Allied Warships

HMS Chesterfield (I 28)

Destroyer of the Town class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantI 28 
Built byNewport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. (Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.) 
Laid down24 Sep 1918 
Launched6 Mar 1920 
Commissioned9 Sep 1940 
End service4 Mar 1947 

USS Welborn C. Wood became one of the first of the 50 over-age destroyers to be transferred to the British government in return for 99-year leases on important base sites in the Western Hemisphere. She and the rest of her division, Destroyer Division 67, arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 6 September 1940. Her crew instructed the Britishers slated to man the ship in the brief few days preceding the turnover ceremonies. On 9 September, Welborn C. Wood's commissioning pennant came down; her American crew mustered ashore and marched off to board a train waiting to take them back to the United States; and the British officers and ratings assigned to the "flush decker" manned the destroyer. Welborn C. Wood was subsequently struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1941.

Commissioned into the Royal Navy simultaneously, the destroyer became HMS Chesterfield (I.28). Initially, her new crew must have found the ship difficult to handle, as she twice rammed HMS Churchill (I.45) (formerly Haraden, DD-138) which was Iying alongside a pier, fitting out, before she sailed for the British Isles. As part of the first "Town" flotilla so called because each British ship bore the name of a town common to both Great Britain and the United States (the Canadian vessels six of them bore names of common rivers) Chesterfield sailed for Belfast, Northern Ireland, and arrived at her destination on 18 November. Shifting to Plymouth on the 22d, the destroyer underwent a refit at Chatham before joining the 11th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based at Greenock.

From 1941 to 1943, Chesterfield escorted convoys in the North Atlantic. Screening Convoy HX-222 on 17 January 1943, the destroyer attacked U-268 with a depth charge barrage, only to suffer damage from her own charges. Limping to Plymouth for repairs soon thereafter, the ship remained there until November 1943.

Allocated to the 5th Western Approaches Command for duty as a target vessel for aircraft, she remained engaged in this vital, but unglamorous, duty through 1944. Subsequently placed in reserve at Grangemouth Firth of Forth, on 17 January 1945 Chesterfield was eventually broken up for scrap in 1947.

Former nameUSS Welborn C. Wood (DD 195)

Commands listed for HMS Chesterfield (I 28)

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1Lt.Cdr. George Edward Cameron Wood, RN9 Sep 19403 Oct 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Ernest Gleave, RNR3 Oct 19403 Feb 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Edward Neville, RN3 Feb 19423 Apr 1942
4Lt. John Smallwood, RN3 Apr 1942early 1943

5Lt. Philip Archer-Shee, RNVR27 Sep 1943late 1943
6T/Lt. Nigel Roy Cox, RNVRlate 194318 Jan 1944
7T/Lt. Alistair Philip Cobbold, RNVR18 Jan 19446 Sep 1944
8T/A/Lt.Cdr. Richard Ashton Clarke, RNVR6 Sep 194428 Dec 1944

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Notable events involving Chesterfield include:

11 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) arrived at Dartmouth. A/S exercises were then carried out with HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C. Gwinner, RN) and HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (1)

12 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Dartmouth with HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Clare (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C. Gwinner, RN) and HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (2)

26 Feb 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. B.G. Heslop, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (3)

27 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (4)

18 Mar 1941
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN), HMS Man o' War (T/Lt. W.W. Creber, RNR) and HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (5)

19 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) and HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN). (6)

20 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) and HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN). (6)

11 Jun 1941

Convoy OB 334.

This convoy departed the U.K. on 11 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alexia (British (tanker), 8016 GRT, built 1935), Armadale (British, 5066 GRT, built 1929), Athelprincess (British (tanker), 8882 GRT, built 1929), Barberrys (British, 5170 GRT, built 1920), Baron Carnegie (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), Barrington Court (British, 4910 GRT, built 1924), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), British Colony (British (tanker), 6917 GRT, built 1927), British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Faith (British, 6955 GRT, built 1928), Bulysses (British, 7519 GRT, built 1927), Bur (Norwegian, 4343 GRT, built 1917), Cairnesk (British, 5007 GRT, built 1926), Carelia (British (tanker), 8062 GRT, built 1938), Chr. Th. Boe (Norwegian (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1930), Clan Macilwraith (British, 4839 GRT, built 1924), Clan Macwhirter (British, 5941 GRT, built 1918), Comanchee (British (tanker), 6837 GRT, built 1936), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Empire Crossbill (British, 5463 GRT, built 1919), Empire Waterhen (British, 6004 GRT, built 1920), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Jade (British, 930 GRT, built 1938), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Luxor (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1930), Mandalay (British, 5529 GRT, built 1911), Mendoza (British, 8233 GRT, built 1919), Modavia (British, 4858 GRT, built 1927), Morgenen (Norwegian (tanker), 7093 GRT, built 1930), Nova (Norwegian, 1382 GRT, built 1925), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), President de Vogue (Norwegian (tanker), 9320 GRT, built 1935), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Saganaga (British, 5454 GRT, built 1935), Sepia (British (tanker), 6214 GRT, built 1936), South Wales (British, 5619 GRT, built 1929), Stigstad (British, 5964 GRT, built 1927), Taron (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Tower Field (British, 4241 GRT, built 1935), Trident (British, 4317 GRT, built 1917), Ulysses (British, 14647 GRT, built 1913), Vancouver (British (tanker), 5729 GRT, built 1928) and Vardefjell (Norwegian (tanker), GRT, built 1940).

The merchant vessel Baron Carnegie which had departed Avonmouth, was sunk on 11 June 1941 by German torpedo aircraft off St. David's Head in position 51°55'N, 05°34'W.

On leaving UK waters the convoy was escorted by escorted by the destroyer HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), corvettes HMS Gladiolus (Lt.Cdr. H.M.C. Sanders, DSC, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. T.W. Coyne, RNR), HMS Orchis (T/Lt. H. Vernon, RNR), HMS Polyanthus (Lt. A. Hague, RNR), minesweepers HMS Seagull ( Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR), HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G. Ogden, RNVR) and HMS St. Loman (T/Lt. R.C. Warwick, RNR). Catapult ship HMS Maplin (A/Cdr. J.O. Davies, RNR) was also with the convoy. HMS Beagle, HMS Gladiolus, HMS Orchis, HMS Nigella, HMS Polyanthus, HMS Seagull, HMS Sharpshooter, HMS Ayrshire, HMS Lady Madeleine, HMS St. Loman and HMS Maplin were detached on the 17th after having been relieved by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN), destroyers HMS Burnham (Cdr. J. Bostock, DSC, RN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) and the corvettes HMS Dianthus (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, RNR) and HMCS Spikenard (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Shadforth, RCNR). Destroyer HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) was briefly (between 1720N/19 and 2120N/19) with the convoy on the 19th, she rejoined the convoy at 0755O/20, after having reported the position of the convoy by W/T.

Battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) and HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) joined the convoy in the late afternoon / early evening of the 20th.

Around 1500P/24, HMS Revenge, HMS Bulolo and HMS California parted company with the convoy in position 45°29'N, 55°24'W to proceed directly to Halifax.

Around 1700P/24, HMS Burnham, HMS Chesterfield and HMS Churchill parted company with the convoy in position 45°29'N, 56°21'W to proceed to St. Johns.

Around 0400P/25, the convoy was dispersed although several ships had already been detached while en-route. HMS Aurania, HMS Dianthus and HMCS Spikenard continued on the Halifax with only three ships destined for there.

4 Dec 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Burnham (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, DSC, RN), HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR), HMS Chesterfield (Lt. J. Smallwood, RN), HMS Borage (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR) and aircraft. (7)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 199/2573 + ADM 199/658
  2. ADM 199/658
  3. ADM 173/16736
  4. ADM 173/16780
  5. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  6. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  7. ADM 173/17244

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

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