HMAS Nestor (G 02)
Destroyer of the N class
|Navy||The Royal Australian Navy|
|Built by||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland)|
|Ordered||15 Apr 1939|
|Laid down||26 Jul 1939|
|Launched||9 Jul 1940|
|Commissioned||12 Feb 1941|
|Lost||16 Jun 1942|
|Loss position||33.36N, 24.30E|
HMAS Nestor (Cdr. Alvord Sydney Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN) was bombed on 15 June 1942 by Italian aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean about 95 nautical miles north-north-east of Tobruk, Libya in position 33º36'N, 24º30'E. The ship was straddled by heavy bombs which caused heavy damage to her boiler rooms. Taken in tow by the British destroyer HMS Javelin but at 0530 hours the next morning the destroyer began to settle by the bow. Permission was granted to scuttle the ship. The crew was taken off by the Javelin and at 0700 hours HMAS Nestor was scuttled by depth charges.
|Former name||HMS Nestor|
Commands listed for HMAS Nestor (G 02)
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|1||Cdr. George Scott Stewart, RAN||3 Feb 1941||14 May 1941|
|2||Cdr. Alvord Sydney Rosenthal, RAN||20 May 1941||16 Jun 1942|
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Noteable events involving Nestor include:
15 Jun 1942
Nestor had sailed from Haifa with the 7th Australian DD Flotilla (HMAS Napier, Nizam, Norman to take part i the operations connected with the passage of the Vigorous convoy to Malta. She was part of the screen for the cruiser force tasked with covering convoy MW.11, coming from Alexandria. In the afternoon of 15 June, following the sinking of DD Airedale at the hands of a group of 33 Ju.87s belonging to II/St.G.3 under Hauptmann (Capt) Kurt Kuhlmey, there was a combined air attack on the Axis side, by 32 aircraft, of which 23 Italian (8 Cant-Z. 1007bs of the 35? Stormo BT, Lt.Col. Bruno Borghetti and 15 S.79 VTBs) and 9 Ju.88s of I/L.G.1 (Hauptmann Joachim Helbig). The German machines dive bombed the screen, near-missing CL Newcastle and the dummy BB Centurion.
In the meantime, the 8 Cant.Z. 1007 bis attacked the convoy, at the time located some 100 nm north of Tobruk, in 33.36 N, 24.30 E. At 1806 hrs two bomb, dropped from 17,000 ft (5,000 metres) fell very close to Nestor's hull, causing a large hull breach in way of the engineering spaces abaft the stack, causing her to go dead in the water with severe engine damage and immediate flooding of #1 boiler room. All personnel in this section was killed, power failed and a fire broke out. Afer shoring up of the damaged bulkheads and firefighting had obtained a degree of stability to the situation, it was believed that, since the pums could still work and keep her afloat, albeit with a heavy list, the destroyer could be saved. She was therefore taken in tow at 2259 hrs by Javelin while Eridge and Beaufort were detached from the screen to escort the tow. Javelin's CO (Lcdr J. C. Simms) was instructed by the SOP (Capt. S. H. Arliss on board Napier) to scuttle the cripple if conditions deteriorated, decision seconded by Radm Vian, in overall command of the convoy.
The tow headed for Alexandria, but at sunrise the ships had covered only 80 nm and Alexandria was still 230 nm away and Lcdr Simms, fearing a renewal of the air attacks, and unwilling to risk his ship, decided to scuttle Nestor. Javelin, therefore, removed Nestor's crew @ 0750 hrs of 16 June and dropped 7 depth charges, sinking Nestor in 33.42 N, 24.27 E, some 115 nm NE of Tobruk. Casualties were limited to 4 dead and 1 wounded.
NB: all British reports indicate that Nestor's damage was caused by level bombers, therefore the success must be ascribed to the Italian Air Force, since the German planes who took part in the attack made diving attacks. We are indebted to Mr. Francesco Mattesini for the detailed archival research which clarified the loss of this destroyer.