Allied Warships

HMS Basilisk (H 11)

Destroyer of the B class

HMS Basilisk before World War Two

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantH 11 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered4 Mar 1929 
Laid down19 Aug 1929 
Launched6 Aug 1930 
Commissioned4 Mar 1931 
Lost1 Jun 1940 
Loss position51° 08'N, 2° 35'E

On 1 June 1940 HMS Basilisk (Cdr. Maxwell Richmond, OBE, RN) was sunk by German Stuka dive bombers off Dunkirk, France while she was participating in the evacuaton of the British Expeditionary Force from France.
The wreck lies in only 7 meters of water in position 51º08'13"N, 02º35'01"E.  

Commands listed for HMS Basilisk (H 11)

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.

1Cdr. Maxwell Richmond, RN29 Jul 19391 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Basilisk include:

31 Oct 1939
Around 0745A/31, HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) departed Plymouth for Spithead. Here, around 1900A/31, she joined HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and the destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN), HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richard, RN), HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN) and HMS Venomous (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN). These ships then set course to proceed to Rosyth. En-route the cruisers were diverted for operations.

The destroyers parted company during 1 November, HMS Anthony at 0845A/1, HMS Basilisk and HMS Brazen around 1730A/1 and finally HMS Venomous around 1845/1. HMS Venomous had already been detached for a while in the morning.

Before arriving at Rosyth to cruisers were diverted. [See the event ' Search for the American merchant vessel City of Flint ' for 29 October 1939 for more info.] (1)

12 Nov 1939
The minelaying cuiser HMS Adventure (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN) departed Grimsby for Portsmouth. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richard, RN) and HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN).

13 Nov 1939
During the night of 12/13 November 1939 the German destroyers Z 18 / Hans Ludemann, Z 19 / Hermann Kunne, Z 20 / Karl Galster and Z 21 / Wilhelm Heidkamp laid a minefield in the Thames estuary. Soon after the minefield had been laid the mine laying cruiser HMS Adventure (Capt. A. R. Halfhide, RN) hit a mine shortly after 0500 hours. She was disabled the injured were transferred to the destroyer HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richard, RN) while the destroyer HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) stood by. As the force made their way towards safety HMS Blanche also hit a mine around 0830 hours and settled by the stern. The tug Fabia went to the destroyers assistance but as she was towed the destroyer she capsized and sank. HMS Blanche lost two crew killed and twelve injured.

See this website (offsite link) for a detailed account of the mining of HMS Adventure and HMS Blanche.

1 Feb 1940
HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, RN) sailed from Dover to for Boulogne with Lord Gort aboard, she returned with the Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Imperial Staff plus other senior Staff Officers.

4 Feb 1940
HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) sail from Dover, the former with the Prime Minister, War Cabinet and Chief of Staff for Boulogne.

18 Apr 1940
Involved in the rescue of a Whitley bomber crew that had been forced to ditch in the North Sea during operations to Trondheim. The aircraft in question was Whitley V N1352 KN-B of 77 Squadron, operating from a forward base at Kinloss, taking off at 1735 to bomb the airfield at Trondheim. At 2207 hours, a distress call from the aircraft was received and further calls were monitored over the next half hour or so. Shortly after 2234, the crew ditched. At around 0200 hours, the following morning, HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, RN) came on the scene and picked up four survivors; F/O Chance, Sgt Tindall, LAC O'Brien and AC1 Douglas. The body of the pilot, P/O R Hall (43151) was also recovered, and this officer now rests in Lerwick New Cemetery, though his home was in Yorkshire. (2)

22 Apr 1940
Around 1215A/22, the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) departed the Greenock for the Narvik area.

At 1300A/23, she was joined in the Clyde by the destroyers HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, RN), HMS Wren (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Hesperus (Lt.Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN).

They arrived at Harstad around 1115A/26. (3)

13 May 1940
French troops were landed at Bjervik, Norway today. This is just to the north of Narvik. The town was captured successfully.

Naval ships involved in landing the troops and to provide cover were; battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN) which both landed French troops, repair ship HMS Vindictive (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, RN), netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Havelock (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richmond, OBE, RN) and HMS Wren (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN). They had departed Harstad (Tjeldsund) the previous day.

Air cover for this operation was provided, from a distance, by aircraft from HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN).

Later this day these ships also bombarded Narvik with the assistance of aircraft from the Ark Royal.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 53/108895 + ADM 53/108896 + ADM 53/109922 + ADM 53/109923
  2. Personal communication
  3. ADM 53/113095 + ADM 199/361 + ADM 199/376

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

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