L-Class destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme and laid down on 1st November 1938. She was launched on 26th December 1939 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, introduced for a destroyer built in 1914 and
sold in 1921. During 1940 the main armament for this ship and three others of this Class was changed. Twin 4in
HA mountings were fitted and these four ships were re-classified as AA Destroyers. Build was completed on 19th
December 1940 at a Tender cost was £445,684 which excluded 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 the Municipal Borough of Cheltenham,
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
HELIGOLAND 1914 -
DOGGER BANK 1915 -
CAPE BON 1941 - NORWAY 1941 -
ATLANTIC 1941 -
MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - LIBYA 1941-42 - SIRTE 1942
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field Blue, an eagle displayed upon a perch
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 0
December Contractors trials and
commissioned for service.
19th Build completion and commenced First of
Class Acceptance Trials.
21st Taken in hand at commercial shipyard in Greenock for repair of defects arising during trials
1 9 4 1
3rd Passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of Home Fleet
5th Deployed at Scapa Flow for working-up.
29th On completion of work-up took passage to Greenock for service in Western Approaches
February Deployed at Greenock with 11th Escort Group for convoy defence in NW Approaches.
(Note: During this period carried out successful trial of modified Radar Type
using a rotating instead of fixed aerial array. For details
of the development and use of
by the RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse. The new aerial was then
put into production and when fitted the modified RAF
Air/Surface outfit became
Radar Type 286P which was
far more suitable for ship use.)
8th Deployed with Polish destroyers ORP
PIORUN and joined HM
COTTESMORE, KEPPEL RESTIGOUCHE
(RCN) and ST LAURENT
as Local Escort for military convoy WS6A during its passage
in NW Approaches.
12th Detached from WS6A with HM Destroyers
ATHERSTONE, COTTESMORE, KEPPEL,
(RCN), ST LAURENT and ORP PIORUN and returned to Clyde.
(Note: Relieved by HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM, PHOEBE and HM Armed Merchant
Cruiser CATHAY deployed as Ocean Escort.)
18th Joined HM Destroyers HESPERUS and
HURRICANE with ORP GARLAND and ORP
PIORUN in Local Escort for military convoy WS6B during passage in NW
(Note: HM Cruiser MAURITIUS was also deployed as Ocean Escort.)
20th Detached from WS6B with Local Escort and
returned to Clyde with Local Escort.
24th Deployed with ORP PIORUN and joined HM
Destroyers BROADWATER, BEDOUIN,
MASHONA, MATABELE, SOMALI for
Local Escort from Clyde of military convoy WS7.
(Note: HM cruiser EDINBURGH was also deployed. and HM
Battleship REVENGE as
26th Detached from WS7 with ORP PIORUN and
returned to Clyde.
detached service with Home Fleet and took passage to Scapa Flow for
support of planned raid on the Lofoten Islands.
28th Prepared for support of Operation CLAYMORE.
(Note: No. 3 and No. 4 Commandos carried out CLAYMORE.)
1st Deployed with HM Destroyers SOMALI, BEDOUIN,
TARTAR and ESKIMO as escort for
two Landing Ships during passage to Lofoten Islands.
by ships of Home Fleet.
For details see
COMBINED OPERATIONS (HMSO), THE WATERY MAZE
by B Fergusson and Naval Staff History.)
3rd Provided support during landings
6th Resumed convoy defence deployment in Western
Approaches on release from CLAYMORE.
6th Joined 14th Escort Group.
13th Rescued survivors from HM Armed Merchant Cruiser
RAJPUTANA which had been sunk
in NW Approaches by U108. 177 men were saved but 40 lost
(Note: Deployment with HMS RAJPUTANA for convoy escort to be
Deployed with HM Destroyers HURRICANE, OTTAWA (RCN), ORP PIORUN and
SAGUENAY (RCN) for Local Escort of military convoy WS8A.
Destroyers HARVESTER, HAVELOCK, HESPERUS, BEAGLE, and ERIDGE
also part of escort.
29th Detached from WS8A with Local Escort and
returned to Clyde.
(Note: HM Battlecruiser REPULSE and HM Cruiser NAIAD provided
22nd Deployed with HM Canadian Destroyers
ASSINIBOINE and SAGUENAY as screen for
REPULSE during passage from Clyde to join HM Battleship KING
GEORGE V in
Butt of Lewis.
(Note: This was prior to commencement of later Home Fleet
search for the German
deployed for screening of Home Fleet major warships.
24th Detached from Home Fleet screen during
initial stage of search for BISMARCK
took passage to Iceland to refuel.
28th Rejoined Home Fleet screen after sinking of BISMARCK.
On release took
passage to Clyde to resume convoy defence duties.
31st Deployed with HM Destroyers BRIGHTON, SAGUENAY. ST MARY’S, SHERWOOD.
VANSITTART, WILD SWAN and WIVERN
as Local Escort for military convoy WS8X
during passage in NW Approaches from Clyde.
(Note: HM Cruiser NORFOLK was deployed as Ocean Escort during passage to Freetown.)
3rd Detached from WS8X with Local Escort and
returned to Clyde.
22nd Provided escort for HM Aircraft
Carrier FURIOUS with HM destroyer LANCE during
Gibraltar prior to Malta Aircraft delivery.
25th Arrived at Gibraltar.
(Note: Aircraft were transferred to HMS ARK ROYAL for launch
in western Mediterranean).
Deployed with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY and LEGION as
HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Cruiser
to provide cover for Malta aircraft delivery by HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation RAILWAY
28th Returned to Gibraltar with covering force after launch of
30th Deployed with HM Destroyers FEARLESS and
FOXHOUND as screen for HMS FURIOUS
and HM Cruiser HERMIONE as Group A during delivery of
aircraft in western Mediterranean
by HMS FURIOUS (Operation RAILWAY II).
(Note: Cover was provided by ships of Force H based at Gibraltar.
Aircraft were also launched from HMS ARK ROYAL deployed as Force B.)
Completion of Phase two by Group B was delayed by a fire in HMS FURIOUS
an 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
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, LANCE
and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS.
6th Detached from WS110 with Local Escort and
returned to Greenock.
service at Gibraltar with 4th Destroyer Flotilla and took passage from Clyde.
On arrival at Gibraltar deployed for anti-submarine patrol and local escort of convoys to
and from UK
(Note: Deployment as part of escort for OG71 to be
20th Deployed to reinforce escort for Convoy OG71
on passage to UK and under attacks by U559,
U201 and U564. which were unable to
penetrate screen and attacks failed.
Joined by HM Destroyer LANCE which
had established positions of U-Boats with newly
fitted Direction Finding equipment.
U-BOAT WAR by C Blair details of attacks on OG71 and SEEK AND
STRIKE by W Hackmann for details of use of D/F
23rd Submarine attacks discontinued by strong
escort and availability of air cover.
25th Detached on arrival of OG71 at Liverpool.
(Note: HM Destroyer BATH, HM Corvette ZINNIA and seven mercantiles were lost
31st Joined military convoy WS11 in Clyde
and deployed with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers
HIGHLANDER, LIVELY, WINCHELSEA, ZULU Polish destroyers ORP
PIORUN, GARLAND and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS as escort
during Atlantic passage.
4th Detached from WS11 and took passage to Gibraltar to resume Flotilla duties.
7th Deployed with Flotilla at Gibraltar
(Note: Flotilla included HM Destroyers COSSACK, LANCE.
MAORI, SIKH and ZULU.)
8th Deployed with HM Destroyers
FORESTER, LANCE and LIVELY as screen for HM Aircraft
ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE during Malta aircraft delivery.
9th Returned to Malta with same ships after launch of
10th Deployed with HMS ZULU, HMS LANCE
and HMS LIVELY as screen for HM Battleship
NELSON and HMS ARK
ROYAL as Force A to provide cover during Malta aircraft delivery
14th Returned to Gibraltar with Ships of Force A after launch of aircraft from HMS FURIOUS and
out series of exercises in preparation for planned Malta relief operation.
24th Deployed with HM Destroyers DUNCAN,
GURKHA (ii), LANCE, LIVELY, FURY, Dutch
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
provide cover for passage to Sicilian Narrows of Convoy GM2 destined for Malta under escort
Force X (Operation HALBERD)
26th Under threat of surface attack by
Italian battle squadron but this was not located by an air search
HMS ARK ROYAL,
(Note: It was later
established that the Italian warships had retired when the strength of the
covering force was known.)
27th Under further air attacks during
which HMS RODNEY was hit by an aircraft torpedo but
in covering force at a reduced speed.
Remained west of Narrows to provide cover during passage of Convoy MG2 and returning
Force X ships
during passage 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,
Cruisers KENYA and HMS SHEFFIELD (Force X), HM Destroyers LAFOREY,
LIGHTNING, ORIBI, FORESIGHT, FORESTER (Force X) and HMS FURY (Force
30th During return passage carried out
anti-submarine operations with HMS GURKHA (ii) and sank
ADUA in position 37.10N
00.56E by depth charge attacks.
1st Returned to Gibraltar with remainder of ships of Force X and Force A
10th Deployed with HM destroyers COSSACK, SIKH,
ZULU, FORESTER and FORESIGHT
as screen for HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS HERMIONE to [provide
cover for Malta aircraft
HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation CALLBOY)
19th Returned to Gibraltar with covering force on completion
22nd Sailed from Gibraltar with HMS COSSACK, HM Destroyers LAMERTON, DUNCAN and
as Local Escort for inward Convoy HG75 during initial stage of passage to Liverpool.
(Note: Ocean Escort included CAM Ship ARIGUANI, Free French
23rd Carried out unsuccessful anti-submarine
operations against U205.
survivors from the disabled destroyer HMS COSSACK after being torpedoed by U563
during an attack on HG75 200 miles west of Cape Spartel
See WARSHIP LOSSES in WW2 by D Brown.)
November Part of 4th Destroyer Flotilla.
10th Deployed with HM Destroyers LAFOREY,
LIGHTNING, SIKH, ZULU, GURKHA and
ISAAC SWEERS as screen for HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft
Carriers ARK ROYAL. ARGUS and HM Cruiser HMS HERMIONE during provision of
cover for Malta aircraft delivery from the two aircraft carriers
13th Carried out unsuccessful anti-submarine
operations after torpedo attack from U205.
attack by U81 during which HMS ARK ROYAL was hit by torpedo and disabled.
Stood by stricken ship with HMS LIGHTNING.
survivors and later returned to HMS ARK ROYAL for transfer of key
personnel for damage control
24th Arrived back at Gibraltar after HMS ARK ROYAL sank during tow.
December Transferred with HM Destroyers
SIKH, MAORI and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS to Alexandria
for service with Mediterranean Fleet.
11th Sailed from Gibraltar to join Fleet based at Alexandria.
13th Intercepted Italian cruisers ALBERTO DI
GUISSANO and ALBERICO DA BARBIANO.
Engaged with main armament and torpedoes. Both ships were
sunk whilst taking fuel and
and stores to Tripoli. Italian torpedo boat CIGNO in company was able to
attack was made after Italian signal traffic had been decyphered.)
14th Arrived in Malta to stirring reception and deployed
with Force K.
(Note: Force K had been formed specifically to carry out attacks on Axis
convoys on passage
in central Mediterranean for support of military operations.)
15th Sailed from Malta with HM Cruisers AURORA and PENELOPE, HM Destroyers
SIKH, ZULU and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS as Force K to meet HM Supply
during passage from Alexandria escorted by ships of Mediterranean
as Force C (Operation MF1)
16th Passage of HMS BRECONSHIRE under threat of
attack by Italian warships escorting Convoy
M42 on passage to North Africa and covered by another Italian battle squadron.
Force C. Force K remained with the Mediterranean Fleet ships to ensure that
improved protection was available for HMS BRECONSHIRE.
(Note: HM Cruiser NEPTUNE, HM Destroyers JAGUAR and KANDAHAR at Malta and
identified as Force B were ordered to join Force C and K.)
17th Under air attacks.
Took part in
brief engagement with Italian warships which retired when a threat of night
attack by British destroyers with radar fitted was
anticipated (1st Battle of Sirte.)
18th Under air attacks.
Joined Ships of
Force C with and took passage with them to Alexandria.
19th Arrived at Alexandria with Force C.
Italian submarine SCIRE with three human torpedoes entered Alexandria when Boom
was raised to allow Force C to enter harbour. The enemy then
laid explosive charges
Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and tanker SAVONA with
devastating results. See references.)
28th Took part in sinking of U75 with HM
Destroyer KIPLING off Mersa Matruh in position 31.50N
26.40E after 2½
hour hunt following the sinking of British ss VOLO.
(Note: This is not confirmed in U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp
which gives credit to
KIPLING. Support of Tobruk garrison may be assumed for both ships.
1 9 4 2
January Alexandria deployment for
Escorted Convoy MW8B from Alexandria with HM Destroyers MAORI.
GURKHA and Dutch
ISAAC SWEERS for passage to Malta (Operation MF3)
17th Under attack by U133 north of Bardia during
which HMS GURKHA (i) was sunk.
18th Convoy merged with MW8A to form MW8 for
passage to Malta.
On arrival of
Force K ships from Malta to take over escort of MW8 joined
Force K with
HMS MAORI as part of escort into Malta.
19th Arrived in Malta with HMS PENELOPE. HM
Destroyers LANCE, MAORI,
LIVELY, SIKH and
25th Deployed with HMS PENELOPE, HMS LIVELY, HMS
LANCE, 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 ROWALLAN CASTLE.)
26th Remained with Force K when escort of ME9 was
transferred to Force B from Alexandria
and returned to
(Note: HM Destroyer
KINGSTON from Force B replaced HMS LANCE which took passage
back to Egypt with Force B.
27th Taken in hand for repair to ASDIC equipment
by HM Dockyard, Malta.
(Note: One source records this was
due to near misses in air attack.)
February Under repair.
22nd Destroyer Flotilla as part of re-organisation of destroyer Flotillas.
Rejoined Force K and sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE, HM Destroyers
LIVELY and ZULU as escort for Convoy ME10 for passage to meet Force
Alexandria which was escorting Convoy MW9. (Operation MF4).
14th After exchange of convoys HMS DECOY and HMS
FORTUNE transferred to Force B.
and HMS LANCE
detached from Force B and joined Force
Deployed with Force K as
escort for MW9 for passage into Malta.
ROWALLAN CASTLE was the only ship remaining from the three which sailed
Egypt. This convoy had been under sustained attack by aircraft.
details see above references.)
attacks during which ROWALLAN CASTLE was hit and disabled.
Towing attempt was unsuccessful and
this mercantile had to be sunk.
HMS ZULU, HMS
SIKH and HMS LIVELY detached from Force “K” and took passage to
join Force B.
15th Arrived in Malta with HMS PENELOPE and HMS
Operation MF4 was therefore a failure as no relief supplies were landed in
March Force K deployment in
Sailed from Malta with HMS PENELOPE to take over escort of Convoy
MW10 from ships
of Force B (Operation MG1).
22nd Joined HMS CLEOPATRA, HMS DIDO, HMS EURYALUS
screen escorting MW10 and
remained with these ships and the convoy because of threat from
squadron known to be on passage to intercept this attempt to provide relief
supplies to the island. (See above
Took part in
engagement with Italian ships and carried out torpedo attack (2nd Battle of
Italian squadron withdrew from the action after a confused exchange of shots
because of threat of torpedo attacks by British destroyers which were
fitted with radar
fire-control of main armament. For details see above references, Naval Staff
BRITISH DESTROYERS by E March and
MEDITERRANEAN MAELSTROM by
23rd Detached to join HM Destroyer ERIDGE
escorting ss CLAN CAMPBELL and under air attack
damage was sustained by near miss.
Ship able to
proceed using only one engine after damage control and beached in Marsaloxx
cover from Malta had been promised to cover passage of MW10 into Malta but the
hour delay caused by the engagement prevented this being available.)
25th Taken in tow to HM Dockyard, Malta
26th Alongside at Boiler Wharf awaiting repair.
Hit by two bombs
during air raid on Grand Harbour and sustained further serious damage when
Ship sank and
rolled over with bridge and funnel lying on jetty.
F i n a l N o
HMS LEGION was cut in two
during 1943 and attempts made to refloat were unsuccessful. After the end of WW2 breaking-up in situ was
carried out but not completed until 1946.
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)