Nene K270 - British Operations
British Operations (ends March 1944, whereupon the Royal Canadian Navy took command)
H.M.S. NENE was an anti-submarine frigate of the River Class, built and engineered by the Smith's Dock Company, (South Bank on Tees), Middleborough, England, approximately 30 miles south of Newcastle on Tyne. Ordered under the 1941 programme on January 24, 1942, she was laid down on June 20, 1942, launched on December 9, 1942, commissioned on March 29, 1943 and completed on April 8, 1943.
The Nene was commissioned at the Port of Middlesbrough on April 4, 1943 with the Reverends J. R. Precious and W J. Haig-Brown presiding. The dedication service began with a Hymn "Fight the Good Fight", followed by the Psalm " They that go down to the sea in ships" and prayers for the ship. The Act of Dedication and Blessing was as follows:
After work up NENE arrived at Londonderry to join the Western Approaches Command on May 3, 1943. Later that month she was temporarily allocated on loan to the Royal Canadian Navy and made the Atlantic crossing escorting Convoy ONS 7. She arrived at St. John's Newfoundland on June 3rd to join the RCN Support Force based there, but continued to be manned by the R.N.
The following signal was sent to the C in C Western Approaches from Admiralty:
In the early hours of July 2, 1943, the SS EMPIRE IBEX, in convoy HX 245, was badly damaged in a collision with the SS EMPIRE MACPHALPINE. The NENE was detailed to stand by the EMPIRE IBEX, which was later abandoned 720 miles north east of St. John's. A search by the NENE was undertaken, however the merchant ship sank on July 3rd.
Throughout August 1943 the NENE took an active part in operations "Musketry" - a series of U-boat sweeps in the Bay of Biscay. During one of these, on August 25th, she was attacked by JU 88 aircraft equipped with a radio controlled glider bomb but suffered no damage.
In September 1943 the NENE joined the 5th RCN Escort Group (EG5), Western Approaches Command and formed part of the escort of convoy HX 257. On April 19th, 1943, the NENE while escorting convoy SL 139 MKS 30 sighted a U-boat on the surface, which it chased, illuminated and was made to dive by gunfire. Once the U-boat submerged the NENE in company with the corvette HMCS Snowberry proceeded to stalk her.
The fifth attack at 0118 on 20th November, brought the U-boat 536 to the surface and she was then engaged with gunfire by NENE, SNOWBERRY and the corvette HMCS CALGARY. The U-boat was seen to sink, just north of the Azores, at 0247 hours and the U-boat commanding officer Kapitanleutant Rolf Schauenburg, two other officers and fourteen ratings were rescued by the NENE and made prisoners of war.
In December 1943 the NENE was reallocated to the 6th RCN Escort Group (EG6) and continued to be employed on North Atlantic convoy escort duties. In January 1944 she was involved in operation "Stonewall", a series of anti-submarine sweeps in the Bay of Biscay. In the first of these, on 7th January, the frigate HMS TWEED was torpedoed and sank off Bordeaux by U-305, and the NENE rescued survivors.
In February 1944 the NENE became its Senior Officer's ship and took part in anti-submarine operations off the west of Ireland. On February 24th she attached U-257, which was sunk later that day after a five hour hunt by the frigate HMCS WASKESIU, 940 miles west of St. Nazaire. The NENE picked up one officer and 14 ratings who were made prisoners of war. More recently, for the Memory Project. Arthur Wall recorded an account of the attack from his ship, WASKESIU: http://www.thememoryproject.com/Stories/Veteran-Profile.aspx?itemid=3261
Here are two newspaper accounts (one from 1944 and another from 1999) of the sinking of U-257, in which the Nene played a role.
Source: Nene Lives: ed. Ken Riley, 1993; pg 19 - 23
Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: November 30, 2002