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

HMS LAFOREY (G 99) -  L-class Flotilla Leader
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Laforey (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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L-Class destroyer ordered from Yarrow at Scotstoun Glasgow on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme and laid down on 1st March 1939. She was launched on 15th February 1941 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, introduced for a destroyer built in 1913 and sunk by a mine in 1917. The name commemorates the service of Sir Francis Laforey (1767 - 1835), who was Captain of HMS SPARTIATE during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Build of this ship was completed on 28th August 1941 and she fitted for use as a Flotilla Leader. The Tender cost was 445,684 which excludes items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in November 1941 this destroyer was adopted by the civil community of  Northampton.


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 Blue, a lion's gamb Gold holding a torch

in flamed Proper.



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 4 1


August                  Contractor's trials and commissioned for service in 19th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet

                21st         Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and weapon calibration passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of

                                Home Fleet.


September             On completion of work-up joined 19th Destroyer Flotilla as Leader for duty with Home Fleet.

                17th        Nominated for support of planned Malta relief (Operation HALBERD) and joined military

                convoy WS1 IX with HM Battleships PRINCE OF WALES, RODNEY, HM Cruisers


                Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS, Polish destroyers ORP GARLAND and PIORUN.

                24th        Escort joined by destroyers from Gibraltar and Force H ships provided cover for passage

                in western Mediterranean of re-identified Convoy GM2.

                Nominated for transfer to Force X as escort for GM2 during transit of Sicilian Narrows.

                27th        Under air attacks during which HM Battleship NELSON was hit by torpedo but remained

                with convoy.

                (Note: Threat of surface attack by Italian warships did not materialise.)

                Joined HM Destroyers COSSACK, FORESIGHT, FORESTER, FURY, ORIBI. ZULU,


                and SHEFFIELD as Force X when Ships of Force H, designated Force A detached from GM2

                west of Sicilian Narrows

                28th        Sailed from Malta with Force X after safe arrival of convoy.

                29th        Rejoined Force A ships west of Sicily

                Detached with HMS PRINCE OF WALES, HMS KENYA, HMS SHEFFIELD, HM Destroyers

                LIGHTNING, ORIBI, FORESTER and FURY and took return passage to Gibraltar.

                (Note: Remaining warships covered passage of Convoy MG2 from Malta during passage to



October                  Transferred to Force H based at Gibraltar for screening duties, patrol and convoy defence.



                10th        Deployed with HM Destroyers LIGHTNING, LEGION, SIKH, ZULU, GURKHA and Dutch

                destroyer ISAAC SWEERS as screen for HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carriers

                ARK ROYAL. ARGUS and HM Cruiser HMS HERMIONE during provision of cover for Malta

                aircraft delivery from the two aircraft carriers (Operation PERPETUAL).

                13th        Carried out unsuccessful anti-submarine operations after suspected contact.

                Under attack by U81 during which HMS ARK ROYAL was hit by torpedo and disabled.

                Stood by stricken ship with HMS LIGHTNING.

                14th        HMS ARK ROYAL sank during tow to Gibraltar by two tugs. (For full details see MALTA

                                CONVOYS by R Woodman)


December              Gibraltar deployment in continuation

                For details of naval operations including Malta relief operations see ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by Donald

                Maclntyre, THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignini,

                The Naval Staff History and above reference.


1 9 4 2


January                  Deployed with Force H and formed part of Anti-submarine Striking Force with HM Destroyers

                CROOME, HESPERUS and WESTCOTT.

                (Note: Extensive anti-submarine patrols had been instituted at Gibraltar after loss of HMS ARK

                ROYAL in intercept attempts by U-Boats to pass through the Straits.)

                Despatched to carry out operations after U-Boats attacked convoy.

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

                18th        Took part in sinking of U93 with HMS HESPERUS in defence of Convoy SL97

.               (Note: Sinking was after depth charge and surface gun attacks.

                41 of crew survived See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.



                8th          Reinforced escort of Atlantic convoy.

                Passage to Clyde for escort of military convoy WS16 during Atlantic passage.

                (Note WS16 was taking troops to Middle East and India.)

                17th         Joined Convoy WS16 with HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, BLANKNEY, CROOME,

                                DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE and LIGHTNING and took passage as escort.

                21st         Detached from WS16 with same ships ands returned to Gibraltar.

                (Note: HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS was part of WS16 and on passage to Gibraltar to carry out

                Malta aircraft delivery.

                It may be assumed that the destroyers detached as escort for HMS ARGUS.)

                23rd        Arrived at Gibraltar.

                27th        Deployed with HM Destroyers LIGHTNING, ACTIVE, ANTHONY, WHITEHALL,

                WISHART, BLANKNEY, EXMOOR and CROOME as screen for HMS ARGUS,

                HMS EAGLE, HMS HERMIONE and HMS MALAYA providing escort for Malta aircraft

                delivery from carriers (Operation SPOTTER I)

                28th        Operation cancelled due to aircraft fuel tank defects and returned to Gibraltar



                6th          Deployed for Operation SPOTTER II with same ships as SPOTTER I

                8th          Arrived at Gibraltar after successful launch of aircraft.

                19th        Nominated for support of planned landings in Madagascar with other ships of Force H

                                on completion of planned aircraft delivery (Operation IRONCLAD)

                20th        Deployed with HM Destroyers DUNCAN, ACTIVE, ANTHONY, WHITEHALL,

                WISHART, BLANKNEY, EXMOOR and CROOME as screen for HMS MALAYA,

                HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE during Malta aircraft delivery by the two carriers.

                (Operation PICKET I)

                22nd       Return passage to Gibraltar with same ships when operation cancelled due to defects

                                in aircraft fuel tanks

                27th        Deployed with same ships for repeat aircraft delivery (Operation PICKET II)



                1st           Passage to Freetown to join military convoy WS17 for IRONCLAD

                6th          At Freetown

                9th          Sailed from Freetown as screen for HMS MALAYA and HMS HERMIONE with


                LOOKOUT and PAKENHAM.

                18th        Arrived at Cape Town with WS17.

                22nd       Arrived at Durban with WS17.

                (Note: Some mercantiles in WS17 were destined for the Middle East and Indian detached

                at ports in South Africa and continued passage as WS17.)

                28th        Deployed with HM Destroyers LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT and other destroyers as escort for

                Convoy Z during passage to Diego Suarez, northern Madagascar. (Note: HMS ILLUSTRIOUS,

                HMS HERMIONE


                2nd         Carried out bombardment exercise in preparation for support of landings.

                3rd          Convoy Y merged with Slow Convoy Y which had taken passage 10 days earlier

                4th          Deployed with HMS ANTHONY and HMS LIGHTNING to mark and buoy approach

                                channel to landing area at Diego Suarez.
                5th          Led HMS LIGHTNING and HM Landing Ship (Infantry) into
Courier Bay for landings.

                                Provided naval gunfire support during assault.

                6th          Deployed with HMS LOOKOUT and HMS LIGHTNING as screen for HMS RAMILLIES

                                during search for Japanese warships reported in area.

                7tth         Provided naval gunfire support during landing by Royal Marines from HMS ANTHONY on

                                Antisirana Peninsular

                8th          At Diego Suarez and deployed periodically for anti-submarine patrols with HMS LIGHTNING

                and HMS LOOKOUT until released from IRONCLAD.

                (Note: For details of IRONCLAD see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, ENGAGE THE

                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO), The Naval Staff History

                and STRUCK BY LIGHTNING by G Gilroy (Privately published.)

                27th        Released from IRONCLAD with HMS LOOKOUT and HMS LIGHTNING.

                29th        Took passage Colombo to join Eastern Fleet.

                31st         At Seychelles to refuel.



                1st           Joined HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, ILLUSTRIOUS and HM Cruiser GAMBIA

                                for exercises in Indian Ocean
                5th          Arrived at

                12th        Deployed with HMS LIGHTNING, HMS LOOKOUT and two other Eastern Fleet destroyers

                                as screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE, HMS FORMIDABLE, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and

                                HMS GAMBIA during offensive sweep in Indian Ocean as Force A.

                18th        Returned to Colombo with Force A.

                22nd       Deployed with HMS LIGHTNING for exercises off Colombo.

                23rd        Took passage from Colombo as screen for ships of Force A during passage to Mombasa.

                28th        At Seychelles to refuel.



                1st           Arrived at Mombasa with ships of Force A

                9th          Transferred to South Atlantic for trade defence and interception of commerce raiders.

                                Took passage with HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS LIGHTNING and HMS LOOKOUT.

                19th        Nominated for service in Mediterranean in support of Malta relief operation,

                                (Operation PEDESTAL)

                20th        Passage to Freetown.

                23rd        Detached from HMS INDOMITABLE with destroyers to refuel at Pointe Noire,

                                French Equatorial Africa and rejoined on completion.

                27th        Joined by HM Cruiser PHOEBE.

                28th        Arrived at Freetown.



                1st           Sailed from Freetown for Gibraltar as screen for same ships.

                5th          Deployed with HM Destroyers FORESIGHT, FURY, ICARUS, INTREPID,


                for HM Aircraft Carriers ARGUS, EAGLE, INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS, HM

                Cruisers PHOEBE , CHARYBDIS and SIRIUS during Exercise BERSERK west of

                Gibraltar to carry out tactics for use during planned defence of PEDESTAL convoy.
                10th        Refuelled and nominated with HMS LOOKOUT for escort of HM Aircraft Carrier

                FURIOUS during aircraft delivery to Malta.

                (Operation BELLOWS - Coincident with PEDESTAL)

                11th        During screening of HMS FURIOUS detached when HMS EAGLE was hit by torpedo

                fired by U73 and sank within eight minutes. Carried out rescue work with HMS

                LOOKOUT and HM Tug JAUNTY

                (Note: These ships rescued a total of 927 survivors from a ships company of 1160.)

                Transferred survivors to HM Destroyer KEPPEL and refuelled from tanker in Force R

                Took passage to join ships covering passage of PEDESTAL convoy after refuelling.

                Carried out successful anti-submarine operations against Italian submarine BRIN with

                HM Destroyers FORESIGHT and FURY and attack failed.
                12th        Under series of air attacks throughout the day during which HMS INDOMITABLE was

                badly damaged and HMS FORESIGHT had to be sunk following damage.

                Detached from PEDESTAL Convoy with part of Force Z on arrival at Sicilian Narrows.

                (Note: These were HMS NELSON, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS PHOEBE, HMS SIRIUS,

                HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING. LOOKOUT and QUENTIN.

                Remained in area to provide cover for ships of Force X which had remained as escort for

                PEDESTAL convoy for passage into Malta.

                14th        Passage to Gibraltar as part of screen for ships of Forces X and Z..

                                (Note: For details of PEDESTAL see PEDESTAL by P Smith and above references.)

                15th        Arrived at Gibraltar

                16th        Deployed as screen for HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS and HMS CHARYBDIS with HM

                                Destroyers LOOKOUT, LIGHTNING, ANTELOPE, WISHART, MALCOLM, KEPPEL,

                ESKIMO. SOMALI, VENOMOUS and BICESTER during Malta aircraft delivery from HMS

                FURIOUS (Operation BARITONE).

                18th        Returned to Gibraltar with same ships on completion of BARITONE.

                21st         Deployed for ant-submarine operations off Gibraltar



                3rd          Deployed with HMS LOOKOUT to provide escort for ss LEINSTER into Gibraltar

                (Note: ss LEINSTER was part of military convoy WS22 during passage in Atlantic from

                Clyde to Freetown.

                4th          Met WS22 and escorted detached ss LEINSTER to Gibraltar with HMS LOOKOUT.

                12th        Passage from Gibraltar to Southampton for refit.

                17th        Taken in hand for refit in commercial shipyard


October                  Under refit



                20th        Carried out post refit trials and took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up prior to resuming

                                Flotilla duties at Gibraltar.

                23rd        Worked-up at Scapa Flow with HM Destroyer LIGHTNING.


December              Nominated for escort of military convoy during passage to Gibraltar.

                7th          Sailed from Scapa Flow for Greenock on completion of work-up.

                12th        Took passage to Liverpool with HMS LIGHTNING to escort troopship DUCHESS OF

                ATHOL during passage from Liverpool to join military convoy KMF5 during passage in

                Atlantic from Clyde to Algiers.

                15th        Joined KMF5 Ocean Escort with HMS LIGHTNING and DUCHESS OF ATHOL

                20th        Arrived at Gibraltar after stormy passage.

                21st         Took part in rescue operations with HMS LIGHTNING after troopship STRATHALLAN

                was hit by torpedo from U562 off Algerian coast.

                (Note: STRATHALLAN was taking 4.408 troops and 296 Nurses to North Africa and sank

                on 23rd after fires became uncontrollable.)


1 9 4 3



                1st           Arrived at Bone for duty with Flotilla as part of Force Q.

                (Note: Force Q included HM Cruisers AJAX, PENELOPE, AURORA. SIRIUS, HM

                Destroyers LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT and LOYAL.)

                Under heavy air attacks at Bone.

                6th          Sank tanker EMPIRE METAL which had been hit and set on fire during air raid.


February                Deployed for screening duties with Force Q during interception patrols and convoy defence

to                            off North African coast in western Mediterranean.



April                       Based at Bone for Force Q deployment and interception patrols.

                28th        During patrol with HM Destroyer TARTAR in action against six E-Boats and a submarine

                in position 37.46N 01.33E.

                Sank one E-Boat by ramming and damaged two others.

                Sustained damage to forepeak.


May                        Deployed with HM Destroyers LOYAL, TARTAR, ZETLAND, LAMERTON,


                WILTON, ZETLAND and Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA to intercept craft evacuating

                troops from Cape Bon area after defeat of the Afrika Korps .

                (Operation RETRIBUTION - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY

                and Naval Staff History.)

                8th          Deployed with HMS TARTAR and intercepted two mercantiles.

                9th          During RETRIBUTION under fire by shore battery near Cape Bon and hit in engine room

                causing damage with some serious injuries

                Took passage to Malta for repair.

                10th        Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard

                15th        During passage to resumed Force Q duties investigated Plane Island and found 23 enemy

                                soldiers who were taken prisoner.

                23rd        Deployed with HM Destroyer LOOKOUT for patrol in central Mediterranean and sank

                                supply ship.


June                        Nominated for support of planned landings in Pantelleria (Operation CORKSCREW).

                (Note: Other ships involved included HM Cruisers AURORA, NEWFOUNDLAND,

                ORION, PENELOPE and EURYALUS, HM Destroyers LOOKOUT, LOYAL,


                Provided cover for minesweeping operations prior to CORKSCREW.

                8th          Bombarded positions in Pantelleria.

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support during landings on Pantelleria by 1st British Division.

                On release from CORKSCREW took passage to Alexandria to provice escort for assault

                convoys on passage to Sicily for planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY)



                8th          Deployed with HM Destroyers LOOKOUT and LOYAL for escort for military Convoy


                9th          Detached from KMF36 and took passage to BARK Beach Head in British Sector.

                10th        Joined support Force East and deployed for screening duties on passage to assault area.

                Provided naval gunfire support during landings (Note: See ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                MORE CLOSELY, BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and Naval Staff

                History fo details of HUSKY.)

                15th        Embarked General Alexander for passage to Augusta.

                16th        Deployed with HMS NUBIAN for screening of HMS ORION and HMS UGANDA during

                                passage from Malta as relief for HMS NEWFOUNDLAND,

                18th        Carried out bombardment in support of military operations in eastern Sicily.

                23rd        Deployed for anti-submarine operations after HMS NEWFOUNDLAND had been

                torpedoed off Augusta by the Italian submarine ASCIANGHI

                Sank ASCIANGHI with HM Destroyer ECLIPSE.


August                  Nominated for support of planned allied landings on Italian mainland at Salerno

                                (Operation AVALANCHE - See references for details.)

                21st         Deployed with four other destroyers for offensive sweep off Italian mainland near Straits

                of Messina.

                (Note: Landings at Salerno were preceded by bombardment operations between Reggio

                Calabria and Pessaro prior to British landings on Italian mainland

                (Operation BAYTOWN).


September             Deployed at Malta and prepared for AVALANCHE.

                (Note: See above references.

                Planned deployment with Flotilla and HUNT Class destroyers of 21st Destroyer

                Flotilla as part of Northern Attack Force for screening of HM Cruisers

                MAURITIUS, UGANDA, ORION, DEHLI and HM Monitor EREBUS during

                passage and support bombardments)

                9th          Under fire during support bombardment and sustained damage by return fire.

                Hit by five shells

                One of ships company was killed and two other injured.

                One Boiler Room was unusable.

                Passage to Malta for repair including structural damage.

                Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard.


October                  Under repair

                                On completion resumed Flotilla duties in support of military operations.

                13th        Provided naval gunfire support for military operation near Volturno with HMS

                                LOOKOUT and Dutch Gunboat FLORES.



                1st           Escorted two mercantiles during passage from Malta to Naples.

                3rd          Deployed as escort for military convoy during passage to Augusta.

                4th          Deployed at Augusta for patrol duties off western coast of Italy.

                5th          Assisted US mercantile aground NE of Augusta and towed vessel clear before taking

                                passage to Malta to refuel.

                6th          Carried out anti-submarine exercises on passage.


December              Deployed intermediately at Malta for R&R and to replenish.

                23rd        Took passage from Malta for Naples.

                25th        Passage to Bay of Naples for anti-submarine patrol duty.

                Intercepted two E-Boats by radar contact and engaged with main armament but enemy

                ships escaped.

                29th        Deployed with Dutch Gunboat FLORES, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR and LOYAL

                                to carry out bombardment.

                30th        Took part in bombardment of Gaeta.

                On completion returned to Naples to re-ammunition.

                Nominated for support of planned allied landings at Anzio (Operation SHINGLE).

                Passage to Ajaccio from Naples.


1 9 4 4



                4th          Deployed for patrol off Corsica with calls at Ajaccio and Sartene

                5th          Passage from Maddalena for patrol in Bay of Naples.

                6th          During patrol sank hulk of US LIBERTY Ship by gunfire and torpedo.

                7th          Deployed at Naples and despatched to Capri area to search for lifeboat.

                16th        Deployed for patrol of Bay of Gaeta.

                18th        Sailed from Naples with HM Cruiser SPARTAN, HM Destroyers JERVIS and FAULKNOR

                for bombardment duties in Gaeta area.

                Joined by HM Cruiser ORION and HM Destroyer JANUS and carried out bombardment

                of shore targets.

                Under air attacks and fire from shore batteries.
                19th        Returned to
Naples to replenish ammunition.

                20th        Sailed for Anzio as part of escort for Assault Convoy with HM Destroyers JERVIS and


                21st         Joined by HMS JANUS, US destroyers and Landing Ships for passage to Anzio.

                                (Operation SHINGLE)

                22nd       Deployed with HM Destroyer LOYAL to lead Assault Force to P Beach landing areas.

                Detached after nightfall to carry out patrol south of Anzio to intercept any attempt to

                attack ships off Anzio beaches.

                23rd        Provided gunfire support and defence against air and surface attacks on assembled ships.

                Assisted in rescue of survivors from HMS JANUS which sank after being hit by radio

                controlled bomb.

                24th        Provided naval gunfire support.

                27th        Returned to Naples to replenish.

                28th        Passage to resume duties off PETER Beach.

                29th        Support deployment off Anzio in continuation.

                Assisted in rescue of survivors from HMS SPARTAN after the cruiser had been hit by

                radio controlled bombs.

                Under air attacks and near missed.

                Deployed for night interception patrol with other destroyers.

                (For details of SHINGLE see Naval Staff History, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                CLOSELY by C Barnett and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.)


February                SHINGLE support in continuation. Transferred to 14th Destroyer Flotilla.

                18th        Carried out bombardment of Formica.

                21st         Return passage to Naples to replenish.

                25th        Deployed for patrol with HM Destroyer FAULKNOR to intercept E-Boats.

                Detached to assist Landing Ship (Tank) aground at Sabaudio but unable to help.

                During continued patrol with HMS FAULKNOR carried out depth charge attacks

                on possible submarine contact.

                26th        Joined in anti-submarine search by HM Escort Destroyers LAMERTON and


                Under attack by Acoustic torpedo which exploded in wake.

                27th        Anti-submarine operations in continuation.

                                Two additional destroyers joined.

                28th        Anti-submarine operations abandoned and ship returned to Naples to replenish and fuel.

                                Took passage to Malta with survivors from HM Destroyer INGLEFIELD which had been

                                sunk by a Glider Bomb off Anzio on 25th February.


March                    Passage from Malta to Naples to resume support duties at Anzio.

                9th          Deployed off Anzio for support and patrol duties until 19th

                23rd        Returned to Anzio for support and patrol duties.

                24th        Deployed for night interception and anti-submarine patrol with HM Destroyer


                25th        Engaged E-Boats after radar detection.

                                Took passage to Naples from Anzio on completion of patrol.
                28th        Deployed for patrol off west coast of

                29th        Carried out hunt for U223 north of Palermo with HM Destroyers TUMULT and WILTON.

                Joined HM Destroyers TUMULT, TUSCAN, URCHIN, HAMBLEDON and


                30th        After several hours of depth charge attacks the submarine surfaced and was engaged by all

                ships by surface gunfire at a range of about 1,500 yards.

                Despite being hit repeatedly U223 fired three torpedoes which hit the ship and quickly sank


                Only 65 of the ships company survived out of a total of 247 on board.

                The commanding officer and Senior officer of Flotilla, Captain HT Armstrong, DSO, DSC*

                RN was one of the ships company killed.

                U223 also sank soon afterwards and survivors from both the destroyer and the submarine

                were rescued by HMS HAMBLEDON, HMS TUMULT and HMS BLENCATHRA. 






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 097G





OG 078





KMF 005





KMF 005A





KMF 008





MKF 008





KMS 008G








(Note on Convoys)


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