Naval History Homepage - and Site Search

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

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

HMS ORWELL (G 98) -  O-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Orwell (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 

 

ORIBI-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from John I. Thornycroft at Woolston, Southampton on 3 Sept. 1939 under the 1939 Programme and laid down on 20 May 1940. The ship was launched on 2nd April 1942 and was completed on 17th October that year. Build cost was 410,872 excluding Admiralty supplied items such as weapons and communications equipment. This ship was fitted for use as a minelayer if required and was adopted by the civil community of Ipswich, Suffolk following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings Campaign in March 1942.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ARCTIC  1942-43 - BARENTS SEA  1942 - ATLANTIC  1943 - NORMANDY  1944 - NORWAY  1945

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White, a Seahorse Proper holding between the

feet a  roundel barry wavy blue and 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

 

October          Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 17th Destroyer Flotilla.

      17th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

      18th          Passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with Home Fleet.

      19th          Arrived at Scapa Flow.

                        Joined Flotilla for operational service on completion.

 

November

      15th          Escorted HM Cruisers LONDON and SUFFOLK taking stores and personnel to garrison at

                       Spitzbergen with HM Destroyers OBEDIENT and OBDURATE.

                       (Operation  GEARBOX Series).

      23rd          Joined Ocean Escort of returning Convoy QP15 with HM Destroyer MUSKETEER after a

                       search in  atrocious weather conditions.

      30th          Detached to return to Scapa Flow.

 

December

      14th          Escorted HM Battleship ANSON with two other destroyers for passage to Havalfjord,

                       Iceland arriving on 16th.

      22nd         Sailed from Seidisfjord after refuelling to join Convoy JW51B.

      25th          Joined escort of Russian Convoy JW51 with HM Destroyers ACHATES, OBEDIENT,

                       ONSLOW, OBDURATE and ORIBI.

                       (For details of all Russian Convoys and their hazards see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA

       .               RUEGG, CONVOY! by Paul Kemp, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schofield, ENGAGE

                       THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and Naval Staff History.).

      31st           In action against HIPPER with ONSLOW, OBEDIENT and OBDURATE in defence of JW51B.

                        Laid smoke screen to hide convoy movements. Assisted ONSLOW after action.

                        (For details see 73 NORTH by Pope, and ARCTIC DESTROYERS by GC Cornell and above

                        references.)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

       2nd           Arrived at Kola Inlet.

     14th            Independent passage to Seidisfjord with HMS ORIBI.

      20th           Detached from HMS ORIBI and took passage to Rosyth.

      21st           Under repair at Rosyth.

 

February

      16th           Passage to Iceland arriving en 18th.

      19th           Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW53 with HM Destroyers, FAULKNOR, INGLEFIELD,

                        MILNE, BOADICEA, OBDURATE, OBEDIENT and OPPORTUNE.

      21st           HM Cruiser SCYLLA and four destroyers joined convoy escort.

      27th           Detached after arrival of eastern local escort.

                        (Note: The extreme weather prevented enemy activity but caused serious damage to

                                     many warships. See references.)

 

March

        1st           Joined returning Convoy RA53 on departure from Kola Inlet with HM Cruiser SCYLLA,

                        HM Destroyers INTREPID, OBEDIENT, OBDURATE, BOADICEA, ECLIPSE,

                        FAULKNOR, IMPULSIVE, INGLEFIELD, FURY, OPPORTUNE, MILNE and Polish

                        destroyer ORP ORKAN.

      11th           After convoy was dispersed due to appalling weather conditions detached to carry

                        out search for missing mercantiles.

      12th           Escorted American freighter OREMAR back to convoy.

                        Detached from RA53 with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY and ECLIPSE and

                        took passage to Scapa Flow, arriving on 13th.

                        (See above references for details of U-Boat attacks,)

                        Nominated for detached service in Western Approaches with ships of Flotilla.

      15th           Deployed in Western Approaches with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT

                        and ORIBI as 3rd Support Group for Atlantic convoy defence.

      22nd          Took passage to Lisahally from Liverpool with Group.

      27th           Joined Convoy SC123 and carried out anti-submarine search.

      28th           Detached to join Convoy HX230

                        (Note: These convoys were under attack by SEEWOLF and SEETEUFEL U-Boat Groups.

                        Carried out anti-submarine search operations in extreme weather conditions.

    31st             Detached from HX230 and returned to Londonderry.

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

 

April               Passage to Hull for refit.

      9th            Taken in hand for refit.

 

May                Under refit.

    12th            Arrived at Scapa Flow to resume service with Flotilla after post refit trials.

   21st             Escorted HM Battleship HOWE with HMS ONSLOW during passage to Gibraltar.

   25th             Arrived at Gibraltar and refuelled for return passage.

   26th             Escorted HM Battleship NELSON with HMS ONSLOW during passage to UK from

                       Gibraltar

    30th            Arrived at Plymouth with HMS NELSON.

 

June               Deployed for Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

                       Escorted HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK and HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS during

                       cover for reinforcement of allied garrison at Spitzbergen (Operation FH).

    21st            Boiler clean and docking at Scapa Flow

 

July                On completion resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.

    5th              Carried out unsuccessful search for U-Boat in NW Approaches.

  27th              Part of escort for HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK, US Battleship SOUTH DAKOTA

                       with HM Cruisers BERMUDA, BELFAST, HM Aircraft Carrier UNICORN and ships

                       of the  17th Destroyer Flotilla for an offensive diversionary sweep off Norway.

                       (Operation GOVERNOR).

 

August           Exercised with HMS ONSLOW and other ships of 17th Flotilla in NW Approaches.

    4th              On completion deployed on A/S patrols west of Faeroes and rescued survivors from

                       U489 sunk on 4th by RCAF aircraft. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

    7th              Part of home fleet escort for rms QUEEN MARY taking Prime Minister Churchill to

                       the QUADRANT conference with US President at Quebec.

                       (Note: Present during visit to Home Fleet at Scapa Flow by HM King George VI

                                    on 15th August is to be confirmed.)

  17th              Took part in diversionary operation off Norway with Home Fleet ships.

 

September

   13th             Escorted HM Battlecruiser RENOWN for return journey with the Prime Minister and

                       embarked 2 members of a Parliamentary delegation, one of whom was AP Herbert.

   17th             Rejoined Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

                       Transferred to Western Approaches Command for Atlantic convoys in support role.

                       Joined HM Destroyer MUSKETEER, ORIBI and Polish ORP ORKAN in 10th Support

                       Group.

 

October

      7th            Joined escort of Convoy SC143 with HM Destroyers MUSKETEER, ORIBI and ORP

                       ORKAN during Atlantic passage to reinforce defence against attacks by ROSSBACH

                       U-Boat Group.

      8th            Rescued some survivors from ORP ORKAN which had been sunk by an acoustic torpedo

                       during attack on U378.

                       (Note: For details see HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR Volume 2 by C Blair.)

    11th            Detached from SC143 and returned to Clyde.

    17th            After return to Fleet duties joined escort  for  US Cruiser TUSCALOOSA with HMS

                       ONSLAUGHT, HMS ORIBI and US destroyer USS FITCH for landing of Norwegian

                       troops on Spitzbergen to re-establish the meteorological station destroyed by German

                       warships in September. (Operation FQ in GEARBOX Series.)

                       Took passage to Seidisfjord to refuel on completion and sailed to Greenock.

 

November      Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

     18th           Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW54A with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT,

                       ONSLOW, OBEDIENT and the Canadian destroyers HAIDA, HURON and

                       IROQUOIS.

     25th           Detached after arrival in Kola Inlet. Passage was not detected by the enemy.

     28th           Joined escort for returning Convoy RA54B with same ships.

 

December

       5th           Detached from RA54B when local escort arrived.

     22nd          Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW55B with IMPULSIVE, ONSLOW, ONSLAUGHT,

                       SCOURGE, HAIDA (RCN), HURON (RCN) and IROQUOIS (RCN).

     25th           Remained with convoy during operations against German battleship SCHARNHORST.

                       (For details of this action and the measures taken to protect JW55B from surface

                       attack see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by  B.

                       Schofield and the Naval Staff History).

     31st           Part of escort for returning Convoy RA55B with same ships as for JW55B (except

                       HMS SCOURGE), Apart from unsuccessful U-Boat attack passage was uneventful.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January

       7th           Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

 

February        Passage to Humber.

    2nd             Taken in hand for refit at Hull commercial shipyard.

 

March            Under refit.

   13th             Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow after post refit trials.

   29th             Part of the main escort joining Russian Convoy JW58 with HM Cruiser DIADEM,  H M

                       Escort Carriers ACTIVITY, TRACKER and ships of 17th Flotilla (HM Destroyers

                       ONSLOW, OBEDIENT, OFFA, OPPORTUNE, ORIBI), ships of 23rd Destroyer

                       Flotilla (HM Destroyers (SAUMAREZ, SERAPIS, SCORPION, VENUS) and HM

                       Norwegian destroyer STORD).

 

April

     4th             Detached after local eastern escort joined).

     7th             Part of escort for returning Convoy RA58 with DIADEM, OFFA,  ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE,

                       SAUMAREZ, SERAPIS and STORD which made a successful without enemy contact.

   13th             Detached from RA58.

   23rd             Passage to Plymouth with HM Destroyers OFFA, ONSLAUGHT and OPPORTUNE to

                       join HMS ONSLOW for patrol duties in Channel during exercises prior to allied

                       landings in Normandy.

   25th             Deployed for interception patrol in Channel.

   27th             In action with HM Destroyer OFFA against E-Boats which had attacked US landing

                       craft convoy T5 going to Slapton Sands for Exercise TIGER. Enemy craft used their

                       high speed and a smoke screen to effect an escape.

28th                Joined HMS ONSLOW with HMS OBEDIENT in Lyme Bay to search for survivors

                       from US landing craft sunk during E-Boat attack. Bodies recovered were landed at

                       Portland.

                       (For details see LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, JUNE 1944 (HMSO).)

 

May                Took passage from Plymouth with HMS ONSLOW, HMS OFFA and HMS OBEDIENT

                       to resume Home Fleet duties.

                       (Note: Home Fleet ships carried out attacks on coastal shipping off  Norway  and

                                     some ships of Flotilla were deployed for screening duties.)

   26th             Took passage from Scapa Flow with HMS ONSLOW and HMS OBEDIENT for further

                       service in Channel to support allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE) .

                       (For details of naval activities prior to and during allied assault landings see

                       OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO)

 

June                NEPTUNE support duties in continuation.

     6th             Based at Dover and deployed in eastern approaches to English Channel  to  provide

                       defence against any attacks by German surface ships  or submarines on convoys  and

                       landing operations (Operation NEPTUNE).

 

July                Continued service in Channel and North Sea for patrol  and convoy defence based at

   to                 Dover.

August

 

September     Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

    15th            Escorted HM Cruiser JAMAICA with HMS OBEDIENT for passage to Spitzbergen

                       for the replenishment of garrison (Operation GEARBOX Series).

 

October

    22nd           Part of main escort for  Russian Convoy JW61 with HM  Cruiser DUX) and ships of

                        the 17th Flotilla (OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE and ORIBI).

    28th            Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet after successful passage without losses.

 

November

      2nd           Part of escort for returning Convoy RA61 which was supplemented by 6 frigates  of

                        Western Approaches Command.

      9th             Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

    28th             Involved in collision with HM Tug VOLATILE at Scapa Flow without major damage.

     29th            Took passage to Iceland for Russian convoy escort.

 

December

       1st              Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW62 with HM Cruiser  BELLONA, BM Escort

                          Carriers CAMPANIA and NAIRANA, ships of D17, OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT,

                          ONSLOW, ORIBI, and other Home Fleet destroyers.

       7th              Arrived in Kola Inlet without loss despite recent increase in  available  number

                           enemy torpedo carrying aircraft.

     10th              Joined escort for return Convoy RA62 with same ships as JW62.

     19th              Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

     20th              Took part in Home Fleet  shipping strike operation off  Norway

                           (Operation FRETSAW).

      23rd             Returned to Scapa Flow with Fleet units after unsuccessful search.

      28th             Deployed with HM Destroyers OBEDIENT and ZEPHYR for  anti-submarine operations

                          in NW Approaches.

      31st             Took HMS ZEPHYR in tow  after damage by Homing torpedo during operations.

                          Returned to Scapa Flow with HMS ZEPHYR.

                          (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR  Volume 2 by C Blair.)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

      10th             Joined  Force 1  with HMS ONSLOW and HMS OBEDIENT to escort HM Cruisers

                          NORFOLK and BELLONA during shipping strike off Norway

                          (Operation SPELLBINDER).

      11th             In action against convoy off Egersund.

      12th             Returned to Scapa with Force 1.

 

February

        6th             Escorted Russian Convoy JW6M with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Escort Carriers

                          NAIRANA, H M Destroyers ONSLOW,  ONSLAUGHT, OPPORTUNE, SERAPIS,

                          ZAMBESI, ZEALOUS, ZEST and SIOUX (RCN).

                         (Note: Western Approaches Command Sloops and other escorts were also deployed.)

      15th            Arrived with Convoy at Kola Inlet after series of attacks by torpedo bombers and

                         by 11 U-Boats.

      17th            Joined returning Convoy RA64 with HMS BELLONA and same Home Fleet

                         destroyers.

                         (Note: For details of U-Boat attacks during assembly see above references.)

      27th            Detached with HMS BELLONA, the two Escort Carriers and same Home Fleet

                         destroyers.

                         (Note: This convoy was dispersed due to extreme weather conditions and  also  to

                                      air attacks.)

                         Took passage to Immingham.

 

March

         1st            Taken in hand for conversion.

       10th            Carried out minelay with HM Destroyers OPPORTUNE and OBEDIENT in  NW

                          Approaches (Operation CH Field T3)

                          (Note: This replaced a minelay in North Russia for which Russian permission  had

                                       not been obtained. The details in ARCTIC DESTROYERS are at variance with

                                       the Naval Staff History (MINING) which is assumed to be correct.)

        12th           Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW64 with HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Escort

                          Aircraft Carriers CAMPANIA, HM Destroyer ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE, SCORPION,

                          ZAMBESI and SIOUX (RCN).

                          (Note: Ships from Western Approaches were also deployed as Close Escort.)

          21st           Detached on arrival of JW65 at Kola Inlet.

         23rd          Joined escort for return Convoy RA65 with HMS DIADEM, HM Escort Carriers

                          CAMPANIA and TRUMPETER, HM Destroyers MYNGS, OPPORTUNE, SAVAGE,

                          SCORPION, SCOURGE, ZAMBESI, SIOUX (RCN) and Norwegian STORD.

         30th           Detached from RA65 with Home Fleet ships and returned to Scapa Flow.

 

April                  Deployed with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

         17th          Detached for minelay with HM Minelaying Cruiser APOLLO, HM Destroyers

                          OBEDIENT and OPPORTUNE as Force 5 (Operation TRAMMEL).

         21st          Delayed fuelling at Kola Inlet and embarked Russian observers.

         22nd         Laid A/S Trap minefield and returned to refuel at Kola Inlet.

         23rd          Sailed for Scapa Flow with Force 5. Passage speed had to be reduced to  15  knots

                          because of structural damage to Hull.

                          On completion of temporary repair resumed Flotilla duties.

 

May

           3rd          Part of escort for HM Cruisers NORFOLK and DIADEM, H M Escort Carriers

                          SEARCHER, QUEEN and TRUMPETER with Hone Fleet destroyers during shipping

                          strike west of Narvik.

                          Deployed for air sea rescue duties during air strikes.

                          (Note: Depot Ship BLACK WATCH, submarine U711 and a trawler were sunk.)

           4th          Escorted Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tanker BLUE RANGER with HMS OBEDIENT to

                          carry out refuelling of the escorts to returning Convoy RA66. .

           5th          Joined escort for return convoy on completion.

           8th          Detached from RA66 on arrival in Clyde.

                          Took passage to Chatham for permanent repair to hull structure.

         10th          Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Chatham.

 

June

           2nd         Returned to Scapa Flow on completion to resume Flotilla duties.

           5th          Escorted HM Cruiser NORFOLK with HMS ONSLOW, HMS OBDURATE and HM

                          Norwegian Destroyer STORD from Rosyth for the return of HM King Haakon to

                          Oslo from Rosyth. (Operation INDESTRUCTIBLE).

           7th          Arrived in Oslo to tumultuous reception.

          13th         Returned to Rosyth with HMS NORFOLK and HMS OBDURATE.

 

July                    Deployed with Home Fleet for visits programme and support of re-occupation forces.

to August

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS ORWELL remained in commission after VJ Day and continued Home Fleet duties. She took part in Operation DEADLIGHT, the destruction of surrendered U-Boats in NW Approaches. She then joined the Portsmouth Local Flotilla for local duties including until 1947. Placed in Reserve at Harwich the ship was transferred to Chatham after a refit during 1949. The ship was selected for conversion  to a Type 16 A/S Frigate by HM Dockyard Rosyth in 1952 and on completion briefly used as a target ship for the Submarine in the Clyde. Later transferred to the Local Squadron at Devonport until 1958 when she had a refit prior to being  placed in Reserve at Chatham. Following a refit at Rosyth this destroyer re commissioned for trials and again paid-off at Rosyth. Transferred to Portsmouth in 1961 she remained there until 1965 when sold for breaking up by J Cashmere in 1965. The ship arrived at Newport, in tow on  28th June  that year for demolition.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ORWELL

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

 

 

 

 

 

23/11/42

30/11/42

QP 015

17/11/42

30/11/42

25/12/42

03/01/43

JW 051B

22/12/42

04/01/43

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

27/03/43

28/03/43

SC 123

14/03/43

03/04/43

29/03/43

31/03/43

HX 230

18/03/43

02/04/43

29/09/43

05/10/43

ONS 019

26/09/43

14/10/43

06/10/43

09/10/43

SC 143

28/09/43

12/10/43

18/11/43

24/11/43

JW 054A

15/11/43

24/11/43

28/11/43

05/12/43

RA 054B

26/11/43

09/12/43

22/12/43

29/12/43

JW 055B

20/12/43

30/12/43

31/12/43

07/01/44

RA 055B

31/12/43

08/01/44

29/03/44

04/04/44

JW 058

27/03/44

04/04/44

07/04/44

13/04/44

RA 058

07/04/44

14/04/44

22/10/44

28/10/44

JW 061

20/10/44

28/10/44

02/11/44

07/11/44

RA 061

02/11/44

09/11/44

01/12/44

07/12/44

JW 062

29/11/44

07/12/44

10/12/44

18/12/44

RA 062

10/12/44

19/12/44

06/02/45

13/02/45

JW 064

03/02/45

15/02/45

17/02/45

27/02/45

RA 064

17/02/45

28/02/45

14/03/45

21/03/45

JW 065

11/03/45

21/03/45

23/03/45

30/03/45

RA 065

23/03/45

01/04/45

05/05/45

08/05/45

RA 066

29/04/45

08/05/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 7/8/11
further editing and formatting is required