Naval History Homepage - and Site Search




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

HMS PAKENHAM (G 06) -  P-class Flotilla Leader including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Pathfinder, sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 

PALADIN-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie Newcastle on 2nd October 1939 with 2nd Emergency Flotilla. She was laid down en 6th February 1940 and launched on 28th January 1941 as HMS ONSLOW but in August 1941 her name was changed to PAKENHAM. This name had been introduced in 1798 for a Gun Vessel and previously used by a WW1 destroyer sold in 1921. The ship was fitted with additional accommodation for use as the Leader of a destroyer flotilla. Build was completed on 4th February 1942 at a cost of 416,710, excluding Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns and communications equipment. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Wallasey, then in the county of Cheshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White, an eagle displayed Green enfiled

with a mural crown Green.



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


January              Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 12th Destroyer Flotilla.

                            Damaged during sea trials by collision with tug MALTA

.                           Under repair for 4 days.

       4th                Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                            Passage to Scapa Flow on completion.


February            Worked-up at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.


March                 On completion deployed in Clyde.

                            Nominated for service in support of  planned landings in Madagascar

      23rd               Joined military Convoy WS17 in Clyde with HM Destroyers INCONSTANT and JAVELIN.

      28th               Detached with other escorts for refuelling at Ponta Delgardo, Azores.

      30th               Rejoined WS17 and later detached with HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and took

                            passage to Freetown

                            (Note: Passage delayed when HMS ILLUSTRIOUS remained in area to provide support

                                        against attack by commerce raider which never materialised.)



       3rd                 At Freetown with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS INCONSTANT and HMS JAVELIN.

       9th                 Joined Convoy WS17A on departure from Freetown with H M Battleship MALAYA, HMS

                             ILLUSTRIOUS and HM Cruiser HERMIONE, HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY,

                             INCONSTANT, JAVELIN, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT and LIGHTNING as escort for passage

                             to Indian Ocean.

                             (Note: Convoy WS17 split into two sections at Freetown. W317B sailed two days after


      18th                At Capetown.

      22nd               Detached from WS17A on arrival at Durban.

                             Prepared for Madagascar landing support duties.


May                      Passage to Mombasa.

        4th                Part of escort for assault convoy with HM Destroyers INCONSTANT .PANTHER,


                             JAVELIN, eight Corvettes and four Fleet Minesweepers.  For details see RELUCTANT

                             ENEMIES by W Tute, WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson and the Naval Staff History

        9th                On completion of IRONCLAD transferred to Mediterranean Fleet with HMS PALADIN and

                             HMS INCONSTANT for escort of Malta supply convoy. Passage to Alexandria.


June                      Deployed with HM Destroyers PALADIN and INCONSTANT in eastern Mediterranean.

      13th                Part of escort for Malta relief convoy (Operation VIGOROUS).

                             Joined HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, CLEOPATRA, EURYALUS, ARETHUSA,

                             COVENTRY, NEWCASTLE and BIRMINGHAM with Fleet and Escort Destroyers of

                             Mediterranean Fleet for the passage to Malta. The WW1 battleship HMS CENTURION was

                             also used and had been disguised as a modem battleship of the KING GEORGE V Class.

      14th                Under heavy and sustained air attacks.

      15th                After development of threat by heavy Italian warships ordered to reverse course

                             by CinC at Alexandria. Under attack by E-Boats and continuing air attacks. The

                             conflicting instructions from shore confused the situation.

      16th                Operation abandoned. Surviving warships and mercantiles returned to Alexandria.

                             A later attempt by U77 to carry out a torpedo attack was frustrated by anti-submarine


                             (Note: A heavy price in ships and men was paid - for details of this disastrous

                                         operation and its conflicting and hesitant instructions from shore see ENGAGE

                                        THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN

                                         by D. Macintyre.

      28th                Deployed with HM Destroyer PALADIN as escort for HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH

                             from Alexandria to enter Suez Canal.

                             (Note: HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH was going for repair in USA via Aden,)


July                      Retained with Fleet in Mediterranean as Leader of 12th Destroyer Flotilla.

      14th                Deployed with HM Destroyers PALADIN, JERVIS and JAVELIN as escort for convoy from

                             Port Said to Cyprus.

      17th                Returned to Port Said from Cyprus.

      19th                Deployed with H M Cruisers DIDO and EURYALUS with H M Destroyers PALADIN,

                              JERVIS and JAVELIN during bombardment of Mersa Matruh.



      10th                Joined H M cruisers ARETHUSA and EURYALUS with H M Destroyers JERVIS,


                             HURSLEY, HURWORTH, HM Corvette HYACINTH and HM Auxiliary ANTWERP to

                             escort  Convoy MW12 of three ships from Port Said as a diversionary operation during passage

                             of relief Convoy from Gibraltar to Malta

                             (Operation PEDESTAL - See PEDESTAL by P. Smith.).

      12th                Convoy MW12 joined by HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA and DUX) which had come from Haifa,

                             escorted by HM Destroyers JAVELIN, SIKH and ZULU for passage westward in Eastern


      13th                Returned to Port Said with MW12 and escorting warships.


September           Mediterranean deployment for screening, patrol and escort duties in continuation.


October               Fleet duties and patrol in continuation.

      30th                Shared credit for sinking U559 with HM Destroyers PETARD, HERO, DULVERTON and an

                             RAF aircraft of 4? Squadron. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

                             (Note: There were no survivors from the submarine which had been boarded by a party

                                         from HMS PETARD to recover ENIGMA Coding equipment and documents. An

                                          officer and seaman rating from the boarding party were lost when submarine

                                          scuttling charges detonated and U559 sank. Their self sacrifice enabled valuable

                                          documents to be retrieved. When received, the decryption teams at Bletchley Park

                                          GC&CS were able to read U-Boat signals which saved many lives during 1943

.                                         by diversion of Atlantic convoys in 1943. They were both posthumously awarded

                                          The George Cross.

                                          For details see BREAKING THE ENIGMA by D Kahn and Bletchley Park Trust

                                          Report No 5,  June 1997.)



      16th               Escorted Malta Relief Convoy MH13 from Port Said with H M Cruiser EURYALUS, HM

                            Destroyers JAVELIN, JERVIS, KELVIN, NUBIAN, PALADIN and PETARD.

                            (Operation STONEAGE/M39).

      17th               Detached fron MW13 when HM Destroyers ALDENHAM, BEAUFORT, CROOME,

                            DULVERTON, EXMOOR, HURSLEY, HURWORTH, TETCOTT and Greek PINDOS joined


                            Took passage to Alexandria for Fleet screening duty.

      18th               Deployed with same destroyers as screen for HM Cruisers ARETHUSA, CLEOPATRA, DIDO

                            and ORION to provide cover during passage of MW13 to Malta.

                            Under air attack on MW13 off Derna during which HMS ARETHUSA was torpedoed and

                            returned to Alexandria in tow by HMS PETARD.

      19th               Detached from MW13 with Mediterranean Fleet ships and returned to Alexandria.

                            (Note: Close escort of HUNT Class remained until MW13 arrived in Malta.

                                        Passage of this convoy effectively raised the siege of the Island.)



        2nd              Deployed with HMS ORION, HMS PETARD and Greek VASILISSA OLGA as additional escort

                            for Convoy MW14 to Malta.

                            (Operation PORTCULLIS/MH1)

                            (Note: MW14 had a Close Escort of seven HUNT Class destroyers.)

        4th               Force K from Malta joined MW14 SW of Crete.

                            (Note: Force K comprised HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS screened by HM

                                        Destroyers JAVELIN, JERVE3, KELVIN and NUBIAN.)

        5th               Remained in Malta when MW 14   reached Grand Harbour.

        7th               Escorted Convoy ME11 from Malta to Egypt with HMS ORION and HM Destroyers PETARD


                            Greek PINDOS. (Operation ME).

        8th               Under air attacks over 48 hour period.

      11th               Detached from ME11 on arrival at Port Said and took passage to refit.


1 9 4 3


January               On completion of refit at Alexandria took passage to Malta

      13th              Deployed with HM Cruiser ORION, HM Destroyers PALADIN, JAVELIN, NUBIAN and

                           HURSLEY as escort for Convoy ME13 during passage to Port Said.

      14th              Sank Italian submarine NARVALLO with HM Destroyer HURSLEY in position 34.01N,16.21E

                           Detached from ME13 later and returned to Malta.

      16th              Deployed with HMS JAVELIN for interception patrol off North African coast.

                            Sank Italian naval Auxiliary TANARO on passage from Tripoli to Sfax.

      17th              Returned to Malta with HMS JAVELIN.

      18th              Deployed with HMS NUBIAN and Greek VASILISSA OLGA for interception patrol.

                            Sank Italian transport STROMBOLI by surface gunfire with HM Destroyer NUBIAN and

                           Greek VASILISSA OLGA.

                           Rescued 10 survivors from enemy ship which had been carrying petrol.


February             Detached for duty in Red Sea.

       4th               Part of escort for military convoy taking ANZAC troops through Red Sea for return to Australia

                           with HM Destroyers PETARD, ISIS, HERO, HM Frigate DERWENT and Greek VASILLISA

                           OLGA (Operation PAMPHLET).

       8th               Rejoined Fleet at Alexandria after release from PAMPHLET.

                           Took passage to resume Flotilla duties in Malta.


March                 Deployed with Flotilla in Malta for interception and patrol duties.

       8th                Escorted HM Minelaying Cruiser ABDIEL to Malta after minelay in Sicilian Narrows

                            and sank ferry barge off Pantallaria with HMS PALADIN.

       9th                Returned to Malta with HMS PALADIN.

      15th               Deployed with HMS PETARD and VASILISSA OLGA to join Convoy MJ23 to supplement

                            escort by HM Destroyers HURWORTH, CROOME and Greek KANARIS

                            (Operation POKER).

      16th               Joined MW23and came under air attack after fighter cover left.

                            No damage was incurred.


April                    Malta deployment in continuation.

      16th               Deployed with HM Destroyer PALADIN SW of Marsala and intercepted convoy escorted by

                            Italian torpedo boats TIFONE, CLIMENE, CIGNO and CASSIOPEA.

                            Engaged Italian torpedo boats GIGNO and CASSIOPEA.

                            (Note: Convoy escaped with the other two escorts.)

                            Sank CIGNO by torpedo after vessel disabled by surface gunfire.

                            Hit four times by return fire and sustained major damage with some flooding in Engine Room.

                            Disabled and taken in tow by HMS PALADIN but operation had to be abandoned due to threat

                            of air attacks.

                            Ship's company taken off by HMS PALADIN before being sunk by torpedo in position 37.26N

                            12.30 E off Cape Granitola.

                            HMS NUBIAN later joined as escort for passage to Malta.

                            (Note: 103 survivors from CIGNO had been rescued.)






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








MW 011





MW 013





MW 014





MW 017





ME 015





MH 003/M








(Note on Convoys)


back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 7/8/11
further editing and formatting is required