HMS Atherstone (L 05)
Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type I) class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Class||Hunt (Type I)|
|Built by||Cammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.)|
|Ordered||21 Mar 1939|
|Laid down||8 Jun 1939|
|Launched||12 Dec 1939|
|Commissioned||23 Mar 1940|
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 23 November 1957.
Commands listed for HMS Atherstone (L 05)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Cdr. Hugh Waters Shelley Browning, RN||12 Feb 1940||late 1940|
|2||Lt.Cdr. Robert Fergus Jenks, RN||2 Dec 1940||Apr 1942|
|3||Lt. Ernest Norman Wood, DSC, RNVR||Apr 1942||20 Mar 1944|
|4||Lt. Eric Ian Pilditch, DSC, RN||20 Mar 1944||15 Feb 1946|
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Notable events involving Atherstone include:
1 Jun 1940
Sinking of the transport Astronomer.
The transport Astronomer (8401 GRT, built 1917) was en-route from Rosyth to Scapa Flow with naval stores escorted by the auxiliary A/S trawlers HMS Leicester City (T/Lt. A.R. Cornish, RNR) and HMS Stoke City (Lt.Cdr. N.C.H. Scallan, RNR).
Late in the evening of June, 1st, the Astronomer was hit by one torpedo from the German submarine U-58 but she did not sink.
Early the next day two more torpedoes single torpedoes were fired by the German submarine and one hour after the last hit. The trawlers then picked up the survivors.
A report of the damage to the transport was received at 0100/2 and in response the destroyer HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) was sent out from Scapa Flow.
At 0215/2 the destroyer HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) departed Scapa Flow to assist HMS Kelvin in the A/S hunt.
The rescue tug St. Mellons departed Scapa Flow but returned after it became apparent that the transport had sunk.
A/S trawler HMS Leicester City obtained an A/S contact in the vicinity at about the time the transport was hit for the last time but she was also busy picking up survivors with together with HMS Stoke City. A total of 104 were picked up by the trawlers which then took them to Aberdeen. HMS Stoke City made a depth charge on a contact she obtained but without result. Apparently this was indeed an attack on U-58
At 0640/2, an aircraft attacked a submarine in position 57°25'N, 00°56'W, twenty five miles south of of the attack position. Destroyers HMS Mashona and HMS Kelvin were ordered to search the area of the aircraft attack but no contact was obtained.
At 1100/2, the destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and escort destoyer HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) departed Rosyth. HMS Atherstone arrived at Scapa Flow at 2200/2. HMS Encounter was was to join the search for the submarine.
At 1800/2, HMS Atherstone. while en-route to Scapa Flow, reported a line of mines near the sinking position of the Astronomer.
The boom defense vessel HMS Barbican (T/Boom Skr. J.F. Rendall, RNR), escorted by M/S trawler HMS Elm (T/Lt. J. Hutchinson, RNR), was ordered to the area. Barbican recovered the mooring buoys, covered by HMS Encounter and HMS Mashona.
HMS Kelvin returned to Scapa Flow at 0315/3.
HMS Encounter and HMS Mashona arrived at Scapa Flow at 1130/3. (1)
18 Jun 1940
Around 0400 hours HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN) departed the Clyde for Gibraltar. She was escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN) and the British destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, RN). HMS Wanderer was however replaced by the escort destroyer HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) shortly after sailing.
Around 1500 hours rendez-vous was made with the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow for Gibraltar the previous day.
The destroyers that had been escorting HMS Hood were then detached.
1 Jul 1940
Heaving completed her repairs at Liverpool HMS Barham (Capt G.C. Cooke, RN) departed that place for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by HMS Imogen (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN), HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) and HMS Fernie (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN). (2)
2 Jul 1940
HMS Barham (Capt G.C. Cooke, RN) and her escorts; HMS Imogen (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN), HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) and HMS Fernie (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN), arrived at Scapa Flow. (2)
9 Feb 1941
Convoy WS 6A.
This convoy departed U.K. waters on 9 February 1941 and arrived at Freetown on 1 March 1941.
The convoy was formed at in position from three sections of troopships / transports coming from Avonmouth, Liverpool and the Clyde.
The convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Ascanius (British, 10048 GRT, built 1910), Bellerophon (British, 9019 GRT, built 1906), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Burdwan (British, 6069 GRT, built 1928), Cape Horn (British, 5643 GRT, built 1929), City of Athens (British, 6558 GRT, built 1923), City of Corinth (British, 5318 GRT, built 1918), City of Hankow (British, 7360 GRT, built 1915), City of Pittsburg (British, 7377 GRT, built 1922), Consuelo (British, 4847 GRT, built 1937), Dalesman (British, 6343 GRT, built 1940), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Llandaff Castle (British, 10799 GRT, built 1926), Llangibby Castle (British, 11951 GRT, built 1929), Logician (British, 5993 GRT, built 1928), Masheer (British, 7911 GRT, built 1925), Manchester Citizen (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Mataroa (British, 12390 GRT, built 1922), Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926), Opawa (British, 10354 GRT, built 1931), Port Alma (British, 8400 GRT, built 1928), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929), Ruahine (British, 10832 GRT, built 1909), Salween (British, 7063 GRT, built 1937), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Thysville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922).
Escort was initially provided by the light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN), destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. E.R. Mainguy, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), Piorun (Cdr. E.J.S. Plawski), ORP Garland (Lt.Cdr. K.F. Namiesniowski, ORP), HMS Keppel (?), HMS Broadwater (Lt.Cdr. C.L.de H. Bell, RD, RNR) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN) and HMS Cottesmore (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, RN).
Information on this convoy is difficult to find but it appears that most of the A/S escort parted company with the convoy in the early evening of 12 February (according to the logbook of HMS Birmingham) and then proceeded as follows; HMAS Napier and HMAS Nizam to Scapa Flow passing north of Rockall, HMS Keppel, HMS Atherstone and HMS Cottesmore to Londonderry, HMCS Ottawa, HMS Restigouche, HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Skeena through area 52°N to 53°N, 23°W to 20°W and then to Greenock through position 55°N, 15°W, HMS Legion, HMS Broadwater, ORP Piorun and ORP Garland through position 57°N, 19°W and then to Greenock while passing north of Rockall. All groups were to conduct A/S sweeps on their way back.
Shortly before noon on the 15th the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) joined the convoy.
Shortly after Rodney joined HMS Phoebe parted company with the convoy to fuel at Gibraltar.
HMS Rodney remained with the convoy until 1700/16. She then set course to join convoy HX 108.
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt R.R. McGrigor, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, RN) and aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN) joined the convoy at 1000/17. They remained with the convoy until 1030/21 when they were relieved by HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN).
HMS Phoebe rejoined the convoy shortly before noon on 23 February 1941.
At 2030/25 the armed yacht HMS Surprise (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Stubbs, RN) also joined.
Around 0900/27 the sloop HMS Milford (Cdr.(Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vidette (Lt. E.N. Walmsley, RN) and HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN) joined the escort of the convoy.
On February 28th, HMS Malaya parted company with the convoy to proceed to Freetown taking the destroyers HMS Faulknor and HMS Forester with her. Also on this day the destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. C.S.B. Swinley, DSC, RN) joined the escort of the convoy.
2 Apr 1941
Around 1900 hours, HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN) departed Portsmouth for Greenock. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, DSO, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Blencathra (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) and HMS Tynedale (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, RN). HMS Tynedale was an additional escort for the night, she was to part company at dawn the next day. (4)
4 Apr 1941
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN), (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Atherstone (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN) and HMS Blencathra (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) arrived at Greenock. (5)
- ADM 199/376
- ADM 53/111548
- ADM 199/1136
- ADM 53/114987
- ADM 187/12
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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