U-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Swan Hunter
under the War Emergency Programme on 12th June
1941. The ship
was laid down en 12th November 1941 and
launched on 9th November 1942 as the 3rd RN
ship to carry the name. It was last used by a
WW1 destroyer and borne by a ship hired In
1915 for use as a Boom Defence Vessel. Build
was completed on 30th June 1943. After a
successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings
campaign in June 1942 she had been adopted by
the civil community of County Down, Ulster. In
accordance with the usual practice plaques
were exchanged and displayed in the Council
offices and on board the ship.
a t t l
e H o n o u r s
CHANNEL 1943 - ADRIATIC 1944 -
MEDITERRANEAN 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - OKINAWA 1945
e r a l d i
c D a t a
On a Field : Barry wavy of six White and
Dexter hand appaume
The Emblem of the Province.)
e t a i l
s o f W a
r S e r v i
(for more ship
Naval History Homepage
type name in Site Search)
9 4 3
Commissioned for service in 25th Destroyer
Build completion and commenced Acceptance
On completion of trials and storing took
passage to Scapa Flow for work-up.
Worked-up for operational service with ships
of Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.
During work-up escorted troopship BEN MY CREE to Faeroes
NW Approaches deployment with Flotilla in
Deployed as escort for HM Destroyer ONSLOW
from Scrabster to Scapa Flow.
(Note: HMS ONSLOW was taking HM King George VI
for visit to Home Fleet
part in exercise demonstration by Home Fleet
ships for Royal visitor.)
On completion of work-up took passage to
Rosyth for boiler
Deployed for interception of enemy coastal
convoys in Bay of Biscay and English
Channel with HM Sloop CRANE, HM Destroyer
GRENVILLE and HM Cruiser PHOEBE.
(Operation TUNNEL Series – See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)
Deployed in English Channel, based at Plymouth
with HM Destroyer GRENVILLE.
Carried out attack on coastal convoy defended
by destroyers (Operation TUNNEL).
(Note: During this operation in which HMS
GRENVILLE and three HUNT Class
Destroyers took part, ship was damaged by two
HMS GRENVILLE was also damaged, set on fire
and came under friendly
fire. See FRIEND OR FOE by P Kemp. HOLD THE
NARROW SEA by
P Smith for details of the ill-planned and
very poorly executed series of
operations, during one of these on October
23rd HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS
was sunk with heavy loss of life.
Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean.
passage from Plymouth with HM Destroyers
ROCKET and TUMULT as escort
for HM Battlecruiser
(Note: This cruiser had Mr Winston Churchill
embarked for passage to Malta
Independent passage to Malta with call at
Escorted HM Cruiser LONDON during passage from
Malta to Alexandria.
(Note: HMS LONDON was to collect UK Defence
Chiefs for return to UK after
international conference in Egypt.
with Flotilla in Adriatic for support of military operations.
Damaged during support operation by return
shore fire and forward structure holed
Due to the high speed extensive flooding of
all forward compartments
caused the ship to take on an 8 degree heel to
On completion of repair took passage to rejoin
Flotilla for convoy defence
Deployed with HM Destroyers ROCKET and
Deployed at Bari for anti-submarine operations
9 4 4
(Note: Ship was not directly involved in
support of allied at Anzio on 22nd January as
Battle Honour was awarded.
See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli
Barrett and Naval Staff
History for details of the Operation to land
allied troops near Rome.
Adriatic duties in continuation.
Nominated for return to Home Fleet duties with
Flotilla for support of planned allied
landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
Deployed for defence of convoys on passage to
Carried out anti-submarine operations and took
part in the attacks on U223
Returned to Palermo to replenish stocks of
Took passage to Scapa
Flow after boiler clean at Naples.
Rejoined Flotilla in
Joined Force G of Eastern Task Force with HM
Destroyers URSA, UNDAUNTED,
ULYSSES, UDINE, URCHIN, URANIA and GRENVILLE
(Note: HM Destroyers JERVIS, CATTISTOCK,
ORP KRAKOWIAK also were part of Force G.)
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships
of Force G including exercises in NW
Approaches with Bombarding Forces E and K.
(Note: Bombarding Force K comprised HM
Cruisers ORION, AJAX, ARGONAUT,
EMERALD and Dutch Gunboat FLORES.
Bombarding Force E comprised HM Cruisers
BELFAST and DIADEM.)
Passage to Clyde for escort of Bombarding
Force E to Channel
Escorted HM Cruisers
and DIADEM from Clyde as Convoy G14.
Operation delayed 24 hours.
Sailed from Solent as escort for Convoy G14 during passage through swept channel.
On arrival at Beachhead took position off GOLD
Beach and provided naval gun fire
Grounded during gunfire support and returned
to Portsmouth for inspection suspected
damage to underwater fittings
Inspection revealed port propeller missing and
damage to starboard propeller.
Repair arranged at commercial shipyard in
22nd Arrived at
Cardiff for repair.
completion of repair resumed Flotilla duties
in Home Waters
(Note: One source suggests deployment in
Channel in this period.)
Home waters deployment in continuation.
(Note: To be confirmed as some of Flotilla
were serving in the Mediterranean and others
in Home waters.)
service with Flotilla in Far
Passage for refit
Taken in hand for
refit during which extensive changes were
(Note: New design Lattice foremast fitted in
place of earlier Tripod type.
Radar Type 276 for surface warning replaced
with associated Type 242 IFF
Outfit fitted In place of Type 272 fitted
Some ships in Flotilla had fire control radar
Type 282 fitted for Close
IFF equipment was also fitted for Type 291
For details of development and use of radar
see RADAR AT SEA by D Hawse.)
9 4 5
On completion of post refit trials prepared
for foreign service.
Passage to Join British Pacific Fleet via Mediterranean.
Worked up for operational service in Mediterranean
On arrival took part in preparatory exercises
with ships of British Pacific Fleet.
Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes
changed to D to confirm with US
System of identification for destroyers.
Passage from Sydney as part of Task Force 113
to main RN operating base at Manus,
Arrived at Manus with Task Force 113.
After delay by US Joint Chief of Staff
approval given for British Pacific Fleet ships
join US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57 for
operations against airfields in
Group islands (Operation ICEBERG ONE).
Sailed from Manus to Join 7th Fleet at Ulithi
Arrived at Ulithi.
Sailed for operational area as part of Task
Deployed as Task Group 57.8 with HM Cruiser
EURYALUS, HM Destroyers
GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA and UNDAUNTED of
25th Flotilla, HM Destroyers
QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUEENBOROUGH and QUALITY
of 4th Flotilla and
HM Destroyers WAGER and WHELP of the 27th
Other ships in Task Force 57 were HM
Battleship KING GEORGE V (Task Group 57.1),
HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and
ILLUSTRIOUS. (Task Group 57.2)
HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA, BLACK
PRINCE and ARGONAUT (Task Group
Refuelled from Replenishment Group with
Arrived in operational area and Joined ships
of US Task Force 58.
Escorted Fleet units during attacks by British
carrier aircraft on airfields.
(Note: Operation ICEBERG ONE was in support of
US landings on Okinawa.)
Withdrew for replenishment.
Resumed Fleet screening duties in operational
Damaged by near miss from 5001b bomb
jettisoned by ZEKE aircraft being pursued by
Major damage to Engine Room and After Boiler
Two personnel killed and one seriously
Ship disabled but armament still available.
(Note: 4 casualties are recorded for this ship
Taken in tow to Leyte by HM Cruiser GAMBIA
Under temporary repair at Leyte in dry dock.
(Note: Temporary repairs to hull structure
were carried out by US Navy personnel
repairs by parties from HM Depot Ship TYNE.)
Withdrawn from operational service in Task
Passage to Sydney on one shaft but speed for
24 knots available.
Prepared for return to UK for
Passage to UK
Arrived at Chatham and paid off.
(Note: Reverted to RN Pennant Number when
released from BPF)
u m m a r y o f
P o s t
W a r
S e r v i c e
Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard,
9 4 6
Recommissioned for use as Boys Training ship
in Home Fleet.
9 4 7 t o
1 9 4 9
Deployed for Boys training
9 5 0
Transferred for service in Dartmouth Training
Squadron. Deployed for Cadet and
9 5 1
Transferred to Plymouth Local Destroyer
Deployed for local training, trials and
Emergency Destroyer duty.
9 5 2
Paid off and Reduced to Reserve status
9 5 3
Laid-up in Reserve Fleet Division at
9 5 3
Selected for conversion to Type 15
Prepared for conversion and tow to Chatham.
9 5 4
Taken in hand for conversion by HM Dockyard,
9 5 5 t o
1 9 5 6
9 5 6
Harbour and Sea Trials on completion of
Nominated for service in 8th Frigate Squadron.
9 5 7
Commissioned for service in 8th Frigate
9 5 8
Deployed as station ship West Indies [SNOWI]
Commander Cameron Rusby in command
9 5 9
Escorted HM Yacht Britannia for official
opening of St Lawrence Seaway
9 6 0 t o
1 9 6 1
Deployed on Squadron Fleet service with normal
9 6 2
Fleet duties with Squadron in continuation.
Attended Independence ceremony at Trinidad with HM Cruiser BLAKE
and HM Frigate
9 6 3
Nominated for reduction to Reserve.
Paid off and Reduced to Reserve status at
Equipment under Care and Maintenance by
Reserve Fleet personnel.
9 6 4
Laid up in Reserve at Plymouth.
9 6 5
Nominated for service in 2nd Frigate Squadron
and brought forward from Reserve.
Re-commissioned for service in 2nd Frigate
9 6 6
Deployed operationally on Fleet service.
Taken in hand for refit at Devonport.
(Note: Stem replaced by structure taken from
sister destroyer HMS URCHIN.)
9 6 7
Withdrawn from operational service.
Nominated for duty at Portsmouth as Tender to
HMS DRYAD for training and trials
9 6 8 t o
1 9 7 6
Deployment for navigational Equipment Trials
and training based at Portsmouth
9 7 7
Withdrawn from service and Paid Off.
Towed to Plymouth for Harbour training of New
(Note: Attached to HMS RALEIGH.)
9 7 8
New Entry Harbour training deploys in
9 7 9
Training requirement ceased.
Placed on Disposal List.
F i n a l P
h a s e
HMS ULSTER was sold to T W Ward for breaking up on
4th August 1980.The ship was taken under tow
Rosyth where she
arrived on 2nd November that year.
Convoy Escort Movements Reported
ON HMS ULSTER 1958-60
After my RN career (1957-82) I lived in Canada
for 26 years and managed to visit almost every
single place on the route of 1959 with the
exception of one. I am now relocated to the
United Kingdom and I have probably become an
expert on that particular commission which
included the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway
(medal below). What is more unique is that our
Commanding Officer, Cdr Cameron Rusby (now a
long retired Vice Admiral Sir Cameron) will be
attending out final reunion this year.
Comprehensive information on our memorable
commission can be found by visiting www.candoo.com/ulsternorrie/ulster/ulster11.html