Allied Warships

HMS Onslow (G 17)

Destroyer of the O class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantG 17 
ModFlotilla leader 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered3 Sep 1939 
Laid down1 Jul 1940 
Launched31 Mar 1941 
Commissioned8 Oct 1941 
End service 

Transferred to Pakistan on 30 November 1949 being renamed Tippu Sultan.

Former nameHMS Pakenham

Commands listed for HMS Onslow (G 17)

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1Capt. Harold Thomas Armstrong, DSC, RN6 Aug 194128 Nov 1942
2Capt. Robert St. Vincent Sherbrooke, DSO, RN28 Nov 19421 Jan 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Thomas James Germaine Marchant, RN1 Jan 194330 Mar 1943
4Lt.Cdr. Rowland Francis Leonard, RN30 Mar 19433 Jun 1943
5Capt. James Abernethy McCoy, DSO, RN3 Jun 19439 Sep 1944
6Capt. Hugh Waters Shelley Browning, OBE, RN9 Sep 19446 Sep 1945
7Capt. St. John Aldrich Micklethwait, DSO, RN6 Sep 1945early 1946

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Notable events involving Onslow include:

23 Dec 1941
HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed Scapa Flow for her 11th war patrol. She was part of Operation Archery, a commando raid on Vågsøy, Norway. Tuna was to act as navigational beacon for the surface ships involved in this operation.

The raid on Vågsøy was carried out by the British Light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Burrough, RN), the British destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN), HMS Chiddingfold (Lt. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the landing ships Prince Charles (A/Cdr. W.R. Fell, DSC, OBE, RN) and Prince Leopold (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Byles, RD, RNR). (1)

31 Dec 1941
German U-boat U-87 torpedoed and damaged the British merchant Cardita about 110 miles bearing 307 from St.Kilda in position 59°18'N, 12°50'W. The vessel foundered in 3 January 1942 in position in 59°42'N, 11°58'W.

HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN) later picks up 23 of the crew.

29 Aug 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN). (2)

2 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These exercises included a practice attack on the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) and her screen of six destroyers; HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN). (3)

14 Sep 1942
German U-boat U-589 was sunk in the Arctic Ocean south-west of Spitsbergen, in position 75°40'N, 20°32'E, by depth charges from the British destroyer HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN) and depth charges from a Swordfish aircraft of the escort carrier HMS Avenger (Sqdn 825).

30 Dec 1942
On 30 December 1942 the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper attacked convoy JW.51B and was held at bay by the British destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Obedient, HMS Obdurate and HMS Orwell. When renewing her attack she was engaged by the British cruisers HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica and was badly damaged them. The only success of the operation was the sinking of the destroyer HMS Achates and the minesweeper HMS Bramble, the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Obedient, HMS Obdurate and HMS Orwell were damaged in the action.

31 Dec 1942
As part of the escort of convoy JW51B bound to Murmansk, she was involved in the action when the convoy was attacked by the German heavy cruiser Hipper in the Barents Sea. Onslow was badly damaged, with a high toll in dead and wounded. Among the wounded was her CO, Captain Sherbrooke, who lost an eye in the battle and suffered other injuries, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for the successful defence of the convoy, that suffered no losses of merchant ships. (4)

11 Nov 1943
HrMs O 15 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Onslow (Capt. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN). (5)

12 Jan 1945
The British heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN with Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN aboard) and the light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN) attack a German convoy of Egersund, Norway. Two German merchants, the Bahia Camarones (8551 GRT) and the Charlotte (4404 GRT) and the minelayer M 273 were sunk.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 199/1844
  2. ADM 173/17240
  3. ADM 173/17241
  4. Personal communication
  5. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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

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