Allied Warships

HMS Grimsby (L 16 / U 16)

Sloop of the Grimsby class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantL 16 / U 16 
Built byDevonport dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Nov 1932 
Laid down23 Jan 1933 
Launched19 Jul 1933 
Commissioned17 May 1934 
Lost25 May 1941 
Loss position32° 30'N, 24° 40'E

HMS Grimsby (Cdr. Kenneth Judge D'Arcy, RN) was sunk by German aircraft about 40 nautical miles north-east of Tobruk, Libya in position 32º30'N, 24º.40'E.


Commands listed for HMS Grimsby (L 16 / U 16)

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1Capt. Alfred Spalding Russell, RN10 Feb 193911 Dec 1939
2Cdr. Kenneth Judge D'Arcy, RN11 Dec 193925 May 1941

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Notable events involving Grimsby include:

27 Sep 1939
HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These exercises included an A/S exercise with HMS Jade, HMS Amber (Boatswain H.W. Clark, RN) and later with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and HMS Deptford (Cdr. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN). (1)

30 Sep 1939

Convoy Blue 3.

This convoy departed Port Said on 30 September 1939 for Gibraltar where it arrived on 10 October 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following merchants; Britannia (British, 8799 GRT, built 1926), British Captain (Tanker, British, 6968 GRT, built 1923), British Commodore (Tanker, British, 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Genius (Tanker, British, 8553 GRT, built 1939), British Grenadier (Tanker, British, 6857 GRT, built 1922), British Officer (Tanker British, 6990 GRT, built 1922), British Sergeant (Tanker, British, 5868 GRT, built 1922), City of Guildford (British, 5157 GRT, built 1919), City of Mandalay (British, 7028 GRT, built 1925), Clan Chisholm (British, 7256 GRT, built 1937), Clan Macbean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Halizones (British, 3298 GRT, built 1920), Hatasu (British, 3198 GRT, built 1921), Malancha (British, 8124 GRT, built 1937), Malvernian (British, 3133 GRT, built 1937), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Registan (British, 5886 GRT, built 1930), Sagaing (British, 7958 GRT, built 1925), Theseus (British, 6527 GRT, built 1908), Tunisia (British, 4337 GRT, built 1927), Ville de Tamatave (French, 6276 GRT, built 1931), Ville du Havre (French, 5083 GRT, built 1919), War Krishna (Tanker, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, British, 5760 GRT, built 1919), Yorkshire (British, 10183 GRT, built 1920),

British Sergeant parted company with the convoy off Malta.

A/S Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Duchess (Lt.Cdr. R.C.M. White, RN) and the sloops HMS Fowey (Cdr. H.B. Ellison, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN).

When off Malta on 5 October 1939, HMS Defender and HMS Duchess were relieved by HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN) and HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN). They remained with the convoy until off Algiers on 8 October 1939 when the returned to Malta. The convoy was then escorted only by the two sloops and arrived at Gibraltar on the 10th. (2)

6 Nov 1939
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. H.P. de C. Steel, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Skagerrak.

Before proceeding on patrol Triton carries out exercises with HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN). (3)

25 Jan 1940
HMS H 34 (Lt. E.F. Balston, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Rosyth with HMS Vega (Cdr. C.I Horton, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN). Upon completion of these exercises HMS H 34 proceeded to Portsmouth together with HMS Ursula (Cdr. G.C. Phillips, DSO, RN) and ORP Wilk (Lt. B. Krawczyk). They were ordered to return to Rothesay the next day due to enemy submarines operation of the east coast of the U.K. (4)

26 Apr 1941
Operation Demon continued, more troops were to be evacuated from mainland Greece during the night of 26/27 April 1941.

From the Raphina and Raphtis area;

landing ship HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, RN) and the transport Salween (7063 GRT, built 1938). They were escorted by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. T.C. Hampton, RN) and the destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN).

HMS Glenearn was bombed en-route to the pick up zone. She was towed to Kissamo Bay by HMS Griffin. From there she was taken in tow to Alexandria, first by the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and later by the netlayer HMS Protector (Cdr. R.J. Gardner, RN).

To replace the troop carrying capacity of the landing ship HMS Glenearn, the light cruisers HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN), HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and destroyer HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) were sent from Suda Bay.

From the Nauplia and Tolon area;

landing ship HMS Glenearn (Capt.(Retd.) L.B. Hill, OBE, RN), troopships Slamat (Dutch, 11636 GRT, built 1924) and Khedive Ismael (7290 GRT, built 1922), AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), and destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. C.S.B. Swinley, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, DSC, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, RN).

Slamat was late in leaving Nauplia in the early morning and delayed the convoy's sailing. Slamat was then bombed and wrecked south of the Argolic Gulf in position 37°01'N, 23°10'E shortly after 0700 hours. Destroyer HMS Diamond was then left behind to rescue the survivors which she did. At 0925 hours HMS Diamond signalled that she had picked up most of the survivors and that she had set course for Suda Bay. She had also fired a torpedo into the blazing wreck and Slamat sank shortly afterwards.

The destroyers HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN), HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) and HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) were then sent out to assist the Nauplia group. Of these HMS Wryneck was ordered to assist HMS Diamond. Wryneck arrived just as Slamat capsized. Both destroyers were then attacked and sunk in the early afternoon by German aircraft (9 German aircraft Ju.88, probably of I./KG.51 (Hpt. Heinrich Hahn)) with heavy loss of life. Only 27 survivors (another source gives 24 survivors) were picked up the next day by HMS Griffin. HMS Diamond was lost with 7 officers and 141 ratings while HMS Wryneck was lost with 7 officers and 98 ratings.

From the Kalamata area;

transports City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), Costa Rica (Dutch, 8055 GRT, built 1910), Dilwara (British, 11080 GRT, built 1936). These were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), destroyers HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt. W.J. Munn, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. R.J.O. Otway-Ruthven, RN).

HMS Defender had also embarked the Yugoslav crown jewels for transport to Alexandria.

Convoy GA 14 to Alexandria.

A convoy was then formed to the north of Crete (GA 14). It was to proceed to Alexandria. It was made up of HMS Glengyle, Khedive Ismael, Salween, City of London and Costa Rica. They were escorted by the AA cruisers HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Stuart, HMAS Vampire (Cdr. J.A. Walsh, RAN), HMAS Vendetta and HMAS Waterhen and the sloop HMS Flamingo.

While the convoy was being formed, the Costa Rica was bombed north of Crete by enemy aircraft. She was taken in tow by HMS Defender but sank north-west of Suda Bay in position 35°54'N, 23°49'E. The troops and her crew were saved.

Cover for this convoy was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Perth, HMS Phoebe and the destroyers HMS Decoy, HMS Defender, HMS Hasty, HMS Hereward, HMS Hero and HMS Nubian. These ships returned to Suda Bay in the afternoon of the 27th. (5)


  1. ADM 173/16103
  2. ADM 199/389
  3. ADM 199/1847
  4. ADM 173/16301
  5. ADM 199/414

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

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