Allied Warships

HMS Milford (L 51 / U 51)

Sloop of the Falmouth class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantL 51 / U 51 
Built byDevonport dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd. (Scotstoun, Scotland) 
Ordered16 Mar 1931 
Laid down14 Sep 1931 
Launched11 Jun 1932 
Commissioned22 Dec 1932 
End service 

Sold 3 June 1949.


Commands listed for HMS Milford (L 51 / U 51)

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1Capt. Robert Lionel Brooke Cunliffe, RN29 Dec 193721 Oct 1939
2Capt. Robert John Shaw, RN21 Oct 19393 Aug 1940
3Capt. (retired) Sydney Keith Smyth, RN3 Aug 194022 Feb 1941
4Cdr. (retired) the Hon. Valentine Maurice Wyndham-Quin, RN22 Feb 1941Early 1943
5Lt.Cdr. Gerald MacClelland, RNEarly 1943Jan 1944
6Lt. John Bryant, RNRJan 19446 Mar 1944
7Lt.Cdr. Gerald Gordon Slade, RN6 Mar 1944early 1946

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Notable events involving Milford include:

28 Mar 1938
HMS Milford (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN) anchored off Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and claimed the island for Britain.

8 Nov 1940
HMS Milford (Capt. S.K. Smyth, RN (retired)) is torpedoed by the Vichy French submarine Poncelet north of Port Gentil. The torpedo however did not explode. Poncelet is damaged by depth charges from Milford and is scuttled by her own crew in position 00°20'S, 08°50'E. (1)

30 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to participate in a special operation (Operation Grab) in which four Italian submarines coming from the Red Sea and their German supply vessel/tanker were to be intercepted. The British had discovered where these ships were to make rendez-vous though 'Ultra' (code breaking) and decided to spoil 'the party'.

Besides HMS Severn the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt. (Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) were also involved in this operation. (2)


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/16980 + ADM 199/1886

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

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