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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 DECOY (H 75), later HMCS KOOTENAY -  D-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Decoy (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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D or DEFENDER-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from John I Thornycroft at Woolston, Southampton on 2nd February 1931 under the 1930 Programme. The ship was laid down on 25th June 1931 as Yard No 1108 and launched on 7th June 1932 as the 5th RN ship to carry the name, introduced ion 1810. It had previously used by a destroyer lost in collision in 1904. Build completed on 17th January 1933 at a cost 225,236,excluding Admiralty supplied items such as guns, ammunition and communication outfits. This destroyer initially served with the Mediterranean Fleet but in early 1935 went to the Far East and later the Indian Ocean until the outbreak of war in September 1939. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in January 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Shipley then in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

 

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

 

ASHANTEE 1873-74 - ALEXANDRIA 1882 - MEDITERRANEAN 1940 - CALABRIA 1940 - GREECE 1941 - CRETE 1941 - LIBYA 1941-42 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - ATLANTIC 1942

 

H e r a l d i c D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Green, a Hawk's lure gold.

 

M o t t o

Cave quod celo:  'Beware what I hide.

 

 

D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e  a s   H M S   D E C O Y

 

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

 

 

1 9 3 9

 

September

 

Transferred with 21st Destroyer Flotilla to Mediterranean. Took passage to Malta with ships of Flotilla.

 

October

 

Deployed for Mediterranean contraband control and interception duties.

 

November

 

Taken in hand for refit at Malta. (Note: Major corrosion of bulkheads between engine and boiler room required attention to make ship seaworthy. Extensive machinery defects dealt with.)

 

December

 

Under refit. Hull survey carried out. Nominated for transfer to Freetown for convoy defence and the interception of commerce raiders.

 

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

 

Detached for duty in Atlantic and took passage to Freetown. (Note: CinC Mediterranean had represented his concern at this transfer since state of hull would require frequent dockyard attention).

 

February

 

Joined 21st Destroyer Flotilla for convoy escort and patrol duties.

 

March

 

Atlantic duties in continuation.

 

April

 

Transferred to 10th Destroyer Flotilla and took passage to Malta.

 

May

 

Joined Flotilla for convoy escort and Fleet duties.

 

12th - Escorted military Convoy US2 carrying ANZAC troops to Middle East with sister destroyer HMS DEFENDER in Red Sea.

 

June

 

Resumed Flotilla duties in Mediterranean.

 

20th - Deployed with HM Destroyers DAINTY, HASTY and STUART (RAN) and screen for French battleship LORRAINE, HM Cruisers ORION, NEPTUNE and SYDNEY (RAN) during bombardment of Bardia.

 

27th - Part of screen for HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE, HM Battleships RAMILLIES and ROYAL SOVEREIGN, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, NEPTUNE, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) with HM Destroyers DAINTY, DIAMOND, DEFENDER, ILEX, JERVIS, JUNO and VOYAGER (RAN) covering passage of MF1 and MS1 to Alexandria (Operation MA3). (For details of Mediterranean OPERATIONS see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

 

30th - Returned to Alexandria when MA3 was aborted due to heavy expenditure of ammunition by cruisers during engagement with four Italian destroyers, one of which was sunk.

 

July

 

7th - Sailed from Alexandria with HM Destroyers MOHAWK, NUBIAN, HERO and HEREWARD as screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE in Force B to provide cover for renewed passage of Convoys MF1 and MS1 from Malta. (Operation MAS - a repeat of MA3.)

 

9th - Took part in brief engagement with Italian battle fleet off Calabria. (Note: Italian ships included battleship CAVOUR and CAESAR, 14 cruisers and 30 destroyers. See above references.)

 

11th - Under air attacks during return passage to Alexandria.

 

August

 

Flotilla deployment with Fleet in continuation.

 

23rd - Deployed with HMAS SYDNEY, HM Destroyers STUART (RAN), WATERHEN (RAN) DIAMOND, JUNO and ILEX for support of bombardments in Gulf of Bomba.

 

30th - Part of screen for HMS EAGLE, HM Battleships MALAYA and WARSPITE, H M Cruisers GLOUCESTER, KENT, LIVERPOOL, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) with HM Destroyers IMPERIAL, ILEX, JANUS, MOHAWK, NUBIAN, VAMPIRE (RAN), VENDETTA (RAN) and Polish destroyer ORP GARLAND to cover passage of Convoy MS2 to Malta (Operation MB3).

 

September

 

2nd - After arrival of MS2 in Malta deployed with Mediterranean Fleet screen to meet HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY joining Fleet at Alexandria  (Operation HATS).

 

3rd - Deployed with HM Cruisers ORION and SYDNEY for bombardment of Scarpanto.

 

4th - Engaged two Italian MAS craft with HMS ILEX sinking MAS 537.

 

October

 

8th - Part of screen for HMS EAGLE, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS MALAYA, RAMILLIES, VALIANT, WARSPITE, HM Cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, ORION, SYDNEY and YORK with HM Destroyers DAINTY, IMPERIAL, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO MOHAWK, STUART (RAN) and VAMPIRE (RAN) to cover passage of Convoy MF3 to Malta and Convoy MF4 to Egypt (Operation MB6).

 

11th - Detached to tow HM Destroyer IMPERIAL to Malta after mine damage.

 

November

 

6th - Part of screen for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleships MALAYA, RAMILLIES, VALIANT, WARSPITE, HM Cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, ORION, SYDNEY (RAN) and YORK to give Distant Cover for passage of Convoy MD3 to Malta (Operation MBS).

 

10th - Deployed with HMS RAMILLIES, HMS COVENTRY, HMS DEFENDER. HMAS VAMPIRE and HMAS WATERHEN as escort for return Convoy ME3 to Egypt from Malta. (Part of Operation COAT).

 

13th - Hit by bomb during air raid on Alexandria and sustained major structural damage.

 

14th - Under temporary repair in Alexandria.

 

December

 

Passage to Malta for permanent repair. Taken in hand by HM Dockyard.

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

 

Under repair in Malta.

 

19th - Sustained further damage from bomb splinters in Malta during repair.

 

February

 

On completion of post refit trials rejoined Fleet at Alexandria.

 

21st - Deployed with HM Destroyers HOTSPUR, HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO, HASTY, ILEX, JERVIS, JANUS and JAGUAR as screen for HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE and HM Cruiser COVENTRY to provide cover for passage of HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, COVENTRY, HM Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK taking troops and equipment to Malta from Alexandria (Operation MC8). (Note: HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE and ss CLAN MACAULAY returned to Egypt concurrently.)

 

25th - Landed Commando unit on Castelorizo in Aegean Sea with HM Destroyer HEREWARD. (Operation ABSTENTION). Italian garrison surrendered. (Note: HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER and BONAVENTURE were also deployed.)

 

26th - Italian troops landed to recapture island.

 

27th - Embarked troops at Alexandria to form British garrison at Castellorizo. (Note: HM Destroyer HERO also embarked troops). Sailed from Alexandria with HMS BONAVENTURE, HMS PERTH, HMS HASTY and HMS JAGUAR.

 

28th - Evacuation of Commando ordered and operation terminated. Provided cover. On arrival re-embarked Commando and sailed for Suda Bay with army units and Commando,

 

March

 

Landed Commando and took passage to land Army units at Alexandria. Resumed Flotilla deployment in Eastern Mediterranean. Escorted convoy to Greece (Operation LUSTRE)

 

20th - Deployed with HM Destroyers DEFENDER, GRIFFIN, GREYHOUND, HASTY, HERO, HEREWARD, HOTSPUR, HAVOCK, ILEX, JERVIS, JANUS, JAGUAR, MOHAWK and NUBIAN as screen for HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, BARHAM, HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER, YORK, BONAVENTURE, ORION, AJAX and PERTH (RAN) to provide cover for passage of Convoy MW6 from Egypt to Malta (Operation MC9).

 

26th - Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.

 

April

 

18th - Part of screen for HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HMS BARHAM, HMS WARSPITE, HM Cruisers CALCUTTA, GLOUCESTER, ORION and PHOEBE with HM Destroyers ENCOUNTER, HAVOCK, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, JAGUAR, JUNO, DECOY, DEFENDER, GREYHOUND and ILEX providing cover for passage of HM Supply BRECONSHIRE to Malta and return Convoy ME7 of empty ships from Malta (Part of Operation MD3).

 

24th to 28th - Participated in evacuation of allied troops from Greece (Operation DEMON). (For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO –2002).)

 

May

 

Deployed with Fleet in Eastern Mediterranean. Embarked HM King of the Hellenes for passage to Alexandria.

 

25th - Carried troops to Suda Crete but transferred them to HMS ABDIEL when unable to land them.

 

26th - Assisted in support of defence of Crete after German invasion.

 

28th - Took part in evacuation of Heraklion with HM Cruisers AJAX, DIDO and ORION, HM Destroyers JACKAL, IMPERIAL, HOTSPUR, KIMBERLEY and HEREWARD as Force B. Under heavy air attacks.

 

31st - Sustained slight damage by near miss during evacuation operation at Heraklion. (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History).

 

June

 

Deployed in support of military operations in Syria and carried out patrols to intercept Vichy French destroyers and submarines attempting to interfere with allied landings and bombardments (Operation EXPORTER). ( For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute).

 

On release from EXPORTER transferred to Inshore Squadron for support of Tobruk garrison. Deployed for convoy defence and transfer of troops and stores. Came under frequent attacks by aircraft

 

July

 

Tobruk support in continuation

 

9th - Under air attack and had near miss during convoy escort.

 

August to October

 

Tobruk convoy defence and support in continuation. 

 

November

 

Tobruk support in continuation

 

17th - Resumed Fleet screening duties.

 

24th - Part of destroyer screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT with HM Destroyers JERVIS, JACKAL, NIZAM (RAN) and four others during operation in eastern Mediterranean in search of enemy supply convoys.

 

25th - Deployed with HM Destroyer JERVIS as part of screen for HM Battleship BARHAM when this battleship was hit by torpedo from U331 and sank with heavy loss of life. Took part in anti-submarine search operations. (For details see TUBAL CAINE by D Muspratt and above references.)

 

December

 

15th - Joined HM Cruisers CARLISLE, EURYALUS and NAIAD with HM Destroyer HASTY, HAVOCK, JERVIS, KIMBERLEY, KIPLING and NIZAM (RAN) as Force C to escort Supply Ship HMS BRECONSHIRE during passage to Malta to replenish oil stocks . (Operation MF1). (For details see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

 

17th - Remained as escort for HMS BRECONSHIRE with HMS HAVOCK when other ships detached to attack Italian warships threatening passage of BRECONSHIRE (First Battle of Sirte - See above references).

 

18th - After Italian warships withdrew joined by HM Cruisers AURORA and PENELOPE, HM Destroyers LANCE and LIVELY (Force K) to complete passage.

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

January

 

Under repair to collision damage in Malta.

 

February

 

8th - On completion resumed deployment with Force K in Malta and rejoined HM Cruiser PENELOPE.

 

12th - Sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE, HM Destroyers ZULU, SIKH, LEGION, LIVELY and FORTUNE as escort for HMS BRECONSHIRE ss AJAX, ss CITY OF CALCUTTA and ss CLAN FERGUSON as Convoy ME 10 during passage to meet Convoy MW9 whose escort would take these ships to Egypt (Operation MF5).

 

14th - On meeting ships from Alexandria remained with ME10 and transferred to Force B from Alexandra with HMS FORTUNE. Sank hulk of ss CLAN CHATTAN which had been part of Convoy MW 9 and abandoned after being set on fire during air attacks before convoys met. (Note: Convoy MW9 had been subjected to heavy and sustained air attacks. None of the mercantiles arrived in Malta. See above references for details.)

 

15th - Convoy ME9 under attack by Italian submarine TOPAZIO which failed.

 

16th - Detached from ME9 on arrival at Port Said and returned with Force B ships to Alexandria.

 

March

 

Transferred to Eastern Fleet at Colombo and took passage.

 

31st - Joined 2nd Destroyer Flotilla.

 

April

 

Allocated to Force B as destroyer screen for HM Battleships RAMILLIES, REVENGE, RESOLUTION and ROYAL SOVEREIGN with HM Destroyers FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, NORMAN (RAN), ARROW, VAMPIRE, SCOUT and Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS. Took part in search operations for Japanese warships on passage to Ceylon for a series of air attacks. (For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by E Grey and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

 

6th - At Addu Atoll with Force B and took passage to Kilindini with Force B. (Note: Force B was transferred to Kilindini because of the Japanese air threat. These battleships of WW1 vintage were only deployed in convoy defence).

 

May to August

 

Deployed with Flotilla for screening of Force B units and convoy defence in the Indian Ocean.

 

Nominated for return to UK for refit.

 

September

 

Passage to Freetown via Cape of Good Hope.

 

October

 

Retained at Freetown for convoy defence in Atlantic. On release from West African Command took passage to Greenock.

 

29th - Arrived at Greenock. (Note: First return to UK after continuous service abroad since 1934)

 

November

 

3rd - Taken in hand for refit at Palmer's Tyneside shipyard at Jarrow.

 

December

 

Under refit

 

 

1 9 4 3

 

January to February

 

Under refit. (Note: Radar Type 271 fitted for surface warning and Direction Finding Outfit for detection of submarine wireless transmissions. Radar Type 291 for air warning installed. For details of development and use of radar in RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse and SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann).

 

March

 

Under refit.

 

Transfer to Royal Canadian Navy approved.

 

April

 

Under refit.

 

12th - Commissioned into RCN and renamed KOOTENAY.

 

 

S e r v i c e   a s   H M C S   K O O T E N A Y 

 

 On completion of post refit trials took passage to Tobermory to work-up.

 

May

 

Allocated for service in 5th Canadian Escort Group for Atlantic cornvoy defence. Passage to join Group for mid-Atlantic service on completion of work-up.

 

June

 

Deployed with Group for Atlantic convoy escort.

 

15th - Transfer to RCN made permanent.

 

July to September

 

Deployment with Group in continuation. (See SHIPS OF CANADA'S NAVAL FORCES).

 

 

October to December

 

Under repair at Halifax.

 

 

 1 9 4 4

 

January

 

On completion of repair rejoined Group in continuation.

 

February to April

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

May

 

Transferred to 11th Escort Group in Home waters. Joined HM Canadian Destroyers CHAUDIERE, GATINEAU, OTTAWA and ST LAURENT for duty in Plymouth Command to support planned allied landings in Normandy. (Operation NEPTUNE - For details of activities prior to and during landings see LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1942 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards).

 

June

 

Deployed for anti-submarine operations in SW Approaches and English Channel to intercept U-Boats attempting to interfere with landings and cross-Channel convoys.

 

18th - Transferred to Portsmouth Command in continuation.

 

July

 

Channel deployment for support of military operations and convoy defence in continuation.

 

6th - Took part in sinking of U678 south of Brighton with HMCS OTTAWA and HM Canadian Corvette STATICE (Position 50.32N 00.23W). There were no survivors from the submarine. (See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

 

August

 

Deployed in SW Approaches for anti-submarine operations with Group.

 

18th - Took part in sinking of U621 off La Rochelle with HM Canadian Destroyers OTTAWA and HMCS CHAUDIERE (Position 45.52N 02.36W).There were no survivors from U621.

 

20th - Took part in sinking of U984 west of Brest with HM Canadian Destroyers OTTAWA and CHAUDIERE (Position 48.16N 05.33W). There were no survivors from U984 (See U-BOATS DESTROYED.)

 

September

 

Resumed Atlantic convoy defence duties.

 

20th - Passage to Canada for refit.

 

October

 

2nd - Taken in hand for refit at Shelburne Naval Dockyard, Nova Scotia.

 

November to December

 

Under refit

 

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

 

Under refit.

 

February

 

Post refit trials.

 

27th - Passage to UK for work-up.

 

March

 

Worked up for operational service at Tobermory.

 

April

 

Deployed in Plymouth Command for convoy defence in Channel. (Note: German submarines fitted with SCHNORKELS were concentrating attacks on convoys that had been re-routed through English Channel and extensive reinforcement of anti-submarine escorts had been made in the Channel and SW Approaches.).

 

May

 

Channel deployment in continuation. Nominated for duty as transport for returning Canadian servicemen after VE Day.

 

June

 

Deployed as transport between Newfoundland and Quebec.

 

  

P o s t W a r N o t e s

 

HMCS KOOTENAY was paid off into Reserve at Sydney, NS on 26th October 1945. The ship was placed on the Disposal List and sold in 1946 for breaking-up at Hamilton, NS.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS DECOY

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

 

 

 

 

 

10/11/40

10/11/40

ME 003

13/11/40

13/11/40

18/03/41

18/03/41

AN 021

20/03/41

22/03/41

04/04/41

04/04/41

ASF 023

07/04/41

07/04/41

17/02/42

17/02/42

AT 028/M

18/02/42

18/02/42

07/09/42

07/09/42

CF 005

10/09/42

10/09/42

03/10/42

03/10/42

SL 124

05/10/42

22/10/42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as HMCS KOOTENAY 

 

 

 

 

 

19/05/43

30/05/43

HX 240

03/06/43

04/06/43

10/06/43

11/06/43

ON 188

20/06/43

26/06/43

23/06/43

29/06/43

HX 245

05/07/43

07/07/43

16/07/43

17/07/43

ON 193

25/07/43

31/07/43

30/07/43

05/08/43

HX 250

11/08/43

12/08/43

26/08/43

27/08/43

ON 199

04/09/43

09/09/43

09/09/43

15/09/43

HX 256

21/09/43

21/09/43

05/10/43

06/10/43

ON 205

16/10/43

23/10/43

26/11/43

01/12/43

HX 268

10/12/43

11/12/43

24/12/43

25/12/43

ON 217

05/01/44

10/01/44

06/01/44

11/01/44

HX 274

21/01/44

21/01/44

30/01/44

31/01/44

ON 222

10/02/44

16/02/44

13/02/44

18/02/44

SC 153

01/03/44

02/03/44

13/03/44

14/03/44

ONS 031

25/03/44

30/03/44

28/03/44

02/04/44

HX 285

11/04/44

12/04/44

16/09/44

17/09/44

ON 254

29/09/44

05/10/44

19/03/45

27/03/45

HX 345

02/04/45

02/04/45

07/05/45

07/05/45

OS 127KM

10/05/45

13/05/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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