Allied Warships

HMS Whelp (R 37)

Destroyer of the W class


HMS Whelp postwar

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassW 
PennantR 37 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
OrderedDec 1941 
Laid down1 May 1942 
Launched3 Jun 1943 
Commissioned25 Apr 1944 
End service 
History

Sold to South Africa in early 1952 being renamed Simon van der Stel.  

Commands listed for HMS Whelp (R 37)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. George Anthony Francis Norfolk, RN28 Feb 1944early 1946

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Notable events involving Whelp include:


5 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN) and HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN). (1)

9 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN), HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN), HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Danae (Capt. J.R.S. Haines, RN). (1)

10 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN). (1)

17 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN), HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HNoMS Narvik and HMS Tekoura (A/Skr.Lt. W.B. Cowie, RNR). (1)

19 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN), HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN). (1)

27 Oct 1944
During 27 and 28 October 1944, HMS Spirit (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee with HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN), HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Lewes (T/Lt. M.H. Grylls, SANF(V)), HMS Whelp(Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN). These included night exercises. (2)

1 Jan 1945

Operation Lentil.

Air strikes against oil refineries at Pangkalan-Brandan (North-East Sumatra).

On 1 January 1945 a Force made up of the aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral P.L. Vian, KCB, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), light cruisers HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN), HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN), HMS Grenville (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMCS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN), HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Urania (Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC, RN) and HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN) departed Trincomalee for an air strike on oil refineries at Pangkalan-Brandan (North-East Sumatra).

On the morning of 4 January 1945, carrier aircraft were flown off to attack the oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandan and successfully completed the operation. Photographic reconnaissance was also made of port installations at Belawan Deli, Brandan, and Soesoe.

In the afternoon of 6 January 1945, HMS Indifatigable, HMS Sussex, HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Wakeful and HMS Uriana parted company with the remainder of the Force. These ships were to proceed to Colombo.

All ships from the force arrived at Trincomalee / Colombo on 7 January 1945. (3)

16 Jan 1945

Operation Meridian.

Air strikes against oil installations in the Palembang area (South-East Sumatra).

On 16 January 1945 ' Force 63 ' made up of the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.B. Rawlings, KCB, OBE, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral P.L. Vian, KCB, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN), HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Grenville (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMCS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN), HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and Whirlwind (Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSO, DSC, OBE, RN).

HMS Wessex apparently sailed from Trincomalee on the 17th and joined the Force at sea on the 19th.

An oiling force (' Force 69 ') made up of the tankers Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Wave King (8159 GRT, built 1944) and Empire Salvage (10746 GRT, built 1940) had already departed Trincomalee on 13 January. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Urchin (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RD, RNR). A fouth tanker, the Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937) joined ' force 69 ' on 23 January coming from Fremantle.

The submarines HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Tantivy (Lt. P.S. May, RN) and HMS Sturdy (Lt. W.St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) were positioned for air/sea rescue duties. (Tantalus east of Sumatra, Tantivy west of Sumatra and Sturdy in the Sunda Strait area.)

On 20 January ships from ' Force 63 ' were refuelled by ' Force 69 '. Due to the weather conditions this was done only with difficulty and some of the refuelling gear of the tankers was damaged. HMS Ceylon was now assigned to ' Force 69 ' to give protection to this Force. [Note: Arndale at this moment was not yet with ' Force 69 '.]

' Force 63 ' then proceeded on the first phase of the operation, to launch air strikes on the oil installations at Pladjoe (north of Palembang) which were to be flown off on 21 January but the weather prevented this. It was only at 24 January that the weather had cleared to enable flying operations. 43 Avengers, 12 Firefly's (equipped with rockets) and 50 Hellcat, Corsair and Seafire fighters were flown off. The enemy installations were damaged but at the cost of no less then 32 aircraft due to enemy action (7) or crash landings (25). 14 enemy fighters were reported shot down in the air and 38 aircraft were reported to have been destroyed on the gound.

' Force 63 ' then retired from the area to rendezvous with ' Force 69 ' and refuel. This was done on 26 / 27 January.

' Force 63 ' then proceeded to the launch position for the second phase of operation during which air attacks were to be made on oil installations at Soengi-Gerong (also near Palembang). 48 Avenger, 10 Fireflies, 24 Corsairs and 16 Hellcats were launched. During dogfight 30 Japanese aircraft were shot down and another 38 were reported as having been destroyed on the ground. 16 aircraft did not return to the carriers.

A Japanese counter attack with 12 bombers failed. All were shot down by fighters from the Combat Air Patrol or AA fire from the ships.

' Force 63 ' then fuelled again from ' Force 69 ' on 30 January.

' Force 63 ' arrived at Fremantle on 4 February 1945.

' Force 69 ', minus Arndale and Wave King returned to Trincomalee on 6 February 1945. The other two tankers went to Australia. HMS Ceylon had parted company with ' Force 69 ' on 4 February and arrived at Trincomalee on 5 February.

27 Mar 1972
Paid off into reserve. Broken up at Durban 1976 (4)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/19434
  2. ADM 173/18789
  3. ADM 199/1457
  4. Personal communication

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


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