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

HMS URSA (R 22) -  U-class Destroyer

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

U-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered under the War Emergency Programme in on 12th June 1941 for build by J. I Thornycroft at Woolston. The ship was laid down on 2nd May 1942 and launched on 22nd July 1943 as the 2nd RN ship to carry the name previously used for a WW1 destroyer sold in 1926. Build was completed on 1st March 1944. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK in March 1942 she was adopted by the Hendon, then part of Middlesex but now in the London Borough of Barnet.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


BISCAY   1944 - NORMANDY   1944 - OKINAWA   1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue., a brown bear passant 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 4


February                Contractor's sea trials and commissioned for service with 25th Destroyer Flotilla..



                1st          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

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

                               Home Fleet.


April                      On completion of work-up deployed in NW Approaches with H M Destroyers GRENVILLE,

                              ULSTER, ULYSSES, URCHIN, UNDINE, UNDAUNTED and URANIA for screening and

                              interception patrol duties.


May                       Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

               14th        Part of screen for HM Escort Carriers EMPEROR and STRIKER, HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD

                              and ROYALIST with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, OBEDIENT, WAKEFUL, Polish ORP

                              PIORUN and ORP BLYSKAWICA during series of air attacks in Rorvik and Stadlandet areas

                              off Norway

                              Transferred to English Channel for duty with Force G in support of  planned  landings in

                              Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                              For details of activities prior to and during landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K.

                              Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO)).

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

                              ORP KRAKOWIAK with other ships of Flotilla in Force G.

                              Took part in preparatory exercises for GOLD Beach assault.


June                       Passage to Assembly area for escort of Convoy G10 with HMS UNDAUNTED.

                 3rd        Deployed in West Solent with Convoy G10.

                               (Note: Convoy comprised HM Frigate KINGSMILL (HQ Ship Force G2), four Landing Ships

                                           (Infantry), two Motor Launches and four rescue craft).

                 4th         Operation delayed 24 hours.

                 5th         Passage through swept channel as escort for Convoy G10.

                 6th         After arrival joined ships of Force G and bombarded beach defences on GOLD Beach in

                               accordance pre-arranged Fire Plan.

                 9th         Deployed on interception patrol duties off beachheads.

                               In action with E-Boats with HM Norwegian Destroyer GLAISDALE and ORP KRAKOWIAK

                               off Le Havre.

                   Patrol and support duties in continuation till released from NEPTUNE.

                25th         Retained in Channel area.


July                         Deployed for attacks on enemy coastal traffic i Bay of Biscay.

                                See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith..


August                    Channel deployment in continuation.

                14th         Part of screen for HM Cruiser MAURITIUS with HM Destroyer IROQUOIS (RCN) for an

                                offensive operation off French coast.

                 15th        Carried out attack on German Aircraft Repair Ship RICHTOFEN and Minesweeper M385

                                off Sables d'Olonne, NW of La Pallice.

                                Minesweeper was damaged and beached. Later became a total loss.

                 22nd       Deployed with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS and HM Canadian Destroyer  IROQUOIS for

                                offensive patrol off Audierne

                 23rd        Carried out attack on coastal convoy sinking patrol boats V702, V717, V720, V729 and V730.

September              Nominated for service with Flotilla in British Pacific Fleet after refit..


October                  Under Refit and preparation for foreign service.


November              Passage to Trincomalee to join Eastern Fleet prior to BPF service.

           22nd            Transferred to British Pacific Fleet on formation, during passage.

                               For details of BPF operations see OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray,. THE

                               FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith, WAR WITH

                               JAPAN (HMSO) and Naval Staff History).


December              Joined Fleet at Trincomalee.

                               Deployed for Fleet screening and patrol duties in Indian Ocean.


1 9 4 5


January                Nominated for screening duty  for HM aircraft Carriers IMPLACABLE,

                             VICTORIOUS, INDEFATIGABLE, HM Cruisers SUFFOLK, ARGONAUT and

                             BLACK PRINCE with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WHELP, WAGER,

                             GRENVILLE, URANIA, UNDAUNTED and UNDINE during planned air attacks

                             on oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandan, Sumatra as Force 65 (Operation LENTIL).

              1st           Sailed from Trincomalee with Force 65 for LENTIL.

              4th          Deployed with screen during air operations.

              7th          Returned to Trincomalee with ships of Force 65.

            13th          Took part in Full Dress Rehearsal off Ceylon for planned air attacks on oil refineries

                             at Pladjoe and Soeengei, Palembang, Sumatra (Operation MERIDIAN)

                             (Note: Force 63 comprised

                                          HM Battleship KING GEORGE V, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS.

                                          INDOMITABLE, .INDEFATIGABLE, VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers

                                          BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT and EURYALUS screened by HM

                                          Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, UNDAUNTED, KEMPENFELT,

                                          URSA, WAGER, WAKEFUL, WHIRLWIND and WHELP.

            16th          Joined Force 63 on departure from Trincomalee.

            20th          Replenished from Force 69.

                             (Note: HM Cruiser CEYLON and HM Destroyer WESSEX joined with Force 69.)

            24th          Deployed as part of destroyer screen during air operations for MERIDIAN I

                              (Note:  Operation was delayed 24 hours by adverse weather.)

            26th           Replenished from Force 69.

            29th          Deployed with screen during air operations for MERIDIAN II.

                             (See WAR WITH JAPAN Vol VI (KM30) and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by John

                             Winton. for details)

            30th          Replenished and took passage to Sydney for service as British Pacific Fleet.



              4th          Arrived at Fremantle.

                              On arrival at Sydney worked up for Pacific operations with US Navy in SW Pacific.

                              Designated Task Force 113 pending transfer to US Navy overall command..

                              (Note: Exercises included US Navy communications methods and procedures.

                                           Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changes to D29 to suit US

                                           Navy identity for destroyers.)

            28th          Took passage to Forward British base at Manus, Admiralty Islands  with ships of

                             BPF as Task Force take part in joint RN/USN operations.

                             (Note: Deployment of RN ships had not been sanctioned by US Joint Chiefs of Staff

                                         and approval was awaited.)


March                   During passage using US Navy procedures for manoeuvring and communications.

              7th           Arrived at Manus.

                              Docked at Manus.

                               (Note: Other ships of BPF Took passage as Task Force 113 to US Forward Base at

                                           Ulithi and replenished.

                                            Deployment with US Navy had been subject to delay in receiving approval

                                            and eventually were allocated to US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57.

                                            BPF sailed from Ulithi as Task Force 57 to operational area

                                            Destroyers were designated Task Group 57.8.)



              7th           Arrived at Manus.

             10th          Docked at Manus.

                              (Note: Other ships of BPF Took passage as Task Force 113 to US Forward Base at

                                          Ulithi and replenished.

                                           Deployment with US Navy had been subject to delay in receiving approval

                                           and eventually were allocated to US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57.

                                           BPF sailed from Ulithi as Task Force 57 to operational area

                                            Destroyers were designated Task Group 57.8.)

                               On completion of docking escorted HM Cruisers UGANDA with HM Destroyer

                               URCHIN to reinforce British TF57 during air attacks on Formosa to support U S

                               invasion of Okinawa (Operation ICEBERG).



           8th               Joined Task Force 57 with HMS URCHIN during replenishment in Area COOTIE.

           9th               Deployed with screen for ships of BPF and sailed from COOTIE Area to carry out

                               air operations on airfields in Formosa (Operation ICEBERG OOLONG).

          11th              Part of screen during attacks on airfields at Schinchiku and Matsuyama.

           to                 On completion returned with Task Force 57 to rejoin operations with US Navy

           13th             Task  Force 58 on Sakishima Gunto airfields (Operation ICEBERG ONE).

           14th             Replenished in Area COOTIE.

           16th              Deployed with screen for Task Force 57 during air operations.

          19th             Replenished in Area MOSQUITO ONE

           20th            Fleet screening in continuation during final air attacks on Sakishima Gunto by Task Force 57-

                              On completion took passage to the US Navy Base at Leyte with Task Force 57 ships

                               (Note: For details of operations in Formosa and Sakishima Gunto see  OPERATION PACIFIC

                                          by E Gray, TASK FORCE 57 by P smith and above references.)

          23rd              Arrived at Leyte.

                               (Note: HM Depot Ship TYNE, HM Repair Ships RESOURCE and ARTIFEX were at Leyte.)



            1st     Sailed from Leyte as part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE, HM Aircraft

                     Carriers INDOMITABLE, FORMIDABLE, VICTORIOUS and INDEFATIGABLE, HM Cruisers

                     GAMBIA, BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, URCHIN,


                     QUICKMATCH, QUALITY, KEMPENFELT, WHIRLWIND and WESSEX to join ships of US

                     Task Force 58 for joint air attacks on Sakishima Gunto group (Operation ICEBERG TWO).

            3rd    Replenished in MOSQUITO Area.

            4th    Detached with H M Destroyers GRENVILLE, URCHIN, UNDINE, URANIA and UNDAUNTED

                     as screen for HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS HOWE, HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, UGANDA

                     (RCN) and GAMBIA (RNZN) during bombardment of airfields at Miyako Shima.

                     During the bombardment the aircraft carriers of Task Force 57 were carrying out flying operations

                     some 30 miles away and came under heavy and sustained attacks including KAMIKAZE suicide


                     (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE and HMS INDOMITABLE damaged in these attacks).

                     Rejoined aircraft carriers on completion of bombardments. (See above references.)

            5th    Part of screen during air attacks by TF57 carriers deployed in rotation with US to    TF59 carriers

          24th    KAMIKAZE attacks continued. HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS FORMIDABLE were damaged.

          25th    On release from operations returned to Manus with TF57 screen.

          27th    Ships of US 5th Fleet re-designated 5th US Fleet.

                     (Note: ships of BPF were accordingly redesigned Task Force 37).


June             Passage to Sydney for R&R.

                     (Note: 25th Destroyer Flotilla - HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, URANIA, ULYSSES, URCHIN and

                            UNDINE transferred to 4th Destroyer Flotilla. These ships took passage to join joint USN/RN

                             operations off Japan.


July             Deployed in Australian waters and SW Pacific.

                    Not included in any references giving details of operations off Japan.)


August       Pacific area deployment in continuation.

     17th        Ships of BPF reverted to RN control.

                     Joined Task Unit 111.2 and took passage to Subic Bay.

          27th    Sailed from Subic Bay as part of screen for HM Aircraft carrier INDOMITABLE, HM Light Fleet

                     Carrier VENERABLE, HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, EURYALUS and BLACK PRINCE with HM

                     Destroyers KEMPENFELT, QUADRANT, WHIRLWIND and HM Auxiliary PRINCE ROBERT

                     (RCN) for passage to support reoccupation of Hong Kong.

          29th    Met HM Battleship ANSON AND HM Light Fleet Carrier VENGEANCE.

          30th    Entered Hong Kong with ships of Task Unit 111.2.


P o s t   W a r  N o t e s


HMS URSA returned to UK after re-occupation of Hong Kong and paid off into Reserve at Portsmouth during 1946. She remained there until 1952 when transferred to Chatham. The ship was selected for conversion to a Type 15 Anti-submarine Frigate and converted by Palmer shipyard  at Newcastle in 1953-54.  She re-commissioned as a Frigate in 1955 and joined the 6th Frigate Flotilla for service with the Fleet in the Mediterranean until 1959.  Although intended to re-commission after a refit this ship was reduced to Reserve in Malta. In 1961 she joined the 5th Frigate Flotilla and was damaged in a collision with HM Destroyer BATTLEAXE on 1st August 1962 during exercises in the Clyde. After she had been repaired she was deployed with the 8th Frigate Flotilla until paid off on 28th November 1966 and reduced again to Reserve status. HMS URSA was placed on the Disposal List and sold for breaking up in 1967 at Newport, Glamorgan where she arrived on 23 September 1967.



No Convoy Escort Movements Reported



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