H. M. S. B L U
E B E L L
ordered from Fleming & Ferguson at Paisley on 27th July 1939. She was laid
down on 25th October that year and was launched on 24 April 1940 as the second RN warship to bear this
name. It had been introduced in 1915 for a Sloop which was
sold in 1930. Build of this ship was completed
on 19th July 1940. In February 1942 she was “adopted” by the civil
community of Tiverton, Devon after
a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings Campaign.
B a t t l e H
o n o u r s
ATLANTIC 1940-44 SICILY 1943
NORMANDY 1944 MEDITERRANEAN 1943
H e r a l d i c
D a t a
Badge: On a Field White, a Bell, Blue, banded and clappered Gold.
D e t a i l s
o f W a r S e r v i c e
(Note * = Further research is required into these
1 9 4 0
July Contractors trials and
19th Build completion and commenced
On completion took
passage to commence working-up for operational service.
(Note: Work-up may not
have taken place at Tobermory since HMS WESTERN ISLES
did not commission until this month. Location of area for
work-up to be confirmed.)
*August On completion of storing and work-up
deployed for Atlantic convoy escort.
(Note: Identity of Escort Group and base to be investigated)
1 9 4 1
January Deployed with 5th Escort Group,
Western Approaches Command based at Liverpool for
escort of Atlantic convoys.
February (Note: Other Ships deployed with this
Group during the period included HM Destroyers
WALKER, VANOC, VOLUNTEER, SARDONYX, SCIMITAR and HM Corvette
details of Atlantic convoy defence see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by
Macintyre and U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO). )
March Took part in escort of Convoy HX112 with
HMS WALKER, HMS VANOC, HMS
VOLUNTEER, HMS SARDONYX, HMS
SCIMITAR and HMS HAYDRANGEA.
16th Carried out ant-submarine operations
with escort against attacks by U110, U37, U99, U100
17th Anti-submarine operations in defence of
HX112 in continuation.
(Note: During defence of
commanded by Kapitanleutnant Joachim Schepke
commanded by Kapitanleutnant Otto Kretschemer were sunk, These two
officers had outstanding records for sinking of merchant
ships. For details see
above references, U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLER’S
WAR by C Blair.)
*April Atlantic convoy defence with Group
September Transferred to 37th Escort Group for
defence of Convoys to and from Gibraltar and ports
(Note: Other ships deployed with this Group during this
period included HM Sloops
and FOWEY, HM Corvettes CAMANULA, CARNATION,
MALLOW, STONECROP, MYSOTIS and Free French LA
October Group deployment in continuation at Gibraltar.
18th Took part with HM Sloop ROCHESTER, HM
Corvettes MALLOW, CARNATION and
anti-submarine search operation on Atlantic side of Strait
of Gibraltar based evidence that a significant number of German submarines were
attacks on shipping entering and leaving the Mediterranean.
(Note: HM Corvette
FLEUR DE LYS was torpedoed by U208 west of Gibraltar on 14th.)
19th Deployed with HMS CARNATION in support
of HMS ROCHESTER and HMS
MALLOW after the
attacks made by these ships on U204, and located oil slick and other
as being promising indication of a sinking.
(Note: This sinking was
later confirmed. See U-BOATS DESTROYED and HITLER'S
November Deployment with Group in continuation.
1 9 4 2
*January Atlantic convoy defence in
Returned to UK for refit
August Resumed convoy defence in Home
waters and nominated for escort of Russian Convoy.
(Note: For details of
all Russian Convoy operations giving details of escorts and merchant
ships taking part see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, CONVOY
! by Paul
RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield and ARCTIC CONVOYS by
September Passage to Iceland to join Russian Convoy PQ18
(Note: This was the
first convoy to go to North
Russia after the disastrous
details of changes made to escort strength see above references and
THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)
7th Deployed with HM Auxiliary AA Ships
ALYNBANK and ULSTER QUEEN, HM
Destroyers ACHATES and
MALCOLM, HM Corvettes BERGAMOT, BRYONY and
Minesweepers GLEANER and SHARPSHOOTER as Ocean Escort for
PQ18 during passage from Iceland to Archangel..
(Note: HM Escort
Aircraft Carrier AVENGER, HM Cruiser SCYLLA with screen of
Fleet destroyers provided Fighting Escort and air cover, with overall
protection from surface attacks by ships of Home Fleet,)
12th Under submarine attacks during which
two mercantiles were sunk and one U-Boat
13th Under air attacks during which six
mercantiles were sunk.
18th Local Eastern escort joined PQ18.
19th Detached from PQ18 on arrival at Archangel.
*October Deployed for convoy defence
(Note: Ship may
have been deployed in North
Russia. To be confirmed.
November Nominated for escort of Russian
(Note: This was last convoy
in QP/PQ series.)
17th Deployed as part of Ocean Escort
for returning QP15 with HMS ULSTER QUEEN,
FAULKNOR, ICARUS, IMPULSIVE and INTREPID, HM
SALAMANDER, HM Corvettes BERGAMOT, BRYONY and
Destroyers ECHO, MUSKETEER and ORWELL joined Ocean Escort
passage. Ships of Home Fleet provided cover for transit.
24th Detached from QP15 with HMS ULSTER
QUEEN to refuel after enduring extreme
(Note: It is not
known whether this ship rejoined or made independent passage to
Scapa Flow after refuelling.)
*December Resumed Atlantic convoy escort.
1 9 4 3
*January Atlantic convoy defence in
February Nominated for escort of Russian
Convoy JW53 and took passage with HMS
to join during its transit from Loch Ewe to North Russia.
20th Joined HM Escort Destroyers
MEYNELL+, MIDDLETON+, PYTCHLEY+, HM
FAULKNOR, INGLEFIELD, MARNE, OBDURATE, OBEDIENT,
ORWELL, HM Minesweepers HALCYON+ and JASON, HM
Corvettes BERGAMOT, POPPY and HM Trawler LORD AUSTIN in Ocean Escort
marked “+” detached subsequently.)
21st Home Fleet ships including HM
Cruiser SCYLLA and screen of 5 Fleet destroyers
JW53 to reinforce Ocean Escort
(Note: Home Fleet
cover for transit was provided by HM Battleships KING
V and HOWE, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND,
BELFAST and NORFOLK with screen of seven Fleet Destroyers and two
battleships. HM Escort Aircraft Carrier also deployed had to
sustaining damage, as did HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD. See above references)
28th Detached from JW53 with ships of
Home Fleet after arrival in North Russia.
(Note: This convoy
experienced particularly atrocious weather conditions and had
been subjected to air attacks and submarine threats. Both
were affected by
weather conditions and vigilance of the escort.)
*March Return passage to UK to resume duties in Western Approaches.
*April Western Approaches deployment
*June Nominated for support of
planned allied landings in Sicily
to Mediterranean as part of escort for military
*July Deployed in Mediterranean for escort of military convoys for HUSKY.
7th Part of escort for Assault
convoys during initial landings
For details of
HUSKY See Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY
deployed for this duty included:
Corvettes BRYONY, CAMELLIA, CONVOLVULUS,
HYDERABAD (RIN), LOTUS, OXLIP, PENSTEMON, POPPY,
PRIMULA, RHODODENDRON, STARWORT, VETCH and
Greek SAKHTOURIS (Ex HMS
10th Remained in Mediterranean for escort of Follow-Up convoys.
*August On release from HUSKY took
passage to resume service in Western Approaches.
*September Western Approaches convoy defence in
1 9 4 4
*January Deployment for convoy defence
February Nominated for escort of Russian
Convoys JW57 and RA57.
20th Joined HM Destroyers BEAGLE,
BOADICEA, KEPPEL and WALKER with
CAMELLIA, LOTUS and RHODODENDRON as Close Escort
or ships of JW57 during passage to Kola Inlet from Loch
22nd Fighting Escort joined convoy and
comprised HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE with
screen of 13 Home Fleet destroyers and HM Escort Aircraft
escorted by two destroyers and two frigates.
Cruisers BERWICK and JAMAICA provided Cruiser Cover during
Arctic passage. See above references for details.)
25th HM Destroyer MAHRATTA of
Fighting Escort sunk by U990.
(Note:U713 and 601 were sunk in defence of JW57)
28th Detached from JW57 with Close
Escort on arrival at Kola Inlet without loss of any
ships in convoy.
2nd Joined Close Escort for return
Convoy RA57 with same ships from Kola Inlet.
Minesweepers GLEANER and SEAGULL also joined Close Escort until
and Fighting Escort was provided as well as Home Fleet cover. and air
defence by HMS CHASER.)
10th Detached with Close Escort on
arrival at Loch Ewe.
(Note: U472, U761 and U601 were sunk in defence of
RA57 from which two
merchant ships were sunk in U-Boat attacks.)
27th Joined HM Destroyers WESTCOTT, WHITEHALL and WRESTLER with HM
HONEYSUCKLE and LOTUS as Close Escort for Russian Convoy JW58
29th Main Body of escort joined JW58
including HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers ACTIVITY and TRACKER with screen of ten Fleet
of 2nd Escort Group were also deployed and Home Fleet ships
engaged in Operation TUNGSTEN for air attacks on German
TIRPITZ in Altenfjord, Norway.)
4th Detached from JW58 with ships
of escort on arrival at Kola Inlet.
anti-submarine operations U961.U355, U360 and U288 were sunk
between 29th March and 3rd April. See references.)
7th Deployed with HM Destroyer BEAGLE, BOADICEA,
VENUS, WALKER, WESTCOTT, WHITEHALL and WRESTLER for Ocean
Escort of return
(Note: Cover was
provided by HMS DIADEM, HMS ACTIVITY and later HM
Escort Carrier TRACKER with Fleet destroyer screen. No Distant Cover was
needed after threat from TIRPITZ had been temporarily
14th Detached from RA58 with escort
on arrival at Loch Ewe.
(Note: Some Home
Fleet ships detached on 13th. See references.)
15th Resumed deployment in Western
May Nominated for escort of
Assault and Follow-up convoys during planned allied
landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE). For details see LANDINGS IN
NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards.
Escort Group 143 and joined HM Destroyer BOADICEA, HM
Trawlers CORNELIAN and PEARL.
Took part in preparatory exercises for NEPTUNE.
Passage to Milford Haven to join Group.
corvettes from Western Approaches were deployed for NEPTUNE.
See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY,
June Deployed in support of NEPTUNE based at Plymouth
4th Operation delayed 24 hours.
5th Part of escort for Convoy ECL1
comprising Landing Ships (Tank) during passage
Channel to landing beaches.
Trawler ELLESMERE was also part of escort by 143 Group for this
6th On arrival detached from ECL1
and returned to Milford Haven
8th Deployed with Group for escort
of Follow-up convoys from Milford Haven.
25th On release from NEPTUNE resumed convoy defence in Western Approaches.
*July Western Approaches
deployment in continuation.
August Transferred to 8th Escort
Group and joined HM Destroyers BEAGLE, WALKER,
WESTCOTT, WHITEHALL, HM Sloop LARK. HM Corvettes OXLIP and
15th Joined HM Sloop CYGNET, HM
Frigate LOCH DUNVEGAN, HM Corvettes
CHARLOCK, HONEYSUCKLE and OXLIP as Close Escort for
Convoy JW59 during passage from Loch Ewe to Kola Inlet.
Destroyers KEPPEL and WHITEHALL of Group were also deployed
with HM Sloops KITE, MERMAID and PEACOCK as apart of
17th Home Fleet reinforcement by
HM Cruiser JAMAICA, HM Escort Aircraft
STRIKER and VINDEX with screen of five destroyers joined JW59.
21st HMS KITE sunk by U344.
24th Detached with escort on
arrival at Kola Inlet,
and U344 were sunk in defence of this convoy.)
28th Sailed from Kola Inlet as
part of escort for return Convoy RA59.
(Note: Escort and cover provided by
same ships as JW59, less HMS LARK.)
5th Detached from RA59 with
remaining ships of escort on arrival at Loch Ewe
without loss due to extent of air cover and efficient
was sunk by ships of escort after air sighting. See above
and U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)
8th Resumed Atlantic convoy
defence and interception duties with Group.
October 8th Escort Group
deployment in continuation.
(Note: During this period
U-Boats, fitted with SCHNORKEL equipment to
enable battery charge whilst submerged, were
being extensively being
deployed to attack convoys in Channel
approaches and coastal waters
of UK. Ships belonging to Escort Groups were deployed in
areas to increase anti-submarine defence.)
1 9 4 5
January Deployed for convoy
defence in UK coastal waters with Group.
February Nominated with ships of
Group for detached service in Home Fleet for anti-
submarine operations and convoy defence
2nd Deployed with HM SLOOPS
CYGNET and LARK, HM Destroyer WHITEHALL,
HM Corvettes ALNWICK CASTLE, BAMBOROUGH CASTLE and
as Close Escort for Russian Convoy JW64 during passage
from Loch Ewe to Kola Inlet.
6th HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM
Escort Aircraft Carriers CAMPANIA
Sloop LAPWING and HM Corvette DENBIGH CASTLE joined
JW64 with screen of 9 destroyers from Scapa Flow.
7th Under concentrated air
attacks. See references.
10th Further air attacks during
which no ship was sunk although fire discipline in
ships of convoy and escort was particularly poor.
16th Detached after arrival with
JW64 at Kola Inlet and despatched to take HMS
DENBIGH CASTLE in tow to Kola Inlet with Russian Tug after the
been torpedoed by U992. (Note: HMS DENBIGH CASTLE ground
and later capsized
and sank on arrival.)
ships of Close Escort for JW64 to take part in ant-submarine operations
against group of U-Boats know to be assembling off Kola Inlet
to carry out
attacks on the return Convoy RA64.
17th Anti-submarine deployment in
continuation during which HMS LARK was hit
by homing torpedo from U968 and had to be abandoned..
half hours later during re-assembly of return Convoy RA64 by ships of
ship was hit by a homing torpedo fired by U711.
Sank in less than 30 seconds after
explosion of depth charges detonated when
torpedo hit stern in position 8 miles NE of Kola Inlet
Only 12 of
ship’s company were rescued. See WARSHIP LOSSES OF WW2
by D Brown. (All the recent histories list Acting/P.O. Albert
E. H. Holmes as the only
survivor on board the ship when
List - note on casualties)
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
No. Left convoy Date convoy
sailed as escort arrived
13/08/40 14/08/40 OA 198 unknown unknown
02/08/40 18/08/40 SL 042 21/08/40 21/08/40
20/08/40 31/08/40 HX 067 04/09/40 04/09/40
12/09/40 12/09/40 OA 213 16/09/40 unknown
05/09/40 16/09/40 HX 071 20/09/40 20/09/40
26/09/40 26/09/40 OA 220 28/09/40 28/09/40
19/09/40 01/10/40 SC 005 02/10/40 04/10/40
12/10/40 12/10/40 OA 228 16/10/40 unknown
05/10/40 18/10/40 SC 007 20/10/40 21/10/40
18/11/40 20/11/40 OG 046 24/11/40 05/12/40
16/12/40 16/12/40 OB 260 19/12/40 19/12/40
09/12/40 20/12/40 HG 048 23/12/40 23/12/40
28/12/40 30/12/40 OG 048 02/01/41 09/01/41
15/12/40 03/01/41 SL 059S 04/01/41 07/01/41
26/01/41 26/01/41 OG 051 28/01/41 08/02/41
17/01/41 30/01/41 HG 051 03/02/41 03/02/41
01/03/41 15/03/41 HX 112 18/03/41 20/03/41
27/03/41 27/03/41 OG 057 01/04/41 11/04/41
12/05/41 13/05/41 OB 322 18/05/41 20/05/41
06/05/41 18/05/41 HX 125A 22/05/41 22/05/41
12/07/41 12/07/41 OG 068 26/07/41 26/07/41
13/07/41 03/08/41 SL 081 08/08/41 08/08/41
13/08/41 13/08/41 OS 003 15/08/41 01/09/41
13/08/41 15/08/41 OG 071 23/08/41 23/08/41
02/09/41 02/09/41 HG 072 17/09/41 17/09/41
25/08/41 11/09/41 SL 085 17/09/41 17/09/41
27/09/41 27/09/41 OG 075 13/10/41 13/10/41
22/10/41 22/10/41 HG 075 27/10/41 03/11/41
25/11/41 28/11/41 OG 077 13/12/41 13/12/41
31/12/41 31/12/41 HG 077 12/01/42 12/01/42
26/01/42 28/01/42 OG 079 07/02/42 07/02/42
22/02/42 22/02/42 HG 079 06/03/42 06/03/42
17/03/42 17/03/42 OG 081 29/03/42 29/03/42
05/04/42 05/04/42 HG 081 15/04/42 15/04/42
02/09/42 07/09/42 PQ 018 21/09/42 21/09/42
17/11/42 17/11/42 QP 015 30/11/42 30/11/42
04/01/43 25/01/43 SC 116 29/01/43 29/01/43
15/02/43 20/02/43 JW 053 27/02/43 27/02/43
25/06/43 25/06/43 KMS 019G 06/07/43 06/07/43
06/07/43 06/07/43 KMS 019 09/07/43 16/07/43
14/07/43 14/07/43 KMS 019Y 16/07/43 unknown
17/07/43 17/07/43 MKS 018 22/07/43 22/07/43
27/06/43 22/07/43 UGS 011 23/07/43 unknown
22/07/43 23/07/43 GUS 010X 25/07/43 13/08/43
12/07/43 29/07/43 UGS 012 07/08/43 10/08/43
29/07/43 29/07/43 KMS 021 07/08/43 10/08/43
15/08/43 16/08/43 MKS 022 25/08/43 25/08/43
30/08/43 30/08/43 KMS 024 10/09/43 10/09/43
14/09/43 16/09/43 MKS 025 25/09/43 25/09/43
29/09/43 29/09/43 KMS 027 11/10/43 11/10/43
14/10/43 14/10/43 MKS 028 23/10/43 23/10/43
23/10/43 23/10/43 MKS 028G 24/10/43 24/10/43
24/10/43 24/10/43 SL 138MK 05/11/43 05/11/43
20/02/44 20/02/44 JW 057 28/02/44 28/02/44
02/03/44 02/03/44 RA 057 10/03/44 10/03/44
27/03/44 27/03/44 JW 058 04/04/44 04/04/44
07/04/44 07/04/44 RA 058 14/04/44 14/04/44
14/06/44 14/06/44 FCM 005 15/06/44 15/06/44
19/06/44 19/06/44 EBC 016 23/06/44 23/06/44
29/06/44 29/06/44 EBC 026 01/07/44 01/07/44
14/07/44 14/07/44 EBC 041 16/07/44 16/07/44
21/07/44 21/07/44 EBC 048 23/07/44 23/07/44
28/07/44 28/07/44 EBC 055 30/07/44 30/07/44
15/08/44 15/08/44 JW 059 25/08/44 25/08/44
28/08/44 28/08/44 RA 059A 05/09/44 05/09/44
15/09/44 15/09/44 OS 089KM 15/09/44 22/09/44
24/09/44 24/09/44 OS 090KM 01/10/44 01/10/44
01/10/44 01/10/44 KMS 064G 02/10/44 02/10/44
08/10/44 08/10/44 MKS 063G 09/10/44 09/10/44
09/10/44 09/10/44 SL 172MK 16/10/44 16/10/44
13/11/44 13/11/44 OS 095KM 22/11/44 22/11/44
25/11/44 25/11/44 MKS 068G 26/11/44 26/11/44
26/11/44 26/11/44 SL 177MK 05/12/44 05/12/44
18/12/44 18/12/44 OS 099KM 21/12/44 21/12/44
16/12/44 21/12/44 MKS 071G 24/12/44 24/12/44
03/02/45 03/02/45 JW 064 15/02/45 15/02/45
17/02/45 17/02/45 RA 064 28/02/45 28/02/45
(Note on Convoys)