Allied Warships

HMAS Nestor (G 02)

Destroyer of the N class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
PennantG 02 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered15 Apr 1939 
Laid down26 Jul 1939 
Launched9 Jul 1940 
Commissioned12 Feb 1941 
Lost16 Jun 1942 
Loss position33° 36'N, 24° 30'E

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 nameHMS Nestor

Commands listed for HMAS Nestor (G 02)

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1Cdr. George Scott Stewart, RAN3 Feb 194114 May 1941
2Cdr. Alvord Sydney Rosenthal, RAN20 May 194116 Jun 1942

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Notable events involving Nestor include:

15 Dec 1941
German U-boat U-127 was sunk west of Gibraltar, in position 36°28'N, 09°12'W, by depth charges from the Australian destroyer HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO, RAN).

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 nautical miles north of Tobruk, in position 33°36'N, 24°30'E. At 1806 hrs two bombs, dropped from 17000 feet (5000 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 hours by Javelin while Eridge and Beaufort were detached from the screen to escort the tow.
Javelin's Commanding Officer (Lt.Cdr. 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 Rear-Admiral Vian, in overall command of the convoy.

The tow headed for Alexandria, but at sunrise the ships had covered only 80 nautical miles and Alexandria was still 230 nautical miles away and Lt.Cdr. 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 hours of 16 June and dropped 7 depth charges, sinking Nestor in 33°42'N, 24°27'E, some 115 nautical miles North-East 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.

Media links

The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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