Allied Warships

HMS Electra (H 27)

Destroyer of the E class

HMS Electra before World War Two

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantH 27 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Nov 1932 
Laid down15 Mar 1933 
Launched15 Feb 1934 
Commissioned15 Sep 1934 
Lost27 Feb 1942 

On 27 February 1942 HMS Electra (Cdr. Cecil Wakeford May, RN) was sunk by Japanese warships. She was participating in the Battle of the Java Sea at the time of her loss.


Commands listed for HMS Electra (H 27)

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1Lt.Cdr. Stuart Austen Buss, RN31 Jul 193928 Jan 1941
2Cdr. Cecil Wakeford May, RN28 Jan 194127 Feb 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Electra include:

3 Sep 1939
HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, RN) and HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN) together pick up 481 survivors from the British passenger ship Athenia which was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-30 about 250 miles west of Inishtrahull in position 56°44'N, 14°05'W.

13 Jun 1940
While escorting HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN) off Norway HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) and HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, RN) collide with each other in heavy fog. Both destroyers were damaged and repairs took until ca. mid-August.

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).

24 May 1941
HMS Electra (Cdr. C.W. May, RN) rescued the 3 survivors from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, off Iceland.

10 Dec 1941
Participated in the Force Z sortie from Singapore. Rescued 571 survivors from HMS Repulse, which was sunk by Japanese aircraft.

27 Feb 1942
Sunk at Battle of the Java Sea. 54 survivors were picked up the next day by the US submarine S-38.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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