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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 ENCHANTRESS (L 56) - Bittern-class Sloop
including Convoy Escort Movements 

HMS Enchantress (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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BITTERN-Class Sloop ordered from John Brown of Clydebank under 1933 Programme as First of Class. The ship was laid down on 9th March 1934 end launched on 21st October 1934. Her name was originally intended to be BITTERN but this was changed before launch after it had been decided that she would replace HMS ENCHANTRESS as the Admiralty Yacht. This name had been carried by two previous ships carrying out the duty and by also by three other warships. Completed on 4th April 1935 she was fitted out a Sloop and mounted three single 4.7in guns.. She also had extensive additional accommodation built aft for the use of the Board of Admiralty when embarked. Following her commissioning on 8th April 1935 she attended the Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet with the Board, embarked. When not in use by the Board of Admiralty she took part in local exercises, especially those involving submarines.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC 1939-45 - MEDITERRANEAN 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43

 

H e r a l d i c  Data

Badge:  On a Field White, an anchor and cabling gold on a red flag.

 

 

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 3 9

 

September             Allocated War Station at Rosyth

                                Passage to Rosyth Deployed for East convoy escort duty

 

October                  Transferred to Plymouth for convoy defence in SW App

to                            Ran aground on Drake's Island when entering Devonport.

November              Sustained structural damage.

                                Taken in hand for structural repair.

                                (Note: Opportunity was taken During: this period opportunity was taken to remove

                                additional fittings previously used for her duty as the Admiralty Yacht.

                                A 3in HA gun and two quadruple 0.5in machine guns were fitted for defence.

                                against air attack..

 

December              On completion of dockyard work deployed with 1st Escort Division baaed at Plymouth

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Western Approaches convoy defence in continuation.

                                Met inward Convoy HG14 in SW Approaches with HM Destroyer Keppel as escort during

                                passage into Liverpool from Gibraltar.

                                (For details of naval activities prior between 1939 and May 1940 see ENGAGE THE

                                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and Naval Staff History).

                                Details of convoys are available in ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM IN WW2 by A Hague.)

                10th        Joined outward Convoy OG14F on assembly in SW Approaches with HM Destroyers

                                VORTIGERN, VELOX, WANDERER and WARWICK for escort during initial passage

                                to Gibraltar.

                                Detached from OG14F on arrival at Gibraltar,

                13th        Joined inward Convoy HG15F with HM Destroyers AMAZON, BROKE, KEPPEL

                                WALKER and WALPOLE for escort during passage to Liverpool.

                20th        Detached from OG15F and took passage to Plymouth,

 

February

                3rd          Joined outward Convoy OG17F with HM Destroyers BROKE, HERO, VELOX,

                                VERSATILE, and WINCHELSEA as escort during passage to Gibraltar,

                7th          Detached from OG17F.

                8th          Joined inward Convoy HG18F with HM Sloops FOLKESTONE, HM Minesweeper

                                GOSSAMER, HM Destroyers VERSATILE and VORTIGERN and HM Submarine

                                OTWAY as escort during passage to Liverpool.

                13th        Detached from HG17F and returned to Plymouth.

 

March

                5th          Joined outward Convoy OG21F on formation in SW Approaches with HM Destroyers

                                DOUGLAS, VOLUNTEER, WHIRLWIND and HM Sloop SANDWICH as escort

                                for passage to Gibraltar.

                11th        Detached from OG21F.

                28th        Joined inward Convoy HG24 with HM Sloop SANDWICH, HM Destroyers VENETIA

                                and WAKEFUL as escort for passage to Liverpool.

 

April

                7th          Detached from HG24.

                                (Note: Transferred to Liverpool with Group after Headquarters of CinC Western

                                Approaches moved from Plymouth, See reference.)

                14th        Deployed with HM Sloop SANDWICH as escort for outward Convoy OG28.

                                (Note: Many ships from Plymouth were transferred to Home Fleet to support military

                                operations in Norway after the German invasion,)

 

May                        Atlantic convoy escort duty in continuation.

to                            Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to U56.

August

 

September

                2nd         Part of escort for first convoy to Sydney, Cape Breton.

                                (Note: An RAF radar outfit modified for shipborne use (Type 286) was fitted during

                                the latter half of 1940 and provided some warning of the approach of aircraft,

                                ships and the proximity of land.

                                For details of the development and use of radar in the RN see RADAR AT SEA

                                by D Howse).

 

October                  Part of escort for Convoy SC6 and under heavy U-Boat attacks.

 

November              Part of escort for Convoy SC11 in during which seven ships ware sunk by U100 in

                                one night.

                                (For details of convoy defence and weapons used see THE BATTLE OF THE

                                ATLANTIC by Donald Macintyre, U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO).

                                SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

 

December              Under refit in London shipyard.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Under refit.

 

February

                20th        On completion of post refit trials resumed convoy defence in Western Approaches.

 

March                    Deployment in Western Approaches in continuation.

to

April

 

May                        Under refit and repair at Liverpool.

to                            (Note: During this period a prototype anti-submarine mortar weapon was fitted.

July                         See SEEK AND STRIKE.)

                                Carried out sea trials on the new weapon Codename HEDGEHOG.

                                (Note: Firing circuits ware found to need modification before a further trial

                                could be carried out in HM Destroyer WESTCOTT.

                                In later service these were the cause of failures in other ships)

                                For details see SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and THE TORPEDOMEN by

                                E POLAND.)

 

August                  On completion of trials joined 41st Escort Group based in Londonderry for defence of

                                convoys to and from Freetown.

 

September             Deployment for defence of Freetown convoys in continuation

to

December

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  West African route convoy defence in continuation.

to                            Radio Direction Finding equipment fitted to intercept radio transmissions from U-Boats.

June                        See SEEK AND STRIKE.

 

July                         First 'Split' variant of HEDGEHOG A/S Mortar fitted which allowed all the forward main

                                armament to be retained. (See references.).

 

August                  Resumed convoy defence on Freetown route.

 

September             Nominated for escort of military convoys to Gibraltar in support of planned allied landings

                                in North Africa

                                (Operation TORCH - See ENGAGE THE ENGAGE MORE CLOSELY, Naval Staff History

                                and for information about all warships and mercantiles involved BRITISH INVASION

                                FLEETS by J de Winser.).

 

October                  Detached for escort of Convoy KMF1 to Gibraltar prior to assault phase of TORCH.

 

November              Joined 61st Escort Group at Gibraltar for escort of convoys along Algerian coast in support

                                of military operations.

 

December

                13th        Rammed and sank Italian submarine CORALLO off Bougie.

                                (Note: Sustained structural damage forward.)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Under temporary repair at Gibraltar.

                                Permanent repair arranged at commercial shipyard in Grimsby.

 

February                Passage to UK for repair.

 

March

                                On arrival at Grimsby sustained further damage to bow by striking jetty.

                                Taken in hand for repair.

 

April                       Under repair.

to                            Modern RN design centimetric radar Type 271 fitted.

May                        (See RADAR AT SEA by D. Howse).

 

June                        On completion of post repair trials took passage to Tobermory to work-up for operational

                                service.

                                Nominated for service with 38th Escort Group based in Freetown.

 

July                         On completion of work-up took passage to Freetown to Join Group.

 

 

August                  Deployed at Freetown for convoy defence..

 

September             Part of escort for Convoys SL137/MKS26 with ships of Group.

 

October                  Freetown escort duty in continuation.

to

November

 

December              Transferred to Gibraltar with ships of Group in continuation of defence of Freetown

                                route convoys during passage south of Gibraltar.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Convoy defence based at Gibraltar in continuation.

to October

 

November              Transferred to 39th Escort Group at Gibraltar in continuation.

 

December              Freetown convoy defence in continuation based at Gibraltar

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Under refit at Gibraltar.

to

March

 

April                       On completion of post refit trials deployed for defence of military convoys In Gibraltar

                                area.

 

May                        Selected for service with British Pacific Fleet after conversion for use as an HQ Ship with

                                special communications equipment

                                See OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards for details of function of LSI HQ (Small).

 

June                        Passage to Portsmouth for conversion.

 

July                         Under conversion for service as a Landing Ship HQ (Small).

                                All armament except four 20mm AA weapons removed.

                                Additional communications equipment installed.

                                On completion of post refit trials took passage to join BPF in Sydney.

 

August

                15th        Diverted on arrival at Colombo to join Fleet at Hong Kong.

  

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS ENCHANTRESS was deployed with the British Pacific Fleet in the China Sea and in the Pacific until December 1945. The ship sailed for UK on 27th December and arrived at Portsmouth in March 1946 when she Paid-off and de-stored. Immediately placed on the Disposal List this ship was later sold to The Three Star Slipping Co. Ltd. on 22nd October 1946. Renamed ss LADY ENCHANTRESS she remained in trade until 1952 when she was sold for demolition and arrived at Dunston on the Tyne for breaking up in February that year.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ENCHANTRESS

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

 

 

 

 

 

20/10/39

20/10/39

FS 0024

22/10/39

22/10/39

02/11/39

14/11/39

HX 007

17/11/39

17/11/39

18/11/39

18/11/39

OA 037

20/11/39

21/11/39

26/11/39

26/11/39

OG 008

27/11/39

03/12/39

24/11/39

26/11/39

OB 040

26/11/39

28/11/39

02/12/39

02/12/39

OA 045G

04/12/39

05/12/39

06/12/39

07/12/39

OA 048

09/12/39

09/12/39

24/11/39

10/12/39

SL 010

10/12/39

10/12/39

14/12/39

14/12/39

OA 053

16/12/39

16/12/39

28/12/39

28/12/39

OA 062

30/12/39

31/12/39

18/12/39

04/01/40

SL 013

06/01/40

06/01/40

08/01/40

unknown

HG 014

unknown

17/01/40

10/01/40

10/01/40

OG 014F

13/01/40

15/01/40

13/01/40

13/01/40

HG 015F

20/01/40

22/01/40

30/01/40

02/02/40

OA 083GF

03/02/40

03/02/40

03/02/40

03/02/40

OG 017F

07/02/40

09/02/40

06/02/40

08/02/40

HG 018F

15/02/40

15/02/40

03/03/40

04/03/40

OA 103GF

05/03/40

03/03/40

05/03/40

05/03/40

OG 021F

11/03/40

11/03/40

28/03/40

28/03/40

HG 024

07/04/40

07/04/40

14/04/40

14/04/40

OG 026F

14/04/40

20/04/40

14/04/40

26/04/40

HX 035

29/04/40

29/04/40

01/05/40

01/05/40

OA 139

unknown

unknown

30/04/40

12/05/40

HX 039

15/05/40

15/05/40

04/05/40

16/05/40

HX 040

18/05/40

19/05/40

16/05/40

16/05/40

OG 030F

18/05/40

21/05/40

12/05/40

18/05/40

HG 030F

21/05/40

unknown

22/05/40

22/05/40

OB 153

25/05/40

25/05/40

22/05/40

24/05/40

OA 153GF

25/05/40

25/05/40

25/05/40

25/05/40

OG 031F

25/05/40

30/05/40

20/05/40

01/06/40

HX 044

03/06/40

03/06/40

05/06/40

05/06/40

OA 162

07/06/40

unknown

11/06/40

12/06/40

OA 166G

13/06/40

13/06/40

11/06/40

12/06/40

OB 166

13/06/40

17/06/40

13/06/40

13/06/40

OG 033

18/06/40

19/06/40

03/07/40

03/07/40

OG 036

08/07/40

09/07/40

01/07/40

03/07/40

OA 177G

03/07/40

03/07/40

07/07/40

08/07/40

HG 037

16/07/40

16/07/40

23/07/40

23/07/40

OB 188

27/07/40

27/07/40

15/07/40

27/07/40

HX 058

30/07/40

31/07/40

02/08/40

02/08/40

OG 040

14/08/40

14/08/40

20/08/40

20/08/40

HG 042

03/09/40

03/09/40

11/09/40

11/09/40

OB 212

16/09/40

16/09/40

27/09/40

27/09/40

SC 006

12/10/40

12/10/40

21/10/40

21/10/40

OB 232

26/10/40

26/10/40

09/11/40

09/11/40

SC 011

26/11/40

26/11/40

23/02/41

23/02/41

OB 290

26/02/41

27/02/14

17/03/41

17/03/41

OG 056

02/04/41

02/04/41

15/04/41

15/04/41

HG 059

01/05/41

01/05/41

12/05/41

13/05/41

OB 322

18/05/41

20/05/41

06/05/41

18/05/41

HX 125A

22/05/41

22/05/41

02/09/41

03/09/41

OS 005

17/09/41

21/09/41

24/09/41

24/09/41

SL 088

08/10/41

08/10/41

02/10/41

08/10/41

HG 074

17/10/41

18/10/41

07/11/41

08/11/41

OS 011

26/11/41

28/11/41

30/11/41

02/12/41

SL 094

20/12/41

30/12/41

05/01/42

06/01/42

OS 016

20/01/42

23/01/42

27/01/42

29/01/42

SL 099

16/02/42

16/02/42

22/04/42

23/04/42

OS 026

09/05/42

09/05/42

13/05/42

23/05/42

SL 110

04/06/42

04/06/42

21/06/42

21/06/42

OS 032

08/07/42

08/07/42

15/07/42

15/07/42

SL 116

03/08/42

04/08/42

20/08/42

20/08/42

OS 038

07/09/42

07/09/42

14/09/42

14/09/42

SL 122

06/10/42

06/10/42

26/10/42

26/10/42

KMF 001

08/11/42

08/11/42

12/11/42

12/11/42

MKS 001X

15/11/42

23/11/42

08/11/42

22/11/42

KMS 003G

26/11/42

26/11/42

01/12/42

01/12/42

ET 003

04/12/42

04/12/42

26/11/42

07/12/42

KMS 004G

13/12/42

13/12/42

05/12/42

12/12/42

ET 005

13/12/42

16/12/42

18/12/42

20/12/42

ET 006

unknown

22/12/42

18/01/43

18/01/43

GUS 003

19/01/43

07/02/43

24/01/43

31/01/43

KMF 008

01/02/43

01/02/43

02/02/43

02/02/43

MKF 008

09/02/43

09/02/43

16/06/43

19/06/43

OS 050KM

27/06/43

27/06/43

27/06/43

27/06/43

OS 050

08/07/43

08/07/43

13/07/43

13/07/43

SL 133

26/07/43

26/07/43

26/07/43

26/07/43

SL 133MK

05/08/43

05/08/43

31/08/43

31/08/43

ST 075

unknown

unknown

08/09/43

08/09/43

LTS 001

15/09/43

15/09/43

10/09/43

10/09/43

STL 001

15/09/43

15/09/43

23/09/43

23/09/43

SL 137

05/10/43

05/10/43

05/10/43

05/10/43

SL 137MK

17/10/43

17/10/43

18/11/43

18/11/43

OS 058

28/11/43

28/11/43

02/12/43

02/12/43

SL 142

14/12/43

14/12/43

02/01/44

02/01/44

OS 062

07/01/44

11/01/44

12/01/44

12/01/44

SL 146

24/01/44

23/01/44

05/02/44

05/02/44

OS 066

15/02/44

15/02/44

21/02/44

21/02/44

SL 150

03/03/44

03/03/44

15/03/44

15/03/44

OS 070

25/03/44

25/03/44

01/04/44

01/04/44

SL 154

11/04/44

11/04/44

23/04/44

23/04/44

OS 074

03/05/44

03/05/44

11/05/44

11/05/44

SL 158

21/05/44

21/05/44

04/06/44

04/06/44

OS 078

14/06/44

14/06/44

20/06/44

20/06/44

SL 162

30/06/44

30/06/44

11/07/44

11/07/44

OS 082

21/07/44

21/07/44

30/07/44

30/07/44

SL 166

09/08/44

09/08/44

22/09/44

22/09/44

OS 089

30/09/44

30/09/44

09/10/44

09/10/44

SL 173

19/10/44

19/10/44

01/11/44

01/11/44

OS 093

02/11/44

02/11/44

15/11/44

15/11/44

SL 177

26/11/44

26/11/44

26/12/44

26/12/44

MKS 073G

28/12/44

04/01/45

23/12/44

29/12/44

OS 100KM

31/12/44

26/12/44

26/12/44

29/12/44

KMS 074G

31/12/44

31/12/44

12/04/45

12/04/45

MKF 042

15/04/45

17/04/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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