Allied Warships

RHS Vasilissa Olga (D 15)

Destroyer of the Vasilefs Georgios class

NavyThe Royal Hellenic Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassVasilefs Georgios 
PennantD 15 
Built byYarrow Shipbuilders Ltd. (Scotstoun, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down8 Feb 1937 
Launched2 Jun 1938 
CommissionedFeb 1939 
Lost26 Sep 1943 
History

Vasilissa Olga escaped to Alexandria in May 1941.
She was assigned pennant number H 86 by the British.
Vasilissa Olga (LCdr Georgios Blessas, DSO, RHN) was lost to German aircraft while anchored in Lakki Bay, Leros on 26 September 1943.

 

Commands listed for RHS Vasilissa Olga (D 15)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Georgios Blessas, RHN 26 Sep 1943

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Vasilissa Olga include:


Casualties in the sinking: seventy killed (Commander, five officers and sixty four ratings). (1)

5 Mar 1942
HMS Otus (Lt. R.M. Favell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria together with HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN). (2)

26 Mar 1942
Vasilissa Olga picks up 26 survivors from the British fleet oiler RFA Slavol that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-652 about 25 miles north of Sidi Barrani, Egypt in position 32°01'N, 25°55'E.

1 Apr 1942
HMS Otus (Lt. R.M. Favell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Alexandria together with RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) and HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN). (3)

10 Jun 1942
Vasilissa Olga picks up 53 men from the British tanker RFA Brambleleaf that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-559 off Ras Alem, Egypt in position 31°12'N, 28°10'E.

14 Oct 1942
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) arrived at Port Said where she is docked.

Before entering Port Said A/S exercises were carried out with the British destroyer HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO, DSC, RN) and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga. (4)

22 Oct 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Janus (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) departed Port Said for exercises.

The light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN) and HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN) had departed Haifa very late on 21 October.

The forces joined for the exercises.

On completion of the exercises HMS Orion, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin proceeded to Haifa. All the other ships proceeded to Port Said. (5)

1 Dec 1942

Convoy MW 14.

This convoy departed Port Said on 1 December 1942 and arrived at Malta on 5 December 1942.

The convoy was made up of the following transports; Agwimonte (American, 6679 GRT, built 1941), Alcoa Prospector (American, 6796 GRT, built 1941), Glenartney (British, 9795 GRT, built 1940) and Suffolk (British, 11063 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy was escorted on departure from Port Said by the destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) and the escort destroyers HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN).

Around 0300/2 the light cruiser HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), destroyer HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, RN) and Pindos was sailed from Alexandria to rendezvous with the convoy which they did around 0700/2.

Around 1800/2, HMS Hurworth was detached and returned to Alexandria with defects.

Also on 2 December the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) departed Malta for Benghazi.

The tanker Yorba Linda (Panamanian, 6900 GRT, built 1921), escorted by HMS Croome and HMS Tetcott sailed from Benghazi. They joined the convoy around 1700/3.

At 1900/3, 'Force K', light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, CB, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) departed Malta to provide cover for the convoy during the night of 3rd/4th December. They joined the convoy at dawn on the 4th.

The convoy arrived safely at Malta on 5 December. (6)

15 Dec 1942
The Italian submarine Uarsciek (620 tons) was sunk south off Malta by the British destroyer HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. M. Thornton, DSC, RN) and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga.

7 Jan 1943

Convoy MW 19.

This convoy departed Port Said on 7 January 1943 and arrived at Malta on 11 January 1943.

The convoy was made up of the following transports; Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), O'Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Pierre DuPont (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919).

The convoy was escorted on departure from Port Said by the Greek destroyer RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. L.StG. Rich, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN).

Shortly before 1800/9, the light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Malta to make rendez-vous with the convoy.

Around 1015/10, HMS Euryalus, HMS Jervis and HMS Kipling joined the convoy escort.

Around 1700/11, the minesweeper HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN) sailed to sweep the convoy in.

The convoy arrived at Malta in the evening of January, 11th.

19 Jan 1943
The British destroyers HMS Pakenham, HMS Nubian and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga intercept and sink the German transport ship Stromboli (475 tons) off the Libyan coast.

20 Jan 1943
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) departed Malta for exercises. At sea they were joined by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN) which just returned from patrol.

All ships returned to Malta in the afternoon except HMS Jervis and HMS Nubian which proceeded on patrol.

21 Jan 1943

Convoy MH 3.

This convoy departed Alexandria on 21 January 1943 and was to proceed, if possible, to Tripoli. The final destination would depend on the situation on land.

The convoy was made up of the transports; Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), James Duncan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Malayan Prince (British, 8953 GRT, built 1926) and Ozarda (British, 6985 GRT, built 1940). The rescue tug HMS Brigand and RFA tanker Cherryleaf (5896 GRT, built 1917) were also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria (at 1100 hours) it was escorted by the destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Exmoor ( Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt.Cdr. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN) and RHS Kanaris.

At 1745/21, the destroyer HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Malta to conduct a sweep along the coast of North Africa and make rendez-vous with the convoy on 23 January.

On 22 January the convoy was ordered to enter Tobruk for the night of 22/23 January to await clarification about the situation on land.

At 1400/23, the convoy departed Tobruk. The Harmelin was left behind due to her slow speed. The Antwerp (British, 2957 GRT, built 1920) joined the convoy. The destroyers HMS Pakenham, RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, RHN) and the escort destroyer HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN) had meanwhile arrived at Tobruk and after fuelling also sailed to overtake the convoy and reinforce the escort.

At 1700/24, the light cruiser HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) departed Malta to make rendez-vous with the convoy.

At 1900/24, the destroyers HMS Pakenham and Vasilissa Olga parted company with the convoy with orders to proceed to Benghazi.

At 2130/24, the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) and Pindos joined the convoy. They were coming from Benghazi.

At dawn on the 25th, HMS Orion, HMS Jervis, HMS Kelvin and HMS Tetcott joined the convoy.

The convoy had meanwhile been ordered to proceed to Malta but this was changed at 2200/25 when the convoy was ordered to proceed to Tripoli except for the tanker Cherryleaf which continued on to Malta escorted by HMS Orion, HMS Jervis, HMS Kelvin, HMS Paladin, HMS Aldenham, HMS Beaufort and HMS Croome.

Both the Tripoli section and Malta section of the convoy arrived at their destinations on 26 January.

At dusk on the 26th, the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton, HMS Exmoor, HMS Hursley, RHS Kanaris and RHS Pindos arrived at Malta after having escorted the convoy to the vicinity of Tobruk. (7)

1 Feb 1943

'Pamphlet' convoy, Suez - Sydney, 1 February to 27 February 1943.

This convoy, made up of the British liners (troopships) Queen Mary (81235 GRT, built 1936), Aquitania (45647 GRT, built 1914), Ile de France (43548 GRT, built 1927, former French), the Dutch liner (troopship) Nieuw Amsterdam (36287 GRT, built 1938) and the British auxiliary cruiser Queen of Bermuda (A/Capt.(Retd.) the Hon. Sir A.D. Cochrane, DSO, RN) (22575 GRT, built 1933) were transporting 30000 men of the Australian 9th Division from Suez to Melbourne and Sydney.

This convoy had departed Suez on 1 February 1943 and were escorted during their passage through the Red Sea by the British destroyers HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas, DSO, RHN).

The convoy was joined on the 4th by the British heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN).

Later the British light cruiser HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN) joined near Addu Atoll.

Around 0840 hours on 16 February 1943 the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) joined the convoy near postion 26°06'S, 101°09'E.

Around 2120 hours on 16 February 1943 the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Capt. E.J. van Holthe, RNN) joined the convoy in approximate position 27°41'S, 104°35'E.

Around 2130 hours on 17 February 1943 the Dutch destroyer HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNN) joined the convoy in approximate position 30°30'S, 112°52'E.

In the afternoon of the 18th the convoy arrived off Fremantle.

In the evening of the 20th the convoy departed Fremantle now escorted by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Capt. E.J. van Holthe, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Van Galen (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Burghard, RNN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNN). Tromp and Van Galen only remained with the convoy for a short period.

Around 1615 hours on the 24th the convoy was joined by the Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN) heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and the US destroyers USS Henley (Lt.Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN) and USS Bagley (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN). The New Amsterdam escorted by HMAS Adelaide, HrMs Heemskerk and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes then departed the convoy and proceeded to Melbourne where they arrived arrived noon on the 25th. The other ships continued to Sydney.

In the afternoon of the 26th the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Heemskerck rejoined the convoy. Later in the afternoon the Free French destroyer Le Triomphant (Capt. Ortoli) also joined.

The convoy arrived at Sydney on the 27th.

25 Feb 1943
Two transports and two tankers, [identity currently unknown to us], departed Alexandria for Port Said. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). They arrived at Port Said the following morning. (7)

26 Feb 1943
The light cruiser HMS Cleopatra (Capt. J.F. Stevens, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) departed Port Said for Alexandria. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). They arrived at Alexandria early the next morning. (7)

1 Mar 1943

Convoy MW 22 (+ convoy XT 4).

This convoy departed Alexandria on 1 March 1943 and arrived at Malta on 6 March 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 4 March 1943 forming convoy XT 4 destined for Tripoli where it arrived on 5 March 1943.

The convoy was made up of the following ships; Belray (British, 2888 GRT, built 1926), British Sovereign (British, 3657 GRT, built 1917), Charles Gordon Curtis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Dafila (British, 1940 GRT, built 1927), Darien II (British, 459 GRT, built 1892), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Edward Everett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Erinna (Dutch (tanker), 6233 GRT, built 1936), Greystoke Castle (British, 5853 GRT, built 1928), James Duncan (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Neuralia (British, 9182 GRT, built 1912), O'Henry (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (British, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919) and Yorba Linda (Panamanian (tanker), 6900 GRT, built 1921). The RFA tanker Cherryleaf (5896 GRT, built 1917) was also part of the convoy.

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Exmoor (Lt. D.T. McBarnet, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), HMS Tetcott (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and Pindos.

On 3 March the transport Belray arrived at Tobruk.

On 4 March the ships destined for Tripoli split off and formed convoy XT 4. This convoy arrived at Tripoli the following day. Convoy XT 4 was made up of the British Sovereign, Charles Gordon Curtis, Dafila, Darien II, Destro, Edward Everett, James Duncan, Neuralia and Pronto. They were escorted by HMS Beaufort, HMS Exmoor and HMS Tetcott.

The remainder of the ships; Erinna, Greystoke Castle, O'Henry, Tosari, Yorba Linda and RFA Cherryleaf arrived at Malta on 6 March escorted by HMS Kelvin, RHS Vasilissa Olga, HMS Dulverton, HMS Rockwood and RHS Pindos.

29 Apr 1943

Convoy MW 27 (+ convoy XT 12)

This convoy departed Alexandria on 29 April 1943 and arrived at Malta on 4 May 1943.

Several ships of the convoy split off on 3 May 1943 forming convoy XT 12 destined for Tripoli where they arrived later on the same day.

On departure from Alexandria this combined convoy was made up of the following ships; Algorab (Dutch, 4938 GRT, built 1921), British Trust (British (tanker), 8466 GRT, built 1939), City of Rangoon (British, 6635 GRT, built 1914), Destro (British, 3553 GRT, built 1920), Ensis (British, 6207 GRT, built 1937), Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911), Fort Cataraqui (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort Chambly (British, 7130 GRT, built 1942), Fort St.James (British, 7128 GRT, built 1942), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Karoa (British, 7009 GRT, built 1915), Macuba (Dutch (tanker), 8249 GRT, built 1931), Ocean Vesper (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pronto (Norwegian, 2201 GRT, built 1920), Samuel Parker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Saparoea (Dutch, 6668 GRT, built 1920), Safola (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937), Stirlingville (British, 1995 GRT, built 1937), Suiyang (British, 2590 GRT, built 1917) and Toronto (British, 5018 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Alexandria the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. B. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN), RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas), escort destroyers HMS Easton (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN), HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN), RHS Adrias, RHS Kanaris, Corvette RHS Sakhtouris and the auxiliary MS whalers HMS Sahra (T/A/Skr.Lt. E.G. Gurney, RNR) and HMS Santa (T/A/Skr.Lt. G. Noble, RNR). [The last three ships apparently returned to Alexandria rather soon.]

On 1 May 1943 the British Trust and Indrapoera were sunk by enemy aircraft in position 32°40'N, 19°53'E. On board the Indrapoera 657 persons lost their lives.

On 3 May the convoy was split up, Convoy XT 12 proceeded to Tripoli and arrived there later the same day. It was made up of the; City of Rangoon, Destro, Ensis, Fort Chambly, Fort St.James, Karoa, Pronto, Samuel Parker, Saparoea, Sofala, Stirlingville, Suiyang and Toronto. They were escorted by HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin.

Convoy MW 27 continued on to Malta with the; Algorab, Fort Cataraqui, Glaucus, Macuba and Ocean Vesper. They were escorted by HMS Isis, RHS Queen Olga, HMS Easton, HMS Hurworth, HMS Rockwood, RHS Adrias and RHS Kanaris.

2 Jun 1943
The Italian torpedo boat Castore (652 tons) left Taranto at 2000hours on 31 May 1943 as escort of the Italian merchants Postumia (595 GRT) and Vragnizza (1592 GRT) heading for Messina. Around 0140 hours on 2 June 1943 while off Cape Spartivento this convoy was attacked with gunfire by the British destroyer HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the Greek destroyer Vasilissa Olga (LCdr Georgios Blessas, DSO, RHN). The two Allied destroyers opened fire at 2000 yds and in the resulting action the Castore was sunk (around 0315 hours) and the two merchants were damaged. According to the war diaries of the Seekriegsleitung both merchant vessels are reported to have arrived in Messina at 1630 hours on 3 June. Other sources give that Postumia went ashore and was later raised and repaired.

During the engagement Jervis and Vasilissa Olga were assisted by allied aircraft that illuminated the targets by firing flares.

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/17329
  3. ADM 173/17330
  4. ADM 173/17591
  5. ADM 199/651
  6. ADM 199/361
  7. ADM 199/773

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


Return to the Allied Warships section



As an Amazon Associate uboat.net earns a commission from qualifying purchases.