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

HMS ULYSSES (R 69) -  U-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Ulysses postwar (Navy Photos/George Knight, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

U-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered under a War Emergency Programme in April 1941 from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead. The ship was laid down on 14th March 1942 as Build Number 1103 and launched on 22nd April 1943 as the 2nd RN warship to carry this name introduced in 1779. It was last used by a WW1 destroyer built in 1917 and lost after a collision in October 1918. Build completion date was 23rd December 1923. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during March 1942 she had been 'adopted' by the civil community of Leigh, Lancashire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


MARTINIQUE  1794 - EGYPT  1801 - MARTINIQUE  1809 - ARCTIC   1944 - NORMANDY   1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Barry wavy of ten White and Blue, a ram's head affronte

Black in front of a stake erect inflamed.



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 3


December           Contractor's sea trials and commissioning.

              23rd      Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials


1 9 4 4


January               On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships

                            of Home Fleet.

                            Joined 25th Destroyer Flotilla for screening duties of major Hone Fleet ships and patrol in

                            NW Approaches.


February             Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.




April                   Nominated for escort of inward Russian convoy.

                           Detached and made independent passage to Kola Inlet with  HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM

                           Escort Carriers ACTIVITY, FENCER, HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BOADICEA,



              23rd      Arrived at Kola Inlet.

              28th      Joined return Convoy RA59 with above ships, HM Corvette LOTUS and HM Canadian

                           Frigates CAPE BRETON, GROU, OUTREMONT and WASKESIU as Ocean Escort.

              30th      Under attack DONNER group of U-Boats.



                3rd      Detached from RA59 with HMS DIADEM, HMS FENCER, HM Destroyers BOADICEA,

                           VERULAM, VIRAGO, WALKER and WHITEHALL after a hazardous passage due to

                           weather and enemy activities.

                           (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg,

                           ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield and

                           CONVOY ! by P Kemp.

                           Rejoined Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

                           Nominated with ships of Flotilla for transfer to Force G during allied invasion of Normandy

                           (Operation NEPTUNE).

                           (For details of naval activities prior to and during landings and of major ships see LANDINGS

                           IN NORMANDY JUNE 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K. Edwards).

                           Took part in preliminary exercises with ships of Force G.


June                    Joined HM Destroyers JERVIS, CATTISTOCK, PYTCHLEY, COTTESMORE and the Polish

                           ORP KRAKOWIAK in Force G with ships of Flotilla

                3rd     At Spithead in Assembly area.

                4th      Operation delayed 24 hours.

                5th      Joined Convoy G9 with HM Destroyers URANIA and JERVIS as escort during

                           passage through swept channel.

                           (Note: Convoy comprised H M Landing Ship, Headquarters BULOLO ( Flagship Force G ),

                                        HM Frigate NITH (HQ Ship Assault Group G1), Four Landing Ships, Infantry,

                                        two  Landing Craft Infantry, 3 Motor Launches and 3 miscellaneous craft)

                6th      After arrival Provided naval gunfire support for landings on GOLD Beach.

                7th      Deployed on support of landings and for patrols in Eastern Task Force area for interception of

                           surface craft and submarines attempting to attack shipping.


July                    On release from NEPTUNE remained in Channel area for patrol and convoy duty.

                           (Note: Destroyers carried cut attacks on evacuation craft.)

August               Nominated for transfer to Pacific with Flotilla after refit.

                           Rejoined Home Fleet for Flotilla screening and patrol duties.


September          Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

to                        Nominated for refit before foreign service



November          Taken in hand for refit in Thames commercial shipyard


December           Under refit.


1 9 4 5


January               Under refit.    


February             Post refit trials.


March                 On completion took passage to join Flotilla for Pacific Fleet duties.


April                   Passage to  Mediterranean


May                    On arrival at Sydney prepared for service with Flotilla in Task Force 57 of US Navy 5th


                            (Note: Pennant Number changed to D24 to conform with US Navy identification for destroyers.


June                     Joined Flotilla for service in Task Force 57 of US 3rd Fleet for screening duties and support of

                            attacks on Japanese mainland.

                            (Note: BPF ships were carrying out maintenance and repair after completion of a series of air

                                        attacks and bombardments on Sakishima Gunto with 5th Fleet.

                                        (Operation ICEBERG TWO)..)

                            BPF ships had been transferred to US 3rd Fleet as Task Force 37 after changes in structure of

                            US Navy command in Pacific.

                            (Note: For details of British contribution to Pacific operations see TF 57 by P. Smith, THE

                                       FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray, Naval Staff

                                       History and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

                            Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to D24 to suit the U S Navy identity

                            for destroyers.

                            Carried out preparatory exercises in preparation for joint US/RN operations.

                            (Note: US Navy signalling and manoeuvring procedures and methods were adopted by RN

                                        ships deployed in Pacific area.

              28th       Sailed from Sydney with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA, URSA,


                            re-designated 4th Destroyer Flotilla

                            Deployed as part of screen for major units of Task Force 37.

                            (Note: Task Force 37 also included:

                                              HM Battleship KING GEORGE V. HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE.

                                              VICTORIOUS and IMPLACABLE

                                              HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES.

                                              UGANDA and GAMBIA.

                                              HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS. TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE

                                              and TEAZER.(24th Destroyer Flotilla.)


July                     During passage to Manus carried cut exercises in preparation for joint operations with US

                            Navy off Japanese mainland islands.

               4th        Replenished with fuel at Forward RN base at Manus, Admiralty Islands.

               6th        Took passage from Manus to operational area off Japan.

                            Deployed with destroyers of Task Force 37 as screen H M Battleship KING GEORGE V, HM,

                            Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE and VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND,

                            ACHILLES (RNZN), UGANDA (RCN), EURYALUS, GAMBIA (RNZN) and BLACK


                            (Note: HMS IMPLACABLE detached after defects and rejoined Task Force later.)

              13th       Replenished from Task Force 112 Logistics Group up with TF37 ships.

              17th       On completion of replenishment and discussions with US Navy 3rd Fleet, deployed with

                            screen for TF37during combined RN/USN air attacks on Tokyo and Yokohama.

                            (Note: HMS IMPLACABLE had rejoined from Manus.

                                       British air operations here restricted to secondary targets as part of US

                                       Navy policy to limit RN involvement. See above references.).

              19th       Sailed from operational area to replenish from Task Force 112.

              20th       Replenished with BPF ships after delay due to Typhoon threat.

                            HMS INDEFATIGABLE joined Task Force 37- See above references.

                            (Note: Indications of shortages of fuel from British tankers became evident.)

              23rd       Destroyers topped-up fuel from battleships to ensure full availability for future

                            operations off Japan.

              24th       TF37 screen deployment during operations in continuation..

                            (Note: British attacks were again restricted. See above.)

              27th       Replenished from British Logistics Group Task Force 112.

                            (Note: Fuel supply situation becoming critical to future deployment of TF37.)

             28th        Resumed screening duties during air attacks on secondary targets.

                            Detached with HMS KING GEORGE V, HM Destroyers UNDINE and URANIA

                            for bombardment of shore targets with US Task Group TF34.5 and designated

                             Task Unit 37-1-2

            29th         During passage to bombardment area collided in fog with HMS URANIA but able to

                             resume screening duties.

                             Carried out bombardment of works and aircraft factories near Hamamatsu, Honshu

             30th         Rejoined Task Force 37 ships with Task Unit 37-1-2 and resumed   screening   during

                             air operations

             31st          Replenished with ships of TF 37



             2nd          Deployed for screening duties during passage to resume air operations.

             4th           Refuelled  from major warships as operational period extended.

             6th           TF37 ships Replenished from British Logistics Group.

              7th           Refuelled from major ships.

              9th            Part of destroyer screen for TF37 major ships during combined carrier attacks by

                              RN and USN with US TF38 on shipping and shore targets in N. Honshu and Hokkaido.

           11th             Withdrawn from operational area with ships of TF37 because of lack of fuel from

                               British Fleet Train tankers. See above references.

                               (Note: RN ships retained as Token Force joined Task Force 38 as Task Group 38.5


                                            HM Battleship   KING GEORGE V. HM Aircraft. Carrier INDEFATIGABLE

                                            HM Cruisers GAMBIA and NEWFOUNDLAND.

                                            HM Destroyers BARFLEUR, WAKEFUL, WRANGLER, TROUBRIDGE,

                                            TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS, TERPSICHORE and TEAZER. HM Australian

                                            Destroyers NAPIER

           17th             Reverted to RN control during return passage to Sydney.


P o s t  W a r  N o t e s


HMS ULYSSES reverted to RN control after VJ and was deployed in Pacific area and Far East with BPF until return to UK with Flotilla in early 1946.She was reduced to Reserve status after arrival at Plymouth in March that year. The ship re-commissioned in December 1951 for service with the Local Flotilla and in 1953 was selected for 'Limited Conversion' to a Type 15 Anti-Submarine Frigate. On completion she re-commissioned for service in the 6tn Frigate Squadron and took part in GRAPPLE Nuclear Tests at Christmas Island in the Pacific during 1958. Later that year she was involved in collision with sister ship HMS UNDINE off Ushant. When repaired she was deployed for training duty at Plymouth until reduced to Reserve in December 1900. Before being placed on Disposal List in 1963 ship was hulked for use as  a store for refitting ships until 1969 and sold to Davies and Cann for breaking-up at Plymouth in October 1969.






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








RA 059








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 11/8/11
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