Allied Warships

FR Brestois

Destroyer of the L'Adroit class

NavyThe French Navy
Built byCh Dyle & Bacalan (Bordeaux, France) 
Laid down17 May 1926 
Launched18 May 1927 
Commissioned15 Jun 1928 
Lost8 Nov 1942 

Sunk by gunfire from Allied warships off Casablanca, Morocco during the Allied landing in North Africa.


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Notable events involving Brestois include:

12 Apr 1940
HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) departed Lerwick for the Tyne. HMS Kelvin had to proceed stern first. They were being escorted by the French destroyers Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft) and Foudroyant (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) P.L.A. Fontaine).

13 Apr 1940
The damaged british destroyers HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) and their escorts, the French destroyers, Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft) and Foudroyant (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) P.L.A. Fontaine), arrived at the Tyne. Both damaged British destroyers were then taken in hand for repairs at Wallsend.

6 May 1940

Convoy NS 2.

This convoy departed Greenock on 6 May 1940 and arrived in the Narvik area on 11 May 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following ships; Balzac (British, 5372 GRT, built 1920), Calumet (British, 7268 GRT, built 1923), Coxwold (British, 1124 GRT, built 1938) and Mashroba (British, 8324 GRT, built 1920).

Escort was provided by the British destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. T.M. Napier, RN) and HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the French destroyers Boulonnais (Capitaine de Corvette (Lt.Cdr.) J.C.F. Champion) and Brestois (Capitaine de Fregate (Cdr.) J.L.C. Kraft).

In the early hours of the 7th the transports Balzac and Coxwold ran aground south of Neist Light in the Little Minch. The Balzac was escorted by destroyer Brestois to Stornoway, arriving at 1330/7. Brestois then proceeded to Scapa Flow.

Coxwold proceeded to Scapa Flow escorted by Boulonnais and later also by Brestois. They arrived at 0630/8th, having being delayed by thick fog in the Pentland Firth.

At 0500/7 the transport Meta (British, 1578 GRT, built 1931) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy at 1500/7. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN).

On joining the convoy HMS Witherington was sent to Stornoway to provide A/S protection for the damaged transport Balzac. HMS Witherington arrived at Scapa Flow at 1300/9.

The important fuel stores shipped in the transport Coxwold were embarked on the British transport Ulster Monarch British, 3791 GRT, built 1929) which departed Scapa Flow at 2130/10 for Narvik. She was not escorted.

When the convoy arrived in the Narvik area HMS Jackal and HMS Javelin were ordered to return to Scapa Flow immediately. They departed the Narvik area for Scapa Flow at 0700/11. (1)

31 Oct 1940
The destroyer HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), which was on patrol to the east of Gibraltar sighted five Vichy French destroyers at 0610/31 (Bordelais, Brestois, L'Alcyon, Simoun and TempĂȘte) proceeding westwards to pass the Strait of Gibraltar possibly bound for Casablanca.

The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), battleship HMS Barham (Capt G.C. Cooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) and HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar at 0830/31 to the westward to intercept. Destroyers which were on patrol to the eastward of Gibraltar were ordered to join HMS Renown to the west of Gibraltar. These were HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).

HMS Griffin was ordered to shadow the Vichy French ships.

HMS Renown, HMS Barham, HMS Wishart, HMS Encounter, HMS Firedrake, HMS Forester, HMS Fortune, HMS Fury, HMS Gallant and HMS Greyhound returned to Gibraltar at 1000/1. (2)

Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 199/376
  2. ADM 199/392

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

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