Allied Warships

HMS Garth (L 20)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type I) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type I) 
PennantL 20 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered21 Mar 1939 
Laid down8 Jun 1939 
Launched14 Feb 1940 
Commissioned1 Jul 1940 
End service 

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 25 August 1958. Scrapped at Barrow.


Commands listed for HMS Garth (L 20)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. Eric Hart Dyke, RN7 May 19409 Sep 1941
2Lt.Cdr. John Percival Scatchard, RN9 Sep 1941Jul 1943
3Lt. Giles Richard Penn Goodden, RN15 Jul 1943Nov 1943
4Capt. Cecil Ramsden Langworthy Parry, RNNov 194315 Aug 1944
5Capt. William Gronow Davis, DSC, RN15 Aug 19445 Sep 1945
6Cdr. Archibald George Forman, DSC, RN5 Sep 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Garth include:

18 Jul 1940
The destroyer HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Berkeley (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Walters, RN) and HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) departed Scapa Flow at 0645/18 to assist in an A/S hunt off Cape Wrath. HMS Berkeley and HMS Garth returned to Scapa Flow at 0045/19 while HMS Diana remained on patrol in the area.

31 Aug 1940
On 31 August 1940, a group of destroyers sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission to the north of the Dutch island of Vlieland.

The minelaying destroyers were from the 20th Destroyer Flotilla, these were; HMS Express (Capt. J.G. Bickford, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The minelayers were escorted by three destroyers of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, these were; HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN, with Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN = Capt.(D.5) on board), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN).

At 2250/31, aerial reconnaissance reported a large number of German ships to the north of the Dutch island of Terschelling proceeding westwards. The destroyers of the 20th Destroyer Flotilla were ordered to jettison their mines and intercept, believing wrongly that the German ships were part of an invasion force.

At 2307/31, HMS Express struck a mine in position 53°25'N, 03°48'E. She was badly damaged but did not sink. HMS Esk went to her assistance and hit mine at 2325/31, she sank immediately. HMS Ivanhoe also went to her assistance and hit a mine at 0051/1. She was badly damaged, but she was able to proceed for a while.

HMS Jupiter, HMS Kelvin and HMS Vortiger were behind the minelaying destroyers providing cover for the operation. HMS Jupiter and HMS Kelvin went to the aid of the damaged destroyers while HMS Vortigern remained behind to mark the gap in the minefield for their return.

The escort destroyers, HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) and HMS Hambledon (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN), which were on patrol off the coast near Harwich were also ordered to assist.

The minesweepers HMS Leda (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC, RN) and HMS Saltash (Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fowke, RN), motor torpedo boats HMS MTB 14, HMS MTB 15, HMS MTB 16, HMS MTB 17, HMS MTB 29, HMS MTB 30, HMS MTB 31 and the tugs HMS St. Cyrus, Irishman, Norman, Wheeldon were also ordered to go the assistance of the crippled ships.

Around 0800/1, most of the crew of HMS Ivanhoe abandoned ship and boarded MTB 14, MTB 16, MTB 17. Thirty of the crew remained onboard trying to save the ship.

At 0941/1, HMS Express was taken in tow by HMS Kelvin, but when the towing line fouled HMS Kelvin'spropeller the tow was taken over by HMS Jupiter until it was passed over to the tug HMS St. Cyrus. Close cover for the towing group was provided by HMS Vortigern and HMS Hambledon. HMS Jupiter and HMS Kelvin formed a strike group in case German warships would arrive on the scene. HMS Express was towed to Hull where she arrived on 2 September 1940 and was out of action for around a year.

At 1415/1, the remaining crew of HMS Ivanhoe had to board MTB 15 as HMS Ivanhoe was rapidly sinking.

Later that afternoon a British aircraft reported that HMS Ivanhoe was still afloat. HMS Kelvin, HMS Garth and MTB 30 were ordered to search for her. At 1619/1, HMS Garth spotted HMS Ivanhoe while it was being attacked by a German aircraft. HMS Kelvin also arrived on the scene and she sank the wreck of HMS Ivanhoe at 1700/1 with a torpedo.

Meanwhile the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) had departed the Humber around 0130/1, to make rendez-vous with HMS Jupiter, HMS Kelvin and HMS Vortigern after the minelaying mission. As the minelaying mission was cancelled they returned to Immingham and while doing so HMS Galatea struck a mine off the Cleaner Shoal Buoy near the Humber light vessel. Damage was however only minor. The cruiser arrived at Immingham around 0800/1.

8 Sep 1940
Around 2130A/8, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.T.B. Curteis, CB, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), destroyers HMS Campbell (Capt. C.R.L. Parry, RN), HMS Venetia (Lt.Cdr. D.L.C. Craig, RN), HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.E.F. Hussey, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN), HMS Hambledon (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN) and HMS Holderness (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Sheerness to bombard enemy shipping concentrations at Calais and Boulogne.

HMS Galatea with HMS Campbell, HMS Vesper and HMS Garth were to bombard Calais while HMS Aurora, HMS Venetia, HMS Hambledon and HMS Holderness bombarded Boulogne.

Between 0225A/9 and 0245A/9, British aircraft dropped flares over both ports. No shipping was however found to be present in Calais Roads so HMS Galatea and her escorts did not conduct a bombardment. HMS Aurora and her escorts however did bombarded the Boulogne harbour area.

They returned to Sheerness around 0700A/9. HMS Galatea had detonated a mine around 0525A/9 and was again damaged [see 1 September] damage was again minor. As Galatea was due for refit it was decided not to undertake repairs. HMS Galatea was to commence refit and repairs at the Chatham Dockyard upon completion of the refit of HMS Arethusa. For the moment HMS Galatea remained at Sheerness.

During the same night the destroyers HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN), HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN), HMS Berkeley (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Walters, RN) and HMS Fernie (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN) departed Portsmouth to conducted a sweep along the French coast just south of Boulogne up to Cape Antifer (near Le Havre). On completion of the sweep they returned to Portsmouth. (1)

21 Jan 1941
HMS Torbay (Lt.Cdr. A.C.C. Miers, RN) shifted from the Sheerness to Harwich. She was escorted by HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN). (2)

22 Jan 1941
HMS Torbay (Lt.Cdr. A.C.C. Miers, RN) shifted from Harwich to Rosyth. She was escorted by HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN). (2)

6 Mar 1941
Around 1205A/6, HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) departed Sheerness for Scapa Flow to commence a work-up period there. She was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) and HMS Cottesmore (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, RN).

Around 0845A/7, the destroyer HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) joined company.

Around 0950A/7, the destroyer HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) joined company.

Around 1005A/7, HMS Garth and HMS Cottesmore parted companay.

HMS London, HMS Mashona and HMS Matabele arrived at Scapa Flow around 1530A/7. (3)

1 Sep 1941
HMS H 33 (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) departed Sheerness for Rothesay. She was escorted by HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Dyke, RN) until near Dungeness. Thence unescorted until she made rendez-vous near the Lizard at 1930/5 with HMS White Bear (Cdr.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) for onward passage under escort to Rothesay. (4)

20 Nov 1941
Escorting convoy FS.50 off the east Coast and scouting 5 nautical miles ahead for S-boote. Due to unserviceable radar, she ran headlong into another anti-S-boote patrol and was taken under fire by destroyer Campbell, sustaining 2 dead and damage to the steam lines, which compelled her returning to port in tow.

20 Nov 1942
Around 1030A/20, the heavy cruiser HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.T. Borrett, OBE, RN) departed Greenock for Sheerness.

Around 1500A/21, she was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN) and HMS Southdown (Lt. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN).

HMS Shropshire arrived at Sheerness around 1615A/22. The escort destroyers had parted company with her at the boom defence entrance. (5)

17 Feb 1943
HMS Garth (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN) sank the German motor torpedo boat (S-boat) S-71 93 tons with gunfire and ramming off Lowesoft.

14 Jul 1945
The light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Serapis (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Franks, DSO, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Zephyr (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Zodiac (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, DSC, RN) departed Plymouth to make rendezvous with the US Heavy cruiser USS Augusta (T/Capt. J.H. Foskett, USN) and the light cruiser USS Philadelphia (T/Capt. R.L. Boller, USN). On board the USS Augusta was President Truman which was en-route to Antwerp, Belgium.

Rendezvous was made in the morning and the ships then proceeded in company westwards through the English Channel.

In the early evening the British ships parted company near the North Goodwin Buoy. Shortly aftewards the escort destroyers HMS Garth (Capt. W.G. Davis, DSC, RN), HMS Hambledon (Lt. C.G.deL. Bush, RN) and HMS Holderness (A/Lt.Cdr. P.F. Cole, DSC, RN) joined the US ships to escort them to Antwerp where they arrived in the morning of the 15th. (6)


  1. ADM 53/112284 + ADM 199/375 + ADM 199/379
  2. ADM 173/17049
  3. ADM 53/114553
  4. ADM 173/16754
  5. ADM 53/116655
  6. ADM 53/121007 + ADM 199/1440 + Log of USS Augusta

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

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