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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 READING (G 71) - ex-US Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Churchill, Type A sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock, click to enlarge)

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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

                                at Devonport.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Under refit

to                            Nominated for convoy defence in Western Approaches Command

February

 

March

                17th        On completion of post refit trials took passage to Liverpool.

                                Deployed for North Atlantic convoy escort duty.

 

April

                3rd          Returned to Liverpool and taken in hand for repair of defects.

 

May

                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.

 

July

                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.

to

December

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Western Atlantic Convoy defence with Group in continuation.

to

March

 

April                       Withdrawn from escort duty in Newfoundland because of recurrent defects.

                                Took passage to Londonderry

 

May

                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.

to

September

 

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.

to

December

 

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.

to

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Air Target Ship duty in continuation

to

June

 

 July

                11th        Paid off and placed on Disposal List at Grangemouth.

                24th        Sold for breaking up at Inverkeithing by T W Ward Ltd.

 


 

Addendum

 

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

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

     

24/03/41

24/03/41

OB 302

29/03/41

30/03/41

17/03/41

29/03/41

HX 115

03/04/41

03/04/41

11/05/41

11/05/41

OB 321

16/05/41

17/05/41

06/05/41

16/05/41

HG 061

20/05/41

20/05/41

25/05/41

25/05/41

OG 063

30/05/41

07/06/41

10/05/41

30/05/41

SL 074

04/06/41

04/06/41

06/07/41

09/07/41

HX 137

17/07/41

22/07/41

17/07/41

22/07/41

OB 348

30/07/41

31/07/41

05/09/41

08/09/41

SC 043

16/09/41

20/09/41

20/02/42

21/02/42

ON 069

03/03/42

06/03/42

06/03/42

10/03/42

SC 073

23/03/42

24/03/42

27/03/42

28/03/42

ON 080

10/04/42

15/04/42

17/04/42

22/04/42

SC 080

02/05/42

03/05/42

 

 

 

 

 

(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 Ė Iím quite sure there is an element to that.  But Iíve 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 Iím sure Ė as an American Ė he didnít want to highlight any defects in a ship produced by his mother country Ė it is pretty clear that she was withdrawn from service after her last west bound convoy Ė 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 Johnís 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.

 

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


 

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