ex USN destroyers

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by keithgr, May 11, 2014.

  1. keithgr

    keithgr Junior Member

    Am I correct in thinking that some ex USN four stacker Destroyers when operated by the Royal Navy, were based at Australia when there was concerns about a possible Japanese invasion.?

  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    It's doubtful that those clunkers could get as far as Gibralter with a fair wind behind them

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The 50 Town Class destroyers, service after transfer

    Of the 50 ships, the six manned initially by the Royal Canadian Navy remained in Canadian waters for service as local escorts. The 44 British manned ships were, as previously noted, destined for passage to Britain and brief refit prior to active service in UK waters.

    The British manned ships, after refits of varying length and complexity, fell initially into three categories; those allocated to Rosyth for East Coast escort duty, those to the 1st Minelaying Squadron as A/S escort for the Northern Mine Barrage scheme, and finally those ships allocated for North Atlantic escort work.

    In the main, the Rosyth ships remained on that duty throughout the war, while the Minelaying Squadron ships passed either to Rosyth or directly to Reserve when the Squadron disbanded in 1943. The North Atlantic ships, based initially in Britain, gradually dispersed as age took its toll of them, passing either to local duty in Canadian waters, to second line duty such as Air Target Ships (ATS), or to Reserve. Few proceded beyond the UK/Halifax, NS area of operations, although the 'long legged' CLARE operated to Freetown, and CHURCHILL in the West Indies at one time.

    HMS LEWES was the exception to all rules; when she passed to second line duty as a target vessel she was allocated to South Atlantic Command based at Capetown where she remained until 1944. Transferred then to the Eastern Fleet, based on Trincomalee, this was still not the end to her wanderings for, in 1945, she again moved her base, this time to the British Pacific Fleet based on Sydney NSW. Here she served out her days, finally being paid off, stripped of equipment, and scuttled off Sydney.

    Extract from 'Destroyers For Great Britain' - Arnold Hague
  4. keithgr

    keithgr Junior Member

    Why I asked, is that in the early 1961 I was a young trainee at my job attatched to a WW2 seaman, who while we were travelling by road he used to tell me of his wartime service in the Royal Navy. I can recall the name of several ships he served on, HMS Mignonett, Hms Pheobe etc, but I cant remember the name of the ex American Destroyer. He told me several times how they were In Australia on this ship.

    I would think going by the excellent information above, that it was probabley HMS Lewes.
    Thankyou very much for the information.

    Regards, Keith.
  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  6. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Australia is a lot further away from Britain than Gibraltar, isn't it? Maybe the one that made it all the way to Australia had a great big fair wind behind it.
  7. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Transfer of destroyers from the U.S.N. to the Royal Navy.

    L.-r.: at rear: U.S. Ships Buchanan (H.M.S. CAMPELTOWN)
    Place: Halifax,Nova Scotia
    Date: 4 Sept. 1940

    "Destroyers-for-Bases" Agreement: 5 Sept 1940


    Both the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) were in desperate need of warships for escort duty on the transatlantic convoy routes. The Canadian prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, helped initiate discussions between the American and British governments on a solution to this problem. Ultimately, the Americans agreed to transfer 50 destroyers to the RN and RCN in return for leases on British naval bases in North America, including three in Newfoundland. The British and American governments finalized the agreement on 5 September 1940. The RCN received seven destroyers under the arrangement and, as a result, was able to increase the size of its convoy escort units.

    Photographer: Royal Canadian Navy
    Source:Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-104099
    Peter Clare and Tricky Dicky like this.

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