Allied Warships

HMS Ardent (H 41)

Destroyer of the A class


HMS Ardent before World War Two

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassA 
PennantH 41 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered6 Mar 1928 
Laid down30 Jul 1928 
Launched26 Jun 1929 
Commissioned14 Apr 1930 
Lost8 Jun 1940 
History

HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. John Frederick Barker, RN) was sunk on 8 June 1940 while defending the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious from the German battlecruiser Gneisernau and Scharnhorst.

Two men were rescued by a German seaplane 5 days after the ship was sunk. One subsequently died in hospital leaving just one survivor, Able Seaman Roger Hooke (stationed at X-gun) who was repatriated in 1943 due to ill health.  

Commands listed for HMS Ardent (H 41)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. John Frederick Barker, RN14 Oct 19388 Jun 1940 (+)

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Notable events involving Ardent include:


4 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous (Capt. W.T. Makeig-Jones, RN) departed Plymouth for an anti-submarine patrol. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Acasta (Cdr. P.J. Oliver, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN).

At sea they were joined by HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Woodhall, RN) which attacked a submarine contact around 1915 hours near Plymouth. The contact appears to have been bogus.

The force returned to Plymouth later the same day.

9 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous (Capt. W.T. Makeig-Jones, RN) departed Plymouth for an anti-submarine patrol in the Western Approaches. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, RAN).

10 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous (Capt. W.T. Makeig-Jones, RN) and her escort; the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, RAN) arrive at Milford Haven.

Around 1030 hours a Swordfish aircraft from HMS Courageous had attacked a submarine about 280 nautical miles west of Ushant. The German submarine U-34 reported being attacked by a British aricraft at 1117 hours (Berlin time, 1017 hours British time) which dropped one bomb which caused no damage.

A second attack on a submarine was carried out 270 nautical miles west of Ushant at 1250 hours. This attack is not reported by the Germans unless it was on a submarine which did not return from patrol.

11 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous (Capt. W.T. Makeig-Jones, RN) departed Milford Haven for an anti-submarine patrol in the Western Approaches. Again she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, RAN).

14 Sep 1939
HMS Courageous (Capt. W.T. Makeig-Jones, RN) and her escort; the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, RAN) arrived at Plymouth from an anti-submarine patrol in the Western Approaches.

They had provided cover for the damaged destroyers HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. K.H. Fraser, RN) and HMS Walker (Cdr. W.J.C. Robertson, RN) which had collided late on the 11th and were both heavily damaged.

20 Sep 1939
The aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) flew off all her aircraft off Plymouth. During the flying off she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN). Upon completion of the flying off HMS Hermes and HMS Ardent returned to Plymouth while Kelly proceeded to Portland.

HMS Hermes went to the Devonport Dockyard on her return to Plymouth. (1)

21 Sep 1939
HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) escorted Convoy OA-7. Ardent took wounded from the British tanker Teakwood aboard after it was torpedoed by German U-boat U-35. Ardent accompanied damaged Teakwood back to Falmouth. (2)

4 Dec 1939

Convoy HX 11.

This convoy departed Halifax on 2 December 1939.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Aldersdale (British (tanker), 8402 GRT, built 1937), Arizona (French, 5457 GRT, built 1925), Armanistan (British, 6805 GRT, built 1937), Athelfoam (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1931), Athelviscount (British (tanker), 8882 GRT, built 1929), British Fusilier (British (tanker), 6943 GRT, built 1923), British Union (British (tanker), 6987 GRT, built 1927), Broompark (British, 5136 GRT, built 1939), Carslogie (British, 3786 GRT, built 1924), Caspia (British (tanker), 6018 GRT, built 1928), Clearpool (British, 5404 GRT, built 1935), Clunepark (British, 3491 GRT, built 1928), Comanchee (British (tanker), 6837 GRT, built 1936), Dorelian (British, 6431 GRT, built 1923), El Grillo (British (tanker), 7264 GRT, built 1922), Embassage (British, 4954 GRT, built 1935), Everleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Glenpark (British, 5136 GRT, built 1939), Gogovale (British, 4586 GRT, built 1927), Hannington Court (British, 5449 GRT, built 1939), Harlingen (British, 5415 GRT, built 1933), Hartlepool (British, 5500 GRT, built 1932), Haxby (British, 5207 GRT, built 1929), Lady Glanely (British, 5497 GRT, built 1938), Llanishen (British, 5053 GRT, built 1929), Loch Dee (British, 5252 GRT, built 1937), Manchester Exporter (British, 5277 GRT, built 1918), Manchester Spinner (British, 4767 GRT, built 1918), Nailsea Manor (British, 4926 GRT, built 1937), Parracombe (British, 4702 GRT, built 1928), Parthenia (British, 4872 GRT, built 1917), Prince Rupert City (British, 4749 GRT, built 1929), Saganaga (British, 5454 GRT, built 1935), Scottish Maden (British (tanker), 6993 GRT, built 1921), Scottish Monarch (British, 4719 GRT, built 1938), Shekatika (British, 5458 GRT, built 1936), Shirvan (British (tanker), 6017 GRT, built 1925), Sire (British, 5664 GRT, built 1938), Tilsington Court (British, 6910 GRT, built 1928), Tower Field (British, 4241 GRT, built 1935), Tregarthen (British, 5201 GRT, built 1936), Urla (British, 5198 GRT, built 1924), Varand (British (tanker), 6023 GRT, built 1927), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Wendover (British, 5487 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN), destroyers HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tisdall, RCN) and the submarines Casabianca (Capitaine de corvette (Lt.Cdr.) R.L.B. Sacaze) and Sfax (Lieutenant de vaisseau (Lt.) M.J.M. Groix).

HMCS St.Laurent and HMCS Skeena parted company with the convoy at 1610Q/5 and returned to Halifax.

HMS Hyperion parted company with the convoy on the 6th and also returned to Halifax.

HMS Ramillies parted company with the convoy around 1500OP(+2.5)/13 and returned to Halifax.

In the moring of the 16th the convoy was joined by the destroyers HMS Walpole (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr. R.F. Morice, RN). In the afternoon the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) also joined.

Casabianca and Sfax parted company with the convoy in the afternoon of the 17th.

The convoy arrived in British waters on 18 December 1939.

11 Dec 1939
Around 0830Z/11, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) departed Plymouth for trials. She is escorted by the destroyers HMS Acasta (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN).

Due to suspected enemy submarine in the area HMS Valiant could not return to Plymouth as had been intended. She went to Portland instead arriving there around 0830Z/12. The destroyers HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) had meanwhile reinforced the screen. (3)

13 Dec 1939
The battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Portland during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Acasta (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN). (3)

14 Dec 1939
Around 0830Z/14, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) departed Portland for Bermuda where she is to work-up as this is though not possible in the U.K. due to the submarine threat. On departure from Portland she is escorted by the destroyers HMS Acasta (Lt.Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN).

Around 1600Z/14, the destroyer HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) joined the escort and HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent parted company.

At 1730Z/15, the destroyer escort parted company and HMS Valiant continued her passage unescorted.

(3)

27 Jan 1940
The battleship, HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN), with £10,000,000 sterling of gold, art treasures and some passengers on board, departed Plymouth around 1300Z/27 for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She was escorted from 1700Z/27 until shortly before noon on the 28th by the destroyers HMS Whitshed (Cdr. E.R. Conder, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN). (4)

6 Feb 1940
HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, CB, RN), and her escorts, HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN), HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) departed Freetown for Plymouth.

HMS Ark Royal and the destroyers parted company around 1800/9. Ark Royal was to proceed direct to the U.K. while the destroyers were to arrive at Dakar at 0900 (GMT) on the 11th.

Around dawn at 13 February 1940, HMS Renown and HMS Exeter were joined by HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. C.F. Tower, MVO, RN).

In the morning of the 14th the destroyers HMS Whitshed (Cdr. E.R. Conder, RN), HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) joined. This was before the other destroyers (see below) joined.

Around 1030/14 four more destroyers joined, HMS Hearty (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN), HMS Wren (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN).

Around 1645/14, HMS Whitshed, HMS Vesper and HMS Acasta parted company when the merchant vessel Sultan Star was torpedoed and sunk on the horizon.

HMS Hero was detached, most likely on the 15th to Portsmouth where she was to refit.

HMS Renown, HMS Exeter, HMS Hasty, HMS Ardent, HMS Hearty, HMS Wren and HMS Wolverine arrived at Plymouth on the 15th. (5)

11 Apr 1940

Convoy NP 1.

This troop convoy departed the Clyde on 11 April 1940 for Harstad, Norway. In the end the convoy was split up and one part arrived at Harstad on 15 April. The other part arrived off Namsos on 16 April.

It was made up of the troopships Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914), Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931) and Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN).

Early in the afternoon of 12 April the troopships Batory (Polish, 14387 GRT, built 1936) and Chrobry (Polish, 11442 GRT, built 1939) departed Scapa Flow to join convoy NP 1 at sea.

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN), HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN). The netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN) also departed Scapa Flow with these ships.

Around 1600/12, the light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy at sea which they did around 1945/12.

Shortly afterwards the convoy was also joined by the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. M. Culme-Seymour, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) which had sailed from Sullom Voe around 1130/12.

Late in the evening of 12 April repair ship HMS Vindictive (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Codrington (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy which they did late in the afternoon of the 13th.

Coming south from a patrol off the Vestfjord area were the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN). These ships made rendez-vous with the convoy in the afternoon of the 13th after which HMS Repulse with the three J-class destroyers continued on towards Scapa Flow while HMS Valiant joined the convoy.

On April 14th it was decided that some of the troops were to be sent to Namsos and the convoy split up;

Troopships Chrobry and Empress of Australia escorted by the light cruisers HMS Manchester and HMS Birmingham, AA cruiser HMS Cairo and the destroyers HMS Highlander, HMS Vanoc and HMS Whirlwind split off late in the afternoon. This convoy arrived off Namsos early in the morning of the 16th.

The remainder of the ships; troopships Batory, Monarch of Bermuda, Reina del Pacifico, repair ship HMS Vindictive and netlayer HMS Protector with their escort made up of the battleship HMS Valiant and the destroyers HMS Codrington, HMS Amazon, HMS Acasta, HMS Ardent, HMS Brazen, HMS Fearless, HMS Griffin, HMS Volunteer and HMS Witherington arrived at Vaagsfjord late in the morning of the 15th. They had been escorted in by the light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN).

12 May 1940

Convoy TC 4.

This convoy of troopships departed Halifax on 12 May 1940 for Liverpool where it arrived on 21 May 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships; Antonia (British, 13867 GRT, built 1921, carrying 932 troops) and Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928, carrying 1559 troops).

Escort on departure from Halifax was provided by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN).

On passing the gate entrance HMS Revenge struck and sank the gate vessel, trawler HMCS Ypres (T/Lt. A.H. Cassivi, RCNR).

The Canadian destroyers parted company with the convoy on the 14th.

At 0555A/20, the destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN), HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) and HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN) joined the convoy.

At 2340A/20, HMS Revenge parted company with the convoy to proceed to the Clyde escorted by HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent.

The convoy and the remaining three destroyers continued on the Liverpool.

21 May 1940
HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN) arrived in the Clyde after convoy escort duty. (6)

30 May 1940
Around 0545A/30, the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN).

They arrived at Scapa Flow around 0530A/31. (7)

31 May 1940
Around 0845A/31, the aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations of northern Norway. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN), HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Ardent (Lt.Cdr. J.F. Barker, RN).

The aircraft carriers were to provide cover for the Allied withdrawal from Norway (HMS Ark Royal) and to evacuate RAF fighters (HMS Glorious, which carried therefore a reduced aircraft complement)

On 31 May, HMS Ark Royal kept up an A/S patrol throughout the day.

On 1 June, no flying operations were carried out due to the foggy weather conditions.

At 1741A/2, HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent were detached to fuel at Harstad.

On 2 June, A/S patrols were flown, in the morning by HMS Ark Royal and in the afternoon by HMS Glorious.

At 0723A/3, HMS Glorious and HMS Highlander were detached to operate independently to the north-west so as to conserve fuel until HMS Glorious was required to embark the RAF aircraft she was to evacuate.

At 1704A/3, HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent rejoined HMS Ark Royal. HMS Diana and HMS Acheron were then detached to fuel at Harstad.

On the 3rd, some Swordfish were flown off by HMS Ark Royal in the late afternoon / early evening for patrol. Also a Swordfish was flown off for a reconnaissance and weather reporting mission of the Narvik area.

Around 1200A/4, HMS Diana and HMS Acheron rejoined.

On 4th, HMS Ark Royal maintained A/S and fighter patrols throughout the day. A/S patrol was also provided for evacuation convoys.

At 1420A/5, HMS Glorious and HMS Highlander rejoined. HMS Highlander was then detached to Harstad to fuel shortly afterwards. The carriers then remained in close company, each screened by two of the destroyers, HMS Ark Royal was screened by HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent and HMS Glorious by HMS Diana and HMS Acheron.

On 5 June, only a Walrus landed on HMS Ark Royal coming from Harstad. It was flown off later again to return to Harstad. Other flying operations were cancelled due to fog. In the evening the weather cleared and flying operation were again possible. A/S and fighter patrols were flown off as was a reconnaissance Swordfish. Flying operation continued during the night of 5/6 June.

At 0940A/6, HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent were detached to fuel at Harstad.

At 1018A/6, HMS Glorious was detached escorted by the destroyer HMS Highlander which had just returned from fuelling.

On 6 June, flying operations were conducted during the entire day these included fighter patrols, A/S patrols, reconnaissance missions as well as attack missions on land targets.

At 0028A/7, HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent returned from fuelling and rejoined HMS Ark Royal. HMS Diana and HMS Acheron were then detached to fuel at Harstad.

At 1504A/7, HMS Glorious and HMS Highlander rejoined.

At 1612A/7, HMS Diana and HMS Acheron rejoinned from fuelling.

On the 7th, flying operations were conducted during the entire day these included fighter patrols, A/S patrols, reconnaissance missions as well as attack missions on land targets.

At 0103A/8, HMS Glorious acted independently to land on the RAF Gladiators and Hurricanes for transport back to the U.K. At 0253A/8, HMS Glorious parted company to return to the U.K. She took HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent with her as escorts.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/109434
  2. Personal communication
  3. ADM 53/107297 + ADM 53/107489 + ADM 53/110898
  4. ADM 53/113115
  5. ADM 53/112194
  6. ADM 53/113119
  7. ADM 53/111433

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


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