HMS Heythrop (L 85)
Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Class||Hunt (Type II)|
|Built by||Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend|
|Ordered||4 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||18 Dec 1939|
|Launched||30 Oct 1940|
|Commissioned||21 Jun 1941|
|Lost||20 Mar 1942|
HMS Heythrop was sent to Scapa Flow to work up and later temporarily attached to the Irish Sea Escort Force in the Western Approaches Command, before sailing for the Mediterranean station. On 30 August 1941, the destroyer arrived at Gibraltar where she was docked for a short time owing to defects in a stern tube. On 13 September, the ship went to sea with the Gibraltar local escort force covering the cruiser HMS Manchester and the destroyer HMS Firedrake, en route to the U.S.A. as far as 25° West. On 25 September, HMS Heythrop joined the heavy forces assembled in Gibraltar Strait to cover a convoy to Malta during Operation Halberd. Two days later, the British merchant Imperial Star was torpedoed by aircraft north of Cape Bon, HMS Heythrop took off 300 soldiers and rejoined the convoy which arrived at Malta on 28 September. The same day, the destroyer left with the force escorting three empty ships back to Gibraltar. Early in October, HMS Heythrop sailed via South Africa for Alexandria, arriving on 15 November, where she joined the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and shortly after arrival was despatched for two operations in support of the Libyan offensive: Operation Aggressive, reinforcements for Tobruk on 19 November and Operation Landmark, a diversionary convoy from Malta to the southward that returned after dark to give the impression of an intended landing in Tripoli. In the period November 1941 to January 1942, the destroyer made several passages from Alexandria to Tobruk, generally under almost incessant attacks by enemy torpedo bombers. She made her last run to Tobruk on 30 January 1942, escorting the steam merchant Antwerp (carrying 370 personnel) and returned to Alexandria seven days later.
At 1054hours on 20 March 1942, HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr Robert Sydney Stafford, RN) was hit by one of four fired torpedoes from U-652 about 40 nautical miles north-east of Bardia in position 32º22'N, 25º28'E and was then taken in tow by the British destroyer HMS Eridge towards Tobruk, but foundered five hours later. HMS Heythrop carried out an anti-submarine search together with five other Hunt-class destroyers between Alexandria and Bardia during that night, because another Malta convoy was planned to leave Alexandria for Malta (Operation MG-1) on 20 March.
Hit by U-boat
|U-boat Attack||See our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Heythrop|
Commands listed for HMS Heythrop (L 85)
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|1||Lt.Cdr. Robert Sydney Stafford, RN||25 Feb 1941||20 Mar 1942|
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Notable events involving Heythrop include:
23 Dec 1941
HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Stafford, RN) picks up survivors from the British passenger ship Shuntien that was torpedoed and sunk northeast of Tobruk in position 32°06'N, 24°46'E by German U-boat U-559.