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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 MILFORD (L 51) - Shoreham-class Sloop including Convoy Escort Movements  

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

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Repeat SHOREHAM-Class Sloop ordered under the 1930 Programme from HM Dockyard Devonport on 24th April 1931 and laid down on 14th September that year. She was launched on 11th June 1932 as the 7th Royal Navy ship to carry the name, introduced in 1660 for a 5th Rate (Ex ST FAGANS) and last used in 1809 for a 3rd Rate broken-up in 1848. Build was competed on 22nd December 1932 and her pre-war service was spent entirely on the South Atlantic Station apart from refit at Portsmouth at the end of 1937. The 4in main armament was replaced by modern HA weapons at Simonstown in early 1939 and the ship was deployed in the South Atlantic when war was declared in September 1939. No record of an adoption by a UK civil community after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign can be traced.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

LOWESTOFT 1665 - USHANT 1778 - ADRIATIC 1813 - ATLANTIC 1940-44

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

 Badge: On a Field Green, two fishes in Saltire Silver in chief Blue, a net gold.

 

M o t t o

Retibus Famam Retinens:   'Holding fame in our nets'

 

 

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             Passage to take up war station.

                3rd          Deployed for patrol and interception off west coast of Africa.

                                Transferred to Freetown for contraband control , trade defence and interception of

                                commerce raiders.

 

October                  Based at Freetown for defence of convoys between Gibraltar and South Africa.

 

November              Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

to

December

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Passage to Simonstown for refit.

 

February                Under refit in HM Dockyard Simonstown.

to

March

 

April                       Passage to Freetown to resume convoy defence after post refit trials.

 

May                        Deployed for convoy defence in south Atlantic.

to                            Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to U51.

June

 

July

                8th          Joined HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES and HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE for an operation

                                at Dakar to attack Vichy French battleship RICHELIEU.

                                (Note: Embarked envoy for discussion with French authorities.

                                These were rebuffed. See RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute.)

 

August                  Deployed at Freetown and prepared for further operations against Dakar.

 

September

                2nd         Joined Force M ships at Freetown for attack on Vichy French ships at Dakar.

                                (Operation MENACE -  See above reference and Naval Staff History).

 

October                  On release from MENACE deployed at Freetown for convoy defence.

 

November              Prepared for support of Free French landings at Libreville.

                7th          Deployed with HM Cruisers DELHI and DEVONSHIRE is support of Free French

                                during landings at Libreville.

                8th          Sank Vichy French submarine PONCELOT off Libreville after sighting by aircraft

                                from HMS DEVONSHIRE. See above references.

 

December              On release from Libreville operation resumed convoy defence duties at Freetown.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                8th          Deployed with HM Sloop BRIDGEWATER, HM Destroyers VELOX, VTDETTE.

                                HM Corvettes ASPHODEL and CALENDULA to provide Local Escort for military convoy

                                W35A during initial stage of passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope.

                11th        On release from WS5A detached with Local Escort and returned to Freetown.

                29th        Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR , FORESTER, HM Corvettes CLEMATIS and

                                CYCLAMEN as Local Escort fro military convoy WS5B for initial stage of passage to

                                Cape of Good Hope from Freetown.

 

February

                1st           Detached from WS5B with Local Escort and returned to Freetown.

                                Resumed Local Escort duties at Freetown.

 

March                    Convoy defence in continuation based at Freetown.

to                            Nominated for refit

April

 

May                        Passage to Simonstown.

to                            Under refit at Simonstown.

June

 

July                         On completion deployed for convoy defence in South Atlantic and Indian Ocean based at

                                Simonstown.

 

August                  South Atlantic and Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation.

to

October

 

November              Passage to Freetown to resume Local Escort duties.

                28th        Deployed by HM Corvettes HOLLYHOCK and VERBENA as escort for military convoy

                                WS12Z during passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD also formed part of escort.

 

December

                15th        Detached from WS12Z after relief by HM Corvettes ASTER and MARGUERITE

                                Returned to Freetown to resume local

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Deployed for convoy defence based at Freetown.

                27th        Carried out anti-submarine sweep before departure of military convoy WS15 from Freetown.

                29th        Joined escort of WS15 for passage to Durban,

 

February

                13th        Detached from escort of WS15 on arrival at Durban.

 

March                    Deployed for convoy defence in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic based at Capetown.

                17th        Joined military convoy WS16 off Capetown with HM Armed Merchant Cruisers CHESHIRE

                                and DUNOTTAR CASTLE.

                                Relieved on same day by H M Armed Merchant Cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE and resumed

                                Local convoy defence at Capetown.

                22nd       Deployed with HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE as escort for ships of military convoy WS16 during

                                passage to Durban.

                25th        Detached from WS16 on arrival at Durban.

                                Passage to Capetown.

 

April                       Deployed for convoy defence based at Capetown.

                18th        Joined military convoy WS17B during passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope.

                                (Note: This convoy included HM Depot Ship ADAMANT on passage to East Africa.

                                Ocean Escort from Freetown was provided by HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE.)

                23rd        Detached from WS17B on arrival at Capetown,

 

May                        Passage from Capetown to Freetown.

                26th        Deployed with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS and HM Destroyer HURSLEY as Ocean Escort for

                                military convoy WS19 during passage from Freetown to Capetown.

 

June

                6th          Detached from WS19 with Ocean Escort on arrival at Capetown.

                                Took return passage to Freetown to prepare for refit

                                (Note: Refit arranged at Rio de Janeiro in Brazilian Navy Dockyard,)

 

July                         Passage to Rio de Janeiro and taken in hand for refit.

 

August                  Under refit

 

September             On completion of post refit trials took passage to Freetown.

                                (Note: By this period 20mm Oerlikon weapons had been fitted to increase close range defence.

                                Extent of radar fit is uncertain - See 1944)

 

October                  Resumed convoy defence duties at Freetown.

                23rd        Joined military convoy WS23 on passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope with HM

                                Cruiser DESPATCH to supplement defence.

                31st         Detached from WS23 with HMS DESPATCH.

 

November              Passage to Freetown to resume duties.

to                            Deployed at Freetown for convoy defence.

December

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Atlantic and coastal convoy defence in continuation at Freetwon.

to                            Nominated for return to UK for refit.

July

 

August                  Passage to UK for refit in Clyde shipyard.

                                Nominated for transfer to 40th Escort Group on completion.

                                Taken in hand for refit.

 

September             On completion of post refit trials joined Group for defence of convoys on Gibraltar.

                                West African and UK route.

                                Part of escort for joint Convoys SL136/MKS24 from Gibraltar with

 

October                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

 

November              Part of escort for Convoys SL139/MCS30 from Gibraltar with

                18th        .Threat from SCHILL Group of U-Boats never materialised.

                21st         Under glider bomb attack from He177 aircraft

                                (Note: HM Sloop CHANTICLEER was hit and badly damaged by a glider bomb during

                                these attacks but was later towed to the Azores)

 

December              On return from UK withdrawn from operational service due to poor condition of hull.

                                Paid off and laid up at Ardrossan pending decision on future deployment.

                                (For details of convoy defence weapons and German submarine deployments see THE

                                BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre, U-BOAT WAR, SEEK AND STRIKE by

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

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Laid up at Ardrossan.

to                            Selected for use as escort and target for 10th Submarine Flotilla after refit.

April                       To be modified for new role and anti-submarine armament removed.

 

May                        Passage to Tees shipyard for refit and conversion.

 

June                        Under refit.

to                            (Note: Davit for torpedo recovery fitted..

September             Radar Type 271 fitted for surface warning.

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

                                Howse.)

 

October                  On completion of shipyard work carried out post refit trials.

                                Passage to join Flotilla at Rothesay.

 

November              Deployed at Rothesay for submarine training target

to

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Submarine training duties with Squadron in continuation at Rothesay

to

August

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS MILFORD continued her training duties at Rothesay until December 1945 when she was transferred to the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth after refitting in a Clyde shipyard. The ship was reduced to Reserve status in 1946 and placed en the Disposal List in 1949. She was sold to BISCO on 3rd June that year for breaking-up by TW Ward at Hayle, Cornwall.. The ship arrived at the breakerís yard on 22nd July.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS MILFORD

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

 

 

 

 

 

03/12/39

03/12/39

SL 011F

03/12/39

15/12/39

11/07/40

11/07/40

SL 039F

12/07/40

19/07/40

11/08/40

11/08/40

SL 043

13/08/40

31/08/40

20/01/41

20/01/41

SL 063

24/01/41

09/02/41

10/02/41

10/02/41

SL 065

14/02/41

08/03/41

05/08/41

05/08/41

SL 083

09/08/41

28/08/41

25/08/41

25/08/41

SL 085

28/08/41

17/09/41

06/10/41

06/10/41

ST 005

11/10/41

11/10/41

06/12/42

06/12/42

FTT 004

19/12/42

19/12/42

25/12/42

25/12/42

OT 003S

29/12/42

29/12/42

31/12/42

09/01/43

FTT 006

18/01/43

15/01/43

10/05/43

10/05/43

ST 065

14/05/43

14/05/43

21/05/43

21/05/43

TS 041

27/05/43

27/05/43

04/06/43

04/06/43

ST 068

unknown

unknown

11/06/43

11/06/43

TS 044

17/06/43

17/06/43

18/08/43

18/08/43

ST 074

unknown

unknown

03/09/43

03/09/43

SL 136

14/09/43

14/09/43

14/09/43

14/09/43

SL 136MK

25/09/43

25/09/43

27/10/43

28/10/43

OS 057KM

09/11/43

09/11/43

09/11/43

09/11/43

KMS 031G

10/11/43

10/11/43

13/11/43

13/11/43

MKS 030G

16/11/43

16/11/43

16/11/43

16/11/43

SL 139MK

26/11/43

26/11/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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revised 30/5/11
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