Allied Warships

HMS Kelly (F 01)

Destroyer of the K class


HMS Kelly on trials

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassK 
PennantF 01 
ModFlotilla leader 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered 
Laid down26 Aug 1937 
Launched25 Oct 1938 
Commissioned23 Aug 1939 
Lost23 May 1941 
Loss position34° 40'N, 24° 10'E
History

HMS Kelly (Capt. Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, DSO, RN) was bombed and sunk on 23 May 1941 by German Stuka dive bombers south of Crete in position 34º40'N, 24º10'E.

 

Commands listed for HMS Kelly (F 01)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, RN27 Jun 193923 May 1941

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Notable events involving Kelly include:


4 Sep 1939
HMS H 31 (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Fell, OBE, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) and HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN). (1)

10 Sep 1939
HMS H 44 (Lt. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) conducted exercises off Portland with HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN). (2)

11 Sep 1939
HMS H 31 (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Fell, OBE, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN). (1)

23 Sep 1939
HMS H 31 (Lt. P.R. Ward, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN). (1)

14 Dec 1939
HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, RN) is badly damaged by a German mine laid by German destroyers off the Tyne in position 55°05'N, 01°02'W. Repairs were completed in late February 1940.

9 May 1940
During the night of 9/10 May, the destroyer was hit amidships by one torpedo from the German MTB S-31(Oblt.z.S. Opdenhoff). She was searching for German minelayers in the Skagerrak together with one cruiser and six destroyers when the Task Force was attacked by five MTBs. The badly damaged ship was towed to Newcastle by HMS Bulldog.

10 May 1940
HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) departed Scapa Flow to provide cover for the damaged destroyer HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN) that had been torpedoed by the German E-Boat S-31 in the North Sea. HMS Kelly was being towed by destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Wisden, RN). Destroyers HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) were escorting the tow. HMS Manchester and HMS Sheffield joined around 1540 hours (zone -1). Around 1530/11, HMS Manchester and HMS Sheffield parted company and set course for Rosyth where they arrived around 0015/12. In the early moring of the 11th two tugs had taken over the tow of HMS Kelly from HMS Bulldog. HMS Kelly finally arrived at the Tyne at 1730/13. (3)

24 Mar 1941
With her refit and reconstruction completed HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) departed Plymouth for Scapa Flow. She was escorted by HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, GCVO, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN). (4)

1 May 1941
HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN) and the 5th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, DSO, GCVO, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) departed Malta to intercept an important Axis convoy off the Kerkenah Bank. They however could not do so and the convoy arrived safely at Tripoli.

This Axis convoy was made up of the German transports Marburg (7564 GRT, built 1928), Kybfels (7764 GRT, built 1937), Reichenfels (7744 GRT, built 1936) and the Italian transports Birmania (5305 GRT, built 1930) and Rialto (6099 GRT, built 1927). Close escort for this convoy was provided by escorted by the Italian destroyers Fulmine and Euro and the torpedo boats Canopo, Castore, Orsa and Procione.

Distant cover for this convoy was provided by two heavy cruiser from the Italian 3rd Cruiser Division; Trieste and Bolzano, the light cruiser Eugenio di Savoia (from the 7th Cruiser Division) and the destroyers Ascari, Carabiniere and Vincenzo Gioberti.

Another convoy was reported to the northward but a heavy head sea made it's interception impossible.

This convoy was probably the one made up of the German transport Tilly M. Russ (1600 GRT, built 1926), Brook (1225 GRT, built 1927), and the Italian Bainsizza (7933 GRT, built 1930), San Andrea (?) and tug Max Behrendt escorted by the torpedo-boats Generale Carlo Montanari, Clio, Centauro and Polluce and the armed merchant cruiser Ramb III, they were on passage Trapani to Tripoli. (5)

2 May 1941
HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN) and the 5th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Kelly (Capt. L.F.A.V.N. Mountbatten, DSO, GCVO, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and HMS Jersey (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) returned to Malta having failed to intercept two Axis convoys to Tripoli.

HMS Kelly, HMS Kelvin and HMS Jackal had entered the harbour. HMS Jersey was the next destroyer to enter but hit a mine and sank. HMS Gloucester, HMS Kashmir and HMS Kipling therefore were unable to enter the harbour and had to proceed to Gibraltar instead. (6)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15687
  2. ADM 173/15739
  3. ADM 53/112664 + ADM 199/361
  4. ADM 53/114251 + ADM 199/655
  5. ADM 199/413
  6. ADM 199/413 + ADM 199/414

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


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