His Majesty's Ships - H.M.S. Onslow
A destroyer if 1,540 tons, completed on the Clyde in October 1941, H.M.S. Onslow in December 1942, commanded by Captain R. St. V. Sherbrooke, formed part of the escort of a convoy bound for N. Russia under Vice-Admiral R. L. Burnett. On New Year's Eve, in twilight, she and her consorts were in action with German destroyers in the Barentz Sea, within the Arctic Circle. An enemy cruiser, coming up in support, hit the Onslow with an 8-in. shell, setting her on fire, but the destroyer continued in action, and the enemy withdrew.
A signal was then made that the captain of the Onslow, who was in command of the British destroyer flotilla, had been wounded, and asking the next senior officer, Commander D. C. Kinloch, to take over this charge. Soon afterwards the action was renewed, but after a running fight lasting 12 minutes, in which shells were seen to hit the German cruiser, the latter again broke off the engagement. All the British destroyers had received damage: one, H.M.S. Achates, was sunk. Altogether this action lasted for five hours. Captain Sherbrooke, who lost the sight of one eye, was awarded the V.C. for his gallantry.
During the Normandy campaign the Onslow was present at the bombardment of Cherbourg. She also participated in the sinking of an enemy supply ship in the Bay of Biscay and in the destruction of a German convoy off the Norwegian coast in January 1945, under Rear-Admiral R. R. McGrigor (now Vice-Admiral Sir Rhoderick McGrigor), being commanded by Captain H. W. S. Browning on this occasion. It was the Onslow which escorted H.M.S. Norfolk across the North Sea when that cruiser carried King Haakon back to Norway in June 1945.