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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS LIVELY (G 40) -  L-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Lively (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

L-Class destroyer ordered from Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme laid down as Job No 1038 on 20th December 1938. She was launched on 29th January 1941 and was the 22nd RN ship to bear this name introduced in 1689 for the Prize LIVELY. The name was last used for a destroyer built in 1901 and sold in 1920. During 1940 the main armament was changed in this ship and three others of the Class to improve anti-aircraft capability. They were then identified as AA Destroyers. Build was completed on 20th July 1941 for a Tender cost was £458,132 which excluded items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty. In February 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Guildford, Surrey after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

LA GUAYRA 1743 - USHANT 1778 - ST VINCENT 1797 - BALTIC 1885 - ATLANTIC 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - SIRTE 1942 - LIBYA 1942

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a field barry wavy of four White and Blue On a Field Blue,

an Ankh ( An ansate cross, the Egyptian symbol of life.)



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)



1 9 4 1


July                     Contractors trials and commissioned for service.

              21st       Build completion and commenced Acceptance trials.

              30th       Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of trials and storing.

                            (Note: This ship was fitted with Outfit FH3 for determining the direction of radio signals.

                                        See SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann.)


August                Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command at Greenock for Atlantic convoy defence.

               1st        Commenced work-up with ships of Home Fleet.

              22nd      Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyer LIGHTNING and joined HM Cruiser CURACOA

                             to assist Free French submarine RUBIS which had been damaged off Norway.

                            Submarine located by HMS LIGHTNING and found to be on passage to Dundee having

                             repaired machinery defect.

                            Covered return passage of RUBIS and returned to Scapa  Flow.

              28th       Completed work-up at Scapa Flow and took passage to Greenock to join Special Escort Group.

                            (Note: During work-up this ship took part in trials of a modified Type 271 radar which was

                                        later put in production as Type 273 and replaced the earlier centimetric Type 271 to

                                        provide surface cover. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse for details of development

                                        and use of radar by the RN.)

              31st        Deployed with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers COSSACK, HIGHLANDER, LEGION,

                             WINCHELSEA, Polish destroyers ORP GARLAND, PIORUN and Dutch Destroyer ISAAC

                             SWEERS for escort of military convoy WS11 during passage in NW Approaches from




                4th        Detached from WS11 and took passage to Gibraltar with HMS LEGION.

                7th        Resumed duties with 4th Destroyer Flotilla based at Gibraltar

                             (Note: Flotilla also included HM Destroyers COSSACK, LANCE. LEGION, MAORI, SIKH

                                        and ZULU.)

                8th        Deployed with HM Destroyers FORESTER, LANCE and LEGION as screen for HM Aircraft

                             Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE during Malta aircraft delivery

                             (Operation STATUS I).

                9th        Returned to Malta with same ships after launch of HURRICANE aircraft.

              10th        Deployed with HMS ZULU, HMS LANCE and HMS LEGION as screen for HM Battleship

                             NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL as Force A to provide cover during Malta aircraft delivery

                             (Operation STATUS II).

              14th        Returned to Gibraltar with Ships of Force A after launch of aircraft from HMS FURIOUS and

                             carrying out series of exercises in preparation for planned Malta relief operation.

          24th           Deployed with HM Destroyers DUNCAN, LANCE, LEGION, LEGION, FURY, Dutch

                            destroyer ISAAC SWEERS, Polish destroyers ORP GARLAND and PIORUN as screen for Force

                            A comprising HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, PRINCE OF WALES and HMS ARK ROYAL

                            to provide cover for passage to Sicilian Narrows of Convoy GM2 destined for Malta under

                            escort of Force X (Operation HALBERD).

          27th           Under air attacks during which HMS RODNEY was hit by an aircraft torpedo but remained in

                            covering force at a reduced speed.

                            Remained west of Narrows when Force X detached with mercantiles and remained in area to

                            provide cover during passage of Convoy MG2 and returning Force X ships to Gibraltar.

          28th           Under threat of air attacks but these were deterred by effective use of aircraft away from Force A

          29th           Met returning warships and under threat of submarine attack.

                            (Note: HMS NELSON was detached and returned to Gibraltar with HMS PRINCE OF WALES,

                                         HM Cruisers KENYA and HMS SHEFFIELD (Force X), HM Destroyers LAFOREY,

                                         LIGHTNING, ORIBI, FORESIGHT, FORESTER (Force X) and HMS FURY (Force A).

          30th           Under attack by Italian submarine ADUA and carried out anti-submarine hunt with HMS LEGION.

                            ADUA was sunk in position 37.10N  00.56E by these depth charge attacks.



            1st           Returned to Gibraltar with remaining ships of Force A and Force X.

                            Resumed convoy defence duties with Flotilla.

           12th         Nominated for service in Malta with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE and HM Destroyer

                           LANCE to form Force K for attacks on shipping taking supplies and troops to North Africa.

           19th         Took passage from Gibraltar with HMS LANCE to join HMS AURORA and HMS PENELOPE.

                            (Note: HM Battleship RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE

                                         belonging to Force H based at Gibraltar also joined to provide cover for Malta aircraft  

                                         delivery by HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation CALLBOY.)

           21st          Commenced service in Force K at Malta



             8th          Sailed from Malta with HMS LANCE , HMS AURORA and HMS PENELOPE for

                            interception of supply convoy on passage in central Mediterranean.

                            (Note: The movement of this convoy had been disclosed by decryption of Italian signals.)

             9th          Engaged convoy which consisted of seven ships escorted by Italian destroyers FULMINE,

                            EURO, MAESTRAL, LIBECCIO, ORIANO and GREGALE covered by cruisers TRENTO

                            and TRIESTE with a screen of four destroyers which failed to provide defence.

                            All the mercantiles and FULMINE were sunk..

                            (See THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignini

                            for full details.)

                            (Note: The movement of this convoy had been disclosed by decryption of Italian signals.)

            23rd         Sailed from Malta with Force K following aircraft sighting of small convoy on passage from

                            Taranto to Benghazi.

            24th         Sighted German supply ships MARITZA and PROCIDAS with escort of two Italian torpedo

                            boats. Took part in destruction of both mercantiles which were set on fire sank. in surface

                            gun action. For details see above references.

                            Withdrawn from service for docking on return to Malta.

                            On completion resumed service with Force K and deployed for interception of enemy convoys

                            in Central Mediterranean.

             30th        Sailed on patrol with Force K



               1st         Following aircraft sighting report intercepted the unescorted Italian troop transport ADRIATIO

                            which was sunk by HMS AURORA and HMS PENELOPE.

                            Rescued some of the survivors. See MALTA CONVOYS.

                            Carried out further interception of Italian tanker IRIDO MANTOVANI which had been

                            damaged in air attacks and was under tow by the Italian destroyer ALVISE DA MOSTA.

                            Italian destroyer sunk by surface gunfire from HMS PENELOPE whilst making torpedo attack

                            under cover of smoke screen. Tanker was then sunk by torpedo following further gun attacks.

                            Rescued some of the survivors.

               2nd       Returned to Malta.

               5th        Deployed with HM Cruisers AJAX, NEPTUNE, HM Destroyers KIMBERLEY and  KINGSTON

                            for escort of HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE during passage from Malta to a position south

                            of Crete where escort would be transferred to Mediterranean Fleet ships for onward passage

                            to Alexandria

                  6th     Detached from HMS BRECONSHIRE and took return passage to Malta with HMS AJAX and

                           HMS NEPTUNE

                           (Note: HMS KIMBERLEY and HMS KINGSTON remained as escort.)

               16th     Sailed from Malta with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers LANCE, LEGION,

                           MAORI, SIKH and Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS to meet HMS BRECONSHIRE which

                           was returning from Alexandria with much needed cargo of fuel oil required to replenish stock in

                           Malta (Operation MF1)

                           (Note: HMS BRECONSHIRE was under escort of ships from Alexandria. See MALTA CONVOYS

               17th     Under threat of attack by Italian battle squadron which was providing cover for passage of convoy

                           to North Africa. (Italian Operation M42)

                           (Note: Italian warships included battleship LITTORIO and two heavy cruisers with destroyer


                           Met HMS BRECONSHIRE and escort which remained in company and was to be joined by

                           by HMS NEPTUNE, HMS KANDAHAR and HMS JAGUAR which had been despatched

                            from Malta.

                           Took part in tactical deployments with HM Cruisers NAIAD and EURYALUS with screen

                           of destroyers during which HMS BRECONSHIRE was detached with two destroyers.

                           Prepared to carry out torpedo attack on major ships in Italian force and came under fire.

                           Enemy ships retired because of possible night attacks by radar fitted ships.

                           (1st Battle of Sirte – See above references.)

                           Joined HMS BRECONSHIRE, HM Destroyers DECOY and HAVOCK with HMS AURORA

                          HMS PENELOPE and HMS LANCE for passage into Malta.

               18th     Arrived in Malta with HMS BRECONSHIRE and escort.

                           Sailed later that day with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, NEPTUNE, HM Destroyers

                           HAVOCK, KANDAHAR and LANCE to intercept Italian convoy M42 as it approached Tripoli.

               19th     Avoided disaster when ships of Force K ran into Italian minefield off Tripoli.

                           (Note: HMS NEPTUNE was sunk when she detonated a mine and HMS KANDAHAR was

                                       lost during rescue operations when she also hit a mine. HMS PENELOPE and HMS

                                       AURORA were seriously damaged.

               20th     Returned to Malta with remnants of Force K.


1 9 4 2



                 6th     Deployed with HMS LANCE, HMS JAGUAR and HMS HAVOCK as Force C to escort

                           HMS BRECONSHIRE from Malta.

                 8th     After meeting Force B which was escorting HM Supply Ship GLENGYLE for passage into

                           Malta from Alexandria returned to Malta with Force C as escort for final stage of journey.

                           (Operation MF2)

               17th     Sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE, HMS JAGUAR, HMS LANCE, HMS SIKH and

                           HMS ZULU to meet Convoy MW8 from Alexandria escorted by ships of Force B.

                           (Operation MF3)

               18th     Escort of MW8 ships exchanged and took return passage to Malta.

               19th     Arrived in Malta with MW8 ships.

                           (Note: One of the four ships in MW8 had been detached and only three got to Malta.)

                                       This was the last convoy to arrive in Malta from Egypt until the siege had been lifted.

               25th     Deployed with HMS PENELOPE, HMS LANCE, HMS LEGION, HMS MAORI and HMS

                           ZULU as Force K and sailed from Malta escorting Convoy ME9 for initial part of passage to

                           Alexandria. (Operation MF4).

                           (Note: ME9 comprised HMS GLENGYLE and ss ROWALLAN CASTLE

               26th     Met ships of Force B from Alexandria escorting HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE and took

                           return passage to Malta as escort.

               27th     Arrived in Malta with HMS BRECONSHIRE and ships of Force K

                           (Note: This was the last ship to arrive in Malta from Egypt and successfully discharge all

                                        its cargo until November 1942).



               13th     Sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE, HM Destroyers DECOY,

                           SIKH, FORTUNE, LEGION and ZULU as escort for Convoy ME10 for passage to meet Force

                           B from Alexandria which was escorting Convoy MW9 (Operation MF5)

                14th     After exchange of convoys HMS DECOY and HMS FORTUNE transferred to Force B.

                            HMS LANCE joined Force K.

                            Deployed with Force K as escort for MW9 for passage into Malta.

                            (Note: ss ROWALLAN CASTLE was the only ship remaining from the three which sailed

                                        from Egypt. This convoy had been under sustained attack by aircraft.

                                        For details see above references.)

                            Under air attacks during which ROWALLAN CASTLE was hit and disabled.

                            Sank ss ROWALLAN CASTLE by torpedo when towing attempt was abandoned because of

                            threat of surface attack and constant air attacks.

                15th     Transferred to Force B with HMS SIKH and HMS ZULU and joined for passage to Alexandria.

                            HMS ZULU, HMS SIKH and HMS LANCE detached from Force K and took passage to


                            (Note: Operation to pass MW9 therefore a failure as no relief supplies were landed in Malta.)



                 9th      Deployed with HM Destroyers HASTY, HERO, KELVIN, KIPLING, JERVIS, SIKH and ZULU

                             as destroyer screen of HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD for Force B during search for

                             Italian cruiser damaged by torpedo. Under air attacks without damage.

               11th      Took part in rescue of ships company of HMS NAIAD with HM Destroyer JERVIS and KIPLING

.                           after Flagship had been hit by a torpedo off  Mersa Matru and later sank.

                                                  (Note: Admiral Vian was among the 533 rescued.)

               20th      Deployed with HM Cruiser CARLISLE, HM Destroyers SIKH, ZULU, HERO,

                             HAVOCK and HASTY as Close Escort for Convoy MW10 to Malta covered by

                              cruisers and destroyers of the Mediterranean Fleet (Operation MG1)

                              (Note: Convoy MW10 comprised HMS BRECONSHIRE, ss CLAN CAMPBELL, ss PAMPAS and ss


                21st      Covering cruiser Force and screen joined MW10 in view of possible threat of attack by a major

                             force of Italian warships. Under air attacks which were repelled.

                22nd     Under air attacks. Detached with HMS SIKH, HMS HERO AND HMS HAVOCK in accordance with

                             planned tactical moves in the event of a surface attack by heavy warships.

                             Took part in surface gun action against Italian warships which included the battleship LITTORIO,

                             three cruisers and destroyer screen (2nd Battle of Sirte – For details see MEDITERRANEAN

                             MAELSTROM by GC Connell, Naval Staff History and above references.)

                             Carried out torpedo attack with HM Destroyers SIKH, HERO and HAVOCK and hit by splinters

                             from a 15in shell which burst alongside. Continued operation with some flooding.

                             Italian warships withdrew at nightfall because of perceived threat of night action against the

                            British radar equipped ships.

                            Rejoined Mediterranean Fleet ships not deployed for escort of convoy.

              23rd       Under air attacks and sustained further damage which prevented continued passage with returning

                            ships. Detached and took passage to Tobruk to effect repair from splinter damage.


April                    Passage from Tobruk to Alexandria.

                             Resumed Flotilla duties on completion of repairs.


May                     Deployment at Alexandria for Tobruk support, interception patrol and screening duties in


                10th     Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, JACKAL and KIPLING to intercept convoy on

                            passage to Benghazi between Crete and North African coast.

                            (Note: Specifically warned to return if sighted by aircraft. Only limited air cover was available.)

                11th     Under heavy and sustained dive bombing attacks and sank very quickly in position 100 miles

                            NE of Tobruk (33.24N 25.38E) with heavy loss of life. 77 of the ship’s company were reported

                            reported killed or missing

                            Loss of this AA destroyer proved crucial to defence of these ships without air cover from shore.

                            (Note: Casualty List was published on 17th June.

                                        In later air attacks that day HMS KIPLING was hit and sunk with HMS JACKAL

                                        disabled .Tow by HMS JERVIS at low speed prevented air cover before daylight

                                        and the ship had to be torpedoed and sunk by HMS JERVIS on 12th May.

                                        HMS JERVIS rescued over 600 survivors from these three ships, some of whom died

                                        before reaching Alexandria.






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived













OG 075





AT 031/M








(Note on Convoys)


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