Allied Warships

HMCS Algonquin (R 17)

Destroyer of the V class


HMCS Algonquin in October 1944

NavyThe Royal Canadian Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassV 
PennantR 17 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered1 Sep 1941 
Laid down8 Oct 1942 
Launched2 Sep 1943 
Commissioned7 Feb 1944 
End service1 Apr 1970 
History

Decommissioned 6 February 1946.
Conversion to fast anti-submarine escort at Yarrows Ltd. (Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada) started in July 1950.
Recommissioned on 25 February 1953.
Decommissioned 1 April 1970.
Scrapped in Taiwan in 1971.

 
Former nameHMS Valentine (ii)

Commands listed for HMCS Algonquin (R 17)

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CommanderFromTo
1A/Lt.Cdr. Desmond William Piers, DSC, RCN22 Dec 194319 Apr 1945
2Lt.Cdr. Philip Edwin Haddon, RCN20 Apr 19456 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Algonquin include:


10 Mar 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN) conducts A/S exercises with the Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin (A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN) and later with the British destroyer HMCS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RD, RNR). (1)

24 Mar 1944
HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Saumarez (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMCS Algonquin (A/Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN). (2)

21 Apr 1944

Operations Planet, Ridge and Veritas.

On 21 April 1944, two forces departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway, these were divided in two groups;

Force 7 was made up of the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN), HMS Swift (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN).

Force 8 was made up of the light cruisers HMS Royalist (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.la T. Bisset, RN), HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Emperor (A/Capt. T.J.N. Hilken, DSO, RN), HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Searcher (Capt. G.O.C. Davies, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN) and the destroyers HMS Serapis (Capt. P.G.L. Serapis, DSC, RN), HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RD, RNR), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN).

Operation Planet

The target date for this operation was 24 April 1944. When the forces arrived in the operations area on 23 April the weather forecasts were unsuitable and they reversed course for 24 hours but the weather to following day was equally bad. Both forces proceeded to the flying off position but there was no improvement in the weather so Vice-Admiral Moore decided to cancel the operation. Both forces then proceeded as for Operation Ridge.

In the meantime the destroyers HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin had been detached to fuel at the Faroes where they arrived on the 24th. After fuelling they were instructed to wait there for further orders.

Operation Ridge.

Operation Ridge was originally intended to be carried out in two parts; 'Ridge Able' was to be an attack on shipping in the Bodo area by Force 7 and 'Ridge Baker' was to be an attack on shipping in the Rorvik area by Force 8.

In the event it was decided that both forces were to carry out 'Ridge Able' in two stikes, one attacking Bodo harbour and the other sweeping the leads to the southward.

The two forces arrived at the flying off position at dawn on 26 April 1944. Weather conditions were not ideal and were worse inshore and in the end both strikes attacked the same target - an escorted convoy of 4 or 5 merchant ships in approximate position 67.06'N, 13.57'E at about 0600 hours. The convoy was southbound, presumebly having left Bodo about one hour previously. Four merchant ships and one escort vessel were claimed to have been hit with bombs. The largest merchant ship was reported beached and burning. Two other were also seen to be on fire.

[The convoy attacked was en-route from Narvik to Germany with iron oreand was made up of four merchant vessels; Eugenio C. (4094 GRT, built 1928), Itauri (6838 GRT, built 1923), Leena (1079 GRT, built 1905) and Lotte Leonhardt (4167 GRT, built 1937). It was being escorted by the patrol vessels V 5905 / Varanger and V 5906 / Nordpol. The Eugenio C., Itauri and Lotte Leonhardt were sunk while the V 5905 was damaged.]

Besides the attack on the convoy two Barracudas and several fighters attacked Bodo harbour in spite of the weather. One hit was claimed on a large merchant ship. Two other Barracudas attacked a derelict merchant vessel that was ashore. They obtained at least one hit.

One Barracuda, two Corsairs, one Hellcat and one Wildcat were lost during the attacks. Another Hellcat crashed while landing on HMS Emperor.

At 0730/26, HMS Victorious, HMS Kent and two destroyers (HMS Venus and HMS Vigilant) parted company to conduct operation 'Veritas' (see below). The remainder of Forces 7 and 8 set course to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 28th. HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin also returned with them having joined Force 8 on the 27th having departed the Faroes on the 26th.

Operation Veritas.

On leaving Force 7, the 'Victorious'-Force proceeed to the flying off position (69°31'N, 12°50'E). Reconnaissance flights were to be carried out for a possible future amphibious assault on Narvik. The flying off position was reached at 1620/26 and six Corsairs with long range fuel tanks were launched for the operation.

The aircraft returned to HMS Victorious almost two hours later. One Corsair had machine gunned a tanker on the way back starting a small fire amidships. All aircraft landed safely despite the difficult conditions due to the weather. (3)

21 Jul 1944
HMS Malaya (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow.

Before entering the anchorage she carried out gunnery exercises during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN). (4)

11 Sep 1944
HMS Scythian (T/Lt C.P. Thode, RNZNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN). (5)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/19123
  2. ADM 173/19314
  3. ADM 199/1427
  4. ADM 53/117886
  5. ADM 173/18650

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


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