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

HMS OBDURATE (G 39) -  O-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

sister ship HMS Oribi (Navy Photos/George Knight, click to enlarge)

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ORIBI-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from William Denny at Dumbarton on 3rd September 1939 with the 1st Emergency Flotilla. .She was laid down on 25th April 1940 and launched on 19th February 1942 as the 2nd RN warship to carry this name previously used for a destroyer sold in 1921 .Build was completed on 3rd September 1942 and  she was designed for use as a minelayer if required. In February 1942 following a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings the ship was Ďadoptedí by the civil community of Warrington. then in Lancashire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


JUTLAND 1916 - ARCTIC 1942-44 - BARENTS SEA 1942 - ATLANTIC 1943


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field Blue, a mule statant white



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 4 2


August         Contractor's trials.

                      Acceptance trials and Commissioning delayed by machinery problems during sea trials.



           3rd     Build completion and carried out Acceptance Trials

                      Commissioned for service in Home Fleet.

                      Took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of Home Fleet

         13th      Detached and joined HM Cruiser ARGONAUT and HM Destroyer INTREPID to take medical

                      unit to North Russia.

                      Passage to Archangel.

         20th      Embarked RAF personnel for return passage to UK

                      (For details of all Russian Convoys including names of warships involved.

                      See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman, CONVOY!

                      by Paul Kemp and THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield).

         28th      Resumed duties with Home Fleet.


October         Work-up in continuation at Scapa Flow

                      On completion commenced operational duties with Home Fleet.


November     Nominated as screen for HM Cruisers LONDON and SUFFOLK, HM Destroyers FORESTER and

                      and ONSLAUGHT to cover passage of return Convoy QP15 and for replenishment of the

                      garrison at Spitzbergen (Operation GEARBOX).

         14th     Took passage with HMS ONSLAUGHT to Seidisfjord to refuel prior to joining cruisers.

         20th     Sailed from Seidisfjord, Iceland for GEARBOX after refuelling.

                     Returned to Scapa Flow on completion of GEARBOX.


December     Home Fleet screening and convoy defence in NW Approaches in continuation.

         25th     Joined Russian Convoy JW51B with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, OBEDIENT, ORWELL, ORIBI

                      and ACHATES to reinforce escort in view of threat from German warships in area.

         30th     Carried out unsuccessful attack with HMS OBEDIENT on U354 which reported position

                      of JW51B.

         31st      Sighted German cruiser HIPPER and Armoured ship LUTZOW (Ex DEUTSCHLAND) and their

                      escorting destroyers. Took part in action against German ships.

                      Sustained slight splinter damage during this engagement.

                      (Battle of the Barents Sea - for details see above references and 73 NORTH by D Pope ).


1 9 4 3


January          Detached and took return passage to Scapa Flow from Murmansk.

           1st       Sent to assist HM Trawler NORTHERN GEM which was

                       on passage to UK with survivors from HMS ACHATES, sunk during Barents Sea action.

                       Medical Officer boarded trawler in heavy seas and carried out operations on casualties.

                       Returned to Kola Inlet

          11th      Sailed from Kola Inlet with HMS OBEDIENT taking wounded to UK.

          15th      Arrived at Scapa Flow.



          19th      Joined Russian Convoy JW53 with HM Destroyers MILNE, FAULKNOR, BOADICEA,


                       INTREPID and the Polish ORKAN as Ocean Escort.

          27th      Detached from JW53 on arrival at Kola Inlet.



            1st       Joined return Convoy RA53 with H M cruiser SCYLLA and H M Destroyers INTREPID and


            5th       Under heavy air attacks.

            7th       Detached from escort of RA53 with above ships.

                        On completion of Boiler Cleaning at Rosyth detached with ships of 17th Flotilla for duty in

                        Western  Approaches as 5th Support Croup with HM Destroyers OPPORTUNE and




          24th       5th Support Group deployment for support of Atlantic convoys in NW Approaches.

                        Deployed in support of escorts for Convoy HX234 with H M Escort Aircraft Carrier BITER, HM

                        Destroyer PATHFINDER and HM Destroyer OPPORTUNE.


May                 Atlantic convoy duty with 5th Support Group in continuation.

                        (For details of development of convoy defence tactics and weapons see THE BATTLE OF THE

                        ATLANTIC by D MacIntyre, SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and HITLER'S U-BOAT

                        WAR BY C Blair and U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO) ) .


June                 Atlantic convoy support in continuation.


July                  Resumed Home Fleet screening and escort duties.

          27th        Part of escort for major Home Fleet units during offensive sweep off the coast of Norway

                         (Operation GOVERNOR).



            3rd        Deployed with HMS OPPORTUNE and HMS OBEDIENT as screen for H M Aircraft Carriers

                         ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN in NW Approaches during anti-submarine air operations.

           13th       Escorted HMS UNICORN during passage to Gibraltar with same consorts.

                         (Note: HMS UNICORN was to be used during allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY)).

                                    Presence of ship at Scapa Flow during visit by HM King George VI to Home Fleet on

                                    15th August is therefore judged unlikely)

           20th       Escorted damaged aircraft carrier HMS INDOMITABLE with HM Destroyers OBEDIENT and

                         HMS OPPORTUNE during passage to Norfolk, Va for repair.

           27th        Passage from Norfolk to Halifax.


September        Escorted HM Battlecruiser RENOWN with HM Cruiser KENT and HMS OPPORTUNE for

                          passage to Clyde. 

                          (Note: Prime Minister was embarked in HMS RENOWN for return to UK after QUADRANT

                                      Conference with President of USA.

           10th        Detached on arrival and resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla. Deployed with screen for


October             Home Fleet deployed for screening of major units and patrol in NW Approaches.



           28th        Part of destroyer screen for HM Battleship ANSON and H M Cruiser BELFAST with HM

                          Destroyers ASHANTI, MATCHLESS and MUSKETEER to provide Distant-Cover for passage

                          of Russian Convoy JW54B.


December          On release from JW54B Distant Cover escorted H M Battleship KING GEORGE V during

                          covering operation for Atlantic convoys and passage to Azores.


1 9 4 4


January              Nominated for escort of Russian Convoy JW56A

           14th        During passage with HM Destroyers SAVAGE, OFFA, VENUS, VIGILANT, VIRAGO and HM

                          Nor. Destroyer STORD to join JW56A encountered heavy weather and detached to carry cut

                          further search with HMS VIRAGO.

           15th        Search failed and resumed passage to Iceland to refuel.

           16th        Sailed with HM Destroyer HARDY to join convoy.

                          Returned to Iceland after convoy ordered to return to Akureri due to weather.

           20th         Joined HM Destroyers HARDY, INCONSTANT, OFFA, SAVAGE, VENUS, VIRAGO,

                           VIGILANT and STORD as Ocean Escort for passage of Russian Convoy JW56A.

           25th         Detached to provide medical assistance to US freighter PENELOPE BARKER.

                           (Note: Medical Officer transferred to mercantile.

                                       He subsequently lost his life when PENELOPE BARKER was later sunk by torpedo from

                                       U278. See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR Volume 2 by C Blair.)

           25th        Carried out unsuccessful depth charge attacks on U350 which had torpedoed British freighter

                           FORT BELLINGHAM.

                           Two hours later obtained a radar detection of U360 on surface and  prepared to attack.

                           Hit by acoustic T5 (GNAT) torpedo which disabled starboard screw as well as structural

                           damage and flooding.

                           Damage control proved effective and ship rejoined Convoy using one shaft.

                           (Note: Some sources suggest torpedo exploded prematurely which would account for the

                                       limited extent of damage. A direct hit by T5 on many ships proved fatal.)

           26th         Under air attacks which were driven off.

           27th         Detached on arrival of Eastern Local Escort and took passage to Murmansk.

           28th         Under temporary repair at Murmansk.



           11th         Took passage from Murmansk on completion of temporary repair.

           16th         Arrived at Scapa Flow.

           19th         Taken in hand for permanent repair at Tyne shipyard.

                            Paid off.

                            (Note: Major damage including buckling of hull structures.

                                        Both propulsion engines damaged.


March                 Under refit.

to                         Main engines and outer bottom plating en starboard side replaced.



1 9 4 5


January               Under repair

to                         Nominated for service with 17th Destroyer Flotilla in Home Fleet on completion.



March                  Re-commissioned and carried cut Post Refit trials.


April                    Worked-up for service with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.



           12th          Joined escort of last Russian Convoy (JW67) with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier QUEEN

                            and HM Destroyer ONSLOW.

                            (Note: Five Frigates of 4th Escort Group were deployed as part of the escort.)

           20th          Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet after uneventful passage.

           23rd          Joined return Convoy RA67 as escort with same ships.

                            (Note: Navigation lights burned for this passage.

           30th          Resumed Vane Fleet duties with Flotilla on arrival of RA67 in Clyde.



            5th           Escorted HM Cruiser NORFOLK, HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE, HM Nor. Destroyer STORD,

                            HM Destroyers ORWELL and ONSLOW during passage to Oslo.

                            (Note: HM King Haakon of Norway and his family were embarked in HMS NORFOLK for

                                        return to their kingdom).


July                     Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

           14th          Part of escort with HMS OBEDIENT for US Cruiser USS PHILADELPHIA during passage

                            in English Channel.

                            (Note: US President Harry S Truman was embarked for passage to take part in the Four

                                        Nation  Heads of State conference at Potsdam.)


August               Guardship duty at Kiel.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS OBDURATE was used for torpedo training at Portsmouth after the end of hostilities until being placed in Reserve in February 1948. Laid-up at Harwich she was refitted in 1949 and again in 1952 at Cammell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead.. The ship re-commissioned at Liverpool en 21st July 1953 for service with the Local Flotilla at Chatham. Proposal to convert HMS OBDURATE and HMS OBEDIENT to Anti-Submarine Frigates was not implemented. In 1957 she again reduced to Reserve at Portsmouth and went on the Disposal List. Prior to being broken-up she was used for structural destruction trials at Rosyth from April 1959 until 30th November 1964.  Sold to BISCO for demolition by TE Ward the ship arrived in tow at the breakers yard in Inverkeithing. on 30th November 1964.






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








QP 015





JW 051B





JW 053





RA 053





ON 178





ONS 004





HX 237





SC 129





JW 054B





JW 056A





JW 067





RA 067








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 7/8/11
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