Allied Warships

RHS Helli

Minelaying cruiser of the Helli class

NavyThe Royal Hellenic Navy
TypeMinelaying cruiser
Built byNew York Shipbuilding Corp. (Camden, New Jersey, U.S.A.) 
Laid down14 Jun 1911 
Launched4 May 1912 
CommissionedNov 1913 
Lost15 Aug 1940 

Former Chinese light cruiser Fei-Hung taken over by the Greek government while builing in the U.S.A.

Torpedoed and sunk by the Italian submarine Delfino off the island of Tinos. There was no state of war between Italy and Greece at this moment. The Italians denied being involved in the sinking of the Helli the next day.

The order for the attack had been issued to Cdr. Aicardi of Delfino by the Governor of the Dodecanese De Vecchi, who was bent on creating a pretext to create tension between Greece and Italy. It seems De Vecchi wanted Greece to declare war on Italy to suit some personal interests of his.

The torpedo hit the unsuspecting cruiser at 0845 hrs on the starboard side at the boiler room, apparently inducing the explosion of the boiler which was lit to provide the necessary power for normal shipboard operations. The cruiser also caught on fire and, despite the effort of craft in the vicinity, which attempted to tow her to shallow water, the fire spread rapidly, Helli was abandoned at 0945 hrs & sank at 1015 with 4 dead.


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