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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 LARK (U 11) - Modified Black Swan-class Sloop including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Lark (Navy Photos/Bob Hanley, click to enlarge)

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Modified BLACK SWAN-Class ordered from Scotts of Greenock under the 1940 Build Programme on 27th March 1941 and laid down on 5th May 1942. She was launched by Mrs Phillips on 28th August 1943 and was the 15th RN warship to carry the name introduced in 1656 for a Royalist Prize. It had last been used by for a 1913 destroyer sold in 1923. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this Sloop was adopted by tine civil community of Billericay, Essex. Build completion date was 10th April 1944 and her radar outfits included the new design Type 276 which replaced the first centimetric design (Type 272) fitted in the earlier ships of this Class. The other radars, Type 285 for fire control and Type 291 to provide warning of aircraft and surface targets were the same as fitted in other ships of this type (See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse).

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ARMADA 1588* - SMYRNA CONVOY 1693 - VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - MARBELLA 1705 - BALTIC 1855 - HELIGOLAND  1914 - DOGGER  BANK 1915 - NORMANDY 1944 - ENGLISH  CHANNEL 1944 - NORTH SEA   1944 - ARCTIC  1944-45

(* Awarded to mercantile which fought in this action.)

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field  White, a Lark in flight Proper

 

 

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 4

 

April                       Contractors trials and commissioning.

                10th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Tobermory.

                                Worked-up for operational service.

 

May                        On completion of work-up deployed for convoy defence in Western Approaches.

                                Nominated or duty with Escort Group 114 with HM Sloop CRANE, HM Escort Destroyer

                                BLANKNEY. HM Frigates CHELMER and TORRINGTON for escort of assault convoys

                                during allied landings in Normandy.

                                (Operation NEPTUNE - For details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE See

                                OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944

                                (HMSO).

 

June                        Passage to Thames Estuary to join ships of 114th and 115th Escort Groups.

                4th          Operation delayed for 24 hours.

                5th          Joined Convoy ETP1 in Thames Estuary for escort to Solent.

                6th          Sailed with convoy from Thames Estuary.

                                (Note: Convoy comprised eight Personnel Ships, three Troopships, HM Depot Ship

                                AMBITIOUS and two Hospital Carriers.

                                Passage to Spithead where four ships detached.

                7th          Passage through swept channel with Convoy ETP1 to Eastern Task Force area.

                                (Note: This convoy was taking Pre-loaded British Build-up Division to beach head.

                                Detached from convoy on arrival and deployed at Portsmouth for escort of Build-up

                                Phase convoys to beach head area.

                27th        On termination of NEPTUNE retained in English Channel for defence of convoys.

 

July                         Channel deployment in continuation.

to August

 

September             Channel deployment in continuation.

                22nd       Passage to Clyde for repair prior to joined Western Approaches Command.

 

October                  On completion of repair joined 8th Escort Group based at Greenock.

                                Nominated for escort of Russian convoys.

                                (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg,

                                ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodman, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and THE RUSSIAN

                                CONVOYS by B. Schoefield).

                                Deployed with HM Destroyers KEPPEL, BEAGLE, WESTCOTT and HM Sloop CYGNET

                                for detached service with Home Fleet

                20th        Joined Close Escort for Russian Convoy JW61 with HM Destroyer WALKER, HM Sloop

                                LAPWING and HM Corvettes CAMELLIA, OXLIP and RHODODENDRON.

                26th        Under U-Boat attack by PANTHER group without loss.

                28th        Detached from JW61 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

 

November

                2nd         Joined return Convoy RA61 on departure from Kola Inlet as Close Escort with same

                                ships as Convoy JW61.

                9th          Detached on arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe without loss.

                10th        Taken in hand for repair of defects in Clyde shipyard.

                25th        Rejoined Group for support of Atlantic convoys under threat of U-Boat attack.

                                Nominated for detached Home Fleet service for anti-submarine defence of Russian convoy.

                29th        Deployed with HMS CYGNET and HMS LAPWING for escort of Russian Convoy JW62.

                                Joined HM Frigates BAHAMAS, LOCH ALVIE, SOMALILAND, TAVY, TORTOLA.

                                HM Canadian Frigates MONNOW, NENE, PORT COLBOURNE, .ST JOHN,

                                STORMONT, HM Corvettes ALLINGTON, CASTLE, BAMBOROUGH CASTLE,

                                HM Norwegian corvettes TUNSBERG CASTLE and HM Corvette EGLANTINE.

                                (Note: Escort was also supplemented by ships of Home Fleet including HM Escort Carriers

                                CAMPANIA and NAIRANA, HM Cruiser BELLONA and destroyer screen by

                                destroyers of Home Fleet.).

 

December              Attack by U-Boats of STOCK Group was avoided by diversion of mercantiles during anti-

                                submarine operations by escorts.

                7th          Detached at Kola Inlet after uninterrupted passage.

                                (Note: Threat of attack by German battleship TIRPITZ had been removed by sinking on

                                12th November but the convoy was vulnerable to air and submarine attacks)

                9th          Joined other escorts to attack U-Boats assembled outside Kola Inlet prior to the

                                departure of returning convoy.

                10th        Joined escort for return Convoy RA62 with same ships.

                                (See above references for details of warship casualties.)

                19th        Detached on arrival at Loch Ewe.

                20th        Nominated for further detached service for Russian Convoy support.

                30th        Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW63 with HM Destroyers KEPPEL, WALKER,

                                WESTCOTT, HM Sloops CYGNET, LAPWING, HM Corvettes ALLINGTON CASTLE,

                                BAMBOROUGH CASTLE and ALNWICK CASTLE.

                                (Note: The escort was again supplemented by ships of Home Fleet See references.)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Detached from JW63 on arrival at Kola Inlet after uninterrupted passage despite assembly

                                of STIER group of U-Boats in Bear Island Passage.

                11th        Joined escort for returning convoy RA63 with HM Destroyer SCORPION and same ships.

                18th        Convoy forced to shelter by severe gale and reassembled NE of Faeroes.

                21st         Detached from RA&3 with escort after passage without detection by enemy.

                24th        Taken in hand repair of weather damage repair in Clyde shipyard.

 

February                Detached for further Home Fleet service.

                1st           Resumed Russian convoy escort duties on completion of repair.

                3rd          Deployed with HM Destroyer WHITEHALL, HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Corvettes

                                BAMBOROUGH CASTLE, ALNWICK CASTLE. BLUEBELL and RHODODENDRON

                                as Close Escort for Convoy JW64 and sailed from Clyde with convoy.

                7th          Under attacks by torpedo aircraft which were foiled by aircraft from HMS CAMPANIA

                                and HMS NAIRANA.

                10th        Drove off further torpedo attacks by German KG26 aircraft with HMS WHITEHALL.

                                (Note: Although no mercantiles were lost, friendly aircraft came under heavy AA fire due to

                                the poor fire discipline of escorts - see references).

                13th        Under attack by RASMUS group of 11 U-Boats.

                                (HM Corvette DENBIGH CASTLE was hit by torpedo from U992 and later sank).

                15th        Detached with Close Escort en arrival in Kola Inlet.

                16th        Took part in anti-submarine operation outside Kola Inlet with ships of the Close Escort and

                                Russian aircraft before departure of return Convoy RA64.

                17th        Took part in sinking U425 with HMS ALNWICK CASTLE in position 69.39N 33.50E.

                                Some survivors were rescued from the submarine .

                                (See U-BOATS DESTROYED BY P Kemp and HITLERíS U-WAR By C Blair.)

                                Joined Convoy with HM Sloops CYGNET, LAPWING, HM Corvettes BLUEBELL,

                                BAMBOROUGH CASTLE and ALNWICK CASTLE as Close Escort.

                                During preliminary assembly of convoy, hit by torpedo fired by U968. The acoustic homing

                                torpedo hit the stern which was wrecked and vessel had to be abandoned.

                                Survivors were rescued by other escorts.

                                (Notes: HM Corvette BLUEBELL was sunk later, also hit by a homing torpedo from

                                U711. The ship blew up on impact with only 12 survivors.

                                U968 survived the war and was sunk on 29/11/45(?) in NW Approaches in Operation

                                DEADLIGHT.

                                For further details see above references.)

                18th        Towed to Kola Inlet but declared constructive total loss.

 

Special  Note

 

HMS LARK was de-equipped at Rosta where she lay, as return to UK under tow was not feasible. In June 1945 the hulk with most equipment removed was handed to the Soviet Navy. Post war reports suggested that she may have later  been taken into Russian naval service under the name NEPTUN but this has not be substantiated. It is unlikely that the hull would have been rebuilt and re-equipped to allow further use.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS LARK

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

 

 

 

 

 

31/05/44

31/05/44

CW 273

01/06/44

01/06/44

06/06/44

06/06/44

ETP 001

07/06/44

07/06/44

10/07/44

10/07/44

ETM 032

11/07/44

11/07/44

20/10/44

20/10/44

JW 061

28/10/44

28/10/44

02/11/44

02/11/44

RA 061

09/11/44

09/11/44

29/11/44

29/11/44

JW 062

07/12/44

07/12/44

10/12/44

10/12/44

RA 062

19/12/44

19/12/44

30/12/44

30/12/44

JW 063

08/01/45

08/01/45

11/01/45

11/01/45

RA 063

19/01/45

21/01/45

03/02/45

03/02/45

JW 064

15/02/45

15/02/45

17/02/45

17/02/45

RA 064

28/02/45

28/02/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 31/5/11
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