Allied Warships

HMS Opportune (G 80)

Destroyer of the O class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassO 
PennantG 80 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Ordered3 Sep 1939 
Laid down28 Mar 1940 
Launched21 Feb 1942 
Commissioned14 Aug 1942 
End service 
History

Scrapped at Milford Haven on 25 November 1955.

 

Commands listed for HMS Opportune (G 80)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Manley Lawrence Power, OBE, RN9 Jun 194226 Sep 1942
2Cdr. John Lee-Barber, DSO, RN26 Sep 194214 Aug 1944
3Cdr. Robert Edward Dudley Ryder, VC, RN14 Aug 19444 Sep 1945
4Cdr. Colin William McMullen, DSC, RN4 Sep 1945Nov 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Opportune include:


29 Aug 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN). (1)

2 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These exercises included a practice attack on the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) and her screen of six destroyers; HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN). (2)

30 Oct 1942
' Force H ' departed Scapa Flow to participate in the landings in North Africa (Operation Torch). This force was made up of the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN).

Around 1000/31, they made rendezvous with the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and their escort of the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). These ships had departed the Clyde around 2300/30.

At 1600/2 the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar to make rendezvous with ' Force H '. They joined around 0730/4 after which HMS Argonaut, HMS Milne, HMS Martin, HMS Meteor, HMS Quality, HMS Quentin, HMAS Quiberon, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Partridge, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo and HMS Tartar, parted company to proceed to Gibraltar to fuel. These ships arrived at Gibraltar around 1430/5. Of the original screen only HMS Porcupine remained with ' Force H ' at this moment.

Around 1730/4, the light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) joined.

Around 0830/5, the destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) joined from convoy KMF 1.

around 1400/5, the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) joined. They had sailed from Gibraltar at 0700/5.

Around 1740/5, HMS Duke of York and HMS Renown parted company to fuel in the Bay of Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Panther, HMS Penn, HMS Opportune, HMS Lookout, HMS Beagle and HMS Bulldog. The remaining ships remained to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Around 2200/5, the remaining ships; HMS Nelson, HMS Victorious, HMS Formidable, HMS Bermuda, HMS Porcupine, HMS Boadicea, HMS Brilliant, HrMs Isaac Sweers, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge set course to the west to the Straits of Gibraltar.

On passing the Straits, HMS Nelson escorted by HMS Porcupine and HrMs Isaac Sweers parted company around 0420/6 and proceeded to Gibraltar. They passed through the gate around one hour later.

6 Nov 1942
On 6 November 1942, ' Force H ' was (re)assambled at sea to the east of Gibraltar to provide cover during the landings in North-Africa.

Around 0430/6, the aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), destroyers HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN), HMS Farndale (Cdr. D.P. Trentham, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN) entered the Mediterranean.

They were then joined by ships coming from Gibraltar (Bay), these were the battleships HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.E. Creasy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, RN), HMS Martin (Cdr. C.R.P. Thomson, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN), HMAS Quiberon (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Partridge (Lt.Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSC, OBE, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, DSO, RN), HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, DSO, RN).

HMS Boadicea, HMS Brilliant, HMS Avon Vale, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge were then detached to Gibraltar where they arrived around 0615/6.

Around 0900/6, the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) joined.

The orders for ' Force H ' were to support the Eastern (Algiers) and Centre Task Forces (Oran) and their follow-up convoys (TE and TF) agains seaborne attack by Vichy-French or Italian Mediterranean Fleets. ' Force H ' was not to proceed eastwards of 04°30'E except to engage the enemy. Unless strong enemy forces were reported to be at sea, HMS Rodney, escorted by HMS Beagle, HMS Boreas, HMS Bulldog were to join the Centre Task Force at 0600/8. HMS Bermuda might also be detached but to join the Eastern Task Force. ' Force H ' was to refuel from ' Force R ' at sea if necessary, but if the military situation permitted, it would withdraw to the westward to refuel, possibly at Oran about 13 November, in immediate readiness for further operations. Force R ' was made up of the RFA tankders Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, master R.T. Duthie) and Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, master D.B.C. Ralph). Escort was provided by the corvette HMS Coreopsis (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Davies, RNVR) and four A/S trawlers, HMS Arctic Ranger (Skr. J.F. Banks, RNR), HMS Imperialist (T/Lt. A.R.F. Pelling, RNR), HMS Loch Oskaig (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR) and HMS St. Nectan (Lt. J.B. Osborne, RANVR).

Around 1730/7, ' Force H ' was attacked by enemy aircraft in position 37°46'N, 02°52'E. HMS Panther was near missed and sustained damage. She had to return to Gibraltar, first steaming only 6 knots but later this could be increased to 14 knots. En-route she sighted an enemy submarine in position 37°46'N, 02°12'E and forced it to dive. This was U-458 which fired two torpedoes but apparently these were not sighted by the British. HMS Panther arrived at Gibraltar in the afternoon of November 8th.

At 1810/7, HMS Rodney, HMS Beagle, HMS Boreas and HMS Bulldog parted company with ' Force H ' to join the Centre Task Force. HMS Bermuda appeared to also have parted company around this time.

' Force H ' and the fuelling force, ' Force R ', cruised in the area of Algiers until 1830/8 when ' Force H ' turned north. It turned back at midnight when in position 39°00'N, 02°29'E and patrolled off Algiers again during the 9th. During the night of 9/10 November it steamed eastwards at 60 miles from the North-African coast, turning back 30 miles to the east of Bougie at midnight.

Shortly before 0300/10 (0252/10 according to German sources and 0258/10 according to British sources) the destroyer HMS Martin was torpedoed and sunk in position 37°53'N, 03°57'E by the German submarine U-431. 161 officers and ratings lost their lives. 4 Officers and 59 ratings were picked up by HMS Quentin.

By noon on 10 November ' Force H ' was in position 37°08'N, 01°36'E, between Algiers and Tenez, with ' Force R ' close at hand. From then onwards ' Force H ' patrolled 60 miles from the coast between Algiers and Cape Tenez.

' Force H ' was joined around 0630/12 by HMS Rodney and her destroyer screen now made of of the escort destroyersHMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge.

Late in the evening of the 11th the destroyers HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Capt. W. Harmsen, RNN) departed Gibaltar to join ' Force H '. Before joining they fuelled from ' Force R ' in the evening of the 12th. They had been ordered to remain with ' Force R ' during the night to reinforce its escort and then join ' Force H ' after dawn on the 13th. However before the joined, HrMs Isaac Sweers was torpedoed and sunk by U-431, so only HMS Porcupine joined ' Force H ' early on the 13th.

At 0615/14 ' Force H ' split up to return to Gibraltar; HMS Duke of York, HMS Formidable, HMS Bermuda, HMS Argonaut, HMS Sirius, HMS Eskimo, HMS Ashanti, HMS Tartar, HMS Opportune, HMS Partridge, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and HMS Porcupine arrived at Gibraltar around 0130/15.

HMS Rodney, HMS Renown, HMS Victorious, HMS Milne, HMS Meteor, HMS Quality, HMS Quentin, HMS Quiberon, HMS Lookout, HMS Calpe, HMS Farndale and HMS Puckeridge formed the other group. They were joined at 0630/15 by HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, RN) and HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN). They returned to Gibraltar around 1800/15 but HMS Rodney was not able to berth and had to steam up and down in Gibraltar Bay until late in the evening when she anchorded there. The destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn, HMS Opportune and HMS Tartar were sent out to patrol to the seaward of the Bay.

11 Dec 1942
Around 0900 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) joined HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) which were also out on exercises.

Around 1200 hours, HMS Penelope parted company with these ships and then joined HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) for exercises until returning to Scapa Flow in the evening. (3)

30 Mar 1943
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN). (4)

12 May 1943
German U-boat U-456 was almost certainly sunk in an diving accident on 12 May, 1943 in the North Atlantic, in position 46°39'N, 26°54'W, while facing the British destroyer HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN) after being badly damaged by a Fido homing torpedo from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 86/B).

24 Jun 1943
During the morning, HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. J.G. Hopkins, RN), carries out A/S exercises with HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN).

During the afternoon A/S exercises were carried out with HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN). (5)

2 Aug 1943
HMS Stoic (Lt. P.B. Marriott, DSO, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with (at least) HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN). (6)

23 Nov 1943
Around 1645/23, HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN), departed Alexandria to return to the UK. On departure from Alexandria she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN), HMS Ulster (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN).

On the 25th HMS Echo was detached to Malta.

Around 1100/26, HMS Renown, HMS Grenville, HMS Ulster and HMS Rocket, arrived at Algiers.

Around 0030/27, HMS Renown departed Algiers for Gibraltar. She was now escorted by the destroyers HMS Grenville, HMS Ulster and HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSO, DSC, RN). They arrived at Gibraltar around 2100/27.

HMS Renown departed Gibraltar for Rosyth around 2245/27 now escorted by HMS Rocket, HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Ulster.

Around 1445/29, HMS Rocket, HMS Tumult and HMS Ulster parted company after HMS Janus (Lt.Cdr. W.B.R. Morrison, RN) and HMCS Athabascan (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Stubbs, RCN) had joined.

Around 1115/1, HMS Janus and HMCS Athabascan parted company.

Around 2000/2, HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) and HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) joined.

HMS Renown, HMS Meteor and HMS Opportune arrived at Rosyth around 1200/3. (7)

3 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN). (8)

23 Mar 1944
HMS Ursula (Lt. A.G. Davies, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN) and HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN). (9)

11 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Speedy (A/Lt.Cdr. W.L.G. Dutton, RNR). (10)

20 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Ulysses (Lt.Cdr. R.J. Hanson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN) and HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN).

Upon completion of these exercises HMS Voracious departed Scapa Flow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Sardonyx (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E. Playne, RNVR). (10)

2 Oct 1944
HMS Malaya (Cdr. D.H. Fuller, RN) departed Rosyth for the Clyde, she was escorted by HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN) and HMS Opportune (Cdr. R.E.D. Ryder, VC, RN).

At 1853/3, HMS Lapwing (Cdr.(Retd.) E.C. Hulton, RN) and HMS Fowey (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR) took over from the detroyers.

At 1700/4, HMS Malaya arrived in Loch Striven. (11)

15 Jan 1945
HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Opportune (Cdr. R.E.D. Ryder, VC, RN), HMS Cavendish (Cdr. R.H. Maurice, DSO, RN) and HMS Cavalier (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, RN). (12)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/17240
  2. ADM 173/17241
  3. ADM 53/116431
  4. ADM 173/17792
  5. ADM 173/18284
  6. ADM 173/18113
  7. ADM 53/118436
  8. ADM 173/18214
  9. ADM 173/19314
  10. ADM 173/19434
  11. ADM 53/119849
  12. 2.12.03.7152 (Dutch Archives, The Hague)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


Return to the Allied Warships section



As an Amazon Associate uboat.net earns a commission from qualifying purchases.