Allied Warships

HMS Heythrop (L 85)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type II) 
PennantL 85 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down18 Dec 1939 
Launched30 Oct 1940 
Commissioned21 Jun 1941 
Lost20 Mar 1942 
History

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.

Battle Honours:
Atlantic 1941
Libya 1941/42
Malta Convoys 1941/42

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
Sunk on 20 Mar 1942 by U-652 (Fraatz).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Heythrop

Commands listed for HMS Heythrop (L 85)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Sydney Stafford, RN25 Feb 194120 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.

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


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