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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS SIKH (F 82) -  Tribal-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Maori, sister ship (George Smith, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Repeat Tribal-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Stephens of Govan on 19th June 1936 under the 1936 Build Programme. The ship was laid down on 24th September 1936 and launched on 17th December 1937 as the 2nd RN warship to carry this name that had previously been used by a destroyer sold in 1927 and is that of a Hindi community dating back to the 14th century. Build was completed on 12 October 1938 at a cost of 337, 704 5s. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March this ship was adopted by the civil community of Beckenham. Kent.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

NORWAY 1940 - ATLANTIC 1940-41 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - CAPE BON 1941 - LIBYA 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - SIRTE 1942 - MEDITERRANEAN 1942

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Red. a 'Sikh' lion, Gold, behind his

 head a Sikh quoit, silver.



Sicut leonis: 'Be like the lions'



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


1 9 3 8


October          Contractors trials.

                        Commissioned for service in 1st TRIBAL Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet

        12th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                        On completion of trials and storing took passage to Portland to work-up for service with

                        Flotilla as Senior Officer's ship.


November      Nominated for special duty.

        15th         Embarked King Carol and Crown Prince Michael of Romania at Boulogne for passage

                        to Dover for an official visit to UK.

        18th        Royal personages re-embarked at Dover for return passage to Boulogne.

                        On release and prepared for foreign service.


December       Passage to Malta to join 1st Tribal Destroyer Flotilla.

        12th         Arrived in Malta for service with Flotilla

                        Deployed in Malta for Flotilla duties and further work-up exercises.

                        Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to F 82.


1 9 3 9


January           Malta deployment with Flotilla in continuation.


February         Deployed with Flotilla in Mediterranean

                         Passage to Gibraltar to take part in joint exercises with Home and Mediterranean Fleets.

                         Took part in exercises with Flotilla based at Gibraltar.


March               On release from exercises nominated for Non-intervention Patrol duty off Spanish coast.

        21st           Embarked refugees at Cartagena for passage to Marseilles


April                 Deployed with Flotilla in Malta.

                          Transferred to 4th Destroyer Flotilla when identity of 1st Tribal Destroyer Flotilla was changed.

May                  Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Exercise and Visits programme with Flotilla

to  July              including visits to ports in eastern Mediterranean


August             Took passage to Alexandria on completion of Mediterranean Fleet exercises.

                           (Note: Special exercises in anticipation of war with Italy were carried out in the Aegean.)

                           Took up war station and nominated for surveillance patrol in Red Sea.



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)



September         Took passage to Red Sea with transit of Suez Canal

          3rd            Deployed off coast of Italian Somaliland to observe movements of Italian shipping with

                           HM Destroyers AFRIDI, GURKHA and MOHAWK. On release returned to Alexandria

                           for Contraband Control duties.


October              During duty in eastern Mediterranean withdrawn from patrol due to machinery problems.

            5th          Taken in hand for repair of turbine blades by HM Dockyard, Malta.

                            (Note: This was a defect common to ships of this Class. (See BRITISH DESTROYERS by

                                       E March.).

                            Nominated for service in Home waters with Flotilla.


November          Under repair



          16th          Took passage to Chatham on completion off post refit trials.

          26th          Arrived at Chatham for deployment in North Sea with ships of Flotilla


1 9 4 0


January               Resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea on completion of short refit by HM Dockyard, Chatham.


February             Deployed at Scapa Flow for screening of major Home Fleet warships.


March                 Deployed with screen for HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL during passage to Gibraltar

                            for joint flying exercises with HM Aircraft Carrier GLORIOUS.

                            On return to Scapa Flow deployed with Flotilla for Fleet screening.


April                    Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

            7th            Sailed from Forth as part of destroyer screen for HM Cruisers GALATEA

                             with HM Destroyers GURKHA (i), AFRIDI, MOHAWK, ZULU. COSSACK, KASHMIR,

                             KELVIN, Polish destroyers ORP GROM, ORP BURZA and ORP BLYSKAWICA to carry

                             out search for German warships reported on passage in North Sea.

            8th            Deployed as screen for Striking Force with same ships during sweep to the northward in

                             search for German warships.

                             Striking Force and screen ordered to join ships of Home Fleet at sea of Norwegian coast.

            9th            Joined Home Fleet with Striking Force.

                             Detached with HM Destroyers GURKHA (i), AFRIDI MOHAWK, SOMALI, MATABELE,

                             and MASHONA as screen for HM Cruisers MANCHESTER, GLASGOW, SHEFFIELD

                             and SOUTHAMPTON to carry out attacks on warships and transports in Bergen.

                             Operation cancelled and took passage with same ships to rejoin Home Fleet.

                             (Note: Admiralty decided that attack at this strength was unlikely to be successful.

                             For details see NAVAL OPERATIONS IN THE CAMPAIGN OFF NORWAY, April-

                             June 1940. ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE DOOMED

                             EXPEDITION by J Adams and NORWAY 1940 by F Kennady.).

                             Under sustained and heavy air attacks during which HMS GURKHA (i) was sunk,

                             HM Battleship RODNEY hit by failing aircraft with HMS SOUTHAMPTON and HMS

                             GLASGOW slightly damaged by near misses.

          10th           Passage to Scapa Flow to refuel and re-ammunition.

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

                             and MOHAWK as screen for HMS GLASGOW and HMS SHEFFIELD during inshore

                             interception patrol off Norwegian coast northward from Alesund

           12th           Screen deployment during patrol

           13th           Deployed in search operation by same ships for ships reported by aircraft.

                             Nominated for support of planned landings at Namsos. (Operation HENRY)

                             Deployed with the six destroyers of screen to destroy enemy shipping believed to be at


                             (Note: On arrival the ships were found to be Norwegian. See References)

                             Under air attacks at Alesund.

                             (Note: Landing Parties from the cruisers were embarked in destroyers

           14th           Rejoined Cruisers and refuelled.

           15th           Deployed off Kya Light to await arrival of troop convoy to carry out landings

                             at Namsos (Operation MAURICE.)

            16th          Arrived at Lillesjona with troopships and ferried troop ashore.

                             (Note: HM Destroyers NUBIAN, AFRIDI, MATABELE and MASHONA.

                                         also carried troops from ships of MAURICE convoy.)

                             Under sustained air attacks.

            17th          Escorted mv CHOBRY to Namsos with HM Cruiser CURLEW and same

                             five TRIBAL Class destroyers. See above references for details.

                             Heavy air attacks continued.

            19th          Took passage to Scapa Flow with HMS NUBIAN after landing General Carton

                              de Wiat.

            29th          Nominated for support of evacuation of allied troops from Andalsnes and Molde.

                             Passage to Norwegian coast as screen for HMS GALATEA, ARETHUSA, SHEFFIELD

                             and SOUTHAMPTON with HM Destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, WANDERER,

                             WALKER and WESTCOTT.

            30th          Embarked troops at Alfarnes with HMS WANDERER and later after the latter ship

                             grounded, towed her clear before assisting HMS SOUTHAMPTON in further evacuation


                           (Note: See above references for details of evacuation operations



             1st           Took passage to Scapa Flow with 120 troops on board.

                             Resumed Home Fleet screening duties at Scapa Flow.

                             (Note: Some sources refer to operations in North Sea and off Dutch coast.

                                        To be confirmed.)

                            Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to G82.

           30th          Taken in hand for repair to turbine blades by builder in Govan. See above Note).

June                      Under repair.

           30th            Passage to resume Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow with Flotilla on completion of

                              post repair trials.


July                       Deployed at Scapa Flow for patrol, screening and convoy defence,

to August             Nominated for refit.


September            Detached for escort of minelayers during planned operation south of Faeroes.

             5th            Deployed with HM Destroyers BEAGLE, DOUGLAS, ECHO, ELECTRA, ESKIMO

                              and KEPPEL as escort for HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS,

                              PORT QUEBEC and SOUTHERN PRINCE of 1st Minelaying Squadron during

                              minelay in Northern Barrage.

             6th            Resumed Home Fleet Flotilla duties.


October                 Deployed with HM Destroyer MAORI and ASHANTI to attack coastal shipping

                              off Norway.

                              See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.

           14th            Took part in attack on convoy off Egersund.

.          16th            Carried out high speed operations off Tyne estuary with same ships.

                              (Note: These were intended to detonate mines prior to passage of HM Battleship

                                          KING GEORGE V from Newcastle on Tyne shipyard to Rosyth for the

                                          completion of fitting out for service after build. During these operations

                                          HMS ASHANTI and HMS FAME were badly damaged in a collision and



November             Involved in collision with a tug at Rosyth and sustained some damage.

                               Repair arranged at Leith.

             8th            On completion of repair at Robb's shipyard resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea


December             Home Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.


1 9 4 1



             6th            Sustained structural damage in collision with HMS MASHONA during departure

                              from Scapa Flow for Flotilla duty with HMS SOMALI.

                              Repair arranged at Henry Robb shipyard, Leith.

.                             Passage to Leith and taken in hand for repair followed by refit


February               Under refit and repair.

to March               (Note: Work carried out included replacement of single 4.7in gun by twin 4in

                                          mounting to improve AA defence. Modified RAF air-surface radar

                                          fitted (Naval Type 286M.)

                                          This had an aerial fixed to ship structure and was of limited value

.                                         See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse for details of development and use

                                          of radar in RN.)



           14th            Resumed Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow on completion of post refit trials and work-up


May                       Home Fleet duties in continuation.

            21st            Passage to join military convoy WS8B in Clyde as Local Escort in NW Approaches.

            22nd           Deployed with HM Destroyers COSSACK, BRIDGE, MAORI, OTTAWA (RCN),

                               RESTIGOUCHE (RCN) and Polish ORP PIORUN for escort of Convoy WS8B

                               with AA cover from HM Cruiser CAIRO.

                               (Note: HM Cruiser EXETER was deployed as Ocean Escort and HM Aircraft

                                           Carrier ARGUS was part of convoy.

             26th           Detached from WS8B with HMS COSSACK and HMS ZULU on Admiralty orders

                               to join HM Battleship KING GEORGE V to provide screen in place of the existing

                               destroyer escort which required fuel.

.            27th           Carried out torpedo attacks with HM Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI and ZULU

                               on BISMARCK which had been disabled.

                               For details see BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim Rechberg, PURSUIT

                               by L Kennedy and the Naval Staff History.



               3rd           Joined military convoy WS9A in Clyde for Local Escort during passage in NW

                               Approaches with HMS CAIRO, HM Armed Merchant Cruiser AUSONIA, HM

                               Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, OTTAWA (RCN), RESTIGOUCHE (RCN),

                               RAMSAY, RICHMOND, VANQUISHER, WINCHELSEA and ZULU.

               7th           Detached from WS9A and took return passage to Clyde.

            1Oth           Joined HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS as escort during passage to Gibraltar

                               prior to delivery of aircraft to Malta (Operation TRACER)

            13th            Return passage from Gibraltar for convoy defence in English Channel based at


                               Taken in hand for fit of two additional 2Pdr mountings in Bridge wings to carry out

                               attacks on E-Boats in defence of coastal convoys

                               On completion deployed for convoy defence.


July                        Released from Channel duties and took passage to resumed service with Flotilla at

                               Scapa Flow.

                               Nominated for escort of planned Malta relief Convoy (Operation SUBSTANCE).

             11th           Deployed with HM Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, GURKHA, LIGHTING,

                               NESTOR (RAN), AVONVALE, ERIDGE and FARNDALE as screen for HM

                               Battleship NELSON, HM Cruisers MANXMAN, EDINBURGH, ARETHUSA

                               and MANCHESTER during passage of convoy from Clyde to Gibraltar.

              19th          Joined Force X at Gibraltar with HM Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, NESTOR (RAN).


                               as screen for HMS EDINBURGH, HMS ARETHUSA, HMS MANCHESTER and HMS

                               MANXMAN during passage of convoy to Malta.

                               (Note: Cover was provided by ships of Force H based at Gibraltar.)

               21st           Troopship LEINSTER which was part of SUBSTANCE convoy ran aground on leaving


               22nd          Passage to Malta. For details see Naval Staff HISTORY, MALTA CONVOYS by R

                                 Woodman and above references.

               24th           On arrival in Malta took return passage with Force X through Sicilian Narrows to join

                                 Force H ships for passage to Gibraltar

               27th           On arrival nominated for escort of HM Cruisers HERMIONE, ARETHUSA and

                                  MANXMAN during passage to Malta (Operation  STYLE)

                                  (Note: The cruisers were carrying personnel and stores from LEINSTER and covered by

                                               ships of Force H during passage to Sicilian Narrows.)

               30th            Joined Force X for escort of STYLE convoy to Malta.



                 2nd            After arrival in Malta returned with Force X ships to rejoin Force H ships west of Narrows.

                                   (Note HMS FARNDALE remained in Malta.)

                 3rd             Passage in western Mediterranean as escort for HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS EDINBURGH

                                   with HM Destroyers LIGHTNING, ENCOUNTER and FORESTER.

                  4th            Took passage from Gibraltar with Home Fleet ships.

                                   Nominated for refit at Falmouth in commercial shipyard.

                18th            Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard at Falmouth

                                   (Note: Flotilla had been nominated to relieve 8th Destroyer Flotilla deployed in Malta and

                                                refit was a preparation for this duty.).


September                 Under refit.

                                   (Note: Work included fit of fire control radar Type 285 and two single 20mm

                                                Oerlikon guns for close range AA defence.)

                20th           On completion of post refit trials took passage to Clyde to work-up for operational

                                  service in Mediterranean.

                30th           Joined military convoy WS12 in Clyde with HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS, for initial

                                  stage of passage to Gibraltar.

                                  (Note: Several other warships joined this convoy apart from Local Escort but these also

                                           detached during passage.

                                           WS12 comprised 15 troopships and was on passage to Middle East)



                  5th          Detached from WS12 with HMS ARGUS for passage to Gibraltar as escort..

                  7th          Arrived at Gibraltar with HMS ARGUS.

                16th          Deployed with HM Destroyers COSSACK, ZULU, LEGION, FORESIGHT,

                                 FORESTER, and FURY as screen for HMS RODNEY, HMS ARK ROYAL and HM

                                 Cruiser HERMIONE to provide cover during Malta aircraft delivery from HMS ARK

                                 ROYAL (Operation CALLBOY).

                                 (Note: This operation also covered independent passage of ss CLAN MACDONALD

                                             from Malta.)

                19th          Returned to Gibraltar with Force H ships after launch of aircraft.

                                 For details of all Malta convoy operations see MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.

                                 Deployed with Force H.


November                Deployed for screening of Force H major ships, local patrol and convoy defence at


                 10th         Deployed with HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LEGION. ZULU, GURKHA,

                                 and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS as screen for HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft

                                 Carriers ARK ROYAL, EAGLE and HMS HERMIONE during delivery of aircraft to

                                 Malta from position west of Narrows (Operation PERPETUAL)

                  13th        Escorted HMS MALAYA to Gibraltar after HMS ARK ROYAL was torpedoed during

                                 return of PERPETUAL ships to Gibraltar

                                 See above references for details.

                     14th       Joined HM Destroyers LAFOREY and LEGION standing by HMS ARK ROYAL during

                                  passage under tow.

                                  Returned to Gibraltar after HMS ARK ROYAL sank.

                     20th      Deployed for escort of HM Battleship NELSON during passage from Gibraltar to UK

                                  for repair.

                                  (Note: HMS NELSON has been damaged by a torpedo in air attacks on 27th Sept.

                                             whilst taking part in Operation HALBERD to pass a relief convoy to Malta

                                              from Gibraltar. HMS NELSON embarked some survivors from HMS ARK

                                              ROYAL for return to UK.)

                                  On release from escort of HMS NELSON took passage to rejoin Force H at Gibraltar.


December                 Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria with H M Destroyers

                                  MAORI, LIGHTNING and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS.

                    11th       Passage to Alexandria. 13th    In action with Italian cruisers ALBERICO DA BARBIANO

                                  and ALBERTO DI GUISSANO two miles east of Cape Bon.

                                  Carried out attacks by torpedo and surface gunfire with the other three ships.

                                  DA BARBIANO hit by torpedoes and sunk. DI GUISSANO hit and set on fire but sank

                                  later. 960 Italians were lost with these two ships and 650 rescued by an Italian

                                  Torpedo Boat (CIGNO).

                                  (For details see above references).

                     14th      Joined Force K in Malta for interception of enemy supply convoys in the central

                                  Mediterranean and escort of Malta relief convoys from Alexandria

                     15th      Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers LANCE,

                                  LEGION, LIVELY, MAORI and Dutch ISAAC SHEERS in search for Italian

                                  Convoy M42 and to cover the passage of HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE

                                  bringing fuel supplies to Malta.

                     17th      Joined Mediterranean Fleet ships after 1st Battle of Slrte.

                     19th      Arrived at Alexandria.


1 9 4 2


January                     Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.

                       5th      Part of screen for HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD with HM Destroyers

                                  GURKHA, KIPLING, KINGSTON, KIPLING and FOXHOUND providing cover for

                                  passage of H M Supply Ship GLENGYLE to Malta from Alexandria (Operation MF2)

                       7th      Transferred to Force K and joined HM Destroyers LANCE, LIVELY and JAGUAR.

                                  Passage to Malta in continuation of interception and escort duties.

                     18th     Deployed with HM Destroyers ZULU, LANCE, LIVELY and JAGUAR to provide

                                  escort for Convoys MW8A and 8B after transfer from Mediterranean Fleet.

                                  (Operation MF3).


February                   Malta deployment with Force K in continuation.

                     13th      Sailed from Malta with HM Cruiser PENELOPE, HM Destroyers DECOY,

                                  FORTUNE, LEGION, LIVELY and ZULU of Force K to escort Convoy ME10 during

                                  passage to meet ships from Alexandria (Force B) escorting inbound convoy MW9

                                  (Operation MF5)

                     14th     After the two convoys met came under heavy and sustained air attacks during

                                  which ss ROWALLAN CASTLE was hit.

                                  Took this ship in tow but the operation was abandoned because of threat of both

                                  further heavy air attacks and a surface attack by an Italian force.

                                  Detached from Force K and took passage with HMS LEGION and HMS ZULU to

                                  join Force B for passage to Alexandria.

                                  Under attack by Italian submarine TOPAZIO which failed.

                     15th      Arrived at Alexandria with ships of Force B

                                  For details of this disastrous operation in which no ship arrived in Malta and of all

                                  other Malta convoys see above reference and THE BATTLE FOR THE

                                  MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre


April                         Deployed with Flotilla for defence of convoys to and from Haifa and patrol in

to  May                     eastern Mediterranean


June                          Nominated for escort of Malta relief convoy (Operation VIGOROUS).

                     12th     Deployed with HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO, HERMIONE, EURYALUS.

                                 ARETHUSA, COVENTRY, NEWCASTLE and BIRMINGHAM with HM Destroyers

                                 NAPIER, NESTOR, NORMAN. NIZAM, JERVIS, KELVIN, JAVELIN,

                                 PAKENHAM, PALADIN, INCONSTANT, ZULU, HASTY, HERO, CROOME,


                                 TETCOTT, ALDENHAM, FORTUNE, GRIFFIN and HOTSPUR as escort for convoy

                                 from Alexandria.

                                 (Note: Pre WW1 battleship HMS CENTURION was disguised as a KING GEORGE

                                              V Class battleship to enhance! the apparent strength of this escort.

                     14th     Under heavy and sustained air attacks. and threat of interception by Italian Fleet.

                                 Attacked by E-Ebata during darkness. HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE and HM Destroyer

                                 HASTY torpedoed.

                     15th     After series of conflicting instructions from shore and heavy expenditure of AA

                                 ammunition with loss and damage to warships operation abandoned.

                                 Returned to Alexandria.

                                 (For full details of this disastrous operation and its ill direction from shore see

                                 THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN and ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                                 MORE CLOSELY).

                     29th     Nominated for support of military operations in Syria with HM Destroyers

                                 ZULU, CROOME and TETCOTT

                     30th     Assisted in rescue of survivors from HM Submarine Depot Ship MEDWAY with

                                 HM Destroyer HERO after the depot ship has been torpedoed by U372 off


                                 (Note: HMS MEDWAY sank later with loss of torpedoes carried for replenishment

                                              of submarine weapons. Only 30 of 1,300 on board lost their lives.

                                              See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair for details.)


August                     Military support and anti-submarine patrol with aircraft off Syria.

                        4th    Shared credit with HMS ZULU, HMS CROOME, HMS TETCOTT and aircraft

                                 M of 221 Squadron RAF for sinking U372 in position SW of Haifa.

                                 (Note: This submarine had sunk HM Submarine Depot Ship MEDWAY on

                                              30th June).

                      11th     Sailed from Haifa with HM Cruisers DIDO and CLEOPATRA, HM Destroyers

                                 ZULU and JAVELIN as escort for Convoy from Haifa as a diversion during the

                                 passage of the relief PEDESTAL Malta convoy from Gibraltar (Operation MG3)

                                 Convoy combined with another from Alexandria to form Convoy MWI2

.                     13th    Returned to Port Said with MW12 and escorts after completion of diversion


September                Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet for patrol and convoy defence.

                                 Nominated for support of assault landings at Tobruk (Operation AGREEMENT)

                      11th    Embarked Royal Marines.

                      12th    Passage to Tobruk for landings with HM Destroyers ZULU, ALDENHAM,

                                 BEAUFORT, EXMOOR and HURWORTH.

                      13th    During attempts to land Royal Marines came under fire from shore batteries.

                      14th    Sustained major damage and taken in tow by HMS ZULU.

                                 Sank in position 32.05N  42.00E after further damage by 88mm shore fire.

                                 For full details of this disastrous and ill conceived operation see MASSACRE

                                 AT TOBRUK by P Smith and above references.







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








HN 010B





HN 011





ON 015/1





HN 015





HN 023A





TC 006





FS 0258





FS 0264





WS 008B





TC 011





SL 091G








(Note on Convoys)


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