Allied Warships

HMS Achates (i) (H 12)

Destroyer of the A class

HMS Achates during World War Two

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantH 12 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered6 Mar 1928 
Laid down11 Sep 1928 
Launched4 Oct 1929 
Commissioned27 Mar 1930 
Lost31 Dec 1942 
Loss position73° 18'N, 30° 06'E

On 31 December 1942 HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Arthur Henry Tyndall Johns, DSO, RN) was escorting convoy JW-51B in the Barents Sea with 2 light cruisers and 4 O-class destroyers, when the convoy came under attack of a German force comprising heavy cruisers Lützow, Admiral Hipper and 6 Z-class destroyers in position 74N, 28E.

In the prevailing twilight of those latitudes the fighting was rather confused, Achates was hit by unidentified opponents between 0930-1130 hrs, then, from 1130, Admiral Hipper landed several salvoes on her. The superstructure and bridge were wrecked, she lost steam and received several more hits, sinking in three minutes taking 113 men to the bottom, about 135 nautical miles east-south-east of Bear Island in position 73º18'N, 30º06'E. 80 survivors were picked up from the freezing water.


Commands listed for HMS Achates (i) (H 12)

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1Cdr. Robert James Gardner, RN26 May 193910 Aug 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Robert William Jocelyn, RN10 Aug 1940late 1941

3Lt.Cdr. Arthur Andre Tait, RN10 Mar 194221 Jul 1942
4Lt.Cdr. Arthur Henry Tyndall Johns, RN21 Jul 194231 Dec 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Achates (i) include:

21 May 1941
The British battlecruiser Hood (Capt. R. Kerr, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.E. Holland, CB, RN) and the battleship Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) were ordered to proceed to Hvalfjord, Iceland as the German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen were spotted by air reconnaissance at Bergen, Norway. As there were indications that these two were going to 'set sail' for a raid on the ocean trade routes.

The two British capital ships were escorted by the destroyers HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. C.H.deB. Newby, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN), HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN).

8 Jun 1941
The British merchant Kingston Hill is torpedoed and sunk southwest of the Cape Verde Islands in position 09°35'N, 29°40'W by German U-boat U-38. HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) later picks up 16 survivors.

25 Jul 1941
While taking position in the screen of the carriers preparing to launch an air strike against Kirkenes/Petsamo, HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) was mined and severely damaged off the Seidisfjord, Iceland in position 64°11'N, 13°00'W. Achates was under repair until mid-March 1942.

8 Nov 1942
Deployed off Oran for operation "Torch". With HMS Westcott detected, attacked and sank the Vichy French submarine Argonaute, which had sortied to contest the Allied landings in the area.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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