Allied Warships

HMS Huntley (J 56)

Minesweeper of the Hunt class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantJ 56 
Built byJoseph T. Eltringham Ltd. (Willington, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched18 Jan 1919 
Commissioned22 May 1919 
Lost31 Jan 1941 
Loss position31° 25'N, 26° 48'E

HMS Huntley was laid up in reserve at Singapore when the Second World War started.

HMS Huntley (Lt.Cdr. Ernest Sprent Cotsell, RNR) was sunk by German aircraft about 30 nautical miles west of Mersa Matruh, Egypt in position 31º25'N, 26º48'E.


Commands listed for HMS Huntley (J 56)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. Harold Robert Austin King, RNR24 Sep 1939Jan 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Ernest Sprent Cotsell, RNRJan 194131 Jan 1941

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Notable events involving Huntley include:

18 Sep 1940
HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) conducted gunnery exercises off Aden on a target that was being towed by HMS Huntley (Lt.Cdr. H.R.A. King, RNR).

She also fired a practice torpedo at HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) which acted as ' target '. (1)

10 Oct 1940

Convoy BN 7.

This convoy departed Bombay on 10 October 1940.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Ethiopia (British, 5574 GRT, built 1922), Felix Roussel (British, 17083 GRT, built 1930), Karagola (British, 7053 GRT, built 1917), Nevasa (British, 9213 GRT, built 1913), Nurmahal (British, 5419 GRT, built 1923), Subadar (British, 5424 GRT, built 1929) and Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruisers HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN) and HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) H.C. Legge, DSC, RN).

Around 1330D/16, the light cruiser HMS Leander (from the New Zealand Division) (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) joined the convoy. The armed merchant cruisers then parted company.

On the 18th, the sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Yarra (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined.

On 19 October the Varsova was detached from the convoy and proceeded to Aden.

Also on the 19th, 24 more transports / tankers joined the convoy off Aden, these were the following; Arundo (Dutch, 5163 GRT, built 1930), Askot (Norwegian, 1323 GRT, built 1938), Australind (British, 5020 GRT, built 1929), British Colonel (British (tanker), 6999 GRT, built 1921), Cranfield (British, 5332 GRT, built 1919), Egero (Norwegian (tanker), 7590 GRT, built 1929), Erica (South African, 5112 GRT, built 1926), Hannah Moller (British, 2931 GRT, built 1911), Hatarana (British, 7522 GRT, built 1917), Inviken (Norwegian, 4131 GRT, built 1925), Jalakrishna (British, 4991 GRT, built 1937), King Arthur (British, 5224 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Mandalay (British, 5529 GRT, built 1911), Marcella (British, 4592 GRT, built 1928), Margot (British, 4545 GRT, built 1926), Marion Moller (British, 3287 GRT, built 1909), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nyco (Norwegian, 1345 GRT, built 1938), Nyholm (Norwegian (tanker), 5843 GRT, built 1927), Odysseus (British, 4577 GRT, built 1913), Serbino (British, 4099 GRT, built 1919) and Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916).

The Turkish minelayer Sivrihisar that had been built in the U.K. and was on passage to Turkey for delivery was also part of the convoy.

Also the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and the minesweepers HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and HMS Huntley (Lt.Cdr. H.R.A. King, RNR) joined the convoy.

On 19 October 1940 and also on 20 October 1940 the convoy was attacked by Italian aircraft but no damage was done.

During the night of 20/21 October 1940, the Italian destroyers Pantera, Leone, Nazario Sauro and Francisco Nullo. No damage was done and the destroyers were driven off by the escort.

At dawn on 21 October one of the Italian destroyers, Francisco Nullo, was seen to be aground on Harmil island. She had been in battle with HMS Kimberley which then closed to finish off the damaged and grounded Italian destroyer. However HMS Kimberley was taken under fire by Italian shore batteries and sustained damage in her engine room. She was towed clear by HMS Leander during which both ships were unsuccessfully bombed. Later the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) took over the tow and she towed her damaged sistership to Port Sudan.

HMS Derby and HMS Huntley arrived at Port Sudan on 22 October 1940.

On 23 October 1940, HMS Auckland, Cranfield, Erica, Felix Roussel, Hatarana, Nevasa and Nurmahal arrived at Port Sudan. After taking on board water the Felix Roussel sailed again to rejoin the convoy.

Also on 23 October 1940, the remaining escorts parted company and the sloops HMS Grimsby (Cdr. K.J. D'Arcy, RN) and HMIS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) had joined.

On 24 October 1940, HMAS Yarra arrived at Port Sudan.

The convoy arrived at Suez on 26 October 1940. (2)


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for September 1940
  2. ADM 199/383

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

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