Allied Warships

HMS Relentless (H 85)

Destroyer of the R class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassR 
PennantH 85 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
OrderedMay 1940 
Laid down20 Jun 1941 
Launched15 Jul 1942 
Commissioned30 Nov 1942 
End service 
History

Reconstructed as Type 15 frigate during 1949-1951.

Scrapped in 1971.

 

Commands listed for HMS Relentless (H 85)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Augustus Fell, RN19 Oct 194218 Sep 1944
2Lt.Cdr. George Baillie Barstow, RN18 Sep 194428 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Relentless include:


16 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (1)

17 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (1)

19 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) (1)

22 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN). (1)

23 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and RHS Adrias. (1)

22 Sep 1943
HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) picks up 34 survivors of the American merchant Cornelia P. Spencer that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-188 about 300 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in position 02°08'N, 50°10'E.

12 Feb 1944
HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) intercepts the German tanker Charlotte Schliemann (7747 GRT) in the Indian Ocean in position 23°23'S, 74°37'E. However before the German ship can be captured, she is scuttled by her own crew.

4 Jul 1944
During 4/5 July 1944, HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), conducted exercises together with the British light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN). Later the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) also joined. (2)

22 Jul 1944

Operation Crimson,
Carrier raid and surface bombardment against Sabang, Netherlands East Indies by the Eastern Fleet.

On 22 July 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. The ships that participated in this sortie were; the British battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), the British battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN).

The British submarines HMS Templar () and HMS Tantalus () were deployed for air/sea rescue duties.

In the early hours of the 25th the carriers, HMS Illustrious and HMS Victorious, separated from the fleet under the escort of HMS Phoebe, HMS Roebuck and HMS Raider, and launched a total of 34 fighter aircraft to attack airfields in the area (18 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 16 Corsairs from HMS Victorious). One Corsair fighter was damaged by AA fire from the enemy and crashed into the sea, the pilot was picked up by HMS Nigeria. Five other Corsairs were damaged by AA fire but managed to return to the carriers. Two of these could be repaired on board, the other three were too badly damaged for effective repairs.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant, Richelieu, battlecruiser HMS Renown, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, light cruisers HMS Nigeria, HMS Kenya, HMS Ceylon, HMS Phoebe HMNZS Gambia and the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HMS Relentless, HMS Racehorse, HMS Rocket and HMS Rapid then commenced a bombardment of the Sabang area. They fired a total of 294 - 15", 134 - 8", 324 - 6", ca. 500 - 4.7" and 123 - 4" shells.

Then the Dutch cruiser HrMs Tromp entered Sabang Bay, her rightful waters, with the British destroyers HMS Quilliam, HMS Quality and the Australian destroyer HMAS Quickmatch. In all these four ships fired a total of 8 Torpedos and 208 - 6", 717 - 4.'7" and 668 x 4" shells. Japanese shore batteries obtained 4 hits on the Tromp while Quilliam and Quality were both hit once. The hit by what was thought to be a 3” shell on Quilliam caused minor structural damage but killed one petty officer and wounded four ratings. Quality was hit by what is thought to be a 5” shell which hit the tripod foremast and HA director. One war correspondent was killed and one officer and eight retings were wounded, some of them seriously. Tromp was hit by two 5” and two 3” shells but was lucky that none of these exploded !!!, she suffered only minor structural damage and no deaths or even wounded amongst her crew.

Later that day 13 fighters from the carriers intercepted a Japanese counter attack with 10 aircraft. 7 of these were shot down for no losses of their own. (3)

21 Nov 1944
Shortly after 1400 hours, HMS Thule (A/Lt.Cdr. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, DSC, RN), makes a rendezvous with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) in position 07°04'N, 91°00'E. A doctor as transferred to Thule. He concludes that there is no cholera on board but due to the large number of sick men aboard Thule it is decided to proceed to Trincomalee. (4)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6397 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  4. ADM 199/1867

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


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