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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 ALDENHAM (L 22) -  Type III, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

 HMS Melbreak, Type III sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 

 

Type III HUNT-Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Cammell-Laird on 4th July 1940 under the 1940 War Emergency Program and laid down as Job Number 3766 on 22nd August that year .The ship was launched on 27th August 1941 as the first RN warship to carry the name. She was completed on 5th February 1942 and after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign was adopted by the civil community of Witney in Oxfordshire. An account of the service of this ship is given in THE LAST DESTROYER by F A Mason.

 

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1942 - LIBYA 1942 - SICILY 1943 - AEGEAN 1943 - ADRIATIC 1944 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944

 

H e r a l d i c D a t a

 Badge: On a Field barry wavy of 4 White and Blue, in front of

two battleaxes in saltire Black an anchor erect Gold.

 

 

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 2

 

January                  Contractors trials and commissioned for service.

 

February

                5th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for service in Mediterranean.

 

March                    Deployed with Home Fleet

                24th        Joined Military Convoy WS17 in NW Approaches with HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE, Armed

                                Merchant Cruiser ALCANTARA, HM Destroyers CROOME and LOOKOUT as part of escort

                                during passage to Freetown.

                27th        Participated in sinking of U587 with HM Destroyers LEAMINGTON and VOLUNTEER west

                                of Ushant in position 47.21N 34.00W.

                                (Note: See U-BOATS DESTROYED By P Kemp.

                                This was first U- Boat to be sunk after source of radio signals had been found by use of

                                new wireless direction finding equipment (H/F D/F).

                31st         HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Destroyers INCONSTANT and JAVELIN deployed

                                as Ocean Escort detached from WS17 and took passage to Gibraltar.

 

April

                1st           Detached to refuel in Azores and rejoined WS17 on completion.

                6th          Detached from WS17 on arrival at Freetown.

                8th          Took independent passage to Durban with HMS GROVE, refuelling off St. Helena.

                                Called at Cape Town and Durban.

 

May                        Passage from Durban with calls at Mombasa and Aden.

                                Medical emergency on board. An Appendectomy was carried out by the Doctor from HMS

                                GROVE.

                13th        Arrived at Alexandria.

                                Joined 5th Destroyer Flotilla for escort duties and patrol in Eastern Mediterranean.

 

June                        Deployed in support of Tobruk garrison.

                11th        Joined HM Cruiser COVENTRY as escort for Convoy MW11C with HM Escort Destroyers

                                AIREDALE, BEAUFORT, CROOME, DULVERTON, ERIDGE, EXMOOR and HURWORTH

                                at Port Said.

                                (Note: This convoy was made up of four mercantiles each of which towed a Motor Torpedo

                                Boat (HM MTB's259, 261, 262 and 264).

                                It was intended to decoy major Italian warships away from the main Malta relief convoy

                                (Operation REMBRANDT -The main convoy comprised two parts, MW11A sailing

                                from Haifa and MW11B from Alexandria the next day (Operation VIGOROUS).

                12th        Under air attacks during which ss CITY OF CALCUTTA was damaged.

                13th        The three sections of Convoy MW11 merged

                                Covering force comprising HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM. NEWCASTLE, ARETHUSA,

                                CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS and HERMIONE joined convoy.

                                (Note: The WW1 battleship HMS CENTURION disguised as a KING GEORGE V Class was

                                part of Convoy MW11B escort).

                14th        Under heavy and sustained air attacks.

                                (Note: The heavy expenditure of AA ammunition by all escorts became a matter of concern).

                15th        Convoy MW11 ordered to reverse course to East.

                                In action against six E-Boats making night attacks on convoy.

                                (Note: HM Destroyer HASTY and HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE were both hit.

                                HMS HASTY had subsequently to be sunk by HM Destroyer HOTSPUR).

                                Drove off S58 and S59 with HMS AIREDALE.

                                Sustained air attacks continued after daylight.

                                Rescued 133 survivors from HM Escort Destroyer AIREDALE before sinking her by torpedo.

                                Convoy MW11 ordered to resume westward passage after Italian threat lifted.

                                (Note: This was subject to availability of adequate ammunition stocks and fuel essential for

                                defence of convoy passage to Malta. This was not the case)

                                Operation abandoned after further E-Boat and air attacks.

                16th        Escort of returning MW11 in continuation

                                (Note: During attack by U205, HMS HERMIONE was torpedoed and sunk

.                               For full details of this disastrous and operation and its ill-direction by the shore

                                authorities see BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre, ENGAGE

                                THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett) and MALTA CONVOYS by

                                R Woodman

                17th        Arrived at Port Said with convoy and returned to Flotilla duties at Alexandria.

                22nd       Resumed duties with Flotilla in Alexandria.

                30th        Carried out Anti-submarine patrols off Alexandria after HM Submarine Depot Ship MEDWAY

                                had been torpedoed and sunk by U372.

 

July                         Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean with Flotilla.

                11th        Took part in bombardment of Mersa Matruh with other ships of Flotilla during which an

                                ammunition ship was sunk.

                20th        Escorted HM Cruisers DIDO and EURYALUS with HM Escort Destroyer DULVERTON

                                during further bombardment of Mersa Matruh.

                29th        Bombarded El Daba with HM Escort Destroyers ERIDGE, CROOME and HURWORTH.

                                In action with E-Boats during which HMS ERIDGE was hit by torpedo and disabled.

                                Towed disabled destroyer to Alexandria and under air attacks.

 

August                  Deployed with Flotilla in Eastern Mediterranean for patrol and support of Tobruk garrison.

                                Provided screen for ships of 15th Cruiser Squadron during searches for German supply convoys

                                to North African ports.

 

September             Nominated for support of assault on Tobruk (Operation AGREEMENT).

                12th        Joined HM Escort Destroyers BEAUFORT, EXMOOR and HURWORTH.

                                Embarked Royal Marines and took passage for Tobruk with HM Destroyers SIKH and

                                ZULU.

                13th        Deployed in support of attempted landings at Tobruk.

                                Under heavy and sustained air attacks with shore fire..

                14th        Detached to refuel at Alexandria and on completion sent to support return from Tobruk of

                                damaged destroyer HMS ZULU with HM Escort Destroyer BELVOIR and HM Tug BRIGAND.

                                Recalled after HMS ZULU had sunk.

                                (For full details of this ill-conceived and totally failed operation costing many lives and several

                                ships, see MASSACRE AT TOBRUK by P Smith and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.

 

October                  Eastern Mediterranean support and escort duties in continuation.

 

November

                16th        Part of escort for Convoy MW13 to Malta (Operation STONEAGE).

                18th        Under sustained air attacks during which HM Cruiser ARETHUSA was torpedoed and badly

                                damaged with many casualties.

                                After return to Alexandria carried out sea burial of some of those killed in HMS ARETHUSA

                                during defence of Convoy MW13.

 

December              Deployed with Flotilla for escort of ships of 15th Cruiser Squadron.

                1st           Part of escort for Malta relief Convoy MW14 (Operation PORTCULLIS).

                5th          Convoy arrived in Malta without loss.

                                (Note: Air cover was available from Tunisia.)

                                On return to Alexandria escorted merchant ships from Malta..

                                Escorted Supply Convoy to Benghazi and on completion went to Malta for return of convoy to

                                Alexandria.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Deployed on escort of convoys to Tripoli.

 

February                Eastern Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

                2nd         Carried out search for survivors from HM Minelaying Cruiser WELSHMAN which had

                                been torpedoed and sunk off Tobruk on 1st February.

 

March                    Embarked army personnel and Maltese civilians at Alexandria for passage to Malta and

                                deployed in Eastern Mediterranean for anti-submarine and convoy interception patrols..

                                (Note: Between December 1942 and March 1943 steamed more miles than any other ship in the

                                5th Flotilla).

 

April                       On completion of Boiler Clean and maintenance in Alexandria embarked Maltese civilians for

                                passage to Malta and escorted convoy.

                                Detached to cover passage of merchant ship with engine trouble to Tobruk.

                                Grounded in Gulf of Sollum, 160 miles East of Tobruk.

                                Pulled clear and then was towed to Alexandria by HM Destroyer JERVIS screened by the

                                Minesweepers BOSTON and SEAHAM. Taken in hand for repair.

                                Docking showed damage to shaft and propellers.

                                Defective items replaced from HM Escort Destroyer BRIDGE that had been declared a

                                constructive loss after being damaged in August 1942.

                                During post repair trials embarked a party of WRNS.

 

May                        Took part in blockade of Cape Bon to prevent enemy evacuation.

                                To ensure recognition by allied aircraft upper deck and superstructure amidships were painted

                                red (Operation RETRIBUTION).

                                Bombarded Kelebia and intercepted Italian Hospital ship carrying troops which was escorted

                                back to Tunisian coast.

                                Landed party on Island of Zembra, Tunisia and took captured German and Italian prisoners to

                                Malta.

 

June                        Eastern Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

                                Nominated for service with Escort Group P in Support Force East during planned allied landings

                                in Sicily

                                (Operation HUSKY See Naval Staff History and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by

                                J de Winser.)

 

July

                5th          Sailed from Port Said as part of escort for military convoy MWF36.

                6th          Detached to refuel.

                7th          Deployed with Escort Group P.

                8th          Lead convoy of Tank Landing Craft from Malta to beachhead.

                9th          Carried out Anti-submarine Patrol off beaches.

                10th        Deployed off Beach head with HM Escort Destroyer BEAUFORT.)

                                Escorted HM Monitor EREBUS for shore bombardment of gun batteries

                12th        Provided assistance to HM Destroyer ESKIMO after bomb attack.

                                Transferred wounded to Hospital Ship ABBA.

                13th        Escorted HMS EREBUS with HM Escort Destroyer ROCKWOOD for bombardment of Cap

                                Da Croce.

                                Rescued British Paratroops from rafts after their US aircraft crashed.

                14th        Deployed on support and patrol duty off Sicilian coast.

 

August                  Sicilian support and patrol in continuation.

                6th          Detached from Escort Group and returned to Alexandria

                7th          On passage rescued German airman from raft.

 

September             Deployed with Force Z for allied occupation of Taranto after Italian surrender.

                                During passage passed Italian naval units en route to Malta.

                                Returned to Alexandria for support of military operations in Aegean to prevent German

                                replacement of Italian garrison.

 

October                  Deployed on escort of convoys to reinforce British troops in Aegean.

                                Carried out interception patrols with cruisers and destroyers from Alexandria.

                                Subjected to sustained air attacks and constrained by fuel limitations.

                                (For details of the disastrous attempt to occupy Cos, Leros and other islands see WAR IN THE

                                AEGEAN by Peter Smith and E Walker, and THE LAST DESTROYER).

                1st           Sailed from Alexandria with Greek escort destroyers THEMISTOCLES and MIAOULIS

                                for patrol of Kaso Strait

                3rd          Due to shortage of fuel unable to attack invasion craft reported by aircraft and had to return to

                                Alexandria.

                4th          Passage Limassol after refuelling with HMS ROCKWOOD and Greek THEMISTOCLES

                                and MIAOULIS for operations in defence of Cos.

                8th          Deployed on interception patrol in Aegean.

                14th        Bombarded Alinda, Leros with HM Destroyers PENN and BLENCATHRA.

                16th        Bombarded Cos with HMS PENN.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in South France.

                                (Operation DRAGOON See Naval Staff History (HMSO, 2001).)

                22nd       Deployed with HM Cruiser PHOEBE and HM Escort Destroyer HURSLEY to carry out a

                                diversionary sweep during reinforcement of Leros garrison.

                23rd        Embarked troops from HM Destroyer PETARD for daylight stay in Turkish waters.

                24th        Landed troops after nightfall.

 

November              Aegean deployment in continuation.

                13th        Passage to Turkish waters for daylight stay.

                14th        Reinforced destroyer force at Leros with HM Destroyers PENN and BLENCATHRA after

                                daylight stay and bombarded German concentration in Alinda-Gurna area with HMS

                                BLENCATHRA and HMS PENN.

                                Under Glider Bomb attack during subsequent search for landing craft.

                                Returned to Turkish waters.

                15th        Carried out further search for enemy build-up convoys overnight and came under shore fire after

                                dawn.

                                Retired to Turkish waters.

                16th        Embarked wounded brought from Cos by small craft.

                                Covered tow of HM Escort Destroyer ROCKWOOD to Alexandria by HMS BLENCATHRA.

 

December

                4th          Relieved HM Destroyers JERVIS and PENN with HMS EXMOOR as escort for the damaged

                                Greek destroyer ADRIAS under tow to Alexandria by HM Tug BRIGAND.

                6th          Arrived at Alexandria to massive reception for heroic Greek captain.

                                Under repair in Alexandria and resumed local patrol duty.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Transferred to 22nd Destroyer Flotilla and took passage to Algiers.

                                Deployed on escort of military convoys in central Mediterranean.

 

February                Convoy defence duties in continuation.

to

March

 

April                       Withdrawn for refit and maintenance at Haifa.

                                On completion returned to rejoin Flotilla at Algiers and escorted convoy from Alexandria

 

May                        Convoy escort in continuation and deployed for support of operations in Adriatic

to                            including attacks on bases for E-Boats which attacked allied shipping.

June                        Engaged and sank E-Boat attacking HM Escort Destroyer ATHERSTONE during defence

                                of convoy.

 

July                         Nominated for support of allied landings in South of France under US command.

                                (Operation DRAGOON - For details see INVASION OF SOUTH FRANCE (HMSO).

                                Deployed as part of escort for convoys to Naples, Syracuse and ports in Southern Italy in

                                preparation for DRAGOON

 

August                  Passage to Naples for convoy escort duty.

                13th        Sailed with HM Escort Destroyers BLACKMORE, BEAUFORT, EGGESFORD, BELVOIR,

                                WHADDON and LAUDERDALE and the Greek destroyer PINDOS as escort for military

                                convoy SM2 from Naples.

                15th        Arrived in Assault area.

                17th        Returned to RN control at end of first phase of DRAGOON.

                                Passage to resumed duties in Adriatic with call at Naples.

                                Resumed deployment in Adriatic with Flotilla.

 

September             Escort and patrol duties in support of partisan operations in continuation.

                                Carried out shore bombardments and landed parties for covert missions.

                                Passage to Malta for refit.

 

October

                1st           Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Malta.

                                On completion of post refit trials deployed in Malta.

                                Embarked Vice Admiral Malta for visit to Tunis.

                                Returned to Malta

 

November              Resumed duties in Adriatic with HM Destroyers ATHERSTONE, AVON VALE,

                                BROCKLESBY, LAMERTON, LAUDERDALE, QUANTOCK, WHEATLAND, WILTON and Greek

                                PINDOS.

                                Carried out Shore Bombardments, interception patrols and support of Partisans.

                                Under attack by Explosive Motor Boat near Lusspicoolo which failed.

                                During Rest and Recreation Period at Ancona deployed for interception of German Hospital

                                Carrier BONN which was taken and escorted to Ancona.

                                (Note: During later search, naval and military personnel were found on board.)

 

December              Adriatic deployment in continuation.

                9th          Deployed with HIS ATHERSTONE for bombardment duties in support of Partisans.

                                Bombarded target on Rab Island

                13th        Deployed with HMS ATHERSTONE for support of Partisans.

                                Embarked Partisan Senior Officer at Vir Bay.

                                Bombarded gun battery with (M Destroyer ATHERSTONE at Karlobag and supported a

                14th        Landed Partisans at Pag Town. (Operation EXTERMINATE)

                                During return passage detonated mine in position W.30N 14.50E (NW of Planik Is, off Velebit

                                Planina.

                                Ship sank quickly with many casualties.

                                (Note: Out of a complement of 189 only 67 survived.

                                65 were rescued by HMS ATHERSTONE and one each by HM Landing Craft (Gun) 12

                                and HM Motor Launch 1162.

                                HMS ALDENHAM was the last Royal Navy Destroyer sunk during WW2.

                                Free French LA COMBATTANT (Ex HUNT Class Escort Destroyer HALDON, on loan

                                to Free French Navy was sunk on 23rd Feb. 1945).

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ALDENHAM

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

 

 

 

 

 

07/04/42

07/04/42

AS 002A

19/04/42

19/04/42

23/05/42

23/05/42

TA 044/M

25/05/42

25/05/42

03/06/42

03/06/42

TA 046/M

05/06/42

05/06/42

11/06/42

11/06/42

MW 011

16/06/42

16/06/42

01/12/42

01/12/42

MW 014

05/12/42

05/12/42

07/12/42

07/12/42

ME 011

09/12/42

11/12/42

06/12/42

09/12/42

MW 015

10/12/42

09/12/42

09/12/42

11/12/42

MW 016

12/12/42

12/12/42

17/12/42

17/12/42

ME 012

20/12/42

20/12/42

28/12/42

28/12/42

MW 018

02/01/43

02/01/43

07/01/43

07/01/43

MW 019

11/01/43

11/01/43

13/01/43

13/01/43

ME 015

18/01/43

18/01/43

21/01/43

21/01/43

MH 003/M

26/03/43

26/01/43

27/01/43

27/01/43

ME 016

01/02/43

01/02/43

17/05/43

22/05/43

KMS 014X

26/05/43

26/05/43

24/05/43

29/05/43

GTX 001

30/05/43

04/06/43

31/05/43

08/06/43

KMS 015

14/06/43

14/06/43

18/06/43

18/06/43

XTG 002

unknown

29/06/43

05/07/43

05/07/43

MWF 036

10/07/43

10/07/43

03/08/43

07/08/43

MWF 039

10/08/43

10/08/43

19/08/43

19/08/43

MKF 022

21/08/43

09/09/43

06/08/43

30/08/43

UGS 014

01/09/43

02/09/43

30/08/43

30/08/43

GUS 014

01/09/43

26/09/43

17/09/43

18/09/43

MKF 024

23/09/43

07/10/43

15/09/43

25/09/43

KMF 024

29/09/43

29/09/43

03/01/44

03/01/44

XIF 007

08/01/44

08/01/44

09/01/44

unknown

IXF 007

unknown

17/01/44

20/01/44

20/01/44

MKF 028

31/01/44

07/02/44

20/01/44

20/01/44

SNF 013

22/01/44

22/01/44

20/01/44

20/01/44

XIF 008

25/01/44

25/01/44

03/02/44

03/02/44

NSF 014

06/02/44

06/02/44

07/02/44

07/02/44

SNF 014

11/02/44

11/02/44

17/02/44

17/02/44

NSF 015

20/02/44

20/02/44

21/02/44

21/02/44

SNF 015

24/02/44

24/02/44

21/02/44

28/02/44

KMF 029

05/03/44

05/03/44

18/02/44

01/03/44

UGS 033A

03/03/44

29/02/44

11/03/44

12/03/44

XIF 011

16/03/44

16/03/44

16/03/44

17/03/44

IXF 011

21/03/44

21/03/44

23/03/44

unknown

XIF 012

unknown

28/03/44

29/03/44

29/03/44

IXF 012

02/04/44

02/04/44

15/05/44

15/05/44

MKF 031

22/05/44

29/05/44

24/05/44

24/05/44

NSF 023

27/05/44

27/05/44

28/05/44

28/05/44

SNF 023

31/05/44

31/05/44

06/06/44

06/06/44

NSF 024

09/06/44

09/06/44

10/06/44

10/06/44

SNF 024

13/06/44

13/06/44

13/08/44

13/08/44

SM 002A

15/08/44

15/08/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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