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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 HOLCOMBE (L 56) - Type III, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Stevenstone, Type III sister ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

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Type III HUNT Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Alex Steven at Govan on 23 August 1940 under the 1940 War Emergency Programme and laid down on 3rd April 1941 as Job No J1489. The ship was launched on 14th April 1942 as the 1st RN warship to carry the name of this Lancashire fox-hunt. Build was completed on 19th September 1942 and the ship was adopted by the civil community of Farnworth, Lancashire, following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

MEDITERRANEAN 1943 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO  1943

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  Barry wavy of six white and blue. Badge , a hunting horn

recet Gold enfiled with a wreath of Red roses proper.

 

 

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

 

September             Contractors trials and commissioned for service.

                19th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                Took passage to Scapa Flow on completion of trials and storing.

 

October                  Worked-up for operational service at Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet.

                                Allocated for service in the Mediterranean.

                30th        Joined military convoy WS24 at Liverpool with HM Destroyers OFFA, ONSLOW, ORIBI

                                and ROTHERHAM as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

 

November

                3rd          Detached from WS24 on arrival of Ocean Escort and took passage to Freetown.

                                (Note: This convoy was routed to Bahia instead of Freetown because of the transit

                                of US convoys to North Africa for Operation TORCH landings.

                                Retained at Freetown for convoy defence.

 

December              Retained at Freetown for escort of convoys off West Africa.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Transferred to Gibraltar.

                26th        Took passage from Freetown as part of escort for HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS

                                that was returning to UK for refit after service in the Indian Ocean.

 

February                Joined 59th Destroyer Division at Gibraltar for convoy defence and patrol in the

                                western Mediterranean.

 

March                    Part of escort for military convoy KMF10A to Algiers.

 

April                       Part of escort for military convoy UGS8 and KMF15.

 

May                        Nominated for support of allied landings in Sicily (operation HUSKY)

to                            Part of escort for convoys KMS18, KMF18 and KMF19 to Algiers prior to landings.

June

 

July                         Deployed with Support Force East for convoy defence during passage of assault convoys

                                to Sicily.

                                Passage to Bizerta.

                7th          Deployed with Escort Group T as escort for military Convoy KMS18

                8th          Detached from KMS18 and joined escort for military Convoy KMF18

                9th          Detached from KMF18 and took passage to Tunis for HUSKY support

                                For details of HUSKY see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett,

                                Naval Staff History and for details of all ships involved BRITISH INVASION FLEETS

                                by J de Winser.

                10th        Deployed off Beach Head for AA Defence, naval gunfire support and defensive patrol

                                against E-Boat attacks.

 

August                  Convoy defence and support in continuation.

                                Transferred to 46th Escort Group for duty with Support Carrier Force (TF88) as escort

                                for HM Cruisers EURYALUS, SCYLLA, CHARYBDIS, HM Light Fleet Carrier

                                UNICORN, HM Escort Carriers BATTLER, ATTACKER, HUNTER and STALKER

                                with HM Destroyers CLEVELAND, ATHERSTONE, LIDDESDALE, FARNDALE,

                                CALPE, HAYDON, Polish destroyers ORP KRAKOWIAK and ORP SLAZAK.

 

September

                9th          Deployed with Force V as screen for Escort Aircraft Carriers during landings at Salerno.

                to            (Operation AVALANCHE For details see above references,)

                11th

 

October                  On release from AVALANCHE deployed for convoy escort and patrol in central

                                Mediterranean.

 

November              Transferred to HUNT Mediterranean Flotilla based in Malta for convoy defence in western

                                Mediterranean.

 

December              Deployed as part of escort for military convoy KMS34 with H M Frigate CUCKMERE,

                                HM Escort Destroyers CALPE and TYNEDALE, US Destroyers USS NIBLACK, USS

                                BENSON and USS WAINWRIGHT during passage in central Mediterranean

                11th        Convoy under attack by U223 off Algiers during which HMS Frigate CUCKMERE was

                                torpedoed and sustained major damage,

                                (Note: This ship was later taken under tow to Algiers where she was found beyond economic

                                repair.)

                12th        Convoy under attack by U593 during which HM Escort Destroyer TYNEDALE torpedoed by

                                U593 off Bougie and sank in position 37.10N 06.05E.

                                Took part in search for U593 with other escorts from KMS34 and three WELLINGTON

                                aircraft from 36 and 458 Squadrons RAF without success.

                                During the search operation, hit aft by T5 Homing Torpedo from U593-

                                Oil fuel from after tanks ignited and ship settled rapidly by the stem.

                                Ship sank rapidly in less than 5 minutes in position 37-20N 05.50E.

                                Only 80 of ships company survived with 84 others missing or died later of wounds.

                                (Note: U593 was force to surface on 13th December after sighting by aircraft and depth charge

                                attacks by USS WAINWRIGHT and HMS CALPE.

                                This submarine was scuttled by crew in position 37-58N 05.58E and all the crew survived.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of  HMS HOLCOMBE

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

 

 

 

 

 

13/11/42

13/11/42

ST 042

18/11/42

18/11/42

29/11/42

29/11/42

TS 026

04/12/42

04/12/42

24/12/42

24/12/42

ST 050

unknown

29/12/42

19/12/42

28/12/42

CF 010

29/12/42

31/12/42

30/12/42

30/12/42

ST 051

01/01/43

unknown

01/01/43

01/01/43

CF 010A

05/01/43

08/01/43

08/02/43

14/02/43

KMF 009

16/02/43

16/02/43

17/02/43

17/02/43

MKF 009

19/02/43

24/02/43

26/02/43

06/03/43

KMS 010G

08/03/43

11/03/43

06/03/43

08/03/43

MKF 010A

09/03/43

14/03/42

02/04/43

11/04/43

UGF 007

13/04/43

12/04/43

16/04/43

22/04/43

KMF 013

23/04/43

23/04/43

27/04/43

27/04/43

ET 019

02/05/43

02/05/43

14/04/43

03/05/43

UGS 007A

07/05/43

07/05/43

09/05/43

09/05/43

ET 020

14/05/43

14/05/43

24/05/43

24/05/43

GTX 001

30/05/43

04/06/43

04/06/43

04/06/43

MKS 014

11/06/43

09/06/43

01/07/43

11/07/43

KMF 019

13/07/43

11/07/43

14/07/43

14/07/43

MKF 019

18/07/43

30/07/43

23/07/43

23/07/43

GTX 004

29/07/43

03/08/43

09/08/43

11/08/43

KMS 022

20/08/43

20/08/43

25/08/43

25/08/43

MKS 023

04/09/43

03/09/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 13/8/11
further editing and formatting is required