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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

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

HMS ROCKET (H 92) -  R-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Rocket (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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R-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered with 4th Emergency Flotilla from Scotts of Greenock in May 1940. Construction was delayed until September because of priority for repair work. She was laid down on 14th March 1941. The ship was launched on 28th October 1942 as the 6th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in 1806 and previously used for a WW1 destroyer sold in 1926.Build was completed on 4th August 1943. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by Stepney In Greater London.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

BALTIC 1855 - ENGLISH CHANNEL  1943 - SABANG  1944

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue. the ROCKET steam engine Gold

on a mount green.

 

M o t t o

'Upward and Onward'

 

 

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 3

 

July                         Commissioned for trials

 

August                  Contractor's sea trials.

                4th          Accepted for service in 11th Destroyer Flotilla.

                                Passage to Scapa Flow and worked-up with Hone Fleet.

 

September             Deployed with Flotilla in Home Fleet

26th        Escorted ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in NW Approaches.                  

                                (Operation SN222C - For details see Naval Staff History MINING).

October                  Detached for operations in English Channel based at Plymouth.

22nd       Deployed with HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS, HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, TALYBONT.

                                LIMBOURNE, WENSLEYDALE and STEVENSTONE in an operation to intercept the

                                German blockade runner MUNSTERLAND off the coast of Brittany.

                                (Operation TUNNEL Series).

23rd        Under attack by German torpedo boats during which HMS CHARYBDIS and HMS

                                LIMBOURNE were sunk.

                                (For details of this disastrous, ill-planned and poorly executed operation see HOLD THE

                                NARROW SEA by Peter C Smith and TWO HONOURABLE YEARS by Craig Leith.

                                Note: TWO HONOURABLE YEARS was privately published).

 

November              Nominated for service in Eastern Fleet. Prepared for foreign service at Plymouth.

12th        Deployed with HM Destroyer ULSTER as escort for HM Battlecruiser RENOWN during

passage to Gibraltar with Prime Minister embarked.

(Note: Mr Churchill was to attend meetings in Cairo with other allied leaders.)
20th        Deployed at
Gibraltar for convoy escort and Fleet duties.

 

December              Mediterranean deployment in continuation.

Transferred to Algiers for Fleet duties with 24th Destroyer Flotilla.
25th        Part of escort for convoy from
Algiers to Malta.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Deployed with Flotilla in Mediterranean.

                                Took passage to Join Eastern Fleet.

 

February                Joined 11th Destroyer Flotilla at Trincomalee for Fleet screening, interception

                                To patrol and convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

June                        (For details of Fleet activities see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO), OPERATION PACIFIC by E

                                Gray and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett).

 

July

                22nd       Eastern Fleet duties in continuation.

                                Sailed with Eastern Fleet as part of screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH

                                and VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, French Battleship RICHELIEU, HM Aircraft

                                Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND,

                                NIGERIA, KENYA, CEYLON, GAMBIA (RNZN) PHOEBE and Dutch TROMP with

                                HM Destroyers RELENTLESS, RAPID, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, ROEBUCK

                                and RAIDER of 11th Flotilla, HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY and QUICKMATCH

                                of 4th Destroyer Flotilla during air strikes and bombardments at Sabang, Sumatra as part of

                                Force 62.(Operation CRIMSON)

                25th        Remained with rain force on completion of shore bombardments whilst destroyers of 4th

                                Flotilla carried cut close range attacks on harbour.

                                (For details see above references.)

                                Air attacks during withdrawal were repelled.

 

August

                19th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, REDOUBT, RAIDER and RAPID as

                                screen for HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS INDOMITABLE, HM Battleship HOWE, HMS

                                CEYLON and HMS KENYA as Force 64 to carry out photo-reconnaissance flights over

                                Padang airfield and attacks by carrier aircraft on targets in Sumatra.

                                (Operation BANQUET)

                24th        Deployed with screen during air operations.

                                (Note: Operation was delayed to enable HM Submarine SEA ROVER to get in position

                                for air-sea rescue duties. Destroyers refuelled during passage on 22nd.

                                See above references.

                25th        Remained with Force 64 during return passage.

 

September

                16th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, REDOUBT, RAIDER,

                                RELENTLESS and RAPID as screen for HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS VICTORIOUS,

                                HM Battleship HOWE, HM Cruisers KENYA, and CUMBERLAND to carry out photo-

                                reconnaissance flights and air strikes on airfields and areas in Sumatra (Operation LIGHT)

                17th        Photo-reconnaissance flights over airfields cancelled due to weather and instead

                                photographed other targets in Sumatra and Nicobars (Operation LIGHT A).

                18th        Air strikes carried out on railway repair works at Sigli (Operation LIGHT B).

                                (Note: Mistakes and imperfections in flying operation were noted for attention.)

 

October                  Eastern Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

to December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Eastern Fleet escort and convoy defence duties in continuation with Flotilla.

 

February

                21st         Joined Force 68 for offensive patrols off and bombarded Cocos with H M Destroyers

                                ROEBUCK, RAPID and ROTHERHAM (Operation SUFFICE).

                24th        Deployed off Andamans.

                                Later carried out bombardment of Great Coco Island.

                25th        Passage to Akyab to replenish.

                27th        Sailed from Akyab to cut patrol with Force 68 (Operation TRAINING).

 

March

                1st           During Inshore passage between Tavoy Island and Heanzay

                                Took part in attacks on coastal shipping during which three vessels were sunk.

                3rd          Bombarded Port Blair with ships of Flotilla.

                4th          Return passage to Trincomalee with ships of Force 68.

 

April

                1st           Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE and REDOUBT for

                                offensive patrol between Mergui and Amherst as Force 62. Small coaster and and Junk

                                were sunk (Operation PENZANCE - See WAR WITH JAPAN.)

                2nd         Ships of Force carried out reconnaissance of Narcondam island with a view to its

                                use for replenishment of Light Coastal Force craft.

                                Bombarded Great Coco Island with ships of Force.

                5th          Replenished at Akyab.

                7th          Sailed from Akyab for offensive patrol off coast of Burma between Moulmein River

                                and Mergui.

                10th        Several small craft were sunk during sweep

                11th        Rescued 68 personnel from Japanese Tender AGATA MARU sunk by LIBERATOR

                                aircraft.

                12th        Return passage to Trincomalee with Force 62.

                                Detached for convoy escort duties.

 

May                        Convoy escort in continuation.

                14th        Detached from escort to join HM Cruiser NIGERIA, HM Destroyers RACEHORSE, REDOUBT.

                                and ROEBUCK in Force 62 to reinforce ships of Force 61 carrying out an operation to intercept

                                Japanese warships on passage to Andaman islands.

                                (Operation DUKEDOM)

                                For details of this operation see WAR WITH JAPAN,  SINK THE HAGURO by John Winton and

                                OPERATION PACIFIC)

                20th        Return passage to Trincomalee after sinking of HAGURO.

 

June                        Eastern Fleet duties in continuation.

 

July                         Preparation for landings in Malaya with Eastern Fleet (Operation ZIPPER)

                                (Note: This operation was postponed at the insistence of the USA and introduction of

                                of the PYTHON Release Scheme for return of servicemen from SEAC.

                                SEE ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET

                                and The Final Report of Supreme Commander SEAC (HMSO)

 

August                  Part of screen for Eastern Fleet ships during passage in Indian Ocean and whilst awaiting

                                approval to occupy Penang.

 

September             Deployed with Eastern Fleet in support of landings in Malaya

                                (Operation ZIPPER See BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and above references).

                                At Singapore during re-occupation.

 

P o s t  W a r  N o t e s

 

HMS ROCKET returned to Chatham and reduced to Reserve status in November 1945. During 1946 she was deployed with a reduced complement and modified at Chatham for use as an air target ship in the North Sea based at Rosyth until 1948. Placed in Reserve at Portsmouth this destroyer was selected with HMS RELENTLESS for conversion to a Type 15 Anti-submarine Frigate by HM Dockyard Devonport. On completion in May 1951 she joined the 3rd Frigate Flotilla based at Londonderry and visited the West Indies as well as taking part in the June 1953 Coronation Review. Paid off in 1954 the ship remained in Reserve until October 1960 when she re-commissioned for service with the 6th Frigate Squadron in the Far East. Again placed in Reserve at the end of the commission she laid at Chatham until placed on the Disposal List in 1967. Sold to BISCO she was towed to Dalmuir for breaking-up by Arnott Young arriving at the breakerís yard in March 1967.

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ROCKET

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

 

 

 

 

 

18/02/44

18/02/44

BA 062A

24/02/44

24/02/44

21/02/44

28/02/44

DKA 012

01/03/44

01/03/44

06/03/44

06/03/44

AB 033A

12/03/44

12/03/44

21/04/44

21/04/44

DKA 017

26/04/44

02/05/44

13/05/44

13/05/44

CM 053

19/05/44

19/05/44

20/05/44

20/05/44

CM 053B

25/05/44

25/05/44

05/06/44

05/06/44

CM 054

11/06/44

11/06/44

30/01/45

01/02/45

WO 001

02/02/45

12/02/45

13/04/45

24/04/45

OW 004/2

26/04/45

26/04/45

09/05/45

09/05/45

WO 005

13/05/45

20/05/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 7/8/11
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