Naval History Homepage - and Site Search



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

HMS KIPLING (F 91) -  K-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Kelly, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mike Pocock, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 


K-Class Destroyer ordered from JS White at Cowes Isle of Wight under the 1937 Programme and laid down on 26th October 1937. She was launched on 19th January 1939 as the 1st RN ship to carry the name Build was completed on 22nd December 1939. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings in December 1941 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Brighton, East Sussex.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ATLANTIC 1939 - NORWAY 1940 - CRETE 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - LIBYA 1941-2 - SIRTE 1942

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge : On a Field Blue, three bars wavy, white overall,

an elephant’s head couped Black, tusked White,

holding a lotus flower Proper.

 (Note:  This was inspired by the logo used for books

written by Rudyard Kipling.)



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


December            Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet

          22nd          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                            On completion took passage to Portland for weapon calibration and work up.


1 9 4 0


January               Worked-up at Portland for operational service with Flotilla.

                            Defects in machinery found during exercises.

         17th            Took passage from Portland to Clyde for repair.

         20th            Taken in hand at Barclay Curle shipyard for repair by Yarrow personnel.

                            (Note: Turbine gearing defects repaired by Fairfield Shipbuilders of Govan


February              Under repair and prepared for post repair machinery sea trials

          4th             On completion took passage to join Flotilla in North Sea for convoy defence and


           5th            Commenced Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow.

                            (Note: One source records that ship was deployed with HMS SALAMANDER

                                        on 15th February in an operation connected with HM Minesweeper SPHINX.

                                        as HMS SPHINX sank on 4th February after damage in an air attack on

                                        3rd February this may refer to an attempt to salvage the ship that had

                                        capsized and drifted ashore north of Lobster. Further research is required)

          22nd          Taken in hand for repair at Hawthorn Leslie shipyard in Newcastle.

                            (Note: Defects including leaks from reserve feed water system, common to this Class

                                        of destroyer were dealt with and had made necessary withdrawal from service.)


March                  Under repair.



          13th           Passage from Tyne to resume Home Fleet duties.

                            (Note: Ships of Flotilla were deployed for support of operations off Norway.)

           16th          Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers JANUS, JUNO and HEREWARD as

                            screen for HM Cruiser SUFFOLK during operation to carry out bombardment of airfield

                            at Stavanger, Norway (Operation DUCK). For details see NAVAL OPERATIONS OF

                            THE CAMPAIGN IN NORWAY April to June 1940 (HMSO). )

           17th          During return passage under heavy and sustained air attacks in position 39.40N  20.13E.

                            Hit by two bombs which caused major damage in structure including machinery mountings.

           20th          Repair arranged at Southampton and at Humber Graving Dock for machinery.

           24th          Passage to Solent.

           25th          Taken in hand for repair at Southampton.


May                     Under repair

to June                 Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to G91.



           19th           On completion took passage from Southampton to Humber

           21st            Taken in hand for machinery repair at Humber Graving Dock.



           14th           On completion took passage to resume Home Fleet duties.

           15th           Arrived at Scapa Flow for deployment.


September            Further defects discovered during Home Fleet deployment

           13th           Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.

           30th           Resumed Home Fleet duties


October                Deployed in English Channel with Flotilla for convoy escort and patrol duties.

                             Involved in collision with mercantile QUEEN MAUD during escort of convoy.

                             (Note: One source records the other ship was a transport and convoy identity

                                         FH92. This series of convoys did not start till 1942. Further research

                                         is required.)

             3rd           Under repair by HM Dockyard Devonport.

           10th           Resumed service at Plymouth with 5th Destroyer Flotilla.

           17th.          Deployed with HM Destroyers JACKAL, JUPITER, KASHMIR and KELVIN

                             as screen for HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE to intercept German warships on passage

                             to attack shipping in SW Approaches.

           27th           Withdrawn from service for repair and took passage to Tyne for repair

           29th           Taken in hand for mechanical repair at commercial shipyard in Newcastle



           24th           On completion of post repair trials took passage to rejoin Flotilla at Plymouth.


December             Channel deployment in continuation.

            2nd            Provided escort for HM Cruiser ADVENTURE with HM Destroyers KASHMIR and

                              JUPITER for lay of minefield on Little Sole Bank in SW Approaches (Operation GQ1).

            3rd             Deployed as escort for HM Destroyer ICARUS with HM Destroyers KASHMIR and

                              PUNJABI for lay of minefield off Isle de Bas (Operation GR).

                              (Note: Returned to Plymouth with HMS ICARUS when operation was cancelled due to

                                          defect in the minelayer.)

           19th            Joined military convoy WS5A in Clyde with HM Destroyers KELVIN, OTTAWA (RCN),

                              ST LAURENT (RCN) and Polish destroyer ORP PIORUN for Local Escort during passage

                              in NW Approaches.

           22nd           Detached from WS5A with Local Escort and returned to Clyde.

           24th            Return passage to Plymouth.

           27th            Deployed for escort of  damaged cruiser HMS KENT during passage in SW Approaches

                              to Plymouth.

                              (Note: HMS KENT had been hit by a torpedo and badly damaged during bombardment

                                          of Fort Capuzzo in September and was returning to UK for repair.)

           30th            Arrived at Plymouth with HMS KENT.


1 9 4 1


January                 Flotilla deployment in Channel and SW Approaches in continuation.



            20th           Deployed with HMS KASHMIR and HMS JACKAL as escort for ships of 20th Destroyer

                              Flotilla for minelay off Brest (Operation GS)



            24th           Deployed with HMS KASHMIR as escort for HM Fast Minelayer ABDIEL for minelay

                              off Brest (Operation GV).

                                (Note: The minelaying operations off Brest were carried out because of the arrival of the

                                            German warships GNEISENAU and SCHARNHORST and intended to restrict

                                            movements during their departure. HMS ABDIEL had recently commissioned

                                            and this was her first operation. Other ships of the 5th Flotilla provided escort for

                                            minelay by destroyers of 20th Destroyer Flotilla on 30th March.)



           16th            Rescued 13 survivors from freighter ss BOLETTE which had been sunk in an air attack.

           20th            Transferred to Mediterranean with HM Destroyers JERSEY, JUPITER, KASHMIR and

                              KELVIN. Prepared for foreign service.

           21st             Took passage from Plymouth with ships of Flotilla for service in Malta as a Striking Force

                               for attacks on shipping supporting military operations in North Africa.

           24th             Joined HM Cruisers ABDIEL, DIDO, HM Destroyers JACKAL, JERSEY, KASHMIR,

                               and KELVIN at Gibraltar to form Force S and took passage to Malta as part

                               of escort for reinforcement ships for Mediterranean Fleet (Operation SALIENT)

                               (Note: Cover for the transit of this convoy and also for concurrent Operation DUNLOP

                                           to launch aircraft from HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL for use in Malta was

                                           provided by ships of Force H based at Gibraltar.)

           28th             Arrived in Malta with ships of Force S and deployed with Flotilla as Force K for attacks

                               on shipping to North Africa for support of enemy military operations.

                               For details of naval operations in the Mediterranean see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                               CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre,

                               MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman and THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

                               by J Greene and A Massignani.

                                  (Note: The relief of ships of the 14th Destroyer Flotilla as Force K enabled them to escort  HM

                                         Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE to Alexandria for more supplies to the

                                         beleaguered garrison. For details see above references and MALTA

                                         CONVOYS by R Woodman.)



             1st             Deployed with Force K to intercept supply convoy on passage to North Africa.

             2nd            Returned to Malta and detached before the other ships entered Grand Harbour.

                               Deployed with HMS KASHMIR as screen for HMS GLOUCESTER during passage

                               Gibraltar when entrance to Grand Harbour was blocked by wreck of HMS JERSEY

                               which had sunk after detonating a recently laid mine

             4th             Arrived at Gibraltar with HMS GLOUCESTER and HMS KASHMIR.

                               (Note: HMS GLOUCESTER was damaged during passage through Sicilian

                                           Narrows when a mine exploded in her paravane gear,

             5th             Deployed with HMS KIPLING and HMS GLOUCESTER as Force D for defence

                               of military convoy during passage to Malta and joined convoy near Gibraltar.

                               (Operation TIGER)

             9th             Rejoined Flotilla after TIGER convoy escort was reinforced by ships of Mediterranean

                               Fleet off Malta and deployed with screen.

           10th             Detached from TIGER convoy screen with ships of Force K and took passage to carry

                               Carried out bombardment with Flotilla at Benghazi before return to resume strike duties in Malta.

           11th             Arrived at Malta with HM Destroyers KELLY, JACKAL, KELVIN and KIPLING.

           21st             Sailed from Malta with HMS KELLY and HMS KASHMIR for support of defence of Crete.

           22nd            Deployed for patrol off Crete for interception of invasion craft.

                               Separated from HMS KELLY and HMS KASHMIR after steering defect.

                               Under heavy and sustained attacks by dive-bombers.

                               (Note: This defect probably saved ship from damage in the later bombing when HMS

                                            KELLY and HMS KASHMIR were sunk.

           23rd            Rescued 279 survivors from HMS KELLY and HMS  KASHMIR including Captain Lord

                              Louis Mountbatten,  Senior Officer of 5th Destroyer Flotilla embarked in HMS KELLY.

                              During the rescue struck wreck of HMS KELLY which caused oil leak and reduction of speed

                              to 20 knots.

          24th             During passage to Alexandria came under several air attacks causing damage by near misses.

                              Ship disabled by lack of oil fuel due to leaks and provided with supply by HM Netlayer

                              PROTECTOR and resumed passage to Alexandria.

          25th              Landed survivors at Alexandria.

          27th           Taken in hand for repair at Alexandria.

                            (Note: Repairs included structure in Shell Room and leaks in Boiler Room and fuel tank.)


June                     Transferred to 7th Destroyer Flotilla and joined HM Destroyers JERVIS, JACKAL, LIVELY,

                            NAPIER and NIZAM for support of military operations against Vichy French in Syria.

                            (Operation  EXPORTER)

                            (Note: Ships of Mediterranean Fleet based at Alexandria provided naval gunfire support,

                                        landings of commando parties and convoy defence against attack by submarines

                                        and surface warships.)


July                     On release from EXPORTER deployed for convoy escort in eastern Mediterranean and support

                            of garrison at Tobruk with ships of Flotilla


August                 Eastern Mediterranean Flotilla deployment in continuation.

to October


November           Deployed for escort of convoys to and from Tobruk and transport of stores and personnel.

                            (Note: Polish General Sikorski embarked for visit to Polish troops at Tobruk.)

         25th           Deployed with HM Destroyers NAPIER (RAN), NIZAM (RAN), JACKAL and JERVIS as

                            screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT during Fleet

                            operation to cover search by cruisers and Force K from Malta for supply convoys in eastern


                            In company with HMS BARHAM when sunk by U331 with heavy loss of life.

                            Took part in anti-submarine hunt.


December            Tobruk support in continuation

           1st             Deployed with HM Destroyers JACKAL, JERVIS and JAGUAR to intercept three Italian

                            destroyers reported off Derna.

                            Under air attack south of Crete during which HMS JACKAL was hit and steering disabled.

                            Escorted damaged destroyer back to Alexandria with HMS JERVIS and HMS JAGUAR.

           2nd           Arrived at Alexandria.

           5th            Rescued 200 survivors from HM Armed Boarding Vessel CHAKDINA sunk in air attacks

                             by U81 off Libyan coast.

          28th            Sank U75 off Mersa Matruh in position 31.50N  26.40E after 2 ˝ hour hunt following the

                             sinking of British ss VOLO.

                             (Note: Ship escorted seven convoys in support of Tobruk).


1 9 4 2



            5th           Deployed with HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS, NAIAD, HM Destroyers FOXHOUND,

                            GURKHA, KINGSTON and SIKH as Force B for escort of HM Supply Ship GLENGYLE

                            during passage to Malta (Operation MF2)

            6th           Took over escort of HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE for passage into Alexandria when

                            escort to Malta transferred to Force C in position west of Derna.

            9th           Returned to Alexandria with HMS BRECONSHIRE.

           16th          Sailed from Alexandria as screen for HMS DIDO, EURYALUS, NAIAD, HMS FOXHOUND,

                            HMS HAVOCK, HMS HOTSPUR and KELVIN designated Force B to cover passage of

                            Convoy MW8A to Malta (Operation MF3)

           17th          Convoy MW8B which sailed later merged with Convoy MW8A.

           18th          Escort transferred to ships of Force K from Malta and took passage to Alexandria with

                            Force B and close escort for MW8.

           20th          Arrived at Alexandria after unsuccessful air attacks.

           24th          Deployed as Force B with HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS, NAIAD, HM Destroyers

                            GRIFFIN, KELVIN, KINGSTON, JAGUAR, HASTY, ARROW and Dutch destroyer

                            ISAAC SWEERS to provide cover for passage of HMS BRECONSHIRE to Malta.

           26th          Escort for HMS BRECONSHIRE taken over by ships of by Force K from Malta.

                            Returned to Alexandria with ships of Force B escorting ss ROWALLAN CASTLE and

                            HMS GLENGYLE


February             Deployed for escort of convoys to Cyprus when not required for Fleet duties.

           13th          Sailed from Alexandria with ships of Force B to provided cover for passage of Convoys

                            MW9A/B to Malta (Operation MF5)

                            (Note: MW9A of two mercantiles sailed on 12th escorted by HM Cruiser CARLISLE

                                        and screen of four destroyers. MW9B consisting of ss ROWALLAN CASTLE

                                        escorted by four HUNT Class destroyers later that day.)

                                        Force B also included HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD, HM

                                        Destroyers GRIFFIN, HASTY, HAVOCK, JAGUAR, JERVIS and KELVIN.)

                            Convoys merged and under air attack during which ss CLAN CAMPBELL was badly

                            damaged and detached under escort for passage to Tobruk.

           14th          Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which the remained two mercantiles were lost.

                            For details of this disastrous operation see above references.

                            Took passage to Alexandria with Force B escorting eastward Convoy ME10 of four ships

                            including HMS BRECONSHIRE which had been escorted from Malta by Force K.

           15th          Entered Alexandria.


March                 Transferred to 14th Destroyer Flotilla.

           10th          Deployed with HM  Destroyers JERVIS, KIPLING, KELVIN, LIVELY, SIKH, ZULU,

                            HASTY, HAVOCK and HERO as screen for HMS NAIAD and EURYALUS in unsuccessful

                            search for convoy off Tripoli.

           11th          Joined by HM Cruiser CLEOPATRA and HM Destroyer KINGSTON for return passage.

                            Under heavy and sustained bombing and torpedo attacks by aircraft which were repelled

                            by heavy AA fire.

                            Force under attack by U565 north of Mersa Matruh during which HMS NAIAD was hit

                            by torpedo and sank in 20 minutes.

                            Took part in rescue of survivors with HMS JERVIS and HMS LIVELY

                            (Note: 77 of ships company of HMS NAIAD were lost. Flag of Admiral Vian was

                                        transferred to HMS DIDO.)

           20th          Deployed with HM Destroyers ,JERVIS, KELVIN and KINGSTON of 14th Flotilla as screen

                            for HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, DIDO and EURYALUS designated Force B to provide

                            cover for passage of Convoy MW10 to Malta (Operation MG1)

                            (Note: MW10 comprised HMAS BRECONSHIRE and three mercantiles escorted by HMS

                                        CARLISLE and six destroyers.)

            22nd        Convoy under threat of attack by Italian battle squadron which included the battleship

                            LITTORIO, cruisers BANDE NERE, GORIZIA and TRENTO with destroyer screens.

                            Deployed in striking force with HMS JERVIS, KELVIN and KINGSTON for torpedo


                            Convoy detached to south with HMS CARLISLE and HUNT Class destroyers.

                            Took part in engagement with Italian warships and joined in torpedo attack under cover

                            of smoke screen. Fired five torpedoes by local control (2nd Battle of Sirte).

                            (Note: During exchange of fire HMS CLEOPATRA, HMS EURYALUS, HMS HAVOCK,

                                        HMS LIVELY and KINGSTON were hit. LITTORIO sustained one shell hit.

                                        For details of this renowned and brilliantly executed defence of MW10 see the

                                        above references, the Naval Staff History and MEDITERRANEAN MAELSTROM

                                        by GC Connell.)

            23rd         Two ships of MW10 arrived in Malta but were later sunk by air attacks. One was HMS

                            BRECONSHIRE which had plated a very significant part in many relief operations to Malta.)

                            (Note: No other convoy was passed to Malta from Alexandria until November 1942)

             24th        Returned to Alexandria with ships of Force B.


April                    Alexandria deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

             16th        Carried out landing of Royal Marines at Kuphoris, Crete to destroy a wireless station.


May                     (Note: One source records despatch from Alexandria to assist Hospital Ship

                                        RAMB IV set on fire after air attack near Alexandria.

                                        Fire fighting party placed on board.

                                       Returned to Alexandria on relief by HM Destroyer HASTY

                                       To be investigated.

              10th       Deployed with HM Destroyers JACKAL, JERVIS and LIVELY to intercept convoy

                            on passage in eastern Mediterranean to Benghazi (Operation MG2).

              11th       Came under heavy and sustained attacks by 14 Ju 88 bombers based in Crete.

                            HMS LIVELY was hit and sank quickly with loss of 76 members of ships company.

                            (Note: Loss of HMS LIVELY with main armament of HA weapons deprived the ships of

                                        a significant part of the available AA defence as the other two ships had an

                                        inferior fit of AA weapons.)

                            Hit during a second attack by aircraft based in Greece and also sank quickly.

                            25 of the ships company lost their lives.

                            (Note: HMS JACKAL was also hit and set on fire during the later attacks.

                                        Taken in tow by HMS JERVIS the stricken ship had to sunk on 12th..

                                        630 survivors were rescued by HMS JWERVIS1

                                        HM Destroyers HASTY and SIKH escorted HMS JERVIS into Alexandria

                                        arrived later that day. Some of the wounded died after rescue and were buried

                                        at sea.)






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








SL 058










TA 006/M








(Note on Convoys)


back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 3/8/11
further editing and formatting is required