Allied Warships

HMS Prince Leopold (4.251)

Landing Ship Infantry

Photo courtesy of Arne Pyson

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLanding Ship Infantry
Class[No specific class] 
Built byCockerill (Hoboken, Belgium) 
Laid down 
Launched30 Nov 1929 
Commissioned 1941 
Lost29 Jul 1944 

Completed as passenger ship Prince Leopold in July 1930.
Requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 22 September 1940 and converted to an LSI(S).
Displacement: 2950 tons.
Lenght: 360 feet
Complement: 207
Machinery: 6 Boilers, 2 shafts, geared steam turbines, SHP 15400 = 24 knots.
Armament: 2 12pdr AA guns (2x1), 2 2pdr AA (2x1), 6 20mm AA (6x1)
Carried 8 LCA's/LCS(M)'s or LCP(L)'s and 250 troops

Torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel in position 50.19'N, 00.53'W by the German submarine U-621 on 29 July 1944. 

Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 29 Jul 1944 by U-621 (Stuckmann).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Prince Leopold

Commands listed for HMS Prince Leopold (4.251)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. William Snowdon Byles, RD, RNR4 Jan 194120 Dec 1942
2Lt.Cdr. John Alverdus Lowe, DSO, DSC, RNR20 Dec 194229 Jul 1944

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Notable events involving Prince Leopold include:

23 Dec 1941
HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Scapa Flow for her 11th war patrol. She was part of Operation Archery, a commando raid on Vågsøy, Norway. Tuna was to act as navigational beacon for the surface ships involved in this operation.

The raid on Vågsøy was carried out by the British Light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Burrough, RN), the British destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the landing ships Prince Charles (A/Cdr. W.R. Fell, DSC, OBE, RN) and Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Byles, RD, RNR). (1)

24 Dec 1941

Operation Archery.

Commando raid against the Norwegian island of Vågsøy.

Around 2100A/24, the light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.M. Burrough, CB, RN), destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), the escort destroyer HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. L.W.L. Argles, RN), and the landing ships HMS Prince Charles (A/Cdr. W.R. Fell, DSC, OBE, RN) and HMS Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Byles, RD, RNR) departed Scapa Flow for operation Archery. First they were to proceed to Sullom Voe where they arrived around 1330A/25. and Maaloy Island. The Force arrived at Sullom Voe on the 25th.

Heavy weather had been encountered on the passage to Sullom Voe and the operation was postponed 24 hours so that some weather damage to the landing ships could be made good.

The raiding force departed Sullom Voe around 1600A/26.

The arrived off the Vaagsfiord in perfect weather around 0740A/27. At 0640A/27 they had made rendezvous with the submarine HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) which acted as beacon.

Enemy positions were bombarded and troops were landed.

The enemy was caught by surprise but resistance was however stiff as an enemy unit of mountain troops was present at Måløy for a rest.

HMS Kenya engaged the enemy shore battery at Rugsundöy. She was also hit in return.

HMS Onslow and HMS Oribi sank the German patrol vessel V 5108 / Föhn (207 GRT, built 1911, former Norwegian whaler Hadarøy) in Måløy-Sund. The merchant vessels Reimar Edzard Fritzen (2936 GRT, built 1923), Norma (2258 GRT, built 1911, former Dutch Calypso) and Anita L.M. Russ (1712 GRT, built 1926) and Eismeer (1003 GRT, built 1941, former Dutch Duiveland) were either sunk or driven on the rocks.

HMS Offa and HMS Chiddinfold sank the German patrol vessel V 5102 / Donner (223 GRT, built ?) and the merchant vessel Anhalt (4621 GRT, built 1922).

The commandoes commenced to retreat back to the landing ships around 1400A/27.

The raiding force returned to Scapa Flow around 1600A/28. (2)


  1. ADM 199/1844
  2. ADM 53/114498 + ADM 199/396 + ADM 199/399

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

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