HMS Quail (G45)

HMS Quail (G45)

HMS "Quail" was a Q class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She served during the Second World War but her career lasted less than a year before she was damaged by a mine and withdrawn from active service.

Construction and commissioning

"Quail" was ordered on 2 April 1940 to serve with the 3rd Emergency Flotilla. She was laid down on 30 September 1940 from the yards of Hawthorn Leslie & Company, Hebburn and launched on 1 June 1942. She was commissioned on 7 January 1943 having cost a total of £436,576, excluding equipment supplied by the Admiralty such as armaments, wireless and radar equipment. She was adopted by the civil community of Islington. Greater London in March 1942 following a successful Warship Week for National Savings. [http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-51Q-Quail.htm Quail's career] ]

Career

Convoy escort

After spending December 1942 undergoing contractors' trials, "Quail" was commissioned on 7 January 1943. She then took passage to join the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, where she carried out working up exercises. In February she was nominated to escort the joint military convoys WS27 and KMF10A during their passage from the Clyde. WS27 was bound for the Middle East via the Cape of Good Hope, whilst KMF10A was headed for the Mediterranean via Gibraltar. Having completed the escort duties, the naval command intended that "Quail" would join the 3rd Flotilla in the Indian Ocean. She joined Convoy WS27 in the Clyde on 27 February, along with the battleship HMS "Malaya" and the destroyers HMS "Raider", "Quadrant", "Queenborough" and "Wolverine" as the ocean escort for the convoy's passage through the Atlantic. "Quail" remained with Convoy WS27 when the ships of KMF10A were detached on 2 March to sail to Gibraltar. On 5 March HMS "Quadrant" was detached and on 8 March "Quail", "Queenborough" and "Raider" were detached from the convoy on its arrival at Freetown, Sierra Leone. They were then retained at Freetown for convoy defence, whilst the planned transfer to the Indian Ocean was cancelled to due to future requirements in support of the planned allied landings in Mediterranean.

Fleet screening

On 11 March "Quail" was deployed with "Queenborough" and "Raider" to cover the passage of convoy WS27, bound for Durban. They escorted it to Durban, arriving on 24 March when they were detached. They returned to Freetown in April, where "Quail" was nominated to return to the UK. She took passage from Freetown on 29 April in company with HMS "Quality". They arrived in the UK, and rejoined the flotilla at Scapa Flow in May. In June "Quail" was nominated to support the allied landings in Sicily (Operation Husky). She sailed for Gibraltar as part of an escort for capital ships of the Home Fleet that were also assigned to cover the landings. She deployed out of Malta and on 8 July sailed as part of a screen for the battleships HMS "Nelson", "Rodney", "Warspite" and "Valiant", the aircraft carriers HMS "Indomitable" and "Formidable" and the cruisers HMS "Aurora", "Penelope", "Cleopatra" and "Euryalus", with the destroyers HMS "Quilliam", "Queenborough", "Isis", "Faulknor", "Echo", "Intrepid", "Raider", "Eclipse", "Fury", "Inglefield", "Ilex", "Troubridge", "Tyrian", "Tumult", "Offa", the Greek "Vasilissa Olga" and the Polish ORP "Piorun" in the Western Mediterranean. They provided cover against Italian interference in the allied landings, and by 12 July the escorting destroyers were deployed on interception patrols. On 14 July "Quail" and "Quilliam" deployed with the cruisers "Cleopatra" and "Euryalus" off the east coast of Sicily.

Bombardments

"Quail" continued on these duties throughout August and on 21 August she carried out a bombardment of the Italian mainland from the Straits of Messina. Ten days later on 31 August she was part of a screen for the battleships "Nelson" and "Rodney" and the cruiser HMS "Orion" during the preliminary bombardment of the Italian coast between Reggio Calabria and Pessaro before the allied landings in Italy. "Quail" carried out bombardments and screening duties with the destroyers HMS "Offa", "Petard", "Queenborough", "Quilliam", "Tartar", "Troubridge", "Tyrian" and ORP "Piorun" in early September. On 2 September "Quail" bombarded the area south of Reggio and from 9 September to 16 September she joined other destroyers in screening the battleships "Nelson", "Rodney", "Warspite" and "Valiant", and the aircraft carriers "Illustrious" and "Formidable". They provided gunfire support off the beach head and carried out anti submarine and E-boat patrols. In October "Quail" was transferred to the Adriatic and based at Bari to support military operations and escort convoys. On 22 October she intercepted and captured an enemy merchant ship during a patrol.

Mining and sinking

On 15 November, whilst on patrol in the Adriatic, "Quail" struck a mine that had been part of a barrage laid by "U-453" on 25 October. She was beached the following day to await salvage. In December she was towed to Bari to undergo temporary repairs. She spent the period between January and April 1944 under temporary repair to allow her to make passage to Taranto for permanent repairs. She was towed to Taranto but whilst there it was arranged that she would be repaired at Malta. After further preparations, she departed under tow for Malta in May, but capsized and sank en route in the Gulf of Taranto on May 18.

On 5 June 2002 an Italian diver team led by Claudia Serpieri discovered the wreck of HMS "Quail" and filmed it. She currently lies at a depth of 90 metres. [ [http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4499.html Uboat.net] ]

References

*Colledge
* [http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-10DD-51Q-Quail.htm HMS "Quail"’s wartime career]
* [http://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/4499.html HMS "Quail" at Uboat.net]


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