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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS WELLS  (I 95) - ex-US Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMCS St Clair, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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Ex-USS TILLMAN (Type B - CALDWELL-Class) built by Bath Iron Works. The ship was laid down on 29th July 1918 and launched on 7th July 1919. Commissioned on 30th April 1921 for service in the US Navy and was held in Reserve in 1939. The ship transferred to the RN under the 1940 UK/US Land-Lease Agreement on 5th December 1940 and commissioned as HMS WELLS on that date at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This name was cannon to towns in Somerset and Nevada, USA and previously had been used for an RN Cutter in 1764. There is no record of an adoption by any UK civil community following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during 1941-42.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1940-42 - ARCTIC 1942 - NORTH SEA 1943-44

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:On a Field Blue, issuant from the base a well White,

 thereon a hurt charged with a mullet also White.

 

 

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 0

 

November              Prepared for transfer to RN control.

                                Passage to Halifax manned by US Navy personnel.

 

December

                5th          Commissioned into RN as HMS WELLS at Halifax.

                9th          Sustained damage when lying alongside jetty in Halifax with two other destroyers

                                (Note: One of these other ships moved under power whilst still secured, thus causing a

                                collision with sister ship HMS NEWMARKET and the dockside wall.

                                Taken in hand for repair at St .John New Brunswick in dry dock.

                27th        Returned to Halifax.

                                (Note: Local community provided generous local hospitality to shipís company.).

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Prepared for passage to UK and sailed for Newfoundland.

                                During passage sustained structural damage in Hurricane force winds and significant icing of

                                equipment on foc'sle which affected stability.

                                Ship manoeuvred with skill and returned to Halifax for repair.

 

February                Under repair at Halifax.

                4th          Took passage from Halifax after completion of repair to storm damage repair.

                                (Note: One source states that ship broke down on passage and returned under tow by HMS

                                NEWARK to Halifax for further repair work).

                                Sailed on completion for St. Johns, Newfoundland for repair of defects found during

 

March                    On completion took passage from St. Johns to Plymouth.

                                (Note: During passage 500 miles west of Ireland ship broke down and was disabled for some

                                time but resumed passage after repair work.)

                9th          Arrived at Plymouth and taken in hand for modifications to suit RN requirements by for use

                                as a convoy escort.

                                Allocated for service with 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh.

 

April                       Under refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

                13th        Joined Squadron at Kyle of Lochalsh.

                                (Note: Although primarily required for escort of Auxiliary Minelayers during mining operations

                                in Atlantic Northern Barrage ship was detached when available for escort of convoys in

                                NW Approaches).

 

May                        Deployed at Kyle of Lochalsh and detached for escort of convoys between UK and Iceland.

 

June

                16th        Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON and MENESTHEUS with HM Destroyers

                                BRIGHTON, CASTLETON and ST MARY'S during Northern Barrage minelay.

                                (Operation SN66)

                                (Note: HM Cruiser KENYA provided cover)

                25th        Escorted HMS AGAMEMNON and HMS MENESTHEUS with same destroyers during further

                                minelay in Northern Barrage (Operation SN70B).

                                Stood by HMS BRIGHTON after she had collided with HM Cruiser KENYA which was providing

                                cover for the operation.

                29th        Joined HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers CASTLETON, ST FRANCIS, VANQUISHER,

                                WINCHELSEA, WOLVERINE, READING, Polish destroyers ORP GARLAND and ORP

                                PIORUN for Local Escort of military convoy WS9B during passage in NW Approaches.

 

July

                1st           Detached from WS9B and returned to Clyde with Local Escort.

                                (Note HM Cruiser EDINBURGH was deployed as Ocean Escort for WS9B)

                9th          Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers PORT QUEBEC, AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and

                                SOUTHERN PRINCE with HM Destroyer CASTLETON for further minelay in Northern Barrage.

.                               (Operation SN67A).

 

August                  Squadron deployment and detached service for Atlantic convoy escort.

 

September

                3rd          Taken in hand for repair and refit at Humber shipyard.

 

October                  Under repair.

 

November              Under refit and post refit trials.

                25th        On completion took passage to Tobermory before resuming Squadron duties at Kyle

                                of Lochalsh.

 

December              Deployed at Tobermory for work-up

                                Resumed Squadron duty.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Squadron deployment in continuation.

                9th          Escorted HM Minelaying Cruiser ADVENTURE for Northern Barrage minelay off Cape Wrath with

                                HM Destroyer NEWARK (Operation SN15A).

 

February                Squadron duties in continuation.

                16th        Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON and PORT QUEBEC during

                                Northern Barrage minelay with HM Destroyers LANCASTER, SOMALI and VANQUISHER.

                                (Operation SN84)

                28th        Escorted sane ships and HM Auxiliary Minelayer SOUTHERN PRINCE for minelay in Northern

                                Barrage with HM Destroyers LANCASTER and SKATE

                                (Operation SN85).

                                (Note: HMS SKATE detached because of weather conditions).

 

March                    Detached for duty with Home Fleet providing cover for Russian convoy.

                1st           Deployed with HMS LANCASTER of Squadron and Joined Hone Fleet destroyers for screening

                                of HM Battleships. DUKE OF YORK and KING GEORGE V, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN,

                                HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS and HM Cruisers BERWICK and KENYA.

                                (For details of other ships involved in cover of passage of Convoy PQ12 during passage to

                                Murmansk and return Convoy OPS see CONVOYS to RUSSIA by A Ruegg. The strong Home

                                Fleet cover was made necessary by the threat from the German battleship TIRPITZ known to

                                be in Norwegian waters)

.                               Resumed Squadron duties at Kyle of Lochalsh on release from Home Fleet.

                15th        Deployed with m Destroyers LANCASTER and ST MARY'S as escort for m Auxiliary

                                Minelayers MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC and SOUTHERN PRINCE

                                during minelay in Northern Barrage (Operation SN8D).

                31st         Deployed with HM Destroyers SCOTT, CHARLESTON and LANCASTER for escort of the

                                same four minelayers as SN81 for further Northern Barrage minelay. (Operation SN87).

 

April

                18th        Escorted same ships as SN87 for continuation of Northern Barrage minelay with HM Destroyers

                                SARDONYX, SALADIN, SCOTT and CHARLESTON

                                (Operation SN88).

 

May

                8th          Escorted HM Cruiser ADVENTURE, HMS AGAMEMNON, HMS SOUTHERN PRINCE and

                                HMS PORT QUEBEC for Northern Barrage minelay with HM Destroyers BRIGHTON,

                                CASTLETON and SCOTT (Operation SN3A).

                                (Note: US Navy observers were embarked in HMS ADVENTURE during this period).

 

June                        Nominated for refit.

                1st           Deployed with HM Destroyers KEPPEL, LEAMINGTON, BEAGLE and DOUGLAS as Local

                                Escort for military convoy WS19P during passage in NW Approaches from Clyde.

                4th          Detached from WS19P with HMS KEPPEL and HMS LEAMINGTON and took return passage

                                to Clyde.

                                (Note: HM Battleship NELSON was deployed to provide Ocean Escort for WS19P)

                6th          Resumed duties with 1st Minelaying Squadron at Kyle of Lochalsh.

                11th        Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers MENESTHEUS, AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC and

                                SOUTHERN PRINCE with HM Destroyer CASTLETON for further minelay in Northern

                                Barrage (Operation SN67A)

 

July                         Under refit

 

August                  Carried out post refit trials.

 

September             Resumed service with Squadron on completion of work-up at Tobermory

 

October

                18th        Escorted HM Cruiser ADVENTURE, HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS,

                                PORT QUEBEC and SOUTHERN PRINCE for minelay in Northern Barrage with Squadron

                                Destroyers HMS CASTLETON, CHARLESTON and HM Destroyer LEDBURY from tome Fleet.

                                (Operation SN3E).

 

November

                1st           Escorted same ships as SN3E for further Northern Barrage minelay with Squadron destroyers HMS

                                BRIGHTON, CASTLETON and LANCASTER (Operation SN3F)

 

 

 

December              Detached for convoy defence in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: During this period the ship escorted rms QUEEN MARY, Iceland convoys and a military

                                convoy during part of passage to Gibraltar after allied landing in North Africa.

                                (Operation TORCH).

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Under refit and repair in Clyde shipyard.

 

February                Resumed Squadron duties.

 

March

                21st         Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and PORT QUEBEC

                                during Northern Barrage minelay with HM Destroyers NEWARK and ST MARY'S

                                (Operation SN90A)

 

April

                6th          Under repair at Newport.

 

May                        Under repair.

to

June

 

July                         Resumed Squadron duties after work-up

 

August

                16th        Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and PORT QUEBEC

                                during Northern Barrage minelay in Denmark Strait with HM Destroyers ST MARY'S, SABRE,

                                SALADIN and IMPULSIVE covered by HM Cruiser NORFOLK (Operation SN7M).

 

September

                1st           Transferred to Home Fleet after 1st Minelaying Squadron disbanded.

                                Allocated for convoy defence in North Sea based at Rosyth.

                                Taken in hand for repair and modification for East Coast convoy defence.

                                (Note: The modifications for this duty included Radar Type 286P for aircraft and surface

                                warning and VHF radio telephone equipment for inter-ship and aircraft communication

                                use.

 

August                  On completion deployed with Rosyth Escort Force for North Sea convoy defence.

 

September             Deployed in North Sea.

to

December

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  North Sea convoy defence in continuation.

to                            Nominated for withdrawal from operational service and conversion for use as an Air Target

September             Ship.

 

October                  Converted for new duty at Rosyth. Specialist equipment removed.

 

November              Under conversion.

                26th        Completed conversion.

 

December              Passage to Clyde to take up training station.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployment delayed by defects and taken in hand for repair in Clyde.

 

February                Under repair.

to

March

 

April

                15th        Deployed in Irish Sea for training of aircrew in attacks on ships.

 

May                        Aircrew training deployment ceased after VE Day.

                                Paid off in Clyde and placed on Disposal List.

                24th        Placed on Disposal List

 

June                        Sold to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers at Troon

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS WELLS did not arrive in tow at the breakerís yard until February 1946. In comparison with other TOWN Class destroyers this ship saw extensive service in the intended role, but was frequently under repair. 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS WELLS

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

 

 

 

 

 

23/04/41

23/04/41

DS 002

27/04/41

27/04/41

28/04/41

28/04/41

SD 002

01/05/42

01/05/41

10/05/41

10/05/41

DS 003

13/05/41

13/05/41

15/05/41

15/05/41

SD 003

17/05/41

17/05/41

21/05/41

21/05/41

DS 004

24/05/41

24/05/41

27/05/41

27/05/41

SD 004

29/05/41

29/05/41

05/06/41

05/06/41

DS 005

09/06/41

09/06/41

10/06/41

10/06/41

SD 005

12/06/41

12/06/41

20/06/41

20/06/41

DS 006

22/06/41

22/06/41

25/06/41

25/06/41

SD 006

27/06/41

27/06/41

21/07/41

21/07/41

DS 008

24/07/41

24/07/41

26/07/41

26/07/41

SD 008

28/07/41

28/07/41

10/08/41

10/08/41

DS 009

12/08/41

12/08/41

13/08/41

13/08/41

SD 009

15/08/41

15/08/41

13/12/41

13/12/41

DS 018

16/12/41

16/12/41

20/12/41

20/12/41

SD 018

23/12/41

23/12/41

17/01/42

17/01/42

DS 020

20/01/42

20/01/42

21/01/42

21/01/42

SD 020

23/01/42

23/01/42

01/03/42

unknown

PQ 012

unknown

12/03/42

01/04/42

01/04/42

DS 025

04/04/42

04/04/42

08/04/42

08/04/42

SD 025

11/04/42

11/04/42

01/05/42

01/05/42

DS 026

03/05/42

03/05/42

13/05/42

13/05/42

SD 026A

14/05/42

14/05/42

30/08/42

05/09/42

AT 021

05/09/42

05/09/42

08/09/42

08/09/42

TA 021

09/09/42

14/09/42

05/09/42

10/09/42

AT 022

11/09/42

11/09/42

14/09/42

14/09/42

TA 022

15/09/42

19/09/42

16/09/42

16/09/42

DS 032

19/09/42

19/09/42

20/09/42

20/09/42

SD 032

23/09/42

23/09/42

08/11/42

08/11/42

KX 006

17/11/42

17/11/42

23/11/42

27/11/42

MKF 003

01/12/42

03/12/42

12/12/42

12/12/42

DS 035

16/12/42

16/12/42

16/12/42

16/12/42

SD 035

22/12/42

22/12/42

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys) 

 

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