HMS ACASTA HISTORY

1928

August
13th - Laid down.

1929

August
8th - Launched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1930

February 
Contractors trials
11th - Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
14th - Commissioned for service in 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet. 
March 
On completion of Acceptance Trials and work-up prepared for foreign service.
April

Passage to Mediterranean to join Flotilla in Malta.
May to December
Deployed with Flotilla for exercises and took part in Fleet visits programme.

 

1931

January to February 
Flotilla duties based in Malta.
March to April
Took part in joint Home and Mediterranean Fleet exercises at Gibraltar. 
May to September
Resumed Flotilla duties in Malta and took part in Fleet Exercise and visits programme. 
October to December
Flotilla duties based in Malta.

1932

January to July
Deployed with Flotilla for exercises and Fleet visits programme.

August 
Passage to UK to Pay-off and refit. 
30th - Paid-off and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. 
September
Under refit. 
October
Post refit Harbour Trials and commissioned for service in 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet. 
November
On completion of trials and work-up prepared for foreign service.
December
Resumed Flotilla duties in Malta. 

 

1933

January to October
Deployed with Flotilla and took part in joint exercises with Home Fleet and Mediterranean Fleet exercise and visits Programme including Fleet Regatta. 
November
Passage to Gibraltar 
24th - Commenced Routine docking and maintenance by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar. 
December 
20th - Resumed Flotilla duties on completion. 

 

1934

January to May
Flotilla duties based in Malta in continuation. Took part in Spring Fleet Programme and exercises with Home Fleet.
June 
12th - Damaged in collision with HM Destroyer CODRINGTON during exercises off Malta. (Note: HMS CODRINGTON was Leader of 3rd Destroyer Flotilla).
25th - Under repair by HM Dockyard Malta. 
July 
27th - On completion of repair and sea trials resumed Flotilla duties. 
August to December
Deployed with Flotilla for exercises and visits. 

 

1935

January to March
Flotilla duties including Spring Fleet visits and joint exercises with Home Fleet at Gibraltar. 
April

Passage to UK to Pay-off and refit. 
29th - Paid off and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. 
May to June 
Under refit 
July to August
HMS Acasta was re-commissioned on 23 July 1935 at Devonport for service in the Mediterranean with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla (3 DF), Mediterranean Fleet ; Lt Cdr Dowler assumed Command vice Woodall.  Before the re-commissioning day, Acasta had undergone sea trials, made a six day visit to Swanage and was then at Spithead for the Jubilee Fleet Review by King George V on 16 and 17 July 1935. 3 DF arrived at Gibraltar on 3 August 1935 for a three week work-up period (Achates and Acheron remained in the UK).  The Italo-Abyssian crisis in the eastern Med meant that the 3 DF was dispatched to Malta on 26 August 1935 where over 48 hours the ships embarked their war stores and then proceeded to Alexandria and the eastern Med where the flotilla remained until 18 July 1936.  However, during this period the flotilla was scattered between Haifa, Alexandria and the Suez ports.  Acasta split her time between Haifa and Alexandria and took part in flotilla and fleet manoevures from both bases.  
September to December
Deployed with Flotilla for exercises and visits. 

1936

January to May
Flotilla duties in continuation including Fleet exercises and visits.
June to December 
Flotilla duties in continuation including Non-intervention Patrol and Humanitarian aid to refugees after outbreak of civil war in Spain. 

 

1937

January to April
Deployed with Flotilla for patrol and civil aid in western Mediterranean. Nominated for Long Refit in UK. 
May
Passage to UK to Pay-off and refit. 
June 
1st - Paid-off and taken in hand for Long Refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. 
July to December
Under refit (Note: Fitted with Anti-Submarine detection equipment (ASDIC/Sonar). 

 

1938

January to March
Under refit. Nominated for service in 7th Destroyer Flotilla in Home waters. 
April
Harbour trials and prepared for service. 
11th - Refit completion and commissioned for service. 
15th - Post refit sea trials and shakedown. 
May
On completion of work-up commenced duties with Flotilla. 
June  to October
Deployed in Home waters for exercises and visits (Note: Some of this period was spent in SW Approaches).
October
Deployment for Non-Intervention and interception of shipping on passage to or from Spanish port to be confirmed. 
November 
3rd - Under repair and refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. 
December 
Repair and refit in continuation. 

 

1939

January

Nominated for duty as Emergency Destroyer at Plymouth on completion. 
17th - Resumed operational service at Plymouth. 
February

Deployed at Plymouth for training and Emergency Destroyer duty/Nominated for special duty at Barrow. (Note: HM Destroyers CODRINGTON, ACHATES and ARDENT of this Class and previously in 3rd Flotilla with an older destroyer HMS BROKE were also deployed at Plymouth for Local duties). 
March 
2nd - Assisted Vickers-Armstrong Ltd during Trials of Argentinean cruiser LA ARGENTINA which commenced sea trials in January. (Note: This assistance is recorded as being associated with underwater detection equipment and it may be assumed that this RN destroyer acted as consort during sea trials). 
13th - Returned to duties at Plymouth. 
April to July
Deployment at Plymouth in continuation. 
August
Took up allocated War Station allocated with 18th Destroyer Flotilla for convoy defence in Channel based at Plymouth. Prepared for war service. 
(Note: Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches Command was established as part of mobilisation and was based at Plymouth). 
Details of War Service
September
Deployed in Channel for convoy defence and anti-submarine patrol. Part of escort for HM Battleship RENOWN during passage to Clyde from Portsmouth to rejoin Fleet after modernisation at Portsmouth. 
October to November
Channel and SW Approaches deployment in continuation. 
December
Nominated for transfer to Liverpool 
(Note: Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches moved from Plymouth to Liverpool). 
20th - Under refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. 
(Note: This may have been part of preparations for Atlantic deployment). 

 

1940

January 
5th - Took passage to Liverpool on completion of sea trials. After briefing in latest requirements of C-in-C commenced deployment for Atlantic convoy defence. 
31st - Deployed with escort for HM Cruiser AJAX during passage into Plymouth on return from GRAF SPEE action in Battle of River Plate. 
February to March
Atlantic escort duties in continuation. 
April 
10th - Nominated for transfer to Home Fleet in 1st Destroyer Flotilla. Took passage to Scapa Flow to join Home Fleet. 
13th - Deployed with HM Destroyers CODRINGTON and ARDENT as screen for HM Battleship VALIANT and HM Cruiser VINDICTIVE providing cover for passage of military convoy NP1 in NW Approaches. 
(Note: For details see The Naval Staff History, Naval Operations off Norway 1940, NARVIK by D Macintyre and THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams). Convoy identified as NP1 was taking troops for landings in Narvik (Operation RUPERT/R4).
15th - On release from NP1 deployed for convoy escort and support of military operations in Norway. 
May

Norwegian deployment in continuation.
10th - Part of escort for damaged HM Cruiser PENELOPE during initial stage of passage from Skelfjord to UK for repair after hitting submerged rock. 
(Note: Escort for HMS PENELOPE for North Sea passage included HM Cruisers COVENTRY and CALCUTTA, HM Destroyers CAMPBELL, ISIS, WITCH and ZULU). 
31st - Deployed with HM Destroyers HIGHLANDER, DIANA, ARDENT and ACHERON as escort for HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and GLORIOUS during passage from Clyde to provide air cover during evacuation of troops from Norway (Operation ALPHABET). 
June 
2nd - Detached from escort to refuel at Harstad. On completion took passage to join HMS GLORIOUS as escort. 
8th - Remained as escort for HMS GLORIOUS with HMS ARDENT when cover operation ended and took passage to UK. Under fire from German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU. Laid protective smoke screen to protect British units and engaged enemy ships whilst making a torpedo attack. Four torpedoes fired, one of which hit SCHARNHORST abreast the after 11in Turret, causing flooding and the disabling of her armament. During heavy return fire from secondary armament sustained several hits including one in Engine Room. Sank in position 68.45N 04.30E with only one survivor, Leading Seaman, Cyril G Carter who later described his experiences in his book The Man Who Hit The Scharnhorst.

Convoy Escort Movements of HMS Acasta
 

 


 

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