L-Class destroyer ordered from Yarrow at Scotstoun,
Glasgow on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme and laid down on 1st March 1939 at the same time as
her sister destroyer HMS LAFOREY. She was launched on 28th November 1940 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this
name, introduced for a destroyer built in 1914 and sold in 1921. Build of this ship was completed on 13th May 1941.
Tender cost was £440,204 which excludes items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty. After a successful WARSHIP
WEEK National Savings campaign in November 1941 this destroyer was adopted by
the civil community of Bexley and Welling, Kent
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
HELIGOLAND 1914 - BELGIAN COAST 1917 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field barry wavy of four White and Blue,
the base a Lance Red.
D e t a i l s o f
W a r S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 1
May Contractors trials.
Commissioned for service in 4th Destroyer Flotilla
changed to G87 from F87
13th Build completion and commenced
On completion took
passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of Home Fleet
for operational service.
22nd Joined escort for HM Battleship KING
GEORGE V and sailed from Scapa Flow to take part
in search for the
German battleship BISMARCK.
defects detached from Home Fleet units and returned to Scapa Flow.
26th Took passage to rejoin Home Fleet in
search for BISMARCK.
28th Rejoined escort for HMS KING GEORGE V
after the sinking of the German warship.
Returned to Loch Ewe.
June Nominated for service in
Western Approaches Command with 11th Escort Group, based at
Deployed with HM
Destroyers GURKHA and LEGION for Atlantic convoy defence in
22nd Deployed with HM Destroyer LEGION as
escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS during
passage in Atlantic
to Gibraltar carrying aircraft for delivery to Malta (Operation RAILWAY)
25th Arrived at Gibraltar.
(Note: Aircraft were
transferred to HMS ARK ROYAL for launch in western Mediterranean).
26th Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR,
FORESTER, FURY and LEGION as screen for
HM Aircraft Carrier
ARK ROYAL, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Cruiser HERMIONE
to provide cover for
Malta aircraft delivery by HMS ARK ROYAL. (Phase One of RAILWAY)
28th Returned to Gibraltar with covering force
after launch of aircraft.
30th Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY
and FORESTER as screen for HMS RENOWN
and HMS ARK ROYAL as
Group B to provide cover during launch of aircraft from HMS ARK
ROYAL (Phase two of
Operation RAILWAY )
(Note: Aircraft were
also launched from HMS FURIOUS as part of this operation and covering
ships were deployed
concurrently as Group A.
Completion of Phase two by Group
B was delayed by a fire in HMS FURIOUS when
aircraft crashed on launch. See MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
July On release from service at
Gibraltar took passage to Greenock to resume deployment in Western
Approaches with Special
Greenock Escort Group.
Deployed for convoy
defence in Western Approaches.
2nd Provided Local Escort for military convoy
WS10 during passage from Clyde in NW Approaches
with HM Destroyers
BROADWAY. GURKHA, LEGION and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS.
6th Detached from WS110 with Local Escort and
returned to Greenock.
17th Joined military convoy WS10X with HMS
GURKHA, Dutch ISAAC SWEERS and Polish destroyer
PIORUN for Local
Escort during passage in NW Approaches.
19th Detached from WS10X with HMS GURKHA and
took passage to join Convoy OG71 under
attacks by U559, U201
U-Boats were unable to penetrate screen
and attacks failed.
(See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by
C Blair for details of the use of D/F equipment.)
On release from OG71
took passage to Gibraltar to join Flotilla for service in Mediterranean.
Deployed at Gibraltar
for convoy defence and patrol
8th Escorted HM Trawler LADY SHIRLEY into
Gibraltar after she had sunk U111 in position
WSW of Teneriffe.
(Note: 44 Germans
were rescued and the crew of HMS LADY SHIRLEY was only nine
uninjured. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P
After return deployed
with HM Destroyers FORESTER, GURKHA (ii) and LIVELY as screen
for HM Aircraft
Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE during Malta aircraft
9th Returned to Malta with same ships after
launch of HURRICANE aircraft.
10th Deployed with HMS ZULU, HMS GURKHA (ii) and
HMS LIVELY 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,
GURKHA (ii), LEGION, LIVELY, FURY, Dutch
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
27th Under air attacks during which HMS RODNEY
was hit by an aircraft torpedo but remained in
covering force at a reduced
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
(Note: HMS NELSON was
detached and returned to Gibraltar with HMS PRINCE OF WALES,
Cruisers KENYA and HMS SHEFFIELD (Force X), HM Destroyers LAFOREY,
ORIBI, FORESIGHT, FORESTER (Force X) and HMS FURY (Force A).
30th Under attack by Italian submarine ADUA which
was sunk by HMS LEGION and HMS GURKHA
(ii) in position
37.10N 00.56E by depth charge attacks.
1st Returned to Gibraltar with remained ships
of Force X and Force A
period at Gibraltar.
12th Rejoined Flotilla on completion.
Nominated for service
in Malta as part of Force K with HM Destroyer LIVELY, HM Cruisers
AURORA and PENELOPE.
19th Took passage from Gibraltar with HMS LIVELY
to join HMS AURORA and HMS PENELOPE.
(Note: HM Battleship
RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE
to Force H based at Gibraltar also joined to provide cover for Malta
by HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation CALLBOY.)
21st Commenced service in Force K at Malta
8th Sailed from Malta with HMS LIVELY to join
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,
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 ,)
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 aaction. For details see above references.
Withdrawn from service for
docking on return to Malta.
December (Note: Did not take part in
interception of ammunition ship ADRIATICO off Benghazi or
MANTOVANI on 1st December. See above reference.)
Resumed service in
Force K after docking.
16th Deployed with HMS AURORA, HMS PENELOPE,
HMS NEPTUNE, HM Destroyers
and HAVOCK of Force K for escort of HM
BRECONSHIRE into Malta
after passage from Alexandria escorted from Egypt by cruisers
and destroyers of the
17th Remained with HM Cruiser NAIAD and the
other escorts from Alexandria to improve defence
of HMS BRECONSHIRE
against attack by Italian battle
squadron known to be in the area
escorting an Italian military convoy
(See above reference
and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre,)
Took part in brief
engagement with Italian ships which withdrew under threat of night torpedo
attack. (First Battle
18th Passage to Malta with ships of Force K
escorting HMS BRECONSHIRE
After refuelling and
replenishment took passage from Malta with ships of Force K to intercept
the convoy whose
passage had been covered by the Italian battle squadron before engagement.
19th Assisted in rescue operations after Force
K ships ran into newly laid minefield off Tripoli
Escorted HMS EXETER back to
Malta with HM Destroyer HAVOCK.
(Note: HMS NEPTUNE
and HMS KANDAHAR were sunk with both HMS AURORA and
PENELOPE badly damaged. For details see above references and Naval Staff
1 9 4 2
6th Deployed with HMS LIVELY, HMS JAGUAR and
HMS HAVOCK as Force C to escort
HMS BRECONSHIRE from
After meeting Force B which was escorting HM Supply Ship GLENGYLE for
Malta from Alexandria
returned to Malta with Force C as escort for final stage of journey.
10th Arrived in Malta with Force C and HMS
17th Sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE, HMS
JAGUAR, HMS LIVELY, HMS SIKH and
HMS ZULU to meet
Convoy MW8 from Alexandria escorted by ships of Force B.
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.)
the last convoy to arrive in Malta from Egypt until the siege had been lifted.
25th Deployed with HMS PENELOPE, HMS LIVELY, HMS
LEGION, HMS MAORI and HMS
ZULU as Force K and
sailed from Malta escorting Convoy ME9 for initial part of passage to
(Note: ME9 comprised
HMS GLENGYLE and ss ROWALLANCASTLE
26th When escort of ME9 was transferred to Ships
from Alexandria deployed as Force B, transferred
to Force B and took
passage with them as escort for ME9 to Alexandria.
(Note: HM Destroyer
KINGSTON transferred to Force K in exchange.)
28th Arrived at Alexandria with Force B
(Note: Force B
comprised HM Cruisers NAIAD, DIDO, EURYALUS, CARLISLE, HM Destroyers
GRIFFIN, KELVIN, KIPLING, JAGUAR,
HASTY, ARROW and Dutch destroyer ISAAC
February Transferred to 22nd Destroyer
12th Deployed with HMS CARLISLE, HM Destroyers
AVONVALE, ERIDGE and HEYTHROP as Close
Escort for Convoy
MW9A to Malta (Operation MF5)
(Note: Convoy MW9A comprised ss CLAN CAMPBELL and ss
CLAN CHATTAN and was followed
later that day by Convoy MW9B which had
only one ship ss ROWALLAN CASTLE
separate Close Escort.)
13th Two sections of Convoy MW9 merged and
came under air attack during which ss CLAN CAMPBELL
was badly damaged and
detached for passage to Tobruk with two destroyers
14th Under air attacks during which ss CLAN
CHATTAN was hit and had to be abandoned after
catching fire and was
sunk by torpedo from HM Destroyer DECOY.
On arrival of Force K
remaining ship, ss CLAN CAMPBELL, transferred for escort into Malta
Joined HMS PENELOPE
having been relieved in MW9 escort by HM Destroyers DECOY and
FORTUNE from Malta.
Took passage to Malta with HMS LEGION and
15th Under further air attacks during which ss
ROWALLAN CASTLE was hit and badly damaged.
Remained as escort
with HM Destroyer LIVELY during tow of ss ROWALLAN CASTLE by
HM Destroyer FURY
until threat of surface attack and lack of air cover made it necessary for
the mercantile to be
sunk by torpedo from HMS LIVELY
(Note: Some Oerlikon
weapons were salvaged from ss ROWALLAN CASTLE by boarding
Took passage to Malta
with HMS PENELOPE and HMS LEGION to rejoin Force K.
(Note: HMS LIVELY
SIKH and ZULU took passage to rejoin ships of Force B and return to
details of this disastrous operation see above references.)
16th Withdrawn for service in Force K for repair
by HM Dockyard Malta.
March Docked for repair, expected to
complete by end April.
(Note: Malta was
under constant air raids many of which
were aimed at the dockyard area.
5th Hit by bomb whilst in dry dock and
sustained serious damage including partial submergence
and being removed from
9th Sustained further bomb damage and work
S p e c i al N o t e
Wreck was subsequently salved
and towed to Chatham for full survey to establish extent of repair required.
Ship was found beyond economical
repair and declared a Constructive Total Loss. HMS LANCE was placed on the Disposal List in 1944. Sold
for demolition by TW Ward she was towed to the breaker’s yard at Grays, Essex where she arrived in June that year.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)