Allied Warships

HMS Pathfinder (G 10)

Destroyer of the P class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassP 
PennantG 10 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered20 Oct 1939 
Laid down5 Mar 1940 
Launched10 Apr 1941 
Commissioned13 Apr 1942 
End service 
History

HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. Thomas Frederick Hallifax, RN) was declared a constructive total loss on 11 February 1945 after being damaged by bombs from Japanese aircraft off Ramree Island, Burma. Finally scrapped in November 1948 at Milford Haven.

 
Former nameHMS Onslaught

Commands listed for HMS Pathfinder (G 10)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Edward Albert Gibbs, DSO, RN6 Jan 1942Nov 1943
2Lt.Cdr. Charles Wickham Malins, DSC, RNNov 1943Nov 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Frederick William Hawkins, RNNov 1943Dec 1943
4Lt. Thomas Frederick Hallifax, RNDec 1943ca mid 45

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Notable events involving Pathfinder include:


22 Jul 1942
HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) picks up 23 survivors from the British merchant Cortona that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-201 south of the Azores in position 32°45'N, 24°45'W.

12 Aug 1942
The Italian submarine Cobalto was rammed and sunk off Bizerta, Tunisia after being forced to surface after being depth charged by the British destroyers HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). It was Ithuriel that rammed the submarine.

3 Sep 1942
German U-boat U-162 was sunk in the mid-Atlantic north-east of Trinidad, in position 12°21'N, 59°29'W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. le Chair, RN) HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN).

21 Dec 1942
At 02.23 hours on 21 December 1942 German U-boat U-562 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy KMF-5 about 40 miles north of Oran and heard two detonations after 65 seconds and another after 5 minutes 50 seconds. However, only the ship of the convoy commodore, the British troop transport Strathallan was hit by one torpedo which struck on port side in the engine room. The explosion killed two engineer officers and two Indian crewmen on watch below, damaged the bulkhead separating the engine and boiler rooms and fractured a tank causing oil to enter the boiler room. The ship immediately developed a 15° list to port and the master ordered the nurses and troops to abandon ship in calm seas in the four motor boats, 16 lifeboats and rafts. All got away, except one lifeboat that had been damaged by the explosion and another that could not be launched due to the list. After it became clear that the ship would not sink fast, the evacuation was stopped and the troops ordered to the starboard side to help the stability. The about 1300 survivors in the boats and on rafts were picked up in the morning by the British destroyer HMS Verity (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and taken to Oran.

After two hours of work, at about 06.00 hours the British destroyer HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) took the Strathallan in tow for Oran at a speed of 5-6 knots. Shortly after midday about 2000 survivors were transferred to the British destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and taken to Oran. It appeared as though the ship could be saved as the British rescue tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR) went alongside to assist the pumping, but at 13.15 hours oil came in contact with the hot boilers and the fumes exploded, sending flames up through the funnel. The ship was soon ablaze amidships so the master ordered the ship to be abandoned. All men went aboard the tug except a skeleton crew and were then transferred to HMS Laforey because HMS Restive continued to tow the burning ship slowly towards Oran for 14 hours, but she capsized to port and sank 12 miles off Oran in position 36°01'N, 00°33'W at about 04.00 hours on 22 December.

The Strathallan had 440 crew members, 26 gunners, 248 Queen Alexandra nurses and 4408 British and American troops (among them 296 officers, some possibly of the Headquarter staff of the 1st US Army) on board. Of this number, only 6 crew members and five troops were lost.

25 Apr 1943
German U-boat U-203 was sunk south of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 55°05'N, 42°25'W, by depth charges from Swordfish aircraft off the British escort carrier HMS Biter (Capt. E.M.C. Abel Smith, RN) (Sqdn 811/L) and by the British destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN).

7 Nov 1943
HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) sink German U-boat trap GA 45 with gunfire off Amorgos, Greece.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


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