Fleet Destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie
at Newcastle on 2nd October
1939 with 2nd Emergency
Flotilla. The ship was originally to have
been named ONSLAUGHT but this was
changed in order to have
all eight ships of the Flotilla with names
starting with P. She was
laid down on 5th March 1940 and launched
on 10th April 1941 as the 2nd RN warship to
bear the name that had previously
used by cruiser lost in 1915.
Build was completed on 13th April 1942 and
cost £410,905, excluding Admiralty
supplied equipment such as
guns and communications outfits. After a
successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in March 1942 she
was adopted by the civil community of
B a t t l e H
o n o u r s
1942-43 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH
AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO
1943 - AEGEAN 1943 - BURMA 1944 –45
H e r a l d i c
D a t a
Badge On a
Field per Pale wavy and White a bloodhound
D e t a i l
o f W a r
S e r v i c e
type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 2
trials and commissioning.
Build completion and acceptance
Passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with
(Note: Damaged in collision
with Fleet Auxiliary CHANNEL FISHER).
Passage for repair at
(Note: Direction Finding
equipment fitted for interception of radio
signals and for position finding
of these transmissions.)
On completion of work resumed
work-up at Scapa Flow.
(Note: Splits discovered
in internal bulkheads were considered to be
due to depth charge
explosions fracturing joints
See SEEK AND
STRIKE by W Hackmann and BRITISH DESTROYERS
by E March.)
Home Fleet duties in NW
Approaches in continuation.
Joined military convoy WS19P in Clyde
with HM Destroyers PENN. QUENTIN and
as screen for HM
Battleships RODNEY and NELSON to provide
cover during passage in Atlantic.
Detached from WS19 with same ships
after relief by HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE.
Resumed Home Fleet duties
Deployed for screening and
patrol duties with Home Fleet.
During escort of HM Battleships
NELSON and RODNEY under attack by U-boat.
out counter attack
with HMS PENN without success.
Nominated for escort of
Malta relief convoy with Home Fleet ships.
Joined escort for military convoy
WS21 as Ocean Escort during passage to
(Note: For details of
Home Fleet ships detached for PEDESTAL see
PEDESTAL by P Smith and
Sailed from Clyde
Part of Force X as screen for HM
Cruisers CAIRO, KENYA, NIGERIA and
HM Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS,
FURY, PENN, LEDBURY,
BRAMHAM, TARTAR and
ASHANTI for Close Escort of convoy during
passage to Malta from
Under air and submarine attacks.
HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE
was sunk by U73.
submarine COBALTO with HM Destroyer ITHURIEL
and forced it to surface
where it was rammed and
sunk by HMS ITHURIEL.
details of Operation see PEDESTAL
by Peter C. Smith, THE BATTLE FOR THE
MEDITERRANEAN by D
MacIntyre and the Naval Staff History)
Sank HM Cruiser CAIRO by
torpedo after she had been badly damaged by
the Italian submarine
AXUM, which had also hit
and damaged HM Cruiser NIGERIA.
(Note: A HURRICANE
pilot from HMS INDOMITABLE and an Italian
airman were rescued during
Rescued 150 of the survivors from HM
Cruiser MANCHESTER off Tunisian coast.
(Note: HM Destroyer
SOMALI rescued other survivors from this
After passage of WS21S through
Sicilian Narrows returned to join ships of
the Covering Force Z off
(Note: HMS PENN, HMS
BRAMHAM and HMS LEDBURY remained with convoy
until entry of
mercantiles into Malta. See
Returned to Gibraltar with ships of
Force Z and Force X.
Deployed with HM Destroyers QUENTIN
and VIMY to escort HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH for
Atlantic passage to West
(Note: HM Battleship
QUEEN ELIZABETH was to be repaired in
Norfolk, Va USA after being
an attack by Italian frogmen at Alexandria
in Dec. 1941.)
Detached from escort duty and took
passage to Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Participated in search and sinking of
U162 with HM Destroyers VIMY and QUENTIN.
Submarine was sunk by
HMS VIMY after ramming in position 12. 19N,
59 33W following torpedo
attack and lengthy
search operation off Barbados. 49 survivors
See U-BOATS DESTROYED by
P Kemp and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair
Landed prisoners at Port of Spain.
Returned to Scapa Flow
and resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet.
Home Fleet service with Flotilla in
Nominated for support of
allied landings in North Africa with HM
(Operation TORCH - For
details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY,
History and RELUCTANT
ENEMIES by W Tute
Passage to Gibraltar as part of screen
for Home Fleet units detached for support of
Part of Eastern Task Force as screen
for major units during landings.
Deployed for screening, anti-submarine
patrol, support and
escort duty in western Mediterranean
Based at Oran in continuation
Towed damaged minelayer HMS MANXMAN
to Oran following torpedo attack by U651.
Deployed with HMS PANTHER to
reinforce escort for Convoy KMF5A under
U-boat attack off
Joined HM Destroyers LAFOREY,
LIGHTNING, PENN and WISHART in rescue
ss STRATHALLAN was torpedoed during
(Note: Over 1,000 troops
were taken off. Other ships including HMS
WISHART rescued 1,179
caught fire and sank later
1 9 4 3
January Deployed in Atlantic
for escort duty.
from Gibraltar with HM Destroyers PANTHER
and PENN to escort HM
ILLUSTRIOUS during Atlantic passage from
Kilindini to Freetown.
Joined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.
Escort of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in
continuation with HM Destroyers ILEX,
HOLCOMBE, PENN and
PANTHER during passage
Detached with HMS PENN and HMS PANTHER
and took passage to Casablanca to refuel.
Rejoined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HMS
PANTHER and HMS PENN as escort for passage
Taken in hand for repair
to generator defect.
On completion took passage to Clyde to
rejoin Flotilla for convoy defence with HM
OBDURATE and OPPORTUNE.
Deployed in Western Approaches for
support and defence of Atlantic convoys
Deployed with HM Escort Carrier
Destroyer OBDURATE and HM Destroyer
OPPORTUNE as 5th Escort
(Note: For details of
development of weapons used in this crucial
stage of the Battle of the Atlantic
see SEEK AND
STRIKE by W Hackmann, THE TORPEDOMEN by E
Poland and RADAR
AT SEA by D
Deployed with Group in defence of
convoys ONS4 and sank U203 detected on
surface by aircraft from HMS
Attacked U753 which
THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D MacIntyre,
U-BOAT WAR IN THE
U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)
support duties in continuation.
Took passage from St Johns,
Newfoundland to support escorts for Convoys
HX237 and SC129 which were
attack by U-Boat Groups.
Joined HX237 with ships of Group after
due to fog off Newfoundland.
Took part in anti-submarine operations
with HMS OPPORTUNE.
Participated in further anti-submarine
operations with ships of Group.
U456 was sunk after being
damaged by aircraft from HMS BITER. See
with Group to support SC129.
release from SC129 under repair in Clyde
to Scapa Flow to resume Fleet duties.
for support of allied landings in Sicily.
Passage to Mediterranean
as escort for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V
with HMS PENN and
HMS PANTHER for support
of landings in Sicily.
Prepared for support duties
during Operation HUSKY.
Deployed south of Sardinia as screen
for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE
forming Reserve Covering
Group to prevent interference by Italian
Fleet during landings.
(Operation HUSKY - For
details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by
and the Naval Staff
Took part in bombardment of Trapani
and Marsala with HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS
Hit submerged rock and
Took passage to Alexandria
for replacement of port propeller.
On completion resumed
operational duty based at Bizerta
.Based at Bizerta for support duties.
Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA,
DIDO, SIRIUS and PENELOPE, HM Destroyers
and PENN for bombardment duties in
preparation for landings at
Bombarded positions at Castelmare di
Stabea, near Naples and later, Cape Vaticano
Part of escort for HM Aircraft Carrier
FORMIDABLE during passage from
Alexandria to Malta with
three other Fleet destroyers.
Passage to Algiers for
screening of Force H ships.
Joined Force H ships at Algiers.
Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V
and HMS HOWE with ships of Flotilla during
with screen during covering of
landings at Salerno.
AVALANCHE – see above references.)
Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V
and HMS HOWE during escort of surrendered
ANDREA DORIA and CAIO
DUILIO, cruisers CADORNA, POMPEO MAGNO and
DA ROCCO on passage to Malta from Taranto.
Deployed off Salerno for bombardment
in support of military operations and for
On release of Reserve
Covering Force deployed in support of
operations in western Mediterranean.
Embarked stores and vehicles for
passage to Ajaccio following the evacuation
of German forces.
Deployed with HM Destroyer PATHFINDER
to replace Free French destroyer LE
as escort for Free
French cruiser JEANNE D’ARC during transport
of troops from Algiers to Ajaccio.
LE FANTASQUE had run
Transferred to Levant Force for
support of operations in defence of islands
in Aegean against German
to occupy after Italian
Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA and
DIDO, HM Destroyers PETARD, PENN and TUMULT
south of Crete for
interception of invasion craft.
Escorted damaged cruisers HMS AURORA
and DIDO to Alexandria after they had been
south of Cos.
Deployed in support of military
operations in the Aegean.
Embarked stores and personnel for
HM Cruiser SIRIUS, HM Destroyers ECLIPSE and
HM Cruiser AURORA for bombardment of Cos
Sheltered in Turkish waters during
daylight and then landed stores and
at Alinda Bay.
out interception patrol
north of Levitha.
Sailed from Alexandria with HM
Destroyer JERVIS, HURWORTH and Greek ADRIAS
stores for defence of garrison at Leros.
(Note: HMS HURWORTH and
Greek ADRIAS were detached as a diversion
and ran into a
was sunk and ADRIAS badly damaged. See WAR
IN THE AEGEAN.)
Escorted HM Cruiser AURORA with HM
Destroyers EXMOOR and BLENCATHRA to relieve
Cruiser PHOEBE and to carry out
defence duties in continuation.
Embarked troops of 1st En Kings Own
Royal Rifle Corps at Alexandria. Sailed with
PHOEBE, HM Destroyer FAULKNOR, ECHO
(Note: Owing to lack of
space, motor transport and Bren carriers
were not taken.
After lay up in Gulf of Doris during
daylight landed troops at Leros.
Laid up in Turkish waters during
Deployed with HMS PENN for
interception of invasion craft between Pares
No contact made but sank
German decoy ship GA45 off Crete.
The enemy deployed this
type of ship to attract allied submarines
for a surface engagement,
the role of British Q Ships in WW1)
Detached and joined HM Destroyer FURY
to escort HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM damaged by
torpedo fired from U407
Escorted HMS BIRMINGHAM to Alexandria
Resumed Aegean duty in support of
On release from Aegean Force resume
Flotilla duties with Fleet.
For details of the
disastrous operations in the Aegean during
late 1943 see WAR IN THE AEGEAN
by P Smith and E
for service with
Flotilla in Eastern Fleet.
1 9 4 4
to Trincomalee for service
in 16th Destroyer Division of 11th Flotilla.
for screening, convoy escort and patrol
duties in Indian Ocean.
Did not take part with HMS PALADIN and HMS
PETARD OF Flotilla
for the escort of military convoy KR8 during
which the troopship KHEDIVE
was torpedoed with
heavy loss of life.)
of screen for H M Battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser
HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers
and CUMBERLAND, with HM Destroyers QUILLIAM,
(RAN), NORMAN (RAN), NEPAL( RAN), QUIBERON
(RAN), Dutch VAN GALEN
Met US aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA, us
Destroyers USS CUMMINGS, DUNLOP
FANNING which were joining
Eastern Fleet for future operations in
2nd Returned to
Trincomalee with screen for
RN and USN ships and resumed duties with
of convoys in Indian Ocean.
Indian Ocean convoy defence in
(Note: Safe passage of
military convoys carrying troops for 14th
Army service in Burma was given high
priority by CinC
Took part in extensive search off South
Africa for U456 with aircraft
and trawler group.
(Note: This lasted for two
days but was unsuccessful).
Indian Ocean Convoy defence in continuation.
Deployed in support of military operations
Took part in operation to
prevent escape of Japanese personnel
escaping from Ramree.
1 9 4 5
support and convoy defence in
Deployed for support of landings at
Kayaba with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA,
HM Destroyers RAPID and
(Operation LIGHTNING – See
Naval Staff History and WAR WITH JAPAN
Returned to Trincomalee
Took passage to Akyab with HM Battleship
QUEEN ELIZABETH and HM
Provided bombardment at Ramree Island during
Carried out interception patrol off Ramree
Provided further bombardment in support of
advance by Indian Army.
HMS PHOEBE joined Bombardment Force
Returned to Chittagong to
re-fuel and replenish ammunition stock.
Resumed support duties off Burma.
Relieved by HMS PALADIN.
Landed troops on SE coast of Ramree
Island which were unopposed.
Towed HM Destroyer NEPAL off sandbank.
Took part in operation to prevent escape
of Japanese personnel escaping from Ramree.
(Note: HMS PALADIN
TOGETHER WITH Motor Launches and Landing
Craft were also used to
evacuating enemy troops, See THE FORGOTTEN
FLEET by J Winton and
Bombarded escape routes.
Resumed patrol and support duties after
re-fuelling from HMS NEPAL.
Under air attack in Pakseik
Taungnaw River mouth south of Akyab and
sustained serious damage from near
(Note: Starboard engine
disabled and hull structure damaged.
leaks and some flooding caused.)
Emergency repair completed
took passage using Port engine.
Further repair carried out in main anchorage
at Ramree Island.
Took passage to Colombo with call at
Trincomalee on 27th.
Arrived at Colombo for docking and
Undocked after repair to allow passage
(Note: Ship declared
Constructive Total Loss and to be reduced to
Sailed from Colombo for Bombay.
Took passage to UK via Red Sea from
Sustained weather damage during Red Sea
passage and delayed by repair.
Called at Dartmouth.
Plymouth after paying off and began
reduction to Reserve.
to Dartmouth to lay-up in
Beached at Dartmouth to
await decision on future use.
o s t W a r N o t e
PATHFINDER was selected for use a bombing
target in November 1946 and prepared
for this at Portsmouth. Trials
were carried out during 1947-48 and ship was
placed on Disposal List when completed.
Sold to BISCO in 1948 She
was towed to Milford Haven and arriving on
17th November that year for
demolition by Howells. See BRITISH
by E March for details. More information is
included in a book on “O and P
Class Destroyers" by N J Dyer,
but some details are at variance with
official records and with other sources.
ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
convoy as escort