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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS PENN (G 77) -  P-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Petard, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Kimberley Lindsey, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

P or PALADIN-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered with 2nd Emergency Flotilla in October 1939 from the Vickers Armstrong shipyard at Newcastle and laid down on 26th December 1939 at the same day as sister ships HMS PETARD and PORCUPINE. She was launched en 12th February 1941 and was the 2nd RN ship to carry this name, last used for a destroyer built in WW1 and sold in 1921. Build completed on 10th February 1942 at a cost of 408,200, which excluded the Admiralty supplied equipment such as weapons and radio outfits. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Camberwell, Greater London.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1942-43 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - AEGEAN 1943 - MEDITERRANEAN 1943 - BURMA 1945

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Barry wavy of six white and blue.

a demi lion erased Black, enfiled with a ducal coronet 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

 

February          Contractor's sea trials and commissioning.

         20th         Build completion and acceptance trials.

 

March               Under repair to damage during sea trials.  

 

April

         11th         On completion took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with Home Fleet.

         19th         Arrived at Scapa Flow.

 

May                  Deployed with Hone Fleet after work-up for screening duties and Atlantic convoy cover.

 

June                  Deployed as screen for HM Battleship RODNEY during cover for passage of military convoy

                          WS19 to Freetown.

           19th       Joined  WS19 during passage from Freetown with HMS RODNEY, HM Destroyers DERWENT,

                         PATHFINDER and QUENTIN.

           26th       Detached from WS19 on relief by HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE.

 

July                  Return passage to rejoin Hone Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                         Nominated for defence of Malta relief convoy.

         31st         Passage to Clyde to joined escort for military convoy WS21S.

 

August

          2nd         Sailed from Clyde with HM Destroyers AMAZON, ASHANTI, ESKIMO, MALCOLM,

                         PATHFINDER, QUENTIN, SOMALI, TARTAR, VENOMOUS, WISHART, WOLVERINE,

                         BICESTER, BRAMHAM, DERWENT, LEDBURY, WILTON and ZETLAND as screen for

                         HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, HM Cruisers KENYA and NIGERIA to cover passage

                         of WS21S to Gibraltar.

         10th        Joined Force X as screen for HM Cruisers CAIRO, KENYA, NIGERIA and MANCHESTER

                        with H M Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, FURY, PATHFINDER, LEDBURY, BRAMHAM,

                        TARTAR and ASHANTI for Close Escort of convoy for whole of passage to Malta.

 

        12th         Rescued survivors from ss EMPIRE HOLT with HMS BRAMHAM,.

         13th        Rescued survivors from American ss SANTA ELIZA.

                         Attempt to tow tanker ss OHIO failed due to air attacks. Took off mercantile crew.

         15th        Assisted in saving badly damaged tanker OHIO with HM Destroyer BRAMHAM and HM

                        Fleet Minesweeper RYE.

                        (For full details of this Operation see PEDESTAL by P Smith and THE BATTLE FOR THE

                        MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and the Naval Staff History)

         21st        Passage to UK from Gibraltar as part of screen for Home Fleet major units.

 

September       Resumed duties in NW Approaches with Home Fleet.

 

October           Nominated for screening duty of Hone Fleet ships deployed in support of allied landings in North

                        Africa (Operation TORCH).

                        Passage to Gibraltar

          27th       Deployed with HM Destroyer PANTHER as escort for HMS RODNEY during passage to

                        Gibraltar for planned landings.

 

November

          8th         Deployed in support of landings in North Africa as part of screen for units of Home Fleet

                        deployed in western Mediterranean.

                        (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History).

 

December        Deployed with 3rcl Destroyer Flotilla in western Mediterranean.

                         Escorted convoys and supported military operations.

         18th        Rescued 173 survivors from HM Destroyer PARTRIDGE sunk by U565 west of Oran.

         21st        Joined HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, PENN and WISHART in rescue operations

                        when troopship ss  STRATHALLAN was torpedoed during passage of KMF5.

                         (Note: Over 1,000 troops were taken off. Other ships including HMS WISHART rescued 1,179 others

                                       from boats. The troopship caught fire and sank later.)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January           Force H deployment with Flotilla in continuation

         15th        Embarked WRNS personnel at Gibraltar for passage to Algiers for duty on the staff of allied

                        Naval Commander.

         25th        Deployed with HM Destroyers PATHFINDER and PANTHER for the escort of HM Aircraft

                        Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS during passage in Atlantic from the Indian Ocean.

                        Joined HM Destroyers ILEX and HOLCOMBE for escort.

                        Carried out search for missing aircraft before arrival at Freetown.

         26th        Sailed from Freetown with HM Destroyers PANTHER, PATHFINDER, ILEX and HOLCOMBE

                        as escort for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

         31st        Detached from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and took passage to Casablanca with HMS PATHFINDER

                        and HMS PANTHER to refuel.

 

February        Rejoined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HMS PATHFINDER as escort during passage to UK

                       Taken in hand for refit.

                       Nominated for service in 7th Destroyer Flotilla on completion.

 

March             Resumed Flotilla duties.

                        Nominated for detached service for Atlantic convoy defence based  at Londonderry

                        Deployed with 40th Escort Group for convoy defence.

                        Transferred to 3rd Support Group and deployed for reinforcement of escorts fir Atlantic convoys

                        under threat of sustained attacks by U-Boat Groups. See THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC

                        by D MacIntyre.

 

April                Joined HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE and OFFA with HMS PANTHER in Support Group.

                        (For details of development of weapons used in this crucial stage of the Battle of the Atlantic see

                        SEEK AND STRIKE by W. Hackmann, THE TORPEDOMEN by E. Poland and RADAR AT

                        SEA by D Hawse).

         14th        Exercised with Group off Londonderry prior to support operations,

         17th        Deployed with Group in support of the passage of Convoy HX233 which was under a sustained

                        series attacks by several U-boats.  See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.

         18th        Transferred to support escort of Convoy HX230 to supplement anti-submarine defence.

         29th        Sailed from St. John's Newfoundland to support escort of Convoy ONS5.

 

May

          1st          Joined HM Destroyers DUNCAN, HM Frigate TAY and four corvettes with HMS IMPULSIVE

                         and HMS PANTHER to supplement anti-submarine defence for Convoy ONS5 which was under

                         attack by U-Boats of FINK and AMSEL groups.

                         (Note: Passage was delayed by fog off Newfoundland.)

                                     For details of this crucial battle see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D MacIntyre,

                                     U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO) and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR).

          4th          Detached to refuel.

          5th          Atlantic convoy support in continuation.

 

June                  Resumed Home Fleet duties with 12th Flotilla.

                         Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean for support of the planned landings in Sicily with Home

                         Fleet ships (Operation HUSKY).

                         Passage to Mediterranean to join 14th Destroyer Flotilla for screening duties.

 

July                  Deployed as part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, HOWE, HM Cruisers DIDO,

                         and SIRIUS of Home Fleet with HM Destroyers JERVIS, PANTHER, PALADIN and PETARD

                         to provide cover for passage of military convoys to Oran and Malta.

          8th          Deployed as screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE forming Reserve Covering

                         Group as part of Force Z

                         (Operation HUSKY - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett

                         and Naval Staff History).

                         (Note: To be stationed south of Sardinia for use in the event of interference by the Italian Fleet

                                     to landings in Sicily.

          9th          Sailed from Algiers with Force Z to take up station.

 

August             Based at Bizerta for support and escort duties.

          9th          Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, DIDO, SIRIUS, PENELOPE and HM Destroyers

                         JERVIS, PATHFINDER, PALADIN and PANTHER far bombardment of coastal areas near

                         Naples and on west coast of Calabria  (Operation ANNOYANCE).

         14th         Carried out bombardment of Scalea with HMS SIRIUS, HMS DIDO and HMS PANTHER.

         15th         During passage for bombardment of Vibo Valentia, Calabria detached to investigate contact

                         which proved to be an Italian Hospital Ship.

                         Allowed ship to proceed.

                         Engaged convoy with other ships before taking part in bombardment.

         16th         Returned to Bizerta .

         19th         Deployed with HMS DIDO and HMS AURORA with HMS PANTHER and intercepted convoy

                         of barges, some of which were sunk in brief engagement.

                         Took passage to Palermo with HMS DIDO and HMS PANTHER.

.        20th         Carried out uneventful interception patrol.

         22nd        Passage to Palermo with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers JERVIS,

                         PANTHER and PALADIN for interception patrols and support of military operations.

 

September

           2nd        Allocated to 28th Destroyer Division of 14th Flotilla.

                         (Note: Other ships in Division were HMS PATHFINDER and HMS PANTHER.

                                     27th Division comprised HMS JERVIS, HMS PALADIN and HMS WISHART.)

           3rd         Deployed with both Divisions at Algiers and screened HM Battleships KING GEORGE V

                         and HOWE during exercises.

                         (Note: These were in preparation for allied landings at Salerno. (Operation AVALANCHE).

           7th         Deployed as screen for same ships during passage to Augusta.

           9th         Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE deployed to cover landings at

                         Taranto (Operation SLAPSTICK).

                         (Note: Italian warships surrendered at Taranto were battleships ANDREA DORIA.

                                     CAIO DUILIO, cruisers CADORNA, POMPEO MAGNO and destroyer DA ROCCO.).

                         Remained with screen during passage of surrendered Italian warships to Malta.

                         (Note: Italian warships on passage from La Spezia came under attack by German aircraft on

                                     passage west of the Straits of Bonifacio and battleship ROMA was sunk by a radio

                                     controlled bomb. See above references and THE NAVAL WAR IN THE

                                     MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignani.)

          15th        Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, ILEX, PATHFINDER, PANTHER and PETARD as

                         screen for HM Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT to provide cover during allied

                         landings at Taranto .

           16th       Deployed with four other destroyers as escort for HMS WARSPITE during tow by two US

                         Navy tugs to Malta after battleship had been being hit by two bombs during in air attacks off

                         Salerno.

           19th       Resumed Flotilla deployment as escort for convoys between Algiers and Corsica.

 

October             Transferred to Levant Force for support of operations in defence of islands in Aegean against

                          German attempts to occupy after Italian surrender.

            5th         Sailed from Taranto with HM Destroyer PETARD to join HMS PANTHER for support of

                          operations in Aegean area after the Italian surrender and prevent a German occupation.

            6th         Passage to Alexandria.

            7th         Deployed in support of military operations in the Aegean

.           9th         Sailed from Alexandria with HMS PETARD and HMS PATHFINDER for bombardment of

                          an assembly of barges at Kalymnos

           16th        Embarked stores for garrison at Leros and sailed from Alexandria as screen for HM Cruiser

                          AURORA with HM Destroyers JERVIS, HURSLEY and the Greek destroyer MIAOULIS.

                          Landed stores and withdrew to westward under sustained air attacks.

           17th        Laid up during daylight in Turkish waters with destroyers.

                          After nightfall carried out interception west of Kalymos with same ships

.                         Bombarded ships at Port Kalymos.

                          Return fire damaged HMS HURSLEY

.                         (Note: Ex British Minesweeper WIDNES captured in 1941 was sunk as UJ2109.)

           18th        Sank wreck of transport TRAPANI with HMS JERVIS.

                          Met HMS AURORA and returned to Alexandria with same destroyers.

            27th        Embarked troops and stores for passage to Leros.

                          Sailed with HM Destroyer DULVERTON and Greek MIAOULIS.

                          Met HM Cruiser PHOEBE and later transferred troops in Partheni Bay.

                          Carried cut anti-shipping sweep west of Levitha and returned to Alexandria with HM Cruiser

                          AURORA.

 

November        Aegean defence duties in continuation.

            3rd        Embarked troops of 1st Bn Kings Own Royal Rifle Corps at Alexandria.

                          Sailed with HM Cruiser PHOEBE, HM Destroyer FAULKNOR, ECHO and PATHFINDER

                          for Leros.

                          Owing to lack of space, motor transport and Bren carriers were not taken.

            4th         After lay up in Gulf of Doris during daylight landed troops at Leros.

            5th         Laid up in Turkish waters during daylight.

            7th         Deployed with HMS PATHFINDER for interception of invasion craft  between and Paros

                          and  Naxos.

                          No contact made but sank German decoy ship GA45 off Crete.

                          (Note: The enemy deployed this type of ship to entice submarines to carry out a surface

                                      engagement similar to the role of British Q Ships in WW1)

          13th         Deployed with HM Destroyers ALDENHAM and BLENCATHRA to reinforce destroyers

                          off  Leros.

                          Under succession of air attacks.

          15th         Bombarded German troop concentration in Alinda Guma Neck, Leros in support of

                          Royal West Kents with HMS ALDENHAM and HMS BLENCATHRA.

                          Carried cut interception patrol with HMS ALDENHAM around Leros.

                          No German build-up convoys sighted.

                          Hit by shore fire with little damage.

          16th         Laid up In Turkish waters during daylight.

                          Embarked injured troops brought from Leros by small craft.

                          Covered tow of damaged destroyer HMS ROCKWOOD by HMS BLENCATHRA

                          during passage to Alexandria.

 

December         Deployed in Aegean area in support of evacuation.

            3rd         Escorted damaged Greek destroyer ADRIAS with HM Destroyer JERVIS to Kavavia

                          Bay from Casteloriso to lay up pending tow.

            4th         Escorted Greek Escort Destroyer ADRIAS and tug BRIGAND to Limassol.

            5th         Escort of ADRIAS during passage to Alexandria with HMS JERVIS until relieved by

                          HM Destroyers EXMOOR and ALDENHAM

         10th        On release from Aegean Force resumed Flotilla duties with Fleet.

                        For details of the disastrous operations in the Aegean during late 1943 see WAR IN

                        THE AEGEAN by P Smith and E Walker and A SAILORS WAR by SR Lombard-

                        Hobson.

         21st        After transfer to Adriatic for convoy defence and support of shore operations.

                        Carried cut offensive sweep between Manfredonia and Dubrovnoik with HM Destroyer

                          TYRIAN.

                        No shiopping was encountered.

           26th        Carried cut further patrol between San Benedetto to Anconba.

                          Nominated for service with Eastern Fleet

 

1 9 4 4

 

Januiary            Passage to join Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee

                          Transferred to 16th Destroyer Division of 11th Destroyer Flotilla.

                          (Note: HM Destroyers PALADIN, PATHFINDER and PETARD were also transferred.)

 

February           Under repair.

                          (Note: Although nominated for escort duties with HMS PETARD and HMS PALADIN did

                                      not go to Kilindini with ships of Flotilla for escort of military Convoy KR8 during

                                      passage of which troopship KHEDIVE ISMAIL was sunk with heavy loss of life.

                          On completion of repair deployed for screening and patrol duty in Indian Ocean with other

                          Fleet destroyers.

 

March               Screening and convoy defence in continuation.

 

April

           16th        Part of screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT, French battleship

                          RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, CEYLON, GAMBIA and Dutch cruiser

                          TROMP with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, PETARD, QUIBERON,

                          NAPIER, NEPAL, NIZAM and Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN as Force 69.

           18th        Covered Force 70 air operations by HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and the US aircraft

                          carrier USS SARATOGA against airfields and other shore installation at Sabang, NW  Sumatra.

                          (Operation COCKPIT).

           24th        Returned to Trincomalee with Force 69 screen.

 

May                  Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.

            6th        Part of screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, French RICHELIEU, HM Cruiser

                         NEWCASTLE and Dutch cruiser TROMP with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE,

                         NAPIER, NEPAL, QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH and Dutch VAN GALEN as Force 65.

           15th       Replenish in Exmouth Bay, NW Australia from tankers of Task Force 67.

           17th       Covered air operations by HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA against harbour and

                         oil refineries at Sourabaya as Force 66 (Operation TRANSOM).

           27th       Arrived at Trincomalee with Force 65 screen.

 

June                  Ocean convoy defence and Fleet screening.

to

July

 

August              Transferred to 4th Destroyer Flotilla.

                           Nominated for return to UK for refit.

 

September

            2nd       Sailed from Trincomalee for escort of ships on passage to joiun Eastern Fleet

            8th        Joined Escort Aircraft Carriers for escort during passage to Trincomalee.

                         Took passage from Colombo to UK via Bombay and Mediterranean.

 

September        Passage in Mediterranean with calls at Malta and Gibraltar.

          20th        Under refit by HM Dockyard, Chatham

 

October            Under refit

to

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January             Post refit trials.

           18th        Arrived at Scapa Flow to work-up with Home Fleet

 

February

            2nd       Took passage from Scapa Flow to rejoin Flotilla in Ceylon.

          14th        Sailed from Gibraltar.

 

March               Deployed for exercises in eastern Mediterranean.

            2nd       Took passage to Trincomalee with call at Aden.

          15th         Joined HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, TARTAR and VERULAM in 10th Destroyer

                          Flotilla at Trincomalee for deployment in East Indies Fleet.

 

April

          27th        Part of screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, French RICHELIEU, HM Escort Carriers

                         SHAH, EMPRESS, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND, SUFFOLK, CEYLON and Dutch

                         TROMP with 5 destroyers of Eastern Fleet as Force 63 for bombardment of Car Nicobar

                         and Port Blair, Andamans.

 

May

           2nd        Escorted East Indies Fleet providing cover for allied landings at Arakan with HM Destroyer

                         TARTAR.

          13th        Joined RFA Tanker OLWEN as escort for support of East Indies Fleet ships as Force 67 during

                         interception of Japanese warships on passage in Malacca Strait to Andamans

                         (Operation DUKEDOM - See following references.)

                         (Note: During this operation the Japanese cruiser HAGURO was sunk.)

          17th        Returned to Trincomalee with part of East Indies  Fleet.

 

June

           5th         Deployed with H M Destroyers TARTAR, ESKIMO, NUBIAN and PALADIN for a shipping

                         strike between Nicobars and Sabang (Operation IRREGULAR).

                         For details of naval activities in Indian Ocean in 1943 and 1944 see OPERATION PACIFIC by

                         E Gray, WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) and Naval Staff History).

          13th        Sank landing craft SW of Sumatra with HMS PALADIN.

 

July                  Deployed with Flotilla based at Trincomalee.

to                      (Note: During this period Eastern Fleet ships prepared for landing operations in Malaya which

August                          were revised and later postponed because of problems in London relating to

                                      demobilisation of long serving personnel in the Far East under the PYTHON Scheme and

                                      US insistence. (Operation ZIPPER)

                                      See above references and Final SEAC Report (HMSO).

 

September        Deployed at Penang in support of re-occupation and convoy defence.

 

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS PENN was released from support and convoy escort duties In October and returned to Bombay on 11th October 1945. She was used as an Air Target ship based at Singapore for training of aircrew until February 1947 after which she was attached to the 4th Submarine Flotilla. Her deployment as a target for submarine training terminated at the end of the year when she took passage to UK for reduction to Reserve status. The ship was laid-up in Harwich after de-storing and later was selected for use In damage control trials at Portland. On completion she was put on the Disposal List and sold to The West of Scotland Shipbreaking Company for demolition in late 1949. The ship arrived at the breaker's yard in Troon, Ayrshire on 31st January 1950.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of  HMS PENN

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

 

 

 

 

 

15/07/42

20/07/42

OS 033

01/07/42

20/07/42

16/09/42

26/09/42

GIBSPEC

16/09/42

26/09/42

13/12/42

14/12/42

TE 009

13/12/42

18/12/42

18/01/43

19/01/43

GUS 003

18/01/43

07/02/43

17/04/43

18/04/43

HX 233

06/04/43

21/04/43

19/04/43

21/04/43

SC 126

08/04/43

23/04/43

02/05/43

03/05/43

ONS 005

21/04/43

12/05/43

18/05/43

19/05/43

ONS 007

07/05/43

25/05/43

23/05/43

28/05/43

SC 131

18/05/43

31/05/43

29/02/44

04/03/44

MA 025/3

29/02/44

04/03/44

04/03/44

08/03/44

AM 001/1

04/03/44

08/03/44

11/03/44

13/03/44

CJ 019B

11/03/44

13/03/44

19/03/44

22/03/44

BM 090A

19/03/44

22/03/44

27/05/44

01/06/44

AB 040A

27/05/44

01/06/44

14/07/44

19/07/44

CM 055A

14/07/44

19/07/44

09/08/44

14/08/44

AB 043

09/08/44

14/08/44

15/07/45

21/07/45

WO 008

15/07/45

27/07/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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