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

HMS TERPSICHORE (R 33) -  T-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Terpsichore (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

T-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered under the War Emergency Programme in March 1941 from Denny at Dumbarton. The ship was laid down on 25th November 1941 at the same time as her sister snip HMS TERMAGANT in the same shipyard. She was launched en 17th June 1943 and completed en 20th January 1944. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK in March 1942 the ship had been adopted by Barrow-in-Furness, then in the county of Lancashire, now in Cumbria.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

MARTINIQUE 1794 - TENERIFFE  1797 - JAVA 1806 - ADRIATIC 1944 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944 - AEGEAN  1944


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)



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December              Contractors sea trials.

                                Commissioned for service


1 9 4 4



         20th               Build completion and Acceptance trials.

                               Worked-up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                                Joined 24th Destroyer Flotilla in the Home Fleet on completion of work-up.

February                Transferred with Flotilla for support duties in Mediterranean.


March                    Deployed on escort and support of military operations in Adriatic and central

to                            Mediterranean



July                        Nominated for duty with ALPHA Gunfire Support Group during allied landings in the

                               South of France (Operation ANVIL).

                               Carried out preparation for support role.

              27th          Operation ANVIL renamed DRAGOON.


August                   Joined HM Cruisers ORION, AURORA, AJAX and BLACK PRINCE, US cruiser

                                QUINCY, French cruiser GLOIRE, US destroyers LIVERMORE, EBERLE, KEARNEY

                                and ERICSSON with HM Destroyer TERMAGANT in Malta forming Gunfire

                                Support Group ALPHA.

                6th           Sailed for landing support duty.

               14th          Met HM Battleship RAMILLIES which joined Group from UK and took up position

                                for bombardment duties en shore batteries in YELLOW beach area.

                                (For- full details see INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (HMSO)

               15th         Provided naval gunfire support with ALPHA Group during landings

               17th         Released from bombardment duties but remained in assault area.

               28th         Released from DRAGOON duty with HMS TERMAGANT and USS QUINCY

                               Reverted to control by CinC Mediterranean.


September              Deployed on support and escort duty in Eastern Mediterranean.

               18th         Bombarded Melos in Cyclades.

               19th         Took part in sinking of U407 with HM Destroyer TROUBRIDGE and Polish destroyer

                                ORP GARLAND north of Crete.

                                47 of the submarine crew were rescued.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers BRECON and ZETLAND also took part in hunt for U407 which

                                             was first sighted by ORP GARLAND. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

               24th          Transferred to British Aegean Force with ships of 24th Flotilla and joined H M Escort

                                 Carriers, HUNTER, STALKER, EMPEROR, ATTACKER, SEARCHER PURSUER

                                 and KHEDIVE, HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, ROYALIST, BLACK PRINCE,

                                 ARGONAUT, AURORA and  COLOMBO together with HUNT Class destroyers.

                                Deployed in support of military operations to re-occupy islands in the Aegean

                                and Greek mainland. Carried out interception of craft evacuating German troops.

                                 Provided support gunfire.

                                 (For details of operations in 1944 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY



                                 Deployment with British Aegean Force in continuation.

                7th            Deployed with HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE and took part in sinking caique and

                                 landing craft near Volvos in Gulf of Salonika.

              17th            Took part in occupation of Scarpanto with HM Destroyer CLEVELAND.


November                Deployed in central Mediterranean

                                 Nominated for duty with British Pacific Fleet after UK refit.


December                 Passage to Plymouth for refit in HM Dockyard, Devonport

                                 Taken in hand for refit


1 9 4 5


January                     Under refit and preparation for service in Pacific.

to                              Radar and communications fit up-dated.

February                   (For details of development and use of radar see RADAR AT SEA by D. Howse).


March                      Post refit trials and prepared for foreign service.

                                 Took passage to Australia to join 24th Destroyer Flotilla.

                                 (Note: British Pacific Fleet designated Task Force 113 were transferred to US 5th

                                              Fleet on 23rd March and redesignated Task Force 57 after approval by US

                                              Chiefs of Staff had been delayed whilst ships were at Manus, Admiralty

                                              Islands, Forward British Pacific Fleet base.

                                              See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by John Winton, OPERATION PACIFIC

                                              by Edwyn Gray, TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith and WAR WITH JAPAN,

                                              Volume VI (HMSO) for details of all operations in 1945.)


April                         Exercised in Mediterranean prior to onward passage to Sydney.


May                          Deployed in Australian waters in preparation for service with US Navy.

                                  Took passage to join British Pacific Fleet at Manus.

                                  Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to D33 to conform with US

                                  Navy designation for destroyers.


June                         Deployed at Manus with British Pacific Fleet.

                                 (Note: RN Ships deployed with US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57 had had returned

                                              to Manus in late May after completion of attacks on Sakashima Gunto

                                              with US Task Forces. They then went to Sydney, Australia for R&R.)

             11th             Transferred to Task Group 112.2 and joined H M Destroyers TROUBRIDGE,

                                 TENACIOUS and TEA2ER of 24th Destroyer Flotilla to form Task Unit 112.2.15

                                  for screening duties during planned attack to neutralise airfields at Truk.

                                  (Operation INMATE).

                                  (Note: Task Group 112.2 comprised in addition:

                                              Task Unit 1 KM Fleet Aircraft Carrier IMPLACABLE.

                                              Task Unit 2 HM Escort Aircraft Carrier RULER, HM Destroyer TERMAGANT.

                                               Task Unit 5 HM Cruisers UGANDA (RCN), ACHILLES (RNZN) and

                                               NEWFOUNDLAND. See above references.)

             12th              Deployed with screen for Task Group during passage to Truk.
             13th              Joined HMS NEWFOUNDLAND, HMS UGANDA and HMS ACHILLES with Task

                                  Unit 15 ships for screening duties and redesignated Task Unit 3.

             14th              Detached and deployed as screen for Force 5 which was to remain in area 20 miles

                                  from flying-off position during air attacks by Force 2.

             15th              Rejoined main force and redeployed with HMS TERMAGANT to screen HMS

                                  IMPLACABLE and HMS RULER during bombardment of targets at Truk by cruisers.

                                  (Note: The bombardments were less than satisfactory owing to lack of experience in

                                               carrying out shore bombardments, poor communication procedure and failures

                                               of equipment

              17th             Returned to Manus with Task Group 111.2.

                                  Transferred with Flotilla to 3rd US Fleet for service with Task Force 37.

                                  (Note: Ships of British Pacific Fleet had been transferred to US 3rd Fleet as part of a

                                               re-organisation of US naval commands in Pacific area and had been redesignated

                                               Task Force 37.

                                               Task Force 37 then comprised:

                                                HM Battleship KING GEORGE V.

                                                HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, VICTORIOUS, IMPLACABLE and


                                                HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES,

                                                UGANDA (RCN). HM Destroyers

                                                4th Destroyer Flotilla: GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN, ULYSSES,

                                                UNDAUNTED QUALITY, QUADRANT, QUIBERON (RAN),

                                                QUICKMATCH (RAN).

                                                 24th Destroyer Flotilla TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT,

                                                TERPSICHORE, TEAZER.

                4th             Joined Task Force 37 on arrival at Manus from R&R.

                6th             Sailed from Manus to join US Task Groups In operational area off Japan.

                                  (Note: HMS INDEFATIGABLE detached for defect repair during passage.)

              13th             Task Force 37 ships met refuelling Group before starting operations.

              17th             Deployed with screen for HMS KING GEORGE V, Carriers and Cruisers of

                                  BPF during combined air attacks with US Navy Task Groups of Force 38 on

                                  airfields and shore targets north of Tokyo.

              18th             Deployment for screening duties in continuation during further combined air


                                  (Note: BPF aircraft attacks were restricted to secondary targets as part of

                                               a deliberate US policy to restrict attacks on Japanese warships to

                                               US Navy aircraft.)

              19th             After further air operations by BPF carriers withdrew with screen to replenish.

              20th             Replenished with BPF ships delayed by typhoon threat In planned area.

                                  HM Aircraft Carrier INDEFATIGABLE joined BPF.

                                  (Note: First signs of shortage of fuel from British sources became apparent.)

              23rd             During passage with screen, destroyers were refuelled from cruiser in order

                                  to ensure full availability during forthcoming air strikes and bombardments.

              24th             Deployed with screen for BPF ships during air attacks on subsidiary targets

               to                (Note: Despite US navy restrictions British aircraft sank two Japanese frigates

              25th                          and seriously damage Escort Carrier KAIYO.)

                                  After withdrawal to replenish came under air attacks.

              27th             Returned with screen for BPF to rejoin US Task Groups in operational area.

                                  (Note: Fuel shortage from RN tankers increasing evident.)

              29th             Screening deployment in continuation.

                                  Remained with screen for cruisers and carriers when HMS KING GEORGE V

                                  detached for bombardment with US Task Group 37-1.

              30th             Screening duty continued.

                                  (Note: British aircraft from Task Force 37 sank Japanese Frigate OKINAWA

                                               NNW of Maizuru - See WARSHIPS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

              31st              Deployed for screening during passage of Task Force 37 ships or replenishment.



                1st              Replenishment transferred to new area because of swell conditions.

                2nd             Passage with screen for BPF ships to renew operations.

.               4th              Refuelled during passage from BPF cruiser.

                                   (Note: Availability of fuel in destroyers was of Increasing concern.)

                9th               Detached from screening duty during air strikes and joined Task Group 38.5

                                    with HMS TERMAGANT and TENACIOUS as screen for HMS GAMBIA

                                    and HMS NEWFOUNDLAND.

                                    Took part in bombardment of shore targets at Kamaisha, Honshu during main

                                    attack by US Task Unit 34.8.1 on Japan Iron Works.

                                    Rejoined Task Force 37 on completion of detached duty.

               10th              Fuelling programme altered and screening duty during further series of

                                    combined attacks continued.

                                    (Note: Decision to extend operational period was made by US Admiral of

                                                 US 5th Fleet following the entry of USSR into war with Japan.).

               11th              Transferred to US Task Force 38 for deployment in Task Group 38.5.

                                     (Note: During Replenishment period agreement with US Navy was made

                                                  for fuel to be provided for Token Force of RN ships required to

                                                  take part in surface ship bombardments and air attacks in Tokyo area.

                                                  Remaining British Pacific Fleet ships took passage to Manus prior

                                                   to R&R in Australia.)

                                     Token British element of Task Group 38.5 comprised:

                                                 HM Battleship KING GEORGE V. HM Cruisers GAMBIA and NEWFOUNDLAND.

                                                 HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE, TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS

                                                TERPSICHORE, TEAZER. HM Destroyers BARFLEUR, NAPIER, NIZAM,

                                                 WAKEFUL, WRANGLER

               13th               Deployed with screen for TG38.5 during air attacks in Tokyo area.

                                     Determined attempts by Japanese to carry out bombing attacks defeated by early

                                     interception 25 miles from aircraft carriers of Task Force 38.

               15th               Screening duties continued for passage to operation area after refuelling with US

                                     warships of Task Force 38.

                                      Deployed with screen for Task group 38.5 final air strikes.

                                      Air attacks after formal surrender all failed.

               27th                Deployed with reformed Task Force 37 and anchored in Sagami Bay.

                                      For details see above references.)


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS TERPSICHORE was deployed for the support of repatriation of allied personnel from Japan and attended the final surrender of Japan with reformed Task Force 37 in Tokyo Bay on 2nd September. On release from service with the British Pacific Fleet the ship returned to UK in 1946. She was placed in Reserve and laid up at Devonport. In 1953 this ship was converted for use as a Type 16 Anti-submarine Frigate by her builders at Wololston. After completion and trials in her new role in 1954 she was replaced in Reserve at Devonport. Refitted during 1958.and in 1960 laid-up at Lisahally, Northern Ireland. This destroyer was placed on the Disposal List in 1964 and sold to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers. She arrived at the Breaker's yard in Troon, Ayrshire under tow on 17th May 1966.






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








UGS 033





IXF 013








(Note on Convoys)


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