Allied Warships

HMS Chelsea (I 35)

Destroyer of the Town class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTown 
PennantI 35 
Built byBath Iron Works (Bath, Maine, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down5 Nov 1918 
Launched24 Jul 1919 
Commissioned9 Sep 1940 
End service16 Jul 1944 
History

On 9 September 1940 USS Crowninshield (DD 134) was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and delivered to British authorities in the land bases for destroyers exchange. She was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Chelsea the same day. Chelsea reached Devonport, England, 28 September 1940. Assigned to the Sixth Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, Liverpool, for Atlantic convoy duty, she fought the double-menace submarine and air attacks on vital supplies. On 6 April 1941 she rescued 29 survivors of SS Olga S. which had been sunk by an air attack Chelsea joined Arbutus 5 February 1942 to hunt for a submarine sighted from their convoy. Two hours later Arbutus was torpedoed. Chelsea opened fire on the surfaced submarine and made three depth charge attacks after she dived but contact was lost and she returned to pick up the survivors from Arbutus. In November 1942 Chelsea was lent to the Royal Canadian Navy and until the end of 1943 operated in the mid and western Atlantic Ocean escorting convoys to and from Great Britain. She returned to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 26 December 1943 and early in 1944 was reduced to reserve in the Tyne. On 16 July 1944 she was transferred to Russia and renamed Derskni.

 
Former nameUSS Crowninshield (DD 134)
Career notesto Soviet Union as USSR Derzkij

Commands listed for HMS Chelsea (I 35)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Richard Dickon Herbert Stephen Pankhurst, RN9 Sep 194019 Jul 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Arthur Frank Capel Layard, RN19 Jul 1941

3Lt.Cdr. James Edward Rickards Wilford, RNR6 Jul 1942early 1944
4T/Lt. Eric Douglas McMillan, RNVRearly 1944mid 1944

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Notable events involving Chelsea include:


24 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN). (1)

25 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN). (1)

3 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN) and HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN). (2)

6 May 1941

Convoy HX 125

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 May 1941 in two sections, convoy HX 125A and convoy HX 125B. They merged in the afternoon of May 16th.

Convoy HX 125A was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Abraham Lincoln (British, 5740 GRT, built 1929), Armadale (British, 5066 GRT, built 1929), Athelknight (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1930), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Baron Dunmore (British, 3938 GRT, built 1933), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), British Cinfidence (British (tanker), 8494 GRT, built 1936), British Fortitude (British (tanker), 8482 GRT, built 1937), British Sincerity (British (tanker), 8538 GRT, built 1939), Clausina (British (tanker), 8083 GRT, built 1938), Dallington Court (British, 6889 GRT, built 1929), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1935), Eskbank (British, 5137 GRT, built 1937), Fjordheim (British, 4115 GRT, built 1930), Garonne (Norwegian (tanker), 7113 GRT, built 1921), Glenwood (British, 4897 GRT, built 1940), Harmala (British, 5730 GRT, built 1935), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Ingerfem (British, 3987 GRT, built 1912), King Neptune (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Lucellum (British (tanker), 9425 GRT, built 1938), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Luxor (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1930), O.A. Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 11007 GRT, built 1938), Port Nicholson (British, 8402 GRT, built 1919), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Robert F. Hand (British (tanker), 12197 GRT, built 1933), San Amado (British (tanker), 7316 GRT, built 1935), San Cipriano (British, 7966 GRT, built 1937), Silverelm (British, 4351 GRT, built 1924), Taron (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936), Temple Arch (British, 5138 GRT, built 1940), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Topdalsfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Trevilley (British, 5296 GRT, built 1940), Troubadour (Norwegian, 5808 GRT, built 1920) and Vancouver (British (tanker), 5729 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125A was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ascania (Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Ringrose-Wharton, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Wetaskiwin (Lt.Cdr. G.S. Windeyer, RCN). The corvettes however soon returned to Halifax.

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Convoy HX 125B was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Breedijk (Dutch, 6861 GRT, built 1922), Briarwood (British, 4019 GRT, built 1930), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Governor (British (tanker), 6840 GRT, built 1926), British Prestige (British (tanker), 7106 GRT, built 1931), Christian Holm (British (tanker), 9119 GRT, built 1927), City of Adelaide (British, 6589 GRT, built 1920), Clearpool (British, 5404 GRT, built 1935), Cockaponset (British, 5995 GRT, built 1919), Corrales (British, 5363 GRT, built 1930), Diloma (British (tanker), 8146 GRT, built 1939), Egyptian Prince (British, 3490 GRT, built 1922), Empire Barracuda (British, 4972 GRT, built 1919), Empire Hail (British, 7005 GRT, built 1941), Evgenia Chandris (Greek, 5317 GRT, built 1920), Frontenac (Norwegian (tanker), 7350 GRT, built 1928), Gold Shell (British (tanker), 8208 GRT, built 1931), Hellen (Norwegian, 5289 GRT, built 1921), Ida Knudsen (Norwegian (tanker), 8913 GRT, built 1925), Invincible (British, 7592 GRT, built 1918), Kelso (British, 3956 GRT, built 1924), Kent (British, 8697 GRT, built 1918), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Exporter (British, 5277 GRT, built 1918), Masunda (British, 5250 GRT, built 1929), Modavia (British, 4858 GRT, built 1927), Norfolk (British, 10948 GRT, built 1918) and Nyanza (British, 4974 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 125B was escorted by the sloop HMS Aberdeen (Lt. S.G. Rivers-Smith, RN).

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On 7 May 1941, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Halifax to provide cover for both sections of the convoy. She set course to return to Halifax around midnight during the night of 13/14 May 1941.

Four recently transferred US Coast Guard Cutters were also with the convoy, though these had not been rearmed and worked up. These were; HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), HMS Culver (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Gordon-Duff, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Hartland ( A/Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, RN).

On the 16th the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR), HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) and HMS Larkspur (Lt. S.C.B. Hickman, RNR) joined the convoy coming from Iceland. They remained with the convoy until the 18th.

In the afternoon of the 16th, Convoys HX 125A and HX 125B merged into one big convoy.

Around 1330Z/18, HMS Ascania parted company with the convoy to proceed to Reykjavik.

On the 18th the destroyers HMS Ramsey (Lt.Cdr. R.B. Stannard, VC, RNR), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN), HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. E.C.L. Day, RN), sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, RN), corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sherwood, RNR), HMS Candytuft (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) F.B. Collinson, RD, RNR), HMS Honeysuckle (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Gregorie, RNR), HMS Hydrangea (Lt. J.E. Woolfenden, RNR), HMS Tulip (Lt.Cdr. A. Wilkinson, RNR) and HMS Wallflower (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RN), and the minesweeper HMS Salamander (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Cooke, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 19th the destroyer HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) joined on the 19th as did the minesweepers HMS Bramble (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN), HMS Gossamer (Lt.Cdr. A.D.H. Jay, RN), HMS Seagull ( Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN) and HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) but apparently only for a short while.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the convoy on the 20th.

also on the 20th the corvettes HMS Tulip and HMS Wallflower were detached.

The destroyers HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were destached on the 21st as was the corvette HMS Honeysuckle.

The convoy arrived in British waters on 22 May 1941.

27 May 1941

Convoy HX 129.

This convoy departed Halifax on 27 May 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941.

On departure from Halifax this convoy was made up of the following ships; Agra (Swedish, 4569 GRT, built 1925), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Boston City (British, 2870 GRT, built 1920), Braganza (Norwegian, 6327 GRT, built 1924), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), Chesapeake (British (tanker), 8955 GRT, built 1928), Delfshaven (Dutch, 5281 GRT, built 1930), Empire Albatross (British, 4714 GRT, built 1918), Empire Dawn (British, 7241 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ibex (British, 6990 GRT, built 1918), Empire Impala (British, 6116 GRT, built 1920), Empire Lapwing (British, 5403 GRT, built 1921), Empire Lightning (British, 6942 GRT, built 1940), Empire Panter (British, 5600 GRT, built 1919), Empire Ptarmigan (British, 6013 GRT, built 1920), Empire Zephyr (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Erna III (British, 1590 GRT, built 1930), Evanger (Norwegian, 3869 GRT, built 1920), Generton (British, 4797 GRT, built 1936), Glenlea (British, 4252 GRT, built 1930), Harpasa (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Koenjit (Dutch, 4551 GRT, built 1929), Leonidas M. (British, 4573 GRT, built 1929), Lyras (Greek, 5685 GRT, built 1918), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Mariso (Dutch, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Norwegian (British, 6366 GRT, built 1921), Pacific Pioneer (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925), Prins Maurits (Dutch, 1287 GRT, built 1936), Ringstad (Norwegian, 4765 GRT, built 1923), Salando (Dutch, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Saltersgate (British, 3940 GRT, built 1924), Saluta (British, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Suderoy (Norwegian (whale factory ship), 7562 GRT, built 1913), Sylvia de Larrinaga (British, 5218 GRT, built 1925), Uffington Court (British, 4976 GRT, built 1929), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Zaglobia (Polish, 2864 GRT, built 1938).

The rescue ship Zaafaran (British, 1559 GRT, built 1929) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Earl Beattie, RN) and HMCS St Croix (Cdr. H. Kingsley, RCN).

On 28 May 1941, HMS Buxton and HMCS St. Croix were detached.

This convoy merged at sea on 31 May 1941 with convoy BHX 129 which had departed Bermuda on 25 May 1941 and was made up of the following ships; Basil (British, 4913 GRT, built 1928), Benedick (British (tanker), 6978 GRT, built 1928), British Princess (British (tanker), 7019 GRT, built 1917), Cowrie (British (tanker), 8197 GRT, built 1931), Daphnella (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1938), Delhi (Swedish, 4571 GRT, built 1925), El Grillo (British (tanker), 7264 GRT, built 1922), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Ferncastle (Norwegian (tanker), 9940 GRT, built 1936), Geisha (British, 5113 GRT, built 1921), Maja (British (tanker), 8181 GRT, built 1931), Malmanger (Norwegian (tanker), 7078 GRT, built 1920), Murena (Dutch (tanker), 8252 GRT, built 1931), Rapana (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935), San Demetrio (British (tanker), 8073 GRT, built 1938), Sandanger (Norwegian (tanker), 9432 GRT, built 1938), Solsten (Norwegian (tanker), 5379 GRT, built 1929), South Africa (Norwegian (tanker), 9234 GRT, built 1930) and Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940).

On departure from Bermuda convoy BHX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) which was then detached.

Also on 31 May 1941 the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) joined the convoy to provide cover against attack by enemy surface ships (the German light cruiser Prinz Eugen was still at sea).

On 3 June 1941 the corvettes HMCS Chambly (A/Cdr. J.D. Prentice, RCN), HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Orillia (T/Lt.Cdr. W.E.S. Briggs, RCNR) joined the convoy.

On 4 June 1941, HMS Repulse parted company with the convoy having been relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN).

On 6 June 1941, HMS Suffolk was detached after the destroyers HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR) and HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) had joined the convoy.

On 7 June the corvettes HMCS Chambly, HMCS Collingwood and HMCS Orillia were detached.

On 8 June the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Lincoln (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Sabre (Lt. P.W. Gretton, DSC, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.P. Henderson, RN), corvettes HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Kingcup (Lt. R.A.D. Cambridge, RNR), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RNR), auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Wellard (Lt.(Retd.) R.F. Turnbull, RD, RNR) and the MAC-ship Springbank joined.

On 10 June HMS Alisma was detached.

On 11 June HMS Chelsea, HMS Lincoln, HMS Mansfield, HMS Veteran, HMS Wolverine and HMS Sunflower were detached.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941 escorted by HMS Chitral, HMS Sabre, HMS Venomous, HMS Begonia, HMS Convolvulus, HMS Kincup and HMS Wellard.

6 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN), HMS Skate (Lt. F.P. Baker, DSC, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR). (3)

7 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) (3)

8 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) (3)

3 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Sabre (Lt. Sir P.W. Gretton, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN) and later with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN) and HNoMS Acanthus. (4)

4 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Campbeltown (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN). (4)

5 Feb 1942
HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) picks up 33 survivors from the British corvette HMS Arbutus (K 86) that was sunk by the German U-boat U-136 about 340 nautical miles west-northwest of Erris Head, Ireland in position 52°05'N, 19°43'W.

14 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxburgh, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dunkery (T/Lt. S.M. Booker, RNVR), HMS Fame (Cdr. R. Heathcote, RN) and HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR). (5)

18 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Anemone (Lt.Cdr. P.G.A. King, RD, RNR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR), HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, RN) and two other vessels [unable to read these names in the log of HMS H 43]. (5)

19 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR) and HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR). (5)

30 Dec 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. A. van Altena, RNN(R)) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Skate (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), HMS Saladin (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.G.C. King, RNVR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR) and HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR). (6)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16780
  2. File 2.12.03.6367 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 173/16742
  4. File 2.12.03.6368 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/17253
  6. File 2.12.03.6384 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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