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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 MATCHLESS (G 52) -  M-class Destroyer
Including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Matchless (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

M (MARNE) Class Fleet Destroyer ordered under the 1939 Programme from Alex Stephens of Govan. The ship was laid down on 14th September 1940 and launched on 4th September 1941 as the 2nd ship to carry the name, formerly used by a destroyer sold in 1921. Build was completed on 28th February 1942 and this ship was adopted by Maidenhead in Berkshire following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r

 

DOVER  PATROL  1916-18 - ZEEBRUGGE  1918 - ARCTIC  1942-44 - MALTA  CONVOYS  1942 - NORTH CAPE   1943

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue in front of an estoile gold a plate charged with the astronomical

mark of Saturn, black.

 

 

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

 

February         Contractor's sea trials and commissioning

                        Accepted into service with17th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

March             On completion of trials, storing and calibration of weapon equipment took passage to work-up

                        with ships of Home Fleet.

 

April               Deployed in NW Approaches for Home Fleet screening duties.

          10th       Part of screen for H M Battleships KING GEORGE V and   DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carrier

                        VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers KENT and NIGERIA providing cover for the passage of Russian

                        Convoys PQ14 and QP10 with HM Destroyers BEDOUIN, BELVOIR, ESCAPADE, ESKIMO,

                        FAULKNOR,  LEDBURY, MIDDLETON, OFFA, ONSLOW, SOMALI and WHEATLAND.

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

                        CONVOYS by B Schoefield and CONVOY ! by P Kemp)

          28th       Joined escort for Russian Convoy PQ15 with HM Anti-Aircraft Ship ULSTER QUEEN,

                        HM Destroyers BADSWORTH, BOADICEA, SOMALI, VENOMOUS and Norwegian destroyer

                        ST ALBANS for passage to Murmansk.

                        (Note: HMS SOMALI was sunk in collision by HMS KING GEORGE V in fog).

 

May

            5th       Detached from PQ15 on arrival.

                        Retained in North Russia

          13th       Escorted damaged cruiser HMS TRINIDAD from Murmansk for return passage to UK with

                        HM Destroyers FORESIGHT, FORESTER and SOMALI.

           14th      Under air attacks.

                        Sank HMS TRINIDAD by torpedo after ship had been abandoned.

                        (See THE SHIP WHICH TORPEDOED HERSELF by F Pearce).

           15th      Joined Home Fleet screen during cover of passage of return convoy PQ12.

 

June                 Nominated for detached duty as part of escort for Malta Relief Convoy WS19Z.

                         (Operation HARPOON - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE

                         BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN. MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman and the Naval

                         Staff History).

            5th        Joined Convoy WS19Z in Clyde with H M Cruisers KENYA and LIVERPOOL, H M

                         Destroyers BADSWORTH, BEDOUIN, MARNE, ITHURIEL, PARTRIDGE, BLANKNEY,

                         MIDDLETON and Polish destroyer KUJAWIAK.

           11th       Joined H M Cruiser CAIRO, with HM Destroyers BEDOUIN, MARNE, ITHURIEL,

                         PARTRIDGE, BADSWORTH, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON and Polish destroyer KUJAWIAK as

                         Force X for Close Escort of convoy to Malta screened by ships of Force H from Gibraltar.

           14th       Under air attacks. HMS LIVERPOOL damaged and returned in tow to Gibraltar.

         15th         Carried out attack with HMS MARNE on Italian destroyers VIVALDI and MAROCELLO.

                         Disabled VIVALDI. (See above references).

          16th        Mined on entry to Grand Harbour whilst escorting ORARI and TROILUS which were sole

                         surviving mercantiles from HARPOON convoy.

                         (Note HM Escort Destroyer BADSWORTH was also damaged in same minefield and Polish

                                    Escort Destroyer ORP KUJAWIAK was sunk).

           18th       Taken in hand for repair

 

July                   Under repair in HM Dockyard, Malta.

 

August              On completion prepared for return passage to UK for permanent repair.

           11th       Escorted ss ORARI and ss TROILUS with HMS BADSWORTH for passage to Gibraltar.

                         (Operation ASCENDANT - This was coincident with Operation PEDESTAL to reduce the chance

                         of enemy interference since PEDESTAL was likely to be the primary target for attention

                         Only some of the armament of the two destroyers could be used due to  the earlier mine damage.

                         Italian convoy recognition markings were painted on the foc'sle of the tow destroyers ships which

                         took passage near the African coast.

           13th       Two Italian surface warships sighted but took no action.

                         (Note: They may have believed the British ships were Vichy French).

           23rd       Arrived at Newcastle for repair by commercial shipyard.

 

September        Under  repair by Palmers

to October        Nominated for service with 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on completion

 

November        Carried out harbour trials

             8th       Dockyard repair work completed and carried out post repair sea trials.

           11th       Carried out post refit trials on completion of dockyard work.

                          On completion took passage to Scapa Flow to join new Flotilla.

                          Worked-up for operational service at Scapa Flow.

December

           14th        Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Cruiser JAMAICA and HM Destroyer OPPORTUNE to join HM

                          Cruiser SHEFFIELD for passage to Iceland to join Convoy JW51A. Fuelling delayed by fog off

                           Iceland

           19th         Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW51A with HM Destroyers BEAGLE and OPPORTUNE as

                           screen for HM Cruisers JAMAICA and SHEFFIELD (Force R).

           24th         Arrived at Kola Inlet ahead of convoy after providing cover to south of track.

           27th         Deployed with HM Destroyer OPPORTUNE as screen for HMS SHEFFIELD and HMS JAMAICA

                           to provide cruiser cover for Russian Convoy JW51B on passage to Kola Inlet.

                           (Note: This convoy was threatened by German destroyers who were engaged by escort

                                       destroyers. See above references).

           29th         Detached to refuel at Kola Inlet before return passage to UK with HMS JAMAICA

                           and HMS SHEFFIELD providing Distant Cover for transit of Convoy RA51A.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January              Passage to Scapa Flow.

           21st         Part of Ocean Escort for Russian Convoys JW52 with HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG,

                           MUSKETEER, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT and Polish destroyer ORP PIORUN.

           27th         Detached from convoy on arrival at Kola Inlet.

           29th         Joined Ocean Escort for return convoy RA52 with HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG, OFFA,

                           FORESTER, ICARUS, MUSKETEER, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW and Polish ORP PIORUN.

 

February

             8th         Detached from convoy after arrival in Home waters.

             9th         Resumed Hone Fleet duties with Flotilla.

 

March                Deployed with Flotilla on Home Fleet screening and patrol duties

 

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 HITLERíS 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                    Deployed with Flotilla in NW Approaches based at Scapa Flow for screening and patrol..

                            Released from 4th Support Group and nominated for refit in Humber

            10th         Arrived in Humber for refit by Brigham and Cowan at Hull

 

July                     Under refit.

            25th         Carried out post refit trials and took passage to Scapa Flow with 3rd Destroyer Flotilla

 

August                 Deployed with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

            11th          Present during visit by King George VI to Home Fleet.

            14th          Took part in demonstration exercises for Royal visit.

 

September           Carried out anti-submarine search in NW Approaches with HM Destroyer ULSTER (Operation SF)

 

October

            20th         Passage to North Russia with HM Destroyers MAHRATTA, MILNE 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 these

                                        ships during passage).

             28th        At Kola Inlet awaiting first convoy of winter season.

 

November

               3rd        Joined Ocean Escort for returning Russian Convoy RA54A with same destroyers, HMS Corvette

                            EGLANTINE, HM Minesweepers JASON and BRITOMART (returning from North Russia).

               8th        Detached from RA54A with HMS MUSKETEER during passage and resumed Home Fleet duty.

             28th        Part of screen for HM Battleship ANSON and HM Cruiser BELFAST with HM Destroyers

                            ASHANTI, MUSKETEER and OBDURATE to cover passage of Russian Convoy JW54B

                            and return convoy RA54B.

 

December           Under repair.

              15th       Joined Russian Convoy JW55A as Ocean Escort with HM Destroyers ASHANTI ,MUSKETEER,

                            METEOR, MILNE, OPPORTUNE, VIRAGO and Canadian ATHABASKAN.

              21st       Detached from JW55A with same ships to Join Ocean Escort for return Convoy RA55A.

              23rd       Joined return Convoy RA55A as Ocean Escort

              25th       Detached with HM Destroyers MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE and VIRAGO to reinforce escort

                            of Convoy JW55B which was under threat of attack by the German battleship SCHARNHORST

                            and a destroyer screen.

              26th       On orders from CinC detached from JW55B with HMS MUSKETEER, HMS OPPORTUNE and

                            HMS VIRAGO to join HM Cruisers BELFAST, NORFOLK and SHEFFIELD to increase strength

                            of covering force against SCHARNHORST and German destroyers.

                            Deployed with HM Destroyers MUSKETEER, VIRAGO and OPPORTUNE to carry out torpedo

                            attack on the sinking battleship, but owing to extensive weather damage due to operations at high

                            speed in the appalling was unable to discharge her weapons.

                            Rescued six of the 36 survivors from the German warship.

                            For details see THE KOLA RUN by Campbell and MacIntyre, DEATH OF THE SCHARNHORST

                            and the Naval Staff History.)

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                Passage to UK with screen for Home Fleet major units.

 

February              Deployed with Flotilla for screening duties based at Scapa Flow.

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

                            MAHRATTA, METEOR, MILNE, OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI, SAVAGE,

                            SERAPIS, SWIFT, VERULAM and VIGILANT.

             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 HMS MILNE, HMS OFFA, HMS ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI,

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

 

April                     Home Fleet screening duties with Flotilla in continuation.

              18th        Independent passage with other escorts to Kola Inlet for escort of return convoy of empty ships

                             with USN and Soviet Navy personnel taking passage  (See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA).

              27th        Embarked 16 returning personnel.

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

                             MARNE, METEOR, MUSKETEER and MILNE of Flotilla.

 

May

               4th         Detached from RA59 with same ships before arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe.

               5th         Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet.

 

June

                             Deployed as screen for major units of Home Fleet to provide Distant Cover for the allied landings

                             in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                             (Note: Not deployed in direct support of landings. See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, JUNE

                                         1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards).

              29th        Independent passage with H M Destroyers METEOR and MUSKETEER carrying stores and

                             mail to ships in North Russia (Operation DC).

 

July

                             Arrived at Kola Inlet.

                             Passage to rejoin Fleet.

                8th        Deployed for Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

                             Nominated for refit in commercial shipyard and took passage to Humber for refit on release

                             from Flotilla duties.

              23rd        Taken in hand for refit at Brigham and Cowan shipyard in Hull.

 

August                  Under refit and repair.

to

October

 

November

              28th        On completion of Post Refit Trials worked up for service at Scapa Flow.

 

December

              27th        On completion took passage to Mediterranean to rejoin Flotilla.

                             Resumed screening duties with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

 

1 9 4 5

January

               2nd         Sailed from Gibraltar.

                              Deployed with Flotilla in western Mediterranean for support of military operations, patrol

                              and screening duties.

 

February

               7th          Carried out bombardment of shore positions in Gulf of Genoa.

              15th          Deployed with HM Destroyer METEOR and Free French destroyer SIMOON for patrol north

                               of Corsica.

              16th          After radar detection gave chase to enemy ships minelaying and gave chase but failed to make

                               direct contact.

 

March                     Flotilla deployment for patrol and support duties in continuation.

              16th          Take in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Malta.

 

April                       Under repair

to

May

 

June                        Carried out harbour trials

                7th          Carried out post repair trials on completion of dockyard work.

                               On completion resumed Flotilla duties

                               (Note: During this period ships of Mediterranean Fleet were providing support

                                            to British garrison at Trieste, carrying out interception patrols to prevent

                                            illegal transport of immigrants to Palestine and carrying out exercises

                                            to work-up ships on passage to join the East Indies and British Pacific Fleets.

 

July                        Mediterranean Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

to

August

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS MATCHLESS remained in the Mediterranean after VJ Day and was deployed with the Flotilla for Mediterranean Fleet exercises and visits to port in the area and support of military units in southern Europe. She was nominated for reduction to reserve status in 1946 and sailed from Gibraltar to Pay-off at Portsmouth on 4th April. Reduced to Reserve status after de-storing on 25th June 1946 this ship was refitted in 1951-2 and transferred to Penarth in 1953. Placed on the Sales List in 1956 this destroyer was sold to Turkey in 1957 with three others the same Class. Before formal transfer to Turkey she was refitted by Harland and Wolf at Govan and renamed KILIC ALI PASHA. In 1971 she was stricken from the Active List in 1971 and later sold for demolition.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS MATCHLESS

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

 

 

 

 

 

12/04/42

18/04/42

PQ 014

26/03/42

19/04/42

12/04/42

18/04/42

QP 010

10/04/42

21/04/42

28/04/42

05/05/42

PQ 015

10/04/42

05/05/42

12/06/42

16/06/42

HARPOON

12/06/42

16/06/42

10/08/42

14/08/42

ASCENDAN

10/08/42

14/08/42

19/12/42

25/12/42

JW 051A

15/12/42

25/12/42

27/12/42

29/12/42

JW 051B

22/12/42

04/01/43

21/01/43

27/01/43

JW 052

17/01/43

27/01/43

29/01/43

05/02/43

RA 052

29/01/43

09/03/43

03/11/43

08/11/43

RA 054A

01/11/43

14/11/43

28/11/43

29/11/43

JW 054B

22/11/43

03/12/43

28/11/43

29/11/43

RA 054B

26/11/43

09/12/43

15/12/43

21/12/43

JW 055A

12/12/43

22/12/43

23/12/43

25/12/43

RA 055A

22/12/43

01/01/44

25/12/43

26/12/43

JW 055B

20/12/43

30/12/43

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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