Allied Warships

HMS Reading (G 71)

Destroyer of the Town class


HMS Reading during the Second World War

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTown 
PennantG 71 
Built byBethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., (Squantum, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down3 Jun 1918 
Launched5 Feb 1919 
Commissioned26 Nov 1940 
End service24 Jul 1945 
History

On 26 November 1940 USS Bailey was decommissioned at Halifax Nova Scotia, and transferred in the destroyer land bases exchange to Great Britain, being renamed HMS Reading she was commissioned 28 November 1940 for service with the 5th "Town" Flotilla and arrived at Plymouth, England, 17 December 1940. Between December 1940 and July 1941 she escorted convoys in the Atlantic, working out of Liverpool. In July 1941 she joined the Newfoundland Escort Group with which she remained until May 1942. Between May and October I 1942 she underwent a yard overhaul, after which she served as a target ship tor aircraft from the Air Station, Fearn, Scotland, and continued in this assignment until July 1945 when she was handed over to ship breakers at Rosyth.

Decommissioned and sold for scrap on 24 Jul, 1945 at Inverkeithing.

 
Former nameUSS Bailey (DD 269)

Commands listed for HMS Reading (G 71)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Ralph Heathcote, RN26 Nov 19401 Mar 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Dennis Victor Clift, RN1 Mar 194112 Jun 1942
3Lt. Thomas John Nicholls, RN12 Jun 194216 Aug 1942
4Lt.Cdr. (retired) Hedworth Lambton, RN16 Aug 19428 Feb 1943
5A/Lt.Cdr. Robert Edwin Blyth, RNVR8 Feb 1943Nov 1943
6T/Lt. Douglas Louis Zeidler, RNVRNov 194316 Feb 1944
7T/A/Lt.Cdr. Wynyard Paul Bush, DSC, RNVR16 Feb 1944Jun 1944
8T/A/Lt.Cdr. Gwilym Pinkerton Evans, DSC, RNVRJun 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Reading include:


10 May 1941

Convoy SL 74

This convoy departed Freetown on 10 May 1941 for the U.K. where it was dissolved on 4 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant ships;
Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Aliakmon (Greek, 4521 GRT, built 1913) retuned 11-04 after collision with Zephyros, Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Anselm (British, 5954 GRT, built 1935), Arosa (Norwegian, 5043 GRT, built 1924), Benalder (British, 5161 GRT, built 1919), Bonita (Panamanian, 4929 GRT, built 1918), City of Lyons (British, 7063 GRT, built 1926), Clan MacNair (British, 6096 GRT, built 1921), Corvus (Norwegian, 1317 GRT, built 1921), Empire Success (British, 5988 GRT, built 1921), Empire Trader (British, 9990 GRT, built 1908), Evros (Greek, 5283 GRT, built 1918), Gamaria (British, 5255 GRT, built 1918), Glenstrae (British, 9460 GRT, built 1922), Holmside (British, 3433 GRT, built 1930), Koumoundouros (Greek, 3598 GRT, built 1925), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llandaff (British, 4825 GRT, built 1937), Linge (Dutch, 2114 GRT, built 1928), Marsa (British, 4405 GRT, built 1928), Melpomene (French, 7011 GRT, built 1923), Nagara (British, 8791 GRT, built 1919), Nicolas Pateras (Greek, 4362 GRT, built 1910), Norita (Swedish, 1516 GRT, built 1924), Olivebank (British, 5154 GRT, built 1926), Olympos (Greek, 5216 GRT, built 1918), P.L.M. 17 (French, 4008 GRT, built 1922) left the convoy on 20 May with engine trouble, Pendeen (British, 4174 GRT, built 1923), Queensbury (British, 3911 GRT, built 1931), Rosenberg (Dutch, 2068 GRT, built 1918), Saturnus (Dutch, 2741 GRT, built 1909), Scotia (Swedish, 1874 GRT, built 1918), Shahristan (British, 6935 GRT, built 1938), Southern Empress (British, 12398 GRT, built 1914), Taurus (Norwegian, 4767 GRT, built 1925), Tombouctou (French, 5636 GRT, built 1919), Tovelil (Danish, 2225 GRT, built 1925), Trentbank (British, 5060 GRT, built 1929), Tudor Star (British, 7199 GRT, built 1919), Vassilios A. Polemis (Greek, 3429 GRT, built 1907), Viking Star (British, 6445 GRT, built 1920), Waterland (Dutch, 6847 GRT, built 1922), Wentworth (British, 5212 GRT, built 1919) and Zephyros (Greek, 4796 GRT, built 1909).

Escort was initially provided by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) (10 May 1941 to 3 June 1941) and the corvettes HMS Amaranthus (Lt. N.B.J. Stapleton, RNR), HMS Anchusa (T/Lt. P. Everett-Price, DSC, RNR), HMS Asphodel (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) K.W. Stewart, RN) and HMS Calendula (Lt.Cdr. A.D. Bruford, RNVR). (All from 10 May 1941 to 19 May 1941). They were joined on 12 May 1941 by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN).

On 26 May 1941, HMS Dorsetshire parted company with the convoy to join the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck. She succeeded in making contact on the next day he delivered the coup de grace to her and torpedoed the heavily damaged German battleship from both sides and she sank soon afterwards. HMS Dorsetshire picked up German survivors until she was forced to leave the scene after a U-Boat alarm. More survivors had to be left in the water.

The convoy was joined by more escorts for the passage through the Western Approaces, these were;
Destroyer HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN) and the corvettes HMS Gentian (Lt.Cdr. R.O. Yeomans, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR). These ships all joined on 30 May 1941 and remained with the convoy until it was dissolved on 4 June 1941. The destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Cdr. N.V. Dickinson, DSC, RN) and HMS Winchelsea (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, RN) also joined on 30 May but left the convoy on 2 June 1941. Finally the corvette HMS Freesia (T/Lt. R.A. Cherry, RNR) joined the convoy on 31 May and remained with it until dissolved on 4 June 1941.

12 Aug 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) departed Placentia Bay, Newfoundland for Hvalfjord, Iceland.

She was escorted by the destroyers USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Cooper, USN), USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Ripley (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Agnew, RN), HMCS Assiniboine (A/Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN).

At 1745/14 HMS Reading and HMS Ripley parted company.

At 0735/15 the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN) joined the screen. (1)

22 Mar 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Richmond (Lt.Cdr. A.F.L. Evans, RN), HMCS Bittersweet (A/Lt.Cdr. J.A. Woods, RCNR) and HMCS Chilliwack (T/Lt. L.L. Foxall, RCNR). (2)

28 Mar 1942
HMS H 50 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Reading (Lt.Cdr. D.V. Clift, RN), HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Saladin (Lt.Cdr. G.V. Legassick, RNR), HMS Sabre (Lt. R.L. Caple, DSC, RN), USS Bristol, USS Buck and USS Edison. (3)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/114891
  2. File 2.12.03.6379 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  3. ADM 173/17271

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


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