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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS HEREWARD (H 93) -  H-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

 HMS Hunter, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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H-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Parsons Marine: Turbine Company with the hull ruction sub-contracted to Vickers Armstrong at Newcastle under the 1934 Programme en on 28th February 1935 at the same time as sister ship HMS HERO. She  was 1st Royal Navy warship to carry this name and was launched on 19th March 1936 on the same date as HMS HERO. Build was completed on 9th December 1936 at a tender price of 249,591, excluding cost of Admiralty supplied items such as guns and signalling outfits. This destroyer was fitted with a prototype twin 4.7in gun mounting in B position, with no gun fitted in A position. During trials the new mounting was found unsatisfactory and the twin mounting was replaced by  the normal single 4.7in mounting with a second single mounting fit of two single in B position. This destroyer served with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean until the outbreak of WW2, apart from a refit at Portsmouth in mid 1939.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1940 - CALABRIA 1940 - SPARTIVENTO 1940 - LIBYA 1940 - MATAPAN 1941  GREECE 1941 - CRETE 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1940-41 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941

 

H e r a l d i c  D a t a

Badge: On a Field Red , the "Wake" knot Gold

 

Motto

Vigila et ora :   'Watch and pray'.

 

 

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

                3rd          Deployed in Mediterranean with 2nd Destroyer Flotilla for Contraband Control duty

                                and screening of major Fleet units.

 

October                  Transferred to Freetown for convoy escort duty.

                                Intercepted German mercantile UHENFELS 300 miles SW Freetown and took her to

                                Freetown as Prize.

                                Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL during search for raiders in South Atlantic.

 

November              Deployed for convoy defence based at Trinidad.

 

December              South Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                17th        At Plate Estuary after GRAF SPEE action.

                                On release from duty in South Atlantic resumed duty in Caribbean area.

                                Maintained blockade on Port Everglades, Florida to prevent German mercantile ARAUCA

                                leaving harbour to return to Germany.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Deployed for special escort duty.

                23rd        Sailed from Bermuda for Halifax with HM Destroyer HUNTER as escorted for HM Battleship

                                VALIANT and HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE with HM Destroyer HUNTER.

                                (Note: HMS VALIANT had been working-up in the West Indies).

                27th        Taken in hand for weather damage repair on arrival at Halifax

 

February                Under repair.

                16th        Repair work completed.

                28th        Escorted HM Cruiser ORION, carrying ashes of Governor General of Canada to UK.

 

March                    On passage to UK.

                11th        Taken in hand for repair and installation of Degaussing at Portsmouth.

 

April

                12th        On completion of repair and worked-up for service with Home Fleet.

                                (Note: The repair work prevented the ship being with her Flotilla during the 1st Battle

                                of Narvik).

                17th        Escorted HM Cruiser SUFFOLK for bombardment of Sola airfield, Stavanger.

                                (Operation DUCK To support landings at Andalsnes (Operation PRIMROSE)).

                19th        Deployed with Fleet units in convoy escort and support of military operations off Norway.

                23rd        Escorted HI Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and GLORIOUS with HM Destroyers HASTY.

                                FURY, FEARLESS and JUNO from Scapa Flow to carry cut flying operation and protection

                                of Fleet units off Norway (Operation DX).

                                Deployed as escort for HMS ARK ROYAL with HM Destroyers HYPERION, FEARLESS

                                and JUNO.

                                (Note: HMS GLORIOUS returned to Scapa Flow to refuel).

 

May                        Norwegian deployment in continuation

                                (For details of the disastrous Norwegian operations see NARVIK by D Macintyre, THE

                                DOOMED EXPEDITION by Adams and Naval Staff History (HMSO 2001) ).

                7th          Nominated for transfer to Harwich with HM Destroyers JANUS, HYPERION, HAVOCK,

                                KELLY, KIMBERLEY, KANDAHAR and HOSTILE for support of military operations

                                in Nore Command.

                8th          Passage to Rosyth.

                9th          During passage from Rosyth to Harwich with HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, HM Destroyers

                                JANUS, HYPERION and HAVOCK detached with destroyers to take part in search by other

                                Home Fleet destroyers for enemy minelayers reported in North Sea.

                                Deployed with Flotilla at Harwich to assist with operations off Dutch coast.

                                (Note: HMS BIRMINGHAM was later joined by destroyers of 5th Destroyer Flotilla

                                commanded by Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten.

                                These destroyers later engaged enemy torpedo boats and HMS KELLY was hit

                                by a torpedo and sustained major damage,

                                On release from search resumed passage to Harwich.

                11th        Escorted trawlers to Scheveningen to evacuate British nationals from Holland.

                13th        Embarked HM Queen Wilhelmina of Netherlands for passage to Harwich.

                16th        Transferred with Flotilla to Mediterranean for Fleet screening and patrol duties.

                17th        Took passage to Alexandria.

                24th        On arrival at Alexandria deployed with Mediterranean Fleet.

 

June                        Deployed with Fleet units in eastern Mediterranean.

                                (Note: Extensive exercises were carried out by Fleet units in anticipation of was with Italy.

                                See Naval Staff History (HMSO- 2001).)

                28th        Sailed from Alexandria as part of Force B to provide cover for convoys on passage in

                                eastern Mediterranean (Operation MA3)

                                Deployed with ships of Flotilla as screen for HM Battleships RAMILLIES, ROYAL

                                SOVEREIGN and HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE.

                                (Note: During this operation ships of Force A comprising HM Cruisers ORION,

                                NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN), LIVERPOOL and GLOUCESTER OF 7th Cruiser

                                Squadron engaged three enemy destroyers, one of which ESPERO was sunk.

                                This engagement was not considered satisfactory in view of the very significant

                                expenditure of ammunition. See Naval Staff History (HMSO-2001).)

 

July

                9th          Escorted HM Battleship WARSPITE during covering operation for transit of convoys in

                                eastern Mediterranean (Operation MA5 for Convoys MF1/MS1))

                                Took part in action against Italian Fleet off Calabria.

                                (See Naval Staff History and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN.)

                18th        Detached from Fleet units with HM Destroyer IMPERIAL and took passage to Port Said to

                                escort mercantiles on passage to join Convoy AN2. See Naval Staff History

 

August                  Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean.

                30th        Part of screen for HMS EAGLE., HM Battleships MALAYA and WARSPITE, HM Cruisers

                                KENT, GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) covering passage of

                                Convoy ME2 from Alexandria to Malta (Operation MB3).

 

September

                2nd         Deployed with screen during meeting near Pantellaria with reinforcement ships on passage to

                                join the Fleet from Gibraltar (Operation HATS).

                                (Note: HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Cruisers

                                CALCUTTA and Cruiser COVENTRY).

                5th          Arrived back in Alexandria with Fleet units.

                25th        Carried out bombardment of military target at Sidi Baranni with HM Destroyers HYPERION,

                                JANUS and MOHAWK.

 

October                  Eastern Mediterranean deployment fir convoy defence in continuation.

                                (Note: Convoy MF3 was passed to Malta and Convoy ME4 to Egypt with destroyer escort

                                from Alexandria (0peration MB6).

                                This ship was not deployed with Fleet screen for cover of these convoys).

 

November

                6th          Joined HM Destroyers DECOY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HAVOCK, HERO, HYPERION,

                                ILEX, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO, MOHAWK and NUBIAN (Operation MB8).

                                as screen for Fleet units providing cover for passage of Convoy MW3 to Malta.

                                (Note: This was part of a joint major deployment with Force H to pass further reinforcements

                                to join the Fleet at Alexandria (Operation COAT).

                                Ships being transferred were HM Battleship BARHAM, HM Cruisers BERWICK and

                                GLASGOW screened by HM Destroyers GALLANT, GRIFFIN and GREYHOUND.

                                from Gibraltar.)

                10th        Detached as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS during air attack on Italian Fleet

                                at Taranto (Operation JUDGEMENT)

                11th        Returned to rejoin Fleet with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

                14th        Arrived at Alexandria.

                25th        Deployed with HM Destroyers DEFENDER, DIAMOND, GALLANT and GREYHOUND as

                                screen for HMS RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers BERWICK, NEWCASTLE and COVENTRY to

                                provide cover for the passage of Convoy MW4 to Malta and return of Convoy ME4 to Egypt

                                as Force D.

                                (Operation MB9 - Part of Operation COLLAR - The transfer of HM Cruisers

                                MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON with HM Destroyer HOTSPUR (Force F) from UK

                                to Alexandria.

                27th        Force D met reinforcement ships and convoy from Gibraltar.

                                Present during brief engagement with Italian warships which attempted to attack a convoy

                                from Gibraltar (Battle of Cape Spartivento)

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History for details)

                29th        Return passage to Alexandria as escort for Convoy ME4 with ships of Mediterranean Fleet.

 

December

                10th        Deployed in support of military operations after Italian provided naval gunfire support against

                                road traffic.

                13th        Sank Italian submarine NAIADE with HM Destroyer HYPERION.

                                Submarine crew were rescued.

                14th        Returned to Alexandria).

                21st         Detached from Fleet screen to join HMS MALAYA and HM Destroyers HERO and HASTY as

                                escort for two mercantiles to Gibraltar (Convoy MG1 ).

                25th        Despatched from Gibraltar to support Atlantic convoy under attack by German cruiser HIPPER.

                                (See above references).

                29th        Returned to Gibraltar with three ships dispersed from attacked convoy

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                7th          Deployed as part of Force F with HM Destroyers HASTY. HERO and JAGUAR to escort HM

                                Cruiser BONAVENTURE during passage to reinforce Fleet in eastern Mediterranean.

                                Cover was provided by Ships of Force H.

                                (Part of Operation EXCESS - passage of military convoy to Malta and Piraeus).

                10th        In action against Italian E-Boats CIRCE and VEGA in Sicilian Channel.

                                Torpedoed and sank VEGA which had been damaged by gunfire from HMS BONAVENTURE.

                                Force F met ships of Mediterranean Fleet later that morning.

                                (Note: Mediterranean Fleet had been under heavy and sustained dive-bombing attacks by

                                German Fliegerkorps X during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was badly damaged.

                                See above references).

                11th        Detached from Force F on arrival In Malta and rejoined Fleet.

                                Under further heavy and sustained air attacks during which HMS SOUTHAMPTON was hit and

                                on fire.

                                Later this cruiser was sunk by HM Cruiser ORION).

                15th        Returned to Alexandria.

 

February                Detached for special duties.

                13th        Escorted HM Armed Boarding Vessel CHAKLA into Benghazi.

                22nd       Participated in Commando raid on Castellorizio in Aegean with HM Destroyer DECOY.

                                (Operation ABSTENTION)

 

March                    Deployed for escort of military convoys to Greece (Operation LUSTRE)

                                See BATTLE OF THE WINE DARK SEA by L Lind and Military History)

                4th          Escorted Convoy AN17 to Piraeus with HM Cruiser Coventry, HM Destroyer STUART (RAN)

                                and HM Corvette HYACINTH.

                20th        Deployed with H M Destroyers HASTY, ILEX, JERVIS, STUART (RAN), and VENDETTA

                                (RAN) as screen for HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HM Battleships BARHAM,

                                VALIANT, WARSPITE. HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER and YORK to cover passage of Convoy

                                MW6 to Malta. (Operation MD9).

                26th        Escorted HM Cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, ORION and PERTH for offensive sweep in the

                                eastern Mediterranean to lure Italian Fleet into surface action.

                28th        Deployed with Fleet screen during Battle of Matapan.

                                For details see MATAPAN by SW Pack and Naval Staff History).

                29th        Detached from Fleet screen and deployed with HM Destroyer GRIFFIN and HMAS STUART

                                to escort Convey GA8 from Piraeus.

 

April

                18th        Joined screen for HMS FORMIDABLE, HM Battleships BARHAM, VALIANT and

                                WARSPITE, HM Cruisers AJAX, CALCUTTA, GLOUCESTER, ORION and PHOEBE with

                                HM Destroyers ENCOUNTER, HASTY, HAVOCK. HERO, JAGUAR and JUNO to cover

                                passage of HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE to Malta and return passage of Convoy ME7.

                                Operation MD2)

                19th        Refuelled at Suda Bay, Crete and sailed to resume cover operation.

                20th        Detached from Fleet units and deployed as screen for HM Battleships WARSPITE,, BARHAM,

                                VALIANT and HM Cruiser GLOUCESTER with HM Destroyers HASTY, HAVOCK, HERO,

                                HOTSPUR, JAGUAR, JANUS, JERVIS and JUNO in Force B.

                                (Note: Other ships were deployed as Force C for planned bombardment.

                21st         Deployed as screen for Force B during inshore bombardment close inshore (Operation MD2).

                                Passage to Tripoli. to carry out Bombardment (Operation MD3)

                                On completion took passage with to Alexandria with Forces B and C.

                23rd        Arrived at Alexandria.

                26th        Deployed at Kalamata, Greece with HM Cruisers PHOEBE, HM Destroyers DEFENDER, HERO,

                                HM Sloop FLAMINGO and two mercantiles for evacuation of British troops from Crete.

                                (Note: For details se Naval Staff History. 7,000 troops were left.)

                27th        Under air attack during return passage to Alexandria,

                                (Note: One mercantile was sunk without casualties.)

                28th        Deployed at Kalamata, Greece for evacuation with HM Destroyers HERO, KANDAHAR,

                                KIMBERLEY, KINGSTON, NUBIAN, DEFENDER, DECOY and HASTY

                                (Note: Troops were embarked from wharves and taken to HM Cruisers PHOEBE and PERTH

                                (RAN) lying off-shore.)

                29th        Returned to Alexandria.

 

May

                6th          Deployed as screen for HMS FORMIDABLE, HMS BARHAM, HMS VALIANT, HMS

                                WARSPITE, HM Cruisers ORION, PERTH (RAN), ABDIEL and HMS BRECONSHIRE with

                                HM Destroyers HOTSPUR, HAVOCK, GRIFFIN, HERO, JERVIS, JUNO, KANDAHAR,

                                KIMBERLEY, KINGSTON, NIZAM and NUBIAN (Operation MD4)

                                (Part of Operation TIGER - Clover for passage of Convoy MW7 to Malta and that of a military

                                convoy in eastern Mediterranean bringing tanks to 8th Army in Egypt.

                8th          Detached with Fleet units and took passage to meet TIGER Convoy

                9th          Met TIGER Convoy.

                12th        Arrived at Alexandria with TIGER convoy.

                20th        Participated in defence of Crete against German occupation.

                                Under air attacks

                21st         Deployed as Force D in position SW of Kithera with HM Cruisers DIDO, ORION and AJAX with

                                HM Destroyers JANUS, KIMBERLEY and HASTY.

                                Moved westward into Aegean to intercept any invasion craft.

                                In action against invasion craft NW of Suda Bay and sank caiques.

                22nd       Ordered to return to Alexandria because of shortage of AA ammunition.

                                Supported military operations and provided defence for Fleet units off Crete.

                28th        Escorted HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX and DIDO with HM Destroyers DECOY, JACKAL,

                                HOTSPUR, IMPERIAL and KIMBERLEY to evacuate allied troops from Heraklion.

                                (Note: Under air attacks on passage and HMS AJAX detached after sustaining damage by near

                                miss.)

                29th        Under sustained aerial attacks after completing evacuation and hit by bomb during passage to

                                Alexandria which reduced speed.

                                (Note: Air cover had been expected but arrival was delayed.

                                See Naval Staff History for details.)

                                Became isolated from other ships and subjected to further air attacks 5 miles south of Crete.

                                Ship sank in position 35.20N 26.20E after another bomb hit.

                                76 members of ship's company were killed and 89 were taken prisoner.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS HEREWARD

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

 

 

 

 

 

09/09/39

09/09/39

BLUE 001

19/09/39

19/09/39

22/09/39

22/09/39

GREEN 2

27/09/39

unknown

26/02/40

unknown

HX 023

unknown

12/03/40

08/03/41

08/03/41

AS 017/1

12/03/41

12/03/41

22/03/41

24/03/41

AN 022

25/03/41

25/03/41

29/03/41

29/03/41

GA 008

31/03/41

31/03/41

13/04/41

13/04/41

ASF 025

15/04/41

15/04/41

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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