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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS PATHFINDER (G 10) -  P-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Pathfinder, (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

PALADIN-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle on 2nd October 1939 with 2nd Emergency Flotilla. The ship was originally to have been named ONSLAUGHT but this was changed in order to have all eight ships of the Flotilla with names starting with P. She was laid down on 5th March 1940 and launched on 10th April 1941 as the 2nd RN warship to bear the name that had previously used by cruiser lost in 1915. Build was completed on 13th April 1942 and cost £410,905, excluding Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns and communications outfits. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted  by the civil community of Kensington, London.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ATLANTIC 1942-43 - MALTA CONVOYS 1942 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - AEGEAN 1943 - BURMA 1944 –45

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge  On a Field per Pale wavy and White a bloodhound 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 2


April             Contractors trials and commissioning.

     13th         Build completion and acceptance trials.

     16th         Passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with Home Fleet.

                      (Note: Damaged in collision with Fleet Auxiliary CHANNEL  FISHER).

                      Passage for repair at Devonport.

                      (Note: Direction Finding equipment fitted for interception of radio signals and for position finding

                                 of source of  these transmissions.)


May              On completion of work resumed work-up at Scapa Flow.

                      (Note: Splits discovered in internal bulkheads were considered to be due to depth charge

                                  explosions fracturing joints poorly welded during build.)

                                  See SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann and BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March.)


June               Home Fleet duties in NW Approaches in continuation.

     19th          Joined military convoy WS19P in Clyde with HM Destroyers PENN. QUENTIN  and DERWENT

                      as screen for HM Battleships RODNEY and NELSON to provide cover during passage in Atlantic.

     26th          Detached from WS19 with same ships after relief by HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE.

                       Resumed Home Fleet duties


July               Deployed for screening and patrol duties with Home Fleet.

     19th          During escort of HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY under attack by U-boat.

                      Carried out counter attack with HMS PENN without success.

                      Nominated for escort of Malta relief convoy with Home Fleet ships.

     31st           Joined escort for military convoy WS21 as Ocean Escort during  passage to Gibraltar .

                       (Operation PEDESTAL).

                       (Note: For details of Home Fleet ships detached for PEDESTAL see PEDESTAL by P Smith and

                                   following references.



     2nd           Sailed from Clyde with WS21S

     10th          Part of Force X as screen for HM Cruisers CAIRO, KENYA, NIGERIA and  MANCHESTER

                      with HM Destroyers INTREPID, ICARUS, FURY, PENN, LEDBURY,

                      BRAMHAM, TARTAR and ASHANTI for Close Escort of convoy during passage to Malta from


     12th          Under air and submarine attacks.

                      HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE was sunk by U73.

                      Attacked Italian submarine COBALTO with HM Destroyer ITHURIEL and forced it to surface

                      where it was rammed and sunk by HMS ITHURIEL.

                       (For details of Operation see PEDESTAL by Peter C. Smith, THE BATTLE FOR THE

                       MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and the Naval Staff History)

                       Sank HM Cruiser CAIRO by torpedo after she had been badly damaged by the Italian submarine

                       AXUM, which had also hit and damaged HM Cruiser NIGERIA.

                       (Note: A HURRICANE pilot from HMS INDOMITABLE and an Italian airman were rescued during

                                   the day.)

     13th          Rescued 150 of the survivors from HM Cruiser MANCHESTER off Tunisian coast.

                       (Note: HM Destroyer SOMALI rescued other survivors from this cruiser.)

     14th          After passage of WS21S through Sicilian Narrows returned to join ships of the Covering Force Z off


                       (Note: HMS PENN, HMS BRAMHAM and HMS LEDBURY remained with convoy until entry of

                                   surviving mercantiles  into Malta.  See above references.)

     21st          Returned to Gibraltar with ships of Force Z and Force X.

     29th          Deployed with HM Destroyers QUENTIN and VIMY to escort HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH for

                       Atlantic passage to West Indies area.

                       (Note: HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH was to be repaired in Norfolk, Va USA after being

                                   damaged in an attack by Italian frogmen at Alexandria in Dec. 1941.)

     31st          Detached from escort duty and took passage to Port of Spain, Trinidad.



      3rd          Participated in search and sinking of U162 with HM Destroyers VIMY and QUENTIN.

                       Submarine was sunk by HMS VIMY after ramming in position 12. 19N, 59 33W following torpedo

                       attack and lengthy search operation off Barbados. 49 survivors rescued.

                       See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair Vol.1.

      4th           Landed prisoners at Port of Spain.

                       Returned to Scapa Flow and resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet.


October          Home Fleet service with Flotilla in continuation

                       Nominated for support of allied landings in North Africa with HM Destroyer PENN.

                       (Operation TORCH - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, Naval Staff

                       History and RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute


November      Passage to Gibraltar as part of screen for Home Fleet units detached for support of landings.

      8th           Part of Eastern Task Force as screen for major units during landings.

                       Deployed for  screening, anti-submarine patrol, support and escort duty in western Mediterranean


December      Based at Oran in continuation

      2nd          Towed damaged minelayer HMS MANXMAN to Oran following torpedo attack by U651.


     20th           Deployed with HMS PANTHER to reinforce escort for Convoy KMF5A under U-boat attack off

                       North African coast.

     21st          Joined HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, PENN and WISHART in rescue operations when

                      troopship ss  STRATHALLAN was torpedoed during passage of KMF5.

                      (Note: Over 1,000 troops were taken off. Other ships including HMS WISHART rescued 1,179

                                   others from boats.

                                  The troopship caught fire and sank later


1 9 4 3


January        Deployed in Atlantic for escort duty.

    22nd         Passage from Gibraltar with HM Destroyers PANTHER and PENN to escort HM

                     Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS during Atlantic passage from Kilindini to Freetown.

     25th         Joined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

     26th         Escort of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in continuation with HM Destroyers ILEX, HOLCOMBE, PENN and

                     PANTHER during passage from Freetown.

     31st         Detached with HMS PENN and HMS PANTHER and took passage to Casablanca to refuel.


February       Rejoined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HMS PANTHER and HMS PENN as escort for passage to Clyde.

                      Taken in hand for repair to generator defect.

                      On completion took passage to Clyde to rejoin Flotilla for convoy defence with HM Destroyers

                      OBDURATE and  OPPORTUNE.


March           Deployed in Western Approaches for support and defence of Atlantic convoys


April             Deployed with HM Escort Carrier BITER, HM Destroyer OBDURATE and HM Destroyer

                      OPPORTUNE as 5th Escort Group.

                      (Note: For details of development of weapons used in this crucial stage of the Battle of the Atlantic

                                  see SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann, THE TORPEDOMEN by E Poland and RADAR

                                  AT SEA by D Howse.

     25th          Deployed with Group in defence of convoys ONS4 and sank U203 detected on surface by aircraft from HMS


                      Attacked U753 which escaped.

                      (See THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D MacIntyre, U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC and

                      HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)


May               Atlantic support duties in continuation.

       5th          Took passage from St Johns, Newfoundland to support escorts for Convoys HX237 and SC129 which were

                      under attack by U-Boat Groups.

       7th          Joined HX237 with ships of Group after delay due to fog off Newfoundland.

      12th         Took part in anti-submarine operations with HMS OPPORTUNE.

      13th         Participated in further anti-submarine operations with ships of Group.

                      (Note: U456 was sunk after being damaged by aircraft from HMS BITER. See above references)

                      Detached with Group to support SC129.

                      On release from SC129 under repair in Clyde shipyard


June               Passage to Scapa Flow to resume Fleet duties.

                      Nominated for support of allied landings in Sicily.

                      Passage to Mediterranean as escort for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V with HMS PENN and

                      HMS PANTHER for support of landings in Sicily.


July               Prepared for support duties during Operation HUSKY.

       8th          Deployed south of Sardinia as screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE

                      forming Reserve Covering Group to prevent interference by Italian Fleet during landings.

                      (Operation HUSKY - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett

                      and the Naval Staff History).

       9th          Took part in bombardment of Trapani and Marsala with HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE.

                      Hit submerged rock and sustained damage

                      Took passage to Alexandria for replacement of port propeller.

                      On completion resumed operational duty based at Bizerta


August         .Based at Bizerta for support duties.

       8th          Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, DIDO, SIRIUS and PENELOPE, HM Destroyers JERVIS,

                      PALADIN and PENN for bombardment duties in preparation for landings at Salerno.

       9th          Bombarded positions at Castelmare di Stabea, near Naples and later, Cape Vaticano on Calabrian

                      west coast (Operation ANNOYANCE).

      28th         Part of escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE during passage from

                      Alexandria to Malta with three other Fleet destroyers.

                      Passage to Algiers for screening of Force H ships.



       1st          Joined Force H ships at Algiers.

       6th          Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE with ships of Flotilla during passage

                      to Augusta.

       8th          Deployed with screen during covering of landings at Salerno.

                      (Operation AVALANCHE – see above references.)

       9th          Part of screen for HMS KING GEORGE V and HMS HOWE during escort of surrendered Italian

                      battleships ANDREA DORIA and CAIO DUILIO, cruisers CADORNA, POMPEO MAGNO and

                      destroyer DA ROCCO on passage to Malta from Taranto.

      17th         Deployed off Salerno for bombardment in support of military operations and for anti-submarine


                      On release of Reserve Covering Force deployed in support of operations in western Mediterranean.

      25th         Embarked stores and vehicles for passage to Ajaccio following the evacuation of German forces.

      26th         Deployed with HM Destroyer PATHFINDER to replace 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


                      to occupy after Italian surrender.

        4th         Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA and DIDO, HM Destroyers PETARD, PENN and TUMULT

                      south of Crete for interception of invasion craft.

        5th         Escorted damaged cruisers HMS AURORA and DIDO to Alexandria after they had been in collision

                      south of Cos.

        7th         Deployed in support of military operations in the Aegean.

      17th         Embarked stores and personnel for Leros.

                      Escorted HM Cruiser SIRIUS, HM Destroyers ECLIPSE and BEAUFORT during passage to

                      meet HM Cruiser AURORA for bombardment of Cos harbour.

      18th         Sheltered in Turkish waters during daylight and then landed stores and personnel  at Alinda Bay.

                      Carried out interception patrol north of Levitha.

      21st          Sailed from Alexandria with HM Destroyer JERVIS, HURWORTH and Greek ADRIAS with troops

                      and stores for defence of garrison at Leros.

      23rd         Landed stores.

                      (Note: HMS HURWORTH and Greek ADRIAS were detached as a diversion and ran into a


.                                 HMS HURWORTH was sunk and ADRIAS badly damaged. See WAR IN THE AEGEAN.)

      27th         Escorted HM Cruiser AURORA with HM Destroyers EXMOOR and BLENCATHRA to relieve HM

                       Cruiser  PHOEBE and to carry out interception patrol. Nothing sighted.


November     Aegean defence duties in continuation.

        3rd          Embarked troops of 1st En Kings Own Royal Rifle Corps at Alexandria. Sailed with HM Cruiser

                        PHOEBE, HM Destroyer FAULKNOR, ECHO and PENN for Leros.

                       (Note: Owing to lack of space, motor transport and Bren carriers were not taken.

        4th          After lay up in Gulf of Doris during daylight landed troops at Leros.

        5th          Laid up in Turkish waters during daylight.

        7th          Deployed with HMS PENN for interception of invasion craft between Pares and Naxos.

                       No contact made but sank German decoy ship GA45 off Crete.

                       (Note: The enemy deployed this type of ship to attract allied submarines for a surface engagement,

                                    similar to the role of British Q Ships in WW1)

      28th          Detached and joined HM Destroyer FURY to escort HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM damaged by

                       torpedo fired from U407 off Cyrenaica.

      29th          Escorted HMS BIRMINGHAM to Alexandria for repair.


December       Resumed Aegean duty in support of evacuation operations.

      10th           On release from Aegean Force resume Flotilla duties with Fleet.

                        For details of the disastrous operations in the Aegean during late 1943 see WAR IN THE AEGEAN

                         by P Smith and E Walker).

                        Nominated for service with Flotilla in Eastern Fleet.


1 9 4 4


January        Passage to Trincomalee for service in 16th Destroyer Division of 11th Flotilla.


February      Deployed for screening, convoy escort and patrol duties in Indian Ocean.

                      (Note: Did not take part with HMS PALADIN and HMS PETARD OF Flotilla which were

                                     deployed for the escort of military convoy KR8 during which the troopship KHEDIVE

                                     ISMAIL was torpedoed with heavy loss of life.)



      21st       Part of screen for H M Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser

                    RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers LONDON, GAMBIA (RNZN).

                    CEYLON and CUMBERLAND, with HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY, QUEENBOROUGH,

                    NAPIER (RAN), NORMAN (RAN), NEPAL( RAN), QUIBERON (RAN), Dutch VAN GALEN and

                    TJERK HIDDES.

      24th       Met US aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA, us Destroyers USS CUMMINGS, DUNLOP and

                    FANNING which were joining Eastern Fleet for future operations in Indian Ocean.

                    (Operation DIPLOMAT).



       2nd      Returned to Trincomalee with screen for RN and USN ships and resumed duties with Flotilla for

                   defence of convoys in Indian Ocean.


May            Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation.

to                (Note: Safe passage of military convoys carrying troops for 14th Army service in Burma was given high

July                         priority by CinC Eastern Fleet)



       4th       Took part in extensive search off South Africa for U456 with aircraft and trawler group.

                   (Note: This lasted for two days but was unsuccessful).


September   Indian Ocean Convoy defence in continuation.




December   Deployed in support of military operations in Burma.

                     Took part in operation to prevent escape of Japanese personnel escaping from Ramree.


1 9 4 5


January       Military support and convoy defence in continuation

       3rd        Deployed for support of landings at Kayaba with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, PHOBE,

                    HM Destroyers RAPID and RAIDER.

                    (Operation LIGHTNING – See Naval Staff History and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

       5th        Returned to Trincomalee

      18th       Took passage to Akyab with HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and HM Destroyer NORMAN.

      21st       Provided bombardment at Ramree Island during landings (Operation MATADOR)

      23rd       Carried out interception patrol off Ramree Island.

      25th       Provided further bombardment in support of advance by Indian Army.

      27th       HMS PHOEBE joined Bombardment Force

                    Returned to Chittagong to re-fuel and replenish ammunition stock.

      28th       Resumed support duties off Burma.

      31st       Relieved by HMS PALADIN.



       4th        Landed troops on SE coast of Ramree Island which were unopposed.

       5 th       Towed HM Destroyer NEPAL off sandbank.

       8th        Took part in operation to prevent escape of Japanese personnel escaping from Ramree. (Operation BLOCK)

                    (Note: HMS PALADIN TOGETHER WITH Motor Launches and Landing Craft were also used to

                                intercept craft evacuating enemy troops, See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and

                                WAR WITH JAPAN.)

      10th       Bombarded escape routes.

      11th       Resumed patrol and support duties after re-fuelling from HMS NEPAL.

                    Under air attack in Pakseik Taungnaw River mouth south of Akyab and sustained serious damage from near miss.

                    (Note: Starboard engine disabled and hull structure damaged.

                                Extensive fuel leaks and some flooding caused.)

      12th       Emergency repair completed and took passage using Port engine.

      13th       Further repair carried out in main anchorage at Ramree Island.

      25th       Took passage to Colombo with call at Trincomalee on 27th.



       1st         Arrived at Colombo for docking and survey.

      25th        Undocked after repair to allow passage to UK,

                     (Note: Ship declared Constructive Total Loss and to be reduced to Reserve status.)



      13th        Sailed from Colombo for Bombay.

      17th        Took passage to UK via Red Sea from Bombay

      26th        Sustained weather damage during Red Sea passage and delayed by repair.


May              Passage in Mediterranean



      11th        Called at Dartmouth.

      16th        At Plymouth after paying off and began reduction to Reserve.


July              Towed to Dartmouth to lay-up in Reserve.

                     Beached at Dartmouth to await decision on future use.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS PATHFINDER was selected for use a bombing target in November 1946 and prepared for this at Portsmouth. Trials were carried out during 1947-48 and ship was placed on Disposal List when completed. Sold to BISCO in 1948 She was towed to Milford Haven and arriving on 17th November that year for demolition by Howells. See BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March for details. More information is included in a book on “O and P Class Destroyers" by N J Dyer, but some details are at variance with official records and with other sources.






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








SL 123





GUS 003





HX 237





SC 129





UGS 023





KR 009





MA 026/3





KR 011





ABF 004





BM 101





AJ 005/2








(Note on Convoys)


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