Allied Warships

HMS Apollo (M 01)

Minelayer of the Abdiel class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeMinelayer
ClassAbdiel 
PennantM 01 
Mod2nd Group 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered28 May 1941 
Laid down10 Oct 1941 
Launched5 Apr 1943 
Commissioned12 Feb 1944 
End service 
History

Scrapped in November 1962.

 

Commands listed for HMS Apollo (M 01)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. John Annesley Grindle, RN29 Nov 194313 Jun 1945
2Capt. Leslie Newton Brownfield, RN13 Jun 1945mid 1946

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Notable events involving Apollo include:


14 Mar 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN) conducts attack exercises with HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN). (1)

6 Oct 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. L.E. Herrick, DSO, RN) conducts attack exercises for the Commanding Officer Qualifying Course off Scapa Flow with HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and later with HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN). (2)

10 Oct 1944
The heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Berwick (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (3)

12 Oct 1944
The heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Berwick (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and the fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (4)

19 Oct 1944
The heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Berwick (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. D.K. Bain, DSO, RN) and the fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

HMS Devonshire had joined coming from Rosyth. (5)

3 Jan 1945
HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Mauritius (Capt. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) and HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN). (6)

9 Jan 1945
During the afternoon and evening, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN), fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) and some destroyers (most likely HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN), HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Carron (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Wilkinson, DSC, RN)) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (7)

10 Jan 1945

Operations Spellbinder and Gratis

Operation Spellbinder was carried out in two parts, part I was an anti-shipping raid in the Egersund area and part II was a minelay near Utsira Island.

Operation Gratis was the laying of an air laid minefield in Karm Sund.

Around 2200A/10, ' Force 1 ', made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN) and HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) and ' Force 2 ', made up of the fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Carron (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Wilkinson, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operation Spellbinder.

They proceeded in company until 1100A/11 when they split up to the north of the Shetlands. ' Force 2 ' remained in that vicinity until 1508A/11 when course and speed were adjusted so as to arrive in the laying position at midnight. ' Force 1 ' set course for the Egersund area, aiming to arrive off the coast at about 2215A/11.

HMS Apollo, HMS Zealous and HMS Carron approached the Norwegian coast from the north-westward at 30 knots, in fine clear weather, making use of the beam of the enemy consol beacon situated in position 58°37'5"N, 05°37'8"E. Course was altered to 090° at 2336A/11 and Utsira light was seen shortly afterwards.

Starshell from ' Force 1 ', engaged 100 miles to the southward, was observed at 2343A/11. Five minutes later ' Force 2 ' reduced speed to 20 knots and HMS Zealous and HMS Carron proceeded ahead to make a smokescreen between the laying position and them mainland.

Between 2357A/11 and 0020A/12, HMS Apollo laid 156 mines in three lines as follows;
Line 1 of 52 mines - Between 59°15'00"N, 05°01'06"E and 59°15'00"N, 05°04'21"E.
Line 2 of 55 mines - Between 59°14'51"N, 05°06'06"E and 59°13'39"N, 05°00'00"E.
Line 3 of 49 mines - Between 59°13'15"N, 05°07'54"E and 59°12'51"N, 05°04'48"E.
The mines were laid at a depth of 30 feet and flooders were set to operate on 19 February 1945.

On completion of this unobserved lay ' Force 2 ' retired at high speed to the northward and then set course to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1450A/12.

' Force 1 ' had picked up Utsira Island by radar at 1940A/11 and an hour later course was altered to close the convoy route south of Stavanger. The ships were positioned in line ahead.

At 2215A/11, ' Force 1 ' altered course to starboard to run down the coast, keeping 10 miles to seaward and parallel to the shipping route. At the same time they were picked up and held by enemy shore radar.

At 2312A/11, when opposite Egersund, radar contact was made with a convoy close inshore and apparently making for Egersund. Course was altered towards the target and fire was opened with starshell at 2341A/11. The appearance of a radar echo on the starboard bow, which was classified as a U-boat, somewhat complicated the movements of ' Force 1 '.

During the ensuing engagement the enemy shore batteries joined in, but although they registered several straddles and near misses they achieved no hits. Rear-Admiral McGrigor reported that out of eight ships which made up the convoy, including escorts, one, probably an escort, escaped into Egersund after being hit. Of the remaining seven, one large merchant vessel was sunk and another one was left blazing to the waterline. One small merchant vessel, or escort, was seen to turn turtle. One M-class minesweeper blew up after running itself ashore in flames. The other three ships were left on fire of which one was seen to blow up when ' Force 1 ' was retiring.

' Force 1 ' withdrew to the west at 0027A/12, altering to the northward when well clear of enemy radar. They made rendezvous with ' Force 3 ' at 0800A/12. At 0910A/12, a shadowing JU 88 was shot down by fighters from HMS Trumpeter. One of the fighters was damaged and had to ditch the pilot being recovered by HMS Zodiac. The Combat Air Patrol was kept busy during the forenoon investigating bogeys, but no enemy attack developed and at 1400A/12, ' Force 3 ' was detached for operation Gratis. ' Force 1 ' then headed for Scapa Flow, passing east of the Shetlands, and arrived at 2205A/12.

' Force 3 ', made up of the light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. R.F. Elkins, OBE, RN), escort carriers Premier (A/Capt. R.J. Gardner, RN), HMS Trumpeter (Cdr. K.S. Colquhoun, RN) and the destroyers HMS Opportune (Cdr. R.E.D. Ryder, VC, RN), HMS Zest (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Zodiac (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, DSC, RN) and HMS Cavendish (Cdr. R.H. Maurice, DSO, RN), had departed Scapa Flow at 1130A/11, to rendezvous with ' Force 1 ', and, having been detached on the 12th, proceeded west-about round the Shetlands and through Fair Isle Channel for the flying off position in 59°15'N, 01°10'E.

Two MTB's from Lerwick had been detailed to rendezvous with ' Force 3 ', to act as Air Sea Rescue craft in the event of a ditching to the east the flying off position. They made rendezvous at 0915A/13, just short of the flying off position. In view of the good weather conditions, flying off commenced immediately and by 0930A/13, the strike, made up of six Avengers from 846 Squadron and eight Wildcats from HMS Trumpeter and six Avengers from 856 Squadron and eight Wildcats from HMS Premier, was airborne. Departure was taken at 0938A/13 and a good landfall was made on Utsira Island. At about 1130A/13 the 12 Avengers laid their mines in the channel between Salhus light and a position 500 yards to the northward. Only light flack was encountered and all aircraft returned safely to the carriers being landed on by 1150A/13. ' Force 3 ' then returned to Scapa Flow arriving there at 2100A/13.

The German convoy attacked by ' Force 1 ' was made up of the transports Bahia Camarones (8551 GRT, built 1918), Charlotte (4404 GRT, built 1908) and Wesermarsch (1923 GRT, built 1943). They were escorted by the minesweepers M-456, M-436, M-306, M-273 and M-253. The submarine U-427 was also with the convoy and she fired torpedoes at ' Force 1 ' but all mised. The Bahia Camarones, Charlotte and M-273 were sunk.

11 May 1945

Operation Kingdom.

The object of this operation was to transport the Norwegian Crown Prince, together with Norwegian Government officials and military commanders and also members of the Allied Shaef mission (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force).

For this operation the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), fast minelayers HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN), HMS Ariadne (Capt. F.B. Lloyd, OBE, RN), destroyers HMCS Iroquois (Capt. K.F. Adams, RCN), HMS Savage (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Campbell (Lt. B.W. Meaden, RN), escort destroyer HNoMS Arendal departed Rosyth around 1630B/11. They arrived at Oslo in the afternoon of the 13th.

The were swept in by the minesweepers HMS Catherine (Cdr. Kenneth Hillam Fraser, RN), 6541 HMS Cynthia (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.L. Chatwin, RNVR), HMS Elfreda (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L. Jolly, RNVR), HMS Grecian (T/A/Cdr. C.R. Fraser, DSC and Bar, RNR) and HMS Gazelle (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Sutcliffe, RN), HMS Maenad (Cdr. C.E. Duggan, RD, RNR), HMS Steadfast (T/A/Lt. A.H. Hall, RNVR) and HMS Tattoo (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.G. Rogers, RD, RNR) which had come from Copenhagen. (8)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/19123
  2. ADM 53/119416 + ADM 173/19130
  3. ADM 53/119002 + ADM 53/119416 + ADM 53/119639
  4. ADM 53/119002 + ADM 53/119274 + ADM 53/119639
  5. ADM 53/119002 + ADM 53/119255 + ADM 53/119636
  6. 2.12.03.7152 (Dutch Archives, The Hague)
  7. ADM 53/120967 + ADM 53/121918
  8. ADM 53/121219 + ADM 199/1440

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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