Allied Warships

HMS Galatea (71)

Light cruiser of the Arethusa class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered21 Mar 1933 
Laid down2 Jun 1933 
Launched9 Aug 1934 
Commissioned14 Aug 1935 
Lost15 Dec 1941 
Loss position31° 17'N, 29° 13'E

HMS Galatea (Capt. Edward William Boyd Sim, RN) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-557 about 35 nautical miles west of Alexandria, Egypt in position 31º17'N, 29º13'E. Captain Sim, 22 officers and 447 ratings were killed. 144 survivors were picked up by the British destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Hotspur. U-557 was sunk the next day by an accidental ramming by the Italian torpedo boat Orione with all hands lost.


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 15 Dec 1941 by U-557 (Paulshen).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Galatea

Commands listed for HMS Galatea (71)

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1Capt. Edward Gerald Hyslop Bellars, RN1 Jun 193827 Feb 1940
2Capt. Brian Betham Schofield, RN27 Feb 19401 Mar 1941
3Capt. Edward William Boyd Sim, RN1 Mar 194115 Dec 1941 (+)

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Notable events involving Galatea include:

4 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica reached their new home base Rosyth. In the afternoon they left the harbour with the British light cruisers HMS Arethusa, HMS Galatea and three British destroyers. These ships were ordered to conduct a patrol at North Sea and were later ordered to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway. (1)

31 Aug 1940
On 31 August 1940 a group of destroyers sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission off the Dutch coast. The minelayers were from the 20th Destroyer Flotilla and consisted of the destroyers HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The minelayers were escorted by members of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla consisted of the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN). Aerial reconnaissance detected a German force and the ships of the 20th and 5th DF were ordered to intercept, believing wrongly that the German ships were part of an invasion force. HMS Express struck a mine and was badly damaged, HMS Esk went to her assistance and hit mine and sank immediately, HMS Ivanhoe also went to her assistance and hit a mine and was badly damaged, so much so she had to be sunk by HMS Kelvin. The following day they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) and while returning to base HMS Galatea struck another mine and was slightly damaged off Cleaner Shoal Buoy near the Humber light vessel.

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


  1. Personal communication

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