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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

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

HMS NERISSA/Polish ORP PIORUN (G 85) -  N-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Kelvin, close sister-ship (Navy Photos/George Knight, click to enlarge)

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NAPIER-Class destroyer ordered from John Brown, Clydebank on 15th April 1939 and laid down on 26th July that year at the same time as sister ships being built at Govan by Fairfield and to be named NAPIER and NESTOR. She was launched on 7th May 1940 and was the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, previously carried by a WW1 destroyer sold in 1921. Due to delay caused by late delivery of fire-control equipment it was possible to fit recently developed de-gaussing cables and 20mm close-range Oerlikon guns for AA defence before completion. The ship was transferred on loan to the Polish Navy in place of ORP GROM which had been sunk by aircraft off Norway in May 1940. Commissioned as ORP PIORUN her build was completed 4th November 1941 and she was nominated for service with the 7th Destroyer Flotilla in the Home Fleet. This ship was Lead Ship of the Class and her build cost excluding equipment supplied by the Admiralty such as guns, ammunition and signalling outfits was 400,963.16s. Details of service recorded are from British sources.

 

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

 

JUTLAND 1916 *

(* Awarded to the 1st HMS NERISSA)

As this ship belonged to the Polish Navy during WW2 no

British Battle Honours were awarded.

 

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

 

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

 

 

1 9 4 0

 

October

 

Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 7th Destroyer Flotilla as ORP PIORUN.

 

November

 

4th - Build completion and commenced First of Class Acceptance Trials.

 

On completion of trials, storing and weapon calibration took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of Home Fleet.

 

December

 

Deployed with Flotilla in Home Fleet. Nominated for escort of military convoy and took passage to join Convoy WS5A in NW Approaches to provide Anti-submarine defence..

 

19th - Joined WS5A with HM Destroyers KELVIN, KIPLING, OTTAWA (RCN) and the Free French destroyer LE TRIOMPHANTE.

 

22nd - Detached from WS5A with A/S escorts and resumed Flotilla duties.

 

28th - Deployed at Scapa Flow for further work-up

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

 

25th - Deployed as part of screen for HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY and HM Battlecruiser REPULSE during operation to intercept German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. Sustained weather damage and withdrawn from Screen Returned to Scapa Flow.

 

February

Nominated for escort of military convoys and took passage to Clyde.

 

8th - Joined Convoy WS6A with HM Destroyer LEGION as part of Local Escort.

 

12th - Detached from WS6A with HMS LEGION and returned to Clyde.

 

18th - Joined Convoy WS6B in Clyde with HM Destroyer LEGION and Polish destroyer ORP GARLAND (Ex HMS GARLAND) as part of Local Escort.

 

20th - Detached from WS6B and returned to Clyde.

 

23rd - Under repair at builder yard including structural damage affecting fuel tanks.

 

March

 

13th - During repair work at Clydebank supplemented AA defence during heavy German air raid (See THE CLYDEBANK BLITZ by IM MacFail and Council records.).  

 

On completion resumed operational duties with 10th Escort Group.

 

24th - Joined Convoy WS7 in Clyde with HMS LEGION to provide A/S defence with Local Escort.

 

26th - Detached from WS7 and returned to Clyde with HMS LEGION.

 

April

 

26th - Joined Local Escort for Convoy WS8A with HM Destroyers LEGION, HURRICANE, OTTAWA (RCN), RESTIGOUCHE (RCN) and SAGUENAY (RCN).

 

29th - Detached from WS8A with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

May

 

Convoy defence based in Clyde in continuation with 14th Escort Group..

 

22nd - Joined escort for Convoy WS8B in Clyde with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers COSSACK, ERIDGE, MAORI, OTTAWA, SIKH, ZULU and RESTIGOUCHE (RCN) as Local Escort during in NW Approaches.

 

25th - Detached from WS8B with H M Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, SIKH and ZULU to join Home Fleet units in search for the German battleship BISMARCK.

 

26th - Detached from Flotilla with HMS MAORI to join screen for HM Battleship RODNEY. Under fire from BISMARCK and carried out some diversionary moves whilst remainder of Flotilla made torpedo attacks on enemy ship.

 

27th - After sinking of BISMARCK rejoined Flotilla and on release resumed Atlantic convoy escort duties. (For details of search and sinking of BISMARCK see BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim-Rechberg and Naval Staff History.)

 

28th - Under air attack during passage to CLyde with call at Plymouth to refuel

 

31st - Joined Convoy WS8X in Clyde with HM Destroyers BRIGHTON, LEGION, SAGUENAY (RCN), ST MARY'S, SHERWOOD, VANSITTART, WILD SWAN and WIVERN for Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

 

June

 

3rd - Detached from WS8X and returned to Clyde with Local Escort. On returned deployed for Atlantic convoy defence with Greenock Special Escort Group.

 

July

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

August

 

Deployed with 9th Escort Group based at Greenock.

 

2nd - Joined convoy WS10 with HM Destroyers BROADWAY, GURKHA, LANCE, LEGION, Dutch ISAAC SWEERS and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

 

6th - Detached from WS10 with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

17th - Joined Convoy WS10X in Clyde with HM Destroyers GURKHA, LANCE, Dutch ISAAC SWEERS and Dutch AA Cruiser HEEMSKERCK as Local Escort for passage in NW Approaches.

 

19th - Detached from WS10X with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

 

30th - Joined Convoy WS11 with HM Destroyers COSSACK, HIGHLANDER, Dutch ISAAC SWEERS, Polish ORP GARLAND, LEGION, LIVELY, WINCHELSEA, ZULU and HM AA Cruiser CAIRO as Local Escort for passage in NW Approaches.

 

September

 

Detached from WS11 and returned to Clyde with Local Escort. Nominated for escort of Malta Relief Convoy (Operation HALBERD).

 

17th - PIORUN Deployed with Destroyers BLANKNEY, ORP GARLAND, HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS, LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, ORIBI, WHITEHALL and WITCH as screen for HM Battleships PRINCE OF WALES and RODNEY, HM Cruisers EDINBURGH, EURYALUS. KENYA and SHEFFIELD during passage to Gibraltar.

 

24th - Ships of Force H joined HALBERD Convoy (WS11X) west of Gibraltar. Deployed in Force A with Destroyers DUNCAN, GURKHA, LEGION, LANCE, LIVELY, FURY, HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS and ORP GARLAND as screen for HMS NELSON, HMS RODNEY, HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL to cover the passage of WS11X during passage in western Mediterranean as far as the Sicilian Narrows.

 

27th - Under air attack by torpedo bombers during which HMS NELSON was hit by a torpedo but remained with Force A. Italian battle squadron despatched to intercept HALBERD Convoy returned to Naples after learning British ships included three battleships. Detached with ships of Force A and remained in area during passage of mercantiles escorted by ships of Force X through Narrows to Malta.

 

28th - HMS NELSON detached and returned to Gibraltar with escort of two destroyers.

 

29th - Took passage to Gibraltar with ships of Force A when Close Escort Force X rejoined from Malta after arrival of WS11X (For details of this operation see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, Naval Staff History, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre and) MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

 

October

 

1st - Arrived at Gibraltar with ships of both Forces. Took passage to UK with screen for Home Fleet major warships on return, resumed Atlantic convoy defence based in Clyde.

 

November

 

Atlantic convoy defence continuation.

 

December

 

18th - Taken in hand for refit and modifications by builder at Clydebank.

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

January

 

Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence with 25th Escort Group.

 

February

 

Escorted Convoy ON70 with ships of 3rd British Escort Group (B3) for whole of Atlantic passage (See THE ECHO OF A FIGHTING FLOWER by P Coy)

 

March

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

April

 

Deployed with 2nd British Escort Group including escort of Convoy SC81. (For details of Atlantic convoy defence policies and weapons used see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre, U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO), SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS by J Terraine.)

 

May

 

Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

June

 

Escorted Convoy ONS98 for passage to Argentia with HM Destroyer HARVESTER, HM Corvettes ORCHIS, Free French RENONCULE and PRIMROSE. Returned as escort for Convoy HX194 with HMS HARVESTER, HMS ORCHIS and Free French RENONCULE with air cover from HM Escort Aircraft Carrier BITER.

 

July to August

 

Atlantic deployment in continuation including escort of Convoys ON121 and return Convoy HX202 with B3 Escort Group.

 

September

 

Escorted Convoy ONS126 and return Convoy HX207 with Group.

 

October

 

1st - Taken in hand for refit in Dundee commercial shipyard

 

November

 

Under refit

 

December

 

Post refit trials and passage to rejoin Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

 

8th - Worked-up with Flotilla at Scapa Flow in preparation for screening of major Home Fleet units during cover for passage of convoy to North Russia. Joined HM Destroyers MONTROSE, MUSKETEER, RAIDER, QUEENBOROUGH and WORCESTER as screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, HOWE and HM Cruiser BERMUDA during passage in Arctic area to cover transit of Convoy RA51 from Murmansk. (Note: For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, CONVOY ! by P Kemp, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield.)

 

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

 

Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of covering force.

 

21st - Deployed with HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT, MATCHLESS and MUSKETEER as Ocean Escort for Russian Convoy JW52 during passage to Kola Inlet

 

27th - Detached from JW52 on arrival.

 

29th - Deployed with HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG, ICARUS, FORESTER, MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER, OFFA, ONSLOW and ONSLAUGHT as Ocean Escort for return Convoy RA52 on departure from Kola Inlet.

 

February

 

Joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet.

 

5th - Detached from RA52 on arrival of Local Escort.

 

24th - Joined screen for HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS HOWE and HM Cruiser BERWICK with HM Destroyers ICARUS, METEOR, MUSKETEER, OFFA and ONSLAUGHT to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW53 to Kola Inlet.

 

26th - On completion of covering remained with Home Fleet screen.

 

March

 

2nd - Deployed with HM Destroyers FORESTER, ICARUS, OFFA, MUSKETEER and ONSLAUGHT as screen for HM Cruiser GLASGOW, HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE to provide Distant Cover for return Convoy RA53 from Kola Inlet.

 

20th - Transferred to Western Approaches Command after arrival of RA53 at Loch Ewe and deployed for Atlantic convoy defence and support. (Note: The Battle of the Atlantic was at a critical stage. See above references.)

 

April

 

Western Approaches deployment in continuation.

 

May

 

Withdrawn from Atlantic convoy defence for repair.

 

13th - Under repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

 

31st - Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.

 

June

 

Nominated transfer to 24th Destroyer Flotilla in Mediterranean for support of planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY)

 

Passage to Mediterranean to join Flotilla

 

July

 

Prepared for screening duties during HUSKY. (For details of allied landings in Sicily see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History.)

 

12th - Deployed with screen for Covering Force to prevent any attempt by Italian Fleet units to interfere with landings. (Note: Covering Force comprised HM Battleships RODNEY, NELSON, WARSPITE, VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers AURORA, CLEOPATRA, PENELOPE and EURYALUS screened by HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUAIL. QUEENBOROUGH, ISIS, FAULKNOR, ECHO, FURY, INTREPID, RAIDER, ECLIPSE, INGLEFIELD, ILEX, TROUBRIDGE, TUMULT, TYRIAN, OFFA and Greek VASILISSA OLGA.)

 

August

 

Remained in Mediterranean with detached Home Fleet ships as apart of 24th Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet. Nominated for support of planned allied landings on mainland of Italy.

 

31st - Carried out bombardment of coast between Reggio Calabria and Pessaro prior to landings of British XIII Corps with HMS NELSON, HMS RODNEY, HMS WARSPITE, HM Cruiser ORION, HM Destroyers OFFA, PETARD, QUAIL, QUEENBOROUGH, QUILLIAM, TARTAR, TROUBRIDGE and TYRIAN (Operation BAYTOWN).

 

September

 

2nd - Carried out bombardment of Reggio.

 

9th - Deployed with screen for HMS NELSON, HMS RODNEY, HMS VALIANT and HMS WARSPITE providing naval gunfire support and cover from Italian major warship interference during allied landings at Salerno. (Operation AVALANCHE.) (Note: Screen included HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUEENBOROUGH and QUAIL of 4th Flotilla, TYRIAN, TUMULT and OFFA of 24th Flotilla, FAULKNOR, INTREPID, ECLIPSE, INGLEFIELD, FURY, ILEX, ECHO, RAIDER and VASILISSA OLGA of 8th Flotilla. Free French destroyers LA FANTASQUE and LE TERRIBLE were also in the screen.)

 

On release from Screen deployed with Flotilla for escort, patrol and support of military operations.

 

October

 

Mediterranean deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

 

November

 

Deployed off west coast of Italy for patrol and support duties.

 

8th - Carried out bombardment of Volturno and shore targets in Gulf of Gaeta nea Naples with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, TUMULT and TYRIAN.

 

On release from Mediterranean duties took passage to UK.

 

26th - Arrived at Greenock and took passage to Clyde commercial shipyard for repair.

 

December

 

6th - Taken in hand for repair

 

 

1 9 4 4

 

January

 

Under repair

 

19th - On completion of post repair trials took passage to rejoin 3rd Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

 

20th - Work-up with Flotilla at Scapa Flow for planned Fleet operations off Norway.

 

February to April

 

Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

 

Nominated for transfer to Channel in support of planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE) (Note: As this ship was not deployed for screen of Home Fleet units covering the passage of Russian convoys or with their escort during this period and since several Home Fleet operations were carried out to attack shipping off the coast of Norway and on the German battleship TIRPITZ it may be assumed that she was deployed for escort of ships during these operations. These included Operations BAYLEAF (February), TUNGSTEN (April).)

 

May

 

Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

 

6th - Deployed with HM Destroyers SAVAGE, WIZARD, WAKEFUL, ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Polish destroyer ORP BLYSKAWICA as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS, HM Escort Aircraft Carrier SEARCHER and HM Cruiser BERWICK during air attacks on convoy north of Kristiansund during which two mercantiles were sunk.

 

11th - Present at Scapa Flow during visit to Home Fleet by HM King George VI.

 

14th - Deployed with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, OBEDIENT, URSA, WAKEFUL and ORP BLYSKAWICA as screen for HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD, ROYALIST, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR and STRIKER during air attacks on shipping off Narvik.

 

21st - Transferred to 10th Destroyer Flotilla for service in English Channel including support of planned allied landings in Normandy. (For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO))

 

Passage to Plymouth to join HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, HAIDA (RCN), HURON (RCN), JAVELIN, TARTAR and Polish BLYSKAWICA.

 

June

 

Preparation for NEPTUNE.

 

6th - Carried out patrol in SW Approaches with ships of Flotilla to prevent any interference by German destroyers on assault landings.

 

9th - Intercepted German destroyers Z32, Z24, ZH1 and T24 north west of Ile de Bas and in engagement with ships of Flotilla ZH1 was sunk and Z32 forced to beach and wrecked. (Note: NARVIK Class Z24 sustained major damage.)

 

13th - Carried out attack on German minesweepers west of Jersey with HMS ASHANTI during which Minesweeper M343 was sunk, another beached and remainder all damaged. Ship sustained some damage in this action. (Note: The German ships were carrying torpedoes to Le Havre.)

 

Taken in hand for repair on return to Plymouth.

 

July

 

On completion of repair Channel deployment at Plymouth in continuation. Took part in operations to intercept craft attempting to evacuation German personnel from Bay of Biscay ports.

 

August

 

Deployed with HM Cruiser DIADEM and HM Destroyer ONSLOW in Bay of Biscay

 

12th - Took part in sinking of German Mine Clearance Ship SPERBRECHER 7 near La Rochelle with HM Cruiser DIADEM and HMS ONSLOW.

 

September

 

Channel deployment in continuation.

 

20th - Deployed in operation to support French Resistance on Audierne with Polish destroyer ORP BLYSKAWICA.

 

October to December

 

Deployed in Plymouth Command for patrol and convoy defence.

 

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

 

Plymouth Command deployment in continuation. Nominated for refit at Pembroke Dock and took passage.

 

29th - Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Pembroke Dock.

 

February to March

 

Under refit and attached to 8th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

April

 

28th - Post refit trials and took passage to rejoin Hoe Fleet at Scapa Flow.

 

May

 

1st - Deployed at Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service.

 

25th - On completion of work-up deployed with Home Fleet.

 

June to August

 

Home Fleet deployment in continuation Transferred to 3rd Destroyer Flotilla (Note: During this period Home Fleet ships were deployed for support of the re-occupation of Norway and of military occupation of Germany as well as visits to ports in UK.)

 

 

PO S T W A R N O T E S

 

ORP PIORUN continued service after VJ Day and was transferred to the 17th Destroyer Flotilla in October before joining the Polish Squadron serving with the Home Fleet in 1946. In July that year she was nominated for reduction to Reserve status and returned to the Royal Navy at Harwich the next month. She was then renamed HMS NOBLE as her original name had been transferred to a new ALGERINE Class Fleet Minesweeper during WW2. Whilst under Polish command she had steamed 218,000 miles and given noble service to the allied cause. After two years laid-up at Harwich she was transferred to the Reserve Fleet Division at Sheerness and later in 1953 joined the Reserve Fleet at Chatham. Although selected for conversion to a Type 16 Anti-Submarine Frigate, this was never undertaken and in 1954 she was moved to Hartlepool to be laid-up. Placed on the Disposal List in May 1955 she was sold to BISCO for demolition in September, and towed to Dunston on Tyne where she arrived at the Clayton & Davie Ltd for breaking-up on 2nd December that year.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of ORP PIORUN

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

 

 

 

 

 

14/02/41

20/02/41

SLG 001A

22/02/41

22/02/41

15/03/41

27/03/41

HG 056

02/04/41

02/04/41

10/04/41

16/04/41

TC 010

19/04/41

19/04/41

30/04/41

30/04/41

SA 1

03/05/41

03/05/41

22/05/41

22/05/41

WS 008B

26/05/41

04/06/41

30/05/41

16/06/41

SL 076

21/06/41

21/06/41

21/07/41

26/07/41

TC 012

29/07/41

29/07/41

28/07/41

07/08/41

HG 069

09/08/41

11/08/41

24/09/41

25/09/41

HALBERD

27/09/41

27/09/41

17/10/41

17/10/41

CT 004

23/10/41

23/10/41

04/11/41

04/11/41

TC 014A

12/11/41

12/11/41

25/02/42

26/02/42

ON 070

11/03/42

15/03/42

18/03/42

24/03/42

SC 075

03/04/42

03/04/42

08/04/42

08/04/42

CT 014

16/04/42

16/04/42

23/04/42

27/04/42

SC 081

unknown

09/05/42

26/05/42

30/05/42

ON 098

07/06/42

12/06/42

14/06/42

17/06/42

HX 194

26/06/42

26/06/42

06/07/42

07/07/42

ON 110

20/07/42

26/07/42

24/07/42

26/07/42

SC 093

05/08/42

07/08/42

12/08/42

13/08/42

ON 121

17/08/42

27/08/42

09/08/42

17/08/42

HX 202

20/08/42

21/08/42

29/08/42

30/08/42

ON 126

08/09/42

18/09/42

13/09/42

16/09/42

HX 207

23/09/42

25/09/42

30/12/42

31/12/42

RA 051

03/01/43

11/01/43

17/01/43

21/01/43

JW 052

27/01/43

27/01/43

29/01/43

29/01/43

RA 052

05/02/43

09/03/43

15/02/43

24/02/43

JW 053

26/02/43

27/02/43

01/03/43

04/03/43

RA 053

05/03/43

14/03/43

30/11/44

06/12/44

AT 171

07/12/44

07/12/44

04/12/44

11/12/44

AT 172

12/12/44

12/12/44

13/12/44

13/12/44

TA 170

14/12/44

21/12/44

09/12/44

15/12/44

AT 170B

16/12/44

16/12/44

06/01/45

13/01/45

AT 179A

14/01/45

14/01/45

18/01/45

18/01/45

TA 179A

19/01/45

26/01/45

21/01/45

21/01/45

TA 181

22/01/45

28/01/45

18/01/45

24/01/45

AT 183

25/01/45

25/01/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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