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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS MASHONA (F 59) -  Tribal-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Eskimo, sister ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

TRIBAL-Class Destroyer ordered from Vickers-Armstrong at Newcastle with machinery sub-contracted to Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, on 19th June 1936 under the 1935 Build Programme. The ship was  laid down on 5th August 1936 and launched on 3rd September 1937 as 1st RN ship to carry this name. Dates of order, laying down and launch were the same for sister destroyer HMS ESKIMO. Build was completed on 30th March 1939 after delay in the delivery of gunnery mountings. Tender cost was £341,108 which excluded items supplied by the Admiralty, such as  as weapons and communications outfits. The ship commissioned for service in the 2nd TRIBAL Destroyer Flotilla in the Home Fleet, which was re-identified at the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in April 1939. This ship‘s name is that of a Tribe in Mashonaland, Southern Rhodesia,


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field barry wavy Blue and White a representation of

the bird carved in scapstone, Gold

(Note: This was discovered at Great Zimbabwe and believed


M o t t o:

Chisrayi: 'Stay in Peace'


Manning Division: Chatham



D e t a i l s   o f   S e r v i c e


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



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February                Completion delayed by late delivery of gunnery equipment


March                    Contractors trials and commissioning.

                30th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials


April                       On completion of Acceptance Trials took passage for work-up at Portland.

                                Work-up exercises and shakedown in Channel area.


May                        Joined Flotilla to take part in Home Fleet exercise and visits programme.

                                (Note: Work-up may not have allowed ship to visit Cherbourg with Flotilla in early May

                                Other ships in Flotilla were:

                                HM Destroyers SOMALI (Leader), ASHANTI, MATABELE, BEDOUIN,

                                PUNJABI, ESKIMO and TARTAR.

                12th        Escorted rms EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA during passage in English Channel with HM King George VI

                                and Queen Elizabeth embarked for Royal visit to Canada.)


June                        Diverted from programme to assist in rescue operations for HM Submarine THETIS which had sunk

                during builder's trials in Liverpool Bay.

                On release from THETIS diversion resumed Home Fleet programme with Flotilla.


July                         Deployed with Flotilla in Home waters.


August                  Took up Home Fleet war station and deployed for interception and anti-submarine patrol in Home waters.


September             Deployed for Home Fleet screening and patrol duties.

                                Part of screen for Anglo French warships in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: Later duties included interception of German shipping attempting to return to German ports and commerce

                                raiders on passage to attack British shipping in Atlantic as well as U- Boats operating in Home waters.)

                25th        Deployed with HM Destroyers SOMALI and MATABELE in Home Fleet search for HM Submarine SPEARFISH

                                which had been badly damaged during patrol in Heligoland Bight,.

                26th        Escorted submarine back to UK with covered by Home Fleet major warships.


October                  Flotilla deployment with Home Fleet in continuation.

                25th        Taken in hand for repair by Middle Dock Engineering, South Shields.

                                (Note: This may have been for investigation into propulsion machinery problems due to excess stress during

                                during high speed steaming in inclement weather. This defect was common to this

                                Class of Fleet destroyer. To be confirmed.)



                10th        Resumed Flotilla duties in Home Fleet.

                24th        Deployed with ships of Flotilla for screening of Home Fleet major warships during search for German battleships

                                SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after the sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI in defence

                                of an Atlantic convoy.


December              Home Fleet deployment in continuation.


1 9 4 0


January                  Home Fleet screening and patrol duties in continuation

to February


March                    Withdrawn from Home Fleet duties and took passage to Chatham for refit by HM Dockyard,

                                Taken in hand for refit

                                (Note: This may have included replacement of turbine blades and hull repair to leaks.

                                See above Note.)


April                       On completion of refit joined Home Fleet.

                6th          Deployed with HM destroyers SOMALI, MATABELE and TARTAR of Flotilla during

                                escort of inbound convoy to Forth from Norway.

                                (Note: One record states the ship also included the Norwegian torpedo boat DRAUG but

                                this is not included in Naval Staff History.).

                7th          Passage to join HM Destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, ZULU, COSSACK,

                                KASHMIR and KELLY in screen for HM Cruisers GALATEA and ARETHUSA deployed

                                in search for German warships on passage in North Sea. (MASHONA, with MATABELE,

                                SOMALI,  TARTAR may instead of have joined Adm Forbe's main force on this date)

                                For details see NAVAL OPERATIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORWAY , April –June

                                1940 (HMSO).

                9th          Joined Home Fleet ships with HMS GALATEA and HMS ARETHUSA and destroyer screen.

                                Detached with HM Destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA, SIKH, MOHAWK, SOMALI and

                                MATABELE as screen for HM Cruisers MANCHESTER, SOUTHAMPTON, and GLASGOW

                                and SHEFFIELD to carry out an attack on German warships reported at Bergen.

                                When operation cancelled by Admiralty took passage to rejoin Home Fleet ships.

                                After rejoining Fleet came under heavy and sustained air attacks during which sister destroyer

                                HMS GURKHA was sunk.

                11th        Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers SOMALI, AFRIDI, SIKH, MATABELE and

                                MOHAWK to carry out sweep inshore northward of Alesund to intercept enemy warship

                                movements prior to planned allied landings in Norway.

                12th        Carried out search with same destroyers.

                13th        Under air attacks at Alesund without damage.

                14th        Deployed in support of landings by RM from cruisers at Namsos (Operation HENRY)

                                On completion took passage to meet troopship convoy

                16th        Under heavy air attacks at Lillesjona

                17th        Deployed with AFRIDI, NUBIAN, SIKH and MATABELE to ferry troops ashore

                                from transports after refuelling. Under air attacks.

                                Passage to Namsos with mv CHOBRY as screen with same sister ships.

                18th        After taking part in landings at Namsos fuelled with NUBIAN from GLASGOW

                                and SHEFFIELD before taking passage to Scapa Flow.

                                (Note: See references for details of Operation MAURICE).

                19th        Arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel and replenish ammunition.

                29th        Passage to Andalsnes with HM Destroyers SOMALI, SIKH, WANDERER, WALKER

                                and WESTCOTT as screen for HM Cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA, SHEFFIELD

                                and SOUTHAMPTON to carry out evacuation of troops

                30th        Embarked troops at Veblungsnes and supported evacuation.


May                        Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to G59.

                1st           Under air attacks,

                                Returned to take part in further evacuation operation at Andalsnes with

                                HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD, DELIGHT, DIANA and SOMALI, HM Cruisers

                                BIRMINGHAM, MANCHESTER and CALCUTTA.

                2nd         Return passage to Scapa Flow with evacuated troops without air attacks.

                                (Note: HMS CALCUTTA remained to evacuate rearguard.)

                                Resumed Flotilla duties with Home Fleet



                7th          Deployed with HM Destroyers TARTAR, BEDOUIN and ASHANTI as screen

                                for HM Battleship VALIANT to provide cover for final. evacuation Group I

                                during passage from Norway.

                8th          After meeting Group I ships off Faeroes, detached with HMS VALIANT and screen

                                when relieved by additional escorts.

                                (Note: For full details of the disastrous operations off Norway see above reference,

                                NARVIK by D Macintyre, THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams and

                                CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton.)

                9th          Home Fleet screening and patrol duties in continuation with Flotilla.

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers MAORI and TARTAR to impound Swedish warships

                                in Faeroes.

                                (Note: Two destroyers and two torpedo boats purchased from Italy for service in the

                                Swedish Navy had arrived there during passage. After protests from this

                                neutral state these ships were handed back to Sweden at Scapa Flow.)

                27th        During deployment as screen for Home Fleet major warships during search for German

                                ships reported on passage in NW Approaches, sustained structural damage in heavy weather.

                30th        At Rosyth for inspection of defects and extensive replacement of riveting discovered.


July                         On completion of repair resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.


July                         Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow in continuation.

to September


October                  Under refit and repair in Liverpool commercial shipyard

                                (Note: During this refit the twin 4.7in mounting in X position was replaced by a

                                Twin 4in HA Mounting to improve AA defence. Repair to propulsion

                                machinery and structure to be confirmed )


November              On completion resumed Fleet duties with Flotilla.


December              Deployed for patrol and convoy defence in NW Approaches.

                12th        Rescued survivors from ss ROTORUA torpedoed on 11th by U96 west of St Kilda.             


1 9 4 1



                3rd          Deployed with HM Destroyers TARTAR and BEDOUIN as screen for

                                HM Destroyers INTREPID and ICARUS during minelay in Norwegian

                                coastal waters (Operation DZ – See Naval Staff History (Mining) for details.)

                                (Note: Despite a series of unfortunate incidents lay was successful.)

                5th          Resumed Flotilla duties on return to Scapa Flow.

                6th          Sustained damage in collision with HM Destroyer SIKH at Scapa Flow.

                                (Note: This was during departure for Fleet screening duties.)

                7th          Extent of damage determined and repair arrange at West Hartlepool.

                13th        Taken in hand by Gray’s shipyard.


February                Under repair



                3rd          Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

                24th        Joined military convoy WS7 in Clyde with HM Destroyers BEDOUIN, MATABELE

                                and SOMALI as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers LEGION, BROADWATER and Polish Destroyer

                                ORP PIORUN were also deployed as part of Local Escort and HM Cruiser

                                CAIRO joined on 25th to provide additional AA defence. HM Cruiser

                                EDINBURGH , HM Battleships REVENGE and NELSON provided cover

                                against surface attack.)

                28th        Detached from WS7 with BEDOUIN, MATABELE and SOMALI for return

                                passage to Clyde.


April                       Western Approaches deployment in continuation.



                22nd       Deployed with HM Destroyers ESKIMO, TARTAR and SOMALI as screen for

                                HM Battleship RODNEY to provide cover for passage of mv BRITANNIC during

                                Atlantic passage to Boston.

                24th        Detached from mv BRITANNIC with HMS RODNEY and destroyer screen to join

                                Home Fleet ships in search for German battleship BISMARCK and German cruiser

                                PRINZ EUGEN after sinking of HM Battlecruiser HOOD.

                25th        Deployed with HMS RODNEY and screen to carry out search between French coast

                                and the last known position of BISMARCK.

                27th        Detached from operations due to low fuel state and took passage with HMS TARTAR

                                at economical speed to refuel.

                                (Note: For details of the search and sinking of BISMARCK see THE BISMARCK

                                EPISODE by G. Russell, LOSS OF BISMARCK by B Schoefield and

                                BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim Rechberg.)

                28th        Under sustained and heavy air attacks and hit on port side in Boiler Room.

                                Damage control to reduce ingress of water failed and ship had to be abandoned.

                                Scuttled and sunk in position west of Irish coast (52.58N 11.3W).

                                36 of ship’s company lost their lives.

                                184 survivors rescued by HM Destroyers TARTAR and SHERWOOD, and Canadian

                                destroyer HMS ST CLAIR.

                                Casualty List TIMES 30 July 1941.







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above 






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








TC 001





ON 024/1





HN 024





OB 321








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 2/8/11
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