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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS LEITH  (L 36)- Grimsby-class Sloop
including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

 HMS Aberdeen, sister-ship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List
 

GRIMSBY-Class Sloop ordered from HM Dockyard Devonport on 1st November 1932 under† the 1931 Build Programme and laid down on 6th February 1933. The ship was launched by Mrs Pipon on 9th†† September 1933 as the 1st RN snip to bear† the name. After carrying out trials she commissioned on 10th July 1934 and was accepted Into service two days later for service on the New Zealand Station manned by the Chatham Port Division. The ship arrived at Auckland on 13th November 1934 for deployment in the Pacific and locally in New Zealand waters. In December 1936 she re-commissioned in Auckland for further service in the New Zealand Division and again in July 1939. Whilst serving in the Pacific she made many visits to Colonial possessions and on one occasion took the Queen of Tonga for visits to outlying† islands (see Addendum). There is no record of an adoption by any UK civil community following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings in 1941-42 for this ship.

 

B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC† 1939-44 - NORTH AFRICA - ENGLISH CHANNEL† 1943

 

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge: On a Field White., an ancient ship Black with Red pennons

on wavelets Gold and Blue.

 

M o t t o

'Persevere'

 

 

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             Took passage to Singapore for contraband control duty on the China Station.

                                called at Jervis Bay, Australia.

 

October                  Deployed at Penang for contraband control and surveillance of enemy ships held in

                                Dutch East Indies ports.

 

November              Recalled to UK for convoy defence In Hone waters.

                7th          Took passage from Penang for UK via Red Sea and Mediterranean.

 

December              Diverted at Gibraltar to go to Freetown for Atlantic convoy escort.

                36th        Joined escort of inward Convoy SL14 at Freetown during passage to UK.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Atlantic convoy escort in continuation.

                10th        Diverted on passage tin Atlantic to join HM Sloops ABERDEEN, BIDEFORD,

                                HM Destroyers VIDETTE, WANDERER, WARWICK and WITCH in escort of

                                inward Convoy HG14F to Liverpool.

                12th        Detached from HG14Fand took passage for refit at Penarth

                13th        Taken in hand for refit in Penarth at commercial shipyard.

 

February                Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command on completion.

                2nd         Joined Western Approaches Command at Liverpool.

                11th        Joined outward Convoy OG18F with HM Sloop BIDEFORD, HM Destroyers ACTIVE

                                and VERSATILE as escort during Atlantic passage.

                17th        Detached from OG18F and joined inward Convoy HG19 with HMS BIDEFORD.

                27th        Detached from HG19,

 

March

                1st           Joined Convoy OG20 with HM Destroyers ACTIVE and VENETIA, French Ships TIGRE and

                                VIKINGS.

                3rd          Detached from OG20.

                4th          Joined HM Sloops ABERDEEN, DEPTFORD, HM Destroyers VENETIA, WILD SWAN

                                and WISHART as escort for Convoy H320.

                9th          Escorted Convoy HG22 with HMS ACTIVE, FS TIGRE, .FS VIKINGS and HM Destroyer

                                VANOC.

                22nd       Joined escort for outward Convoy OG23F with HI Destroyers VELOX and VIDETTE.

                23rd        Detached from OG23F

 

April

                22nd       Joined HM Sloops BIDEFORD and SCARBOROUGH as escort for Convoy OG27F.

                24th        Detached from OG27F

 

May                        Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

to                            Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to U36.

June

 

July                         Transferred to Rosyth Escort Force for convoy defence in NW Approaches and North

                                Sea.

                                Withdrawn from operational service for repair of defect in No 1 Boiler.

                                Taken in hand for repair at Belfast.

 

August                  Post repair trails.

                12th        Resumed service in Western Approaches Command with 41st Escort Group based at

                                Liverpool.

                                Deployed for convoy defence in NW Approaches and for Gibraltar route.

 

September             Freetown route convoy defence in continuation.

 

October*               Deployed with HM Sloop FOLKESTONE, HM Corvettes BLUEBELL

                                and HEARTSEASE for defence of Atlantic convoys during to Dispersal Point of outward

                                convoys and for final stage of passage of inward convoys to UK

                13th        Joined outward Convoy OB228 as escort for passage from Liverpool to Dispersal Point

                                in NW Approaches.

                16th        Under attack by U93 which failed..

                                Submarine sighted on surface and forced to submerge. See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR

                                by C Blair.

                                Carried out unsuccessful search with HMS HEARTSEASE and HMS

                17th        Detached from OB228 on Dispersal.

                to            Took passage with same ships to join escort for inward Convoy SC7

                19th        Joined HM Sloops SCARBOROUGH with HM Sloop FOWEY, HM Corvettes

                                BLUEBELL and HEARTSEASE.

                                (Note: This convoy was subject to sustained U-Boat attacks during which 15 of its

                                34 ships were sunk

                                See BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D. Macintyre, U-BOAT WAR IN THE

                                ATLANTIC, NIGHT OF THE U-BOATS by Lund and Ludlam and HITLERíS

                                U-BOAT WAR Vol 1 by C Blair.)

                                Survivors from three of ships sunk were rescued.

                20th        Detached from SC7 and rounded -up three ships of inward convoy HX79                              

                                (Note: HX79 had also been under sustained attack. See above references.)

 

November*           Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                13th        Sailed from Sydney with escort for inward Convoy SC12

                                (Note: It may be assumed that ships was deployed for escorted of an outward convoy

                                for full passage to Sydney, Nova Scotia.)

                29th        Detached from SC12 on arrival,

 

December*            Returned to duties of defence of outward OG Series convoys to Freetown and return

                                SL Series convoys.

                9th          Deployed with escort for outward Convoy OG47 during passage to Gibraltar.

                20th        Convoy under attack by Italian submarine MOCENGIO which sank ss MANCHESTER

                                GENERAL.

                25th        Detached from OG47 on arrival.

                29th        Sailed with escort of inward Convoy to Liverpool

                                (Note: Convoy leaving on this date is recorded as HG49)

                                See ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM in WW2 by A Hague.)

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                15th        Detached from Convoy on arrival.

                                Convoy defence in Western Approaches in continuation.

 

February                Deployed for convoy defence.

 

March                    Deployed for convoy defence.

                29th        Escorting merchant ship from Belfast to Barry Dock, S Wales. Attacked by two Heinkel 111s.

                                Bombs missed, but HMS LEITH shot down one plane and took all five of the crew prisoner.

                                Action was reported in the Daily Sketch with the heading 'Captain Mueller Missed, HMS Leith

                                Didn't'. (Courtesy, Lt Cdr A G N Hodkinson DSC, RNVR, served as officer on board from April

                                1940 to May 1943)

 

April                       Deployed for escort of convoys in Irish Sea and SW Approaches.

                17th        Taken in hand for refit at Avonmouth.

 

May                        Under refit

                                Nominated for convoy defence based in Newfoundland.

 

June

                6th          On completion of post refit trials took passage to Join Newfoundland Escort Force

                                for convoy defence based at St Johns.

 

July                         Atlantic Convoy defence baaed in Newfoundland in continuation.

                                (Note: For deployment with newly formed Newfoundland Escort Force)

 

August                  Passage to UK when redeployed in Western Approaches Command.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers GURKHA (ii), LANCE, HM Corvette ZINNIA

                                and other corvettes of 5th Escort Group in defence of Outward Convoy OG71

                                of 21 ship from Liverpool on passage to Gibraltar.

                                (Note: HM Norwegian Destroyer BATH had been sunk earlier on 19th with three

                                mercantiles.)

                22nd       Carried out anti-submarine operations during further attacks in which HMS ZINNIA

                                and four other mercantiles were sunk.

                                (Note: For details of the operations in defence of OG71 see NIGHTMARE CONVOY

                                by Lund and Ludlam and HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR.

                25th        OG71 arrived in Gibraltar.

 

September

                2nd         Part of escort for inward Convoy HG72.from Gibraltar to Liverpool

                                For details see

                17th        Detached from HG72 on arrival.

 

October*               At Belfast

                                Joined 43rd Escort Group for escort of convoys between UK and Freetown based at

                                Londonderry.

                5th          Nominated for escort of outward Convoy OS9 during passage from Liverpool.

                9th          Deployed as part of escort from Liverpool for military convoy OS9 during initial part

                                of passage to Freetown.

                24th        Detached from OS9 with ships destined for Gibraltar.

                                (Note: These ships were designated OS9G Ė See reference above.)

                28th        Detached from OS9G on arrival.

 

November*           Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.

                3rd          Deployed with escort for inward convoy to Liverpool from Gibraltar.

                20th        At Liverpool

                                (Note: Convoy HG3 which left Gibraltar on 13th November arrived in Liverpool on

                                21st November. See above reference.

                28th        Sailed as part of escort for outward Convoy to West Africa.

 

December*

                19th        At Bathurst

                                (Note: It may be assumed that ship had detached from OS Series Convoy during

                                passage to Freetown.)

                28th        Sailed from Bathurst to join SL series inward convoy during passage from Freetown.

                                (Note: Convoy SL96 sailed from Freetown on 26th December 1941 and

                                dispersed on 13th January 1942.)

 

1 9 4 2

 

January*                Detached from inward convoy and took passage to Londonderry

                17th        At Londonderry for repair of underwater equipment.

                31st         Resumed deployment for convoy defence.

 

February*              Deployed for escort of outward convoy to West Africa

                18th        Detached and took passage to Bathurst.

                23rd        Passage from Bathurst to join inward convoy during passage from Freetown.

                                Nominated for refit at Immingham on arrival in UK

 

March*

                15th        Detached from escort and took passage to Londonderry

                18th        Passage from Londonderry to Immingham

                20th        Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard.

 

April*

                24th        On completion of post refit trials took passage to Clyde

                27th        Deployed in Clyde

                29th        Deployed at Londonderry

 

May*                     Londonderry deployment in continuation

                                (Note: Ship may have been deployed for convoy defence or training locally.)

                13th        Deployed for defence of outward convoy to Freetown

 

June*                     Freetown route convoy defence in continuation.

                11th        At Freetown.

                                Returned to UK with escort for inward convoy.

 

July*

                4th          At Londonderry

                21st         Joined escort for outward Convoy OS35 during passage to Freetown.

 

August*

                10th        Detached from OS35 on arrival at Freetown.

                14th        Sailed from Freetown as part of escort for inward convoy SL119 of 29 ships

                                for passage to Liverpool

                25th        Convoy position reported by U214

                                BLUCHER U-Boat Group ordered to carry out concentrated attacks.

                                See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR Vol 1 Page 273

                                (Note: Crew of one, ss ZUIDERKERK was rescued by ship.)

                28th        BLUCHER attacks in continuation during which two mercantiles were sunk..

                                Carried out search for U-Boat

 

September

                4th          Detached from SL119 on arrival

                9th          Under repair and docked at Greenock for replacement of underwater

                                dome for Sonar outfit.

 

October                  On completion of repair deployed at Belfast.

                                Nominated for defence of military convoys for allied landings in North Africa.

                                (Operation TORCH).

                25th        Escorted Stores Convoy KMS2 for North African landings

 

November

                12th        Detached from KMS2.

                                Escorted coastal convoys in western Mediterranean.

 

December              Western Mediterranean convoy defence in continuation.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Deployed for convoy defence based at Gibraltar.

to                            Nominated for return with Group to UK for service in Western Approaches

March                    Command

 

April                       Resumed convoy defence for Freetown route convoys .

to

July

 

August                  Transferred to 38th Escort Group in continuation.

to

December

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

 to                           Nominated for service in Mediterranean.

July

 

August                  Deployed in Mediterranean based at Gibraltar.

 

September             Taken in hand for extended refit at Gibraltar because of deteriorated condition which

                                affected availability.

 

October                  Under refit.

to

December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  On completion of post refit trials took passage to UK for deployment in Channel.

                                Rejoined 38th Escort Group based at Portsmouth.

 

February                Deployed for convoy defence in English Channel with  38th Escort Group based at

                                Portsmouth.

                                (Note: During this period Atlantic convoys were re-routed through Channel.

                                Escort and Support Groups ware supplemented because of attacks by

                                SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats Were being made at focal points of convoy

                                assembly.

                                See SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann, and HOLD THE NARROW

                                SEA by P Smith.)

 

March                    Channel deployment with Group in continuation.

 

April

                9th          Escorted Dutch minelayer VAN DER ZANN for minelay of Deep Anti-submarine

                                Field V2 in SW Approaches to English Channel (Operation ARTIZAN).

                                See Naval Staff History (Mining).

                27th        Escorted HNethMS VAN DER ZANN for continuation of lay of V2 minefield.

                                (Operation ARTIZAN).

 

May                        After VJ Day nominated for reduction to Reserve status

 

June                        Passage to Rosyth to Pay-off and reduce to Reserve

 

July                         Laid-up in Reserve at Rosyth

  

P o s t†† W a r†† N o t e s

 

HMS LEITH was placed on the Disposal List after VJ Day and sold in 1946 for use as a mercantile. The ship was renamed BYRON and later FRIENDSHIP, but in 1949 was acquired by the Royal Danish Navy. During her further naval service this sloop was again renamed and deployed for hydrographic duties as HM Danish Ship GALATHEA.† She was sold for breaking-up in 1955.

 

A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t

 

The revision of† periods marked * has been made possible by information provided by Captain Alec Rose, Royal Navy from his own research. This is most gratefully acknowledged.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS LEITH

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

 

 

 

 

 

18/12/39

18/12/39

SL 013

19/12/39

06/01/40

26/12/39

26/12/39

SL 014

12/01/40

15/01/40

05/01/40

10/01/40

HG 014F

12/01/40

15/01/40

08/02/40

08/02/40

OB 088

11/02/40

11/02/40

11/02/40

11/02/40

OG 018F

17/02/40

17/02/40

17/02/40

17/02/40

HG 019

27/02/40

27/02/40

01/03/40

01/03/40

OG 020

03/03/40

07/03/40

25/02/40

04/03/40

HG 020

06/03/40

06/03/40

09/03/40

unknown

HG 022F

unknown

18/03/40

21/03/40

21/03/40

OG 023F

24/03/40

28/03/40

03/04/40

03/04/40

OG 024

04/04/40

08/04/40

09/04/40

09/04/40

OB 126

12/04/40

13/04/40

30/03/40

12/04/40

SL 026

15/04/40

15/04/40

20/04/40

20/04/40

OB 133

22/04/40

22/04/40

22/04/40

22/04/40

OG 027F

24/04/40

28/04/40

18/04/40

24/04/40

HG 027F

27/04/40

27/04/40

30/04/40

30/04/40

OB 139

03/05/40

03/05/40

22/04/40

04/05/40

HX 037

07/05/40

07/05/40

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

28/05/40

30/05/40

28/05/40

29/05/40

HG 032F

04/06/40

06/06/40

23/05/40

06/06/40

SL 033

09/06/40

09/06/40

10/06/40

10/06/40

OB 165

11/06/40

14/06/40

31/05/40

14/06/40

SL 034

15/06/40

15/06/40

19/06/40

19/06/40

OB 171

21/06/40

21/06/40

21/06/40

21/06/40

OG 034

03/07/40

03/07/40

03/07/40

03/07/40

OB 178

07/07/40

07/07/40

25/06/40

07/07/40

HX 053

10/07/40

10/07/40

14/07/40

14/07/40

OA 184

19/07/40

unknown

07/07/40

19/07/40

HX 056

22/07/40

22/07/40

04/08/40

16/08/40

HX 063

19/08/40

19/08/40

22/08/40

22/08/40

OA 203

27/08/40

unknown

15/08/40

27/08/40

SC 001

30/08/40

29/08/40

03/09/40

05/09/40

OG 042

16/09/40

16/09/40

19/09/40

19/09/40

HG 044

04/10/40

04/10/40

13/10/40

13/10/40

OB 228

16/10/40

17/10/40

05/10/40

18/10/40

SC 007

21/10/40

21/10/40

29/10/40

29/10/40

OB 236

02/11/40

02/11/40

13/11/40

13/11/40

SC 012

29/11/40

29/11/40

09/12/40

09/12/40

OG 047

25/12/40

21/12/40

29/12/40

29/12/40

HG 049

15/01/41

15/01/41

26/01/41

26/01/41

OG 051

08/02/41

08/02/41

20/02/41

20/02/41

HG 054

12/03/41

12/03/41

26/06/41

27/06/41

OB 339

09/07/41

12/07/41

11/07/41

13/07/41

HX 138

27/07/41

27/07/41

13/08/41

13/08/41

OG 071

23/08/41

23/08/41

02/09/41

02/09/41

HG 072

17/09/41

17/09/41

25/08/41

14/09/41

SL 085

17/09/41

17/09/41

27/09/41

27/09/41

BB 081

29/09/41

29/09/41

13/10/41

14/10/41

OS 009

01/11/41

05/11/41

24/10/41

24/10/41

OS 009G

01/11/41

01/11/41

01/11/41

04/11/41

SL 091G

08/11/41

08/11/41

08/11/41

08/11/41

SL 091G1

12/11/41

12/11/41

12/11/41

12/11/41

SL 091GS

19/11/41

19/11/41

30/11/41

01/12/41

OS 013

18/12/41

20/12/41

26/12/41

28/12/41

SL 096

13/01/42

13/01/42

30/01/42

31/01/42

OS 018

15/02/42

20/02/42

21/02/42

23/02/42

SL 101

15/03/42

15/03/42

30/04/42

30/04/42

OG 083

07/05/42

11/05/42

22/05/42

22/05/42

OS 029

10/06/42

11/06/42

15/06/42

15/06/42

SL 113

05/07/42

05/07/42

21/07/42

22/07/42

OS 035

10/08/42

10/08/42

14/08/42

14/08/42

SL 119

05/09/42

04/09/42

19/09/42

24/09/42

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

28/11/42

28/11/42

TE 007

unknown

03/12/42

03/12/42

05/12/42

MKS 003X

08/12/42

19/12/42

30/12/42

30/12/42

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

21/01/43

07/02/43

07/02/43

08/02/43

MKS 007

17/02/43

17/02/43

15/04/43

16/04/43

OS 046KM

24/04/43

24/04/43

24/04/43

24/04/43

OS 046

03/05/43

03/05/43

11/05/43

11/05/43

SL 129

24/05/43

23/05/43

24/05/43

24/05/43

SL 129MK

31/05/43

01/06/43

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

30/07/43

05/08/43

31/08/43

31/08/43

ST 075

unknown

unknown

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

09/11/43

09/11/43

OS 057

18/11/43

19/11/43

23/11/43

23/11/43

SL 141

04/12/43

04/12/43

19/12/43

19/12/43

OS 061

29/12/43

29/12/43

01/01/44

01/01/44

SL 145

12/01/44

12/01/44

26/01/44

26/01/44

OS 065

06/02/44

06/02/44

11/02/44

11/02/44

SL 149

11/02/44

22/02/44

05/03/44

05/03/44

OS 069

15/03/44

15/03/44

22/03/44

22/03/44

SL 153

02/04/44

02/04/44

16/04/44

16/04/44

OS 073

25/04/44

25/04/44

01/05/44

01/05/44

SL 157

10/05/44

11/05/44

23/05/44

23/05/44

OS 077

02/06/44

02/06/44

11/06/44

11/06/44

SL 161

22/06/44

21/06/44

02/07/44

02/07/44

OS 081

12/07/44

12/07/44

20/07/44

20/07/44

SL 165

30/07/44

30/07/44

11/08/44

11/08/44

OS 085

21/08/44

21/08/44

29/08/44

28/09/44

SL 169

10/09/44

10/09/44

15/01/45

15/01/45

MKS 077G

16/01/45

23/01/45

26/02/45

26/02/45

TBC 081

01/03/45

01/03/45

28/02/45

28/02/45

TBC 083

03/03/45

03/03/45

04/03/45

04/03/45

TBC 087

07/03/45

07/03/45

10/03/45

10/03/45

BTC 093

12/03/45

13/03/45

12/03/45

12/03/45

TBC 095

15/03/45

15/03/45

16/03/45

16/03/45

BTC 099

19/03/45

19/03/45

16/03/45

16/03/45

TBC 099

19/03/45

19/03/45

18/03/45

20/03/45

BTC 101

21/03/45

21/03/45

01/04/45

01/04/45

BTC 115

04/04/45

04/04/45

06/04/45

06/04/45

BTC 120

09/04/45

09/04/45

18/04/45

18/04/45

BTC 132

21/04/45

21/04/45

26/04/45

26/04/45

VWC 138

27/04/45

27/04/45

21/05/45

21/05/45

WVC 158

22/05/45

22/05/45

22/05/45

22/05/45

VWL 179

23/05/45

23/05/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 


 

PREWAR SERVICE IN THE PACIFIC

by Des Bearham, Western Australia (11 Sept 2011)

My father, George Bearham, served on HMS LEITH before and during WW2. Following are two documents covering the period 1936 to 1939:

   

   

New Zealand & South Sea Islands Itinerary, 1936 Ė 1939.

Crossing the Equator 2nd Feb 1937  163deg. 17íw

   
 

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