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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS HOSTILE (H 55) -  H-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Hunter ,sister ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham,  click to enlarge)

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H-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Scotts at Greenock under 1934 Programme on 13th December 1934.The ship was laid down on 27th February 1935 on the same day as her sister ship HMS HOTSPUR. She was launched on 24th January 1936 as the first Royal Navy warship to carry this name. Build was completed on 10th September that year at a cost of £253,262 excluding items supplied by the Admiralty such as guns and communications equipment. Her service before the outbreak of war was in the Mediterranean with the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla until May 1939 when she was refitted at Sheerness.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ATLANTIC 1939-40 - NARVIK 1940 - NORWAY 1940 - CALABRIA 1940


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Black., two hands holding swords crossed all Proper.


M o t t o

Voltus ad Hostem:  'Face to the enemy’.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 3 9


August                  Worked-up in Malta prior to service with 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in Mediterranean Fleet.


September             Deployed in Mediterranean with Flotilla for interception of blockade runners and

                                for Fleet duties


October                  Transferred to South Atlantic for duty with Force K

                                Took passage to Freetown

                15th        Joined Force K for search in Atlantic to intercept commerce raiders and blockade runners.

                                (For details of Force K see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett) and

                                Naval Staff History.).

                                Deployed with HM Destroyers HARDY, HERO and HASTY.


November              Interception duties in continuation.


December              At Plate estuary after sinking of German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE.

                                Continued interception duties.


1 9 4 0


January                  Transferred to Home Fleet to rejoin Flotilla after refit.

                13th        Took passage to UK.

                26th        Taken in hand for refit at Chatham.


February                Under refit.


March                    Post refit trials.

                22nd       On completion joined Flotilla for Home Fleet service.



                1st           Escorted HM Battlecruisers REPULSE and RENOWN from Plymouth to Greenock.

                2nd         On arrival took passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin Flotilla.

                4th          Deployed with HM Destroyer FEARLESS as escort for HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM during

                                a Home Fleet search for German ships reported on passage towards Iceland.

                8th          After German invasion detached to rejoin Flotilla off Vestfjord.

                                Deployed for patrol off newly laid British Minefield

                9th          Took part in engagement with German destroyers at Narvik with Flotilla.

                                Boarded abandoned German mercantile RAUENFELS with HM Destroyer HAVOCK..

                                (1st. Battle of Narvik – For full details see Naval Staff History (HMSO-2001) .

                10th        Towed damaged sister ship HMS HOTSPUR to Lofoten for temporary repair.

                11th        Rejoined Fleet and deployed for patrol duty off Narvik.

                12th        Patrol and Fleet support for military operations off Norway in continuation.

                14th        Deployed with HM Destroyer IVANHOE for escort of HM Destroyer ESKIMO under

                                tow by HM Destroyer BEDOUIN to Skelfjord

                24th        Part of anti-anti-submarine screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE during bombardment of

                                Narvik in support of landing operation.

                                (For details of the disastrous allied operations In Norway see ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                                MORE CLOSELY, NARVIK by D MacIntyre, CARRIER GLORIOUS by John Hinton).

                                and THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by Adams.

                26th        Passage to Rosyth.

                27th        Taken in hand for repair.


May                        Under repair.

                4th          Passage to resume Fleet duties of Norway

                7th          Transferred with HM Cruisers ARETHUSA, GALATEA and seven other destroyers to

                                Harwich for support of operations in Nore Command

                14th        Transferred with Flotilla for duty in Mediterranean.

                17th        Took passage with HM Destroyers HASTY, HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO and

                                HYPERION from Plymouth to join Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.



                7th          Joined HM Destroyers DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HYPERION, ILEX,

                                IMPERIAL, JANUS, JUNO, VAMPIRE (RAN) and VOYAGER (RAN) as screen for

                                Mediterranean Fleet units covering passage of Convoys MF1 and MS1 (ME1) from Malta

                                to Alexandria.

                                (Note: Major units involved were HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE, HM Battleships

                                MALAYA, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and WARSPITE, HM Cruisers

                                GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, NEPTUNE, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN).

                8th          Part of Force D escorting HMS WARSPITE.

                9th          Took part in brief inconclusive engagement with Italian Battle Squadron off Calabria.

                                Following air attacks from HMS EAGLE and hits by HMS WARSPITE on Italian Flagship

                                CEASARE and cruiser BOLZANO the Italian ships withdrew. (Battle of Calabria)


August                  Mediterranean Fleet escort deployment in continuation.

                22nd       Transferred with HM destroyers HERO, MOHAWK and NUBIAN to Force H at Gibraltar

                                to reinforce ships of Force H during assist planned operations in the Western

                                Mediterranean (Operations HATS/MB, SMASH and GRAB)

                                (Note: These operations were to cover passage of HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Aircraft

                                Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers COVENTRY and CARLISLE to join the

                                Fleet at Alexandria and to cover air attacks on Cagliari, Sardinia.

                23rd        Whilst on passage struck mine in position 36.53N 27.19E , 18 miles SE of Cape Bon.

                                Major damage sustained abaft engine room and back broken.

                                Ship rapidly became awash forward and had to be abandoned.

                                Survivors were rescued by HMS MOHAWK rescued and hulk sank after two torpedoes

                                had been fired by HMS HERO.

                                Five of the ship’s company were killed and three others injured.

                                (For further details see Naval Staff History (HMSO-2002)).






by Don Kindell


This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








BLUE 001





SL 005





SL 016F








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 31/7/11
further editing and formatting is required