Allied Warships

HMS Chesterfield (I 28)

Destroyer of the Town class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTown 
PennantI 28 
Built byNewport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. (Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down24 Sep 1918 
Launched6 Mar 1920 
Commissioned9 Sep 1940 
End service4 Mar 1947 
History

USS Welborn C. Wood became one of the first of the 50 over-age destroyers to be transferred to the British government in return for 99-year leases on important base sites in the Western Hemisphere. She and the rest of her division, Destroyer Division 67, arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 6 September 1940. Her crew instructed the Britishers slated to man the ship in the brief few days preceding the turnover ceremonies. On 9 September, Welborn C. Wood's commissioning pennant came down; her American crew mustered ashore and marched off to board a train waiting to take them back to the United States; and the British officers and ratings assigned to the "flush decker" manned the destroyer. Welborn C. Wood was subsequently struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1941.

Commissioned into the Royal Navy simultaneously, the destroyer became HMS Chesterfield (I.28). Initially, her new crew must have found the ship difficult to handle, as she twice rammed HMS Churchill (I.45) (formerly Haraden, DD-138) which was Iying alongside a pier, fitting out, before she sailed for the British Isles. As part of the first "Town" flotilla so called because each British ship bore the name of a town common to both Great Britain and the United States (the Canadian vessels six of them bore names of common rivers) Chesterfield sailed for Belfast, Northern Ireland, and arrived at her destination on 18 November. Shifting to Plymouth on the 22d, the destroyer underwent a refit at Chatham before joining the 11th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based at Greenock.

From 1941 to 1943, Chesterfield escorted convoys in the North Atlantic. Screening Convoy HX-222 on 17 January 1943, the destroyer attacked U-268 with a depth charge barrage, only to suffer damage from her own charges. Limping to Plymouth for repairs soon thereafter, the ship remained there until November 1943.

Allocated to the 5th Western Approaches Command for duty as a target vessel for aircraft, she remained engaged in this vital, but unglamorous, duty through 1944. Subsequently placed in reserve at Grangemouth Firth of Forth, on 17 January 1945 Chesterfield was eventually broken up for scrap in 1947.

 
Former nameUSS Welborn C. Wood (DD 195)

Commands listed for HMS Chesterfield (I 28)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. George Edward Cameron Wood, RN9 Sep 19403 Oct 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Ernest Gleave, RNR3 Oct 19403 Feb 1942
3Lt.Cdr. Edward Neville, RN3 Feb 19423 Apr 1942
4Lt. John Smallwood, RN3 Apr 1942early 1943

5Lt. Philip Archer-Shee, RNVR27 Sep 1943late 1943
6T/Lt. Nigel Roy Cox, RNVRlate 194318 Jan 1944
7T/Lt. Alistair Philip Cobbold, RNVR18 Jan 19446 Sep 1944
8T/A/Lt.Cdr. Richard Ashton Clarke, RNVR6 Sep 194428 Dec 1944

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Notable events involving Chesterfield include:


26 Feb 1941
HMS H 32 (Lt. B.G. Heslop, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (1)

27 Feb 1941
HMS H 44 (Lt. A.R. Hezlet, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (2)

18 Mar 1941
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Douglas (Cdr. W.E. Banks, DSC, RN), HMS Man o' War (T/Lt. W.W. Creber, RNR) and HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR). (3)

19 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) and HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN). (4)

20 Mar 1941
HrMs O 9 (Lt. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) and HMCS St.Francis (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Pullen, RCN). (4)

4 Dec 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. G.M. Noll, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Burnham (Lt.Cdr. T. Taylor, DSC, RN), HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR), HMS Chesterfield (Lt. J. Smallwood, RN), HMS Borage (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR) and aircraft. (5)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16736
  2. ADM 173/16780
  3. File 2.12.03.6375 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. File 2.12.03.6367 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/17244

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


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