Allied Warships

ORP Grom (H 71)

Destroyer of the Grom class

NavyThe Polish Navy
PennantH 71 
Built byJ.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 
Laid down17 Jul 1935 
Launched20 Jul 1936 
Commissioned11 May 1937 
Lost4 May 1940 

Grom means thunder

During the Norwegian campaign, ORP Grom (Komandor Podporucznik Aleksander Hulewicz) was sunk in the Rombaken Fjord near Narvik by a German He111 (Lt. Korthals) aircraft of the KG 100. There were 59 killed and 30 wounded amongst the 154 survivors. who were rescued by the Aurora,Bedouin, Enterprise and the Faulkner which includes the Commanding officer Komandor Podporucznik Aleksander Hulewicz. Before being lost she bombarded the German troops in the Narvik area and delivered stores to the British light cruiser HMS Enterprise.


Commands listed for ORP Grom (H 71)

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1Kmdr ppor. Stanislaw Hryniewiecki, ORP11 May 19374 Mar 1938
2Kmdr ppor. Aleksander Hulewicz, ORP4 Mar 19384 May 1940

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Notable events involving Grom include:

1 Sep 1939
The Polish destroyers Burza (Komandor Podporucznik Stanislaw Michal Nahorski, ORP), Grom (Komandor Podporucznik Aleksander Hulewicz, ORP) and Blyskawica (Komandor Podporucznik Wlodzimierz Andrzey Kodrebski-Poraj, ORP) were met in the North Sea by British aircraft and the British destroyers HMS Wallace (Lt.Cdr. William Maurice Lloyd Astwood, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr Reginald Francis Morice, RN). They were escorted to Leith.

19 Sep 1939

Convoy HXF 1.

This convoy departed Halifax on 19 September 1939 and arrived at Liverpool on 29 September 1939.

The following ships were part of the convoy; Antonia (British, 13867 GRT, built 1921), Arandora Star (British, 15501 GRT, built 1927), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), Champlain (French, 28124 GRT, built 1932), Colombie (French, 13391 GRT, built 1931), De Grasse (French, 18435 GRT, built 1924), Dcuchess of Richmond (British, 20022 GRT, built 1928) and Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt.Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN). They parted company with the convoy on 20 September.

On 27 September the destroyers HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Roper, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) joined to escort the convoy in the Western Approaches.

Around 1800/29, the Polish destroyer Grom (Lt.Cdr. A. Hulewicz, ORP) joined the convoy.

Around 1830/28, HMS Amazon and HMS Juno parted company with the convoy. They took the merchant vessel Arandora Star with them to Plymouth. They arrived at Plymouth very early on the 29th.

The convoy continued on to Liverpool escorted by ORP Grom.

The French ships proceeded to Le Havre.

9 Oct 1939
Around 2100 hours the British destroyers HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN with Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN aboard), HMS Gipsy (Lt.Cdr. N.J. Crossley, RN), HMS Keith (Cdr. H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Kingdon, RN) and the Polish destroyer Grom (Lt.Cdr. A. Hulewicz, ORP) were ordered to leave Harwich and establish a patrol in the North Sea. Shortly before that, a German He 59 seaplane dropped two magnetic mines nearby, but there was no time for searching. HMS Gipsy hit one of those mines which tore her into two pieces. Most of the survivors were picked up by HMS Griffin and HMS Keith. (1)

6 Nov 1939
Blyskawica (Porucznik Marynarki Tadeusz Gorazdowski, ORP) and Grom (Komandor Podporucznik Aleksander Hulewicz, ORP) received orders to find and rescue downed British pilots in the Dogger Bank area. The Polish ships were attacked by two German He-115 hydroplanes. One of them dropped a torpedo aiming for Blyskawica. The destroyer turned rapidly and avoided the threat.

4 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica reached their new home base Rosyth. In the afternoon they left the harbour with the British light cruisers HMS Arethusa, HMS Galatea and three British destroyers. These ships were ordered to conduct a patrol at North Sea and were later ordered to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway. (1)

7 Apr 1940
The light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), the British destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Cossack (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN), the Polish destroyers Burza (Lt.Cdr. W. Francki), ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. S.M. Nahorski, ORP) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) departed Rosyth in the evening for operations of Norway. They were to proceed to a position west of Stavanger and then were to sweep northwards.

9 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica were ordered to join the British destroyer HMS Tartar and provide escort for convoy HN-24 (31 merchants escaping from Norway to England, some of them were loaded with Norwegian gold). The convoy reached Britain without any loses. (1)

12 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica entered Rosyth for refuelling. Then they were sent to Scapa Flow. (1)

16 Apr 1940

Operation Duck.

Bombardment of the Sola airfield off Stavanger.

Timespan: 16 to 18 April 1940.

The heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 1700/16 for this operation.

Early on the 17th this force contacted the submarine HMS Seal (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Lonsdale, RN) which was to act as a beacon to home in the ships.

Between 0513 and 0602 hours, HMS Suffolk bombarded the airfield. Following this she and the destroyers were ordered to proceeded northwards to intercept a reported group of enemy destroyers, the result was that their air cover that was provided during their retirement did not sight the ships which then came under heavy air attack from the German Luftwaffe for about seven hours from 0825 hours onwards.

The result was that HMS Suffolk was heavily damaged. She suffered 32 dead and 41 wounded. HMS Kipling was also damaged by two near misses.

Air cover finally arrived at 1415 hours but even then the Germans continued to attack.

The battlecruisers HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. S.M. Nahorski, ORP) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) rushed towards to give support. The destroyer HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN) joined later.

HMS Suffolk limped towards Scapa Flow where she arrived with a heavy list at 0545/18. She arrived at Scapa Flow escorted by HMS Renown, HMS Forester, HMS Fury, HMS Hereward, HMS Hyperion, HMS Janus, HMS Juno, HMS Kimberley and HMS Kipling (also damaged). Upon arrival HMS Suffolk was beached to prevent her from sinking.

19 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica left Scapa Flow and head to Narvik. During a storm Burza was damaged by high waves and forced to return. (1)

21 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Blyskawica and Grom entered the Vest Fjord, off Narvik, Norway. (1)

24 Apr 1940
A bombardment of the Narvik area was carried out by the following ships; battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN) and the destroyer HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN). A/S protection for these ships was provided by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.F. de Salis, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN), HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN), HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN), ORP Blyscawica ( S.M. Nahorski, ORP) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki).

HMS Effingham sank the British merhant ship (she had been captured by the Germans when they invaded Narvik) Riverton (5378 GRT, built 1928) inside Narvik Harbour. Otherwise the result of the bombardment was difficult to observe due to the bad visibility. (2)

Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 234/332

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

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