D or DEFENDER-Class
Fleet Destroyer ordered on 2nd February 1931 from Vickers Armstrong at Barrow
under the 1930 Programme. The ship was laid down on 22nd June 1931 as Yard
Number 674 and launched on 7th April 1932 as the 6th RN ship to carry the name,
introduced in 1797 for a Gunvessel. It was previously used by a 1911 destroyer
sold in 1921. Build was completed on 31st October 1932 for a contract price of
£223,979 excluding the Admiralty supplied equipment such as guns, ammunition
and wireless outfits. She joined the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the
Mediterranean early the next year. This ship was then re-commissioned in April
1934 after refit at Devonport and in November 1934 sailed to join the 8th
Destroyer Flotilla on the China. Station. During pre war deployment in the Far
East she had some machinery defects requiring several weeks under repair at
Singapore and Hong Kong. Before outbreak of WW2 the Flotilla was designated
21st Destroyer Flotilla.
B a t t
l e H o n o u r s
HELIGOLAND 1914 - DOGGER BANK 1915 - JUTLAND 1916 - CALABRIA
1940 - SPARTIVENTO 1940 - MATAPAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941 - GREECE 1941 - CRETE 1941
- LIBYA 1941
H e r a l d i
c D a t a
Badge: On a Field Red a fencing buckler and rapier Silver and Gold.
M o t t
‘By defence I conquer’
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 3 9
September Transferred to Mediterranean Fleet and took passage to
Alexandra with Flotilla.
19th Joined Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.
20th Deployed for Contraband Control duty in Mediterranean.
Fleet and patrol duties in Mediterranean with Flotilla.
to Nominated for transfer to Gibraltar for
1 9 4 0
January Passage to Gibraltar for Atlantic convoy defence.
Deployed for anti-submarine patrol off
February Transferred to West Africa Command based at Freetown
for convoy protection.
18th Arrived at Freetown
March Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.
April Nominated for return to Gibraltar.
Escorted HM Cruiser NEPTUNE from Freetown.
23rd Arrived at Gibraltar with HMS NEPTUNE.
May Joined 10th Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet
for convoy defence and Fleet screening
Passage to eastern Mediterranean.
12th Escorted Convoy US2 carrying ANZAC troops to Middle East through
June Deployed with Flotilla with Mediterranean Fleet
units preparing for the entry of Italy
(For details of naval activities in
Mediterranean after June 1940 see THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY
by Corelli Bamett and Naval Staff History (HMSO
27th Deployed with HM Destroyers DAINTY, DEFENDER, DIAMOND, ILEX,
and H M Australian Destroyer VOYAGER to screen
HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE, HM
Battleships RAMILLIES, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, HM
LIVERPOOL, NEPTUNE, ORION and HM Australian
Cruiser SYDNEY to provide cover
for passage of Convoys MF1 and MS1 to Egypt from
Malta (Operation MA3).
(Note: These convoys were evacuating personnel
Took part in sinking Italian submarine CONSOLE
GENERALE LUIZZI in position SE of
Crete with HM Destroyers DAINTY and ILEX.
28th Cruisers in action with three Italian destroyers.
(Note: Because of the high expenditure of 6in
ammunition during the engagement the operation
was abandoned and Fleet returned to Alexandria.
29th Took part in sinking Italian submarines ARGONAUTA and UEBI SCEBELI
in position SW
of Crete with same ships.
30th Returned to Alexandria with Fleet.
July Prepared for screening duties during repeat of
cover for passage of same convoys.
7th Sailed with HM Destroyers DAINTY, HASTY, HOSTILE, HYPERION, ILEX,
JANUS, JUNO, VAMPIRE (RAN) and VOYAGER as screen
for HMS EAGLE, HM
Battleships WARSPITE, MALAYA and ROYAL
SOVEREIGN, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER,
LIVERPOOL, NEPTUNE, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) to
provide cover for passage of
9th Took part in engagement by these ships of Mediterranean Fleet with
Italian heavy squadron off
(Battle of Calabria - see above references).
(Note: Italian squadron included battleships
CAVOUR and CESARE, 16 cruisers and four
destroyers. Italian ships withdrew after HMS
WARSPITE returned Italian fire and air
attacks from HMS EAGLE).
August Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean.
6th Deployed with H M Destroyers DECOY, HASTY, HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO,
HYPERION, ILEX, JANUS, JERVIS, M3HAWK and NUBIAN
as screen for HM
Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleships
MALAYA, RAMILLIES and WARSPITE,
HM Cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER, ORION, SYDNEY
(RAN) and YORK providing distant
cover for passage of Convoy MW3 from Egypt to
Malta and Convoy ME3 from Malta
(Note: This was part of a major operation
(COAT) which included the passage of
reinforcement warships from Gibraltar to join
Fleet at Alexandria)
9th Detached with HM Destroyers DECOY and VAMPIRE (RAN) as screen for
and. HM Cruiser COVENTRY to escort return Convoy
10th Sailed from Malta with ME3 comprising three empty supply ships.
13th Under air attack.
14th Returned to Alexandria after ME3 arrived at Port Said.
23rd Deployed with HM Destroyers DIAMOND, GALLANT, GREYHOUND and
screen for HMS RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers BERWICK,
COVENTRY and NEWCASTLE in
Force D to cover the passage of Convoy MW4 from
Egypt to Malta.
(Note: This was part of another major operation
(COLLAR) which included passage of
warships to reinforce the Fleet in the Eastern
HMS RAMILLIES and HMS BERWICK were leaving Fleet
in Eastern Mediterranean.
See above references.
Joined escort for Convoy MW4, HM Cruisers
GLASGOW, GLOUCESTER and YORK
26th Force D detached from MW5 off Malta and briefly joined HMS EAGLE, H
BARHAM and MALAYA (Force C).
Detached as screen for Force D off
and continued on westward passage through
27th With Force D screen met reinforcement ships (HM Destroyer HOTSPUR,
MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON west of Sicilian
Channel and took joint passage to
rejoin Mediterranean Fleet ships off Malta.
(Note: Other snips in screen for Force D were
HM Destroyers DIAMOND, GREYHOUND
GALLANT and HEREWARD).
Took part in brief engagement with Italian
battle group which disengaged after exchange of
(Battle of Spartivento - See above references
29th Part of screen for Mediterranean Fleet units during passage to
Malta as escort for Convoy ME4
1st Arrived at Alexandria
1 9 4 1
7th Deployed with HM Destroyer DIAMOND and Cruiser CALCUTTA as Force C
escort of Convoy MW5J during passage to Malta
(Note: This was part of complex operation
including passage of Convoys ME5 and
ME6 from Malta as well as a military convoy from
Western Mediterranean to
Piraeus (Operation EXCESS).
Cover was being provided by major Fleet units).
10th Entered Malta with Convoy MW5J.
Rejoined Fleet destroyers in screen for major
Fleet units including HM Aircraft Carrier
ILLUSTRIOUS for westward passage to meet EXCESS
convoy from Gibraltar.
Under heavy and sustained air attacks by German
(See above references)
Detached with HMS CALCUTTA to escort ss
LANARKSHIRE and ss RODIO to join
EXCESS Convoy (ME6) for passage to Egypt.
11th Under air attacks during which HMS SOUTHAMPTON was damaged and had
to be sunk.
12th Passage to Port Said with screen covered by HMS EAGLE, HMS BARHAM
and HMS AJAX.
16th Arrived at Alexandria with Fleet screen.
February Passage to Malta for refit
4th Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.
March Under refit.
19th On completion of post refit trials took passage to Alexandria to
24th Rejoined Flotilla for Fleet screening duties.
27th Deployed with screen for Mediterranean Fleet units covering passage
of military convoys to
28th In action with Fleet units against Italian warships (Battle of
(Note: Major ships involved included HMS
WARSPITE, HMS VALIANT, HMS
FORMIDABLE. See MATAPAN by S W C Pack and Naval
April Fleet screening duties with Flotilla in continuation
for protection of convoys to Greek ports
and support of military withdrawal in western
24th Escorted Convoy GA14 with HMS HEREWARD from Piraeus
25th Took part in evacuation of allied troops from Greece (Operation
(Note: Other destroyers involved were STUART,
VOYAGER, VENDETTA, WATERHEN,
VAMPIRE (all RAN), DIAMOND, DECOY DEFENDER,
HERO, HOTSPUR, HEREWARD, ISIS, NUBIAN, KANDAHAR,
and KIMBERLEY. See Naval Staff History).
May Deployed with Flotilla for Fleet screening duties.
Took part in operations in defence of Crete and
later assisted with evacuation.
(See Naval Staff History and BATTLE OF THE WINE
DARK SEA by Lind).
June Transferred to Inshore Squadron for defence of
convoys to Tobruk and support of military
29th Damaged by air attacks off Tobruk in company with HMS WATERHEN
Took HMAS WATERHEN in tow.
30th HMAS WATERHEN capsized and sunk during tow in position 32.15N
July Inshore Squadron deployment in continuation on
completion of repair.
10th Escorted supply convoy to Tobruk with HMAS VENDETTA.
11th In action with aircraft in defence of convoy off Sidi Barrani.
Sustained major damage after bomb exploded under
hull. Back broken and Engine Room
Taken in tow by VENDETTA after majority of
ship's company taken off.
Sank in position 31.45N 25.31E after taking heavy list.
Remaining crew taken off and all complement
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
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