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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS CODRINGTON (D 65) -  A-class Flotilla Leader including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Codrington (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click  to enlarge)

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Flotilla Leader for A-Class Destroyers ordered from Swan Hunter, Wallsend on Tyne under the 1927 Programme on 6th March 1928. The ship was laid down on 20th June 1929 and launched on 8th August 1929 as the first RN ship to be given this name, which was introduced to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Navarino in 1827. Admiral Sir Edward Codrington (1770-1851) who was captain of HMS ORION at the Battle of Trafalgar had also been in command of the allied Fleet at Navarino. A village in Gloucestershire also has this name. Build of this destroyer was completed on 4th June 1930 and she later served in the Mediterranean and Home Fleets. In 1938 she was refitted after a period in Reserve at Devonport and re-commissioned on completion in August 1939.



Notes on Flotilla Leaders


This ship was larger than the others of the Class and had an additional 4.7in gun fitted between the two funnels. Her bridge structure was larger in order to provide the additional accommodation required for the Flotilla Staff. Otherwise the internal arrangements were similar to the other of the A-Class.


Her displacement was 2,012 tons with an overall  length of 323 feet, beam of 324 feet and draught of 19 ft. Turbine machinery of 34,000 Shaft Horsepower gave a speed of 37.74 knots on trials In February 1930. Some smaller weapons were fitted for use against aircraft. The ship had two quadruple 21in torpedo tube mountings and for attacks on submarines was fitted with four depth charge Chutes and two Throwers.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


NORWAY  1940 - DUNKIRK  1940


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Silver, a Lion passant Red.


M o t t o

Vultus in hosten:  'Facing the enemy'



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


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 3 9


August                  Post refit trials and commissioning.

                                War station nominated as Leader of 19th Destroyer Flotilla.

                                To be part of Nore Command

                                Passage to Sheerness


September             Passage to Dover for Channel patrol and convoy defence.

                4th          Began escort of convoys taking British Expeditionary Force to France.


October                  English Channel deployment in continuation.


November              Transferred to Harwich.

                                (Note: Various Home Fleet destroyers detached from duty at Scapa Plow and three

                                Polish destroyers, ORP BLYSKAWICA, ORP GROM and ORP BURZA were

                                deployed at Harwich because of a perceived threat of German attack on the Low

                                Countries although this never materialised. In addition the Increase in enemy activity

                                in Nore Command by aircraft and surface ships made necessary increased patrol and

                                convoy defence.


December              Resumed deployment at Dover.

                4th          Embarked HM King George VI at Dover for passage to Boulogne for a visit to the British

                                Expeditionary Force in France.

                10th        Embarked HM King George VI at Boulogne for return to Dover after visit.

                22nd       Augmented escort for HM Auxiliary Minelayer PRINCESS VICTORIA during

                                minelay in Dover Barrage with HM Destroyers ESK, EXPRESS and BRAZEN.

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


1 9 4 0



                4th          Embarked Winston Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty) for visit to France.


February                Nominated as Capt (D)'s ship In 1st Destroyer Flotilla based at Harwich in place of

                                HMS GRENVILLE which had been lost on 19th January 1940.

                5th          Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill and military leaders taken

                                from Dover to Boulogne for war council meeting in Paris.

                                Took passage to Chatham for refit.



                6th          On completion Joined Flotilla at Harwich for convoy defence and patrol duties in

                                North Sea.


April                       Transferred for detached service with Hone Fleet after German invasion of Norway

                7th          Deployed with HM Destroyers GRIFFIN, JUPITER, ELECTRA, ESCAPADE,

                                BRAZEN, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, ESKIMO and KIMBERLEY as screen for HM

                                Battleships RAMILLIES, VALIANT, REPULSE and French cruiser EMIL BERTIN

                                during Fleet deployment to cover planned operations off Norway.

                                (Operation RUPERT/R4 This was to lay minefields off Norway to prevent passage

                                of German ships carrying iron ore and was overtaken by the sudden invasion of

                                Norway and Denmark on 8th April.)

                9th          Under air attacks whilst with Fleet.

                                Detached to refuel at Sullom Voe.

                14th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ACASTA and ARDENT as screen for HM Battleship

                                VALIANT and HM Cruiser VINDICTIVE as escort for military convoy NP1 taking

                                troops and stores for landings in Norway.

                28th        Embarked Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl of Cork and Orrery and French General Bethouart

                                for reconnaissance of Narvik area prior to planned assault by allied troops.

                                Bombarded enemy gun positions.

                                For details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NARVIK by D Macintyre, THE

                                DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams, CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton and Naval

                                Staff History (HMSO-2001)


May                        Released from Home Fleet deployment off Norway.

                10th        Took passage to Dover for support of evacuation of allied personnel from Belgium

                                and the Netherlands.

                                (Note: The 530 mile passage to Dover from Scapa Flow was completed in 23 hours.)

                11th        After refuelling deployed for patrol and support off Dutch and Belgian coast.

                13th        Embarked Members of the Dutch Royal Family at Ijmuiden to take refuge in UK.

                                (Operation J).

                                (Note: HM Queen Juliana took passage in HMS HEREWARD).

                15th        Deployed at Harwich for patrol and support of military operations.

                27th        Deployed with HM Destroyers GRENADE, JAGUAR and JAVELIN as Force A for

                                patrol to intercept German surface craft attempting to attack allied ships.

                                Transferred to Dover Command for evacuation of BEF troops

                                (Operation DYNAMO)

                28th        Embarked 866 troops for return passage.

                                Rescued survivors of ss ABUKIR with HM Destroyers GRENADE and ANTHONY

                                Landed troops at Dover

                29th        On second trip embarked 766 troops and returned to Dover.

                30th        On third trip embarked 799 troops and returned to Dover.

                31st         On fourth trip embarked 909 troops and too passage for further embarkation.

                                Landed 440 troops at Dover.



                1st           Returned for sixth trip and embarked 746 troops for return to Dover

                2nd         Embarked 878 troops for return to Dover.

                                (Note: For details see BEF SHIPS by J de Winser, NINE DAYS AT DUNKIRK by

                                A Divine and the Naval Staff History (HMSO- 2002)

                                Despite sustained air attacks this ship was one of the few destroyers that remained

                                without major damage and was able to continue support duties after completion of


                3rd          Deployed at Dover for patrol in Channel and support of military durlng evacuations from

                                French Channel ports

                12th        Deployed as Senior Naval Officer (Afloat) during troop evacuation from Le Havre.

                                Passage to St Valerie in continuation (Operation CYCLE See BEF SHIPS.)

                                Returned to Portsmouth.

                                (Note: In all had 11,000 allied troops and civilians were evacuated during CYCLE).

                15th        Support of military evacuation from French ports and interception patrol in Channel and

                                North Sea in continuation.


July                         Deployed for convoy defence and patrol in English Channel, based at Dover.

                27th        During Boiler Clean period at Dover alongside HM Depot Ship SANDHURST in Submarine

                                Basin damaged by air attack.

                                Bomb fell alongside and broke back of ship, which sank.

                                Only 3 men were wounded.

                                (Note: Wreck still evident in 1947.) 






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








HN 024





NP 001





FP 002








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 27/7/11
further editing and formatting is required