Allied Warships

HMS Khartoum (F 45)

Destroyer of the K class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassK 
PennantF 45 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Ordered 
Laid down27 Oct 1937 
Launched6 Feb 1939 
Commissioned6 Nov 1939 
Lost23 Jun 1940 
Loss position12° 38'N, 43° 24'E
History

On 23 June 1940 HMS Khartoum (Cdr. Donald Thorn Dowler, RN) was heavily damaged by fire and beached in the Red Sea off Perim in position 12º38'N, 43º24'E.

It is often stated that Khartoum was damaged by gunfire from the Italian submarine Toricelli but this was not the case. The fire aboard Khartoum broke out 5 and a half hours after the sinking of the Toricelli. Toricelli was sunk at 0624 local time by RN destroyers HMS Kingston, HMS Kandahar and Khartoum as well as the sloop HMS Shoreham. The fire aboard Khartoum started at 1150. A torpedo air flask exploded propelling the warhead through the deck house of number 3 4.7" mount. A ruptured oil tank for the mount started the fire which led eventually to the loss of the ship. Her loss seems more due to inexperienced damage control. The Admiralty inquest ruled out damage from enemy action and sabotage but captured members of the Toricelli's crew were housed aboard. (Primary source are Admiralty records used in the book, "The Kelly's" by Christopher Langtree on page 106.)  

Commands listed for HMS Khartoum (F 45)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Donald Thorn Dowler, RN15 Sep 193923 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Khartoum include:


20 Nov 1939
HMS L 27 (Lt. P.J. Cowell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portsmouth with HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Conqueror (Capt.(Retd.) E.T.R. Chambers, RN). (1)

10 Dec 1939

Convoy TC 1.

This convoy of troopships departed Halifax at 0510 hours on 10 December 1939 for the Clyde where it arrived on 17 December 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / liners; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914, carrying 2638 troops), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928, carrying 1312 troops), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914, carrying 1235 troops), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931, carrying 1303 troops) and Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931, carrying 961 troops),

Close escort was provided on leaving Halifax by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) and the Canadian destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.N. Creery, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Capt. G.C. Jones, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN). These Canadian destroyers remained with the convoy until 12 December 1939 when they set course to return to Halifax.

Cover for the convoy was provided by the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN) and HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN). At dusk on the 10th both destroyers were detached to join the local escort. They returned to Halifax with the Canadian destroyers.

Early on the 15th, HMS Emerald was detached, HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) had joined the cover force in the afternoon of the 14th to take her place.

When the convoy approached the British isles, the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) departed the Clyde on the 12th to sweep ahead of the convoy. HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) was also to have sailed but was unable to join. HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) was sailed in her place and later joined the other destroyers at sea.

After German warships had been reported in the North Sea, and concerned for the safety of convoy TC.1, Admiral Forbes, departed the Clyde on the 13th to provide additional cover with the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN), battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN), HMS Imperial, HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN) sailed from Loch Ewe and later joined this force at sea. Three cruisers from the Northern Patrol were ordered to patrol in position 53°55’N, 25°00’W to provide cover for the convoy. These were the heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN).

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Shetlands and the Faroes.

The destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) departed Rosyth and proceeded north at high speed to try to cut of the enemy warhips if they were to enter the Atlantic.

The light cruisers HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), HMS Delhi (Capt L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Diomede (Capt. E.B.C. Dicken, RN) which were on the Northern Patrol were to concentrate near the Faroes where they were joined by HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN) and HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) which were on passage to their patrol stations.

Nothing happened and the convoy arrived safely in the Clyde on 17 December 1939. (2)

19 Dec 1939
HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) escorted by HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN), HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) and HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) departed the Clyde. They were to provide cover for convoy HN 5 (from Norway to the U.K.) and afterwards for the ships of the Northern Patrol.

At 1700 hours this day, while in position 55°30'N, 05°02'W HMS Khartoum reported that a torpedo had been fired at her and she made three A/S attacks. Also HMS Isis attacked a submarine contact. No German submarine reported attacking a destroyer and being counter attacked so the A/S contacts must have been bogus. (3)

22 Dec 1939
It was time for the destroyers to start refueling so at 2000/22 HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN) and HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) parted company with HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN). They then proceeded to Sullom Voe to fuel and returned at 1045/24.

At 2015/24, HMS Icarus and HMS Isis parted company to proceed to Sullom Voe to fuel. They returned at 1230/26.

At 2005/26, HMS Inglefield parted company to fuel at Sullom Voe. She rejoined the force at 0855/28. (4)

6 Jan 1940
HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from Rosyth for convoy escort duty. She is part of the escort for convoy ON-7 to Norway. Other ships of the escort are HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN). (HMS Eskimo developed engine problems and was replaced by HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), Encounter herself was relieved the next day by HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN).

Before joining the convoy Triton conducts exercises in the Firth of Forth with HMS Auckland (Capt.(Retd.) K.A. Beattie, RN) and HMS Londonderry (Cdr. Sir T.L. Beevor, RN). (5)

9 Jan 1940
Convoy ON-7 arrived in Norwegian waters. After a few hours HMS Triton (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, RN) departed from again now part of the escort force of convoy HN-7. The other ships of the escort were HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) (later relieved by HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN)), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN). HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC, RN) later joined at sea. (5)

10 May 1940
HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) departed Scapa Flow to provide cover for the damaged destroyer HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) that had been torpedoed by the German E-Boat S-31 in the North Sea. HMS Kelly was being towed by destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Wisden, RN). Destroyers HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) were escorting the tow. HMS Manchester and HMS Sheffield joined around 1540 hours (zone -1). Around 1530/11, HMS Manchester and HMS Sheffield parted company and set course for Rosyth where they arrived around 0015/12. In the early moring of the 11th two tugs had taken over the tow of HMS Kelly from HMS Bulldog. HMS Kelly finally arrived at the Tyne at 1730/13. (6)

23 Jun 1940
The Italian submarine Torricelli was forced to the surface and sunk off Perim in gun-battle by the British destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and the British sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN).

Shoreham was damaged by gunfire during this action. Repairs were made at Aden.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15781
  2. ADM 199/367 + ADM 199/393
  3. ADM 199/393
  4. ADM 53/107660
  5. ADM 173/16642
  6. ADM 53/112664 + ADM 199/361

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


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