DRAFT  

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS TARTAR -  Tribal-class Destroyer

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above left  -

(click photographs for enlargements)

 
 

H .  M .  S.   T A R T A R   ( F 4 3 )

 

"TRIBAL" Class Fleet destroyer ordered under the 1936 Build Programme from Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson of Wallsend on 12th June 1936. She was laid down on 26th August that year and launched on 21st October 1937 as the 17th RN warship to carry this name, introduced in 1702 and last used by a pre-WW 1 destroyer sold in 1921. Build was completed on 10th March 1939 and the ship was fitted for use as a Flotilla Leader. During early service she was one of the Home Fleet ships sent to the scene of the disastrous sinking of HM Submarine THETIS in Liverpool Bay on 1st June 1939. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was "adopted" by the civil community of Finchley, now part of the London Borough of Barnet For farther details of this Class of Fleet Destroyer see THE TRIBALS by M Bryce. (Note: The Pennant Number allocated for visual signalling on build was L43 but this was changed to F43 before completion.)

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

VELEZ MALAGA 1704  - LAGOS 1759 - USHANT 1781 - DOGGER BANK 1781 - BALTIC 1855 -  SHIMONESKI 1864 -  SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1900 - DOVER PATROL 1914-18 - NORWAY 1940-41 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - ARCTIC 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 -  SALERNO 1943  - MEDITERRANEAN 1943 -  NORMANDY 1944  - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944 - BISCAY 1944 - BURMA 1945

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge : On a Field White the head of a Tartar proper

 

D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

 

1 9 3 9

 

March                    Contractors trials and commissioning for service with 2nd Tribal Destroyer Flotilla. Home Fleet

                10th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

 

April                       Worked-up at Portland on completion of trials.

                (Note: Transferred to re-designated 6th Destroyer Flotilla which also included HM Destroyers

                SOMALI, ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, MATABELE, PUNJABI, TARTAR and ESKIMO.)

 

May                        Portland deployment in continuation

 

June                        Diverted to assist in rescue operations in Liverpool Bay after sinking of HM Submarine THETIS

                during trials after build completion.

                On arrival deployed as Headquarters ship for rescue operations.

                On release from the unsuccessful rescue work resumed work-up programme.

 

July                         Passage to Devonport for repair

                3rd          Taken in hand for repair of defects by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

                25th        Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet on completion of trials and took passage to Scapa Flow,

 

September             Deployed with Flotilla at designated war station at Scapa Flow for screening of major warships,

                                interception of blockade runners and commerce raiders with anti-submarine patrols.

 

October                  Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

 

November

                24th        Deployed with Screen for Home Fleet ships during search for German SCHARNORST and

                                GNEISENAU after sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDINL

 

December              Passage to Clyde for repair of defects

                4th          Taken in hand for repair at Govan by Alexander Stephens.

                (Note: In common with other TRIBAL Class destroyers extensive leaking had been experienced

                due to high speed operations in heavy weather conditions.

                For details of naval activities in Home Waters in 1939 see the Naval Staff History and

                ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Bamett.

                29th        Resumed Flotilla duties in Home Fleet and took passage to Scapa Flow.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Flotilla duties with Home Fleet in continuation

to                            Deployed for escort of convoys to and from Norway and Fleet screening.

February                (Note : Ships of Flotilla were carrying out patrol and convoy defence in North Sea.)

 

March                    Deployed with HMS MOHAWK for escort of rms QUEEN ELIZABETH during passage

in NW Approaches on maiden voyage to New York. On release took passage to resume North

Sea duties based at Rosyth for convoy defence.

 

April

                4th          Deployed with HMS SOMALI, HMS MATABELE and HMS MASHONA as escort for

                                Convoy HN24 during passage from Norway to Methil.

                8th          Joined HM Destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU, COSSACK,

                KASHMIR and KELVIN Polish Destroyers ORP GROM and BLYSKAWICA

                with escorts for ON24 in screen for Cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA carrying out

                search north of 58.30N 3.30E for German warships reported on passage in northern North Sea

                9th          Search abandoned and rejoined ships of Home Fleet also deployed for this operation.

After arrival detached with the three Polish destroyers to escort Convoy HN25 during its passage

from Norway after escaping before German invasion troops occupied Bergen.

                14th        Rejoined Home Fleet units for operations off Norway in support of planned allied landings

                                (Operation RUPERT/R4)

18th        Detached for escort of damaged cruiser HMS SUFFOLK during passage to Scapa Flow.

                21st         Resumed deployment with Home Fleet units off Norway and carried out inshore patrols to

 to           intercept further enemy landings.

                28th        (Note: HM Destroyers ASHANTI, MOHAWK, SOMALI, SIKH and NUBIAN were also

                                deployed and returned to replenish or for convoy defence duties.).

                30th        Took part in evacuation of allied troops from Andalsnes and Molde with HM Destroyers

                                SOMALI, MASHONA and HM Auxiliary AA Ship ULSTER PRINCE.

Under heavy and sustained air attacks.

Transferred to Mole to embark Captain Denny and staff with ULSTER PRINCE.

(For details of the disastrous Norwegian campaign and the heavy price paid in losses and major      

damage to RN ships, see NARVIK by D MacIntryre, THE DOOMED EXPEDITION

                by J Adams, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and the Naval Staff History.)

 

May

                1st           Took passage from Andalsnes to Harstad.

                                Resumed Home Fleet duties for defence of inward support and evacuation convoys based at Harstad.

                24th        Passage to Scapa Flow from Harstad

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling Purposes changed to G43.

 

June                        Part of escort for HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL during flying operations off Norway

                8th          Deployed with HM Destroyers MASHONA, BEDOUIN and ASHANTI as screen for HM

                                Battleship VALIANT to cover passage of Group I of final evacuation convoys from Ofotfjord area.

                9th          Detached from Group I with HMS VALIANT and ships of screen to cover return passage of other

                                evacuation convoys.

                10th        Took part in unsuccessful Home Fleet search for GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST after sinking

                                of HM Aircraft Carrier GLORIOUS.

                11th        Returned to Scapa Flow and resumed Flotilla duties.

                19th        Deployed with HMS BEDOUIN and HMS MASHONA for ant- submarine patrol in Faeroes area.

                                Rescued survivors from Portuguese mercantile torpedoed and sunk whilst proceeding independently

                20th        At Faeroes with HMS MASHONA to seize Swedish destroyers ROMULUS and REMUS.

                                (Note : These ships had been purchased from Italy and were on passage to Sweden.

                                After intense diplomatic activity they were later returned to Sweden from Scapa Flow.

                22nd       Returned to Scapa Flow.

                                Became Leader of 6th Flotilla whilst HMS SOMALI was under repair.

 

July                         Deployed with Flotilla for Home Fleet screening and convoy defence.

                14th        Under repair to rudder equipment by Cammell Laird shipyard.

                24th        Resumed Flotilla duties in Home Fleet

                                (Note: Extensive anti-invasion deployments were made during this period and

                                affected Home Fleet ships.)

 

August

                8th          Deployed as part of escort for ships of Force "H" during Atlantic passage to UK from Gibraltar.

 

September

                1st           Escorted HM Cruiser Fill which had been damaged in an attack by U32 off Shetland whilst on

                                passage with other warships for a Free French attack on Freetown. HMS ANTELOPE was also

                                deployed.

                5th          Deployed as escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in Northern Barrage.

                                (Operation SN14 - See Naval Staff History (Mining) for details.)

 

October                  Passage to Devonport for refit

                4th          Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport

                (Note: Work including repair to feed water leaks (See above) and replacement of twin 4.7”

                mounting in "X" position by twin 4" HA mounting to improve AA defence.)

 

November              Under refit.

 

 December             Post refit trials.

                (Note: One source records delay in completion due to sabotage of electric cables.)

                Passage to resume Flotilla Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow as Leader of 4th Destroyer

                Flotilla.)

                On arrival at Scapa Flow carried out trials with prototype radar equipment

                (Note : One source quotes Type 74X which does not exist. It may have been an early trial on

                newly fitted Fire-control Radar Type 284 in HM Battleship KING GEORGE V.

                See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                3rd          Deployed as escort for HM Cruisers ARETHUSA and AURORA with ships of Flotilla for

                an offensive sweep and minelay by HM Destroyers INTREPID and ICARUS off Egersund.

                (Operation DZ - This was failed after destroyer in the escort opened fire on minelayers.)

 

February

                1st           Nominated for escort of minelayers with ships of Home Fleet during planned minelay off

                Norway.

                (Operation EA - This was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.)

 

March

                1st           Deployed with HM Destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN and ESKIMO as escort for HM Landing

                Ships (Infantry) PRINCESS EMMA and PRINCESS BEATRIX during passage to Lofoten

                Islands for raid by 3 and 4 Commando as Task Force REBEL.

                (Operation CLAYMORE - For details see THE WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson.)

                4th          Provided support during landing operations.

                Intercepted trawler KREBS off Svolvser and placed boarding party on board. The ENIGMA

                coding machine and supporting documentation were recovered and later used by the Bletchley

                Park personnel to assist in decryption. (See BREAKING THE ENIGMA by D Khan and

                BRITISH INTELLIGENCE DURING WW2 (Ed Hinsley for further details.)

                10th        Deployed at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet Flotilla duties

 

April                       Home Fleet duties including screening of major units during unsuccessful search for German

                                ships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU in NW Approaches.

 

May                        Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence

                22nd       Part of escort for mv BRITANNIC with HM Battleship RODNEY, HM Destroyers ESKIMO

                                MASHONA and SOMALI during passage in NW Approaches from Clyde.

                24th        Detached from escort with HMS MASHONA and HMS SOMALI as screen for HM

                                Battleship RODNEY during search operation by Home Fleet ships for German battleship

                                BISMARCK after the sinking of HM Battlecruiser HOOD.

                25th        Detached from HMS RODNEY screen when weather conditions made it impossible to

                                maintain speed.

                27th        Present at sinking of BISMARCK.

                For details of search and sinking of BISMARCK see Naval Staff History, PURSUIT by

                L Kennedy and BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim Rechberg.)

                28th        During return passage to Scapa Flow with HMS MASHONA came under heavy air attack

                100 miles west of Ireland during which HMS MASHONA was hit and sustained major

                damage. After the stricken vessel capsized rescued 14 officers and 215 ratings and landed

                them at Greenock.

 

June                        Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet

                                Nominated for Home Fleet operations to capture German weather ship to obtain

                                ENIGMA coding machine and associated documentation (Operation EC).

                26th        Part of escort for HM Cruiser NIGERIA with HMS BEDOUIN during passage from

                Scapa Flow to area of Jan Mayen Island to capture German trawler in order to retrieve

                ENIGMA material.

                28th        Sighted trawler LAUENBERG boarded vessel which was being scuttled.

                                Only documentation could be recovered before vessel sank (See above reference).

 

July                         Nominated for investigation of use of Spitzbergen as a fuelling base for escorts of Russian convoys.

                27th        Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, NIGERIA and HMS PUNJABI

                                at Spitzbergen to carry out reconnaissance of anchorage for future use.

 

August

                1st           Visited Russian settlement at Barentsburg with HMS PUNJABI.

                2nd         Evacuated Russian nationals and destroyed weather station on Bear Island.

                4th          Passage to Scapa Flow from Murmansk after landing Russian passengers.

                8th          Returned to Scapa Flow with HMS NIGERIA and HMS PUNJABI.

                                Present during visit to Scapa Flow by HM King George VI and demonstration exercises.

                17th        Part of Home Fleet destroyer escort for HM Battleship PRINCE OF WALES during

                return passage from Iceland with Prime Minister Winston Churchill embarked.

                (Note: Prime Minister had been attending the Atlantic Charter meeting with US President

                in Argentia Bay, Newfoundland.)

                18th        Embarked Prime Minister from HMS PRINCE OF WALES in Clyde and took him to

                                Greenock for his return to London.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ANTELOPE, ANTHONY, ECLIPSE and ICARUS as

                screen for HMS AURORA and HMS NIGERIA escorting ss EMPRESS OF

                AUSTRALIA and RFA OLIGARC to Spitzbergen for establishment of garrison

                (Operation GAUNTLET).

                On release from Spitzbergen operation escorted EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA to

                Murmansk taking Russian miners and Norwegian population.

                Landed Russians and took passage to UK as escort for EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA with

                Norwegians still on board and joined other GAUNTLET ships during passage

                (Note : HMS NIGERIA and HMS AURORA carried out an attack on a coastal convoy

                in this period and sank the minelayer BREMSE.)

                Date of completion of GAUNTLET deployment to be confirmed.)

 

September             Passage to London for refit

                2nd         Taken in hand for refit by Green and Silley Weir, Royal Albert Dock.

 

October                  Under refit

                                (Note: Work carried out included removal of original mainmast to improve gunnery arcs,

                                shortening of after funnel, resiting depth charge positions and installation of Type

                                285 gunnery radar for main armament fire-control.)

                17th        Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of post refit trials

                                Resumed Home Fleet service as Leader 6th Flotilla.

 

November              Home Fleet deployment for screening, patrol and convoy defence in continuation.

to

December

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Nominated for support and escort of Russian convoys with Home Fleet ships

                                (Note: For details of all Russian convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA

                                Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY 1 by P Kemp

                4th          Part of escort for Russian Convoy PQ7B with HM Destroyer ICARUS.

                11th        Detached from PQ7B.

                13th        Joined return convoy QP5 as escort for part of passage to Iceland with HM Cruiser

                                CUMBERLAND and HMS ICARUS.

                16th        Detached from QP5.

 

February

                10th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, ECHO, ECLIPSE, FAULKNOR,

                FURY, GROVE, ICARUS, INCONSTANT, INTREPID, JAVELIN, LANCASTER,

                LEDBURY, LOOKOUT, ONSLOW, PUNJABI, VERDUN, WELLS and WOOLSTON as

                screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carrier

                VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers KENYA and BERWICK to provide Distant Cover for passage

                of Russian Convoys PQI2, PQ13 and returning QP9.

                25th        Resumed Flotilla duties.

 

March

                8th          Joined HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, BEDOUIN and ESKIMO as screen for units of

                Home Fleet during unsuccessful search for German battleship TIRPITZ in North Sea.

                Sustained damage to forward gun mounting due to high speed operations in rough weather.

                10th        Returned to Scapa Flow with Fleet units.

                14th        Carried out patrol for shipping attacks in Bodo area with HM Destroyers FURY.

                                INTREPID, ICARUS, ESKIMO and BEDOUIN.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ECHO, ASHANTT, BEDOUIN, ESCAPADE, ESKIMO,

                FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, ICARUS, INGLEFIELD, LEDBURY, MARNE,

                MIDDLETON, ONSLOW, PUNJABI and WHEATLAND as screen for HMS KING

                GEORGE V, DUKE OF YORK, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HMS VICTORIOUS,

                HM Cruiser EDINBURGH and HM Cruiser KENT to provide Distant Cover for passage

                of Russian Convoy PQ13 and return convoy QP9.

                (Note: These convoys had an enlarged protection because of the increased threat of attack

                by German cruisers SCHEER and HIPPER now joined by the battleship TIRPITZ

                in Norwegian waters.

                                Passage to Hull for repair to damage and refit in commercial shipyard.

                28th        Taken in hand by Brigham and Cowan shipyard.

 

April                       Under repair and refit

to May

 

June

                7th          Resumed Home Fleet duties on completion of post refit trials.

 

July                         Flotilla duties with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow for screening and patrol in continuation.

 

August                  Nominated for detached service for support of Malta relief operation

                2nd         Sailed from Clyde as part of escort for military convoys WS21 (Operation PEDESTAL).

                9th          Detached to refuel at Gibraltar and rejoined on completion.

                10th        Deployed with HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT, QUENTIN,

                ESKIMO, SOMALI, WISHART, ANTELOPE, VANSITTART, ZETLAND and

                ITHURIEL as screen for HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carriers

                EAGLE, INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers PHOEBE, SIRIUS and

                CHARYBDIS to provide cover against surface attack on the convoy.

                11th        Under air and submarine attacks after sighting by Italian submarine UARSCIER.

                                (Note: HMS EAGLE was torpedoed by U73.)

                12th        Under further air and submarine attacks.

                Carried out depth charge attacks which drove off Italian submarine GRANITO.

                Drove off attack by Italian submarine EMO with HMS LOOKOUT.

                During air attacks that evening both HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS FORESIGHT,

                were damaged and put out of action.

                Took damaged destroyer in tow and detached for passage to Gibraltar.

                (For Details of passage of PEDESTAL convoy see PEDESTAL by P Smith, MALTA

                CONVOYS by R Woodman, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and the

                Naval Staff History.)

                13th        Under unsuccessful attack by U73.

                                Scuttled HMS FORESIGHT 13 miles SW of Galita Island and took passage to Gibraltar

                16th        Passage to Scapa Flow with other Home Fleet ships detached for PEDESTAL

 

September             Deployed with Flotilla at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet duties

                9th          Part of Fighting Escort for Russian Convoy PQ18 with HM Cruiser SCYLLA, HM

                                Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR, FURY, IMPULSIVE, INTREPID,

                                MARNE, MARTIN, METEOR, MILNE, OFFA, ONSLOW, ONSLAUGHT,

                OPPORTUNE and SOMALI..

                (Note : HM Submarines also carried out anti-submarine escort duties. See references.)

                17th        Detached from PQ18 with HMS SCYLLA, HM Escort Aircraft Carrier AVENGER,

                HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR, FURY, INTREPID, MARNE,

                METEOR, MILNE, OFFA ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, OPPORTUNE, SOMALI,

                WHEATLAND and WILTON. Joined return convoy QP14 as Fighting Escort.

.               20th        Detached from QP14 having remained with convoy after Home Fleet escorts left.

 

October                  Nominated for detached service in support of planned allied landings hi North Africa.

                                Passage to Gibraltar as escort for military convoy.

 

November              Deployed at Gibraltar to prepare for support of Operation TORCH.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History.)

                8th          Deployed for screening of Fleet units and convoy defence during landings and follow-up

.               to            Attached to 6th Destroyer Flotilla after landings for anti-submarine patrol.

                30th        Nominated for service at Algiers with Force Q

 

December              Deployed with Force Q for interception of enemy supply convoys to North Africa and for

                                convoy escort duties.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Provided screen for cruisers of Force Q during interception patrols and defence of coastal

to                            convoys between Algerian ports. Under air attacks.

February

 

March                    Detached for service at Mers-el-Kebir for defence of anchorage against anticipated attacks

                by Italian human torpedoes.

                (Note : This form of attacks had already been used against ships at Alexandria and

                Gibraltar. No craft were sighted during this period and ship then resumed Force Q

                duties.

 

April                       Force "Q" deployment in continuation.

                28th        Carried out attack on E-Boats near Marrettimo, Algeria.

 

May

 

                7th          Deployed with other destroyers of Mediterranean Fleet for blockade of Cape Bon area to intercept

                                craft attempting to evacuate enemy personnel from Tunisia (Operation RETRIBUTION).

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and the Naval Staff History.)

 

June

                                Transferred to Malta with Force "Q" for support of planned invasion of Pantellaria.

                                Carried out bombardment of shore positions n Pantellaria prior to landings.

                10th        Joined HM Cruisers AURORA and NEWFOUNDLAND with HM Destroyers LAFOREY,

                                LOYAL, LOOKOUT, JERVIS, NUBIAN, TROUBRIDGE and WHADDON to cover attack on

                                Pantellaria (Operation CORKSCREW.).

                11th        Deployed as Guardship at Pantellaria pending arrival of naval occupation party.

                                On release from Guardship duty embarked senior officer for passage to Djidjelli, Algeria.

 

July                         Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).

                                (For details see above references and THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

                                by J Greene and A Massignani.)

                10th        Deployed with Support Force East for escort of assault convoys and support of landings.

                                Provided gunfire support and patrols against surface and submarine attack on ships

                11th        During support deployment took part in rescue of 200 survivors from Hospital Ship TALAMBA

                                sunk by German air attack off beach head.

                12th        Sank ammunition ship BAARN which was on fire after air attacks.

                13th        Took damaged destroyer HMS ESKIMO in tow to Malta.

                                (Note : HMS ESKIMO had sustained major damage and flooding after air attacks.

 

August                  Support and patrol duties off Sicily in continuation.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied invasion of Italian mainland.

                                (Operation BAYTOWN)

                31st         Provided naval gunfire support during landings in Calabria with HMS NELSON, HMS

                                RODNEY, HM Cruiser ORION, HM Destroyers OFFA, PETARD, QUAIL,

                                QUEENBOROUGH, QUILLIAM, TYRIAN, TROUBRIDGE and Polish PIORUN

 

September             Nominated for support of allied landings at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE).

                                Passage to Salerno area to join Northern Attack Force as part of Task Force 89.

                9th          Deployed with HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LOOKOUT and LOYAL of 19th Destroyer

                                Flotilla for gunfire support and defensive patrol duties off landing area.

                19th        Provided gunfire support during German counter-attack.

                                Under attacks by radio-controlled glider bombs.

 

October                  Support and patrol duties off west coast of Italy and Sicily in continuation.

                                Nominated for return to UK for refit.

                                Passage to Gibraltar.

                30th        Sailed from Gibraltar.

 

November              Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

 

December              Under refit.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Under refit

                                Nominated for service in Plymouth Command on completion.

 

February                Post refit trials.

 

March                    Deployed with HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, JAVELIN, HAIDA (RCN) and

                HURON (RCN) as Leader of 10th Destroyer Flotilla deployed in Plymouth Command

                for offensive patrols against coastal shipping of French coast (Operation TUNNEL

                Series) and convoy defence. (See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)

                10th        Deployed with Flotilla for TUNNEL strike against German warships reported as escort

                for German submarine on passage to Brest.

                (Note : No interception was made as enemy ships remained close to coast.)

                15th        Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA as Force 26 and provided cover for operations

                                by coastal craft in defence of Convoy WP429 against E-Boat attacks off Lands End.

 

April                       Deployment at Plymouth for TUNNEL operations and convoy defence in continuation.

                (Note : Extensive training exercises in preparation for allied landings in Norway were

                being carried out in Plymouth Command and cover for these was provided by

                larger warships when any enemy threat was anticipated. This ship was not involved

                in the disastrous TIGER Exercise in Lyme Bay when several US Landing Ships

                were sunk by E-Boats.)

 

May                        Nominated with HMS BELLONA to provide cover for minelaying operations off French

                                coast by HM Minelaying Cruiser APOLLO as part of preparations for allied landings in

                                Normandy (HOSTILE series of Operations. See Naval Staff History (Mining) for details)

                17th        Deployed with HMS BELLONA and HMS APOLLO as escort for passage and execution of

                                minelay west of Ushant (Operation HOSTILE 32)

                                (Note : This operation had been abandoned earlier after escort opened fire on HMS APOLLO.)

                20th        Escorted HMS APOLLO with HMS BELLONA and ships of Flotilla for repeat minelay north

                                of Ushant. (Operation HOSTILE 33).

                                (Note : HMS BELLONA withdrew due to threat of submarine attack.)

                22nd       Escorted HMS APOLLO with ships of Flotilla for repeat minelay in Ile de Vierge area, off

                                Brittany (Operation HOSTILE 34).

                25th        Escorted HMS APOLLO with HMCS HURON covered by Coastal Command aircraft for final

                                minelay before landings (Operation HOSTILE 40)

 

June                        Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                (Note: For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see OPERATION

                                NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).

                6th          Deployed with ships of Flotilla in western approaches to English Channel to prevent

                                Interference with landings or passage of convoys during NEPTUNE.

                                (Note : Polish Destroyers PIORUN and BLYSKAWICA were also deployed with 10th Flotilla.)

                8th          Patrol area shifted to NE of Ushant to meet possible threat from German destroyers.

                9th          In action with German warships with Flotilla and damaged by return fire.

                                Destroyer ZH1 (Ex Dutch GERARD KELENBERG) was later sunk by HMS ASHANT1 and Z32

                                was damaged and wrecked on Isle de Bas when driven ashore. Destroyers Z24 and T24 escaped.

                                (Note: 140 enemy survivors were rescued by British ships.)

                11th        Under repair of action damage at Devonport.

                25th        Resumed duties with Flotilla for support of Channel operations.

 

July                         Flotilla duties in English Channel for interception of enemy ships off French coast

                                in continuation.

                7th          Intercepted and engaged minesweepers of 46th German Flotilla off Channel

                                Islands and sank the minesweepers M4601 and M4605.

                                (Operation DREDGER -See HOLD THE NARROW SEA.)

 

August                  Channel interception with Flotilla in continuation.

                6th          During interception deployment with HMS BELLONA, HMS ASHANTI, HMCS

                                HAIDA and HMCS IROQUOIS carried out attack on convoy 32 miles SSW of St Nazaire.

                                (Note : Ships were deployed as Force 27).

                                The minesweepers M263 and M486, Patrol Boat V414 and a coastal launch together with

                                four small ships under escort were all sunk.

 

September             Channel patrol and interception in continuation with Flotilla.

                                (Note : During this period extensive efforts were being made to evacuate German personnel

                                from Bay of Biscay ports.)

                                Nominated for service in Eastern Fleet after refit

 

November              Under refit

to December

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Under refit.

 

February                Post refit trials and prepared for service in East Indies Fleet as Leader of 10th Flotilla.

 

March                    Took passage from Clyde as part of escort for Escort Aircraft Carriers to Gibraltar.

                12th        Carried out exercises in Mediterranean before departure for Trincomalee.

 

April                       Passage in Mediterranean and Red Sea

                12th        At Aden

                20th        Joined HM Destroyers VERULAM, NUBIAN and PENN in 10th Flotilla

                28th        Deployed as screen for HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, French Battleship

                RICHELIEU, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers SHAH and EMPRESS, HM Cruisers

                CUMBERLAND, SUFFOLK CEYLON and Dutch Cruiser TROMP with HM

                Destroyers ROTHERHAM, VERULAM, NUBIAN and PENN for offensive

                sweep in Andamans and Nicobars area as Force 63.

                (Operation BISHOP. For details of East Indies Fleet operations in 1945 see THE

                FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

                29th        Refuelled from RFA OLWEN with destroyers of Force 63.

                30th        Took part in bombardment and fighter strike against airfield at Car Nicohar and at Port Blair

 

May

                1st           Took part in repeat bombardment at Car Nicobar.

                2nd         Took part in repeat bombardment at Port Blair.

                3rd          Passage with Force 63 to take up station for cover of landings at Rangoon.

                                (Operation DRACULA).

                4th          Refuelled before joining HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS SUFFOLK, and Dutch TROMP

                                with HMS PENN to form Force 64.

                6th          Screen deployment during bombardments at Port Blair, Phoenix Bay, Mount Harrier and

                                Stewart Sound, North Andamans,

                9th          Returned to Trincomalee with Force 64.

                10th        Joined HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HM Cruiser ROYALIST, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers

                HUNTER, SHAH and EMPEROR, HMS CUMBERLAND and Dutch cruiser TROMP with

                HMS Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VENUS, VERULAM, VIRAGO and VIGILANT of 26th

                Flotilla, HMS ROTHERHAM and HMS NUBIAN in Force 61 (Operation DUKEDOM).

                (Note : This Force was created in an emergency move to intercept Japanese warships known

                to be on passage from Singapore in the Malacca Straits. See references.

                13th        Remained with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and major units of East Indies Fleet to continue

                screening duties when 26th Flotilla detached for interception of Japanese warships.

                (Note : The subsequent action is fully described in above references and SINK THE HAGURO

                by J Winton.)

                16th        Under air attacks with Fleet units but these were unsuccessful.

                21st         Returned to Trincomalee with Fleet units.

 

June

                5th          Deployed with HM Destroyers ESKIMO. NUBIAN, PENN and PALADIN

                as Force 65 to carry out attacks on shipping between Nicobars and Sabang

                (Operation IRREGULAR)

                12th        Attacked two ships off Rondo Island 20 miles north of Sabang with HMS NUBIAN and HMS

                ESKIMO sinking them both.

                (Note :The ships were later identified as KUROSHIMA MARU No.2 and Submarine Chaser 57.

                See OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray and above references.

                A rescue attempt by the two RN ships was made but Japanese sailors refused to come

                on board)

                Under attacks without damage or casualties.

                15th        Returned to Trincomalee.

 

July                         Deployed at Trincomalee inn preparation for planned landings in Malaya (Operation ZIPPER).

                (Note : Did not take part in minesweeping cover operations.)

                Part of screen for major units during passage in Indian Ocean awaiting approval for landings,

                (Note : Start of ZIPPER was delayed by US insistence and problems related to the return of

                long serving SEAC personnel to UK in the PYTHON Scheme

                See WAR IN THE PACIFIC and Final Report of Supreme Commander SEAC (HMSO).

 

August                  East Indies Fleet duties in continuation.

                                Passage to Penang

                8th          Sailed from Penang for support of planned landings at Port Swettenham.

                9th          Provided support at MORIB Beach.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS TARTAR sailed from Penang on 7th September after being present at the surrender on 2nd of the month. She called a Trincomalee before taking passage to UK and arrived at Plymouth on 17th November 1945. The ship was Paid-off and placed in the Reserve Fleet there early in 1946 after de-storing and reduction to Reserve status. She was used as an Accommodation Ship for Reserve Fleet personnel before being placed on the Disposal List in 1947. Sold to BISCO for breaking-up on 6th Jan. 1948 this destroyer arrived at J Cashmere's yard in Newport, South Wales for demolition on 22nd February 1948. This destroyer had an outstanding record of service during WW2 having gained  12 more Battle Honours and served in most major Theatres of War. Only three others of this Class of 16 Fleet Destroyers built for the RN survived hostilities. The name was carried forward for the 18th time on 22nd September 1960 when given to a TRIBAL Class Frigate launched at HM Dockyard Devonport.

 
 

 

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