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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS LOOKOUT (G 32) -  L-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

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

 L-Class destroyer ordered from Scotts at Greenock on 31st March 1938 under the 1937 Programme and laid down on 23rd November 1938 at the same time as her sister destroyer HMS LOYAL. She was launched on 4th November 1940 as the 2nd RN ship to bear this name, introduced for a destroyer built in 1914 and sold in 1922. Build of this ship was completed on 30th January 1942. Tender cost was £440,204 which excluded items such as weapons and communications equipment supplied by the Admiralty. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in January 1942 this destroyer was adopted by the civil community of Burnley, Lancashire.


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 per fess wavy White and Blue, a man in crow’s nest

of Whaler, all 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 2


January                  Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 19th Destroyer Flotilla

                30th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                (Note: This ship was fitted with new design High Frequency Radio Direction Finding Outfit

                FH3 which enable the bearing of the origin of wireless signal traffic to be determined.

                For details of the use of this equipment see SEEK AND STRIKE by W Hackmann

                and HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)


February                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of

                Home Fleet.

                Deployed at Scapa Flow for working-up.


March                    Began operational service on completion

                5th          Part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, DUKE OF YORK, HM Battlecruiser

                RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers BERWICK and KENYA with




                (Note: This force was providing cover for transit of Russian Convoy PQ12 to Murmansk

                and return Convoy QP8 to Iceland.

                Convoys were under threat of attack by German battleship TIRPITZ.

                For details of all Russian Convoy operations

                see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B

                Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and CONVOY! by P Kemp.

                8th          Remained with Fleet units when some destroyers left to replenish fuel.

                                See ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.

                9th          Deployed for screening duties during air operations by HMS VICTORIOUS in search of

                                German Battleship TIRPITZ which failed. See references.)

                11th        Passage to Scapa Flow with covering ships of Home Fleet.

                24th        Joined military Convoy WS17 in Clyde with HM Destroyers ALDENHAM and GROVE

                                as part of Ocean Escort during passage in Atlantic to Freetown.



                6th          Detached from WS17 on arrival at Freetown.

                9th          Joined Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS171 as part of Ocean Escort on departure from

                during passage to Durban.

                (Note: Convoy WS17 divided during the period at Freetown)

                Other ships in Ocean Escort for WS17A were HM Cruiser HERMIONE, HM Destroyers


                which were to take part in support of planned landings at Diego Suarez, Madagascar.)

                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.



                2nd         Carried out bombardment exercises.

                3rd          Joined HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE and HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE to provide

                                cover during landings.

                6th          Provided further support bombardment before leaving to join HMS LAFOREY and HMS

                LIGHTNING for escort of HMS RAMILLIES during departure to carry out search for

                presumed Japanese surface ships.

                (Note: No enemy ships were found.)

                7th          Provided naval gunfire support during military operations at Oranjia prior to assault

                on Diego Suarez.

                For details of IRONCLAD see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).



                1st           Joined HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, FORMIDABLE

                                and HM Cruiser GAMBIA during passage to Colombo

                3rd          Took part in Fleet exercises including AA shoot.

                5th          Arrived at Colombo

                6th          Commenced maintenance period.

                12th        Resumed Fleet duties and joined HMS LAFOREY and HMS LIGHTNING in screen for


                deployed as Force A for offensive sweep of Indian Ocean to Chagos islands.

                16th        Called at Addu Atoll with Force A to refuel after delay due to monsoon weather.

                                Took passage from Addu Atoll for Colombo on completion.

                18th        Arrived at Colombo.



                1st           Arrived at Mombasa and carried out maintenance.

                9th          Nominated for return to Mediterranean for support of Malta relief operation.

                Sailed from Mombasa with HMS LAFOREY and HMS LIGHTNING as screen

                for HMS INDOMITABLE during passage to Gibraltar.

                11th        Rescued Norwegian seaman in Indian Ocean, the sole survivors from a ship sunk on 9th.

                13th        Called at Durban.

                19th        Called at Cape Town

                23rd        Called at Pointe Noire, Belgian Congo for fuel.

                                (Note: Ship passage delayed by deployment for trade defence in Atlantic.)

                27th        Joined by HM Cruiser PHOEBE

                28th        Arrived at Freetown.



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

                                Rescued survivors from Norwegian mercantile sunk on 25th July.

                4th          Refuelled from HMS INDOMITABLE.

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

                LIGHTNING, VANSITTART, WESTCOTT and WRESTLER as screen 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, identified as Convoy GM4.

                10th        Refuelled and nominated with HMS LIGHTNING 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 LIGHTNING

                and HM Tug JAUNTY.

                (Note: HM Destroyers LAFOREY and MALCOLM, also took part in rescue operations.

                A total of 927 survivors were rescued from a ships company of 1160.)

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

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

                (Note: These were HMS RODNEY, HMS NELSON, HMS VICTORIOUS,



                WESTCOTT, WISHART and ZETLAND deployed as Force Z.)

                12th        Under air attacks.

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

                HM Destroyers FORESIGHT and FURY and drove submarine away from convoy.

                Despatched with HMS SOMALI, HMS LIGHTNING and HMS CHARYBDIS to assist

                damaged HMS INDOMITABLE after being hit and badly damaged in air attacks.

                Remained with Force Z when GM4 detached and entered Sicilian Narrows escorted by Force X

                12th (sic)Intercepted attack by Italian submarine EMO with HMS TARTAR which was driven off

                                by depth charges.

                13th        Deployed with HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS PHOEBE, HMS NELSON HMS LAFOREY,

                HMS LIGHTNING and HMS QUENTIN west of Narrows to provide cover for returning

                ships of Force X.

                (Note: HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS RODNEY screened by HM Destroyers AMAZON


                ZETLAND had been detached to return to Gibraltar.)

                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


September             Deployed with Flotilla in Force H based at Gibraltar

                4th          Escorted ss LEINSTER with HM Destroyer LAFOREY to Gibraltar.

                (Note: ss LEINSTER had detached from military convoy WS22 after passage from Clyde.)

                Deployed as escort for HM Battleship MALAYA during passage from Gibraltar to UK.


October                  Return passage to Gibraltar as escort for HM Battleship RODNEY.

                29th        Rejoined Flotilla at Gibraltar.


November              Nominated with Flotilla for support of planned landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)

                8th          Provided cover during TORCH landings in Algeria.

                See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History for details.)

                On release from TORCH deployed at Gibraltar for patrol and convoy defence.


December              Nominated for service in Force Q to be based at Bone for interception of enemy supply

                convoys in western and central Mediterranean.

                Joined HM Cruisers ARGONAUT, SIRIUS, AURORA, DIDO, HM Destroyers QUIBERON

                and QUENTIN in Force Q based at Algiers.


1 9 4 3


January                  Carried out interception patrol with ships of Force Q

                2nd         Based at Bone.


February                Force Q deployment in continuation.

                16th        Rescued 50 survivors from HM Corvette LOUISBERG sunk during convoy escort NE of Oran.


March                    Force Q deployment in continuation

                23rd        Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Gibraltar for repair to turbines



                5th          On completion took passage to rejoin 19th Flotilla at Malta.

                (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Destroyers LAFOREY, LOYAL, NUBIAN and TARTAR)

                Deployed for interception patrol and convoy defence.


May        Nominated for blockade of Cape Bon area to prevent evacuation of enemy troops

                from Tunisia by sea. (Operation RETRIBUTION)

                13th        Intercepted craft evacuating German personnel and took 12 men PoW.

                23rd        Intercepted and sank supply ship with HMS LAFOREY in Central Mediterranean.

                Nominated for support of planned British landings on Pantalleria and Lampedusa.

                (Operation CORKSCREW)

                Took part in preparatory exercises for CORKSCREW.



                10th        Bombarded Pantellaria with HMS LOYAL.

                11th        Deployed for support of landings.

                                See above references for details.

                11th        Accepted surrender of Lampedusa.

                                Under air attacks by dive bombers without damage.

                19th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ESKIMO, JERVIS and NUBIAN for as escort of HM

                Cruiser AURORA during passage from Tripoli to Malta.

                (Note: HM King George VI was embarked in HMS AURORA for visit to Malta.)


July                         Nominated for escort and support duties during planned allied landings in Sicily

                (Operation HUSKY)

                Took part in preparatory exercises.

                9th          Deployed with ships of Flotilla for screening of Support Force East during passage

                to cover landings by British XXX Corps SW of Syracuse.

                (Note: Support Force East comprised HM Cruisers MAURITIUS, NEWFOUNDLAND,

                ORION and UGANDA.)

                10th        Took part in operations off beach head during landings.

                For details of HUSKY see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, Naval Staff History

                and Military Staff History (Mediterranean)

                18th        Carried out bombardment in support of military operation in Sicily.

                19th        Bombarded gun positions at Catania with hm Cruiser NEWFOUNDLAND and HM Destroyer


                20th        Bombarded shore positions at Lentini and Carlentini with same destroyers.

23rd        Took passage from Augusta, Sicily for Malta as screen for HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND and

                MAURITIUS with HM Destroyers LAFOREY and LOYAL.

                During attack by U407 HMS NEWFOUNDLAND was hit aft causing significant damage but able to

                proceed at reduced speed.

                (Note: Anti-submarine attacks made by HMS LAFOREY forced U407 to dive and able to escape.

                Post war records state that a later attack by Italian submarine ASCIANGHI failed.

                See references.)

                (Note: One source records the torpedoes from the Italian submarine missed.

                ASCIANGHl was sunk during the subsequent anti-submarine operations by HM

                Destroyers LAFOREY and ECLIPSE.


August                  Deployed for Flotilla duties in Malta and nominated for support of planned allied landings

                                at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE)



                2nd         Deployed with Fleet units for bombardment of shore targets in Messina Strait and Reggio

                to            Calabria prior to British landings on Italian mainland (Operation BAYTOWN)


                8th          Joined Northern Attack Force TF 85 with ships of Flotilla for screening of HM Cruisers

                                MAURITIUS, UGANDA, ORION and DELHI providing support during assault landings

                9th          Deployed with Northern Attack Force Support Group during first landings.

                                Under shore fire and provided naval gunfire support.

                11th        Under heavy air attacks including use of FX1400 radio controlled and Hs293 Glider weapons.

                13th        Provided naval gunfire support with HMS LAFOREY during counter-attack by German divisions

                                on Allied bridgehead and under further attacks by FX1400 and Hs293 weapons.

                16th        Under attack by FX1400 which near-missed by 250 Kg bomb.

                                Took passage to Malta for repair.


October                  Deployed for support of military operations off west coast of Italy and defence of shipping.

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

                and Dutch Gunboat FLORES.

                Under attack by fighter-bombers and sustained some casualties as well as structural damage

                by near miss from 250Kg


November              Convoy defence and support duties with Flotilla in continuation based at Naples.

                                Nominated for refit and machinery repair at Taranto

                13th        Taken in hand for refit and repairs


December              Under refit and repair


1 9 4 4


January                  Taranto refit in continuation

to June                   Transferred to 14th Destroyer Flotilla in Malta.



                24th        On completion carried out post refit trials and took passage to Malta.

                Resumed duty with 14th Destroyer Flotilla based in Malta after brief work-up.

                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in South of France

                (Operation ANVIL – Later DRAGOON – For details see INVASION OF THE SOUTH

                OF FRANCE (HMSO).)


August                  Prepared for service in SITKA Fire Support Group Task Force 86)

                Passage to Naples with HM Cruiser DIDO for duty in Western Task Force under overall

                US command.

                12th        Sailed from Naples with US cruiser USS AUGUSTA, HM Cruiser DIDO, US Navy

                                destroyers GLEAVES and SOMERS and took passage to operational area.

                14th        Arrived in SITKA sector.

                15th        Present during initial landing operations on Levant Island. and Port Cros.

                (Note: No bombardment was then necessary but later the ships of SITKA Group provided

                gunfire support during German counter attack.)

                19th        Deployed with HM Cruiser AURORA during bombardment of St Mandrier, Toulon.

                Fired 116 rounds

                25th        Deployed with USN destroyer KENDRICK as screen for HM Cruiser AURORA during

                further bombardment of forts at St Mandrier.


September             Returned to RN service and rejoined Flotilla.

                Deployed support of 8th Army operations on west coast of Italy.

                Passage to Adriatic.

                10th        Provided support in Rimini area until 25th.


October                  Adriatic patrol and military support duties with Flotilla in continuation.

                11th        Carried out bombardments of shore batteries at Cesantico with HM Destroyer LOYAL.

                12th        Further shore bombardment in Casanatico area.

                13th        In company with HMS LOYAL which detonated a ground mine and was disabled.

                                Carried out tow of HMS LOYAL to Ancona.


November              Gunfire support, patrol and convoy defence duties in continuation.

to December


1 9 4 5


January                  Transferred to 3rd Destroyer Flotilla for support, patrol and convoy defence in

                                Ligurian Sea.

                6th          Carried out bombardment in Massa area. SE of Spezia with US Navy destroyer

                                USS WOOLSEY.

                15th        Carried out bombardment at San Remo on Italian Riviera.

                18th        Further bombardment at Shore targets on Franco/Italian border until 19th.


February                Ligurian Sea deployment with Flotilla in continuation



                17th        Deployed with HMS METEOR and Free French TEMPETE and BASQUE for patrol

                                off North Corsica.

                18th        Following report from shore intercepted ARTURO (TA24), ERIDANO (T29) and

                PREMUDA (T32) of 10th German Torpedo Boat Flotilla which were carrying out minelay

                Carried out torpedo and gun attacks with HMS METEOR during which ARTURO

                and ERIDANO were sunk but PREMUDA escaped in smoke screen.

                Rescued over 200 survivors from enemy ships.


April                       Deployed for support of military advance by British 5th Army.

                23rd        Carried out shore bombardment on targets in French Riviera with Free French cruisers

                                MONTCALM and DUGUAY TROIN.


May                        Returned to MaltA after VE day and deployed with Flotilla for Fleet duties including

to August              support of re-occupation and for exercises in Mediterranean to prepare British warships

                                for operational service in the Eastern Fleet and British Pacific Fleet.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS LOOKOUT took passage from Gibraltar to Plymouth on 19th October 1945 to be paid-off and reduced to Reserve status. The ship was laid-up in Reserve at Devonport and in October 1947 when placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO in March 1948 she was taken in tow to Newport, Monmouthshire for demolition by John Cashmore and arrived at the breakers yard on 29th February that year.                                                                                   





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








PQ 012





KMF 008





MKF 008





KMS 008G





TE 020A








(Note on Convoys)


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