Allied Warships

HMS Chelsea (I 35)

Destroyer of the Town class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTown 
PennantI 35 
Built byBath Iron Works (Bath, Maine, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down5 Nov 1918 
Launched24 Jul 1919 
Commissioned9 Sep 1940 
End service16 Jul 1944 
History

On 9 September 1940 USS Crowninshield (DD 134) was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and delivered to British authorities in the land bases for destroyers exchange. She was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Chelsea the same day. Chelsea reached Devonport, England, 28 September 1940. Assigned to the Sixth Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, Liverpool, for Atlantic convoy duty, she fought the double-menace submarine and air attacks on vital supplies. On 6 April 1941 she rescued 29 survivors of SS Olga S. which had been sunk by an air attack Chelsea joined Arbutus 5 February 1942 to hunt for a submarine sighted from their convoy. Two hours later Arbutus was torpedoed. Chelsea opened fire on the surfaced submarine and made three depth charge attacks after she dived but contact was lost and she returned to pick up the survivors from Arbutus. In November 1942 Chelsea was lent to the Royal Canadian Navy and until the end of 1943 operated in the mid and western Atlantic Ocean escorting convoys to and from Great Britain. She returned to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 26 December 1943 and early in 1944 was reduced to reserve in the Tyne. On 16 July 1944 she was transferred to Russia and renamed Derskni.

 
Former nameUSS Crowninshield (DD 134)
Career notesto Soviet Union as USSR Derzkij

Commands listed for HMS Chelsea (I 35)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Richard Dickon Herbert Stephen Pankhurst, RN9 Sep 194019 Jul 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Arthur Frank Capel Layard, RN19 Jul 1941

3Lt.Cdr. James Edward Rickards Wilford, RNR6 Jul 1942early 1944
4T/Lt. Eric Douglas McMillan, RNVRearly 1944mid 1944

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Notable events involving Chelsea include:


24 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN). (1)

25 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN). (1)

3 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Beverley (Lt.Cdr. J. Grant, RN) and HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN). (2)

27 May 1941

Convoy HX 129.

This convoy departed Halifax on 27 May 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941.

On departure from Halifax this convoy was made up of the following ships; Agra (Swedish, 4569 GRT, built 1925), Baxtergate (British, 5531 GRT, built 1925), Boston City (British, 2870 GRT, built 1920), Braganza (Norwegian, 6327 GRT, built 1924), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), Chesapeake (British (tanker), 8955 GRT, built 1928), Delfshaven (Dutch, 5281 GRT, built 1930), Empire Albatross (British, 4714 GRT, built 1918), Empire Dawn (British, 7241 GRT, built 1941), Empire Ibex (British, 6990 GRT, built 1918), Empire Impala (British, 6116 GRT, built 1920), Empire Lapwing (British, 5403 GRT, built 1921), Empire Lightning (British, 6942 GRT, built 1940), Empire Panter (British, 5600 GRT, built 1919), Empire Ptarmigan (British, 6013 GRT, built 1920), Empire Zephyr (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Erna III (British, 1590 GRT, built 1930), Evanger (Norwegian, 3869 GRT, built 1920), Generton (British, 4797 GRT, built 1936), Glenlea (British, 4252 GRT, built 1930), Harpasa (British, 5082 GRT, built 1934), Koenjit (Dutch, 4551 GRT, built 1929), Leonidas M. (British, 4573 GRT, built 1929), Lyras (Greek, 5685 GRT, built 1918), Manchester Commerce (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Mariso (Dutch, 7659 GRT, built 1930), Mount Kassion (Greek, 7914 GRT, built 1918), Norwegian (British, 6366 GRT, built 1921), Pacific Pioneer (British, 6734 GRT, built 1928), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925), Prins Maurits (Dutch, 1287 GRT, built 1936), Ringstad (Norwegian, 4765 GRT, built 1923), Salando (Dutch, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Saltersgate (British, 3940 GRT, built 1924), Saluta (British, 5272 GRT, built 1920), Suderoy (Norwegian (whale factory ship), 7562 GRT, built 1913), Sylvia de Larrinaga (British, 5218 GRT, built 1925), Uffington Court (British, 4976 GRT, built 1929), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Zaglobia (Polish, 2864 GRT, built 1938).

The rescue ship Zaafaran (British, 1559 GRT, built 1929) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser Chitral (Capt.(Retd.) G. Hamilton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Earl Beattie, RN) and HMCS St Croix (Cdr. H. Kingsley, RCN).

On 28 May 1941, HMS Buxton and HMCS St. Croix were detached.

This convoy merged at sea on 31 May 1941 with convoy BHX 129 which had departed Bermuda on 25 May 1941 and was made up of the following ships; Basil (British, 4913 GRT, built 1928), Benedick (British (tanker), 6978 GRT, built 1928), British Princess (British (tanker), 7019 GRT, built 1917), Cowrie (British (tanker), 8197 GRT, built 1931), Daphnella (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1938), Delhi (Swedish, 4571 GRT, built 1925), El Grillo (British (tanker), 7264 GRT, built 1922), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Ferncastle (Norwegian (tanker), 9940 GRT, built 1936), Geisha (British, 5113 GRT, built 1921), Maja (British (tanker), 8181 GRT, built 1931), Malmanger (Norwegian (tanker), 7078 GRT, built 1920), Murena (Dutch (tanker), 8252 GRT, built 1931), Rapana (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935), San Demetrio (British (tanker), 8073 GRT, built 1938), Sandanger (Norwegian (tanker), 9432 GRT, built 1938), Solsten (Norwegian (tanker), 5379 GRT, built 1929), South Africa (Norwegian (tanker), 9234 GRT, built 1930) and Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940).

On departure from Bermuda convoy BHX 129 was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (A/Capt.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) which was then detached.

Also on 31 May 1941 the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) joined the convoy to provide cover against attack by enemy surface ships (the German light cruiser Prinz Eugen was still at sea).

On 3 June 1941 the corvettes HMCS Chambly (A/Cdr. J.D. Prentice, RCN), HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Orillia (T/Lt.Cdr. W.E.S. Briggs, RCNR) joined the convoy.

On 4 June 1941, HMS Repulse parted company with the convoy having been relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN).

On 6 June 1941, HMS Suffolk was detached after the destroyers HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN) and the corvettes HMS Begonia (T/Lt. T.A.R. Muir, RNR) and HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.S. Connell, RNR) had joined the convoy.

On 7 June the corvettes HMCS Chambly, HMCS Collingwood and HMCS Orillia were detached.

On 8 June the destroyers HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Lincoln (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN), HNoMS Mansfield (Cdr. F. Ulstrup, RNorN), HMS Sabre (Lt. P.W. Gretton, DSC, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.P. Henderson, RN), corvettes HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Kingcup (Lt. R.A.D. Cambridge, RNR), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RNR), auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Wellard (Lt.(Retd.) R.F. Turnbull, RD, RNR) and the MAC-ship Springbank joined.

On 10 June HMS Alisma was detached.

On 11 June HMS Chelsea, HMS Lincoln, HMS Mansfield, HMS Veteran, HMS Wolverine and HMS Sunflower were detached.

The convoy arrived at Liverpool on 12 June 1941 escorted by HMS Chitral, HMS Sabre, HMS Venomous, HMS Begonia, HMS Convolvulus, HMS Kincup and HMS Wellard.

6 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN), HMS Skate (Lt. F.P. Baker, DSC, RN), HMS Leamington (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR). (3)

7 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) (3)

8 Sep 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.W.D. Coombe, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) and HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RNR) (3)

3 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Sabre (Lt. Sir P.W. Gretton, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN) and later with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Steward, RN) and HNoMS Acanthus. (4)

4 Nov 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Alisma (A/Lt.Cdr. M.G. Rose, RANVR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN) and HMS Campbeltown (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) Lord Teynham, RN). (4)

5 Feb 1942
HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Layard, RN) picks up 33 survivors from the British corvette HMS Arbutus (K 86) that was sunk by the German U-boat U-136 about 340 nautical miles west-northwest of Erris Head, Ireland in position 52°05'N, 19°43'W.

14 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxburgh, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dunkery (T/Lt. S.M. Booker, RNVR), HMS Fame (Cdr. R. Heathcote, RN) and HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR). (5)

18 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Anemone (Lt.Cdr. P.G.A. King, RD, RNR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR), HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Erne (Lt.Cdr. E.D.J. Abbot, RN) and two other vessels [unable to read these names in the log of HMS H 43]. (5)

19 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR) and HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR). (5)

30 Dec 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. A. van Altena, RNN(R)) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Skate (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), HMS Saladin (T/A/Lt.Cdr. P.G.C. King, RNVR), HMS Chelsea (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR) and HMS Burdock (T/Lt. F.R.M. Greasley, RNR). (6)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16780
  2. File 2.12.03.6367 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 173/16742
  4. File 2.12.03.6368 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/17253
  6. File 2.12.03.6384 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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


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