Ex USS BAILEY (Type A - BURNHAM-Class) built by Bethlehem Steel at Squantum and launched on 5th February 1919. Build was completed on27th August 1919 and the ship was held in Reserve in 1939.. Transferred under the Lease/Lend Agreement in 1940 she was commissioned at Halifax into the RN on 26th November 1940. This ship was the 1st RN warship to carry the name. In common with other ships in transferred in 1940, the name chosen was shared by the Berkshire town and one in Philadelphia, USA. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Chingford, Essex.
B a t t l e H o n o u r
ATLANTIC 1941 -42
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field Blue, a female head affronte, couped proper in front
of two swords in saltire, also proper pommels and hilts 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 0
November Prepared for transfer
26th Commissioned into RN service as HMS READING and prepared for passage.
December Took passage to Plymouth.
17th On arrival taken in hand for refit and modification for RN service by HM Dockyard
1 9 4 1
January Under refit
to Nominated for convoy defence in Western Approaches Command
17th On completion of post refit trials took passage to Liverpool.
Deployed for North Atlantic convoy escort duty.
3rd Returned to Liverpool and taken in hand for repair of defects.
11th On completion joined 8th Escort Group for Atlantic convoy escort duty.
June Deployed with Group for defence of Atlantic convoys.
(Note: Part of escort for four convoys.)
Nominated for transfer to Newfoundland Escort Force with 23rd Escort Group based at St Johns.
29th Joined military convoy WS9B in Clyde with m Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers MAORI,
CASTLETON, ST FRANCIS, VANQUISHER, WINCHELSEA, WOLVERINE, Polish destroyers
ORP PIORUN and ORP GARLAND as Local Escort for passage in NW Approaches.
2nd Detached with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.
Took passage to Newfoundland for escort of Atlantic convoys to and from Mid-Ocean Meeting Point
with new Group.
Took passage to St. Johns, Newfoundland.
7th Joined 23rd Escort Group on arrival.
Deployed for escort of convoys to Western Meeting Point for transfer to. or collection from,
ships of Western Approaches Command.
August Nominated for duty at Placentia Bay during Atlantic Charter meeting.
5th Passage with HM Destroyer RIPLEY to join escort of HM Battleship PRINCE OF WALES
during their passage with Prime Minister Winston Churchill for meeting with US President
Franklin D Roosevelt.
9th Deployed at Placentia Bay with RN and US Navy warships for guardship duties during meetings.
13th On release from guardship duties resumed convoy defence with Group.
September Newfoundland convoy defence with Groups in western Atlantic.
1 9 4 2
January Western Atlantic Convoy defence with Group in continuation.
April Withdrawn from escort duty in Newfoundland because of recurrent defects.
Took passage to Londonderry
2nd Arrived at Londonderry and
On survey refit arranged in London.
Passage to London for refit in commercial shipyard,
June Under refit in London shipyard.
October On completion of post refit trials took passage to work-up with ships of Home Fleet.
Worked-up for service.
Nominated for service as an Air Target Ship
(Note: This suggest performance during work-up was not satisfactory.)
Converted for use as Air Target Ship.
(Note: Main armament removed and other equipment not essential for new role.
See Note below for date confirmation.)
November On completion of conversion took up station in Moray Firth as Air Target Ship for training of
aircrew in torpedo attacks on shipping.
December Deployment in Moray Firth in continuation.
1 9 4 3
January Air Target Ship in Moray Firth service in continuation and in Western Approaches Command area.
1 9 4 4
January Air Target Ship duty in continuation
February Transferred to Rosyth Command from Western Approaches
(Note: This date is subject to confirmation and if correct the ship may have been converted
at a later date than that shown above..)
March Air Target Ship duty in continuation.
1 9 4 5
January Air Target Ship duty in continuation
11th Paid off and placed on Disposal List at Grangemouth.
24th Sold for breaking up at Inverkeithing by T W Ward Ltd.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS READING
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
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(Note on Convoys)
COMMENTS ON HER WITHDRAWAL FROM SERVICE
with thank to Graeme J W Smith (8/8/2013)
You suggest her withdrawal from seagoing service was due to "recurring defects". As she was one of the 50 lend lease – I’m quite sure there is an element to that. But I’ve just finished reading "Yankee RN" by Commander Cherry about his time in the RN as a US citizen during WWII. He devotes a long chapter to his time on READING. While I’m sure – as an American – he didn’t want to highlight any defects in a ship produced by his mother country – it is pretty clear that she was withdrawn from service after her last west bound convoy – during which she rode out a full blown hurricane for a number of days. The bridge was smashed and half carried away by a particularly large sea and the whole hull was strained. She was patched up in St John’s to get her back to the UK where it seems her fate had already been decided. He also has some interesting things to say about the strength of the foredeck as it relates to their early "Hedgehog" installation. It was barely strong enough to take the shock of a full complement of projectiles being fired.