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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS JERSEY (F 72) -  J-class Destroyer

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Jersey (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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J-Class Destroyer ordered from J S White at Cowes on 25th March 1937 under the 1936 Build Programme and laid down on 26th September 1937. The ship was launched on 26th September 1938 as the 6th RN ship to carry the name, first used in 1654 and lastly by a cutter sold in 1873. Build was completed on 28th April 1939 and she commissioned for service in the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field White, upon water in base barry wavy Blue and White

 in front a trident Cules erect a Lion passant guardant Or.



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


1 9 3 9


April                       Contractors Trials

                28th        Commenced Acceptance Trials.


May                        Passage to Portland on completion of trials

                22nd       Began Work-up for operational service.


June                        Work-up in continuation.



                9th          Passage to Jersey on completion of work-up

                10th        Visited Jersey.

                15th        Return passage to Portsmouth.



                10th        Passage to Scapa Flow to join Flotilla.

                12th        Joined Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                15th        Took part in Fleet exercises in Atlantic with French warships in preparation for war with


                                On completion returned to Scapa Flow

                                Allocated war station with Humber Force.



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


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)




                1st           Deployed with HM Cruisers GLASGOW and SOUTHAMPTON and destroyers JERVIS,

                                JAVELIN and JACKAL to intercept enemy shipping sweeping off the Norwegian coast.

                4th          Intercepted German freighter JOHANNES MOLKENBUR east of Orkneys and

                                embarked crew and passengers after enemy ship scuttled when sighted.

                6th          Landed enemy personnel at Kirkwall

                7th          Joined Humber Force at Immingham

                17th        Routine docking at Chatham

                21st         Deployed as part of screen for HM Cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and GLASGOW

                                during interception patrol in North Sea.

                22nd       Involved in collision with sister ship HMS JAVELIN and sustained structural damage.

                                Operation cancelled and ship escorted to Leith for repair.

                                (Note: HMS JAVELIN was escorted to Tyne.)

                23rd        Under repair in commercial shipyard.



                9th          Repair completed.

                14th        New propeller fitted

                16th        Resumed Flotilla duties on completed of refit.

                                (Note: Propeller change may have been carried out by HM Dockyard Rosyth.)

                                Passage to Scapa Flow for Home Fleet duty.

                18th        Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, COSSACK and MAORI as screen for HM

                                Battlecruiser REPULSE during search in NW Approaches for commerce raider.

                23rd        Carried out search for American mercantile CITY OF FLINT which had been captured

                                by German commerce raider. During this deployment carried out in heavy weather

                                one of ship’s company was lost overboard.

                27th        Resumed service with Humber Force at Immingham after release from Home Fleet duty.

                29th        Sailed from Grimsby with HM Destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, JUNO, JUPITER and

                                JACKAL to carry out offensive sweep to intercept enemy shipping off Dutch coast and

                                returned to Humber. (Operation AG)



                8th          Deployed with HM Destroyers KEITH, JERVIS, KEITH, Polish destroyers ORP

                                BURZA, ORP BLYSKAWICA and ORP GROM to reinforce the escort of

                                northbound convoy FN33 which was perceived to be under threat of air attack after

                                enemy air surveillance

                9th          On release returned to Humber.

                14th        Joined southbound convoy FS36 with HM Cruiser CALCUTTA and HMS JAGUAR to

                                provide additional support during passage to Southend.

                                On release returned to Humber

                20th        Joined HMS WHITLEY, HMS WALLACE and HM Sloop STORK to supplement

                                escort of northbound Convoy FN39 during passage to Methil in North Sea.

                                Detached and returned to Humber.

                21st         Deployed for patrol BT2 in North Sea with HM Destroyers JUNO, JAGUAR and JANUS.


December              Docked for repair in Immingham.

                2nd         Deployed with HMS JAGUAR to investigate report by aircraft of sighting of five Danish

                                fishing craft 90 miles east of Flamborough Head.

                6th          Carried out search for German destroyers in North Sea with HMS JUNO.

                7th          In action with German HANS LODY and ERICH GEISE had been laying

                                mines near Haisborough Light and hit by torpedo which caused fire and

                                extensive damage.

                                Ten of ship’s company lost their lives and 13 other were injured.

                                Disabled ship taken in tow by HMS JUNO and joined by HMS JACKAL as cover

                9th          Docked at Immingham in Humber Graving Dock for temporary repair.

                                (Note: HM Destroyer JANUS, also in the Humber, did not depart until the visibility improved.

                                Tug YORKSHIREMAN (251 tons) later took over JERSEY tow to Immingham.)


1 9 4 0



                7th          Undocked and taken to Amos and Smith shipyard, Hull for permanent repair work.


February                Under repair in Hull.





                24th        Post repair trials on completion of shipyard work.


October                  Post repair harbour trials

                10th        Completed sea trials

                11th        During passage to rejoin Flotilla a Plymouth detonated mine near East Knob Buoy

                                and sustained damage to hull and some equipment.

                                (Note: Flotilla had been re-deployed to Plymouth Command because of threat posed

                                by arrival of German destroyers at Brest.)

                12th        Passage to London for repair.

                13th        Entered dry dock for repair.

                28th        Undocked and took passage to Plymouth.

                29th        Joined 5th Destroyer Flotilla for interception of attacks on shipping.


November              Deployed at Plymouth with Flotilla for convoy defence.

                1st           Sailed from Plymouth with HM Cruisers NIGERIA and NEWCASTLE screened by

                                HM Destroyers JERVIS,  JANUS, JAGUAR, JACKAL and KASHMIR to intercept

                                German destroyers reported on passage

                                from Brest in Channel.

                2nd         Returned to Plymouth after unsuccessful operations

                                (Note: German destroyers had returned to Brest.)

                28th        Sailed from Plymouth with HMS JACKAL, HMS JUPITER, HMS JAVELIN and

                                HMS KASHMIR to intercept German destroyers reported by an aircraft as on

                                passage in Channel from Brest.

                                Carried out patrol between Lands End and Start Point.

                29th        Sighted enemy destroyers KARL GALSTER, HANS LODY and ERICH

                                STEINBRINK which had attacked convoy off Start Point.

                                Carried out night engagement with enemy ships which had fired torpedoes.

                                (Note: HMS JAVELIN was hit by two torpedoes and sustained major damage with

                                many casualties.)

                                Avoided attack and continued pursuit of enemy ships which escaped.

                                Returned to assist HMS JAVELIN with HMS JACKAL, HMS JUPITER and HMS


                                During return passage to Plymouth after arrival of tug and came under air attacks which

                                were repelled by shore based aircraft.

                                (Note: Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten embarked in HMS JAVELIN was in command

                                of the Flotilla during this action and his execution of the night attack was subject

                                of much criticism. See DESTROYER MAN by A F Pugsley who was in command

                                of HMS JAVELIN, HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith and ENGAGE THE

                                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett for details.)


December              Plymouth deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                31st         Deployed with HMS JUPITER and HMS KASHMIR to provide cover during minelay by

                                HM Cruiser ADVENTURE in SW Approaches.

                                (Operation GQ2 – Carried out to reduce the threat presented by German destroyers at Brest.

                                See Naval Staff History (Mining).)


1 9 4 1


January                  Transferred to Greenock with HMS KASHMIR and HMS KIPLING for convoy defence

                                in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: HMS KELLY joined them later from Scapa Flow.)

                                Deployed at Greenock

                18th        Resumed duties at Plymouth and nominated for temporary service in Mediterranean

                                with Force H for planned special operations

                                Passage to Gibraltar.

                31st         Deployed with HM Destroyers FEARLESS, FURY, FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT and

                                FIREDRAKE in Group 2 as escort for HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Battleship

                                MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL to provide cover during air attack on

                                Tiro Dam in Sardinia by HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation PICKET).



                4th          Returned to Gibraltar with ships of Group 2 on completion of PICKET.

                6th          Joined HM Destroyers FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, FORESIGHT, FIREDRAKE

                                FURY and ENCOUNTER as Group 2 for escort of HMS RENOWN. HMS MALAYA,

                                HMS ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD during passage from

                                Gibraltar to carry out bombardment of Genoa and for air attacks on Leghorn and Spezia.

                                (Operation GROG – This replaced the earlier Operation RESULT which had been


                9th          After arrival off Genoa remained with bombardment ships as screen when HMS ARK

                                ROYAL detached for air strikes.

                11th        Returned to Gibraltar with Group 2 on completion.

                                (Note: For details of naval activities in Mediterranean during 1941-42 see THE

                                BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre and

                                ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

                                On release from detached service took passage from Gibraltar for return to UK.

                                Experienced steering problems requiring dockyard attention.


March                    Passage to Portsmouth for repair.

                3rd          Under repair to steering equipment at Portsmouth.



                6th          Repair completed and resumed Flotilla duties at Plymouth after trials.

                                Deployed for patrol in Bay of Biscay with HM Destroyers KASHMIR, KELVIN,

                                KELLY and JACKAL for interception of any attempt by German warships

                                to leave Brest for attacks in Atlantic

                21st         Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean with Flotilla and took passage

                                to Gibraltar with HM Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR, KELVIN

                                and JACKAL.

                24th        Joined HM Cruisers DIDO and ABDIEL with ships of Flotilla as Force S for

                                transit to Malta covered by ships of Force H during passage to Sicilian Narrows

                                (Operation SALIENT – Passage of reinforcement warships to the already

                                diminished strength in the eastern Mediterranean.)

                28th        Arrived at Malta for deployment as newly formed Force K for interception of

                                enemy supply traffic to and from North African ports.

                                (Note: This also enabled ships of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla to escort HM

                                Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE to Alexandria for more supplies to the

                                beleaguered garrison. For details see above references and MALTA

                                CONVOYS by R Woodman.)



                1st           Deployed with ships of Force K to intercept supply convoy on passage to Tripoli

                                from Augusta and a coincident return convoy to Italy.

                2nd         When entering Malta with ships of Force K after a fruitless search, detonated

                                mine laid in the entrance to Grand Harbour Malta by aircraft the previous

                                night. 35 of ship’s company lost their lives in the explosion and the ship sank

                                blocking the entrance. No movements were possible for some days.

                                Survivors were rescued by other ships some of which had to take passage to


                                (Note: HMS KELLY, HMS KELVIN and HMS JACKAL had entered harbour and

                                were marooned for some days until wreck was cleared.).

                5th          Wreck broke in two sections


Special Note


The after section was not cleared from the entrance until after1946 when a series of demolitions was carried out until 1949.


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