Allied Warships

HMS Chantala

Armed boarding vessel

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed boarding vessel
Class[No specific class] 
Built byBarclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched2 Apr 1920 
Commissioned21 Feb 1940 
Lost7 Dec 1941 

Passenger / cargo vessel completed on 19 August 1920.
Taken in hand for fitting out as Armed boarding vessel at Bombay on 23 January 1940.
Fitting out completed on 21 February 1940.
Displacement: 3129 GRT.
Dimensions: 100.6 x 14 feet.
Armament: 2 4" guns (2x1), 2 2pdr AA (2x1)
Speed: 14 knots.

HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr. (retired) Christopher Ernest Inman Gibbs, RN) was mined of Tubruk, Libya on 7 December 1941.


Commands listed for HMS Chantala

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1Lt.Cdr. (retired) Christopher Ernest Inman Gibbs, RN25 Jan 19407 Dec 1941

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Notable events involving Chantala include:

16 Aug 1940
From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.

The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), AA -cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMS Indus (Cdr. Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).

On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.

On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.

The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.

The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart which Berbera early on the 19th for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (1)

14 Mar 1941

Operation 'Appearance'.

Invasion of occupied British Somaliland.

In the late afternoon of 14 March 1941 the first group of warships; the British destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR), HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN), patrol vessels HMIS Netravati (Lt. D.A. MacDonald, RIN), HMIS Parvati (Lt. H.M.S. Choudry, RIN) and the cargo ships Beaconsfield (British, 4635 GRT, built 1938) and Tuna (British, 662 GRT, built 1907), carrying troops and towing three tugs and six lighters left Aden for the coast of British Somaliland.

Shortly after leaving however there was a problem with a tow which parted and the rope ending up in a propeller. It was decided that it would take to long to clear and delays loomed. HMS Kandahar then left the tugs and lighters to be towed by the cargo ships and in the afternoon of the 15th HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) was sent out to assist.

Also in the afternoon of the 15th a second group of warships left Aden, these were the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, RN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN). They were loaded with troops. They were to make rendez-vous with the first group.

By 0100/16 the forces were split up as follows; HMS Glasgow, HMS Caledon, HMS Chantala, HMS Chakdina, HMIS Netravati, HMIS Parvati were to land their troop to the west of the Berbera lighthouse while HMS Kandahar and HMS Kingston were to land commando troops to the east of the lighthouse.

At 0358 hours the gap in the reef to the western beach was found and 0417 hours HMS Glasgow opened fire with her 4" guns and pompoms after which the landing forces went in.

The gap in the reef to the eastern beach had already been found at 0330 hours and the landing zone was bombarded for 10 minutes from 0425 hours by HMS Kandahar following which the commandoes were landed by HMS Kingston.

The landing on both beaches were succesful.

The town of Berbera was captured around mid-morning of the 16th. More troops were then landed as by now the first group had now also arrived.


  1. ADM 199/383

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

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