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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS BERKELEY (L 17) -  Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer

HMS Berkeley (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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Type I HUNT-Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead under the 1939 Build Programme and laid down on 8th June 1939 as  No J3302. The ship was launched on 29th January 1940 and the first RN warship to carry the name. Build was completed on 6th June 1940. In March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign. An association also exists with the Berkeley fox hunt and the name was this name was again used for a Mine Counter Measures Ship in the 1970's.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l  d  i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Gold. Upon a  Red roundel, in front of two hunting horns

                                   in saltire gold and a cross patee white.


M o t t o

Dieu avec nous:   'God with us’



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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June                        Contractors trials and commissioned for service

                6th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance trials

                                On completion of trials and storing, work-up delayed because of shortage of destroyers in

                                Home waters because of the heavy losses and damage to destroyers whilst covering evacuation

                                of allied troops from France.

                                Deployed for evacuation of troops and civilian personnel from ports in Channel and Bay of Biscay.

                                (Operation AERIAL – For details see BEF SHIPS by J de Winser.)

                7th          Carried out unsuccessful attack on submarine during passage to Channel deployment.

                                (Note: This date is to be confirmed as the source records attack was made during escort in Bay of

                                Biscay. As ship was completed and carried out Acceptance Trials on 6th this seems most


                16th        Deployed at La Pallice and returned to UK as escort for two mercantiles carrying RAF personnel.

                                Passage to Bordeaux with demolition party (Operation XD)

                                Deployed at Bordeaux as communication link.

                20th        Relieved by HM Destroyer BEAGLE.

                23rd        Deployed for evacuation at Le Verdon.

                25th        Returned to Plymouth with evacuees including Paris Embassy staff.

                                Joined 1st Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth for convoy escort and patrol duty in English Channel

                               and North Sea.


July                         Deployed for Flotilla duties based at Portsmouth.

                                (Note: Delayed work-up was probably carried out.)



                5th          Escorted ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron with HM Cruiser CALCUTTA, sister Escort Destroyer

                                HMS GARTH and Home Fleet destroyers during minelay in SW Approaches to Irish Sea.

                                (Operation SN32 - For details of all minelaying operations see Naval Staff History (Mining)).


September             Carried out offensive sweep for German invasion craft between Le Touquet and Cap d’Antifer.


October                  Deployed en convoy escort duty in English Channel and North Sea.

to November



                19th        Deployed for support of Coastal Forces craft in operation against E-Boats.

                20th        Sustained damage by mine in Outer Medway sea area.

                                Taken in hand for repair at HM Dockyard, Chatham.


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January                  On completion resumed Flotilla convoy escort duties.


February                Channel deployment in continuation.

                22nd       Detached to escort HM Destroyer ICARUS during lay of minefield between Le Havre and

                                and Cherbourg with HM Destroyer VANSITTART and HM Escort Destroyer TYNEDALE

                                (Operation JK).


March                   Convoy defence and patrol duty in English Channel

to                            Detached for operations against E-Boats with Coastal Forces.

December              (See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith and BATTLE OF THE NARROW SEA by

                                P Scott for details of coastal activities).


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January                  Convoy defence and patrol deployments in continuation.



                15th        Took part in unsuccessful attempt to intercept German battleships SCHARNHORST and

                                GNEISENAU during the Channel Dash from France to Germany.

                                (For details see HOLD THE NARROW SEA and THE CHANNEL DASH by T Robertson).


March                    Deployed on Channel and East Coast convoy escort and patrol duty

to April                  (See HOLD THE NARROW SEA and THE BATTLE OF THE NARROW SEAS).


May                        Continuation of convoy defence duties.

                12th        Escorted HM Cruiser BERWICK from Portsmouth to Rosyth with HMS BLENCATHRA.


June                        Flotilla convoy escort duties in Channel and North Sea.


July                         Nominated for support of raid on Dieppe with HM Escort Destroyers ALBRIGHTON,

                                BLEASDALE, CALPE, GARTH, BROCKLESBY, FERNIE and Polish ORP

                                SLAZAK (Operation JUBILEE). Deployed for preliminary exercises for planned assault.


August                  Operation delayed and security may have been compromised.

                18th        Escorted raiding force for Dieppe landings.

                19th        Under air attack off Dieppe and received 2 direct hits forward of Bridge on starboard side.

                                Ship's back was broken causing severe flooding of all the forward compartments.

                                Damage was beyond control ship and ship abandoned.

                                Survivors rescued by HMS ALBRIGHTON and Steam Gunboats of Coastal Forces.

                                Hulk was then sunk by torpedoes from HMS ALBRIGHTON.

                                (For details of this disastrous operation see BATTLE OF THE NARROW SEAS. THE

                                WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson and Naval Staff History.)

                                (Note: The lessons learnt at high cost in lives and material were however embodied in the

                                planning of the allied landings in Normandy in 1944 (Operation NEPTUNE).)






by Don Kindell



 no convoys are listed



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