Allied Warships

HMS Kimberley (F 50)

Destroyer of the K class

HMS Kimberley at high speed.
Photo with thanks to Lee Brown.

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantF 50 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Laid downJan 1938 
Launched1 Jun 1939 
Commissioned21 Dec 1939 
End service 

HMS Kimberley completed her war service patrolling the Greek Islands of Kos; Leros; Simi and Rhodes (amongst others) in the Dodecanese. Also patrolled by German motor Torpedo Boats. Stores and fuel were taken on board at the neutral Turkish port of Marmarice. The Germans had some big guns on Rhodes and the Kimberley kept a respectful distance so that all rounds fired at her fell short. On the 8th May 1945, Kimberley stood off shore at Rhodes and the Commandant of the German forces, together with his senior officers, came alongside, were invited aboard and formally surrendered. It was a droll moment, as they arrived alongside in a British Motor Torpedo Boat that had been captured the night before, flying a white flag and the German ensign. After the formalities were completed the Germans returned to Rhodes to disarm the garrison. Kimberley returned the next day and landed an armed party. The German garrison was confined to their quarters and Shore Leave was granted. Later, Kimberley transported the Germans (about 117 in number) to Alexandria, Egypt, before setting sail for home to Dartmouth to be decommissioned.

HMS Kimberley is not listed as an active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 30 March 1949.


Hit by U-boat
Damaged on 12 Jan 1942 by U-77 (Schonder).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Kimberley

Commands listed for HMS Kimberley (F 50)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1Lt.Cdr. Richard George Kirby Knowling, RN20 Nov 19391 May 1940
2Lt.Cdr. John Sherbrook Morris Richardson, RN1 May 1940early 1942

3Lt.Cdr. James Wolferstan Rylands, RN30 Aug 194210 Mar 1945
4Lt.Cdr. Edward Francis Baines, DSO, RN10 Mar 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Kimberley include:

20 Oct 1940
The Italian destroyer Francesco Nullo was beached after a surface action with HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) in the Red Sea. Kimberley was damaged by an Italian shore battery and had to be towed to Port Sudan. The damaged Italian destroyer was sunk the next day be the RAF.

1 Dec 1941
Acting on an ULTRA intercept, a British force sailed from Malta in the evening of 30 November with the British light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).
At 0330 hrs of 1/12 the British intercept and sink the Italian transport Adriatico (1976 GRT) then proceed towards the Libyan coast.
At a point 60 nautical miles north-north-west of Tripoli, Libya, Penelope, Aurora and Lively intercept a small convoy consisting of the Italian oiler Iridio Mantovani (10540 GRT) escorted by the Italian destroyer Alvise da Mosto (2125 tons) and sink both.

12 Jan 1942
At 01.57 hours on 12 January 1942 German U-boat U-77 sighted two destroyers off Tobruk and fired at 02.38 hours a spread of four torpedoes of which one hit the stern of HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN). The explosion blew her stern off and immediately stopped the vessel, which was missed by a coup de gr?ce at 02.45 hours. The destroyer was towed to Alexandria by the British escort destroyer HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and after temporary repairs towed in February 1942 to Bombay, India, where she was repaired and returned to service in January 1944.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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