HMS Paladin (G69)

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HMS Paladin 1954 IWM FL 9423.jpg
Paladin in 1954
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Paladin
Ordered: 2 October 1939
Builder: John Brown
Laid down: 22 July 1940
Launched: 11 June 1941
Commissioned: December 1941
Decommissioned: June 1961
Identification: Pennant number: G69, later F169
Honours and
awards:
Fate: Scrapped in 1962
Badge: On a Field Blue, a sword erect White, pommel and hilt Gold enfiled with two spurs in Saltire also Gold.
General characteristics
Class and type: P-class destroyer
Displacement:
Length: 345 ft (105 m) o/a
Beam: 35 ft (11 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers, Parsons geared steam turbines, 40,000 shp on 2 shafts
Speed: 36.75 knots (68.06 km/h)
Range: 3,850 nautical miles (7,130 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 176
Armament:
General characteristics
Class and type: Type 16 frigate
Displacement:
  • 1,800 long tons (1,800 t) standard
  • 2,300 long tons (2,300 t) full load
Length: 362 ft 9 in (110.57 m) o/a
Beam: 37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)
Draught: 14 ft 6 in (4.42 m)
Propulsion:
  • 2 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
  • Steam turbines, 40,000 shp
  • 2 shafts
Speed: 32 knots (37 mph; 59 km/h) full load
Complement: 175
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Type 293Q target indication Radar
  • Type 974 navigation Radar
  • Type 1010 Cossor Mark 10 IFF
  • Type 146B search Sonar
  • Type 147 depth finder Sonar
  • Type 162 target classification Sonar
  • Type 174 attack Sonar
Armament:

HMS Paladin was a P-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that served in the Second World War. She was built by John Brown and Co. Ltd., Clydebank. She saw action in the Mediterranean and Far East. After the war she was converted into a type 16 frigate and was eventually scrapped in 1962.

First time in the Far East[edit]

She was laid down on 22 July 1940, launched on 11 June 1941 and completed on 12 December of that year. She was allocated to the Eastern Fleet which was then under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville, leaving Greenock on 17 February 1942, arriving in Colombo via the Cape on 24 March. She was at sea with the fleet when the Japanese made their Indian Ocean raid with air attacks on Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. After the sinking of the heavy cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire on 5 April, Paladin took part in the rescue of about 1,120 men from both crews, many of whom were in the water for 30 hours in a shark-infested sea. In the first week of May 1942, she took part in Operation Ironclad, the capture of Diego Suarez, Madagascar, from Vichy French forces, forming part of the screen for the heavy ships, and for which she received her first battle honours.

First time in the Mediterranean[edit]

In June 1942, she was among the ships loaned from the Eastern Fleet to the Mediterranean for Operation Vigorous, the passage of a convoy to Malta from Alexandria; at the same time, Operation Harpoon, the passage of another convoy from the west, sailed from Gibraltar. While the latter got through, the Vigorous convoy was prevented from doing so by the appearance of the Italian battle fleet, coupled with heavy air attacks. Paladin, along with a force of two cruisers and four destroyers, bombarded shipping and harbour facilities at Mersa Matruh on the night of 19/20 July. Very early in the morning of 14 September, she, along with four other destroyers and the cruiser Dido, bombarded the Daba area to good effect.

Paladin also took part in other Mediterranean operations, including the passage of convoys to Malta from Egypt after the relief of the island in November. On 17 February 1943, she sank the German submarine U-205 north-west of Derna, assisted by a Bisley aircraft of the South African Air Force. She was escorting a convoy from Tripoli at the time.

In the early morning of 16 April 1943, she and the destroyer Pakenham were on a sweep in the Sicilian narrows when two Italian torpedo boats were encountered. In the ensuing action, the Battle of the Cigno Convoy, the Italian torpedo boat Cigno was sunk and the other destroyer was severely damaged. Pakenham received six direct hits from gunfire and was disabled. Paladin took her in tow, but two hours later, still far from Malta and under the threat of airstrikes after dawn, Pakenham had to be scuttled.

On the night of 29/30 April, Paladin and Nubian made a sweep along the south coast of Sicily and sank a 2,000 ton merchant ship escorted by E-boats, without damage or casualties to themselves. On the night of 3/4 May, Paladin, with Nubian and Petard, on another sweep from Malta, sank the Italian torpedo boat Perseo and the large merchant ship she was escorting, which was carrying bombs, land-mines and motor transport. At dusk on 8 May, Paladin, with Jervis and Nubian bombarded Kelibia, the most easterly point of the Cape Bon peninsula. This bombardment was repeated at dawn on the ninth.

From 1 June 1943, Paladin was among the ships which bombarded Pantellaria, prior to the main assault on that island on 11 June. The island surrendered at about midday.

Sicily[edit]

Paladin was present at the Sicily landings – Operation Husky, on 10 July 1943. She subsequently took part in various other operations off the Italian coast, which included bombarding Vibo Valentia on the night of 13/14 August.

Italy[edit]

In September 1943, she took part in operations connected with the invasion of the Italian mainland and the landings at Salerno, Operation Avalanche. The assault was made on 9 September. The next day, Vice-Admiral Arthur Power transferred his flag temporarily from the battleship Howe to Paladin. In November, supporting the 5th Army on the west coast of Italy, Paladin was among the ships which carried out bombardments in the Minturno area in the Gulf of Gaeta. She provided more fire support in the same place on the night of 1/2 December.

The Far East[edit]

In January 1944, Paladin returned to the Eastern Fleet, arriving in Trincomalee on 28 January, escorting the battleships Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and the aircraft carrier Illustrious.

Sinking I-27[edit]

On 12 February 1944, she formed part of the screen accompanying the troop convoy KR-8 from Kilindini to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In this task she helped her sister ship Petard destroy the Japanese submarine I-27 after she sank the troop ship Khedive Ismail south of Addu Atoll with the loss of 1,297 lives. The Japanese submarine fired a salvo of torpedoes, two of which hit and sank the vessel. Paladin and her sister-ship Petard counter-attacked and I-27 was eventually sunk by a torpedo after depth charges, gunfire and ramming had damaged it. However, in attempting to ram it, Paladin suffered damage to her hull from the submarine's hydroplane that had opened a hole 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 2 feet (0.61 m) wide. Her crew had moved everything possible to the starboard side to bring the damage above the water and she was beached on an island in Addu Atoll.

Repairs and crew replacements[edit]

Paladin sustained underwater damage in the ramming of the submarine and was out of action for five months. She underwent repairs at Simonstown in South Africa, where she arrived on 22 March 1944 and she was joined by new crew-members in July. Departing from Durban on 29 July, she returned to escort duties in the Indian Ocean, via Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), Madagascar and Dar es Salaam.

The Far East revisited[edit]

In January 1945, she joined Force 65 for the landing of Royal Marines on Cheduba island on 26 January, a useful contribution to the campaign in Burma. In February she took part in the Burma coast operations which included the taking of Ramree Island. Paladin and Pathfinder anchored in a chaung between Ramree Island and the mainland; Paladin destroyed 450 Japanese troops attempting to escape by raft. Two Japanese aircraft attacked both ships on 11 February 1945. Paladin suffered damage to her bridge, foremast and crew's quarters; a near miss from a bomb damaged Pathfinder beyond repair.

In April and May 1945, she was present in the operation that took Rangoon, where a landing was made on 2 May. On 10 May, when the Japanese cruiser Haguro was sighted in the Malacca Strait, Paladin was among the ships that left Trincomalee to round her up. Haguro was eventually sunk by other destroyers on 16 May. In June Paladin took part in sweeps in the Nicobar Channel.

In the last week of July, Paladin took part in Operation Livery, the object of which was removing mines near Phuket Island and the Malay Peninsula and bombarding appropriate targets. A platoon of crew members was sent ashore to help maintain order and prevent looting in George Town after the Japanese withdrawal.

At the end of August, after the Japanese surrender, Paladin was included in the force that proceeded to Penang, which was occupied on 3 September 1945, by Royal Marines.

Home, conversion and scrapping[edit]

Paladin left the East Indies Station in October, arriving in Portsmouth in November 1945 and was placed in reserve.

Paladin in 1958 after conversion to a Type 16 Frigate (IWM)

In 1954 she was converted to a Type 16 fast anti-submarine frigate, with a new pennant number, F169. Twin 4" (102mm)/45 QF Mk.XVI guns guided by a Simple Tachymetric Director replaced her five 4"/45 QF Mk.V main armament. A Type 293 surface/air search radar was fitted, the depth charges were superseded by twin Squid Mk.3 ASW mortars; Mk.5 40mm Bofors and Mk.9 AA guns replaced the ship's original anti-aircraft fit.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh paid a state visit to the Netherlands in the royal yacht Britannia in March 1958, Paladin was one of the escorts for the passage to Amsterdam. In May the same year Paladin fired a 21 gun salute when she and two other frigates took over escort duties outside French territorial waters from the French destroyer Jauréguiberry.

She was scrapped in 1961, handed over to BISCO on 22 October 1962 and broken up.

Battle honours[edit]

Paladin was awarded the following battle honours: 'Diego Suarez 1942', 'Mediterranean 1943', 'Sicily 1943' and 'Burma 1944-45'.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]