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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 MIDDLETON (L 74) - Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Middleton (Malcolm Fairs, click image to enlarge)

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Type II HUNT Class Escort Destroyer ordered from Vickers Armstrong (Tyne) on 4th September 1939 under 1939 War Emergency Programme and laid down on 10th April 1940 as Job No J4213. The ship was launched on 12th May 1941 as the first RN Ship to carry this name, that of a Yorkshire fox-hunt. Build was completed on 10 January 1943. .Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Hayes, Middlesex, now part of the London Borough of Hillingdon.

 

B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s

ARCTIC† 1942-43 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - ATLANTIC 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944 - NORTH SEA 1944-45

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge:  On a Field White, a fret Blue and a

hunting horn interlaced Red.

 

 

 

 

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.

                10th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of trials and storing;.

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

                30th        During work-up deployed as part of Local Escort for Russian Convoy PQ6 during initial

                                stage of passage to Iceland in NW Approaches,

February                On completion of work-up deployed with 17th Destroyer Flotilla, at Scapa Flow.

                14th        Escorted Russian Convoy PQ11 from Kirkwall with HM Escort Destroyer AIREDALE, HM

                                Trawlers BLACKFLY, CAPE ARGONA and CAPE MARIATO for part of passage to Iceland.

                17th        Detached from PQ11 and returned to Scapa Flow.

                25th        Part of escort for HM Auxiliary Minelayers MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC

                                and SOUTHERN PRINCE of 1st Minelaying Squadron with HM Destroyer SKATE for lay of

                                a section of Northern Barrage (Operation SN85).

                                Sustained damage in heavy weather and returned for repair.

                                (For details of all minelaying operations see Naval Staff History (MINING))

 

March

                3rd          Taken in hand for repair at commercial shipyard in Immingham.

                17th        On completion resumed Home Fleet Flotilla duties.

                20th        Deployed with screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft

                                Carrier VICTORIOUS, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Cruisers EDINBURGH and KENT of

                                Home Fleet with HM Destroyers ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, ECHO, ESCAPADE, ESKIMO.

                                FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, ICARUS, INGLEFIELD, FURY, MARNE, ONSLOW,

                                PUNJABI, TARTAR and HM Escort Destroyer WHEATLAND providing Distant Cover for

                                passage of Russian Convoy PQ13 and returning QP9.

                                (Note: This heavy Home Fleet presence was required because the German warships TIRPITZ,

                                ADMIRAL SCHEER and ADMIRAL HIPPER were all known to be deployed in the

                                north of Norway to carry out attacks on Russian Convoys.

                                For details of all Russian Convoy operations see ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodman,

                                CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,, CONVOY! by P Kemp and THE RUSSIAN

                                CONVOYS by B. Schoefield).

                                On release from screening duties detached for escort duty in English Channel.

 

April

                1st           Deployed with escort for Commando Raid on shipping at Bayonne.

                                (Operation MYRMIDON - This raid was aborted).

                                Carried out bombardment at Saint Jean de Luz.

                                On release from MYRMIDON resumed duties with Hone Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                8th          Part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carrier

                                VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers KENT and NIGERIA with HM Destroyers BEDOUIN,

                                BELVOIR, ESCAPADE, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR, LEDBURY, MATCHLESS, OFFA,

                                ONSLOW, SOMALI and HM Escort Destroyer WHEATLAND providing Distant Cover for

                                passage of Russian Convoy PQ14 and return Convoy QP10.

                26th        Part of screen for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V, US Battleship USS WASHINGTON,

                                HMS VICTORIOUS, HM Cruiser KENYA, US cruisers TUSCALOOSA and WICHITA with

                                HM Destroyers BELVOIR, ESCAPADE, FAULKNOR, HURSLEY, INGLEFIELD,

                                LAMERTON, ORIBI and PUNJABI, US destroyers USS MADISON, USS PLUNKETT, USS

                                WAINWRIGHT and USS WILSON providing Distant Cover for the transit of Russian Convoy

                                PQ15 and return Convoy QP11.

                                (Note: The US Navy warships had been provided to reinforce Home Fleet because of recent

                                losses  in RN strength).

 

May

                1st           HMS PUNJABI sank after collision in fog with HMS KING GEORGE V which was badly

                                damaged and had to be replaced by HMS DUKE OF YORK.

                13th        Deployed with screen for HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers

                                LIVERPOOL, KENT, LONDON, NIGERIA and NORFOLK with HM Destroyers BLANKNEY,

                                ECLIPSE. ESCAPADE, FAULKNOR, FURY, ICARUS, INGLEFIELD, LAMERTON,

                                MARNE, ONSLOW, ORIBI and WHEATLAND to provide cover for return of HM Cruiser

                                TRINIDAD from Murmansk.

                                (Note: This ship had been under temporary repair following her self-inflicted torpedo damage

                                during action with German destroyers on 29th March. See above references).

                23rd        Part of screen for HMS DUKE OF YORK, USS WASHINGTON, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS

                                LONDON and USS WICHITA.

                                (Note: These Home Fleet units were covering passage of PQ16 and returning QP12.)

 

June                        Detached for escort of Malta Relief Convoy with other ships of Home Fleet.

                                (Operation HARPOON).

                5th          Deployed as part of escort for convoy from Clyde with. HM Cruisers KENYA and

                                LIVERPOOL, HM Destroyers ONSLOW, ICARUS, ESCAPADE, BEDOUIN, MARNE,

                                MATCHLESS, ITHURIEL, BLANKNEY, PARTRIDGE, BADSWORTH and Polish destroyer

                                ORP KUJAWIAK.

                12th        Joined Force X as Close escort for passage of convoy through Sicilian Narrows to Grand

                                Harbour, Malta with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers BEDOUIN, MATCHLESS,

                                MARNE, ITHURIEL, PARTRIDGE, BLANKNEY, BADSWORTH, ORP KUJAWIAK and four

                                Fleet minesweepers.

                14th        Under heavy air attack during which HMS LIVERPOOL was torpedoed.

                                Detached and deployed as escorted for tow of damaged HMS LIVERPOOL by HM Destroyer

                                ANTELOPE to Gibraltar

                18th        Passage to Scapa Flow with Hone Fleet ships.

 

July                         Deployed as part of screen for HMS DUKE OF YORK USS WASHINGTON, HMS

                                VICTORIOUS, HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND and HM Cruiser NIGERIA with HM Destroyers

                                ASHANTI, BLANKNEY, MARNE, ESCAPADE, FAULKNOR, MARTIN, ONSLAUGHT,

                                ONSLOW. WHEATLAND, US destroyers USS MAYRANT and RHIND to provide Distant

                                Cover for transit of Russian Convoy PQ17 and returning Convoy QP13.

                4th          PQ17 scattered on orders from Admiralty because of threat of attack by German warships

                                TIRPITZ, ADMIRAL SCHEER and LUTZOW.

                                (See above references, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and THE CONVOY IS TO

                                SCATTER by J Broome.).

                20th        Embarked stores and ammunition and took passage with HMS MARNE, HMS MARTIN and

                                HMS BLANKNEY to Archangel for replenishment of returning escorts.

                                Refuelled on passage by Royal Fleet Auxiliary BLACK RANGER.

                24th        Arrived Kola Inlet .

                                Retained in North Russia

 

August                  Deployed at Murmansk.

 

September

                13th        Joined Ocean Escort for returning Convoy QP14 with HMS BLANKNEY, .HM Auxiliary AA

                                ships ALYNBANK, PALOMARES and POZARICA, three Fleet minesweepers, four Corvettes

                                and four Trawlers.

                25th        Detached from OP14 on arrival of Local Escort and returned to Scapa Flow.

 

October                  Deployed for escort of convoys between UK and Iceland.

 

November

                22nd       Joined Ocean Escort for returning Convoy QP15 with HM Destroyer LEDBURY.

                30th        Detached from OP15 and returned to Scapa Flow.

 

December

                3rd          Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard at Hull.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January

                4th          Rejoined Home Fleet on completion of post refit trials.

                                Deployed for Western Local Escort duties with Russian Convoys.

                17th        Escorted Russian Convoy JW52 with HM Destroyers BLANKNEY and LEDBURY.

                21st         Detached from JW52 on arrival of destroyers for Ocean Escort.

 

 

February

                5th          Joined return Convoy RA52 with HM Destroyer BLANKNEY.

                8th          Detached from RA52 on arrival at Loch Ewe.

                15th        Escorted Russian Convoy JW53 with HM Destroyers MEYNELL, and PYTCHLEY.

                21st         Detached from JW53 after destroyer escort for ocean passage had arrived.

 

March                    Deployed for escort of UK - Iceland route convoys.

to

July

 

August

                16th        Relieved escort of HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and PORT

                                QUEBEC of 1st Minelaying Squadron during lay of section of Northern Barrage in Denmark

                                Strait to allow refuelling (Operation SN74).

 

September             Home Fleet deployment for convoy defence in continuation.

 

October

                20th        Escorted HM Cruiser LONDON and US cruiser USS AUGUSTA whilst covering passage to

                                North Russia of nine Home Fleet destroyers, two Fleet Minesweepers and a Corvette for

                                escort of returning convoy RA54A (Operation FR).

 

November

                10th        Joined returning Convoy RA54A with HM Escort Destroyer BRISSENDEN and HM

                                Minesweeper HALCYON as Local Western Escort.

                13th        Detached from RA54A before arrival at Loch Ewe.

                22nd       Deployed as Local Escort for Russian Convoy JW54B with HM Destroyers SALADIN.

                25th        Detached from JV54B after arrival of Ocean Escort.

 

December

                5th          Joined return Convoy RA54B as Local Escort with HM Destroyers SKATE, .SALADIN and

                                BRISSENDEN.

                9th          Detached from RA54B on arrival at Loch Ewe and resumed Iceland route duties.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Deployed for escort of UK - Iceland route convoys.

to

February

 

March                    Nominated for refit.

                10th        Taken in hand for refit by Charles Hill at Bristol.

 

April

                7th          Carried out post refit trials.

                10th        Transferred to 1st Destroyer Flotilla based at Portsmouth.

                                Deployed with Flotilla for convoy defence and patrol in Channel area

                20th        In action with French HUNT Class Destroyer LA COMBATTANTE against E-Boats off

                                Beachy Head.

                21st         In action with HM Destroyer VOLUNTEER against attack on WP convoy.

                                One E-Boat was damaged.

 

May                        Nominated for service in Force S of Eastern Task Force to support plannred allied landings

                                in Normandy. (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                (Note: Target allocated in Pre-Arranged Fire Plan - SWORD Area Beaches.)

                                For details of naval activities before and during NEPTUNE see LANDINGS IN

                                NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and

                                D DAY SHIPS by J de Winser for information listing all ships iunvolved.).

                                Detached to join Force S and took part in preliminary exercises.

                2nd         Final rehearsal for Force S, west of Littlehampton (Operation FABIUS)

                18th        Defence Exercise in Channel off Brighton for all Assault Groups.

 

June                        Joined Polish Destroyer ORP SLAZAK for patrol in Channel 10 of the "SPOUT"

                                during passage of ships to Assault area.

                4th          Operation delayed for 24 hours.

                5th          Deployed for Patrol between 15th and 40th Minesweeping Flotillas in Channel 10

                                during passage of Convoy S2

                6th          Provided support gunfire during landings on SWORD beaches with ORP SLAZAK.

                7th          Deployed in Eastern Task Force area for gunfire support and interception patrols

                to            to prevent interference to follow-up convoys by E-Boats or submersibles.

                24th        Replenished at Portsmouth as available.

                25th        On release when NEPTUNE terminated resumed Flotilla duties based at Portsmouth.

 

July                         Convoy defence and support of military operations in continuation.

 

August                  Deployed for Offensive patrols against craft evacuating Channel ports.

                28th        In action against convoy of Landing Craft off Cap d'Antifer.

                                Four of these craft were sunk.

 

September             Channel military support and convoy defence in continuation.

                6th          Under fire from shore batteries at Cap Griz Nez.

                                Transferred to 21st Destroyer Flotilla baaed at Sheerness.

                                (Note: This deployment change was made because of increased mining and submarine

                                activities in Nore Command after advance of allied armies. Convoy routes were

                                under increased threat and number oif escorts increased for patrol and for

                                interception of enemy traffic.)

 

October                  Deployed for convoy defence and patrol in English Channel and North Sea.

to                            (See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith).

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Flotilla deployment based at Harwich in continuation.

to                            (Note: During this period there was a significant increase in U-Boat activity

April                       by SCHNORKEL fitted submarines and minelaying by E-Boats and submersibles.

                                As a result destroyer patrols were introduced to protect military convoys to Channel

                                Ports. See above reference)

 

May                        Deployed in North Sea in support of re-occupation operations.

 

June                        Nominated for deployment in Far East after refit at Simonstown.

 

 

July

                14th        Took passage to Simonstown from Portsmouth.

 

August

                4th          Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.

 

P o s t†† W a r†† N o t e s

 

HMS MIDDLETON completed refit at Simonstown in December 1945 and returned to UK to Pay off and to reduce to Reserve status at Portsmouth. The ship was transferred to lay-up at Penarth in 1953 and a year later transferred to the Reserve Fleet Sub-Division at Gibraltar. Before being placed on the Disposal List she returned to UK and was placed on the Disposal List in 1956. Whilst in use as part of an artificial harbour at Harwich she was sold to BISCO for demolition by Hughes Bolcow. The ship arrived in tow at the breakerís yard on 4th October 1957 and demolition was reported complete in February the next year.

 


 

Addenda

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS MIDDLETON

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

 

 

 

 

 

14/02/42

14/02/42

PQ 011

17/02/42

22/03/42

10/03/42

22/03/42

PQ 013

24/03/42

31/03/42

21/03/42

22/03/42

QP 009

28/03/42

03/04/42

26/03/42

12/04/42

PQ 014

18/04/42

19/04/42

10/04/42

12/04/42

QP 010

18/04/42

21/04/42

10/04/42

28/04/42

PQ 015

04/05/42

05/05/42

28/04/42

28/04/42

QP 011

04/05/42

07/05/42

21/05/42

23/05/42

PQ 016

29/05/42

30/05/42

21/05/42

23/05/42

QP 012

29/05/42

29/05/42

12/06/42

12/06/42

HARPOON

16/06/42

16/06/42

27/06/42

27/06/42

PQ 017

04/07/42

04/07/42

26/06/42

27/06/42

QP 013

04/07/42

07/07/42

13/09/42

13/09/42

QP 014

25/09/42

26/09/42

17/11/42

22/11/42

QP 015

30/11/42

30/11/42

17/01/43

17/01/43

JW 052

21/01/43

27/01/43

29/01/43

05/02/43

RA 052

08/02/43

09/03/43

15/02/43

15/02/43

JW 053

21/02/43

27/02/43

01/11/43

10/11/43

RA 054A

13/11/43

14/11/43

22/11/43

22/11/43

JW 054B

25/11/43

03/12/43

26/11/43

05/12/43

RA 054B

09/12/43

09/12/43

14/04/44

14/04/44

WP 507

16/04/44

16/04/44

12/06/44

12/06/44

ETC 008

14/06/44

14/06/44

02/10/44

02/10/44

ON 257

03/10/44

18/10/44

21/09/44

03/10/44

HX 310

06/10/44

05/10/44

20/10/44

20/10/44

ON 261

23/10/44

05/11/44

10/10/44

23/10/44

HX 313

25/10/44

24/10/44

03/11/44

03/11/44

ON 264

06/11/44

21/11/44

25/10/44

06/11/44

HX 316

10/11/44

10/11/44

07/12/44

07/12/44

TAM 011

08/12/44

08/12/44

11/12/44

11/12/44

ATM 010

12/12/44

12/12/44

12/12/44

12/12/44

TAM 015

13/12/44

13/12/44

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 


 

WARTIME SERVICE OF RADAR OPERATOR ALBERT HENRY FAIRS

by Malcolm Fairs

 

My Dad, who was born in 1924,  joined HMS MIDDLETON on 27 July 1943 after doing his basic training in North Wales, and served on her until 4 July 1945. He was a Radar Operator during this time. The ship mainly did Convoy Escort duty.  I think he only went as far as Iceland but remembers being involved at D-Day and was relieved just before the she was sent to Simonstown, he being dispatched to Scotland to guard prisoners before being demobbed. He suffered minor injury when MIDDLETON came under fire from a shore battery in the English Channel and ended up in Haslar Hospital.

On his ship's papers, HMS MIDDLETON is in brackets and is preceded by names like PROSPERINE, TYNE, VICTORY, GLENDOWER, PEMBROKE, COLLINGWOOD and ORLANDO. These were naval bases and PROSPERINE  was Scapa Flow.

 
 

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