HMS Grenville (R97)

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HMS Grenville 1943 IWM FL 003249.jpg
HMS Grenville (R97) on the River Tyne, May 1943
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Grenville
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down: 1 November 1941
Launched: 12 October 1942
Commissioned: 27 May 1943
Identification: pennant number F197
Fate: Scrapped 1983
General characteristics
Class and type: U-class destroyer

HMS Grenville was the second ship of this name to serve with the Royal Navy in the Second World War. HMS Grenville and seven other U-class destroyers were ordered as part of the Emergency Programme. She was launched at Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend-on-Tyne on 12 October 1942 and commissioned on 27 May 1943.

The Royal Navy's practice had been to name all destroyers of a class with names starting with the class letter, in this "U". However, the Royal Navy had reverted to an earlier practice of naming the flotilla leader after a prominent historical seaman, in this case after Vice Admiral Sir Richard Grenville, an Elizabethan soldier and sailor.

Service history[edit]

Second World War service[edit]

Gunners on board HMS Grenville during a Large Scale Reconnaissance Carried Out by British and American Battleships, Cruisers, Aircraft Carriers and Destroyer 25-29 July 1943 (IWM A18340)

In late August 1943, Grenville and the Canadian destroyer Athabaskan formed the force covering anti-submarine sweeps by the Canadian 5th Support group, off north-west Spain. These ships were attacked by eighteen Dornier Do 217s using Henschel Hs293 A-1 glider bombs. Athabaskan was heavily damaged and the sloop Egret was sunk with the loss of 194 of her crew. After this, the U-boat hunt was abandoned.[1]

Later on, in September and October, Grenville was involved in a series of blockade runner sweeps along the French coast (Operation Tunnel).

On 4 October, she joined in an action with enemy destroyers in which she was hit and suffered a small number of casualties. Later in October, during another of these sweeps, Grenville was with the cruiser Charybdis and other destroyers in another, more disastrous, Operation Tunnel action against a blockade runner off the north coast of Brittany. In this operation, the cruiser Charybdis and destroyer Limbourne were sunk by German Elbing-class torpedo boats.

In November, Grenville joined the 24th Destroyer Flotilla and the Mediterranean Fleet. In the Mediterranean, she supported the Anzio landings, sunk an E-boat and destroyed a train near San Giorgio on the Adriatic Sea.

On 3 December, she was ordered to refuel, arriving immediately after the air raid on Bari, a mustard gas disaster.[2]

In May 1944, Grenville returned to Britain and in June took part in the landings in Normandy.

At the end of 1944, after a refit on the Humber, she left for the Indian Ocean where she joined operations against the Japanese. In January 1945, Grenville and three other U-class destroyers forming the 26th Destroyer Flotilla, escorted the British carrier force (Task Force 63) that became the British Pacific Fleet. After raids against Japanese installations on Sumatra, TF63 left for Okinawa, via Sydney, where there were air strikes on Japanese airfields in support of Operation Iceberg. Later, Grenville participated in the final raids on the Japanese home islands. Near the end of the Pacific war, several Allied warships began to relay Australian programmes to surrounding areas on shortwave. Grenville was one of these heard relaying the commercial programmes from 2KY Sydney in January 1946.

Post-war[edit]

Grenville firing her Limbo mortar after conversion to an ASW frigate

Grenville served as part of the 25th Destroyer Flotilla in the Pacific and in 1946 and returned to Portsmouth where she was placed in reserve. In 1951 she served as part of the Plymouth Local Flotilla and was used as an air training target vessel in October 1951. She collided with the Italian ship Alceo, off Start Point, Devon. Three crewmen on the Grenville died and another four were listed as missing. After repairs she was re-commissioned at Devonport on 5 August 1952.[3]

In 1953 - 54, she was extensively converted and re-armed into a Type 15 frigate. On 19 March 1954 she re-commissioned as leader of the 2nd Training Squadron, based at Portland.[4] In 1957 she was fitted with an experimental helicopter landing pad for use during trials with the Fairey Ultra-light Helicopter. In December 1958 she replaced Torquay in the 5th Frigate Squadron. Between 1960 and 1964 she was held in reserve at Gibraltar.

In June 1966 she arrived back in Portsmouth under tow and was subsequently fitted with a third mast carrying experimental air-search radar, prior to its operational use in Invincible-class aircraft carriers. She attended Portsmouth Navy Days in 1967.[5] In 1969 she replaced Wakeful in the 2nd Frigate Squadron.

In 1970 she was again present at Portsmouth Navy Days; at the time she was a trials ship for the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment (ASWE).[6]

Grenville was paid off in 1974 and laid up in Portsmouth before being scrapped in 1983.

Commanding officers[edit]

From To Captain
1943 1944 Lt Cdr Roger Percival Hill DSO,RN
1944 1945 Captain Harold Pitcairn Henderson RN
1945 1945 Captain Richard George Onslow RN
1945 1946 Captain Harold Pitcairn Henderson RN[7]
1953 1954 Under conversion to type 15 Frigate
1955 1957 Captain Ian G Robertson DSC,RN
1957 1959 Captain H R B Janvrin DSC,RN
1959 1968 Lieutenant P R Poland RN
1960 1966 In reserve
1967 1967 Commander G M K Brewer RN
1969 1970 Lieutenant Commander D Whitehead RN
1970 1970 Lieutenant Commander R H Fox RN

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roger Hill (1975). Destroyer Captain. pp. 116–121. ISBN 0718300947. 
  2. ^ Roger Hill (1975). Destroyer Captain. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0718300947. 
  3. ^ Critchley, Mike (1982). British Warships Since 1945: Part 3: Destroyers. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Books. p. 64. ISBN 0-9506323-9-2. 
  4. ^ Royal Navy Senior Appointments, Colin Mackie
  5. ^ Programme, Navy Days Portsmouth, 26th-28th August 1967, HMSO, p19.
  6. ^ Programme, Navy Days Portsmouth, 29th-31st August 1970, p19.
  7. ^ "HMS Grenville (ii) (R97)". uboat.net. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 

Publications[edit]

External links[edit]