Allied Warships

HMS Reading (G 71)

Destroyer of the Town class


HMS Reading during the Second World War

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTown 
PennantG 71 
Built byBethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., (Squantum, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down3 Jun 1918 
Launched5 Feb 1919 
Commissioned26 Nov 1940 
End service24 Jul 1945 
History

On 26 November 1940 USS Bailey was decommissioned at Halifax Nova Scotia, and transferred in the destroyer land bases exchange to Great Britain, being renamed HMS Reading she was commissioned 28 November 1940 for service with the 5th "Town" Flotilla and arrived at Plymouth, England, 17 December 1940. Between December 1940 and July 1941 she escorted convoys in the Atlantic, working out of Liverpool. In July 1941 she joined the Newfoundland Escort Group with which she remained until May 1942. Between May and October I 1942 she underwent a yard overhaul, after which she served as a target ship tor aircraft from the Air Station, Fearn, Scotland, and continued in this assignment until July 1945 when she was handed over to ship breakers at Rosyth.

Decommissioned and sold for scrap on 24 Jul, 1945 at Inverkeithing.

 
Former nameUSS Bailey (DD 269)

Commands listed for HMS Reading (G 71)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Ralph Heathcote, RN26 Nov 19401 Mar 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Dennis Victor Clift, RN1 Mar 194112 Jun 1942
3Lt. Thomas John Nicholls, RN12 Jun 194216 Aug 1942
4Lt.Cdr. (retired) Hedworth Lambton, RN16 Aug 19428 Feb 1943
5A/Lt.Cdr. Robert Edwin Blyth, RNVR8 Feb 1943Nov 1943
6T/Lt. Douglas Louis Zeidler, RNVRNov 194316 Feb 1944
7T/A/Lt.Cdr. Wynyard Paul Bush, DSC, RNVR16 Feb 1944Jun 1944
8T/A/Lt.Cdr. Gwilym Pinkerton Evans, DSC, RNVRJun 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Reading include:


13 Feb 1941
HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Dartmouth with HMS Burwell (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) and HMS Reading (Cdr. R. Heathcote, RN). (1)

10 May 1941

Convoy SL 74

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 May 1941 for the U.K. where it was dissolved on 4 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant ships;
Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913) retuned 11-04 after collision with Zephyros, Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Arosa (Norwegian, 5043 GRT, built 1924), Benalder (British, 5161 GRT, built 1919), Bonita (Panamanian, 4929 GRT, built 1918), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Clan MacNair (British, 6096 GRT, built 1921), Corvus (Norwegian, 1317 GRT, built 1921), Empire Success (British, 5988 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trader (British, 9990 GRT, built 1908), Evros (Greek, 5283 GRT, built 1918), Gamaria (British, 5255 GRT, built 1918), Glenstrae (British, 9460 GRT, built 1922), Holmside (British, 3433 GRT, built 1930), Koumoundouros (Greek, 3598 GRT, built 1925), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Melpomene (French, 7011 GRT, built 1923), Nagara (British, 8791 GRT, built 1919), Nicolas Pateras (Greek, 4362 GRT, built 1910), Norita (Swedish, 1516 GRT, built 1924), Olivebank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926), Olympos (Greek, 5216 GRT, built 1918), P.L.M. 17 (French, 4008 GRT, built 1922) left the convoy on 20 May with engine trouble, Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Queensbury (British, 3911 GRT, built 1931), Rosenberg (Dutch, 2068 GRT, built 1918), Saturnus (Dutch, 2741 GRT, built 1909), Scotia (Swedish, 1874 GRT, built 1918), Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938), Southern Empress (British, 12398 GRT, built 1914), Taurus (Norwegian, 4767 GRT, built 1925), Tombouctou (French, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Tovelil (Danish, 2225 GRT, built 1925), Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Tudor Star (British, 7199 GRT, built 1919), Vassilios A. Polemis (Greek, 3429 GRT, built 1907), Viking Star (British, 6445 GRT, built 1920), Waterland (Dutch, 6847 GRT, built 1922), Wentworth (British, 5212 GRT, built 1919) and Zephyros (Greek, 4796 GRT, built 1909).

Escort was initially provided by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) (10 May 1941 to 3 June 1941) and the corvettes HMS Amaranthus (Lt. N.B.J. Stapleton, RNR), HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. P. Everett-Price, DSC, RNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR). (All from 10 May 1941 to 19 May 1941).

They were joined on 12 May 1941 by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

At 1300N/13, in approximate position 13°07'N, 19°22'W, HMS Bulolo sighted a ship which turned out to be the Vichy-French transport Bourbonnais (4484 GRT, built 1914). The ship was ordered to stop but she refused to do so initially. A shot was fired across her bow which resulted in the ship to stop. She was then boarded. It turned out that she was en-route from Dakar to Tamatave with stores and 400 native troops. HMS Bulolo and the Vichy ship then remained in the general area while the light cruiser HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN) was sent out from Freetown to take her over and then escort her to Freetown so that HMS Bulolo could rejoin the convoy. HMS Dragon joined around 0930N/14 and the Vichy ship was then turned over to her custody.

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy to join the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck. She succeeded in making contact on the next day he delivered the coup de grace to her and torpedoed the heavily damaged German battleship from both sides and she sank soon afterwards. HMS Dorsetshire picked up German survivors until she was forced to leave the scene after a U-Boat alarm. More survivors had to be left in the water.

The convoy was joined by more escorts for the passage through the Western Approaces, these were;
Destroyer HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gentian (Lt.Cdr. R.O. Yeomans, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR). These ships all joined on 30 May 1941 and remained with the convoy until it was dissolved on 4 June 1941. The destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) also joined on 30 May but left the convoy on 2 June 1941. Finally the corvette HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) joined the convoy on 31 May and remained with it until dissolved on 4 June 1941.

30 Jun 1941

Convoy WS 9B.

This convoy was formed off Oversay on 30 June 1941. It arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

On assembly it was made up of the following (troop)transports; Arundel Castle (British, 19118 GRT, built 1921), Athlone Castle (British, 25564 GRT, built 1936), Ceramic (British, 18713 GRT, built 1913), Clan Forbes (British, 7529 GRT, built 1938), Elizabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931), Oronsay (British, 20043 GRT, built 1925), Pampas (British, 6345 GRT, built 1941), Pulaski (Polish, 6345 GRT, built 1912), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Tamaroa (British, 12405 GRT, built 1922).

The transport Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935) had been unable to keep the required speed up during the passage from Liverpool to the rendezvous point and was ordered to proceed to the Clyde. She was not allowed to join the convoy.

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the light cruisers HMS Edinburgh (Capt. H.W. Faulkner, RN), flying the flag of Rear-Admiral E.N. Syfret, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN), AA cruiser HMS Cairo (A/Capt. I.R.H. Black, RN), armed merchant cruisers HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN), HMS Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN), HMS Moreton Bay (Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Bell, RN), armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (A/Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR) and the destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN), HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN), HMS Castleton (Cdr. (Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN), HMS Wells (Lt.Cdr. E.J. Lee, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) and ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP).

HMS Wolverine was detached with defects at 1324Z/31.

HMS Wells parted company with the convoy around 2200Z/1.

HMS Vanquisher, HMS Winchelsea, HMS Castleton and HMCS St. Francis parted company around 0400Z/2.

HMS Maori was detached at 1600Z/2.

HMS Cairo, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland parted company with the convoy around 1900Z/2 in position 49°20'N, 26°20'W.

HMS Reading was detached at 0400Z/3.

HMS Edinburgh parted company around 2315Z/3.

HMS Cathay parted company around 0630Z/4.

HMS Chitral and HMS Corinthian parted company around 0100Z/6.

Around 1115Z/10, in position 17.28'N, 20.50'W the destroyers HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN), HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and corvette HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) joined.

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 13 July 1941.

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The convoy left Freetown in the same composition as in which it had arrived.

It was now escorted by the light cruiser HMS Galatea and the destroyers HMS Brilliant, HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill Crichton, DSC, RN), HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. R.L.S. Gaisford, RN) and HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN).

All destroyers parted company on the 18th, HMS Brilliant and HMS Velox at 1200/18 and HMS Boreas and HMS Vansittart at 1600/18.

At 0515/27, HMS Galatea parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Simonstown to fuel.

The transports Ceramic, Clan Forbes, Pampas, Elizabeth Bakke, Pulaski and Rangitata were detached to Capetown.

HMS Galatea departed Simonstown at 1530/27 and rejoined the remaining ships of the convoy at 0900/28.

The remaining ships and HMS Galatea arrived at Durban on 30 July 1941.

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The Clan Forbes, Elisabeth Bakke, Pampas and Pulaski departed Capetown on 30 July 1941 escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Queen of Bermuda (Capt. A.T.G.C. Peachey, RN).

On 3 August 1941 the Arundel Castle, Athlone Castle, Monarch of Bermuda and Oronsay departed Durban escorted by HMS Galatea. The Capetown and Durban section then merged and set course for Aden. Both escorts remained with the convoy until it was dispersed off Aden on 14 August 1941.

On 13 August the Athlone Castle and Elizabeth Bakke parted company forming convoy WS 9BX. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Hector (Capt.(Retd.) F. Howard, DSC, RN) and arrived at Bombay on 16 August 1941. (2)

12 Aug 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) departed Placentia Bay, Newfoundland for Hvalfjord, Iceland.

She was escorted by the destroyers USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Cooper, USN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN).

At 1745/14 HMS Reading and HMS Ripley parted company.

At 0735/15 the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the screen. (3)

22 Mar 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Richmond (Lt.Cdr. A.F.L. Evans, RN), HMCS Bittersweet (A/Lt.Cdr. J.A. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Chilliwack (T/Lt. L.L. Foxall, RCNR). (4)

28 Mar 1942
HMS H 50 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR), HMS Sabre (Lt. R.L. Caple, DSC, RN), USS Bristol, USS Buck and USS Edison. (5)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/658
  2. ADM 199/1138
  3. ADM 53/114891
  4. File 2.12.03.6379 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/17271

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


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