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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 GRIFFIN (H 31), later HMCS OTTAWA (ii) -  G-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Griffin with oiler (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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Greyhound or G-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle under 1933 Programme in March 1934. The ship was laid down on 30th September that year as Yard No 700. The ship was launched on 15th August 1935. She was the 6th RN warship to carry the name which dates from 1656 and had been used by 2 merchant ships which fought against the Spanish Armada in 1588. Build was completed on 6 March 1936 at a cost of 248,528 (excluding Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns, ammunition and communications equipment. Before beginning Fleet service with the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean she was used to carry out comparative trials using Admiralty design and commercial design propellers. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Oldbury, then in Worcestershire. Yard No on build was 700.

 

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

ARMADA 1588 - BEACHY HEAD 1690 - BARFLEUR 1692 - VIGO 1702 - VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - CAPE PASSARO 1718 - NORWAY 1940 - MEDITERRANEAN 1940-41 - MATAPAN 1941 - GREECE 1941 - CRETE 1941 - LIBYA 1942 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42

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

Badge: On a Field Blue, a Griffin Gold

 

M o t t o

Dentibus ac rostro: 'With teeth and beak

 

 

D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e   a s   H M S   G R I F F I N

 

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

 

 

1 9 3 9

 

September

 

Deployed with 1st Destroyer Flotilla (D1) for patrol and contraband control In the Mediterranean.

 

October

 

Transferred with Flotilla for duty in Home Waters.

 

22nd - Took passage to Plymouth from Gibraltar with HM Destroyers GRENADE, GRENVILLE and GIPSY.

 

November

 

Joined Western Approaches Command and transferred to Harwich with Flotilla.

 

16th - Commenced convoy defence and contraband control duties.

 

17th - Damaged at Harwich.

 

19th - Taken in hand for repair in London commercial shipyard.

 

21st - Took part in rescue of survivors from HM Destroyer GIPSY which sank in the entrance to Harwich after detonating a magnetic mine. (Note: HM Destroyers KEITH and BOADICEA also assisted in the rescue operations.)

 

December

 

7th - Resumed duties at Harwich.

 

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

 

Deployed on North Sea patrol and contraband duties.

 

19th - Took part in search and rescue operation with HMS GRENADE for survivors from HM Destroyer GRENVILLE that had been mined and sunk 23 miles east of Kentish Knock Light Vessel (Note: 113 men were picked up by these two ships.)

 

February

 

Patrol and convoy defence duty based at Harwich in continuation.

 

2nd - During escort of East Coast southbound Convoy FS 84 with HMS GALLANT, stood by tanker BRITISH COUNCILLOR that had been torpedoed by submarine. Rejoined convoy. (Note: HMS GALLANT detached from escort and took survivors to Rosyth.)

 

March

 

North Sea convoy defence, patrol and contraband duties in continuation. (For details of North Sea activities in 1940 see THREE CORVETTES by M Monsarrat and THE BATTLE OF THE EAST COAST by J P Foynes.)

 

April

 

Transferred to Home Fleet at Scapa Flow prior to planned landings in Norway (Operation RUPERT/R4).

 

4th - Deployed in NW Approaches and North Sea.

 

14th - Part of screen for HM Battleship VALIANT and HM Repair Ship VINDICTIVE with HM Destroyers CODRINGTON, ACASTA, ARDENT, FEARLESS and BRAZEN, to cover passage of military convoy taking troops for landing at Narvik. Convoy destination changed to Namsos. (For details of the disastrous naval operations off Norway see CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton, NARVIK by D MacIntyre THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by Adams.)

 

16th - Deployed with Fleet units off Norway.

 

24th - Intercepted and captured trawler POLARIS believed to be supporting U-Boats in North Sea.

 

May

 

Deployment off Norway In continuation.

 

2nd - Took part in evacuation at Namsos with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, YORK, CARLISLE and French cruiser MONTCALM, HM Destroyers AFRIDI, NUBIAN, MAORI, KELLY, HASTY, IMPERIAL, GRENADE, French destroyer BISON and three troopships.

 

Home Fleet duties in support of evacuation operations in continuation.

 

June

 

Transferred to English Channel in support of evacuation from French ports and for convoy defence duty.

 

July

 

Channel deployment in continuation.

 

19th - In action with aircraft off Dover.

 

24th - Transferred to 13th Destroyer Flotilla at Gibraltar.

 

Passage to Gibraltar.

 

August

 

Deployed for convoy defence and patrol duties.

 

30th - Joined HM Destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, JANUS, HERO, GALLANT, HOTSPUR and GREYHOUND in Force A.

 

31st - Screened Force F which comprised HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Cruisers COVENTRY and CALCUTTA. (Note: These ships were on passage to Malta and were to reinforce Mediterranean Fleet in Alexandria (Operation HATS).

 

September

 

4th - Returned to Gibraltar with HM Destroyers GALLANT, GREYHOUND and HOTSPUR.

 

October

 

Gibraltar Flotilla duties in continuation.

 

22nd - Participated in the sinking of Italian submarine LAFOLE off Gibraltar with HMS GALLANT and HMS HOTSPUR.

 

31st - Shadowed movements of Vichy French destroyers off Moroccan coast.

 

November

 

Transferred to 14th Destroyer Flotilla at Alexandria for duty with Fleet In the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

7th - Joined HM Battleship BARHAM, HM Cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW with HM Destroyers GALLANT, GREYHOUND and ENCOUNTER in Force F for passage to Malta to reinforce Mediterranean Fleet. (Note: Cover for the transit to Malta was provided by Force H (Operation COAT).)

 

December

 

Deployed with Fleet in Eastern Mediterranean.

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

 

3rd - Screened HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT and BARHAM during bombardment of Bardia with HM Destroyers HEX, GREYHOUND, JUNO and JANUS.

 

7th - Joined HM Destroyers JERVIS, JUNO, JANUS,. NUBIAN, MOHAWK, GREYHOUND, GALLANT and DAINTY as screen for HM Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT as Force A. Covered passage of military convoy to Piraeus in Eastern Mediterranean after transfer from Force H (Operation EXCESS/ MC4). (Note: Passage of convoys MW5(F), MW5(S) and ME6 between Malta and Egypt was also covered by this Operation).

 

10th - Rescued survivors from HMS GALLANT which was mined 25 miles SE of Pantellaria. (Note: Stem portion of HMS GALLANT was later towed to Malta.)

 

15th - Re-deployed in Red Sea for convoy escort duty.

 

February

 

Provided support for military offensive in Italian Somaliland (Operation CANVAS).

 

March

 

Rejoined Mediterranean for Fleet duties. Part of escort for HMS WARSPITE, HMS VALIANT, HMS BARHAM and HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, during offensive sweep in Eastern Mediterranean.

 

19th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE, HM Destroyers GRIFFIN, HAVOCK and HOTSPUR as escort for Convoy MW6 for passage to Malta. Under sustained air attacks during transit.

 

20th - Mercantile ss CLAN FERGUSON joined MW6 with HM Cruisers COVEN1RY, CALCUTTA and COVENTRY. On arrival of MW6 in Malta took passage to rejoin Fleet at Alexandria.

 

28th - Present at Battle of Matapan as part of screen for Fleet units. Sank Italian destroyers VITTORIO ALFIERI and GIOSUE CARDUCCI with HM Destroyers GREYHOUND and HAVOCK. (See Naval Staff History and MATAPAN by SW Pack.)

 

29th - Part of screen for Fleet units covering passage of military convoys to Piraeus (Operation LUSTRE).

 

April

 

Mediterranean Fleet deployment for support of military convoys to Greece in continuation.

 

15th - Bombarded Sollum with HM Destroyer STUART (RAN) and HM River Gunboat GNAT

 

24th - Escorted Convoy AN29 with HM Destroyers DECOY, HASTY, WATERHEN (RAN) and VENDETTA (RAN). Detached to join HM Cruiser COVENTRY and three other destroyers as escort for ss PENLAND and ss THIRLAND CASTLE to evacuate troops from Megara near Corinth (Operation DEMON). Under air attacks during which ss PENLAND was sunk. Rescued survivors from PENLAND and detached to Suda Bay. (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History).

 

29th - Towed HM Store Carrier GLENEARN from Suda Bay. (Note: Tow was later transferred to HM Sloop GRIMSBY). Returned to Greek coast to assist in rescue of survivors.

 

30th - Escorted HM Netlayer PROTECTOR towing damaged submarine HMS ROVER from Suda Bay to Alexandria

 

May

 

18th - Deployed with Fleet units in support of evacuation from Crete. Embarked allied troops for passage from Suda Bay and Sphakia. (For details of Crete Campaign see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History.)

 

June to July

 

On completion of Crete evacuation deployed in support of military operations in Syria against Vichy French, based at Haifa (Operation EXPORTER). Bombarded vehicles on road between Haifa and Beirut. Part of escort for cruisers during bombardment near Beirut. (For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute).

 

August to September

 

Transferred to Alexandria for support of Tobruk garrison. Deployed for escort of convoys and transport of mail, troops and supplies. Under air attacks during passages. Took part in relief of Australian garrison and replacement by Polish and British troops. (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History)

 

October

 

Tobruk support in continuation.

 

21st - Took part in rescue of personnel from HM River Gunboat GNAT north of Bardia with HM Destroyer JAGUAR. (Note: HMS GNAT had been torpedoed by U99 and badly damaged). Towed HMS GNAT until arrival of tugs off Mersa Matruh.

 

November

 

Deployed with 2nd Destroyer Flotilla for screening of major Fleet units.

 

24th - Part of screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and BARHAM with other Fleet destroyers during search for enemy supply convoys reported on passage to Benghazi

 

25th - Took part in anti-submarine operation after HMS BARHAM had been sunk by U331. (Note: HMS BARHAM sank in less than 5 minutes with loss of 862 lives. )

 

December

 

Deployed with 2nd Destroyer Flotilla for interception of enemy convoys and the bombardment of enemy shore positions at Dena in support of 8th Army advance.

 

14th - Took part in rescue of 144 survivors from HM Cruiser GALATEA after she had been torpedoed by U557. (Note: This cruiser sank almost immediately.)

 

18th - Carried out operations against human torpedoes at Alexandria after HMS VALIANT and HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH were badly damaged by limpet mines in harbour. (See above references.)

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

January

 

16th - Joined HM Cruiser CARLISLE, HM Destroyers ARROW, HASTY and HERO as escort for Convoy MW8A from Alexandria to Malta (Operation MF3). (Note: This convoy comprised supply ships AJAX and THERMOPYLAE).

 

18th - After escort for joint Convoy MW8A/B transferred to Force K.

 

Returned to Alexandria. Taken in hand for refit.

 

February

 

On completion resumed Flotilla duties.

 

13th - Joined Force B as screen for HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD with HM Destroyers HASTY, ARROW, HAVOC, JAGUAR, JERVIS, KELVIN and KIPLING for cover of Convoy MW9 during passage to Malta and Convoy ME10 from Malta to Egypt (Operation MF5).

 

14th - After Convoy MW9A/B had been overwhelmed and sunk in air attacks, returned with Force B to Alexandria as escort for Convoy ME10. (For details of this disastrous attempt to pass a relief convoy to Malta see above references).

 

20th - Transferred with HM Destroyers DECOY, HAVOCK, HASTY, HOTSPUR and HERO of Flotilla to Eastern Fleet based in Ceylon.

 

Took passage to Trincomalee with call at Bombay. Under repair at Bombay before joining Eastern Fleet at Colombo.

 

March

 

Joined Fleet for screening duties and convoy defence.

 

28th - Allocated to Force B with HM Destroyers ARROW, DECOY, NORMAN, FORTUNE, VAMPIRE (RAN) and SCOUT for screening of HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES, HM Battleships RESOLUTION, REVENGE, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers CALEDON and DRAGON.

 

30th - Sailed with Force B ships to intercept Japanese warships in the event of an attack on Ceylon by carrier aircraft operating in Indian Ocean.

 

31st - Took part in unsuccessful search operation with ships of Force B in conjunction with Force A.

 

April

 

 2nd to 8th - Resumed search operation with Force B after refuelling at Addu Atoll. (For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

 

10th - Passage to Killindini with Force B. (Note: Force B ships were dispersed to East Africa as it was recognised that RN strength in the Indian Ocean was insufficient to prevent Japanese attack on Ceylon.)

 

May

 

Deployed on convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

 

Detached with HMS FORTUNE and HMS HOTSPUR to reinforce defence for Malta relief convoy from Alexandria. Took passage to Bombay. Escorted HM Battleship CENTURION to Alexandria. (Note: HMS CENTURION, launched in 1911, had been disguised to resemble a modem KING GEORGE V Class battleship and was to be deployed during Malta relief convoy operation as a decoy. See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY)

 

June

 

Called at Massawa on passage to Mediterranean with HMS CENTURION.

 

12th - Joined HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, HERMIONE, EURYALUS, ARETHUSA., COVENTRY, NEWCASTLE and BIRMINGHAM for defence of Convoy MW11 to Malta (Operation VIGOROUS). HMS CENTURION was deployed with convoy. (See above references and MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman. Note: Other destroyers in screen were HM Australian Destroyers NAPIER, NESTOR, NORMAN, NIZAM, HM Destroyers JERVIS, KELVIN, JAVELIN, PAKENHAM, PALADIN, INCONSTANT, SIKH, ZULU, HASTY and HERO, HM Destroyers DULVERTON, EXMOOR, CROOME, ERIDGE, AIREDALE, BEAUFORT, HURWORTH, TETCOTT, ALDENHAM, FORTUNE and HOTSPUR).

 

14th - Under series of air attacks which continued after nightfall.

 

15th - Threat from superior force of Italian warships was anticipated and convoy was ordered to reverse course. As a result of temporary confusion ships became a sitting target for waiting E-Boats which resulted in sinking of HMS HASTY and damage to HMS NEWCASTLE. Ships again ordered to reverse course towards Malta. After dawn sustained air attacks were renewed which seriously depleted stocks of ammunition and damaged escort destroyer HMS AIREDALE had to be sunk. Operation was then abandoned. During return to Alexandria HMS HERMIONE was sunk by U205 and HM Destroyer NESTOR (RAN), previously damaged in the air attacks, had to be scuttled. (For details of this ill directed and ill conceived operation see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, MALTA CONVOYS and Naval Staff History.)

 

July

 

Passage to rejoin Eastern Fleet at Kilindini. Resumed convoy escort duty in Indian Ocean.

 

August

 

Deployed in Indian Ocean for convoy defence and interception. Nominated for refit and conversion for use as an A/S Escort Destroyer.

 

September

 

Took part in Eastern Fleet amphibious exercise at Zanzibar. Passage to Freetown.

 

October

 

Joined escort for convoy to Bermuda at Freetown. On release from escort took passage to Southampton.

 

November

 

2nd - Taken in hand at Southampton for refit and conversion for anti-submarine escort duties. (Note: Work done included: Two of the 4.7in gun mountings removed. The forward mounting was replaced by HEDGEHOG Ahead Throwing A/S mounting and additional Depth Charge facilities were fitted in place of the after gun. Warning radar sets Type 286 and 271 were also added as well as additional 20mm Oerlikon guns for close range AA defence. For details of development of A/S weapons and radar see SEEK AND STRIKE by W. Hackmann and RADAR AT SEA by D Howse).

 

December

 

Under refit.

 

 

1 9 4 3

 

January to February

 

Under refit.

 

March

 

1st - Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

20th - Commissioned for service as HMCS GRIFFIN.

 

24th - Refit work completed.

 

S e r v i c e   a s   H  M C  O T T A W A  (i i)

 

April

 

10th - Renamed HM Canadian Destroyer OTTAWA, despite the objection of the captain. (Note: This name had been previously carried by a Canadian destroyer sunk in the Atlantic by a U-Boat in September 1942.)

 

May

 

Worked up at Tobermory for service as Senior Officer's ship in the 5th Canadian Escort Group based at St. John's. Passage to Canada to join Group for Mid-Ocean Escort duty.

 

27th - Part of escort for Convoy HX240.

 

June

 

Mid-Atlantic escort duty in continuation.

 

10th - Formally handed over to Royal Canadian Navy as a gift.

 

July to December

 

Mid-Atlantic convoy escort in continuation.

 

 

1 9 4 4

 

January

 

Mid-Atlantic convoy escort in continuation.

 

February

 

24th - Escorted Convoy SC153.

 

March to April

 

Mid-Atlantic convoy escort in continuation.

 

Nominated for duty in support of allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

 

May

 

Transferred to 11th Canadian Escort Group as Senior Officer's ship. Passage to Plymouth. Joined HM Canadian Destroyers CHAUDIERE, GATINEAU, KOOTENAY and ST LAURENT.

 

June

 

Deployed at Plymouth.

 

4th - Carried out anti-submarine operations with Group to prevent any entry of U-Boats into English Channel.

 

11th - Transferred to Portsmouth Command to improve protection available for convoys to beachheads. (For details of naval activities prior to and during the invasion see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO).)

 

July

 

Channel anti-submarine deployment in continuation.

 

6th - Participated in sinking of U678 with HMCS KOOTENAY and HMS STATICE in position 50.32N 00.23W. There were no survivors. (See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

 

August

 

Re-deployed in SW Approaches and Bay of Biscay for U-Boat interception.

 

18th - Participated in sinking of U621 with HMS KOOTENAY and HMCS CHAUDIERE in Bay of Biscay in position 45.52N 0.26W. There were no survivors. (See above reference.)

 

20th - Participated in sinking of U984 with HMCS KOOTENAY and HMCS CHAUDIERE in English Channel in position 48.16N 05.53W. There were no survivors. (See above reference.)

 

September

 

Deployment in English Channel in continuation.

 

October

 

On release from RN control took passage to Canada.

 

12th - Taken in hand for refit at St. John's.

 

November to December

 

Under refit.

 

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

 

Under refit.

 

February

 

Rejoined 11th Escort Group at St. John's for convoy defence off Canadian coast.

 

March

 

Convoy defence and support in continuation.

 

11th - Sustained structural damage in collision with HMCS STRATFORD during A/S sweep off Halifax.

 

13th - Taken in hand for repair.

 

April

 

Carried out harbour trials.

 

30th - Resumed convey defence duties.

 

May

 

After VE Day nominated for trooping duties.

 

June

 

Deployed to carry Canadian servicemen back to Canada from UK.

 

 

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

 

HMCS OTTAWA (ii) was paid off on 31st October 1945 at Sydney, NS on completion of trooping duties and placed on the Disposal List. She was sold in August 1946 to the International Iron and Metal Co. for breaking up after a particularly extensive and distinguished record of operational service in WW2.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS as HMS GRIFFIN

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

 

 

 

 

 

07/09/39

13/09/39

GREEN 1

16/09/39

18/09/39

28/09/39

28/09/39

GREEN 3

03/10/39

07/10/39

30/09/39

05/10/39

BLUE 003

08/10/39

11/10/39

23/10/39

08/11/39

SL 006

10/11/39

10/11/39

11/04/40

13/04/40

NP 001

15/04/40

15/04/40

10/08/40

11/08/40

ZA

unknown

19/08/40

29/03/41

29/03/41

GA 008

31/03/41

31/03/41

29/12/41

29/12/41

TA 007/M

31/12/41

31/12/41

03/01/42

03/01/42

AT 011/M

07/01/42

07/01/42

11/01/42

11/01/42

AT 016/M

14/01/42

14/01/42

07/09/42

07/09/42

CF 005

10/09/42

10/09/42

30/09/42

02/10/42

CF 005B

03/10/42

14/10/42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as HMCS OTTAWA (ii)

 

 

 

 

 

06/05/43

07/05/43

ON 182

10/05/43

22/05/43

19/05/43

25/05/43

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

18/10/43

24/10/43

HX 262

02/11/43

02/11/43

13/11/43

14/11/43

ON 211

24/11/43

29/11/43

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

20/02/44

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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