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)

27 Oct 1939
HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Grimsby (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) conducted an A/S sweep off the Firth of Forth. (3)

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). (4)

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. (5)

1 Apr 1941

Convoy AS 23

This convoy departed Piraeus on 1 April 1941 for Port Said where it arrived on 5 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Aegeus (Greek, 4538 GRT, built 1920), Coulouras-Xenos (Greek, 4914 GRT, built 1915), Hollandia (Greek, 1759 GRT, built 1911), Homefield (British, 5324 GRT, built 1919), Mary Livanos (Greek, 4771 GRT, built 1938), Mount Olympus (Greek, 6692 GRT, built 1920), Runo (British, 1858 GRT, built 1920) and Teti (Greek, 2747 GRT, built 1903).

The convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMAS Voyager (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN), HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

The convoy was attacked from the air and on 2 April the Coulouras-Xenos was sunk by aircraft bombs off Gavdos Island while the Homefield was badly damaged. She was later sunk by the destroyer HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN).

HMS Voyager arrived at Alexandria on 4 April, HMS Wryneck continued with the convoy to Port Said where it arrived on the 5th. HMS Wryneck then proceeded to Alexandria where she arrived later the same day. (6)

7 Apr 1941

Convoy AG 11

This convoy departed Alexandria on 7 April 1941 for Pireaus where it arrived on 9 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Ais Giorgis (Greek, 2098 GRT, built 1908), Brattdal (Norwegian, 4968 GRT, built 1935), City of Karachi (British, 7140 GRT, built 1937), City of Windsor (British, 7218 GRT, built 1923), Comliebank (British, 5149 GRT, built 1924), Hollandia (Greek, 1759 GRT, built 1911), Ozarda (British, 6985 GRT, built 1940), Port Halifax (British, 5820 GRT, built 1937) and Tanais (Greek, 1545 GRT, built 1907).

The armed boarding vessel HMS Fiona (Cdr. A.H.H. Griffiths, RD, RNR) also sailed with the convoy but was soon detached to Tobruk.

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

The AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) joined the convoy at sea on the 8th.

On the 9th HMS Mohawk was detached to Suda Bay after she had been relieved by two Greek destroyers. (6)

10 Apr 1941

Convoy AS 25

This convoy departed Piraeus on 10 April 1941 for Alexandria / Port Said where it arrived on 15 April 1941.

The convoy was made up of the merchant vessels Alfios (Greek, 5116 GRT, built 1920), Fred (Greek, 4043 GRT, built 1907), Hellas (Greek, 2081 GRT, built 1916), Ioannis Fafalios (Greek, 5670 GRT, built 1919) and Theofano Livanos (Greek, 4815 GRT, built 1937).

They were later joined at sea by the tanker Pericles (Dutch, 3167 GRT, built 1938) which came from Suda Bay.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wryneck (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.D. Lane, RN) and the sloop HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN).

On sailing from Piraeus the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) was also part of the escort. She parted company with the convoy on the 11th. HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) then joined the convoy, also on the 11th.

On the 14th, the tanker Pericles broke in two in position in 32°09'N, 29°40'E. HMS Grimsby took off the crew. Destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) was sent to her assistance but she could only sink the stern section with gunfire. (6)

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. (6)


  1. ADM 173/16103
  2. ADM 199/389
  3. ADM 53/109413
  4. ADM 199/1847
  5. ADM 173/16301
  6. ADM 199/414

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

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