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(Kite has her own chapter)

By Mike Kemble (c) From information provided by Ray Holden, Clem Bray, Christine Chaplin, Lionel Irish, Mary Davies, Paul Masterson & Others


HMS Kite - Details of War Service

From an article by Lt-Cdr Geoff Mason RN (Rtd) contained in:

Modified BLACK SWAN-Class Sloop ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead under the 1940 Build Programme on 27th March 1941 and laid down as Job No 3467 (Yard No 1102) on 25th September 1941 She was launched by Mrs Cooper on 13th October 1942 as the 11th RN warship to carry the name, introduced in 1764 and last used by a gunboat sold in 1920. The build was completed on 1st March 1942. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil communities of Braintree and Becking in Essex.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


BISCAY 1943 - ATLANTIC  1943-44 - NORMANDY 1944 - ARCTIC 1944

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge : On a Field White, a Kite hovering Proper.

 M o t t o

Milvus ad astra volat:   'The Kite flies to the stars'

 D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e

 1 9 4 3

February Contractors trials and commissioning,
1st Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
On completion of trials and storing took passage to Tobermory.
Carried out work-up for operational service at Tobermory


Joined 2nd Support Group based at Liverpool on completion of work-up.
Deployed with Group in Support for for defence of Atlantic convoys


Supported passage of Convoy HX233 under threat from SPECHT group of U-Boats. (Note : This may have prevented significant losses as only one ship was lost)
22nd Deployed with Group in support of passage of Convoys ONS8 and HX240.
(Note : By this time the U-Boat offensive had slackened due to the availability of more escorts, better weapons and increased air cover.  For details of improved weapons and tactics used in defence of convoys see THE  BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre, U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC  (HMSO), CONVOY ESCORT COMMANDER by P Gretton, SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann).
June Transferred with Group for offensive Anti-Submarine patrols in Bay of Biscay to intercept U-Boats on passage to bases or for convoy attack operations .The ships were subjected to heavy air attacks but these operations greatly influenced the enemy policy for U-Boat transit across Bay of Biscay and in Spanish coastal waters, (Operation MUSKETRY and Operation SEASLUG - For details see CONFLICT OVER THE  BAY by N Franks and WILD SWAN by Peter C Smith.)
20th Further deployment with EG2 in Bay of Biscay supported by RAF aircraft and with cover by  HM Cruiser SCYLLA to prevent interference by German destroyers. This series of patrols was  particularly successful but were subject to attacks by air attacks including Glider bombs in later stages.

Participated in sinking of U449 in position 45.00N 11.59W with Sloops WREN,  WOODPECKER and WILD GOOSE. There were no survivors from U 449, (See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

July Under repair at Devonport.
23rd Rejoined SG2 for further Anti-Submarine operations in Bay of Biscay.

Engaged U462 and U504 by surface gunfire after the submarines had been damaged in air  attacks by Coastal Command aircraft.  (Note : U462 had been abandoned and sank. See above reference.) Participated in sinking of U504 with HM Sloops WOODPECKER, WREN and  WILD GOOSE. Submarine had dived in position 45.33N 10.47W. There were no survivors. See reference.)

August Bay of Biscay and SW Approaches patrols in continuation.
1st Rescued some survivors from U545 which had been sunk by Sunderland aircraft of 10 Squadron RAAF which had been shot down after attacking the submarine
September Returned with Group to North Atlantic convoy defence.
30th Deployed in support of passage of Convoy HX238 with aircraft cover.
13th Damaged in collision with tug ALLEGIANCE at Londonderry.
23rd On completion of repair resumed to convoy support role with Group.
24th Escorted Convoy ONS207 with HM Sloops STARLING, MAGPIE, WOODCOCK and WILD  GOOSE
25th Transferred to assist 7th Escort Group in defence of Convoy HX262 under threat of attacks by  SIEGFRIED Group of U-Boats. Air cover was available from HM Escort Carrier TRACKER.
 5th Transferred with ships of Group to support of passage of Convoy HX264 with air cover from  HMS TRACKER. Convoy was under threat from TIRPITZ group of U-Boats.

Participated in sinking of U226 in position 44.49N 41.13W with HMS STARLING and HMS  WOODCOCK. There were no survivors and convoy passed through area without interception.  See reference.

8th During passage to Argentia to refuel came under U-Boat attack.
27th Reinforced escort of Convoy MCS31/SL1UO with ships of 2nd and 4th Escort Groups with air  cover to counter threat from WEDDIGEN group of U-Boats..
 28th Drove off attacks by U843 on convoy with other escorts.
December On return from Atlantic support duties taken in hand for repair at Liverpool.


 28th Resumed convoy defence duty with Group. (Note: HM Escort Aircraft Carriers ACTIVITY and NAIRANA were also deployed with this Group in support of anti-submarine operations.)
6th Deployed in support of passage of Convoy MKS38/SL1H7(?) under threat from the IGEL group of U-Boats. Came under attack by T5 (Acoustic torpedoes) from U734 and U238. Followed HF D/F bearing and sighted U238 at 800 yards on surface 10 miles from convoy. Joined in hunt with HM Sloop MAGPIE after submarine submerged.
When HMS STARLING and HMS WILD GOOSE arrived later carried out HEDGEHOG and  'Creeping' attacks lasting 8 hours made.  Over 266 depth charges were used. U238 was sunk in position 49N 16.07W with no survivors. See reference.
Depth charge stocks were then replenished from merchant ship in Convoy HX277.
17th Deployed with 2nd Support Group and 7th Escort Group in defence of Convoy ON224 under threat from  HAI Group of U-Boats.
 19th Convoy avoided an ambush by diversion. Joined in series of attacks on U264.  (Note : The first SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boat and later sunk by HMS STARLING and HMS  WOODPECKER, but HMS WOODPECKER was sunk by a T5 torpedo in a counter-attack.)
March  Transferred to 7th Escort Group based at Greenock for convoy defence in the NW  Approaches.
 30th Damaged in collision with freighter ANNAGMORE.
1st Taken in hand for repair at Clyde shipyard
11th On completion of repair detached for escort duty in eastern Channel and North Sea based at  Sheerness.
May Deployed in Channel and North Sea. Nominated for escort duty of military convoys during Normandy landings. Allocated to 115th Escort Group (Operation NEPTUNE). (For further details of naval activities before and during this Operation see LANDINGS  IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards. and for information about all mercantiles and warships taking part D –DAY SHIPS by J de Winser.)
June Joined HM Destroyer FORESTER, HM Escort Destroyer QUORN, HM Frigates TYLER  and SEYMOUR in Escort Group 115 on formation. (Note : Convoy comprised eight Personnel Ships, three Troopships, Accommodation Ship  HMS AMBITIOUS and two Hospital Carriers.  Personnel Carriers were taking Pre-Loaded British Build-Up Division to landing area.)
 5th Escorted Convoy ETP1 with ships of Group from More to Eastern Task Force Area.
 6th Waited at Portsmouth with convoy prior to passage to beach head. Sailed as escort for re-designated Convoy EWP1.
7th Passage to Portsmouth for escort of convoys during Build-Up Phase of operation.
8th Continued NEPTUNE escort duty in Channel based at Portsmouth.
27th Retained in Channel after NEPTUNE terminated.
July Escort and support duty in continuation.
August Released from Portsmouth Command
 3rd Passage to Scapa Flow for escort of convoy to Kola Inlet with 8th Support Group.  For details of all Russian Convoy operations including names of ships involved see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield,  CONVOY ! by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
15th Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW59 with HM Destroyer KEPPEL, HM Sloops  MERMAID and PEACOCK .(Note : This convoy also included the Russian battleship ARCHANGELSK (Ex HMS  ROYAL SOVEREIGN, eight TOWN Class destroyers (Ex USN Lease Lend) and and 12 Ex USN PT Boats being transferred to Russian Navy.
20th Convoy sighted by aircraft which alerts TRUTZ group of U-boats.
21st During deployment astern of convoy hit by two torpedoes fired from U344 and sunk within one minute in position 220 miles SW of Bear Island. Only nine of ship's company were rescued by HMS KEPPEL.


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