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HMS St Albans, destroyer
 

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS, later HM Norwegian Ship ST ALBANS, also Russian DOSTOINY - ex-US Destroyer

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H. M. S.†† S T .† †A L B A N S† †( I 1 5 )

 

Ex USS THOMAS (Type "C") built by Newport News SB Company and laid down for the US Navy on 23rd March 1918. The ship was launched on 4th July 1918 and she commissioned for service on 24th April 1918. This destroyer was held in Reserve in 1939 and transferred to the RN under the UK/US Lend-Lease Agreement on 3rd September 1940. She commissioned for RN service as HMS ST ALBANS at Halifax on 23rd September 1940 and was the 6th RN ship to bear this name, introduced in 1687 for a 4th Rate, The name was last used in 1764 for a 3rd Rate which was broken up in 1814. This name is associated with the Charles Beauclerk, First Duke of St Albans who was son of Charles II and Nell Gwyn. In common with other ships loaned by the USA the name was common to towns in both countries, in this case the city in Herefordshire and two towns in the USA.

 

B a t t l e† †H o n o u r s

 

BARFLEUR 1892 - LAGOS 1759 - ST LUCIA 1778 - ST KITTS 1782 - THE SAINTES 1782 - ATLANTIC 1941-43 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1942 - ARCTIC 1942 - NORTH SEA 1943

 

H e r a l d i c† †D a t a

Badge : On a Field Blue a saltire couped White, charged with a hurt,

thereon a mullet also White.

 

D e t a i l s† †o f ††W a r† †S e r v i c e

 

1 9 4 0

 

September             Prepared for transfer from US Navy and passage to Halifax under US Navy command.

                23rd        Commissioned for RN service as HMS ST ALBANS.

                                On completion of trials took passage to Plymouth via St Johns, Newfoundland.

 

October                  Arrived at Plymouth.

                11th        Taken in hand for refit and modification for RN service by HM Dockyard Devonport.

                                Nominated for service with 1st Minelaying Squadron based at Kyle of Lochalsh.

                                (Note : This ship was to be detached for convoy defence as required by C in C Western Approaches

 

November              On completion of post refit trials took passage to join Squadron.

                18th        Detached for escort of military convoy in NW Approaches. Joined convoy WS4B with sister destroyers

                                HMS BATH and HMS ST MARY'S as part of Local escort from Clyde.

                                (Note : HM Destroyers HIGHLANDER, OTTAWA (RCN), SAGUENAY (RCN), SKEENA (RCN),

                                ST LAURENT (RCN), HM Cruiser CAIRO were also deployed.)

                19th        Detached from WS4B and resumed Squadron duties.

                26th        Deployed with HM Destroyers CHARLESTOWN, BATH and ST MARY'S as escort for ships of 1st

                                Minelaying Squadron during minelay in Northern Barrage

                                (Operation SN11 - See Naval Staff History (Mining).)

 

December

                8th          Deployed with HM Destroyers BATH, KEPPEL and DOUGLAS as escort for minelay by ships of 1st

                                Minelaying Squadron in Northern Barrage covered by HM Cruiser ARETHUSA and HM Battlecruiser

                                HOOD (Operation SN10A)

                18th        Deployed for escort of military convoy WS5A with HMS BATH as Local Escort during passage in NW

                                Approaches

                20th        Detached from WS5A after HM Destroyer HARVESTER, HIGHLANDER and VESPER took over Local

                                Escort duties.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Deployed with Squadron for escort of minelayers.

 

February                Passage to Sheerness for repair.

                11th        Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Chatham

 

March                    Under repair.

                                Nominated for transfer to Royal Norwegian Navy.

 

April                       Norwegian ship's company joined for turnover
                14th        Refit work completed.

                22nd       Transferred to Royal Norwegian Navy for loan service.

                                (Note : Name was unchanged.)

                                Passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of Home Fleet.

 

May                        Nominated for Atlantic convoy defence with 7th Escort Group

                3rd          Collided off Scapa Flow with HM Trawler ALBERNI which sank.

                                Work-up suspended and ship under repair.

 

June

                4th          Joined Group at Liverpool for Atlantic service.

                                (Note: Ships in Group included HM Destroyers WANDERER, NEWPORT, BEAGLE,

                                CAMPBELTOWN, WESTCOTT and six Flower Class Corvettes.)

                18th        Rescued survivors from ss EMPIRE DEW which had been sunk by a U-Boat on 12th June.)

 

July                         Atlantic convoy escort with Group in continuation.

 

August                  Deployed as escort for Convoy SL81 with ships of Group.
                3rd          Took part in sinking of U401 with HMS WANDERER and HM Corvette HYDRANGEA

                                during attack on SL81.

                                (For details see HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair and U-BOATS DESTROYED by

                                P Kemp.)

 

September             Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation.

 

October                  Deployed with Group for escort of Convoy ONS22.

                7th          Sustained damage during escort of ONS22 and took passage to Iceland for temporary repair.

 

November              Passage from Iceland to Thames for permanent repair.

                                Taken in hand for repair in London.

 

December              On completion returned to Liverpool top rejoin Group for Atlantic convoy defence.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Atlantic convoy defence with Group in continuation

to                            (Note : During this period Group provided escort for Convoys HX171 and

March                    SC68 which arrived with loss of merchant ships.)

 

April                       Under refit in Liverpool during which Radar Type 271 for surface warning was fitted.

                                See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse for details of development and use pf radar in RN.)

                                On completion resumed convoy defence in Western Approaches.

                28th        Deployed with HM Destroyers BADSWORTH, BOADICEA, MATCHLESS. SOMALI,

                                VENOMOUS, HM Auxiliary AA Ship ULSTER QUEEN, HM Minesweepers BRAMBLE,

                                LEDA and SEAGULL as Ocean Escort for Convoy PQ15 during passage from Iceland to

                                Kola Inlet.

                                (Note : For details of all Russian Convoys see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,

                                CONVOY ! by P Kemp, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schofield and ARCTIC

                                CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

 

May

                2nd         Carried out attacks on submarine with HM Minesweeper SEAGULL in defence of PQ12.

                                Submarine which was then found to be Polish JASTRZAB was badly damaged and forced

                                to surface.

                                Crew were taken off and submarine sunk by gunfire.

                                (Note : ORP JASTRZAB had been out of station. See CONVOY! by P Kemp.

                21st         Deployed with HM Destroyers BOADICEA, ESCAPADE, INGLEFIELD, BADSWORTH,

                                VENOMOUS, HM Auxiliary AA Ship ULSTER QUEEN, as escort of return convoy QP12

                                from Kola Inlet to Iceland.

                                (Note : Local Escort was provided from Kola Inlet by HM Minesweeper BRAMBLE,

                                GOSSAMER. LEDA and SEAGULL.)

 

June                        Resumed duties with 1st Minelaying Squadron on release from QP12.

                                Nominated for return to RN manning after refit.

 

July                         Passage to Falmouth for refit.

                2nd         Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard at Falmouth.

 

August                  Under refit

to                            Norwegian personnel replaced by RN

September             Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command for convoy escort.

 

October                  Commissioned for RN service.

                29th        Refit completion and passage to Tobermory for work-up after post refit trials.

 

November

                8th          Took passage to join Western Approaches Command for operational use.

                                Deployed as part of escort for Convoy ON 144.

                                Detached from ON 144 and took passage to Plymouth for repair.
                16th        Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

 

December              Transferred to Portsmouth for completion of repairs.

                                Nominated for use as an Air Target Ship at Rosyth on completion.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Deployed in Rosyth Command as a Target Ship for training of aircrew.

to                            Nominated for service with Western Local Escort Force based at Halifax,

March                    Nova Scotia.

 

April                       Under repair at Portsmouth prior to passage to Halifax.

                                Part of escort for Convoy ON 177 during Atlantic passage.

 

May                        Deployed with Western Local Escort Force for defence of coastal traffic between ports in USA

to                            and Canada as well as during passage to Mid Ocean Meeting Point where escort transferred to

November              ships of Western Approaches.

 

December              Nominated for reduction to Reserve status and took passage to UK.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Paid-off and laid up in Reserve.

 

February                Laid-up

to                            Nominated for transfer on loan to Soviet Navy after refit.

May

 

June                        Passage to Tyne
                2nd         Taken in hand for refit at Palmers shipyard, Hebburn.

 

July                         Russian ship's company joined ship.
                16th        Formally transferred to Soviet Northern Fleet and renamed DOSTOINY.

 

August                  Passage to North Russia

 

P o s t†† T r a ns f e r†† N o t e s

 

This destroyer served with the Northern Fleet until 1948 and was returned to Britain at Rosyth on 28th February 1949. Renamed HMS ST ALBANS the ship was de-stored and placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO on 4th April that year for demolition by Metal Industries she arrived in tow at the breakerís yard in Charlestown near Rosyth on 18th May 1949.

 
 

 

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