Allied Warships

HMS Zetland (L 59)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type II) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type II) 
PennantL 59 
Built byYarrow Shipbuilders Ltd. (Scotstoun, Scotland) 
Ordered20 Dec 1939 
Laid down2 Oct 1940 
Launched7 Mar 1942 
Commissioned27 Jun 1942 
End service 

Sold to the Royal Norwegian Navy in 1954 and renamed Tromso.
Scrapped in 1965.


Commands listed for HMS Zetland (L 59)

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1Lt. John Valentine Wilkinson, RN26 May 19429 Feb 1944
2Lt. Christopher Robert Bax, RN9 Feb 1944early 1946

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Notable events involving Zetland include:

HMS Zetland took part in escorting Malta convoy in Operation Pedestal. Took part on 8th November 1942 covering the landings at Algiers during Operation Torch, exchanged gunfire with coastal batteries allowing the damaged destroyer HMS Broke to escape from the port of Algiers. took Broke in tow towards Gibraltar but had to take all crew off to sink the sinking destroyer. Zetland was badly damaged and mustard gas contaminated on the night of 2nd December 1943 in the Adriatic port of Bari and afterward sailed to Taranto for repairs and then resumed escorting convoys to Italian ports. (1)

11 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. J.C.Y. Roxburgh, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) and HMS Pennyworth (T/Lt. R.A. Mason, RNVR). (2)

30 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN), HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) and HMS Bridgewater (Cdr.(Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN). (2)

30 Jan 1943
HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN) part of the same convoy escort as HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) arrived back at the scene of the sinking after an asdic search for the submarine of about 20 minutes. They found men in the water, shouting and screaming. Zetland launched a boat but picked up only four survivors from HMS Samphire who were landed at Bone. (1)

18 Sep 1944
On 18 September 1944 on 7pm, a lookout on ORP Garland spotted an enemy U-boat. The U-boat was promptly attacked, but without any result. Later four British destroyers, HMS Troubridge, HMS Terpsichore, HMS Brecon and HMS Zetland, joined the Polish destroyer and started the hunting which lasted for 10 hours. On 6am the following day the U-boat surfaced and was spotted again by the Polish destroyer, this time the attack, 10 depth-charges, was deadly. German U-boat U-407 was sunk. The survivors were picked up by Garland as war prisoners. (1)


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/17253

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

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