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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 ERNE (U 03) - Black Swan-class Sloop
including Convoy Escort Movements  

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Black Swan, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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Black Swan-Class Sloop ordered under the 1939 Programme from Furness Shipbuilders† on† 21st June 1939 and laid down on 22nd September that year. The ship was launched on 5th August 1940 by Mrs Furness and was the 6th RN ship to carry this name.† It was introduced in 1813 for a 6th Rate and had previously been used for a Trawler sold in 1922 to Spain.† Build was completed on 26th April 1941 but four days later the ship was badly damaged in an air raid on the shipyard and after repair in a Tyneside shipyard entered service on 21st June 1942. She was adopted by the civil community of Bootle, Lancashire following a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings.

 

B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s

 

NORTH AFRICA 1942 - ATLANTIC 1942-45 - SICILY 1943

 

H e r a l d i c† D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, an erne rising white.

 

M o t t o

Surtout: 'Above all'

 

 

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 1

 

April                       Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 43rd Escort Group

                26th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                30th        Sustained major damage during air raid at Belfast.

 

May                        Passage to Tyne for repair in commercial shipyard

 

June                        Under repair.

to                            (See THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre for details of convoy defence

December              tactics and SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann for weapons data).

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Under repair.

to

May

 

June                        Post repair trials and prepared for work-up.

                21st         On completion took passage to Tobermory.

 

July                         Took passage to join 45th Escort Group at Londonderry on completion of work-up

                                Sailed from Clyde as part of escort for outward Convoy OS35 with ships of Group

                                during passage to Freetown

                31st         Took part in sinking of U213 with HM Sloops SANDWICH and ROCHESTER in

                                position 36.54N 22.50W, east of Azores in defence of OS35.

                                None of the crew of U213 survived.

                                (For details see U- BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR

                                by C Blair.)

 

August                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                                Deployed with Group for escort of return convoy from Freetown

 

September             Nominated for escort of military convoys to Gibraltar prior to allied landings in North

                                Africa (Operation TORCH Ė See Naval Staff History and RELUCTANT ENEMIES by

                                W Tute.)

 

October                  Deployed as part of escort for convoy to Gibraltar.

                                (Note: Part of preparation for TORCH)

 

November              Transferred to 43rd Escort Group based at Gibraltar for convoy defence.

                8th          Deployed for support of allied landings in North Africa.

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett

                                BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and above references )

 

December              Support and escort duties in western Mediterranean in continuation.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Western Mediterranean deployment in continuation.

                                Deployed with escort for Convoy GUF3 from Oran to Gibraltar

 

February                Deployed with escort for Convoy GUF4 from Oran to Gibraltar.

                                On release from Gibraltar deployment transferred to 44th Escort Group.

                                Took passage to Londonderry.

                25th        Deployed with Group as part of escort for outward convoy KMF10A during passage

                                from Clyde to Algiers.

 

March

                4th          Detached from MKS10A on arrival at Algiers

 

April                       Group deployment in continuation for defence of convoys on Gibraltar route

                14th        Sustained structural damage by collision at Gibraltar with mercantile ss EMPIRE

                                MINNOW.

                                Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar

 

May                        Resumed convoy defence duties with Group on completion of repair.

 

June                        Nominated for escort of military convoys prior to allied landings in Sicily.

                                (Operation HUSKY - See above references

                26th        Deployed as part of escort for outward Convoy during passage to Sicily

                                (Note: This was part of preparation for HUSKY)

 

July

                5th          Detached from KMS18 and joined Support Force East for support of landings

                                in Sicily. (See BRITISH INVASION FLEETS and Naval Staff History.)

                21st         Deployed as part of escort for US military convoy GUS10X during passage from

                                Tripoli to Hampton |Roads, USA.

 

August

                13th        Detached from GUS10X on arrival at Hampton Roads.

 

September

                2nd         Deployed with escort for inward Convoy HX255 during Atlantic passage to

                                Clyde from Halifax.

                                Nominated for refit in Belfast commercial shipyard.

                12th        Taken in hand for refit.

 

October                  Under refit

to                            Nominated for service in 10th Escort Group

November              (Note: Fit of HEDGEHOG anti-submarine mortar and Radar Type 271 during this

                                period to be confirmed. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse and above 1941

                                references for details of development.)

 

December              Carried out post refit trials on completion of shipyard work

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Resumed operational service for Atlantic convoy defence with Group based at

                                Londonderry.

 

February                Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

to                            Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean.

March

 

April                       Passage to Mediterranean for escort of convoys between Gibraltar and Port Said.

 

May                        Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

to

June

 

July                         Under repair at Taranto.

to                            (Note: This ship appears to have had poor availability which may have been due to

August                  structural damage caused during air raid in 1941).

 

September

                12th        On completion resumed convoy defence duty in Mediterranean.

 

October                 Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

to

November

 

December              Taken in hand for repair in Alexandria.

                                (Note: One source suggests this repair was needed because of standard of work

                                done at Taranto).

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Passage to Malta for completion of repair by HM Dockyard.

                                Ship grounded on arrival in Malta and sustained further damage.

                                Passage to Falmouth for repair.

 

February                Under repair at Falmouth.

 

March                    On completion of shipyard work prepared for work-up and took passage to

                                Tobermory.

 

April                       Work-up at Tobermory for convoy defence in English Channel.

                                (Note: German SCHNORKEL fitted submarines were concentrating attacks on focal points

                                of convoy routes and additional escorts were deployed to supplement defence of the

                                re-routed Atlantic mercantile traffic). Deployed at Portsmouth for Channel convoy

                                defence. (See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith). After VE Day nominated

                                for service in Pacific. Prepared for foreign service.

 

May                        After VE Day nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet

                                Prepared for foreign service

 

June                        Took passage to join British Pacific Fleet.

 

July                         Passage to Mediterranean to work-up for Pacific Fleet duties.

 

August                  Passage to Colombo,

                1lth         Arrived at Colombo.

                20th        Passage to join Fleet in Japanese waters.

 

P o s t ††W a r ††N o t e s

 

HMS ERNE remained with the British Pacific Fleet assisted in the repatriation of allied nationals in the Far East until the end† of† 1945 and returned to Plymouth on 19th February 1946 to reduce to Reserve. She was selected for use as RNVR Drill Ship for the Solent Division and was renamed HMS WESSEX at Southampton after conversion by HM Dockyard Portsmouth for these† duties at Portsmouth. After the RNVR headquarters moved ashore this Sloop was placed on† the† Disposal List in 1965 and sold to BISCO on 27th October 1965 for breaking-up by General Navigation and Storage at Antwerp. The ship arrived in tow at the breakerís yard later that year.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ERNE

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

 

 

 

 

 

21/07/42

22/07/42

OS 035

12/08/42

10/08/42

14/08/42

14/08/42

SL 119

05/09/42

04/09/42

19/09/42

20/09/42

OS 041

01/10/42

01/10/42

23/09/42

04/10/42

SL 123

10/10/42

14/10/42

25/10/42

26/10/42

KMS 002G

12/11/42

12/11/42

21/11/42

21/11/42

MKS 002

24/11/42

03/12/42

03/12/42

05/12/42

MKS 003X

08/12/42

19/12/42

30/12/42

31/12/42

GUF 003

01/01/43

13/01/43

01/01/43

05/01/43

CF 010A

08/01/43

08/01/43

18/01/43

18/01/43

GUS 003

22/01/43

07/02/43

07/02/43

07/02/43

MKS 007

14/02/43

17/02/43

25/02/43

02/03/43

KMF 010A

04/03/43

04/03/43

06/03/43

06/03/43

MKF 010A

14/03/43

14/03/42

31/03/43

01/04/43

KMS 012G

12/04/43

16/04/43

10/04/43

14/04/43

MKS 011

23/04/43

16/04/43

24/06/43

26/06/43

KMS 018B

06/07/43

10/07/43

13/06/43

07/07/43

UGS 010

09/07/43

10/07/43

18/07/43

18/07/43

KMS 020

20/07/43

20/07/43

27/06/43

20/07/43

UGS 011

21/07/43

unknown

22/07/43

25/07/43

GUS 010X

27/07/43

13/08/43

21/08/43

21/08/43

UT 001

21/08/43

04/09/43

02/09/43

08/09/43

HX 255

15/09/43

16/09/43

01/02/44

01/02/44

KMF 028A

08/02/44

08/02/44

03/03/44

03/03/44

KMF 029A

15/03/44

17/03/44

20/03/44

21/03/44

MKS 044

01/04/44

01/04/44

17/04/44

17/04/44

KMS 047

23/04/44

27/04/44

17/04/45

17/04/45

KMF 043

21/04/45

23/04/45

08/04/45

19/04/45

HX 349

23/04/45

23/04/45

09/05/45

09/05/45

VWP 150

10/05/45

10/05/45

11/05/45

11/05/45

VWP 152

12/05/45

12/05/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 31/5/11
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