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

HMS ROTHERHAM (H 09) -  R-class Flotilla Leader including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Rotherham (Navy Photos/George Knight, click to enlarge)

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R-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered with the 4th Emergency Flotilla from John Brown of Clydebank on 2nd April 1940. Due to the priority for repair of ships damaged during operations off Norway as well as during  the evacuation of allied troops and civilians from the continent this ship was not laid down until 10th April 1941. She was launched on 21st March 1942 and was the first Royal Navy ship to bear the name of Captain Edward Rotheram who had commanded the 1st Rate ROYAL SOVEREIGN at the Battle of Trafalgar. It should be noted that the spelling of his surname differs from that used for this ship. Build was completed on 27th August 1942.and the design allowed for use as a Flotilla Leader. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this destroyer was adopted by the civil community of Rotherham, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


SABANG 1944 - BURMA 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a stag trippant Gold between

a wreath of oak also 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


August                  Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 11th Destroyer Flotilla.

                27th        Build completion and carried out Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships

                                of Home Fleet.


September             Worked up for service with 8th Destroyer Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for service in Indian Ocean with Flotilla.


October                  On completion of work-up deployed at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.

                31st         Joined Local Escort for military Convoy WS24 with HM Destroyers SARDONYX,

                                SKATE, HOLCOMBE, OFFA, ONSLOW, ORIBI and US Seaplane Tender

                                BARNEGAT for during passage in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: This convoy of six troopships was exceptionally routed to avoid any

                                complications with the passage of troop convoys to Gibraltar for allied

                                landings in North Africa. (Operation TORCH).

                                Instead of making the usual call at Freetown, West Africa, WS24 called

                                at Bahia, Brazil. This diversion had been made possible after Brazil

                                declared war against Germany and Italy on 30th August 1942.)



                3rd          HM Armed Merchant Cruiser QUEEN OF BERMUDA joined WS24 to supplement

                                Ocean Escort whilst on passage in Atlantic.

                                Detached with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

                                Took independent passage from Clyde to rejoin WS24 as part of Ocean Escort.

                11th        Rejoined WS 24 with HM Cruiser DESPATCH.

                                (Note: HM Destroyer ILEX had joined WS24 on 9th).

                17th        Detached from WS24 on arrival at Bahia.

                                (Note: British troops were landed to take part in a route march at the request of the

                                Brazilian authorities following the allied landings in North Africa.)

                20th        Sailed from Bahia as Ocean Escort for WS24 with HM Armed Merchant Cruisers

                                QUEEN OF BERMUDA and ALCANTARA, HM Cruiser DESPATCH and HMS ILEX

                23rd        HMS DESPATCH detached from WS24.

                25th        HMS ILEX detached.

                29th        HM Destroyer NORMAN joined Ocean Escort.

                30th        HM corvettes ROCKROSE and THYME joined Ocean Escort.

                                (Note: The additional Ocean Escorts were provided during passage off South Africa

                                because of known German submarine activities in that area.)



                1st           HM Destroyer NEPAL joined Ocean Escort.

                2nd         HMS THYME detached.

                4th          Detached from WS24 with ships of Ocean Escort on arrival at Durban.

                                Joined 11th Destroyer Flotilla for convoy defence in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic

                                based at Durban.


1 9 4 3


January                  Convoy defence with Flotilla based at Durban in continuation.


February                Detached for Eastern Fleet duties and took passage to Trincomalee.
               22nd        Deployed as screen for HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruiser GAMBIA with
                                Dutch destroyer TJERK HIDDES and sailed from Trincomalee to carry out search in area
                                SW of Cocos area (Operation SLEUTH)
               26th         HM Cruiser SUSSEX joined search operation.


1st         Detached from search and returned to Trincomalee with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.
                               (Note : HMS GAMBIA also detached and took passage to Fremantle, Australia.)
                               HMS SUSSEX continued the search until 6th when it was abandoned and
                               took passage to refit.)
On arrival at Trincomalee joined 26th Destroyer Flotilla. For Indian Ocean convoy defence.


April                       Deployed in South Atlantic with Flotilla.

                11th        Joined HM Cruiser KENYA with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND and QUILLIAM in

                                Escort of military Convoy WS28 as relief for HM Destroyers QUADRANT, REDOUBT,

                                RELENTLESS and RACEHORSE during passage from Freetown to Capetown.

                14th        Detached from WS28 on arrival at Capetown.


May                        South Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                11th        Joined HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE with HM Destroyers RACEHORSE and RELENTLESS

                                in Escort for military Convoy WS29 as relief for HM Destroyers MALCOLM, RAPID and

                                WOLVERINE during passage from Freetown to Capetown.

                16th        Detached from WS29 on relief by HMS REDOUBT and HMS NORMAN before arrival

                                at Capetown.

                22nd       Joined WS29 with HMS RACEHORSE and HMS RELENTLESS as escort for ss

                                LLANSTEPHAN CASTLE and ss EMPIRE KAMAL during passage to Durban.

                26th        Detached from WS29 on arrival at Durban.


June                        Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation.

                25th        Joined military Convoy WS30 with HM Destroyers NORMAN, and QUICKMATCH as

                                escort during passage from Capetown to Durban.

                30th        Detached from WS30 with HMS QUICKMATCH.


July                         Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

to                            Transferred to Trincomalee with Flotilla for Eastern Fleet duties.



December              Deployed for convoy defence and Fleet duties based at Trincomalee.


1 9 4 4


January                  Flotilla deployment in Indian Ocean.



                22nd       Deployed as screen for HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruiser GAMBIA with

                                 Dutch destroyer TJERK HIDDES and sailed from Trincomalee to carry out search in area

                                 SW of Cocos area (Operation SLEUTH)

                 26th       HM Cruiser SUSSEX joined search operation.



                 1st          Detached from search and returned to Trincomalee with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

                                 (Note: HMS GAMBIA also detached and took passage to Fremantle, Australia.

                                HMS SUSSEX continued the search until 6th when it was abandoned and

                                took passage to refit.)

                                Interception Patrol and convoy defence duties in Indian Ocean continued.


April                       Deployed with Eastern Fleet as part of Task Force 69 (TF69).

                16th        Provided destroyer screen for HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT,

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

                                TROMP with HM Destroyers RACEHORSE, PENN, PETARD, QUIBERON, NAPIER (RAN)

                                NEPAL (RAN) and NIZAM (RAN).

                                (Note: Eastern Fleet ships were providing cover for air operations against targets in at Sabang

                                in NW Sumatra by HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and US aircraft carrier SARATOGA as Task

                                Force 70. Operation COCKPIT - For details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO and

                                OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray.)

                19th        Japanese attack by torpedo aircraft driven off by fighter aircraft from the two carriers.

                24th        Returned to Trincomalee with Fleet Units.


May                        Eastern Fleet duties in continuation.

                6th          Joined HM Destroyers RACEHORSE, PENN, NAPIER, NEPAL, QUIBERON and

                                QUICKMATCH with Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN in TASK Force 65.

                                (Operation TRANSOM).

                                Sailed as destroyer screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, French

                                battleship RICHELIEU, HMS NEWCASTLE, HMS NIGERIA and Dutch cruiser TROMP

                                from Trincomalee.

                                (Note: Eastern Fleet ships were deployed as Task Force 65 to provide cover during air

                                 operations at Sourabaya by HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA deployed

                                as Task Force 66.)

                15th        Refuelled in Exmouth Bay, Northern Australia from Tanker Support Group of Eastern Fleet.

                17th        Deployed with Task Force 64 screen during air attacks on oil refineries and harbour


                18th        USS SARATOGA and US destroyers detached from Task Force 66.and took passage to resume

                                US Fleet duties.

                27th        Returned to Trincomalee with Fleet units after refuelling in Exmouth Bay.


June                        Deployed with Flotilla in Indian Ocean based at Trincomalee.

                19th        Deployed with HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY, QUICKMATCH, RACEHORSE,

                                RELENTLESS, ROEBUCK and RAIDER as screen for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HM

                                Battlecruiser RENOWN, French RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NIGERIA, KENYA and

                                CEYLON during a series of air attacks on Port Blair, Andamans.

                                (Operation PEDAL –See above references for details.)

                22nd       Returned to Trincomalee with Fleet units.


July                         Nominated with Flotilla for Fleet duties during planned operations.

                22nd       Deployed with HM Destroyers RELENTLESS, RACEHORSE, ROCKET and RAPID

                                for screening of Eastern Fleet units during air attacks and bombardments of shore targets

                                (Operation CRIMSON).

                                (Note: Major Eastern Fleet units deployed were HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT,

                                HM Battleship RENOWN, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NIGERIA,

                                CUMBERLAND, KENYA, CEYLON and GAMBIA.

                                HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS which had recently joined

                                Eastern Fleet were to attack airfield targets at Sabang, Sumatra and Fleet units were

                                to bombard port installations including shipping.)

                25th        Took part in bombardments.

                                Returned to Trincomalee as part of screen for Eastern Fleet major units.


August                  Eastern Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

                24th        Deployed with HM Destroyers REDOUBT, RAIDER, RAPID and ROCKET as screen for

                                screen for HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and INDOMITABLE, HM Battleship HOWE,

                                HM Cruisers CEYLON and KENYA as Force 64 during air operations on targets in Sumatra.

                                (Operation BANQUET [ See above references.)

                                (Note: These included photo-reconnaissance flight and air strikes on airfields and harbour

                                installations. The operation was a diversion to pin down the Japanese air and naval

                                forces during US operations in Hollandia, New Guinea.)

                26th        Return passage to Trincomalee with Fleet unit



                14th        Deployed with HM Destroyers RAPID, REDOUBT, RELENTLESS, RACEHORSE and

                                RAIDER, as screen for HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS HOWE, HMS

                                CUMBERLAND and HMS KENYA during photo-reconnaissance flights and air strikes on

                                on airfields in Sumatra (Operation LIGHT)

                17th        Operations against airfields cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

                                Photo-reconnaissance flights were however carried out over northern Sumatra and the

                                Nicobar islands. (Operation LIGHT A)

                18th        Remained with screen during air attacks by carrier aircraft at Sigli. Sumatra.

                                (Operation LIGHT B)


October                  Passage to Simonstown for refit.

                                (Note: Ship did not take part in Operation MILLET in this period.)


November              Under. by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.

                                (Note: She docked for Inclining experiment.)


December              Passage to resume Eastern Fleet duties with Flotilla on completion of post refit trials.


1 9 4 5


January                  Deployed with Flotilla for patrols to intercept Japanese ships supplying stores and

                                carrying personnel to garrisons in Andamans and Nicobars.

                                Provided support for military operations in Burma.


February                Deployed with HM Destroyers RAPID, ROCKET and ROEBUCK as Force 68 and

                                carried out patrols to intercept shipping in Andaman Sea.

                21st         Sailed from Trincomalee with ships of Force 68 (Operation SUFFICE).

                24th        After sighting no enemy shipping carried out bombardment of Great Coco Island.

                                (Note: Over 1,000 rounds of 4.7in shell were fired by the four ships.)

                25th        Passage to Akyab, Burma to replenish fuel and ammunition.

                27th        Sailed from Akyab for offensive sweep between Tavoy island and Heanzay Basin

                                with ships of Force 68 (Operation TRAINING).



                1st           Attacked and sank three coasters.

                3rd          Took part in bombardment of Port Blair, Andamans with ships of Force 68.

                                (Note: Two sailing ships were sunk and other ships damage in the harbour

                                during this bombardment.).

                                Return passage to Trincomalee with Force 68.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers RACEHORSE, REDOUBT and ROCKET for

                                anti-shipping sweep between Mergui and Amherst on coast of Burma.

                                (Operation PENZANCE).



                1st           After reconnaissance of Narcondam Island detected junk and a coastal steamer

                                which were sunk by Force 62 ships in a night action.

                                (Note: This visit was made to establish the suitability of the island for use as

                                a base for operations by Motor Torpedo Boats.)

                4th          Took part in bombardment of radar station on Great Cocos Island with

                                ships of Force 62.

                5th          Passage to Akyab for replenishment.

                7th          Sailed from Akyab for further anti-shipping operation off coast of Burma

                                with ships of Force 62 (Operation PASSBOOK)

                9th          Carried sweep operation till 11th.

                12th        During return passage sighted 68 survivors from Japanese Naval Tender

                                AGATA MARU which had been sunk in an attack by LIBERATOR aircraft

                                earlier that day,

                15th        Returned to Trincomalee.

                                Nominated for service in Force 63 to provide cover for allied landings near

                                Rangoon (Operation BISHOP)

                                (Note: This was naval part of Operation DRACULA).

                27th        Sailed from Trincomalee with HM Destroyers NUBIAN, PENN, VERULAM,

                                and TARTAR for screening of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, French RICHELIEU,

                                HM Cruisers SUFFOLK, CEYLON and CUMBERLAND, Dutch TROMP, HM

                                Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS and SHAH to carry out diversionary operation

                                operation during landings.

                29th        Refuelled from RFA OLWEN during cover operation.

                30th        Deployed with screen during bombardment and air strikes on Car Nicobar and

                                Port Blair by Force 63.


May                        Screening duties in continuation.

3rd          Deployed with TF63 during shipping sweep off Burma to intercept enemy traffic.

4th          Joined Force 68 as screen for HMS CUMBERLAND, HMS CEYLON,

                                French RICHELIEU and Dutch TROMP with HMS ROEBUCK and HMS REDOUBT.

                5th          Fuelled with ships of TF68 from RFA OLWEN

                7th          Resumed screening duty with Force 63 which carried out attacks on airfield at

                                Car Nicobar by carrier aircraft.

                8th          VE Day. Mainbrace spliced.

                9th          Returned to Trincomalee with ships of TF65

                10th        Deployed with screen for Task Force 63 to intercept ships evacuating Japanese

                                personnel from Andamans and Nicobars (Operation DUKEDOM)

                                 (Note: All available warships at Trincomalee were deployed.

                                For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by E Grey, THE FORGOTTEN

                                FLEET by J Winton, SINK THE HAGURO by J Winton and WAR WITH

                                JAPAN (HMSO)

                                After sailing, Japanese cruiser with escorts reported on passage to support the

                                Japanese evacuation operations..

                11th        Remained with screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH when HMS CUMBERLAND,

                                FS RICHELIEU AND 26th Destroyer Flotilla detached as Task Group 61.2 to steam ahead

                                of main body of TF61.

                14th        Remained with screen when 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers

                                HUNTER, SHAH, KHEDIVE and EMPEROR, HM Cruiser ROYALIST, HM Destroyers

                                NUBIAN and PENN detached with 26th Destroyer Flotilla to intercept and destroy

                                HAGURO and escorting warships (Operation MITRE).

                                (Note: After a brilliant tactical interception on 15th and 16th, HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ,

                                VERULAM, VIGILANT, VENUS and VIRAGO engaged and sank HAGURO.

                                See above references and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.

                18th        Passage to Trincomalee with screen for TF61.


June                        Eastern Fleet Flotilla duties in continuation.

                                Deployed with H M Destroyers RACEHORSE, RELENTLESS, REDOUBT and ROEBUCK as

                                screen for HM Cruisers ROYALIST and SUFFOLK, HM Escort, Carriers STALKER, KHEDIVE

                                and AMEER during air operations (Operation BALSAM).

                18th        Part of screen during air attacks on airfields in Sumatra.

                to            and photo-reconnaissance flights

                19th        See above references

                20th        On completion of BALSAM returned to Trincomalee.


July                         Fleet screening duties in continuation.

                19th        Sailed from Trincomalee as screen for HM Battleship NELSON, HM Cruiser SUSSEX,

                                Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS and AMEER with HM Destroyers RACEHORSE, RAIDER

                                and PALADIN as Force 63 (Operation LIVERY).

                24th        Part of screen for Force 63 during cover of minesweeping operations off Phuket

                                Island at northern entrance to Malacca Straits.

                                (Note: During Minesweeping by 7th Minesweeping Flotilla, HM Fleet Minesweeper

                                SQUIRREL was badly damaged by a mine and had to be sunk by gunfire.

                25th        Screening duty for Force 63 in continuation.

                26th        Force 63 under air attack by suicide bombers.

                                Three aircraft shot down. HM Minesweeper VESTAL hit by suicide aircraft and had

                                to be sunk by gunfire from HMS RACEHORSE.

                30th        At Trincomalee.

                                (Note: Operation LIVERY was the last Eastern Fleet operation before VJ Day.


August                 Deployed with Flotilla for Eastern Fleet screening duties during passage

                                to the assault area in southern Malaya near Port Swettenham

                                (Operation ZIPPER).

                                (Note: This had been delayed until after VJ Day for various reasons, see above

                                references and final SEAC Report (HMSO).).

                                Deployed as escort for HMS SUSSEX for passage to Singapore from Penang for

                                the surrender of Japanese forces.

                                (Note: HMS SUSSEX was Flagship of 5th Cruiser Squadron.)


September             Passage through Malacca Straits with HMS SUSSEX and ships of 7th Minesweeping

                                Flotilla deployed ahead for mine clearance.

                4th          Arrived at Singapore with HMS SUSSEX after passage into harbour preceded by

                                six Japanese minesweepers.

                                (Note: Surrender of 77,000 Japanese personnel carried out on board HMS SUSSEX.)

                5th          Independent passage to Singapore naval dockyard to accept the surrender of

                                34,000 personnel of the Imperial Japanese Navy.  Ship at Action Stations

                8th          Formal surrender of IJN personnel signed ashore in former RN Base HMS


                                (Note: Captain Biggs, commanding officer assumed command of the dockyard.)

                                A commemorative plaque was later placed in the wardroom of HM Naval

                                base and remained there until the RN left Singapore in 1971.

                                The main entrance to HM Dockyard, Singapore was renamed ROTHERHAM



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ROTHERHAM remained at Singapore until 27th September 1945 when she returned to Trincomalee. 0On 2nd October she took passage to Portsmouth to Pay-Off into Reserve. The ship was sold in 1948 to India and formally transferred to the Indian Navy on 27th July 1949. She remained an active Fleet unit as INS RAJPUT until 1976 when placed on the Disposal List.






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








MC 005





AB 020F





AB 024A





KR 009





HB 001








(Note on Convoys)


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