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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
 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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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