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

HMS PANTHER (G 41) -  P-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Petard, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Kimberley Lindsey, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

P or PALADIN-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered with 2nd Emergency Flotilla in October 1939 from the Fairfield shipyard at Govan, Glasgow. The ship was laid down on 15th July 1940 launched on 28th May 1941 as the 5th  RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1703 for a 4th Rate. It was last used for a pre WW1 destroyer sold in 1920. Build was completed on 12th December 1941 at a cost of 404,046, excluding the Admiralty supplied equipment such as weapons and communications outfits. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK for National Savings in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Poplar, Greater London.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - DIEGO SUAREZ 1942 - ATLANTIC 1942-43 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - MEDITERRANEAN  1943 - AEGEAN   1943


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Barry wavy of 6 White and Blue.

a panther salient gardant Proper.



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 1


December       Contractor's sea trials and commissioning.

                        Nominated for service in East Indies with 12th Destroyer Flotilla.

         12th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                        Deployed for trials and work-up in Clyde area

                        On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow,


1 9 4 2



           1st        Arrived at Scapa Flow to continue work-up with Home Fleet.

         17th        Part of escort for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V during passage from Scapa Flow

                        to Iceland.

         19th       Arrived at Hvalfjord.


February         Returned to Scapa Flow with escort for HMS KING GEORGE V.

          5th         Arrived at Scapa Flow.

         17th        Joined escort for HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE, HM Cruiser

                        HERMIONE providing Ocean Escort for military convoy WS16 during passage to the

                        Indian Ocean.



          1st         At Freetown with WS16.

          5th         Called at St Helena with HMS PALADIN.

         12th        Sailed from Simonstown as escort for HMS FORMIDABLE with HMS PALADIN.

         18th        Called at Mauritius to refuel.

         24th        Joined Eastern Fleet at Colombo.

                        Deployed for screening duties with East Indies Squadron ships.

         31st        Part of screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE,


                        with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND, NAPIER, NESTOR, PALADIN, AND HOTSPUR as Force




           1st        Took part in search for Japanese warships with Force A south of Ceylon.

           5th        Deployed with screen for Force A during further search for Japanese warships in Indian Ocean.

           6th        Rescued survivors from HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE with HM Destroyer PALADIN and HM

                        Cruiser ENTERPRISE.

           8th        At Addu Atoll and rejoined Force A.

           9th        Deployed with screen for Forces A and B during passage from Addu Atoll to Bombay.

         12th       Deployed with Screen for Force A during deployment in Arabian Sea.

                        (Note: Later transferred to Bombay with Force A ships after the Japanese air attacks on

                                    Trincomalee which was then considered too vulnerable.

                                    For details of Indian Ocean events in 1942 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                    CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett , OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray and WAR WITH

                                    JAPAN (HMSO).).

                        Nominated for support of landings in Madagascar (Operation IRONCLAD).

                        Took passage to Durban for escort of IRONCLAD convoys

                        (See RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, WATERY MAZE by B. Fergusson,

                        WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)) and Naval Staff History).



            3rd       Joined Force F with HM Destroyer PALADIN and HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE for

                        Madagascar landings.

            4th       Part of escort for assault convoy with HM Destroyers INCONSTANT, PALADIN, ANTHONY,


                        Corvettes and four Fleet Minesweepers.

            5th       Provided support during landings at Diego Suarez.

            7th       Deployed with HMS Battleship RAMILLIES, HMS HERMIONE, HM Destroyers PALADIN,

                        JAVELIN and ANTHONY for bombardment of Vichy French positions.

                        (Note: Enemy surrendered after 15 minutes.)

            8th       Shared credit with HM Destroyer ACTIVE for sinking French submarine MONGE.

                        (Note: This Vichy submarine was attempting to attack ships engaged in support of the landings in


           10th      On completion of IRONCLAD deployed in Indian Ocean for trade defence and patrol..

                        On release from IRONCLAD took passage to UK.


June                 On arrival taken in hand for refit in Clyde commercial shipyard.


July                  Under refit.



           14th       Carried out post refit trials

           20th       Resumed operational service with Home Fleet.  Took passage to Gibraltar.

           30th       Joined HMS RAMILLIES as escort for passage to Plymouth.



             8th       Arrived at Plymouth and detached to resume Home Fleet duties


October           Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                         Nominated for screening of Home Fleet ships deployed in support of allied landings in North

                         Africa (Operation TORCH).

         27th       Joined HM Battleship RODNEY with HM Destroyer PENN as screen during passage

                       from Scapa Flow for TORCH LANDINGS.


 November       Transferred to Force H for support of landings..

                          Deployed with HM Destroyer PARTRIDGE, QUENTIN and PORCUPINE in screen for HM

                          Battleships RODNEY, DUKE OF YORK and HM Battlecruiser RENOWN to cover landings in

                         Algeria against attack by Vichy French warships

             7th       Took part in unsuccessful anti-submarine search operation.

                         Under air attack and sustained serious structural damage with casualties after near miss.

                         Three of ship's company were killed and ten injured.

                         Some fires broke out with Flooding and contamination of fuel.

                         Withdrawn from operation and returned to Gibraltar at low speed for repair.

                         (Note: Did not take part in cover for landings on 8th.)

                                     For details of TORCH see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff


             9th       Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard and placed in dry-dock.


December         Carried out post refit trials and took passage to rejoin Fleet units.

            10th       Resumed operational service at Oran for convoy defence and screening..

            20th       Deployed with HMS PATHFINDER to supplement escort of military convoy KMF5 which

                          was under U-Boat attacks in western Mediterranean.

            21st       Took part in rescue operations after ss STRATHALLAN was torpedoed and sunk by a torpedo

                          from U562

                          (Note: Over 1,000 troops were taken off by HM Destroyers LIGHTNING, PATHFINDER and

                                      PENN. HM Destroyer WISHART rescued over 1,100 from boats.)


1 9 4 3


January              Mediterranean deployment in continuation.

             8th        Part of escort for HM Cruiser AJAX on passage from Bone to Algiers in tow.

                          (Note: HMS AJAX had been badly damaged in an air raid on 1st January.).

            10th       Deployed with HM Destroyers TARTAR as escort for ss SCYTHIA to Arzeu, near Oran

                          in rough weather.

            24th       Deployed with HM Destroyers PATHFINDER, ILEX and HOLCOMBE to escort HM Aircraft

                          Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS during passage in Atlantic from Freetown to Gibraltar.


            31st       Detached with HM Destroyers PATHFINDER and PENN to refuel at Casablanca.


February            Rejoined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HMS PENN and HMS PATHFINDER for escort to Clyde.

              6th        Detached from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and took passage to Clyde for refit.

                           Nominated for deployment at Londonderry for defence of Atlantic convoys with 40th Escort



March               Joined Group at Londonderry on completion of refit.

                          Deployed with HM Destroyers PENN in 40th Escort Group.


April                 Detached for Atlantic convoy defence with H M Destroyers OFFA, ORIBI and PENN as part of

                          3rd Support Group.

                         (For details of the development of weapons and tactics used for convoy defence and attack see

                         SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and THE TORPEDOMEN by E Poland).

            17th      Deployed with ships of Group in support of the escort for Atlantic Convoy HX233 which was

                         under sustained attacks by several U-boats.

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


May                  Atlantic convoy support in continuation.

              1st      Part of escort for Convoy ONS5 with HM Destroyers DUNCAN, IMPULSIVE and PENN.

                         (For details of this crucial stage of the Atlantic battle see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC

                         by D MacIntyre and above reference.)

              4th      Detached to refuel.

                         On release from Atlantic convoy defence resumed Home Fleet duties with 12th Destroyer


             28th     Detached to join support for allied landings in Sicily with 14th Destroyer Flotilla.

                         (Operation HUSKY - for details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and

                         Naval Staff History.)

                         Deployed as screen for HM Battleships HOWE and KING GEORGE V with HM Destroyers

                          PENN AND PATHFINDER


June                   Joined 14th Destroyer Flotilla and deployed for duties as part of screen for major warships,

                          anti-submarine and interception patrols. Took part in preparatory exercises prior to landings.



July                   Flotilla deployment in continuation.

                          Passage to Mediterranean as part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, HOWE,

                          HM Cruisers DIDO and SIRIUS of Home Fleet with HM Destroyers JERVIS, PENN and


              8th       Deployed as screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE forming Reserve Covering


                          Stationed south of Sardinia for use in the event of interference by the Italian Fleet to landings in


                          (Note: HM Destroyer PALADIN was also deployed in screen.

                          (Operation HUSKY - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY. and Naval

                          Staff History).


August              Based at Bizerta for support and escort duties.

              9th       Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, DIDO, SIRIUS, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers

                          JERVIS, PATHFINDER, PALADIN and PENN for bombardment of coastal areas near Naples

                          and on west coast of Calabria (Operation ANNOYANCE).

            14th       Carried out bombardment of Scalea with HMS SIRIUS, HMS DIDO and HMS PENN.

            15th       During passage for bombardment of Vibo Valentia, Calabria with HMS PENN and another

                          ship investigated contact which proved to be an Italian Hospital Ship. This protected vessel

                          was allowed to proceed.

                          Engaged convoy with other ships before taking part in bombardment.

            16th       Returned to Bizerta .

            19th       Deployed with HMS DIDO and HMS AURORA with HMS PENN for interception of


                          Engaged convoy of barges, some of which were sunk .

                          Took passage to Palermo with HMS DIDO and HMS PENN.

            20th       Carried out uneventful interception patrol.

            22nd      Passage to Palermo with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers JERVIS and

                          PALADIN for interception patrols and support of military operations.



             1st        Allocated to 28th Destroyer Division of 14th Flotilla.

                          (Note: Other ships in Division were HMS PATHFINDER and HMS PENN.

                                      27th Division comprised HM Destroyers JERVIS, PALADIN and WISHART.)

             3rd        Deployed with both Divisions at Algiers and screened H M Battleships KING GEORGE V

                          and HOWE during exercises.

                          (Note: These were in preparation for allied landings at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE).

             7th        Deployed as screen for same ships during passage to Augusta.

             9th        Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE deployed to cover landings at

                          Taranto (Operation SLAPSTICK).

                          (Note: Italian warships surrendered at Taranto were battleships ANDREA DORIA,

                                      CAIO DUILIO, cruisers CADORNA, POMPEO MAGNO and destroyer DA ROCCO.

                          Remained with screen during passage of surrendered Italian warships to Malta.

                          (Note: Surrendered Italian warships on passage from La Spezia came under attack by German

                                      aircraft on passage west of the Straits of Bonifacio.

                                      Battleship ROMA was sunk by a radio controlled bomb.

                                       See above references and THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J

                                      Greene and A Massignani.) )

           15th        Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, ILEX, PATHFINDER, PENN and PETARD as

                          screen for HM Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT to provide cover during allied landings

                          at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE).

           16th        Deployed with four other destroyers as escort for HMS  WARSPITE during tow by two

                          US Navy tugs to Malta after being hit by two bombs during in air attacks off Salerno.

           19th        Resumed Flotilla deployment as escort for convoys between Algiers and Corsica.

           25th        Replaced Free French destroyer LE FANTASQUE as escort for Free French Cruiser JEANNE

                          D'ARC during transport of troops from Algiers to Ajaccio.

                          (Note: LE FANTASQUE had run aground.)


October             Transferred to Levant Force for support of operations in defence of islands in Aegean against

                          German attempts to occupy after Italian surrender.

        5th             Sailed from Malta to join HM Destroyers PETARD and PENN for Aegean duties.

        6th             Passage to Alexandria.

                          (Note: One source records that during passage with HM Cruisers SIRIUS and DIDO ship took

                                       part in bombardment of Scalette.)

        7th             Sailed from Alexandria with HM Cruiser CARLISLE and HM Destroyer PETARD to meet

                          HM Destroyer ALDENHAM and Greek destroyer THEMISTOCLES for interception patrol

                          through Scarpanto Straits (Operation CREDENTIAL).

        8th             Carried cut patrol west of Cos and Leros with HM Destroyers PETARD, ROCKWOOD and

                          Greek MIAOULIS after dusk.

        9th             Bombarded shipping at Kalymos.

                          Under attack by dive bombers south of Scarpanto Strait.

                          Received two direct hits and four near misses.

                          Sank quickly with heavy loss of life after breaking in two in position 35.48 N  27.30E.

                          33 of ship's company were killed.

                          (Note: HMS CARLISLE was seriously damaged in these attacks but taken in tow to

                                      Alexandria by HMS ROCKWOOD.).

                          For details see WAR IN THE AEGEAN by P Smith and E Walker).






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


















KMF 005A





GUS 003





HX 233





SC 126





ONS 005





ONS 007





SC 131








(Note on Convoys)





Click here for the account by Lt Col Hans Peter Eisenback, author of "Fronteinsatze eines Stuka-Fliegers", kindly sent by the author.


Also the story of the US Combat Air Patrol at the time



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