E Coast R.N. Named Ships

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Re: E Coast R.N. Named Ships

Postby E28 » Sat May 25, 2024 6:28 pm

The conflict had started and Grimsby was needed back in blighty, she remained east of Suez for 2 weeks then headed west where on 30 september she escorted her first convoy, blue 3 with Fowey which was for fast British merchants only from Port Said to Gib, a ten day trip. Blue 1 - 6 were westbound, green 1 - 5 eastbound and were all in late 1939 before the more familiar alpha numeric convoy codes were introduced. Leaving Gib Grimsby attacked a perceived u boat 70 miles west with no outcome and once back in home waters was involved in east coast convoy work when on 1 november 4.2 miles east of Whitby she made another u boat attack which was becoming a common occurence.

The Admiralty signalled all foreign stations on 4 november requesting all sloops return as there was a need for anti submarine and anti aircraft escorts, Londonderry and Auckland from south Atlantic, Fowey, Deptford and Aberdeen from Med whilst from China Wellington, Leith, Sandwich were to sail immediately, Bideford, Folkestone, Lowesfoft and Scarborough on completion of refits whilst Falmouth was to remain, get armed and ammunitioned with her war paint on ready to fight her own very succesful fight for the next 5 years.

By mid 1940 and a refit including re arming with 2 x twin 4"Grimsby would return east with her new pendant U.16 and be heavily involved in numerous escort duties in the Med, east of Suez and Indian ocean as would many other sloops through to may 1941 frequently operating with Auckland and Flamingo.

Let's look at the fates of the year '31 E class destroyers.
1940. E leader Exmouth was sunk 21 january with her entire complement of 189 which included the flotilla staff, a very rare occurrence except in submarines. Esk was mined whilst mine laying 31 august again with many men lost, 127, both in the North sea, Home waters.
The 1st RN destroyer sunk in the Med was Escort which sank 3 days after being torpedoed, 11 july '40, Eclipse was mined 24 october '43 again in the Med whilst in the Far East under Japanese guns the pair built together were pretty well sunk together, Electra 27 feb '42, 2 days later Encounter went down with Exeter all off Java.
The trio Echo, Express under foreign flags with Escapade all survived the conflict so 2/3 sunk in action.
Leith also made it through the conflict enduring a bizarre post war history.

May 1941 Grimsby still in the med escorted convoy AN30 from Haifa to Port Said then to Alexandria on the 10th and the start of the battle for Crete in which she was not directly involved but operated along the north Africa coast in support of the army's western desert operations including further work with Flamingo.

24 may. Hood sunk. 0600. Signal from flag officer 1st cruiser squadron in Norfolk, with Suffolk. 3 survivors later picked up by Electra.

25 may. 0300. Grimsby sailed Alexandria with ss Helka to Tobruk, the Admiralty did not want Helka loitering in port, she was carrying 600 tons of benzine spirit when at 1600 40 miles north east of Tobruk the pair were attacked twice by JU 87's, the 2nd attack by aircraft of 1/STG1 would prove decisive, their being no fighter protection available. Helka once hit broke in two whilst Grimsby had 1 near miss but 2 direct hits by D.A. fused 100 kg bombs whilst at full speed, both exploded in the engine room stopping both engines, rapid flooding ensued, she listed to port and started sinking.

Grimsby sink 250541.jpg

Photo clearly shows Grimsby going down with evidence she did have 4" mounted with aft part of Helka to the right, taken from the trawler Southern Maid which accompanied the pair on this relief mission to Tobruk. Grimsby suffered 11 dead, Helka 1.

Auckland was sunk 1 month later 24 june doing a similar run in almost the same location.

Should you see any photos of a single funnel warship with 4" guns showing pendant L.16 it is not Grimsby, but the Hunt type III class destroyer Stevenstone.

Grimsby was awarded 3 battle honours, Greece, Crete, Libya, all in 1941.

May 1941 was the most catastrophic month during WWII for RN personnel killed or missing in action.
Thats all folks. Sean.
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Re: E Coast R.N. Named Ships

Postby E28 » Sun Jun 09, 2024 6:47 pm

Grimsby Town football club were English league 2 champions in the 1933/34 season, promotion to league 1 would be their 3rd time at the top amongst other well known sides.

Consolidated fish in Grimsby had a new group of trawlers which now ranged further afield for longer than any previous boats, they were given football club names with Grimsby Town no 968 from Smith's south bank yard hitting the Tees 12 july '34 as GY.81, good excuse for the name.

This gave her 5 years productivity when on 23 august 1939 35 trawlers for anti submarine work and 2 days later a further 200 as mine sweepers were taken up by the Director of Sea Transport. Grimsby Town was of the former, the conversions were planned for a 2 week turn around, invariably wildly optimistic in both commercial and naval yards. By 12 november there were 107 A/S trawlers, their A/S conversions included a 4" gun in the bows of Great War vintage but sufficient to penetrate the pressure hull of a submarine, 3 or so QF guns, oerlikons preferably, for general and A/A duties and 2 depth charge chutes or racks for 18 charges but no throwers. Crew shot up to around 20.

Here she is in 1943 camouflaged with said weapons, note her name board below the galley stack...
Grimsby Town AS Trawler 1943.jpg

These trawlers could have as C.O a skipper or Lt RNR, our ship had a Lt RNVR and skipper in sept '39 then in june '40 a Lt RNVR, Chief Skipper RNR and a Skipper RNR.
Together with sister Blackburn Rovers the pair attacked a submarine south of Milford Haven 13 oct '39 to no avail, the former being lost 2 june 1940 in most bizarre circumstances. All the A/S trawlers were formed into Groups of 3 or 4, Grimsby Town being employed in numerous areas starting in Belfast, then the 40th AS group in mid '41, Portland, when tracking her movements becomes very indistinct, she was widely travelled including East Coast convoys where they were not ideally suited as when instructed to investigate a suspected contact their speed was too low to catch up, neither were they trusted with the high value Admiralty convoys between the Tyne and Methil.

This attachment illustrates one group in Norway 1940, including another sister, Aston Villa. I give all due and full credit to the RNPSA for this

All trawlers and their men performed yeoman service between 1939-1945 irrespective of their tasks with remarkably few actually becoming u boat victims.

In november 1945 FY.125 Grimsby Town was returned to Consolidated becoming GY.136 and fish her old grounds including those off Iceland.
Thats all folks. Sean.
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Re: E Coast R.N. Named Ships

Postby northeast » Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:21 am

Another war-time view of GRIMSBY TOWN, collection of Billy Worrall
Grimsby_Town billy.jpg
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Re: E Coast R.N. Named Ships

Postby Hornbeam » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:02 pm

My Pops was a Regular Soldier with the 1st Battalion Green Howards since the 1920’s, he had been pulled off the Beaches at Dunkirk and sent to Norway straight after, they had very little equipment as most of it was still in France.
Unfortunately the Germans got the upper hand in Norway and Green Howards had to fight a rearguard action in order to allow the Norwegians including their King to Escape to England.
Attached is a photograph of one of the Trawlers looking similar to the Trawlers featured on this discussion. It would be ironic if it was a Smith’s Dock built vessel.
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