Ships hit by U-boats

HMS Heythrop (L 85)

British Destroyer

NameHMS Heythrop (L 85)
Type:Destroyer (Hunt Type II)
Tonnage1,050 tons
Completed1941 - Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne 
OwnerThe Admiralty 
Date of attack20 Mar 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-652 (Georg-Werner Fraatz)
Position32° 22'N, 25° 28'E - Grid CO 6795
Complement156 officers and men (16 dead and 150 survivors).
History HMS Heythrop (L 85) (LtCdr R.S. Stafford, RN) 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, 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 HMS Manchester (15) and HMS Firedrake (H 79), en route to the USA as far as 25° West. On 25 September, HMS Heythrop (L 85) joined the heavy forces assembled in Gibraltar Strait to cover a convoy to Malta during Operation Halberd. Two days later, the British steam merchant Imperial Star was torpedoed by aircraft north of Cape Bon, HMS Heythrop (L 85) took off 300 soldiers and rejoined the convoy which arrived at Malta on the 28 September. The same day, the destroyer left with the force escorting three empty ships back to Gibraltar. Early in October, HMS Heythrop (L 85) sailed via South Africa for Alexandria, arriving on 15 November, where she joined the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and shortly after arrival was dispatched 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, escorting the British steam merchant Antwerp (carrying 370 personnel) and returned to Alexandria seven days later.

Battle Honours:
Atlantic 1941
Libya 1941/42
Malta Convoys 1941/42 
Notes on event

At 10.54 hours on 20 March 1942 HMS Heythrop (L 85) (LtCdr R.S. Stafford, RN) was hit by one of four fired torpedoes from U-652 about 40 miles northeast of Bardia and was then taken in tow by HMS Eridge (L 68) (LtCdr W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN) towards Tobruk, but foundered five hours later.

HMS Heythrop (L 85) 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.

On boardWe have details of 19 people who were on board

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Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

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