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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 URANIA (R 05) -  U-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Ulster, sister-ship (Norrie Millen, click to enlarge)

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U-Class Destroyer ordered from Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow under the  Emergency  War Programme on 12th June 1941 with HMS URCHIN for the 9th Emergency Flotilla. The ship was laid down as Yard Number 832 on 18th June 1942.  She was launched on 19th May 1943 as the second  Royal Navy ship to bear the name, introduced for a  Prize TORTUE  taken  in 1797. Her  Build was completed on 18th January 1944. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National  Savings campaign in March 1942 the ship had been adopted by the civil community of Heston, then in the County of Middlesex.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

NORMANDY 1944 - OKINAWA 1945

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

On a Field Blue, a crescent white within a circle of estoiles.

 

 

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 4

 

January      Contractors trials and commissioned for service in the 25th Destroyer Flotilla

                    Home Fleet.

      18th       Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                    Passage to Scapa Flow after completion of trials, storing and calibration of  the

                    weapon systems.

                    Worked-up for operational service with ships of the Home Fleet.

 

February     On completion took passage to the Mediterranean for convoy defence and for

                    support of military operations.

 

March         Deployed in Mediterranean

                    Nominated for support of planned allied landings and Normandy.

                    (Operation NEPTUNE ).

 

April            Return passage to UK to rejoin Home Fleet.

                    Allocated for service in Force G of Eastern Task Force with HM Destroyers

                    GRENVILLE, ULSTER, ULYSSES, UNDAUNTED, UNDINE, URCHIN and

                    URSA of 25th Flotilla and deployed in English Channel

                    (For details of activities prior to and during assault landings see OPERATION

                    NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)

 

May             Channel deployment in continuation.

        2nd      Took part in Final Rehearsal for NEPTUNE with ships of Flotilla.

                    (Exercise FABIUS Forces O, S, J and G of Eastern Task Force were

                    all involved.)

        3rd      Exercise involved berthing, loading and sailing of ships and craft.

        4th       Provided support for landings at Hayling Island by Force G.

      18th       Took part in defence exercise off Brighton.

                    (Note: This involved ships of Forces S, G and J and included simulated

                                 attacks by E-Boats, submersibles, aircraft and minelaying craft.)

                    On completion remained in Channel area and prepared for support duties.

 

June             Deployed in Solent area prior to landings.

        4th       Operation delayed 24 hours.

                    (Note: Force G craft were assembled in West Solent)

        5th       Sailed from Assembly area as escort for Convoy G9 with HM Destroyers

                    JERVIS and ULYSSES.

         6th      Passage through swept channel.

                    Provided naval gunfire support during assault landings on GOLD Beaches.

                    On completion of Assault Phase deployed in Eastern Task Force area for patrol

                    to intercept enemy surface craft attempting to attack Channel traffic.

       15th      Passage to Portsmouth.

       16th      Escorted HM Cruiser ARETHUSA with HM Destroyer SCOURGE during

                    passage from Portsmouth to assault area with HM King George VI embarked.

       17th      Resumed interception patrol and support after return passage to Portsmouth

                    escorting HMS ARETHUSA.

       30th      On completion of NEPTUNE remained in Channel area.

 

July             Deployed for patrol in Bay of Biscay and SW Approaches for interception of

                    craft attempting to evacuate German troops from French ports.

 

August        Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla based at Scapa Flow for screening

                    of major Fleet units and patrol.

 

September   Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                    Nominated for service in British Pacific Fleet with Flotilla after refit.

 

October       Under refit at Southampton.

      to           Prepared for foreign service.

November   (Note: British Pacific Fleet was formally created on 22nd November in Ceylon.)

                     Took passage to Trincomalee for duty with 25th Destroyer Flotilla.

 

December   On arrival nominated for duty in Force 63 for screening of major units during

                    air operations in Indian Ocean.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January      Nominated for screening duties with Flotilla for

                    planned attack on oil installations in Sumatra.

       1st       Sailed from Trincomalee with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WHELP,

                  WAGER, GRENVILLE, UNDAUNTED, UNDINE  and URSA as screen

                  for HM Aircraft Carriers IMPLACABLE, INDEFATIGABLE and

                  VICTORIOUS,  HM Cruisers SUFFOLK, CEYLON, ARGONAUT and

                  BLACK PRINCE as part of Force 63 during air attacks on oil refineries at

                  Pankalan Brandan, Sumatra.

                  (Operation LENTIL: (Part of Operation OUTFLANK See WAR WITH

                  JAPAN, Volume VI (HMSO). For details of operations in Indian Ocean see

                  OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)

                   (Note: Ships of both Eastern Fleet and British Pacific Fleet took part.)

       4th       Remained with screen during air attacks from flying off position NE of Simalur Island.

                   On completion returned with screen for Force 63.

        7th      Arrived at Trincomalee with Force 63. Took passage to Sydney.

                   (Note: Did not take part with ships of both Fleets in Operation MERIDIAN).

 

February     On arrival at Sydney prepared for service with US Navy in SW Pacific.

      10th      Main body of BPF ships arrived at Sydney.

                   Allocated for service with newly designated Task Force 113 for RN ships

                   serving with US Navy. Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes

                   changed to D27

      28th      Took passage from Sydney with ships of Task Force 113 for advanced base

                    at Manus, Admiralty Islands.

                    (Note: Extensive exercises including manoeuvring using US signalling procedures

                              were carried out ion passage,)

 

March

             7th     Arrived at Manus with Task Force 113.

            18th    Sailed from forward RN Base at Manus in Admiralty Islands to join US Fifth

                       Fleet at US Base in Ulithi. after delay in receiving approval of US Chiefs of Staff

                       for participation of RN ships in operations against Japan in SW Pacific.

            20th    Arrived at Ulithi and allocated for service with US 5th Fleet in operations off

                       Sakishima Group against airfields which were supporting Japanese defence of

                       US attack on Okinawa (Operation ICEBERG ONE)

            23rd    Sailed from Ulithi to join US Task Force 58 off Sakishima Gunto Group and

                       designated as Task Force 57. See above references and TASK FORCE 57 by

                       Peter C Smith.)

                       (Note: Task Force 57 on sailing comprised:

                                   Task Unit 57.1    HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE.

                                   Task Unit 57.2    HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS

                                                                   VICTORIOUS  and INDEFATIGABLE.

.                                  Task Unit 57.5    HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA (RNZN),

                                                                   BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT.

                                   Task Unit 57.8    HM Cruiser EURYALUS, HM Destroyers GRENVILLE,

                                                                    ULSTER, UNDINE, URANIA, UNDAUNTED,

                                                                    QUICKMATCH (RAN),  QUIBERON (RAN),

                                                                    QUEENBOROUGH, QUALITY, WHELP and WAGER.

                                                                     (Note: HMS URSA of Flotilla was in dock in Malta.)

            25th    Refuelled from British Fleet Train (Task Force 112).

            26th    Joined operations by ships of US Task Force 58 in operational area.

                       Deployed with screen for Task Force 57 ships during first attacks by British aircraft.

            28th    Withdrew for replenishment.

            31st     Deployed with screen during 2nd series of Task Force 57 air operations.

April

              1st     Under sustained air attacks during which HMS INDEFATIGABLE was hit and

                       damaged by a KAMIKAZE aircraft and HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS

                       INDOMITABLE came under machine gun attacks.

              2nd   Withdrew with Task Force ships and screen for refuelling from Fleet Train.

              6th    Returned to continue air operations after delay in replenishment.

                       Under further air attacks and detached with HMS ARGONAUT which was

                       to act as a Radar Picket to give advance warning of approach of low flying

                       aircraft.

              7th    Carried out search for pilot of ditched British aircraft who was found to have

                       died before arrival.

              8th    Deployed for screening duties during replenishment.

              9th    Transferred with ships of Task Force 57 to carry out attacks on airfields in

                       Formosa (Operation ICEBERG OOLONG).

            10th    Passage to Formosa with screen.

            12th    Deployed with screen during air attacks on airfields at Schinchiku and 

                       Matsuyama which had been delayed for 24 hours by weather.

                       (See above references for details of the successful operations.)

            13th    Returned with screen to replenish in Area COOTIE)

            14th    Detached from Task Force with HMS QUALITY (RAN) for escort to Leyte

                       of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS which was being withdrawn due to damage when

                       KAMIKAZE aircraft crashed alongside ship on 6th April.

                       See above references.

                      (Note: Other ships of Task Force 57 remained with Task Force 58

                                  to continued air attacks on Sakishima Gunto.)

            20th    Return passage to rejoin Task Force for screening during passage to Leyte

                       on completion of ICEBERG ONE)

            23rd    Arrived at Leyte for replenishment and maintenance.

 

May

              1st     Sailed from Leyte with ships of Task Force 57 to continue air attacks with

                        Task Force 58 on Sakishima Gunto (Operation ICEBERG TWO).

                        (Note: Task Unit 2 included HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE in place

                                    of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

                                    Task Unit 3 included HM Cruiser UGANDA (RCN) in place of

                                    HMS ARGONAUT which had been withdrawn for refit and HMS

                                    EURYALUS formerly in Task Unit 8.)

                                    Task Unit 8 included HMS URSA, HMS URCHIN, HMS WHIRLWIND

                                    and HMS WESSEX. HMS ULSTER having been damaged and HMS

                                    WHELP and HMS WAGER being deployed elsewhere.)

              4th     Deployed with screen after replenishment in Area MOSQUITO on 3rd May.

                        After first series of air operations detached with HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS

                        HOWE, HMS SWIFTSURE, HMS BLACK PRINCE, HMS GAMBIA (RNZN),

                        HMS UGANDA (RCN) and ships of Flotilla to carry out bombardment of shore

                        targets in Miyako Shima.

                        Deployed as screen with HMS GRENVILLE, HMS UNDAUNTED, HMS URSA

                        HMS UNDINE and HMS URCHIN during bombardment. 

                        Rejoined aircraft carriers of Task Force when they came under very heavy and

                        sustained air attacks including suicide bombers.

                        (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE and HMS INDOMITABLE were both damaged,)

              6th     Replenished with ships of Task Force.

              8th     Resumed screening duties in operational area.

                        During further air attacks HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS FORMIDABLE were

                        hit and although damaged and some casualties remained in service.

            10th     Replenished with Task Force in Area COOTIE.

            12th     Returned to operational area with Task Force for screening duties.

            14th     Replenished with Task Force in Area COOTIE

            16th     Returned to operational area with Task Force for screening duties.

            18th     Replenished with Task Force during which an accident in HMS FORMIDABLE

                        when aircraft guns were fired caused fires and damage in hangar.

            20th     Resumed screening duties in operational area.

                        (Note: During this period HMS QUILLIAM collided with HMS INDOMITABLE

                                    and had to be withdrawn.)

            22nd    Replenished with ships of Task Force in Area COOTIE.

                        Withdrawal from operations agreed with US Admiral Halsey.

            24th     Deployed with screen for final series of operations in Sakishima Gunto.

            25th     Took passage with Task Force 57 ships for Manus.

                        (Note: HMS KING GEORGE V detached with destroyer screen for passage to Guam.

            27th     Transferred with ships of Task Force 57 to 3rd US Fleet and redesignated

                        Task Force 37 under new US Navy Command structure for SW Pacific.

 

June                 Deployed with screen for Task Force 37 during passage from Manus to Sydney.

                        Maintenance and Leave period in Sydney prior to deployment with US 3rd

                        Fleet Task Forces off Japan..

        28th             Sailed from Sydney as screen for ships of Task Force 37 during

                            passage to Manus.

                            (Note: Task Force 37 comprised:

                                            HMS KING GEORGE V.

                                            HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and IMPLACABLE.

                                                 (HMS INDEFATIGABLE was delayed by defect)

                                            HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, BLACK PRINCE,

                                                 EURYALUS, ACHILLES, UGANDA (RCN) and

                                                 GAMBIA.

                                            HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN,

                                                 ULYSSES, UNDAUNTED, QUIBERON (RAN), QUALITY

                                                 (RAN), QUICKMATCH (RAN), QUADRANT     (RAN),

                                                 TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TEAZER

                                                 and TERPSICHORE.)

 

July

          4th             Arrived at Manus with Task Force.

          6th             Sailed from Manus for operational area off Japan.

        13th             Replenished from Fleet Train with ships of Task Force.

        16th             Arrived in operational area for screening duties during operations.

                            (Note: Task Force was deployed with Task Forces of 5th US Fleet

                                            comprising four separate groups. See above references.)

        17th             Deployed with screen for first joint RN/USN operations against

                            airfields at Sendai, Masuda and Matsushima.

        18th             Task Force bombarded targets in South Honshu.

        19th             Returned with screen and major units to rendezvous with Fleet Train

                            to refuel

        23rd             Deployed as part of screen for Task Force 37 when joint RN/USN

                            Fleets to resume operations against targets in Japan.

                            (Note: Delay had been caused by lack of fuel from British sources

                                         and also discussions with CinC of 3rd US Fleet relating to

                                         future policy. For details see references.)

        24th             Deployed with screen during flying operations against airfields and

                            shipping in the Inland Sea,

                            (Note:  Task Force 37 was again restricted to subsidiary targets.

                                             See references.)

        26th             Screen deployment in continuation during replenishment.

                            (Note: Special arrangements were made by US Navy to assist with

                                        provision of spares and deficiencies in oil stock available were

                                        again evident.)

        28th             Deployed with screen during air operations against subsidiary targets.

        29th             Detached from Task Force with HM Destroyers UNDINE and ULYSSES

                            as screen for HMS KING GEORGE V during bombardment of industrial

                            area of Hammamatsu , Honshu as Task Unit 37.1.2 with US Task Unit 34.8..

                            Involved in minor collision with HMS ULYSSES which sustained damage.

                            Escorted HMS ULYSSES during investigation.

                            Rejoined Task Unit with HMS ULYSSES when damage reassessed.

        30th             On completion of bombardment returned with Task Unit to rejoin Task

                            Force 37 ships for screening during continued air operations against

                            airfields in SW Honshu and shipping.

        31st              Screen deployment during refuelling.

 

August

          4th              Replenished from major units before Task Force resumed flying

                             operations.

          5th              Deployed with screen during air operations

          6th              Operations by UK/USN Task Forces suspended during atom bomb

                             attack at Hiroshima.

        12th              Left operational area as screen for British Pacific Fleet ships during

                             passage to Manus.

                             (Note: Owing to lack of fuel Task Force 37 had to be withdrawn from

                                          final operations off Japan except for a Token Force which was

                                          retained as part of Task Force 38 and designated Task Group

                                          38.5 comprising:

                                                    HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS INDEFATIGABLE,

                                                    HMS GAMBIA (RNZN), HMS NEWFOUNDLAND,

                                                    HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE, TERMAGANT,

                                                       TENACIOUS, TEAZER, BARFLEUR, NAPIER (RAN),

                                                       NIZAM (RAN), WAKEFUL and WRANGLER.)

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

HMS URANIA returned to Sydney from Manus and reverted to overall RN control with other RN ships. Ships in the Flotilla remained in the Pacific area for support duties and visits to ports in Australia and New Zealand. On return to UK in early 1946 the ship was Paid-off and placed in Reserve at Devonport. In November 1950 she refitted in a Tyneside shipyard and was laid up at Harwich on completion. As part of a modernisation programme this  destroyer was selected for conversion to a Type 15 Ant-submarine Frigate and arrived at Belfast for conversion by Harland and Wolff in April 1953. In 1955 she recommissioned for service in the 6th Frigate Squadron and deployed mainly in the Mediterranean until 1957 including taking part in Operation MUSKETEER at Suez in 1956. After brief service with the 2nd Frigate Squadron she paid off again in 1958 and was placed in Devonport Reserve pending refit at Rosyth the next year. On completion of trials the ship returned to Reserve at Devonport and was never brought forward for service although refitted once more at Rosyth in 1962 and returned to Reserve. Transferred to Portsmouth in 1967 she was placed on the Disposal List in 1971 and sold for to Metal Industries at Faslane where she arrived in tow on 2nd February 1971 for demolition.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS URANIA

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

 

 

 

 

 

21/02/44

21/02/44

KMF 029

27/02/44

05/03/44

13/02/44

04/03/44

UGS 033

08/03/44

12/03/44

29/03/44

01/04/44

IXF 012

02/04/44

02/04/44

14/04/44

14/04/44

VN 027

15/04/44

15/03/44

13/06/44

13/06/44

FWC 006

14/06/44

14/06/44

24/07/44

24/07/44

FTM 047

25/07/44

25/07/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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