Allied Warships

HMS Aphis (T 57)

River gunboat of the Insect class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeRiver gunboat
ClassInsect 
PennantT 57 
Built byAilsa Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (Troon, Scotland)  
Ordered9 Feb 1915 
Laid downMar 1915 
Launched15 Sep 1915 
Commissioned11 Nov 1915 
End service 
History

Sold to be broken up for scrap in May 1947.

 

Commands listed for HMS Aphis (T 57)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Bruce Chandler, RN8 Feb 1938Dec 1939
2T/Lt. Guy Percival L’Estrange, RNVRDec 193929 Jan 1940
3Frank Stanley Redgrove, RNR29 Jan 19409 Feb 1940
4Lt.Cdr. Robert Sydney Stafford, RN9 Feb 19407 Dec 1940
5Lt.Cdr. (retired) John Oliver Campbell, DSC, RN7 Dec 19409 Sep 1941

6Lt.Cdr. Frank Ythel Bethell, RN2 Dec 1941Jun 1944
7Lt. Edward Ernest Clifton, RD, RNRJun 1944Dec 1944
8Lt.Cdr. John Lane Goatley, RNDec 1944Jan 1945
9T/Lt. Eric Arthur Bellamy, RNVRJan 1945Jul 1945
10Lt. John Edwin Dyer, DSC, RNJul 1945

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Notable events involving Aphis include:


17 Jan 1941

Operation IS 1.

Bombardment of Tobruk.

Timespan; 17 January to 22 January 1941.

At 1800/17 the monitor HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) and the gunboat HMS Aphis (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.O. Campbell, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria for Operation IS 1. The object was to bombard enemy positions off Mersa-el-Sahal in the Tobruk area during the nights of 18/19 and 19/20 January to aid the British Army in their attempt to capture Tobruk from the Italians.

At 0400 hours, a force made up of the light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, CB, CVO, RN),HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.G. Egerton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria. They were to cover the operations off Tobruk. The cruisers were to patrol to the north-west while the destroyers were to patrol off the north-east.

The weather however became bad and the operation had to be postponed for 24 hours. The cover forces however remained in their positions as it was thought possible that the old Italian armoured cruiser San Giorgio might try to escape from Tobruk. In the end the cover force was withdrawn for more urgent operations and was ordered to proceed to Suda Bay where they arrived in the afternoon of the 22nd. Due to this bad weather the shallow draft HMS Aphis got into trouble as she was unable to seek shelter. Two destroyers and an aircraft were sent out for assistance. She was found at 1300/19 off Damietta. HMS Griffin then accompanied her to Port Said where she arrived at 0700/20. She had to be docked there for repairs to her hull.

The weather however remained bad and it was not possible to bombard during the night of 19/20 January as well. Also HMS Terror sustained weather damage but was able remain at sea.

During the night of 20/21 January, HMS Terror assisted by HMS Gnat (Lt.Cdr. S.R.H. Davenport, RN) and HMS Ladybird (Cdr.(Retd.) J.F. Blackburn, RN) from the Inshore Squadron did manage to carry out her bombardment duties. Little enemy opposition was experienced.

Also the destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN), HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN) and HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) were on patrol to the west of Tobruk to cut the enemy sea communications. During the night of 21/22 January, HMAS Vampire sank the Italian schooner Diego west of Tobruk. The crew of ten were taken prisoner. On the 22nd HMAS Voyager returned to Alexandria due to defects. She was relieved the next day by HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN).

HMS Terror and HMS Gnat also returned to on the 22nd. HMS Terror had lost her mast and sustained some additional damage in the recent heavy weather. HMS Gnat had to clean her boilers. The destroyers remained on the inshore patrol for now. (1)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/414

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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