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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 WILTON (L 128) - Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Bicester, Type II sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

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Type II  HUNT Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Yarrow's at Scotstoun. Glasgow  on 4th September 1939 in the 1939 War Emergency Programme and laid down as Job No J1850 on 7th June 1940. She was launched on 17th October 1941 as the 1st RN warship to carry the name, that of a fox-hunt in Wiltshire. Build was completed on 18th February 1942. This ship was initially allocated for adoption by the civil community of the New Forest Urban District in Hampshire after a successful  WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942, but later this was changed to East Retford in Nottinghamshire.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ARCTIC  1942 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - AEGEAN  1943 - MEDITERRANEAN 1944 - ADRIATIC 1944 - NORTH SEA 1945

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White, an eagle's head erased Green

gorged with a chain pendant therefrom a bugle horn 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

 

February                Contractor's sea trials and commissioned for service with 8th Destroyer flotilla, Home Fleet.

                18th        Build completion date and commenced Acceptance Trials.

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

 

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

                                On completion of work-up joined Flotilla at Scapa Flow and deployed for escort and patrol in

                                NW Approaches.

 

April

                4th          Part of Western Local Escort for Russian Convoy PQ14 with HM Trawlers NORTHERN WAVE

                                and CHILTERN.

                12th        Detached from PQ14 and returned to Scapa Flow with ice damage.

                                For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg,

                                CONVOY! by P Kemp, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield and ARCTIC CONVOYS

                                by R Woodman).

                22nd       Taken in hand for repair in Thames commercial shipyard.

 

May                        Under repair

                19th        Rejoined Flotilla on completion of post refit trials.

                21st         Convoy defence and patrol duties in continuation.

 

June

                1st           Detached for escort of HM Auxiliary Minelayers MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON,

                                SOUTHERN PRINCE and HM Minelaying Cruiser ADVENTURE of 1st Minelaying

                                Squadron with HM Destroyers ST MARY'S, NEWARK and INTREPID during minelay of a

                                section of the Northern Barrage in Denmark Strait

                                (Operation SN72 - See Naval Staff History (MINING).

                30th        Part of the Ocean escort for Russian Convoy PQ17 with HM Destroyers FURY, KEPPEL,

                                LEAMINGTON, LEDBURY, OFFA, HM Corvettes DIANELLA, LA MALOUINE, LOTUS

                                and POPPY.

 

July

                4th          Detached with Ocean Escort when convoy was scattered on Admiralty order and took passage

                                to join Home Fleet cruisers providing cover for PQ17 and returning QP13.

                23rd        Escorted Fleet Auxiliary BLACK RANGER during operation to refuel Home Fleet destroyers

                                taking ammunition and stores to North Russia.

                29th        Joined military convoy WS21 in Clyde with HM Destroyer BRAMHAM as part of escort

                               during Atlantic passage

 

August

                2nd         Detached from WS21 and joined escort for WS21S during passage to Gibraltar.

                                (Operation PEDESTAL - For details see PEDESTAL by Peter Smith, THE BATTLE FOR THE

                                MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre, MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman and Naval Staff

                                History.)

                10th        Part of Close Escort (Force X) for passage with convoy through Sicilian Narrows to Malta.

                11th        Under attack by submarine during which HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE was sunk.

                12th        Detached with HM Escort Destroyers BICESTER and DERWENT to escort damaged cruiser

                                HMS NIGERIA to Gibraltar after being torpedoed by the Italian submarine AXUM.

                17th        Passage to rejoin Flotilla at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet duties.

 

September             Deployed with Flotilla in NW Approaches

                9th          Escorted FM Escort Carrier AVENGER with H M Escort Destroyer WHEATLAND for air

                                operation during passage of Russian Convoy PQ 18 and return Convoy QP14.

                                Detached from PQ18 with HMS AVENGER, HM Cruiser SCYLLA and Fighting Escort'.

                                Joined escort for PQ 14 in continuation.

                20th        Detached from QP14 as escort for HM Cruiser SCYLLA and HM Escort Aircraft

                                Carrier AVENGER with HM Escort Destroyers WHEATLAND and WILTON

                                because of increasing threat of submarine attack

                                (Note: Flag transferred to HM Destroyer MILNE.)

 

October                  Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.

                                Nominated for detached service in support of allied landings in North Africa.

                                (Operation TORCH - For details see Naval Staff History and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS

                                by J de Winser fir information about all ships involved)

                                Took passage to Gibraltar with FMS WHEATLAND.

 

November

                2nd         Joined 57th Destroyer Division at Gibraltar and prepared for escort and support of landings at

                                Algiers.

                8th          Deployed to provide inshore escort during assault operation.

                9th          Under attack by torpedo and weapon passed beneath ship.

                10th        Provided inshore escort for landings at Bougie.

                12th        Deployed for escort of follow up convoys for North African military operations.

 

December              Convoy escort and patrol in continuation.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Mediterranean Convoy escort and patrol in continuation.

 

February                Participated in search for U443 off Algiers with HM Escort Destroyers BICESTER,

                                LAMERTON and WHEATLAND in defence of military Convoy KMF10A.

                                (Note: This submarine was later sunk in position 36.55N 02.57E without survivors).

 

March                    Convoy defence and support in continuation.

to

April

 

May                        Deployed for interception of escaping enemy craft evacuating troops from Cape Bon area

                                (Operation RETRIBUTION -See above references).

                                Bombarded enemy positions at Kelebia.

June                        Convoy defence and patrol in continuation.

                                Nominated for escort of assault landings in Sicily.

                                (Operation HUSKY - See above references).

 

July                         Joined Escort Group X with HMS WHEATLAND as part of Support Force East.

                                Passage to Algiers

                7th          Part of escort for assault convoy from Algiers to Beach Head in Sicily

                10th        After arrival deployed for convoy defence in central Mediterranean.

 

August                  Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

to                            (Note: No Battle Honour ANZIO awarded but ship may have taken part in defence

November              of convoys to Salerno Beachhead between September and October).

 

December              Under repair.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Detached for duty with Northern Attack Force Peter for Anzio landings.

                                (Operation SHINGLE - See above references and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.)

                21st         Deployed in support of landings with HM Escort Destroyers BEAUFORT and BRECON of

                to            Northern Attack Force).

                29th        Subjected to air and submarine attacks.

 

February                On release from SHINGLE resumed convoy defence role in Central Mediterranean.

 

March                    Central Mediterranean deployment in continuation based in Naples.

                29th        Took part in search for U223 with HM Destroyers LAFOREY and TUMULT.

                                Carried out series of depth charge attacks.

                30th        Detached from search operation.

                                Carried out series of depth charge attacks.

April                       Transferred to Adriatic and supported military operations off Albania

to

September

 

October                  Deployed in support of capture of Corfu and Sarande. Provided naval gunfire to support.

                4th          Provided naval gunfire support during military operations

                to

                8th

 

November              Adriatic military support and patrol in continuation.

 

December

                3rd          Deployed with three other destroyers and MTB's in support of attack on Uissinpicolo.

                                Base for explosive motor boats used for attacks on shipping was destroyed.

                17th        Carried out bombardment of Fort Asino.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployment in Adriatic and Aegean for military support, interception patrol and convoy

                                defence in continuation.

 

February                Nominated for return to UK for defence of coastal convoys.

 

March                    Passage to Sheerness to join 21st Destroyer Flotilla.

                                (Note: During this period there had been a significant increase in minelaying in Nore

                                Command by E-Boats and submarines requiring additional destroyers in the

                                Thames estuary for patrol and defence of convoys to the continent).

 

April                       Deployed with Flotilla in North Sea.

 

May                        After VE Day remained in Nore Command for support of re-occupation operations.

 

June                        Nominated for service in East Indies and transferred to Plymouth Command.

                                To be refitted in Simonstown prior to foreign service.

 

July                         Passage to South Africa.

 

August                  Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS WILTON completed refit in January 1946 and returned to UK to Pay-off and reduce to Reserve at Plymouth in February 1946. The ship remained in the Reserve Fleet at Plymouth until 1949 when she re- commissioned for service in the 4th Training Flotilla. Later this destroyer was disarmed and used as an Air Target ship. She was again placed in Reserve and laid up at Cardiff in 1953 for five years. Placed on the Disposal List in 1959 the ship was sold to Shipbreaking Industries for demolition at Faslane. She arrived at the breakerís yard in the Clyde on 4th December 1959 and her scrap value was £22,900.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS WILTON

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

 

 

 

 

 

26/03/42

08/04/42

PQ 014

12/04/42

19/04/42

27/06/42

30/06/42

PQ 017

04/07/42

04/07/42

02/09/42

09/09/42

PQ 018

17/09/42

21/09/42

13/09/42

17/09/42

QP 014

20/09/42

26/09/42

26/10/42

06/11/42

KMF 001

08/11/42

08/11/42

18/11/42

18/11/42

TE 003A

unknown

unknown

27/11/42

06/12/42

KMF 004

07/12/42

07/12/42

11/12/42

11/12/42

MKF 004Y

12/12/42

24/12/42

18/12/42

18/12/42

ET 006

19/12/42

22/12/42

22/12/42

22/12/42

MKS 004

23/12/42

06/01/43

11/01/43

14/01/43

TE 013

15/01/43

15/01/43

19/01/43

19/01/43

MKS 006

22/01/43

01/02/43

03/03/43

03/03/43

TE 017

05/03/43

05/03/43

06/03/43

06/03/43

ET 013

08/03/43

09/03/43

11/03/43

11/03/43

ET 013X

13/03/43

13/03/43

01/04/43

03/04/43

TE 020

04/04/43

04/04/43

04/04/43

04/04/43

ET 017

09/04/43

09/04/43

22/04/43

22/04/43

MKS 012

26/04/43

04/05/43

24/05/43

24/05/43

GTX 001

28/05/43

04/06/43

08/06/43

11/06/43

GTX 002

14/06/43

19/06/43

29/06/43

29/06/43

MKS 016A

06/07/43

09/07/43

28/06/43

07/07/43

KMF 018

unknown

11/07/43

23/07/43

23/07/43

KMS 019T

24/07/43

24/07/43

17/10/43

17/10/43

MKF 025

21/10/43

04/11/43

25/11/43

25/11/43

VN 010

27/11/43

27/11/43

05/12/43

05/12/43

VN 011

07/12/43

07/12/43

24/01/44

24/01/44

VN 017

25/01/44

25/01/44

04/02/44

04/02/44

VN 019

06/02/44

06/02/44

04/06/44

04/06/44

VN 044

05/06/44

05/06/44

13/06/44

13/06/44

VN 046

14/06/44

14/06/44

26/06/44

26/06/44

VN 049

27/06/44

27/06/44

06/07/44

06/07/44

VN 051

07/07/44

07/07/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 13/8/11
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