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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

Polish ORP ORKAN, ex-HMS MYRMIDON (G 90) -  M-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Martin, sister-ship (Tom Meaden, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

M-Class destroyer ordered from Fairfield at Govan with the 1939 Programme on 7th July 1939 with HMS MUSKETEER of the same Class. Both ships were laid down on 7th December 1939. This ship was launched on 2nd March 1942 as the 6th RN ship to carry the name which was first introduced in 1781 for a 6th Rate. It  was last used in 1899 for a B-Class (30 Knotter) destroyer  by a mine in the Channel on 23rd March 1917. This ship was transferred to the Polish Navy after launching and renamed ORP ORKAN. She was commissioned for service in late 1942 and had been adopted by the civil community of St Helens, Lancashire after a successful  WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Red, the head of a Greek soldier, helmet

embossed with an ant on a roundel, all Gold.

Explanation   Myrmidon a warlike race created from ants to be subject

Achilles in the Trojan War.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e   a s   O  R  P   O R K A N


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



1 9 4 2




18th - Commissioned as ORP ORKAN for service with Home Fleet.




Contractors trials and commissioning.


5th - Build completion date and commenced acceptance trials. On completion of storing, weapon trials and shakedown took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service with ships of the Home Fleet.



1 9 4 3




Joined HM Destroyers OBDURATE, OBEDIENT, ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE, ORIBI and ORWELL in 17th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet on completion of work-up.


23rd - Deployed with HM Destroyers ECHO, ECLIPSE, FAULKNOR, INGLEFIELD, MONTROSE, QUEENBOROUGH and RAIDER as screen for HM Battleship ANSON and HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD during provision of Distant Cover for the passage of Russian Convoy JW52 during pass from Iceland to Kola Inlet. (Note: For details of all Russian convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R Ruegg, THE ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY! by P Kemp, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and the Naval Staff History.)


24th - Detached with Distant Cover force and remained with screen for Home Fleet ships.


30th - Deployed with HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD, ORIBI and OBEDIENT as screen for HMS ANSON and HMS SHEFFIELD providing Distant Cover during passage of return Convoy RA52 from Kola Inlet to UK.RA52




Home Fleet screening duty in continuation.


2nd - Remained as screen when Home Fleet ships detached from RA52.


21st - Deployed with HM Destroyers ECLIPSE, FURY, IMPULSIVE and INTREPID to reinforce escort for Russian Convoy JW53 during passage to Kola Inlet from Loch Ewe.


27th - Detached from RA53 with HMS SCYLLA and screen after arrival of Local Escort.




1st - Joined HMS SCYLLA, HM Destroyers INTREPID, OBDURATE, OBEDIENT BOADICEA, ECLIPSE, FAULKNOR, IMPULSIVE, INGLEFIELD, FURY, OPPORTUNE, MILNE and ORWELL as escort for return Convoy RA53 during passage from Kola Inlet to Loch Ewe.


10th - Detached with HMS MILNE and HMS ORWELL before arrival of JW53 at Loch Ewe. (Note: This passage was made in heavy weather and, on 8th March was threatened with possible attack by German battleship SCHARNHORST, after which further cover cover was provided by ships of Home Fleet. See above references.)


12th - Resumed Flotilla duties with ships of Home Fleet.


16th - Deployed as part of escort for HM King George VI during passage to Scapa Flow for visit to Home Fleet.


17th - Took part in demonstration for Royal visitor by ships of Home Fleet.


April to May


Detached for service in Western Approaches for support of Atlantic convoy defence. (Note: Destroyers of Home Fleet were detached for service in Support Groups deployed to reinforce escorts of Atlantic convoys subject to heavy attacks by U Boat Groups.)




Home Fleet deployment in continuation. (Note: During this period Home Fleet ships carried out Operation FH to reinforce the garrison at Spitzbergen.)


Nominated for detached service in Bay of Biscay in support of joint operations with RAF Coastal Command aircraft again U-Boats in transit to and from bases in France.)


23rd - Took part in offensive anti-submarine search operations in Bay of Biscay. Deployed with HM Canadian Destroyers ATHABASKAN and IROQUOIS for support of anti-submarine operations in Bay of Biscay (Operations SEASLUG and MUSKETRY) (Note: Other Support Groups including B1 and B5 were also used with HM Cruiser BERMUDA to provide cover against surface opposition and HM Escort Aircraft Carrier BITER for provision of air support.)


24th - Rescued survivors from U459 which had been sunk by WELLINGTON aircraft Q of 172 Squadron RAF in position 45,53N 10.38W, NW of Cape Ortegal.. (Note: The aircraft was shot down during its attacks.. See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair and U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)




Diverted from Bay of Biscay operations to collect body of General Sikorski for transport to UK after his death in an air crash at Gibraltar on 4th July.


Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla after completion of this duty. Nominated for refit and took passage to Humber.


30th - Taken in hand for refit at Brigham and Cowan shipyard in Hull.




25th - Carried out post refit trials on completion of dockyard work. Passage to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet Flotilla duties




(Note: During this period Home Fleet ships escorted rms QUEEN MARY during return passage after QUADRANT conference.)


Transferred for detached service in West Approaches Command for support of defence of Atlantic convoys from U-Boat attacks. Deployed as Support Group 3 with HM Destroyers MUSKETEER, ORIBI and ORWELL. (Note: One source records the identity as being 10th Support Group.)


28th - Deployed with Group to reinforce escort of outward Convoy ONS19 by 10th Escort Group on passage in NW Approaches and under threat of attack by ROSSBACH U-Boat Group.


30th - Detached from ONS19 after convoy diverted northwards to avoid enemy threat.




Support deployment in continuation.


7th - Joined escort for Convoy SC143 with Group to reinforce defence against U-Boats of ROSSBACH Group. (Note: Group was deliberately deployed towards German patrol line. See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR. Following interception of radio transmissions from U378 by HMS MUSKETEER the position of the submarine was obtained and an attack on Support Group using acoustic T5 torpedo failed to hit HMS MUSKETEER.


8th - Under attack by U378 and hit by acoustic torpedo in position 56.30N 26.25W, SW of Iceland. Ship sank within five minutes with heavy loss of life as only 44 of the ship's company were rescued by the other ships of SG3. For details see the above references. Commanding Officer was Commander S. Hryniewiecki who was Senior Officer of 3rd British Support Group. (Note: U378 was sunk on 20th October 1943 by an aircraft from the US Escort Aircraft Carrier USS CARD. HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR quotes Group as SG10 but other reliable sources confirm SG3.)



P o s t   W a r   N o t e


The Royal Navy identity HMS MYRMIDON had been carried forward later during WW2 when an ALGERINE Class Minesweeper built in Canada was launched in October 1944. This warship was completed on 7th July 1945 but did not enter operational service until after VJ Day. She was deployed for mine clearance operations before being reduced to Reserve status in February 1948. Placed on the Disposal List in 1958 and sold to BISCO she arrived in tow at Briton Ferry for demolition by TW Ward on 2nd December 1958.






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








JW 052





RA 052





JW 053





RA 053





MKS 011





MKF 013





ONS 019





SC 143








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 5/6/11
further editing  is required