HMS Keith (D 06)
Destroyer of the B class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Vickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.)|
|Ordered||22 Mar 1929|
|Laid down||1 Oct 1929|
|Launched||10 Jul 1930|
|Commissioned||20 Mar 1931|
|Lost||1 Jun 1940|
|Loss position||51° 04'N, 2° 08'E|
On 1 June 1940 HMS Keith (Capt. Edward Lyon Berthon, RN, also Commanding officer of the 19th Destroyer Flotilla) was sunk by German Stuka dive bombers off Dunkirk, France while she was participating in the evacuaton of the British Expeditionary Force from France.
Commands listed for HMS Keith (D 06)
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.
|1||Capt. Alfred Jerome Lucian Phillips, RN||31 Jul 1939||6 Sep 1939|
|2||Cdr. (retired) Henry Thurston Wake Pawsey, OBE, RN||6 Sep 1939||15 Feb 1940|
|3||Capt. David James Robert Simson, RN||15 Feb 1940||23 May 1940 (+)|
|4||Capt. Edward Lyon Berthon, DSC, RN||27 May 1940||1 Jun 1940|
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Notable events involving Keith include:
7 Oct 1939
Around 1000A/7, the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) departed Plymouth for the Brest area to make rendezvous with French warships and then on to Dakar. On departure from Plymouth HMS Hermes was escorted by the destroyers HMS Keith (Cdr.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN) and HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).
Around 1915A/7, HMS Hermes anchored off Brest. The destroyers then returned to Plymouth.
Around 2115A/7, HMS Hermes got underway again to proceed to the Dakar area in company with French warships. These were the battlecruiser Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin) and the destroyers Le Fantasque (Capt. P.A.B. Still), Le Terrible (Cdr. A.E.R. Bonneau) and L’Audacieux (Cdr. L.M. Clatin). This force was known as 'Force N'.
Around 1430A/10, the heavy cruisers Algerie (Capt. L.H.M. Nouvel de la Fleche) and Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury) and the destroyers Maille Breze (Cdr. H.M.E.A. Glotin) and Vauquelin (Cdr. R. Jaujard) joined.
The Force arrived at Dakar on 14 October 1939. (1)
9 Oct 1939
Around 2100 hours the British destroyers HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN with Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN aboard), HMS Gipsy (Lt.Cdr. N.J. Crossley, RN), HMS Keith (Cdr. H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Kingdon, RN) and the Polish destroyer Grom (Lt.Cdr. A. Hulewicz, ORP) were ordered to leave Harwich and establish a patrol in the North Sea. Shortly before that, a German He 59 seaplane dropped two magnetic mines nearby, but there was no time for searching. HMS Gipsy hit one of those mines which tore her into two pieces. Most of the survivors were picked up by HMS Griffin and HMS Keith. (2)
2 Nov 1939
A submarine was reported near Margate Buoy and the destroyers HMS Keith (Cdr.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN), HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN) were ordered to hunt this submarine. No contact was obtained though.
12 Feb 1940
The aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), which was on passage from Freetown to the U.K. was joined around 0925Z/12 by the destroyer HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN).
HMS Ark Royal had been ordered to search the area for German merchant vessels which are thought to be present in the area having left Vigo, Spain to return to Germany. (3)
15 Feb 1940
HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Keith (Cdr.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN), HMS Veteran (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN) and HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. (4)
10 May 1940
Around 1415A/10, the light cruisers HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and the destroyers HMS Keith (Capt. D.J.R. Simson, RN) and HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN) departed Sheerness for operations off the Dutch coast.
During the night of 10/11 May 1940, HMS Galatea embarked a few Dutch army officers. She was also supposed to evacuate members of the Dutch Royal family but they had delayed their departure.
HMS Arethusa and HMS Boreas escorted the Dutch merchant vessel Iris (905 GRT, built 1920) to Southend. The Iris had on board some of the gold reserve from the Dutch National Bank. Following this escort duty, HMS Arethusa and HMS Boreas, arrived at Sheerness around 0630A/3.
HMS Keith escorted the Dutch merchant vessel Titus (1712 GRT, built 1930). The uncompleted Dutch light cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Lt.Cdr. A. van Foreest, RNN) is also with them. HMS Keith arrived at Sheerness either late on the 11th or early on the 12th. (5)
- ADM 53/109170 + ADM 53/109430 + ADM 53/110977
- Personal communication
- ADM 53/111429
- ADM 53/111430
- ADM 53/111411 + ADM 53/112281 + ADM 199/379
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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