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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 MILNE (G 14) -  M-class Flotilla Leader
Including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Musketeer, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

M-Class destroyer ordered from Scott’s Shipbuilders of Greenock under the Programme on 7th July 1939 with HMS MYRMIDON of the same Class. The ship was laid down on 24th January 1940 and she was launched on 30th December 1941 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, introduced for a destroyer built in 1914 and sold in 1921. Build was completed on 6th August 1942 at a cost of £659.512, including items such as armament and communications outfits supplied by the Admiralty. She was fitted for use as a Flotilla Leader. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 this destroyer was adopted by the civil community of Croydon, Surrey.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

DOGGER BANK 1915 - BELGIAN COAST 1916 - ARCTIC 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a cross moline Gold.

 

 

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 4 2

 

July                    Contractors trials

 

August

              6th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                           Commissioned for service as Leader of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Home Fleet.

                           On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow

                           Commenced work-up with ships of Home Fleet.

 

September          Joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla.

                            Nominated for duty with Fighting Escort of Russian Convoy PQ18.

                            (Note: Following the disastrous defence of the previous convoy PQ17 the escort for this

                                       convoy had been strengthened by the addition of a Fighting Escort.

                                       For details of all Russian Convoys see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE

                                       RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY! by P Kemp and ARCTIC

                                       CONVOYS by R Woodman,

              9th        Deployed with HM Cruiser SCYLLA, HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR,

                           FURY, IMPULSIVE, INTREPID, MARNE, MARTIN, METEOR, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW,

                           OPPORTUNE, SOMALI and TARTAR. as Fighting Escort for Russian Convoy PQ18.

                           (Note: HM Escort Aircraft Carrier AVENGER was also deployed to provide air cover and had

                                       a separate escort of two HUNT-Class Escort Destroyers.

                                       This convoy cane under sustained air attacks and U-Boats attacks. It was ordered to

                                       disperse by the Admiralty. In all 12 of the 40 mercantiles were sunk.

                                       Cover against attacks by German surface warships was provided by HM Cruisers

                                       LONDON, NORFOLK, SUSSEX, JAMAICA, HM Battleships ANSON and DUKE

                                       OF YORK and withdrew as did the escort. The episode has been under criticism for

                                       many years. See THE CONVOY IS TO SCATTER and above references.)

            12th        Detached from PQ18 with HMS SCYLLA, HMS MARNE, HMS MARTIN and HMS

                           METEOR to refuel at Spitzbergen.

            13th        Rejoined PQ18 with same ships.

            17th        Detached from PQ18 with above ships except for HMS FURY and HMS IMPULSIVE.

                           Joined return Convoy OP14 with above ships from QP18.

                           Detached from QP14 with HM Destroyers MARNE, METEOR, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT and

                           OPPORTUNE.

             22nd      Detached from Fighting Escort and returned to Scapa Flow wearing the Flag of Rear Admiral

                           (Destroyers) who had transferred from HMS SCYLLA on 20th September.)

 

October              Deployed with Flotilla for Fleet screening and Atlantic

                           Nominated for support of planned allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)

              30th      Joined HM Cruiser HERMIONE, HM Battleships DUKE OF YORK and NELSON with HM

                           Destroyers MARTIN and METEOR as part of screen during passage to Gibraltar.

 

November

               5th       Deployed at Gibraltar and prepared for planned landings

               8th       Part of screen for major ships of Force H and Home Fleet providing cover against interference

                           to TORCH landings by Vichy French or Italian warships.

 

December           Deployed for screening and convoy escort in western Mediterranean

              25th      Joined escort for military Convoy MKF5 with HM Destroyer METEOR during passage to

                           Clyde.

              28th      Detached from escort of KM convoy with HMS METEOR to assist defence of mercantile

                           Convoy ONS154 which was under attacks by SPITZ and UNGESTUM U-Boat Groups.

               29th     Joined escort for ONS154.

                           Drove off night attacks with HMS METEOR

                           Rescued 143 survivors from three mercantiles sunk during U-Boat attacks

                           (Note: 13 ships in ONS154 were sunk out of the 46 mercantiles in the convoy.)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

                1st      Detached from ONS154 and took passage to Ponta Delgardo, Azores to refuel.

                3rd     Passage to UK.

                8th     Taken in hand for routine docking and repairs at Jarrow.

 

February

                8th     Took passage to Scapa Flow to resume Flotilla duties in Home Fleet

              19th     Deployed with HM Destroyer BOADICEA, FAULKNOR, INGLEFIELD, OBDURATE,

                          OBEDIENT, OPPORTUNE and ORWELL as Ocean escort during transit of Russian Convoy

                          JW53 to Murmansk.

              21st     HM Cruiser SCYLLA joined  escort with HM Destroyers ECLIPSE, FURY, IMPULSIVE,

                          INTREPID and Polish destroyer ORP ORKAN.

              27th     Detached from JW53 on arrival at Murmansk.

                          (Note: This convoy comprised 29 ships and arrived without loss during transit mainly because

                                      of the appalling weather conditions. HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD and HM Escort Aircraft

                                      Carrier DASHER were unable to join the convoy and had to return after structural

                                      damage.

                                      Cover was provided by HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, ANSON, HM Cruisers

                                      BERWICK, BELFAST, CUMBERLAND and NORFOLK with Home Fleet destroyer

                                      screens.

 

March

                1st     Deployed with same ships as escort during passage of return Convoy RA53.

               10th   Detached from RA53 with HMS ORWELL and ORP ORKAN and took passage to Scapa Flow.

                         Transferred to Plymouth Command for interception of blockade runners and convoy escort.

                          (Note: During this period she was deployed with HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS for interception

                                      duties and escorted Convoys OS45 during part of outward passage to Canada ad later

                                      military convoys MKS10 and MKS11 during passage in SW Approaches from

                                      Gibraltar.

 

April                 Transferred to Western Approaches for convoy defence in support role.

                          Deployed with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier ARCHER, HM Destroyers MILNE, ECLIPSE and

                          FURY as 4th Support Group.

 

May                   Atlantic convoy defence in continuation with air support from HM Escort Carrier ARCHER.

                          For details of Atlantic convoy defence at this critical period in the Atlantic Confrontation see U

                          BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO), THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D

                          MacIntyre) and HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

              22nd    Deployed with Group in support of escort for inward Convoy SC130 and HX239  under threat

                          of attacks by DONAU and MOSEL U-Boat Groups

              25th     Deployed with Group in Western Approaches for support of  Atlantic convoys.

 

June                  Resumed Flotilla duties in Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow.

                          (Note: One source records routine boiler clean with essential defect repair possibly in

                                      commercial shipyard.)

 

July                   Home Fleet duties in continuation.

                7th     Deployed with seven other Home Fleet and five US Navy Destroyers for screening of

                         HM Battleships ANSON, MALAYA, USS ALABAMA, USS SOUTH DAKOTA, HM

                         Aircraft  Carrier FURIOUS and seven cruisers for diversionary operation off Norwegian coast.

                         (Operation CAMERA – Convoy of miscellaneous ships was deployed to represent a possible

                         assault force during the planned landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY.).)

               9th     On completion of simulated approaches to coast took passage to return to Scapa Flow.

             27th     Deployed with Home Fleet destroyers as screen for HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and

                         UNICORN during air operations as part of further diversionary operation off Norway.

                         (Operation GOVERNOR).

             29th     Return passage to Scapa Flow

                         (Note: Neither diversionary operation met concentrated air attacks since German aircraft based

                                    in Norway had been used to reinforce defence against allied operations in Mediterranean.)

 

August              Nominated for refit and took passage to Humber

               7th      Taken in hand for refit at Commercial shipyard in Hull,

 

September

             27th      Carried out post refit trials and took passage to Scapa Flow to resume Home Flotilla duties.

 

October             Home Fleet deployment with Flotilla,

             20th      Passage to North Russia with HM Destroyers MAHRATTA, MATCHLESS MUSKETEER of

                          Flotilla, HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ, SAVAGE, SCOURGE and SCORPION of 23rd

                          Destroyer Flotilla, HM Destroyer WESTCOTT, HM Corvette EGLANTINE, HM

                          Minesweepers HARRIER and SEAGULL  (Operation FR).

                          (Note: Five small minesweepers and six Motor Launches manned by Russians accompanied

                                      this convoy.)

 

November         Flotilla duties in c0ontinuation with Home Fleet

              1st       Joined Ocean Escort for return Russian convoy RA54A to UK from Murmansk with HM

                          Destroyers MAHRATTA, MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER, SAUMAREZ, SAVAGE,

                          SCORPION, SCOURGE and WESTCOTT

                          Cover was provided by HMS LONDON and US Navy USS AUGUSTA.

            13th       Detached with other ships of escort during passage in NW Approaches and returned to Scapa

                          Flow.

 

December          Under repair

           15th         Joined Russian Convoy JW55A during passage to Kola Inlet with HM Destroyers

                           ASHANTI, MUSKETEER, METEOR, MATCHLESS, , OPPORTUNE, VIRAGO and

                           ATHABASKAN (RCN)

          21st          Detached from JW55A with Ocean Escort when Eastern Local Escort joined.

          23rd          Deployed with HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, OPPORTUNE and VIRAGO as part of Ocean

                            Escort for return Convoy RA55A with HM Destroyers BEAGLE. WESTCOTT,

                            MATCHLESS, METEOR, MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE, VIRAGO and

                            ATHABASKAN (RCN).

          31st           Detached from RA55A with HMS METEOR and returned to Scapa Flow.

                            (Note: HM Corvettes DIANELLA, POPPY and Norwegian ACANTHUS were also part of

                                        the escort.)

 

1 9 4 4

 

       January

           26th          Joined Ocean Escort for Russian Convoy JW56B with HM Destroyers

                            MAHRATTA, SCOURGE, MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE and HURON (RCN).

                            Cover was provided by HM Cruisers BERMUDA, BERWICK and KENT.

                            See above references.

           29th          HM Destroyers HARDY, INCONSTANT, OFFA, SAVAGE, VENUS, VIGILANT

                            and Norwegian STORD joined escort from Kola Inlet during passage.

           30th          Under sustained U-Boat attacks during which HMS HARDY was sunk.

                            See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair for details.)

 

       February

             1st          Detached from JW56B on arrival at Kola Inlet.

             3rd          Joined escort for return Convoy RA56 with same ships for passage.

                            (Note: Departure delayed until escorts for JW56A and JW56B were available for use as Ocean

                                       Escort in view of known U-Boat threat.)

             9th          Detached from RA56 with HM Destroyers INCONSTANT, METEOR, MAHRATTA

                            MUSKETEER, SCOURGE, HMCS HURON and Norwegian STORD to take passage to Scapa

                            Flow.

           22nd         Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW57 with HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE, HM Destroyers

                            MATCHLESS, MAHRATTA, METEOR, OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI,

                            SAVAGE, SERAPIS, SWIFT, VERULAM and VIGILANT (Operation FX).

           25th          HM Destroyer MAHRATTA sunk by torpedo from U956.

           28th          Detached from JW57 on arrival at Kola Inlet

 

March

            2nd          Joined escort for returning Convoy RA57 with HMS BLACK PRINCE, HM Escort Carrier

                            CHASER, HM Destroyer IMPULSIVE and destroyers from Convoy JW57, except HMS

                            MAHRATTA (See 25th February).

            8th           Detached from RA57 With HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI,

                            SAVAGE, SERAPIS and VIGILANT before arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe.

                            Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

           30th          Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers URSA, ONSLAUGHT, VERULAM,

                            METEOR, UNDAUNTED, VIGILANT, VIRAGO, SWIFT, JAVELIN, WAKEFUL,

                            ALGONQUIN (RCN), SIOUX (RCN) and Polish ORP PIORUN s screen for HM

                            Battleships ANSON, DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS,

                            HM Cruisers BELFAST, ROYALIST, SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA, HM Escort Aircraft

                            Carriers EMPEROR, FENCER. PURSUER and SEARCHER  to provide Distant Cover

                            for transit of Russian Convoy JW58 to Kola Inlet and cover during air attacks on

                            German battleship TIRPITZ at Altenfjord  (Operation TUNGSTEN)

 

April

             2nd         HMS DUKE OF YORK and two destroyers detached to provide Distant Cover for JW58.

             3rd          Provided cover during strikes by aircraft from carriers. (For details see CONVOY!

                            by P Kemp)

             4th          Second series of strikes abandoned and took return passage to Scapa Flow.

             6th          Arrived at Scapa Flow with Fleet units.

           18th          Independent passage to Kola Inlet with HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers

                            ACTIVITY, FENCER, 15 other destroyers and five RCN Frigates for escort of return convoy

                            of empty ships

                            (Note: A Personnel ship NEA HELLAS also sailed from UK but had to return with defects.

                                        This ship was intended for embarking Russian naval personnel for passage to UK for

                                        manning warships being provided under Lease/Lend to Russia..

                                        As this ship was no available the Russian personnel were embarked in warships of the

                                        escort and in the mercantiles forming the convoy.)

                                        See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA.).

           28th          Joined escort of return Convoy RA59 with HM Escort Carrier ACTIVITY, HM Destroyers

                            MARNE, METEOR, MUSKETEER and MATCHLESS of Flotilla.

 

May

             6th          Detached from RA59 with same ships before arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe.

             7th          Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet.

           12th          Deployed with Home Fleet for offensive sweep against shipping off Norway

                            (Operation POT LUCK)

           18th          Returned to Scapa Flow on completion

                            (Note: Further air attacks were made on TIRPITZ during later period in operations BRAWN

                                        and TIGER CLAW. Participation in screen deployment is to be confirmed)

           27th          Took part in offensive sweep off Norwegian coast as part of screen for Home Fleet major

                            units (Operation LOMBARD)

           31st          Sank U289 in position 73.32 N   00.28 E in position east of Jan Mayen Island

                            (Note: There were no survivors.

                                        It is presumed that ship was taking part in LOMBARD)

 

June

                            Deployed as screen for major units of Home Fleet.

                            (Note: Major units were retained in northern waters to provide cover against any

                                        interference by major German warships during for allied landings in Normandy

                                        (Operation NEPTUNE).

                            Ship was not deployed in direct support of landings. See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY,

                            June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards for details of Home Fleet

                            ships directly used in support of NEPTUNE,)

 

July                     Home Fleet deployment in continuation

                            (Note: No Russian Convoys were carried out because of detachment of Home Fleet ships

                                        in other areas.)

 

August

          17th           Escorted Russian Convoy JW59 from Loch Ewe with HM Cruiser JAMAICA, HM Escort

                            Carriers STRIKER and VINDEX, HM Destroyers CAPRICE, MARNE, METEOR and

                            MUSKETEER.

          24th           Detached from JW59 on arrival at Kola Inlet. and joined return Convoy RA59A from Kola

                            Inlet with same ships for passage to Home waters.

 

September

          17th           Escorted Russian Convoy JW60 with H M Battleship RODNEY, H M Cruiser DIADEM,

                            HM Escort Carriers CAMPANIA and STRIKER, HM Destroyers MARNE, ,METEOR,

                            MUSKETEER, VENUS, SAUMAREZ, SCORPION, VERULAM, VIRAGO, VOLAGE,

                            ALGONQUIN (RCN) and SIOUX (RCN)

                            (Note: Close escort was provided by HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Destroyers BULLDOG,

                                          KEPPEL, WHITEHALL, HM Corvettes ALLINGTON CASTLE and

                                           BAMBOROUGH CASTLE.)

          23rd           Detached from JW60 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

          28th           Joined escort for return Convoy RA60 with same ships.

 

October               Flotilla nominated for service in Mediterranean

            3rd           Detached from RA60 and took passage to Scapa Flow with escort

                            Nominated for refit and commercial shipyard.

          19th           Taken in hand for refit at Hull.

 

November           Under refit

 

December            Carried out harbour Trials,

          15th            Carried out post refit trials and prepared for foreign service.

          27th            Passage to Malta to rejoin Flotilla

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

            4th            Rejoined Flotilla in Malta.

                             Deployed for escort and for support of military operations in Aegean.

 

February               Mediterranean duties with Flotilla in continuation

                             (Note: Patrols were carried out with ships of the Flotilla and also Free French destroyers

                                         to intercept enemy warships and other craft evacuating personnel from islands in

                                         the western Mediterranean.)

 

March                   Transferred for support of military operations on west coast of Italy and Riviera.

            9th            Carried out bombardment of shore targets on Italian Riviera.

          15th            Carried out bombardments at Genoa with HMS MARNE.

 

April                     Convoy escort and patrol duties in continuation

                              After VE Day deployed for Fleet duties with Flotilla

 

May                       Deployed for support of military garrisons in Adriatic and for exercises with

to                           Mediterranean Fleet ships

August                  (Note: Ships destined for service in the Far East were worked-up in the Mediterranean.

                                          Visits were made to ports in eastern Mediterranean.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS MILNE remained in the Mediterranean with ships of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla until 1946. She sailed from Gibraltar on 4th April for Harwich and was Paid-off. After reduction to Reserve status on 16th August that year she was laid–up in the Reserve Fleet at Harwich until transferred to Rosyth. Used as an Accommodation Ship for Reserve Fleet personnel and ships under refit in HM Dockyard she was selected for conversion to a Type 62 Frigate and towed to Plymouth. This work was never carried out as the ships of this Class were found to be unsuitable and in poor condition. This destroyer was transferred to Penarth to lay-up in the Reserve Fleet  and later placed on the Sales List. Sold to Turkey on 24th September 1957 she was refitted before formal transfer. Following extensive modernisation of her armament the ship was renamed ALP ARSLAN and handed over to the Turkish Navy on 12th June 1959. She remained on the Active List until 1971 and broken-up locally.

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS MILNE

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

 

 

 

 

 

09/09/42

17/09/42

PQ 018

02/09/42

21/09/42

17/09/42

22/09/42

QP 014

13/09/42

26/09/42

20/11/42

21/11/42

KMF 003

14/11/42

23/11/42

24/12/42

28/12/42

MKF 005

24/12/42

31/12/42

29/12/42

30/12/42

ON 154

18/12/42

12/01/43

19/02/43

27/02/43

JW 053

15/02/43

27/02/43

01/03/43

10/03/43

RA 053

01/03/43

14/03/43

03/11/43

10/11/43

RA 054A

01/11/43

14/11/43

15/12/43

21/12/43

JW 055A

12/12/43

22/12/43

23/12/43

31/12/43

RA 055A

22/12/43

01/01/44

26/01/44

01/02/44

JW 056B

22/01/44

01/02/44

03/02/44

09/02/44

RA 056

03/02/44

11/02/44

22/02/44

28/02/44

JW 057

20/02/44

28/02/44

02/03/44

08/03/44

RA 057

02/03/44

10/03/44

28/04/44

04/05/44

RA 059

28/04/44

06/05/44

17/08/44

25/08/44

JW 059

15/08/44

25/08/44

28/08/44

05/09/44

RA 059A

28/08/44

05/09/44

17/09/44

23/09/44

JW 060

15/09/44

23/09/44

28/09/44

03/10/44

RA 060

28/09/44

05/10/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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