/03/44

GUS 034

26/03/44

14/04/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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