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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 FORTUNE (H 70), later HMCS SASKATCHEWAN -  F-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Faulknor, leader, same class (Navy Photos/Peter Crocker,  click to enlarge)

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F-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from John Brown, Clydebank, Glasgow in January 1933 under the 1932 Build Programme and was laid down on 28th July That year. She was launched on 29th August 1934 as the 22nd R N warship to carry the name, dating from 1512 and previously used by a 1913 destroyer sunk in the Battle of Jutland. Build was completed on 27th April 1935 and cost 247,564, excluding Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns, ammunition and communications equipment. She was serving in the Home Fleet when war was declared in September 1939. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in May 1942 the ship was adopted by the civil community of Midlothian, Scotland. This destroyer was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy on 15 June 1943 and renamed HMCS SASKATCHEWAN.

 

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

 

ARMADA 1588* - PORTLAND 1653 - GABBARD 1653 - ORFORDNESS 1666 - MINORCA 1756 - CHESAPEAKE 1781 - JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC 1939 - NORTH SEA 1940 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42

(* Awarded to the mercantile FORTUNE OF ALDBOROUGH)

 

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

On a Field Blue, a wheel gold with silver wing

 

 

D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e   a s   H M S   F O R T U N E

 

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

 

 

1 9 3 9

 

August

 

Took up War Station at Scapa Flow with ships of 8th Destroyer Flotilla in Home Fleet.

 

September

 

3rd - Deployed for anti-submarine patrol and escort duty in NW Approaches.

 

20th - Shared credit for sinking of U27 with HM Destroyer FORESTER in position 58.32N 09.02W. There were some survivors from the submarine.

 

October to December

 

Fleet escort and patrol duties in continuation. (For details of activities in Home waters during 1939 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and the Naval Staff History.)

 

 

1 9 4 0

 

January to February

 

Deployed on Fleet and convoy defence duties in NW Approaches.

 

March

 

20th - During escort of Home Fleet units carrying out search operation N W of Shetlands sank U44 in position 63.27N 00.36W. There were no survivors from the submarine.

 

April

 

Under repair. On completion joined Fleet units off Norway for screening of major units and for convoy defence.

 

23rd - Formed part of A/S screen for HM Aircraft Carriers GLORIOUS and ARK ROYAL during joint carrier air operations for protection of allied troops at Andalsnes and at Namsos (Operation DX).

 

May

 

8th - Escorted HM Cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW taking Royal Marines for occupation of Iceland (Operation FORK).

 

10th - On completion took passage to resume Fleet duties.

 

June

 

Fleet screening duties in continuation.

 

July

 

Part of screen for Fleet units during search for submarine SHARK in North Sea.

 

August

 

Detached for Atlantic convoy escort duty with 4th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

5th - Joined military convoy WS2 in Clyde with H M Destroyers WATCHMAN, VORTIGERN and FURY for Local Escort in NW Approaches.

 

7th - Detached from WS2 and returned to Clyde.

 

10th - Rescued survivors after sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser TRANSYLVANIA NW of Malin Head with HM Destroyers ACHATES and ANTELOPE. Resumed duties with 8th Destroyer Flotilla and transferred to Force H based at Gibraltar.

 

20th - Sailed for Gibraltar as part of screen for HMS ARK ROYAL, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FEARLESS, FURY, FIREDRAKE, FORESIGHT and FOXHOUND.

 

29th - Arrived at Gibraltar and joined Force H.

 

30th - Deployed as screen for HMS RENOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS SHEFFIELD in Force B with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, FIREDRAKE. FORESTER and ENCOUNTER to cover passage of HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Cruisers COVENTRY and CALCUTTA to Sicilian Narrows to join Fleet at Alexandria. (Operation HATS/MB - This also covered air attacks on Cagliari by HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation SMASH/GRAB). For further details of activities in Mediterranean 1940-42, see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre)

 

September

 

3rd - On return to Gibraltar with Force B nominated for support of Free French landing, at Dakar. (Operation MENACE - For details see MENACE by A Marder and RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute.)

 

6th - Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, FORESTER, FORESIGHT and GREYHOUND as screen for HMS ARK ROYAL and HM Battleship RESOLUTION during passage to Freetown to join ships of Force M.

 

22nd - Sailed from Freetown as screen for major units of Force M to carry out landings at Dakar.

 

24th - Deployed for anti-submarine patrol during naval bombardment of Dakar. Sank French submarine AJAX attempting to attack fleet off Dakar and rescued crew of 76.

 

25th - Operation abandoned because of risk of damage to major units by shore fire. Took return passage to Freetown as part of screen for Force M ships.

 

October

 

Retained in West Africa for support planned landing by Free French at Duala.

 

8th - Supported French landings at Duala.

 

16th - Passage to Gibraltar to resume duties with Force H.

 

19th - Deployed at Gibraltar for local anti-submarine patrol with ships of Flotilla.

 

31st - Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FIREDRAKE, GALLANT, GRIFFIN and GALLANT as screen for HMS RENOWN and HM Battleship BARHAM during surveillance of a reported movement of Vichy French naval units.

 

November

 

9th - Part of screen for HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS SHEFFIELD with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FOXHOUND, FORESTER, FURY, DUNCAN, ISIS as Force B to provide cover for passage of Force F in western Mediterranean to join Fleet at Alexandria (Note: Force F comprised HMS BARHAM, HM Cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW (Operation COAT) - also covering air attacks by HMS ARK ROYAL on Cagliari. (Operation CRACK).)

 

10th - Transferred with HMS FAULKNOR and HMS FURY to join screen for Force F during the passage to Malta through Sicilian Channel.

 

11th - Passage from Malta to rejoin Force B west of Sicilian Narrows.

 

15th - Joined Force B with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND, FORESTER, FAULKNOR and FIREDRAKE as screen for HMS RENOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS SHEFFIELD providing cover during a Malta aircraft delivery by HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS (Operation WHITE). (Note: This operation also covered air strike by HMS ARK ROYAL as a diversion.)

 

December

 

Deployed with Force H for patrol off Azores following reports of a landing by German troops.

 

20th - Joined HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FOXHOUND and FIREDRAKE as screen for HMS RENOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS SHEFFIELD providing cover of transit of HM Battleship MALAYA and Convoy MG1 from Sicilian Narrows to Gibraltar. (Operation HIDE - Screen for HMS MALAYA from Malta comprised HM Destroyers HERO, HASTY, HEREWARD, HYPERION and ILEX, but HMS ILEX was detached to assist when HMS HYPERION was torpedoed.)

 

December

 

On return from HIDE deployed with screen for same ships of Force H for convoy defence west of Gibraltar after German cruiser HIPPER had attacked Convoy WS5A.

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

 

Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, FOXHOUND, FIREDRAKE and DUNCAN as screen for HMS RENOWN. HMS MALAYA and HMS ARK ROYAL during escort of military convoy through western Mediterranean (Operation EXCESS). (Note: This operation also included transit of HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE with HM Destroyers HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO and JAGUAR as Force F.)

 

February

 

Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence.

 

March

 

30th - Deployed with HM Destroyers FURY, FEARLESS, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT, FAULKNOR and HMS SHEFFIELD to intercept Vichy French convoy on passage from west Africa to France (Operation RATION). Under air attack by Vichy French aircraft which was unsuccessful.

 

April

 

2nd - Joined screen for HMS RENOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS SHEFFIELD with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT and FURY to cover Malta aircraft delivery (Operation WINCH).

 

4th - Returned to Gibraltar.

 

6th - Deployed as screen for Force H ships during search for German warships reported in Atlantic.

 

10th - Returned to Gibraltar with Force H.

 

24th - Joined screen for HMS RENOWN, HMS ARK ROYAL, and HMS SHEFFIELD with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FORESIGHT and FURY to cover Malta aircraft delivery. (Operation DUNLOP –This operation also covered transit of HM Cruisers DIDO and ABDIEL, HM Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR, KELVIN, JERSEY and JACKAL deployed as Force S to be used as Strike Force in Malta (Operation SALIENT).)

 

28th - Returned to Malta with Force H after Force S detached west of Sicilian Narrows.

 

May

 

6th - Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY, FORESIGHT and FEARLESS as screen for HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER, NAIAD and FIJI for passage to Malta covered by units of Force H (Operation TIGER – This included passage of military convoy taking tanks to Middle East.)

 

9th - Took passage from Malta to rejoin ships of Force H after refuelling.

 

10th - Under air attacks and sustained structural damage by near miss off Bougaroni, Algeria. Extensive jettisoning of upper deck equipment required and control of flooding. Resumed passage to Gibraltar at reduced speed.

 

15th - Under survey and temporary repair by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar.

 

June

 

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

 

July to October

 

Under repair.

 

November

 

Carried out post repair trials. Prepared for return to operational duties.

 

December

 

Passage to Gibraltar to rejoin Force H.

 

7th - On arrival joined 19th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

Taken in hand for repair of machinery by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar.

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

January

 

On completion ,deployment restricted to local anti-submarine patrol due to need to work-up and machinery defects.

 

February

 

Transferred to 12th Destroyer Flotilla, Eastern Fleet.

 

9th - Embarked aircraft engines and other spares for delivery to Malta and took passage with HM Cruiser CLEOPATRA. (Note: The stability of the ship was compromised by excessive top-weight caused by upper stowage of this material.)

 

10th - Damaged in air attacks and temporarily disabled.

 

11th - Arrived in Malta and disembarked deck cargo.

 

13th - Sailed from Malta as part of escort for Convoy ME10 with HM Cruiser PENELOPE, HM Destroyers DECOY, LEGION, LIVELY, SIKH and ZULU during passage in western Mediterranean to meet Force B from Alexandria for onward escort (Operation MF5). (Note: ME10 comprised HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE, ss CLAN FERGUSON, ss AJAX and ss CITY OF CALCUTTA. For details of passage see MALTA CONVOYS.)

 

14th - Transferred to Force B with HMS DECOY and remained with escort for passage to Alexandria.

 

16th - Detached from ME10 escort and made independent passage to join Eastern Fleet with call at Aden.

 

March

 

Passage to Colombo to join Eastern Fleet. (Note: Eastern Fleet was not formed until 26th and comprised HM Battleships WARSPITE, RAMILLIES, RESOLUTION, REVENGE and ROYAL SOVEREIGN, HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, HERMES and ILLUSTRIOUS. HM Cruisers DORSETSHIRE, CORNWALL, ENTERPRISE, EMERALD, DRAGON and CALEDON, HM Destroyers GRIFFIN, ARROW, DECOY, EXPRESS, FOXHOUND, HOTSPUR, NAPIER (RAN), NIZAM (RAN), NESTOR (RAN), NORMAN (RAN), VAMPIRE (RAN), PALADIN, PANTHER, SCOUT and TENEDOS. There were in addition two Dutch cruisers and a destroyer. No operational support base was available and many ships had significant defects after service at Singapore with others newly commissioned and not fully worked up for Fleet duties.)

 

24th - Carried out search for Japanese warships south of Ceylon.

 

April

 

2nd - Detached from screen to search for survivors from ss GLENSHIEL sunk by Japanese submarine east of Addu Atoll.

 

3rd - Rescued survivors and took passage to Addu Atoll.

 

6th - Landed passengers and sailed to rejoin Force B screen.

 

9th - Joined screen for HMS RAMILLIES, HMS RESOLUTION, HMS REVENGE and HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN. (For details of operations in Indian Ocean in this period see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

 

10th - Passage to Kilindini with Force B.

 

12th - Deployed in Indian Ocean for patrol and convoy defence based at Kilindini.

 

May

 

Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation. (Note: Did not take part in occupation of Madagascar (Operation IRONCLAD).)

 

June

 

Took passage to Alexandria for detached service in Mediterranean with HMS GRIFFIN and HMS HOTSPUR.

 

11th - Arrived at Alexandria.

 

12th - Deployed as part of screen for HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, NEWCASTLE, ARETHUSA, COVENTRY and BIRMINGHAM providing cover for Convoy MW11 during passage from Egypt to Malta (Operation VIGOROUS).

 

13th - Sustained damage and some casualties by 'friendly fire' (Note: Hit by shell from another destroyer.)

 

14th - Under heavy and sustained air attacks.

 

15th - Under night attack by E-Boats. (Note: HMS NEWCASTLE was damaged and HM Destroyer HASTY had to be sunk after torpedo damage.)

 

16th - Operation abandoned after further damage and damage to convoy and escort. (Note: For full details of this all fated and disastrous operation during which the conflicting instructions from shore made a direct contribution to its failure see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman and Naval Staff History.)

 

17th - Returned to Alexandria with escort.

 

27th - Deployed for escort of HMS NEWCASTLE during stern tow in Red Sea. (Note: HMS NEWCASTLE was on passage to Bombay for repair.)

 

30th - Detached from escort after steering defect and took independent passage to Aden. (Note: This defect was consequent on earlier problems during VIGOROUS.)

 

July

 

Passage in Indian Ocean to Kilindini.

 

7th - Arrived at Kilindini.

 

19th - Deployed as escort for rms AQUITANIA during passage to Diego Suarez with troops for planned operation. (Note: Steering at the high speed during passage to prevent submarine attacks was made very hazardous.)

 

20th - Took passage to Colombo for repair to steering gear.

 

August

 

Under major repair to serious rudder damage.

 

13th - On completion of repair took passage to rejoin Flotilla at Kilindini.

 

Deployed for convoy defence and patrol in Indian Ocean.

 

September

 

Indian Ocean deployment in continuation. (Note: For details of personnel problems see THE FIGUREHEAD by R Macdonald.)

 

10th - Part of escort for military convoy on passage for final stage of occupation of Madagascar (Operation STREAM - See Naval Staff History)

 

October

 

Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation.

 

November

 

Transferred to Simonstown for convoy defence. (Note: Increase in sinkings of mercantiles due to extensive U-Boat activity off Cape of Good Hope had made necessary an increase in anti-submarine operations with air search by shore based aircraft.)

 

December

 

Deployed off Cape of Good Hope. Carried out search for survivors from US mercantile PIERCE BUTLER. Found four survivors and took them to Durban. Further search for survivors from ss JEREMIAH WADSWORTH was unsuccessful.

 

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

 

Nominated for return to UK for refit. Passage to London fort refit in commercial shipyard.

 

February

 

Future deployment under consideration. Paid off from RN service after transfer to Royal Canadian Navy agreed. Taken in hand for refit.

 

March to April

 

Under refit.

 

May

 

Carried out harbour trials. RCN key personnel joined ship.

 

31st - Commissioned for service in RCN as Senior Officer's ship in 3rd Canadian Escort Group. Renamed HMCS SASKATCHEWAN.

 

June

 

Post refit Trials in Thames estuary and North Sea.

 

15th - Formally transferred to RCN.

 

Passage to carry out work-up.

 

 

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

 

 

     

  

HMCS Saskatchewan at speed (thanks to Bob Somerville and RCN)

 

 

July

 

On completion of work-up joined Group for service as SO EG3. Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence in Mid Ocean Escort Force.

 

August to December

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

 

1 9 4 4

 

January to April

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation. Nominated for service in Plymouth Command. Passage to Plymouth.

 

May

 

Transferred to 12th Escort Group based at Plymouth. Joined HM Canadian Destroyers QU'APPELLE, RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA for anti-submarine patrol in SW Approaches to prevent interference by U-Boats during planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE). (For details of naval activities prior to and during landings, see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO).)

 

June

 

Deployment in SW Approaches and English Channel in continuation. (Note: Although not used in support of landings or for defence of assault and back-up convoys the ships of this Group made a significant contribution to the success of this operation. No U-Boat attacks were made during execution of NEPTUNE.)

 

July

 

6th - During interception patrol in Bay of Biscay with HMCS QU'APPELLE and HMCS SKEENA engaged two trawlers acting as escort for surfaced U-Boats during passage near base ports. Sustained casualties from return fire during engagement. One of ship's company was killed and four injured. Two U-boats involved in this engagement escaped.

 

28th - Released from Plymouth Command and resumed Atlantic convoy defence.

 

August

 

Nominated for return to Canada for refit and took independent passage.

 

September

 

Taken In hand far refit at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

 

October

 

Under refit.

 

November

 

Post refit trials.

 

December

 

Under repair at St Johns, Newfoundland.

 

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

 

Passage to UK to resume service in EG3 for convoy defence.

 

February

 

Deployed in UK coastal waters for convoy defence. (Note: SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats were concentrating attacks on focal points used for assembly and reformation in SW Approaches and NW Approaches. Convoys were re-routed through English Channel to east coast ports following the removal of the air threat from bases in France. See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and SEEK AND STRIKE.)

 

March to April

 

Transferred to 14th Canadian Escort Group and continued convoy defence.

 

May

 

Nominated for trooping duties.

 

June to August

 

Deployed for trooping duties between UK and Quebec.

 

 

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

 

HMCS SASKATCHEWAN was laid-up in Reserve on 23rd September 1945 when she had completed her 5th trooping trip. On 28th January 1946 she was finally paid-off and placed on the Sales List. Sold later that year she was broken-up at Hamilton.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS as HMS FORTUNE

by Don Kindell

 

This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

30/01/40

05/02/40

TC 003

07/02/40

07/02/40

11/03/40

12/03/40

ON 019/1

14/03/40

14/03/40

14/03/40

14/03/40

HN 019

17/03/40

17/03/40

12/06/40

12/06/40

FN 0194

13/06/40

14/06/40

23/07/40

04/08/40

HX 060

05/08/40

07/08/40

05/08/40

05/08/40

WS 002

07/08/40

08/08/40

04/09/40

04/09/40

HG 043

05/09/40

18/09/40

14/02/41

14/02/41

SLG 001A

16/02/41

22/02/41

06/05/41

06/05/41

TIGER

12/05/41

12/05/41

11/06/42

13/06/42

MW 011

16/06/42

16/06/42

19/12/42

19/12/42

CF 010

22/12/42

31/12/42

09/01/43

09/01/43

CM 037A

11/01/43

24/01/43

10/01/43

20/01/43

MC 003

23/01/43

23/01/43

25/01/43

25/01/43

CF 011

27/01/43

27/01/43

30/01/43

30/01/43

CF 011A

11/02/43

11/02/43

14/02/43

14/02/43

CF 011B

24/02/43

25/02/43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as HMCS SASKATCHEWAN

 

 

 

 

 

09/07/43

10/07/43

ON 192

18/07/43

22/07/43

23/07/43

29/07/43

HX 249

05/08/43

06/08/43

20/08/43

21/08/43

ONS 016

29/08/43

01/09/43

02/09/43

08/09/43

HX 255

15/09/43

16/09/43

26/09/43

27/09/43

ONS 019

09/10/43

14/10/43

11/10/43

17/10/43

HX 261

25/10/43

26/10/43

06/11/43

07/11/43

ON 210

17/11/43

23/11/43

19/11/43

23/11/43

SC 147

03/12/43

04/12/43

16/12/43

17/12/43

ON 216

29/12/43

03/01/44

30/12/43

03/01/44

SC 150

14/01/44

14/01/44

28/01/44

29/01/44

ONS 028

11/02/44

15/02/44

13/02/44

17/02/44

HX 279

28/02/44

29/02/44

08/03/44

09/03/44

ON 227

17/03/44

22/03/44

21/03/44

26/03/44

HX 284

05/04/44

06/04/44

13/04/44

16/04/44

ON 232

17/04/44

29/04/44

10/04/45

10/04/45

DS 064

13/04/45

13/04/45

14/04/45

14/04/45

SD 064

17/04/45

17/04/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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