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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS KELVIN (G.37) -  K-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Kelvin (Navy Photos/George Knight, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

K or KELLY-Class Fleet destroyer ordered from Fair-field of Govan in April 1937 under the 1937 Programs as a repeat of the JAVELIN 's ordered in March. This ship was laid down en 5th October 1937 and launched on 19th January 1939.She was the 2nd RN warship to carry this name first used in WW1. Build cost, excluding Admiralty supplied equipment vas £391,046. On completion of build in September 1939 the ship Joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in November 1941 she vas adopted by the civil community of Dudley, then in Worcestershire.


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 Blue, issuant from White clouds in chief

a thunderbolt Gold.



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 3 9


September              Commissioned for service with 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet.


October                  Deployed in Approaches and North Sea for Fleet escort and patrol.

to                             (For details of naval activities in Home Water in 1939-40 see ENGAGE THE   ENEMY

December               MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and Naval Staff History.).


1 9 4 0


January                 North Sea and NW Approaches duties with Home Fleet in continuation.

     to                       Became Senior Officer's ship in Flotilla after HM Destroyer KELLY mined



April                      Deployed with screen for Home Fleet during unsuccessful search for German ships

                               reported in North Sea.

           7th              Deployed with ships of Home Fleet with Flotilla for screening duties during search for German

                               warship reported on passage in North Sea.

           8th               Involved in collision with HM Destroyer KASHMIR. Bow structure seriously damaged and ship

                                had to steam astern to Lerwick. Escort during passage provided by HM Destroyer ZULU.

                                (Note: HMS KASHMIR was taken in tow by HM Destroyer COSSACK.)

         11th                Passage to Tyne for repair.

                                 (Note: This collision prevented ship taking part in the disastrous operations off Norway).


May                        Under repair

                                 Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to G37.


June                       On completion of post repair trials rejoined Flotilla at Immingham for interception patrol and

                                convoy defence

                                Passage to Scapa Flow for Home Fleet for screening duties

          6th                Deployed with HM Destroyers ZULU, MAORI, FORESTER and FOXHOUND in an

                               as screen for  HM Battlecruisers RENOWN and REPULSE, HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE.

                               and took part in  unsuccessful search for ships reported in NW Approaches

           7th               Returned to Scapa Flow.


July                        Based in Humber for patrol and covering duty against attacks on convoys in North Sea by

                               E-Boats or larger surface ships.


August                  Transferred to Harwich in continuation

         31st                Deployed with HM Destroyers JUPITER and VORTIGERN as escort from Humber of HM

                                Destroyers EXPRESS, ESK, ICARUS, INTREPID and IVANHOE during passage for

                                minelay in Heligoland Bight off Texel (Operation CBX5)



          1st                Diverted with HM Destroyer JUPITER to assist in rescue operation after ships of 20th

                               Destroyer Flotilla had struck mines

                               during minelay off Texel (Operation CHX5)

                               Sank badly damaged destroyer HMS IVANHOE after attempt by HMS JUPITER to take her

                               in tow had failed.

                               (For details see Naval Staff History (MINING)).

                               (Note: Record in one source of participation in bombardment of Cherbourg to be confirmed)


October                  Resumed anti-invasion patrol duties.


November              Nominated for escort duties in support of planned transfer of Home Fleet ships to serve

                                 in Mediterranean Fleet and transit of a relief convoy to Malta  (Operation COLLAR).

          15th               Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyer JAGUAR as screen for HM Cruisers MANCHESTER

                                and SOUTHAMPTON during passage to Gibraltar.

          21st               Arrived at Gibraltar.

          25th               Sailed from Gibraltar as part of screen for HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Aircraft Carrier

                                ARK ROYAL with HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD and DESPATCH, HM Destroyers


                                to cover passage of convoy to Sicilian Narrows.

         27th                Detached from Force B with HMS JAGUAR as escort for HMS ARK ROYAL during air

                                operations when a superior Italian force reported by SUNDERLAND aircraft.

                                (For details of the subsequent engagement at long range and retreat of the enemy battleships

                                and cruisers see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, MALTA

                                CONVOYS by R Woodman and Naval Staff  History (HMSO—2001) Battle of Cape

                                Spartivento) .

         29th               Retuned to Gibraltar with Force B after Italian withdrawal


December               Passage to Plymouth to rejoin Flotilla at Plymouth for interception and patrol in Channel and SW


          19th                Joined military convoy WS5A in Clyde with HM Destroyers KIPLING, OTTAWA (RCN),

                                  ST LAURENT (RCN) and Polish destroyer PIORUN as Local Escort during passage in  NW


         22nd               Detached from WS5A and resumed Flotilla duties


1 9 4 1


January                   Deployed in SW Approaches with Flotilla based at Plymouth.

to February



         28th               Escorted ships of 20th Destroyer Flotilla with HM destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR and

                               JACKAL for minelaying off Brest (Operation GX -See Naval Staff History).

         29th               Escorted HM Minelaying Cruiser ABDIEL with same ships for minelay off Brest.

                               (Operation GY).

                               Two aircraft approached before rendezvous and one later, but all were driven off.


April                      Transferred to Mediterranean Fleet with HM Destroyers KELLY, KIPLING, KASHMIR,

                               JERSEY and JACKAL (Operation SALIENT – See above references).

         24th               Joined Force S as screen for HM Cruisers DIDO and ABDIEL with the same ships for

                               passage to Malta covered by HMS ARK ROYAL, HMS RENOWN and HMS SHEFFIELD

                               with destroyer screen

                               (Note: Operation DUNLOP - Aircraft delivery to Malta by HMS ARK ROYAL was

                                           coincidental with the passage of the reinforcements to Malta).

         28th               On arrival at Malta deployed with 5th Flotilla in place of 14th Destroyer Flotilla as Force K

                               for attacks on enemy supply convoys.



          1st                Carried unsuccessful operation with ships of Force K to intercept a convoy.

          2nd               During entry into Grand Harbour Malta force K ships entered newly laid minefield and

                               HMS JERSEY was sunk after detonating a mine.

                               (Note: HMS KIPLING and HMS KASHMIR did not enter after this disaster.)

          9th                Sailed from Malta after minefield cleared and joined Fleet units with HMS KELLY and

                               JACKAL to cover passage of vital convoy carrying tanks to Egypt

                               ( Operation TIGER – see above references.)

                               (Note: The operation also included transfer of HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and HM

                                          Cruisers GLOUCESTER, NAIAD and FIJI to Eastern Mediterranean.

         10th               Under air attacks which were repelled and later daylight attempts were broken-up by

                               aircraft from HMS FORMIDABLE.

                               Detached from Mediterranean Fleet escort with Force K and took passage to carry out

                               bombardment at Benghazi.

         11th               Returned to Malta with Force K after bombardment.

         21st               Sailed from Malta with HM Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KIPLING and JACKAL to join

                               Fleet units off Crete for interception of invasion craft.

         22nd              Deployed with Fleet units off Crete and under heavy and sustained air attacks.

         23rd               During interception patrols and engagement of invasion craft sister ships in Flotilla HMS

                               KELLY and HMS KASHMIR were sunk

         24th               Transferred to 7th Destroyer Flotilla when 5th Flotilla was disbanded after the recent losses

         28th               Deployed at Sphakia with HM Destroyers NAPIER, NIZAM and KANDAHAR for evacuation

                                of Commonwealth troops

                                Embarked troops after landing stores under air attacks.

         29th                Under air attacks during return passage to Alexandria.

         30th                Took passage with same ships from Alexandria for Sphakia to continue evacuation.

                                Sustained damage in air attacks that reduced speed and made ship vulnerable to air attacks.

                                Returned to Alexandria.


June                        Nominated for repair at Bombay

         19th               Arrived at Bombay and taken in hand by HM Dockyard.


July                        Under repair at Bombay





          31st              Dockyard work completed and commenced sea trials


1 9 4 2


January                  On completion of trials took passage to rejoin Fleet at Alexandria.

          16th              Deployed as part of Force B with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND, HAVOCK, HOTSPUR and

                               KIPLING for screening HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD providing cover

                               for passage of  Convoy MW8 during passage in eastern Mediterranean to Malta.

                               (Operation MF3)

          18th              Joined convoy and detached for return to Alexandria on relief by ships of Force K from Malta.

          20th              Returned to Alexandria with Force B

                               (Note: HMS GURKHA was sunk by U133 on 19th and convoy arrived in Malta on 19th,

                                           For details of all Malta convoy operations see above references.



          13th              Deployed as part of Forcer B with HM Destroyers GRIFFIN, HASTY, HAVOCK, JAGUAR,

                               JANUS and JERVIS as screen for HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD to provide

                               cover for passage of Convoy MW9A and B during passage in eastern Mediterranean.

                               (Operation MF4 ).

          14th              Joined MW9 to increase AA defence.

                               Force K from Malta arrived with ships in eastbound Convoy ME10 from Malta and escorts


          19th              Returned to Alexandria with ships of Force B

                               (Note: None of the three ships in Convoy MW9 arrived in Malta due to the incessant air

                                           attacks. See references.)



          20th              Deployed in Force B as screen for HM Cruisers DIDO and EURYALUS with HMS JERVIS,

                               HMS KIPLING and HMS KINGSTON of 11th Destroyer Flotilla and HMS SIKH, LIVELY,

                               HERO, HAVOCK, ZULU and HASTY of 22nd Destroyer Flotilla for cover of passage of

                               Convoy MW10 to Malta (Operation MG1).

          22nd             Torpedo aircraft attacks by Italian aircraft unsuccessful.

          23rd              Took part in torpedo attacks on Italian force including the battleship LITIOR1O, heavy

                               cruisers GORIZIO and TRENTO, light cruiser BANDE DEL MERE and four destroyers.

                               Enemy warships withdrew after threat of further torpedo attacks under cover of a smoke


                               (2nd Battle of Sirte - For full details of the brilliant tactical defence by the British ships

                               commanded by Admiral Vian see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN, and

                               MEDITERRANEAN MAELSTROM by GC Cornell).

                               (Note: The convoy was able to continue its passage but was exposed to heavy air attacks

                                           until fighter cover was available from Malta. HM Store Ship BRECONSHIRE and

                                           the two merchant ships  that survived were all later sunk in Malta with only a fifth of

                                           their invaluable supplies being discharged.)


April                       Deployment in Eastern Mediterranean in continuation.

          16th              Landed Royal Marines Commando unit at Kuphorisi, Crete.

                               (Operation LIGHTER)


May                        Deployed on patrol and support duties in Eastern Mediterranean.


June                        Nominated for screening and defence of Malta relief convoy (Operation VIGOROUS).

          12th              Joined HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, HERMIONE, EURYALUS, ARETHUSA,

                               COVENTRY, NEWCASTLE and BIRMINGHAM with 16 other Fleet Destroyers and ten

                               HUNT Class Escort Destroyers for defence of Convoy MW11 to Malta

                               (Note: .HM Battleship CENTURION disguised as a KING GEORGE V Class Battleship also

                                           took  part in this operation.).

            14th            Under series of air attacks which continued after nightfall.

            15th            Threat from superior force of Italian warships was anticipated and convoy was ordered to

                               reverse course by CinC ashore at Alexandria..

                               (Note: As a result of the temporary confusion ships became a sitting target for waiting

                                             E-Boats that sank HMS HASTY and damaged HMS NEWCASTLE.

                               Ships again ordered to reverse course towards Malta.

            16th            After dawn, sustained air attacks were renewed  This seriously depleted stocks of

                               ammunition and HM Escort Destroyer AIREDALE was sunk..

                               Operation was then abandoned.

                               During return to Alexandria HMS HERMIONE was sunk by U205 and the destroyer HMAS

                               NESTOR previously damaged in the air attacks had to be scuttled.

                               (For details of this ill directed and ill conceived operation see above references.)

July                        Deployed temporarily in Red Sea for convoy defence.


August                   Returned to Mediterranean to take part in diversionary operations during transit of Malta

                               relief convoy from Gibraltar (Operation PEDESTAL – See references.)

                               Carried out bombardment of Rhodes.


September              Resumed detached service in Red Sea for convoy defence.




November               Returned to Alexandria for duty with 7th Flotilla in support of Malta relief convoy

                                (Operation STONEAGE – This was planned after the westward advance of the 8th Army

                                reduced the threat of air attacks

            16th             Deployed as escort for Convoy MW13 during passage from Port Said with HM Cruiser

                                EURYALUS, HM Destroyers JAVELIN, JERVIS, NUBIAN, PAKENHAM, PALADIN

                                and PETARD

            17th             Detached from MW13 on relief by HUNT Class Escort Destroyers and took passage to

                                Alexandria to refuel.

            18th             Rejoined MW13.

                                Under air attacks during which HM Cruiser ARETHUSA was disabled by a torpedoed

                                and had to be towed back to Alexandria.

            19th             Detached from MW13 with ships of Flotilla and took passage to Alexandria.

            21st              Arrived at Alexandria.

                                 Passage to Malta for interception operations with Flotilla as Force K



             2nd              Took part in attack on supply convoy in Gulf of Gabes with HM Destroyers JERVIS,

                                 JAVELIN and NUBIAN during which Italian destroyer LUPO was sunk.

                                 (Note: LUPO was rescuing survivors from a freighter.)

             4th               Took passage from Malta for cover of inward Convoy MW14 to provide cover for

                                 passage into Malta with HM Destroyers JAVELIN, JERVIS and NUBIAN as screen for

                                 HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO and EURYALUS (Operation PORTCULLIS/MH1)

              5th              Arrived in Malta with MW14.

                                 (Note: This was the last direct Malta relief convoy from Alexandria.)


1 9 4 3


January                    Deployed in Malta with ships of Flotilla as Force K

              9th              Sank two schooners during interception patrol off Kuriat with HMS NUBIAN.

            16th              Sank Italian mercantile D’ANNUNIZO south of lampedusa during attack on convoy

                                 (Note: Escort PERSEO escaped

            20th              During attack on convoy sank auxiliary minesweepers RD31, RD 36, RD37, RD39

                                 and six other small craft.

            22nd             Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, JAVELIN and NUBIAN as screen for HM

                                 Cruisers  CLEOPATRA, HMS EURYALUS for bombardment of withdrawal routes for

                                 German troops  in Tripoli area at Zuara.


February                   Deployed for Escort of convoys to and from Alexandria in central Mediterranean and

to                              offensive operations against enemy supply convoys.




             5th               Provided cover for HM Minelaying cruiser ABDIEL with HM Destroyer PALADIN

                                 during minelay in Skerki Channel. (See Naval Staff History (Mining).

             7th               Repeated cover provision for HMS ABDIEL with HMS PALADIN during further

                                 minelay in Skerki Chamel.


May                          Nominated for return to UK for refit

                                  (Note: Accumulation of defects and damage from near misses contributed to this need,)

                                              Participation in interception of evacuation craft from Cape Bon area after

                                              collapse of enemy resistance in Tunisia (Operation RETRIBUTION) and

                                              bombardment of Pantellaria with HM Cruiser  ORION .prior to planned British

                                              landings with ships of Flotilla is to be confirmed.)


June                          Passage to UK for refit.


July                           Under refit by HM Dockyard, Chatham




1 9 4 4


January                     Under refit.

to                               Nominated for service in 23rd Destroyer Flotilla, based at Scapa Flow

March                        Re-commissioned for trials.

                                    Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy with Force S (Operation NEPTUNE)


March                        (For details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE see OPERATION NEPTUNE

                                   by K Edwards, LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and BRITISH     

                                   INVASION FLEETS by J de S Winser.)



             2nd               Passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of Home Fleet. 

                                  (Note: Ships of  Force S carried out preliminary exercises in Moray Firth).

                                  On completion of work-up deployed in English Channel with Force S.



             2nd                Took part in Final Rehearsal for berthing, loading and sailing by Forces O, S, J and G.

             to                   (Exercise FABIUS).


             4th                 Assault landing exercise west of Littlehampton.

            18th                Defence exercise off Brighton.

            21st                 On completion Joined HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ, SCOURGE, VIRAGO, SCORPION

                                   VERULAM, SWIFT, MIDDLETON, SERAPIS, EGLINTON, Norwegian SVENNER,

                                   Norwegian  STORD and Polish ORP SLAZAK in Solent to prepare for assault phase)


June                            Nominated target in Pre-Arranged Fire Plan - Petit Enfer area.

             4th                 Joined Convoy S7 comprising HM Landing Ship LARGS (HQ Ship Force S), seven Landing

                                   Ships (Infantry), one  RAF High Speed Launch and three U S Navy Coastguard Cutters with

                                   HM Destroyers VIRAGO, VERULAM and EGLINTON and five MTB's.

             5th                 Sailed from Solent as escort for Convoy 37 after 24 hour delay.

             6th                 Arrived at beach head 2 hours before assault due to commence on SWORD Beach..

                                   Provided naval gunfire support for SWORD area.

            10th                During patrol pursued E-Boats in Channel after a successful attack on coastal convoy south of

                                   Isle of Wight.

                                   Enemy escaped to Boulogne without engagement.

            12th                Embarked Winston Churchill and General Smuts (South African Premier) for passage to

                                   assault area from Solent.

                                   Deployed in Eastern Task Force area for gunfire support and defensive patrol.

            27th                Retained in Channel area when NEPTUNE terminated at end of build-up Phase.



July                             Deployment in English Channel based at Plymouth in continuation.


August                       Took part in blockade established to intercept evacuation craft from Biscay ports.


September                  Passage to Sheerness for repair

             6th                  Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Sheerness

           30th                  Carried out post repair trials.


October                       Nominated for service with 14th Destroyer Flotilla in Mediterranean.

                                     Passage to join Flotilla.


November                   Joined Flotilla and deployed for support of re-occpation of islands in eastern Mediterranean

to                                 and patrol.

December                   Intercepted and sank  two landing craft with HM Destroyer TUSCAN.


1 9 4 5


January                        Deployed with Flotilla in Mediterranean for support of military operations and patrol..




June                              Flotilla deployment in continuation.

to                                  Took part in support of re-occupation operations and exercises with Fleet units based in Malta.



Post   War  Notes


HMS KELVIN remained in the Mediterranean after VJ Day and continued support duties and Fleet training exercises. She was nominated for reduction to reserve status and returned to UK to Pay-off and prepare for acceptance into the Reserve Fleet. She was laid-up at Dartmouth in January 1946 and the next year transferred to Harwich Placed on the Disposal List in February 1948 the ship was sold to West of Scotland Shipbreakers and arrived at the breaker's yard in Troon on 6th April 1949 for demolition.






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








TC 003





FN 0215





FS 0226





FS 0238





SL 058





MW 011





MW 013





MW 014





MW 019





MH 003/M





ME 016





MW 020A





TX 001/1





ME 017





MW 022





MW 027





MKF 015








(Note on Convoys)


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