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

HMS GURKHA (ii) (G 63, ex-Larne) -  L-class Destroyer

HMS Loyal, sister ship (George Knight, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

 L-Class destroyer ordered from Cammell Laird, Birkenhead on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme and to be named HMS LARNE which was laid down on 18th October 1938. However during June 1940, following requested from the Gurkha Regiment it was decided to rename the ship HMS GURKHA and she was launched with that name on 8th July 1940 and was the 3rd RN ship to bear this name. The Regiment had previously had a close relationship with the TRIBAL Class destroyer and wished to maintain this with another RN warship after the loss on 19th April 1940 of the earlier ship off Norway in support of the allied response to the German attack. The name had been introduced for a destroyer built in 1907 and lost after detonating a mine in 1917. The originally name GHURKA, was changed in 1936 for the TRIBAL Class destroyer. Build of this ship was completed on 18th February 1941 Tender cost was £441,837 which excludes items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty.  This name was carried forward in July 1960 when given to the Type 81 TRIBAL Class Frigate on launch.


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, two crossed Kukris 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)



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February             Contractorís Trials and commissioned for service in 4th Destroyer Flotilla.

          18th           Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                             Nominated for serve in Western Approaches command.

          26th           Involved in collision and sustained major damage forward with flooding of


                            Withdrawn from service and repair arranged at Rosyth.

                            Passage to Rosyth.

          31st           Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.


March                 Under repair

to May



           24th         Carried out post repair trials on completion.

                           Passage to rejoin Western Approaches Command and resume convoy defence duties.



          12th          Joined military convoy WS9C in Clyde with HM Destroyers VANOC, WANDERER and

                           Polish ORP GARLAND as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

                           (Note: This convoy included ships bound for Malta as part of Operation SUBSTANCE.

                                       Ocean Escort was provided by HM Battleship NELSON, HM Cruisers ARETHUSA

                                       and MANCHESTER with screen of five Home Fleet destroyers. The Dutch cruiser

                                       HEEMSKERCK provide additional AA defence as part of Local Escort.)

          15th          Detached from WS9C and returned to Clyde with Local Escort.



            2nd         Joined military convoy WS10 in Clyde with HM Destroyers WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA,

                           WITCH, BROADWAY, LANCE, LEGION, Polish ORP PIORUN and Dutch ISAAC SWEERS

                           as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

                           (Note: This convoy destined for Indian Ocean included HM Cruiser LONDON and HM

                                       Armed Merchant Cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE as Ocean Escort.)

            5th          Detached from WS10 and returned to Clyde with Local Escort

          17th          Joined military convoy WS10X in Clyde with HM Destroyers LANCE, ORP PIORUN and

                           Dutch ISAAC SWEERS as Local Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

                           (Note: HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE provided Ocean Escort.)

          19th          Detached from WS10X with HMS LANCE and joined Convoy OG71 under attacks by U559,

                           U201 and U564. which were unable to penetrate screen and attacks failed.

          20th           Deployed with escort for OG71 and established positions of U-Boats with newly fitted

                            Direction Finding equipment

                            (See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair details of attacks on OG71 and SEEK AND

                            STRIKE by W Hackmann for details of use of D/F equipment.)

           23rd          Submarine attacks discontinued by strong escort and availability of air cover.

           25th          Detached on arrival of OG71  at Gibraltar.

                            (Note HM Destroyer BATH, HM Corvette ZINNIAand seven mercantiles were lost on passage


September           Deployed with 4th Destroyer Flotilla based at Gibraltar

                            (Note: Flotilla included HM Destroyers COSSACK, LANCE. LEGION, LIVELY,

                                         MAORI, SIKH and ZULU.)

            8th           Deployed with HM Destroyers FORESTER, LANCE and LIVELY as screen for HM Aircraft

                            Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE during Malta aircraft delivery .

                            (Operation STATUS I).

            9th           Returned to Malta with same ships after launch of HURRICANE aircraft.

          10th           Deployed with HMS ZULU, HMS LANCE and HMS LIVELY as screen for HM Battleship

                            NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL as Force A to provide cover during Malta aircraft delivery

                            (Operation STATUS II).

          14th           Returned to Gibraltar with Ships of Force A after launch of aircraft from HMS FURIOUS and

                            carrying out series of exercises in preparation for planned Malta relief operation.

          24th           Deployed with HM Destroyers DUNCAN, LANCE, LEGION, LIVELY, FURY, Dutch

                            destroyer ISAAC SWEERS, Polish destroyers ORP GARLAND and PIORUN as screen for Force

                            A comprising HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, PRINCE OF WALES and HMS ARK ROYAL

                            to provide cover for passage to Sicilian Narrows of Convoy GM2 destined for Malta under

                            escort of Force X (Operation HALBERD).

          27th           Under air attacks during which HMS RODNEY was hit by an aircraft torpedo but remained in

                            covering force at a reduced speed.

                            Remained west of Narrows when Force X detached with mercantiles and remained in area to

                            provide cover during passage of Convoy MG2 and returning Force X ships to Gibraltar.

          28th           Under threat of air attacks but these were deterred by effective use of aircraft away from Force A

          29th           Met returning warships and under threat of submarine attack.

                            (Note: HMS NELSON was detached and returned to Gibraltar with HMS PRINCE OF WALES,

                                         HM Cruisers KENYA and HMS SHEFFIELD (Force X), HM Destroyers LAFOREY,

                                         LIGHTNING, ORIBI, FORESIGHT, FORESTER (Force X) and HMS FURY (Force A).

           30th          Under attack by Italian submarine ADUA and carried out anti-submarine hunt with HMS LEGION.

                            ADUA was sunk in position 37.10N  00.56E by these depth charge attacks.



            1st           Returned to Gibraltar with remained ships of Force X and Force A

            8th           Joined Ocean Escort for military convoy WS12 during passage in Atlantic

            9th           Return passage to Gibraltar from WS12.

                            (Note: Additional support had been provided from Gibraltar for this convoy which was being

                                        escorted by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE.)

                            On return resumed convoy deployment and patrol at Gibraltar with Flotilla.



            8th           Deployed with HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LEGION, LIGHTNING, SIKH. ZULU and

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

                            Carriers ARGUS, ARK ROYAL and HM Cruiser HERMIONE to provide cover during

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

            13th         During return passage following launch of aircraft on 12th.came under attack by U-Boat

                            which torpedoed and disabled HMS ARK ROYAL.  See MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.

                            Carried out anti-submarine operations with HMS LAFOREY and HMS LIGHTING.

                            Assisted in rescue and salvage attempts until these were abandoned.

             14th        Returned to Gibraltar.

                            Passage to UK

                            (Note: The reasons for this return are not clear and need further research.

                                        Once source record for repair at Devonport which is unlikely to have been impossible

                                         at HM Dockyard Gibraltar.)

                            Nominated for escort of military convoy on completion of repair.


December           Passage to Clyde to join military convoy as part of Ocean Escort during passage in Atlantic.

                            (Note: One source records ship sailed on 13th December, but this is at variance with other

                                        sources which confirm ship was deployed with WS14.)

            9th           Joined military convoy WS14 with HM Australian Destroyer NESTOR and HM Destroyer


          13th           Detached from WS14 to carry out anti-submarine search off Gibraltar with HMAS NESTOR

                            and joined destroyers from Gibraltar already carrying out this operation.

                            (Note: HM Destroyer VANQUISHER joined WS14.)

          15th           Deployed with HMAS NESTOR and HM Destroyers FOXHOUND and CROOME in hunt

                            for U-Boat west of Gibraltar. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

                            Carried out depth charge attacks with HMAS NESTOR and sank U127 in position SW of

                            Cape St Vincent. There were no survivors from this submarine.

                            On arrival at Gibraltar nominated for transfer to Mediterranean Fleet.

                            (Note: For details of all Malta convoy operations and naval activities in the eastern

                                        Mediterranean see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre,

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

                                       by J Greene and A Massignini  and the Naval Staff History.)

          22nd          Sailed from Gibraltar for Malta with HM Cruiser DIDO HM Destroyers ARROW, NESTOR

                            (RAN) and FOXHOUND

          24th           Arrived in Malta.

          26th           Sailed from Malta with same ships to escort four merchant ships to Alexandria.

          29th           Arrived at Alexandria for service with Mediterranean Fleet.

                            Came under air attacks during passage without damage.


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           5th            Joined HM Destroyers SIKH, KIPLING, KINGSTON and FOXHOUND to screen HM

                            Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS and NAIAD as Force B to escort HM Supply Ship GLENGYLE

                            during passage in eastern Mediterranean (Operation MF2),.

           6th            Transferred HMS GLENGYLE escort to ships of Force A from Malta and took over escort of

                            HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE for passage to Alexandria

           9th            Arrived at Alexandria with ships of Force B.

         16th            Deployed as escort for Convoy MW8B during passage from Alexandria to Malta with HM

                            Destroyers MAORI, LEGION and Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS (Operation MF3)

                            (Note: Convoy comprised two mercantiles and was planned to merge with Convoy MW8A

                                        of during passage. See above references.)

         17th           Under attack by U133 west of Sollum and hit by torpedo. Ship caught fire and was

                            surrounded by burning oil fuel and towed clear by Dutch destroyer ISAAC

                            SWEERS which was able to rescue all but nine of the shipís company before the ship sank

                            in position 31.50N  29.14E. Survivors were landed at Tobruk. Details of casualties were

                            announced on 9th March 1942.



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