Allied Warships

HMS Nubian (F 36)

Destroyer of the Tribal class


HMS Nubian late in the war

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassTribal 
PennantF 36 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Ordered10 Mar 1936 
Laid down10 Aug 1936 
Launched21 Dec 1937 
Commissioned6 Dec 1938 
End service 
History

Pennant numbers:
L 36 October 1938- December 1938
F 36 January 1939 - Autumn 1940
G 36 Autumn 1940 - June 1949.

In October 1938, Nubian's completion was delayed when it was suggested that she be used in still-water rolling tests. The original idea was to place a ten ton weight on the side of the ship, then suddenly remove it with a crane. During the momentum of righting, measurements could be taken. This plan was eventually discarded as it was deemed to be dubious in nature.

Gunsights were late in arriving so Nubian was last to join her flotilla at Malta on 2nd February 1939. She served in Cossack's division which was preparing for war during the Albanian Crisis, cruising the eastern Mediterranean, and practicing fleet and flotilla maneuvers. When war began, she was employed on convoy escort and contraband control in that area. After having turbine problems corrected at Southhampton, England Nubian was called on to carry out balloon trials at Spithead at the end of October 1939. It was hoped that towing a kite balloon would discourage low level air attack. The `Nubians' concluded that the trials were successful as most coastal convoys began flying `barrage' balloons.

At the end of 1939, Nubian reported to Scapa Flow and then to her base at Rosyth, England. Here, she started duties as a Norwegian convoy escort and was also actively involved in the Norwegian campaign. This was her first of many battle honours awarded, Norway 1940.

By 14 May 1940, Nubian arrived in Alexandria ,Egypt to join the 14th Destroyer Flotilla. The war against Italy began on 10/11 June and the Fleet carried out sweeps in the eastern Mediterranean and along the North African coast. While screening HMS Warspite off the Toe of Italy, the Italian Navy engaged in a skirmish in which the Italians withdrew. Nubian was awarded her second battle honour, Calabria 1940.

When she and other British ships destroyed an enemy convoy in the Straits of Otranto, another battle honour was awarded , Mediterranean 1940. The remainder of Nubian's battle honours will be mentioned here without elaboration: Libya 1940, Malta convoys 1941, Matapan 1941, Mediterranean 1941, Greece 1941, Crete 1941, Mediterranean 1943, Sicily 1943, Salerno 1943, Arctic 1944 and finally Burma 1945.

Nubian left the United Kingdom in January 1945 on her way to Alexandria in an effort to make her more hospitable for the tropics. Sailing to the Indian Ocean, she rendezvoused with her sister ships HMS Tartar and HMS Eskimo. Jointly, the three ships helped the British Army clear the Japanese out of their small Burmese coastal fortifications.

After the war ended, Nubian and Tartar arrived home by way of the Mediterranean. For a while, Nubian served as a Reserve Fleet accommodation ship alongside Whale Island, Portsmouth England. By 1948 she was empty and lifeless. Condemned as a target vessel in Loch Striven, she was eventually scrapped at Briton Ferry, Wales on 25 June 1949.

 

Commands listed for HMS Nubian (F 36)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Richard William Ravenhill, RN31 Oct 193823 Oct 1941
2Lt. Donald Terry McBarnet, RN23 Oct 194125 Jun 1942
3Cdr. Douglas Eric Holland-Martin, DSC, RN25 Jun 19423 Apr 1944
4Lt.Cdr. Tristram Anthony Pack-Beresford, RN3 Apr 19446 Jan 1945
5Lt.Cdr. Francis Cumberland Brodrick, RN6 Jan 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Nubian include:


17 Aug 1940
In the early morning the British battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) escorted by the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hostile (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) carried out a bombardment of Italian positions around the fortress of Bardia.

17 Sep 1940
British raid on Benghazi;
Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN) attacked Italian ships in Benghazi harbour. Also mines were laid off the harbour. The destroyer Borea was sunk by torpedo, The destroyer Aquilone was mined and sunk. The merchants Gloria Stella (5490 GRT) and Maria Eugenia (4702 GRT) were also sunk during the attack.

Illustrious was escorted by the British battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN) HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN).

After the attack HMS Kent, escorted by HMS Nubian and HMS Mohawk, was detached to bombard Italian positions at Bardia early on the 18th. However before this could materialise HMS Kent was torpedoed and heavily damaged by Italian torpedo bombers just before midnight. Kent was hit in the stern and badly damaged. Kent was towed to Alexandria by HMS Nubian, escorted by light cruiser HMS Orion, AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and destroyers HMS Mohawk, HMS Jervis, HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN).

8 Oct 1940
Operation MB-6;

A British convoy with the merchants
Memnon (7506 GRT),
Lanarkshire (11275 GRT),
Clan Macauley (10492 GRT) and
Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT)
left Alexandria for Malta on 8 October 1940. This convoy was escorted by the British Anti-Aircraft cruisers
HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN),
HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN)
and the Australian destroyers
HMS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN),
HMS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN),
HMS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN)
and the British destroyer
HMS Wryneck (Cdr. R.H.D. Lane, RN).

Cover was provided by the Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Cunningham) with the British battleships
HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN),
HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN),
HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN),
HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN),
the British aircraft carriers
HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN),
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN),
the British heavy cruiser
HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN),
the British light cruisers
HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN),
HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN),
HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN),
HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN),
the Australian light cruiser
HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN)
escorted by the British destroyers
HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN),
HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC, RN),
HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN),
HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN),
HMS Hasty, (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN),
HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN),
HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN),
HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN),
HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN),
HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN),
HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN),
HMS Dainty (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN),
HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN),
HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN)
and the Australian destroyers
HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and
HMAS Vendetta (Cdr. R. Rhoades RAN).

The convoy was not spotted and arrived safe at Malta on 11 October. The only damage sustained was to the destroyer HMS Imperial that was mined off Malta and was out of action for over 6 months.

While on the return trip the Mediterranean Fleet was sighted by an Italian aircraft. The Italian Navy tried to intercept them in the Ionian Sea. In the night of 11/12 October the first Italian torpedo boat flotilla with Airone, Alcione and Ariel attacked HMS Ajax. The attack failed and Ajax sank Airone and Ariel, Alcione escaped. A little while later the Italian 11th destroyer flotilla, with Artigliere, Aviere, Camicia Nera and Geniere arrived at the scene. They were surprised by the radar-directed gunfire from HMS Ajax. Artigliere was heavily damaged and Aviere was slightly damaged. Camicia Nere tried to tow Artigliere away but she was sighted by a British Sunderland aircraft that homed in 3 Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious. However, the torpedoed they fired didn't hit the Italian ships. Later the British heavy cruiser HMS York arrived at the scene. Camicia Nera quickly slipped the towing line and sped off. After her crew had left the ship Artiglire was sunk by York.

While the Mediterranean Fleet was still on the return trip aircraft from HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle attacked Leros and in the evening of the 14th the British light cruiser HMS Liverpool while south-east of Crete was hit in the bow by a torpedo from an Italian aircraft. The cruiser was heavily damaged and was repaired at the Mare Island Navy Yard in the USA. HMS Liverpool was not operational again until January 1942.

8 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) intercept three schooners near Kuriat, Tunisia and sink them with gunfire.

9 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) intercept a sailing vessel near Kuriat, Tunisia and sink it with gunfire.

15 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) intercept the Italian merchant D'Annuzio (4537 GRT) and it's escort, the Italian torpedo boat Perseo south of Lampedusa. The destroyers sink the D'Annuzio but the Perseo manages the escape.

19 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Pakenham, HMS Nubian and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga intercept and sink the German transport ship Stromboli (475 tons) off the Libyan coast.

30 Apr 1943
The British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) intercept the small Italian transport ship Fauna (575 GRT) about 20 nautical miles south of Capo San Marco, Sicily, Italy and sink it with gunfire.

4 May 1943
The British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L. St.G. Rich, RN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) sank the Italian transport ship Campo Basso (3566 GRT) and its escort the Italian torpedo boat Perseo (652 tons) about 8 nautical miles east of Kelibia, Tunisia.

7 May 1943
The German auxiliary minesweeper M 6616/Alba Eder (21 GRT) and the Italian tug Porto Cesareo (230 GRT) were sunk off Cape Bon, Tunisia by gunfire from the British destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN).

12 Jun 1945
HMS Tartar (Capt. B. Jones, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Eskimo (Lt. Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, DSC, RN) and HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) intercept a Japanese convoy some 20 miles north of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies and sink the Japanese submarine chaser Ch 57 (420 tons) and the Japanese landing ship Kuroshio Maru No.2 (950 tons, former T 149) with gunfire in position 06°20'N, 94°45'E.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


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