U-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Swan Hunter at Wallsend under the War Emergency Programme on 12th June 1941. The ship was laid down en 12th November 1941 and launched on 9th November 1942 as the 3rd RN ship to carry the name. It was last used by a WW1 destroyer and borne by a ship hired In 1915 for use as a Boom Defence Vessel. Build was completed on 30th June 1943. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in June 1942 she had been adopted by the civil community of County Down, Ulster. In accordance with the usual practice plaques were exchanged and displayed in the Council offices and on board the ship.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ENGLISH CHANNEL 1943 - ADRIATIC 1944 - MEDITERRANEAN 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - OKINAWA 1945
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field : Barry wavy of six White and Blue,
a Dexter hand appaume Red.
(Note: The Emblem of the Province.)
(Navy Photos/George Knight)
D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 3
June Contractors trials.
25th Commissioned for service in 25th Destroyer Flotilla.
30th Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up.
July Worked-up for operational service with ships of Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.
During work-up escorted troopship BEN MY CREE to Faeroes
August NW Approaches deployment with Flotilla in continuation.
14th Deployed as escort for HM Destroyer ONSLOW from Scrabster to Scapa Flow.
(Note: HMS ONSLOW was taking HM King George VI for visit to Home Fleet
15th Took part in exercise demonstration by Home Fleet ships for Royal visitor.)
On completion of work-up took passage to Rosyth for boiler
September Deployed for interception of enemy coastal convoys in Bay of Biscay and English
Channel with HM Sloop CRANE, HM Destroyer GRENVILLE and HM Cruiser PHOEBE.
(Operation TUNNEL Series – See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)
October Deployed in English Channel, based at Plymouth with HM Destroyer GRENVILLE.
3rd Carried out attack on coastal convoy defended by destroyers
(Note: During this operation in which HMS GRENVILLE and three HUNT Class
Destroyers took part, ship was damaged by two shell hits.
HMS GRENVILLE was also damaged, set on fire and came under friendly
fire. See FRIEND OR FOE by P Kemp. HOLD THE NARROW SEA by
P Smith for details of the ill-planned and very poorly executed series of
operations, during one of these on October 23rd HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS
was sunk with heavy loss of life.
November Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean.
12th Took passage from Plymouth with HM Destroyers ROCKET and TUMULT as escort
for HM Battlecruiser RENOWN.
(Note: This cruiser had Mr Winston Churchill embarked for passage to Malta
17th Independent passage to Malta with call at Algiers.
18th Escorted HM Cruiser LONDON during passage from Malta to Alexandria.
(Note: HMS LONDON was to collect UK Defence Chiefs for return to UK after
international conference in Egypt.
20th Deployed with Flotilla in Adriatic for support of military operations.
23rd Damaged during support operation by return shore fire and forward structure holed
above waterline. Due to the high speed extensive flooding of all forward compartments
caused the ship to take on an 8 degree heel to starboard.
December On completion of repair took passage to rejoin Flotilla for convoy defence
Deployed with HM Destroyers ROCKET and GRENVILLE.
25th At Algiers.
31st Deployed at Bari for anti-submarine operations in Adriatic.
1 9 4 4
January (Note: Ship was not directly involved in support of allied at Anzio on 22nd January as no
Battle Honour was awarded.
See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barrett and Naval Staff
History for details of the Operation to land allied troops near Rome.
February Adriatic duties in continuation.
Nominated for return to Home Fleet duties with Flotilla for support of planned allied
landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
March Deployed for defence of convoys on passage to Anzio.
24th At Naples.
29th Carried out anti-submarine operations and took part in the attacks on U223
Returned to Palermo to replenish stocks of depth charges.
April Took passage to Scapa Flow after boiler clean at Naples.
May Rejoined Flotilla in Home Fleet.
Joined Force G of Eastern Task Force with HM Destroyers URSA, UNDAUNTED,
ULYSSES, UDINE, URCHIN, URANIA and GRENVILLE of Flotilla.
(Note: HM Destroyers JERVIS, CATTISTOCK, COTTESMORE, PYTCHLEY,
and Polish ORP KRAKOWIAK also were part of Force G.)
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of Force G including exercises in NW
Approaches with Bombarding Forces E and K.
(Note: Bombarding Force K comprised HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, ARGONAUT,
EMERALD and Dutch Gunboat FLORES.
Bombarding Force E comprised HM Cruisers BELFAST and DIADEM.)
Passage to Clyde for escort of Bombarding Force E to Channel
3rd Escorted HM Cruisers BELFAST and DIADEM from Clyde as Convoy G14.
4th Operation delayed 24 hours.
5th Sailed from Solent as escort for Convoy G14 during passage through swept channel.
6th On arrival at Beachhead took position off GOLD Beach and provided naval gun fire
support for assault landings.
9th Grounded during gunfire support and returned to Portsmouth for inspection suspected
damage to underwater fittings
10th Inspection revealed port propeller missing and damage to starboard propeller.
15th Repair arranged at commercial shipyard in Cardiff.
22nd Arrived at Cardiff for repair.
July On completion of repair resumed Flotilla duties in Home Waters
to (Note: One source suggests deployment in Channel in this period.)
Home waters deployment in continuation.
(Note: To be confirmed as some of Flotilla were serving in the Mediterranean and others
in Home waters.)
Nominated for service with Flotilla in Far East.
Passage for refit
October Taken in hand for refit during which extensive changes were made.
(Note: New design Lattice foremast fitted in place of earlier Tripod type.
Radar Type 276 for surface warning replaced with associated Type 242 IFF
Outfit fitted In place of Type 272 fitted during build.
Some ships in Flotilla had fire control radar Type 282 fitted for Close range armament.
IFF equipment was also fitted for Type 291 Radar.
For details of development and use of radar see RADAR AT SEA by D Hawse.)
November Under refit.
1 9 4 5
January On completion of post refit trials prepared for foreign service.
to Passage to Join British Pacific Fleet via Mediterranean.
February Worked up for operational service in Mediterranean
March On arrival took part in preparatory exercises with ships of British Pacific Fleet.
Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to D to confirm with US
System of identification for destroyers.
Passage from Sydney as part of Task Force 113 to main RN operating base at Manus,
7th Arrived at Manus with Task Force 113.
15th After delay by US Joint Chief of Staff approval given for British Pacific Fleet ships to
join US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57 for operations against airfields in Sakishima-Gunto
Group islands (Operation ICEBERG ONE).
18th Sailed from Manus to Join 7th Fleet at Ulithi
20th Arrived at Ulithi.
23rd Sailed for operational area as part of Task Force 57.
Deployed as Task Group 57.8 with HM Cruiser EURYALUS, HM Destroyers
GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA and UNDAUNTED of 25th Flotilla, HM Destroyers
QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUEENBOROUGH and QUALITY of 4th Flotilla and
HM Destroyers WAGER and WHELP of the 27th Flotilla.
Other ships in Task Force 57 were HM Battleship KING GEORGE V (Task Group 57.1),
HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS. (Task Group 57.2)
HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA, BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT (Task Group
25th Refuelled from Replenishment Group with delays.
26th Arrived in operational area and Joined ships of US Task Force 58.
Escorted Fleet units during attacks by British carrier aircraft on airfields.
(Note: Operation ICEBERG ONE was in support of US landings on Okinawa.)
28th Withdrew for replenishment.
31st Resumed Fleet screening duties in operational area.
1st Damaged by near miss from 5001b bomb jettisoned by ZEKE aircraft being pursued by
Major damage to Engine Room and After Boiler Room.
Two personnel killed and one seriously injured.
Ship disabled but armament still available.
(Note: 4 casualties are recorded for this ship during WW2.)
Taken in tow to Leyte by HM Cruiser GAMBIA
6th Under temporary repair at Leyte in dry dock.
(Note: Temporary repairs to
hull structure were carried out by US Navy personnel and
machinery repairs by parties from HM Depot Ship TYNE.)
May Withdrawn from operational service in Task Force 57.
Passage to Sydney on one shaft but speed for 24 knots available.
June Prepared for return to UK for permanent repair.
July Passage to UK
August Arrived at Chatham and paid off.
(Note: Reverted to RN Pennant Number when released from BPF)
S u m m a r y o f P o s t W a r S e r v i c e
October Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Chatham.
1 9 4 6
February Recommissioned for use as Boys Training ship in Home Fleet.
1 9 4 7 t o 1 9 4 9
Deployed for Boys training
1 9 5 0
May Transferred for service in Dartmouth Training Squadron. Deployed for Cadet and
1 9 5 1
January Transferred to Plymouth Local Destroyer Flotilla.
Deployed for local training, trials and Emergency Destroyer duty.
1 9 5 2
December Paid off and Reduced to Reserve status
1 9 5 3
Laid-up in Reserve Fleet Division at Devonport.
1 9 5 3
Selected for conversion to Type 15 Anti-Submarine Frigate.
Prepared for conversion and tow to Chatham.
1 9 5 4
Taken in hand for conversion by HM Dockyard, Chatham.
1 9 5 5 t o 1 9 5 6
1 9 5 6
Harbour and Sea Trials on completion of Dockyard work.
Nominated for service in 8th Frigate Squadron.
1 9 5 7
7th Commissioned for service in 8th Frigate Squadron.
1 9 5 8
August Deployed as station ship West Indies [SNOWI] Commander Cameron Rusby in command
1 9 5 9
26th Escorted HM Yacht Britannia for official opening of St Lawrence Seaway
1 9 6 0 t o 1 9 6 1
Deployed on Squadron Fleet service with normal refit periods.
1 9 6 2
Fleet duties with Squadron in continuation.
Attended Independence ceremony at Trinidad with HM Cruiser BLAKE and HM Frigate
1 9 6 3
Nominated for reduction to Reserve.
September Paid off and Reduced to Reserve status at Plymouth.
Equipment under Care and Maintenance by Reserve Fleet personnel.
1 9 6 4
Laid up in Reserve at Plymouth.
1 9 6 5
Nominated for service in 2nd Frigate Squadron and brought forward from Reserve.
15th Re-commissioned for service in 2nd Frigate Squadron.
1 9 6 6
Deployed operationally on Fleet service.
September Taken in hand for refit at Devonport.
(Note: Stem replaced by structure taken from sister destroyer HMS URCHIN.)
1 9 6 7
Withdrawn from operational service.
Nominated for duty at Portsmouth as Tender to HMS DRYAD for training and trials of
1 9 6 8 t o 1 9 7 6
Deployment for navigational Equipment Trials and training based at Portsmouth
1 9 7 7
Withdrawn from service and Paid Off.
Towed to Plymouth for Harbour training of New Entries.
(Note: Attached to HMS RALEIGH.)
1 9 7 8
New Entry Harbour training deploys in continuation.
1 9 7 9
Training requirement ceased.
Placed on Disposal List.
F i n a l P h a s e
HMS ULSTER was sold to T W Ward for breaking up on 4th August 1980.The ship was taken under tow to Inverkeithing, Rosyth where she arrived on 2nd November that year.
No Convoy Escort Movements Reported
SERVICE ON HMS ULSTER 1958-60
by Norice (Norrie) Millen
After my RN career (1957-82) I lived in Canada for 26 years and managed to visit almost every single place on the route of 1959 with the exception of one. I am now relocated to the United Kingdom and I have probably become an expert on that particular commission which included the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway (medal below). What is more unique is that our Commanding Officer, Cdr Cameron Rusby (now a long retired Vice Admiral Sir Cameron) will be attending out final reunion this year. Comprehensive information on our memorable commission can be found by visiting www.candoo.com/ulsternorrie/ulster/ulster11.html