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
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1 9 4 4
January Contractors trials and commissioned for service in the 25th Destroyer Flotilla
18th Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
Passage to Scapa Flow after completion of trials, storing and calibration of the
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
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,)
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN,
ULYSSES, UNDAUNTED, QUIBERON (RAN), QUALITY
(RAN), QUICKMATCH (RAN), QUADRANT (RAN),
TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TEAZER
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
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.
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
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.
4th Replenished from major units before Task Force resumed flying
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
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.
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
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)