Allied Warships

HMS Relentless (H 85)

Destroyer of the R class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassR 
PennantH 85 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
OrderedMay 1940 
Laid down20 Jun 1941 
Launched15 Jul 1942 
Commissioned30 Nov 1942 
End service 
History

Reconstructed as Type 15 frigate during 1949-1951.

Scrapped in 1971.

 

Commands listed for HMS Relentless (H 85)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Augustus Fell, RN19 Oct 194218 Sep 1944
2Lt.Cdr. George Baillie Barstow, RN18 Sep 194428 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Relentless include:


16 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (1)

17 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). (1)

19 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) (1)

22 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN). (1)

23 Dec 1942
HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and RHS Adrias. (1)

22 Sep 1943
HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) picks up 34 survivors of the American merchant Cornelia P. Spencer that was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by German U-boat U-188 about 300 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in position 02°08'N, 50°10'E.

12 Feb 1944
HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) intercepts the German tanker Charlotte Schliemann (7747 GRT) in the Indian Ocean in position 23°23'S, 74°37'E. However before the German ship can be captured, she is scuttled by her own crew.

8 Mar 1944

Operation Initial.

Sweep into the Bay of Bengal to show force in that area and also to provide training for the Fleet.

The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN and flagship of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN and second in command of the Eastern Fleet), battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN), and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.J. Buchanan DSO, RAN), HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN), HMAS Nepal (Cdr. F.B. Morris, RAN) departed Trincomalee.

They were later followed by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN).

In the afternoon, a full programme of practices was carried out, including 15" and 6" full calibre firings at battle practice targets and also AA firing practices for all types of close range weapons.

HMS Illustrious flew off No.847 Squadron (9 Barracudas) to China Bay aerodrome and embarked No.1830 Fighter Squadron, making her complement No.810, 1830 and 1833 Squadrons, a total of 12 Barracudas and 27 Corsairs. At 1630/8 the fleet was formed as a unit, W/T silence enforced and course set for the northward.

Early on 11 March, during night exercises a serious accident on the flight deck of HMS Illustrious occured. A Corsair fighter crashed into the port barrier stanchion and almost immediately burst into flames. There was a serious petrol fire in which two officers and two ratings were killed and several others badly burned. The fire took an hour to extinguish and wrecked Port no.2 pom pom mount.

Five aircraft that were in the air at the time were ordered to land at Madras. HMAS Quickmatch picked up a badly burned officer from the sea and was sent to Madras with him.

During the day (11th), W/T silence was broken, in accordance with the Commander in Chief’s orders, in the hope that the transmissions might be picked up by the enemy, thus indicating that our units were operating in the Bay of Bengal.

In the evening (11th), HMS Ceylon was detached to the Palk Straits to carry out oiling trials by the double trough method with the RFA tanker Arndale. These trials were unsuccessful.

The Fleet returned to Trincomalee on March 12th. (2)

27 Mar 1944
At 0830 hours HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) and the US troopship USS Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) made rendez-vous with the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) which then took over the escort of the troopship to Bombay. HMS Sussex then set course for Colombo. (3)

31 Mar 1944
The US troopship Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) arrived at Bombay with her escorts; the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

10 Jun 1944

Operation Councillor.

Simulated raid towards the Sabang area to give the enemy the impression that an air attack on Sabang was to take place in the morning of June 12th.

This operation took place at the same time as US operations in the Marianas.

On 10 June 'Force 68' departed Trincomalee. For this occasion 'Force 68' was made up of the following warships: aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), escort carrier HMS Atheling (Capt. R.I. Agnew, OBE, RCN), light cruisers HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN).

In order not to have to approach the coast to much the submarine Surf transmitted a signal by W/T in the evening of June 11th to simulate that the force was closing Sabang.

Flying practices were carried out throughout. On 11 June two aircraft from HMS Illustrious were lost due to accidents.

The whole force returned to Trincomalee in the afternoon of 13 June. (2)

19 Jun 1944

Operation Pedal.

Air strikes against Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

On 19 June 1944, ' Force 60 ' deaparted Trincomalee. It was made up of the following warships: battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), battleship Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) and HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN).

The submarines HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed on air/sea rescue duties.

At dawn on 21 June, ' Force 60 ' was in the flying off position, about 95 miles to the west of Port Blair.

At 0530/21, an air striking force of 15 Barracudas escorted by 16 Corsairs was flown off followed by a separate fighter striking force of 8 Corsairs.

They were to attack the following targets near Port Blair;
Parked aircraft on the two enemy airfields were to be attacked by the fighter striking force.
Shipping in the harbour was to be attacked by the air striking force. Also targets on Ross Island, the Chatham Island saw mills, the seaplane base at Phoenix Bay and military installations in Aberdeen harbour.

Two Barracudas returned to HMS Illustrious with engine trouble before they could attack their targets.

Surprise appears to have been almost complete. Weather was poor though.

The total bomb load taken over the target area was 26 500lb bombs and 26 250lb bombs. 3 Bombs failed to release. Another 3 were released set at safe. 4 were jettisoned in the sea. The remaining 42 fell in the target area, of which 17 were seen to hit the selected targets.

The following results were reported:
2 - 500lb and 1 - 250lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 500lb bomb on the power house on Ross Island.

2 - 250lb and 3 - 500lb bombs in the saw mills at Chatham Island.

1 - 500lb bomb on workshops and 4 more bombs in close proximity of the sea-plane base in Phoenix Bay.

2 - 500lb bombs on the barracks and 1 - 250lb bomb on the motor transport yard in the Aberdeen harbour area.

2 single engined enemy aircraft were set on fire at Port Blair main airfield. No enemy aircraft were see on the secondary landing strip.

Mount August radar station was completely destroyed and Mount Harriet radar station and tower were damaged by Corsairs.

4 aircraft had been hit by AA fire but were able to return to HMS Illustrious.

1 Barracuda was lost over the target area, the crew must be considered lost. 1 Corsair crahed into the sea on return. The pilot was picked up after having bailed out just in time.

A total of 57 aircraft had been embarked in HMS Illustrious for this operation. At one time 51 aircraft were in the air at the same time.

After landing on the aircraft, ' Force 60 ' withdrew to the westward at high speed during 21 June. No enemy aircraft approached the force throughout this operation.

' Force 60 ' returned to Trincomalee in the morning of 23 June 1944. (2)

4 Jul 1944
During 4/5 July 1944, HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN), conducted exercises together with the British light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN) and the New Zealand light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN). Later the British destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) also joined. (4)

22 Jul 1944

Operation Crimson.

Carrier raid and surface bombardment against Sabang, Netherlands East Indies by the Eastern Fleet.

On 22 July 1944 the Eastern Fleet put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon. The ships that participated in this sortie were the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN and flagship of Admiral Somerville, CinC Eastern Fleet), HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), Richelieu (Capt. Merveilleux du Vignaux), battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral A.J. Power, KCB, CVO, RN, second in command of the Eastern Fleet), aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. S.M. Raw, CBE, RN), HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN), HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, DSC, RN), HMS Roebuck (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. R.G. Onslow, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. the Viscount Jocelyn, RN) HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN).

The British submarines HMS Templar (Lt. T.G. Ridgeway, RN) and HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) were deployed for air/sea rescue duties.

In the early hours of the 25th the carriers, HMS Illustrious and HMS Victorious, separated from the fleet under the escort of HMS Phoebe, HMS Roebuck and HMS Raider, and launched a total of 34 fighter aircraft to attack airfields in the area (18 Corsairs from HMS Illustrious and 16 Corsairs from HMS Victorious). One Corsair fighter was damaged by AA fire from the enemy and crashed into the sea, the pilot was picked up by HMS Nigeria. Five other Corsairs were damaged by AA fire but managed to return to the carriers. Two of these could be repaired on board, the other three were too badly damaged for effective repairs.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Valiant, Richelieu, battlecruiser HMS Renown, heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland, light cruisers HMS Nigeria, HMS Kenya, HMS Ceylon, HMNZS Gambia and the destroyers HMS Rotherham, HMS Relentless, HMS Racehorse, HMS Rocket and HMS Rapid then commenced a bombardment of the Sabang area. They fired a total of 294 - 15", 134 - 8", 324 - 6", ca. 500 - 4.7" and 123 - 4" shells.

Then the Dutch cruiser HrMs Tromp entered Sabang Bay, her rightful waters, with the destroyers HMS Quilliam, HMS Quality and HMAS Quickmatch. In all these four ships fired a total of 8 Torpedos and 208 - 6", 717 - 4.'7" and 668 x 4" shells. Japanese shore batteries obtained 4 hits on the Tromp while Quilliam and Quality were both hit once. The hit by what was thought to be a 3” shell on Quilliam caused minor structural damage but killed one petty officer and wounded four ratings. Quality was hit by what is thought to be a 5” shell which hit the tripod foremast and HA director. One war correspondent was killed and one officer and eight retings were wounded, some of them seriously. Tromp was hit by two 5” and two 3” shells but was lucky that none of these exploded !!!, she suffered only minor structural damage and no deaths or even wounded amongst her crew !

Later that day 13 fighters from the carriers intercepted a Japanese counter attack with 10 aircraft. 7 of these were shot down for no losses of their own.

The fleet arrived back at Trincomalee on 27 July. (5)

21 Nov 1944
Shortly after 1400 hours, HMS Thule (A/Lt.Cdr. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, DSC, RN), makes a rendezvous with HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN) in position 07°04'N, 91°00'E. A doctor as transferred to Thule. He concludes that there is no cholera on board but due to the large number of sick men aboard Thule it is decided to proceed to Trincomalee. (6)

22 Dec 1944
HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Sea Scout (Lt. J.W. Kelly, RN) both conducted exercises off Trincomalee. A/S exercises and practice attacks were conducted with HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN). (7)

12 Jul 1945
During 12/13 July 1945, HMS Ceylon (Capt. K.L. Harkness, DSC, RN), HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Barstow, RN), conducted exercises off Trincomalee. These included night exercises. (8)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6397 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/1388
  3. ADM 53/120589
  4. File 2.12.03.6854 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4622 (British National Archives, Kew, London)
  6. ADM 199/1867
  7. ADM 173/18826
  8. ADM 53/121091 + ADM 53/121110

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


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