Allied Warships

HMS Vesper (D 55)

Destroyer of the Admiralty V & W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralty V & W 
PennantD 55 
ModLong range escort 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered30 Jun 1916 
Laid down27 Dec 1916 
Launched15 Dec 1917 
Commissioned20 Feb 1918 
End service 
History

Reconstruction to Long Range Escort finished in September 1943.

HMS Vesper is not listed as active unit in the July 1945 Navy list

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 4 March 1947.

 

Commands listed for HMS Vesper (D 55)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. William Frederick Eyre Hussey, RN31 Jul 193924 Feb 1941
2Lt. Peter William Furneaux Stubbs, RN24 Feb 194114 May 1942
3Lt. Douglas Henry Reid Bromley, RN14 May 1942early 1943

4Lt.Cdr. John Malcolm Rodgers, RN8 May 19431 Apr 1944
5Lt.Cdr. Vernon Dudley Ravenscroft, RN1 Apr 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Vesper include:


14 Feb 1940
HMS Whitshed (Cdr E.R. Conder, RN) and HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) together pick up 72 survivors from the British merchant Sultan Star that was torpedoed and sunk southwest of the Scilly Isles in position 48°54'N, 10°03'W by German U-boat U-48.

4 Mar 1940
After repairs to her after hydroplanes and a period of trials and training in Loch Long, HMS Tetrarch (Lt.Cdr. R.G. Mills, RN) departed Greenock for Portsmouth. She is escorted by HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). (1)

1 Jul 1940
HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.E.F. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Windsor (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, RN) together pick up 111 survivors from the British merchant Beignon that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-30 about 300 nautical miles west of Ushant in position 47°20'N, 10°30'W.

6 Nov 1940
HMS H 50 (Lt. G.V. Prowse, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN) and HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN). (2)

18 Dec 1940

Convoy WS 5A and the attack by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper

This convoy departed U.K. ports on 18/19 December 1940. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Suez where the convoy arrived on 16 February 1941.

On 17 December 1940 the transport Rangitiki (16698 GRT, built 1929) departed Avonmouth. She was escorted by HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) towards the rendez-vous position.

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A slow;
Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Atreus (6547 GRT, built 1911), Bhutan (6104 GRT, built 1929), City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of London (8956 GRT, built 1907), Delane ( GRT, built ), (Belgian) Elizabethville (8351 GRT, built 1922), Menelaus (10307 GRT, built 1923), Orbita (15495 GRT, built 1915), Settler (6202 GRT, built 1939) and Tamaroa (12405 GRT, built 1922). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, RN) and the corvettes HMS Clematis (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RNR), HMS Cyclamen (Lt. H.N. Lawson, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
(Dutch) Costa Rica (8055 GRT, built 1910), Ernebank (5388 GRT, built 1937), (Belgian) Leopoldville (11509 GRT, built 1929) and Neuralia (9182 GRT, built 1912). Ernebank was however forced to return around 1800 hours on the 21st escorted by HMS Witch and HMS St. Mary’s. On the 22nd, HMS Wellington, was detached to take over the escort of the Ernebank. They were escorted by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bath (Cdr.(Retd.) A.V. Hemming, RN), HMS St. Marys (Lt. K.H.J.L. Phibbs, RN), HMS St. Albans (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy.) S.G.C. Rawson, RN), HMS Worcester (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Coats, RN).

On 18 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from Lough Foyle (Belfast); City of Derby (6616 GRT, built 1921) and Stentor (6148 GRT, built 1926). They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, RN).

The slow part of the convoy was met around dawn on the 19th by the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, RN) and HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN).

Around 2300/21 all destroyers parted company with the slow part of the convoy.

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed Liverpool, they formed WS 5A fast;
Clan MacDonald (9653 GRT, built 1939), Essex (13655 GRT, built 1936) and Northern Prince (10917 GRT, built 1929).

On 19 December 1940 the following troop transports / transports departed from the Clyde;
Adviser (6348 GRT, built 1939), Arabistan (5874 GRT, built 1929), Barrister (6348 GRT, built 1939), Benrinnes (5410 GRT, built 1921), Clan Cumming (7264 GRT, built 1938), Empire Song (9228 GRT, built 1940) and Empire Trooper (14106 GRT, built 1922).

Escort for the fast section of convoy WS 5A joined around dawn on the 20th and was provided by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. E.G.N. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN), destroyers HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski) which came from the Clyde. And also by the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Harvester and FS Le Triomphant (Cdr. P.M.J.R. Auboyneau) which came from Londonderry. The first two of these destroyers had fuelled there after escorting the slow part of the convoy for a while. Also the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) (with fighters embarked for Takoradi) and the destroyers HMS Beverley (Cdr.(Retd.) E.F. Fitzgerald, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling joined from Liverpool.

The destroyers of the fast portion of the convoy were detached during the night of 21/22 December 1940.

At dawn on 23 December 1940 the slow and fast part of the convoy made rendez-vous and proceeded in company.

On the 24th, HMS Naiad parted company to return to the U.K. The heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. G.L. Warren, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Dunedin (Capt. R.S. Lovatt, RN) both joined the escort of the convoy.

At dawn on the 25th the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper. She had made contact with the convoy with radar the previous day and had already made a torpedo attack shortly before 0400/25 but no hits had been obtained nor had the attack been noticed by the British.

Then shortly after 0800/25 she made visual contact with the convoy and it came as a surprise to the Germans to sight HMS Berwick.

Around 0830 hours the Germans opened fire on HMS Berwick but due to the bad visibility she soon shifted target to the troopship Empire Trooper which was not in her assigned station. The troopship was slightly damaged as was the merchant vessel Arabistan.

The convoy was ordered to scatter and HMS Berwick and HMS Bonaventure both engaged the German cruiser as did the corvette Cyclamen briefly.

Meanwhile HMS Dunedin laid a smokescreen to cover the ships of the convoy. HMS Furious flew off a few aircraft but these failed to find the German cruiser in the bad visibility.

HMS Berwick was damaged by gunfire from the German cruiser but she forced, together with HMS Bonaventure, the enemy to break off the action around 0915 hours.

In the evening HMS Boneventure was detached to search for the damaged Empire Trooper.

On the 28th the convoy was reassembled at sea (minus Empire Trooper which was ordered to proceed to Gibraltar via the Azores) and continued on to Freetown where it arrived on 6 January 1941. (3)

19 Jun 1941
HMS Vanessa is damaged by a German aircraft while on patrol in the North Sea. She suffered a direct amidships, blowing up boilers, the fore funnel was blasted overboard, and the deck opened up. Eleven ratings and the engineer officer were killed and many of the crew were injured and burned. The damaged destroyer collided with anti-submarine trawler HMS Turquoise. Vanessa was towed to Yarmouth by destroyer HMS Vesper.

16 Aug 1942
HMS Graph (Lt. P.B. Marriot, RN) departed from Sheerness for Portsmouth. She is escorted by HMS Vesper (Lt. D.H.R. Bromley, RN). (4)

12 Dec 1942
The British destroyers HMS Whitshed, HMS Worcester and HMS Vesper, the British escort destroyers HMS Brocklesby and HMS Albrighton, and the Norwegian escort destroyer Eskdale attacked German shipping in the English Channel. Eskdale torpedoed and sank Sperrbrecher 144/Beijerland (387 BRT) west of Le Treport, France in position 50°05'N, 01°09'E and Whitshed torpedoed and sank Sperrbecher 178/Gauss (1236 BRT) north-east of Dieppe, France in position 50°04'N, 01°09'E.

11 Jul 1943
HMS Untiring (Lt. R. Boyd, DSC, RN) conducted A/S and attack exercises off Larne with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). (5)

12 Jul 1943
HMS Proteus (Lt. A.R. Profit, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Larne with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN) and HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Rogers, RD, RNR). (6)

14 Jul 1943
HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Larne with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN), HMS Clematis (T/Lt. R.H. Farrands, DSC, RNR) and later with HMS Warwick (Cdr. Y.M. Cleeves, DSO, DSC, RD, RNR) and HMS Godetia (T/Lt. M.A.F. Larose, RNR). (7)

21 Aug 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. R.H. Bull, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Hesperus (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN), HMS Sweetbriar (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R. Edwards, RNVR), HMS Mourne (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Holland, RD, RNR) and HMS Campanula (Lt. T.W. Lewis, DSC, RANVR). (8)

21 Aug 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN) and HMS Clematis (T/Lt. R.H. Farrands, DSC, RNR). (9)

13 Feb 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). (10)

18 Nov 1944
During the morning HMS Taciturn (Lt.Cdr. E.T. Stanley, DSO, DSC, RN) conducts A/S exercises with HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. V.D. Ravenscroft, RN). During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Zephyr (Capt. J.H. Allison, DSO and Bar, RN). (11)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/2572
  2. ADM 173/16334
  3. ADM 199/1136
  4. ADM 173/17193
  5. ADM 173/18436
  6. ADM 173/17891
  7. ADM 173/18285
  8. ADM 173/17927
  9. ADM 173/17773
  10. ADM 173/18513
  11. ADM 173/18917

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


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