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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

Dutch HNethMS VAN GALEN (G 84), ex-HMS NOBLE -  N-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMAS Nestor, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

N-Class destroyer ordered from Denny at Dumbarton with the 1939 Programme on 15th April 1939 with HMS NONPAREIL of the same Class  Laid down on 27th July 1939 she was sold to the Netherlands on 18th March 1941 with her sister ship NONPAREIL built in the same shipyard. Tender price was£400,684 excluding cost of Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns, ammunition and communications outfits. These two ships were allocated to replace HMS NORMAN and HMS NORSEMAN whose build at Woolston, Southampton had been delayed by bomb damage in the Thornycroft shipyard.. This ship was launched on 17th April 1941. It is not known whether she was named VAN GALEN instead of NOBLE but as the sale had been she may have given the Dutch name on launch. Commissioned into service as HM Neth. Ship VAN GALEN on 11th February 1942 before build completion on 21st of that month. The RN name was introduced in 1915 to replace the name NISUS for a WW1 destroyer changed before launch in November that year. VAN GALEN was not adopted by any civil community in UK after a successful  WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during  1941-42.. After WW2 sister destroyer HMS NERISSA which had been transferred to the Polish Navy as ORP PIORUN was renamed HMS NOBLE (ii) on return from loan service to Poland.


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 Blue on water barry wavy White and Blue in base, the

lymphad with armed figure from the reverse of the coin Noble, Gold.

(Note: “lymphad” – a highland galley.).



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e   a s   H  Neth  M  S   V A N   G A L E N


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



1 9 4 2




Contractors trials


11th - Commissioned into service as HM Neth Ship VAL GALEN.


Nominated for service in 7th Destroyer Flotilla comprising sister ships of this Class.


21st - Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.




On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for working-up with ships of Home Fleet.




Deployed at Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service. Nominated for escort of military convoy during passage to join Flotilla in Indian Ocean.


15th - Joined military convoy WS18 with HM Escort Destroyer TETCOTT as part of Ocean Escort during Atlantic passage to Freetown. (Note: Ocean Escort also included HM Cruisers FROBISHER and GAMBIA.) WS18 comprising 21 troopships and HM Destroyer Depot Ship HECLA was taking troops and equipment to Middle East and India.


20th - Detached from WS18 to refuel in the Azores and rejoined convoy.


29th - Detached from WS18 on arrival at Freetown.




3rd - Rejoined Ocean Escort for WS18 with HMS FROBISHER, HMS GAMBIA, HM Seaplane Carrier ALBATROSS, HMS TETCOTT and Local Escort.


6th - Detached from WS18 and took independent passage to join Flotilla at Kilindini.




Arrived at Kilindini after calls at Simonstown and Durban. Commenced Indian Ocean convoy escort deployment




Deployed for convoy defence in Indian Ocean. Nominated for detached duty with Eastern Fleet for planned operation.


21st - Sailed from Kilindini for Colombo with HM Destroyers NIZAM, NORMAN and INCONSTANT as screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM and MAURITIUS during passage to Colombo for operation.


22nd - HMS NAPIER (Cdre D) joined for passage to Colombo


28th - At Colombo after call at Seychelles to refuel and joined by Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERCK.


30th - Deployed with HM Destroyer NAPIER (Cdre D) and same destroyers as screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers EFFINGHAM, MAURITIUS and Dutch cruisers HEEMSKERCK as Force A to provide cover for passage of three Dummy Convoys on passage from Vizagapatam, Madras and Trincomalee towards Andaman Islands. (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).). (Operation STAB: A diversionary operation to suggest landing operations.)




1st - Deception convoys sailed for STAB. Force A sighted by Japanese aircraft and information broadcast by enemy.


2nd - Enemy flying boat shot down by MARTLET aircraft from HMS FORMIDABLE.


Operation terminated as Eastern Fleet ships required for planned operation in Madagascar. Returned to Trincomalee with Eastern Fleet units (For details of Operation STAB, see WAR WITH JAPAN, Volume III (HMSO).)


Returned to Trincomalee before taking passage to Kilindini to prepare for planned landings on Madagascar. (Note: See above reference for explanation of early return by Force A ships.)




Prepared for operations to complete occupation of Madagascar (Exercise TOUCHSTONE).


9th - Sailed from Kilindini to make rendezvous 60 miles south of Mayotta Island with HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERCK and ships of assault convoy on passage to Majunga for landings of troops to complete occupation of Madagascar (Operation STREAM).


10th - Deployed with Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERCK, HM Destroyers NAPIER and INCONSTANT to land Commando unit at Morondava on west coast of Madagascar (Operation TAMPER). (Note: This attack on a radio station and airfield was a diversion for the main landings at Majunga (Operation STREAM).)


On release from Madagascar Fleet deployment resumed Indian Ocean convoy defence.




Nominated for service in Australian waters under overall command of US CinC SW Pacific. Passage to Fremantle with VAN GALEN and Dutch cruiser TROMP.




Deployed for special duty with RAN warships to evacuate personnel who had been trapped in Timor island and able to avoid capture by Japanese. (See WAR IN THE PACIFIC (HMSO).)  (Note: Ship made three trips to Darwin and carried some 950 people during this operation.)




Deployed for convoy defence including coastal traffic between Sydney and Fremantle.



1 9 4 3




Australian deployment in continuation for convoy defence




18th - Deployed with sister destroyer TJERK HIDDES (Ex HMS NONPAREIL), HM Australian Cruiser ADELAIDE and Dutch cruiser TROMP for escort of troop convoy during passage from Fremantle to Melbourne. (Operation PAMPHLET) (Note: This military convoy was carrying ANZAC personnel recalled from Middle East after Japanese threat to Australia, and had been escorted by Eastern Fleet ships during passage from Aden. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)


24th - Detached from PAMPHLET convoy escort on arrival at Melbourne.


March to December


SW Pacific convoy defence in continuation. (Note: As the ship required docking and refit during this period further research is required to confirm that ship was taken in hand for this work before resuming operations with Eastern Fleet based at Trincomalee.)



1 9 4 4




Nominated for return to Eastern Fleet.




Passage from Fremantle with TJERK HIDDES and TROMP to resume Eastern Fleet service with 7th Flotilla. (Note: One source also records ship returned with cruiser HEEMSKERCK.)




Deployed for Flotilla duties based at Trincomalee.


22nd - Deployed with HM Australian Destroyers NORMAN, NEPAL, NAPIER (Cdre D) HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, PATHFINDER, QUIBERON, QUEENBOROUGH, QUALITY and Dutch TJERK HIDDES as screen for HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers LONDON, CEYLON, CUMBERLAND and GAMBIA for sweep in Indian Ocean. (Operation DIPLOMAT – The prime reason for this was to meet the US Aircraft Carrier USS SARATOGA on passage for detached service with Eastern Fleet for air attacks in Indian Ocean).


24th - Refuelled from Fleet oilers.


26th - Detached from Fleet units to escort two Fleet oilers to Trincomalee.




Nominated for Fleet screening duties in planned operation.


16th - Sailed from Trincomalee as part of Force 69 with HM Destroyers NAPIER (Cdre D), NEPAL, NIZAM, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, PETARD, QUIBERON and Dutch as screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, CEYLON, GAMBIA and Dutch cruiser TROMP to provide cover for Force 70 during air operations at Sabang (Operation COCKPIT – For details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)


19th - Deployed with screen of Force 69 during air operations by Force 70. (Note: Force 70 included USS SARATOGA and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.)


24th - Resumed Flotilla duties on return to Trincomalee with Force 69 ships.




Nominated for further Fleet screening duties during planned air operations.


6th - Joined HM Destroyers NAPIER (Cdre D), NEPAL, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, QUIBERON, QUALITY, QUICKMATCH as screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, RENOWN, French RICHELIEU AND Dutch TROMP deployed as Force 65 to provide cover during air operations at Sourabaya, Java by Force 66. (Operation TRANSOM – For details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).) (Note: Force 66 included USS SARATOGA and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.)


10th - Destroyers refuelled from battleships and cruisers.


16th - Arrived at Exmouth Gulf, Australia to refuel from Fleet oilers deployed as Force 67.


17th - Deployed with Force 65 during air operations.


18th - USS SARATOGA detached with USN destroyers and took passage to rejoin US Pacific Fleet.


27th - Returned to Trincomalee with ships of Force 65.


June to September


Resumed Flotilla duties for convoy defence in Indian Ocean. (Note: Ship did not take part in Operations PEDAL, CRIMSON and LIGHT B as part of Eastern Fleet screen during attacks on Japanese bases.)




Nominated for Fleet screening duties during diversion operation carried out by Eastern Fleet during US landings at Leyte.


15th - Deployed with HM Destroyers RAIDER and NORMAN as screen for HM Cruiser LONDON as Group 2 of Force 63 (Operation MILLET). (Note: Group 1 of Force 63 included HMS RENOWN and three destroyers. Group 3 of Force 63 included HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS. HM Cruiser PHOEBE with four destroyers.)


16th - Destroyers refuelled from HMS RENOWN and cruisers.


17th - Deployed with screen during air attacks at Nancowry. Carried out bombardment at Malacca with ships of Group 2. Detached with HMS LONDON and HMS NORMAN and carried out bombardment at Car Nicobar. On completion took return passage to Trincomalee.


18th - Refuelled from HMS LONDON. (Note: Ships in Operation MILLET came under air attack, this ship may not have been involved. This operation revealed several weaknesses. See reference.)




Nominated for return to Home waters and took passage to UK. (Note: This may have been because of need for refit and because of future plans by Netherlands authorities to meet future requirements in Dutch East Indies.)




Deployed in SW Approaches for convoy defence based at Plymouth. (Note: Increased activity by SCHNORKEL fitted submarines for attacks on coastal traffic had required suitable counter measures including the provision of additional convoy escorts and support Groups.)



1 9 4 5




Coastal Convoy defence in continuation.




Nominated for refit prior to service in Dutch East Indies.


March to July


Under refit at Southampton in commercial shipyard. Carried out harbour trials.




Passage to Amsterdam on completion of work-up for operational service.


28th - At Amsterdam after release from RN service.



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HM Neth S VAN GALEN was deployed in the Dutch East Indies until 1948 and returned to the Netherlands for refit . She was deployed with the UN naval  force off Korea between 1951 and 1952 after which she served for training duties in European waters. The ship was placed in Reserve in 1953 and three years later placed on the Disposal List.  Sold for demolition she arrived at a Dutch shipbreaker’s yard in February 1957.






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








OW 001/1










OW 003/1





CO 092





US 020





BM 087B





XC 018





TA 171





AT 173





AT 172A





AT 175





AT 176








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 10/6/11
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