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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMAS NESTOR (G 02) -  N-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMAS Nestor (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

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N-Class destroyer ordered from Fairfield at Govan with the 1939 Programme on 15th April 1939 with HMS NAPIER of the same Class  Both ships were laid  down  on  26th July 1939.  This ship was launched on 9th July 1940 as the third RN ship to carry the  name which was  introduced in 1781 for a French Privateer taken in Prize and used as a 6th Rate.  It  was  last used in 1915 for a destroyer sunk on 31st May 1915 during the Battle of Jutland. This ship was transferred on loan to the Royal Australian Navy with sisters HMS NAPIER, NEPAL, NIZAM and NORMAN. She  was commissioned for service in the Royal Australian Navy on 3rd Feb. 1941 and build was completed on 12th February 1941. The ship was not adopted by any civil community in UK after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during  1941-42.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC 1941 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Barry wavy of six white and blue a rod

of Caduceus Gold within a wreath of laurel green



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




Contractor's trials




3rd - Commissioned for service in Royal Australian Navy as HMAS NESTOR.


12th - Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.




1st - Sailed from Clyde on completion of trials and storing to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of Home Fleet.


4th - Worked-up with Home Fleet ships. (Note: During work-up deployed as part of escort for HM Battlecruiser HOOD for passage from Rosyth to Scapa Flow after refit.)


On completion of work-up joined 6th Destroyer Flotilla for Fleet duties. (Note: Although to be part of 7th Flotilla this ship was deployed with 6th Flotilla pending completion of build of sister ships HMAS NAPIER and HMAS NIZAM .)




Passage to Clyde for essential repairs, boiler clean and installation of Type 285 Gunnery Control radar equipment (For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse,.)


9th - Taken in hand by Fairfield yard at Govan.




1st - Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of trials of radar.


3rd - Joined 6th Destroyer Flotilla for Fleet duties


5th - Deployed with HM Destroyers SOMALI, ESKIMO and BEDOUIN as screen for HM Cruisers EDINBURGH, MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM to intercept and capture German Weather Ship MUNCHEN to obtain an ENIGMA coding machine with associated documentation. (Home Fleet Operation EB) (Note: This operation had been planned to enable GCHQ at Bletchley Park in their work on reading enemy wireless traffic For details see BRITISH INTELLIGENCE IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR Ed FH Hinsley (HMSO).)


7th - Remained with screen during boarding of vessel and embarked captured equipment. Detached and took passage to Scapa Flow with all despatch. (Note: Vital information was obtained which enabled enemy radio signals to be decrypted at GCHQ for some weeks. See also BREAKING THE ENIGMA by D Kahn.)


23rd - Deployed with screen for Home Fleet major units during search for German battleship BISMARCK.


25th - Detached to Iceland to refuel during search for enemy ships.


27th - Present at sinking of BISMARCK (For details of search and sinking of BISMARCK see BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim Rechberg, PURSUIT by L Kennedy and Naval Staff History.)


28th - Deployed as part of escort for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and RODNEY during return passage to Loch Ewe.




Passage to Clyde from Loch Ewe.


8th - Taken in hand for installation of 4in AA gun in place of after set of torpedo tubes.


13th - On completion took passage to resume Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.




Flotilla duties with Home Fleet in continuation. Nominated for detached service with Home Fleet ships as escort for Malta relief convoy (Operation SUBSTANCE).


12th - Deployed with HM Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, LIGHTNING and SIKH as screen for HM Battleship NELSON, HM Cruisers MANCHESTER and ARETHUSA providing Ocean Escort for military convoy WS9C during passage from Clyde to Gibraltar.


17th - Detached from WS9C to escort troopship PASTEUR with HMS LIGHTNING and HMS MANCHESTER to Gibraltar (Note: HM Destroyers AVONVALE, ERIDGE and FARNDALE joined WS9C from Gibraltar to supplement escort during passage in western Mediterranean.)


19th - Arrived at Gibraltar with PASTEUR.


21st - Deployed with screen for HMS NELSON, HMS MANCHESTER, HMS ARETHUSA and HM Cruiser MANXMAN with HM Destroyers COSSACK, MAORI, SIKH, FEARLESS, FOXHOUND, FIREDRAKE, ERIDGE, AVONVALE and FARNDALE as Force X to provide the escort for passage to Malta of relief convoy.


22nd - Drove off Italian submarine DIASPRO which had fired torpedoes at ships of Force''H" providing cover for passage in Mediterranean. The attacks failed.


23rd - Under air attacks during which HMS MANCHESTER and HMS FEARLESS hit. (Note: HMS FEARLESS was disabled and later had to be sunk. HMS MANCHESTER had to be escorted back to Gibraltar.) Under further air attacks after covering force detached during which HMS FIREDRAKE was disabled and had to be towed back to Gibraltar.


24th - Under attack by Italian MTB and mercantile SYDNEY STAR was hit and unable to remain with convoy. Detached to assist SYDNEY STAR. Embarked 467 troops and some crew. Escorted ship which was able to restore propulsion to Malta.


Took passage from Malta with ships of Force X for return to Gibraltar after disembarking over 500 passengers.


27th - Arrived at Gibraltar. Joined HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESIGHT, FURY, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, COSSACK, MAORI, ENCOUNTER and ERIDGE as screen for HMS NELSON, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL to provide cover for passage of HM Cruisers HERMIONE, ARETHUSA and MANXMAN, HMS LIGHTING and HMS SIKH during passage from Gibraltar to Sicilian Narrows. (Note: These ships were carrying troops and stores to Malta from the troopship LEINSTER which had been part of SUBSTANCE convoy but which had run aground off Gibraltar.)


31st - Remained with screen for ships of Force H west of Sicilian Narrows when ships carrying stores and personnel detached with escort by Force X to pass through dangerous waters off Sicily.




1st - Deployed with screen for Force H ships when Force X rejoined and took return passage to Gibraltar.


4th - Arrived at Gibraltar with Force H ships. Retained at Gibraltar for convoy escort duties.


10th - Part of escort for Convoy HG70 during initial part of passage to UK from Gibraltar with HM Sloop DEPTFORD, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, ENCOUNTER and AVONVALE.


12th - Under attack U-Boat attacks during passage. (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR Volume 1 by C Blair.) (Note: This convoy was subjected to extensive attacks coordinated by U-Boat HQ but none of these successful. See reference.)


On release from HG70 returned to Gibraltar.


22nd - Deployed with HM Destroyers ENCOUNTER, FORESTER, FORESIGHT and FURY as screen for HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, HM Battleship NELSON and HM Cruiser HERMIONE screen during air strikes on Tempio, Sardinia as cover for minelay off Livorno by HM Cruiser MANXMAN (Operation MINCEMEAT.)


26th - Returned to Gibraltar with ships of Force H.


31st - Deployed with HM Destroyer ENCOUNTER as part of screen for HM Battlecruiser REPULSE and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser DERBYSHIRE to provide Ocean Escort for military convoy WS11 during Atlantic passage to Freetown from Clyde.




4th - Deployed with HMS ENCOUNTER and HMS REPULSE as Ocean Escort for Convoy WS11 (Fast) when WS11 divided into Fast and Slow sections.


13th - Sustained damage from premature explosion of depth charge and detached from escort of WS11 Fast. Took passage to UK after call at Gibraltar.




Taken in hand by HM Dockyard Devonport for refit and repair.




Under refit including fit of additional 20mm Oerlikon weapons to improve close range AA defence. Nominated for escort of military convoy to Gibraltar.




5th - Sailed from Devonport to Clyde to join military convoy.


9th - Joined HM Destroyers FOXHOUND and GURKHA as part of Ocean Escort for military convoy WS14 during part of Atlantic passage from Clyde.


13th - Detached from WS14 with HMS FOXHOUND and HMS GURKHA and took passage to Gibraltar.


14th - Deployed with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND, CROOME and GURKHA for anti-submarine search west of Gibraltar following intelligence report of U-Boat deployments to enter Mediterranean.


15th - Sighted U127 on surface and carried out depth charge attacks with the other ships sinking the submarine in position SE Cape St Vincent. There were no survivors from U127.


20th - Transferred to Mediterranean Fleet to join Flotilla based at Alexandria.


22nd - Took passage from Gibraltar to Malta through Sicilian Narrows with HM Cruiser DIDO, HM Destroyers ARROW, FOXHOUND, GURKHA and ZULU


24th - Arrived at Malta.


26th - Sailed from Malta with HM Cruisers AJAX and DIDO, HM Destroyers ARROW, FOXHOUND, GURKHA, LANCE, LIVELY and ZULU as escort for four empty merchant ships during passage to Alexandria as Convoy ME8 (Operation MF1)


27th - Under sustained air attacks.


29th - Arrived at Alexandria with out loss of any ship in convoy. Joined ships of 7th Destroyer Flotilla.


31st - Bombarded Bardia with HMAS NAPIER and HMAS NIZAM.



1 9 4 2




1st - Returned to Alexandria on completion of bombardment.


3rd - Transferred with HMAS NAPIER and HMS NIZAM for service in Indian Ocean and took passage to Aden


7th - At Aden.


9th - Deployed for escort of HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE during passage from Port Sudan in Red Sea for delivery of aircraft to Singapore (Operation OPPONENT.)


26th - After call at Addu Atoll, remained with the other two ships as escort for HMS INDOMITABLE during first launch of aircraft near Cocos Islands. (Note: In view of the deterioration of events in Singapore these HURRICANE aircraft were diverted to land at Batavia.)


27th - On completion of second aircraft launch remained with HMS INDOMITABLE. as escort with same ships during passage to Trincomalee.


28th - Further launch of aircraft. (See WAR WITH JAPAN, Volume II (HMSO) for details.)




2nd - Arrived at Trincomalee and joined Eastern Fleet with same ships.


Passage to Port Sudan with HMS INDOMITABLE as escort with same ships.


24th - Arrived at Port Sudan for embarkation of aircraft on carrier for further delivery to Batavia and sailed on completion.




3rd - Delivery cancelled and took passage to rejoin Eastern Fleet (See above reference).


Deployed with Eastern Fleet for screening of major warships.


31st - Part of screen for HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers CORNWALL, DORSETSHIRE, EMERALD and ENTERPRISE with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND, NAPIER, PALADIN, PANTHER and HOTSPUR deployed as Force A.




4th - Arrived at Addu Atoll with Force A after unsuccessful search for Japanese force on passage to carry out air attacks at Colombo.


5th - Sailed with screen of Force A to carry out further search. (During the search which was carried out too far west, HMS CORNWALL and HMS DORSETSHIRE which had been detached were sunk in heavy air attacks.)


8th - Returned to Addu Atoll with Force A.


9th - Passage to Bombay with Force A to provide protection for shipping between Indian ports and the Red Sea.


11th - Detached from screening duties and took passage to Bombay with HMS NAPIER for routine docking and essential repair.




On completion took passage to rejoin Eastern Fleet at Killindini for convoy defence. Deployed at Killindini. Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean for escort of planned Malta relief convoy from Alexandria.


27th - Took passage to Alexandria for detached service with HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE, HM Destroyers NAPIER, INCONSTANT, PALADIN, HOTSPUR and GRIFFIN. 




Deployed at Alexandria.


Nominated for escort of Malta relief Convoy (Operation VIGOROUS)


12th - Sailed from Alexandria as escort for Convoy MW11B comprising two tankers. (Note: Other escort for MW11B were: HM Destroyers HASTY, HERO, INCONSTANT, JAVELIN, JERVIS, KELVIN, NAPIER, NIZAM, NORMAN, PAKENHAM, PALADIN, SIKH and ZULU. HM Battleship CENTURION disguised as a KING GEORGE V Class battleship was also part of the escort and Destroyers FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, HM Corvettes ERICA, DELPHINIUM, PRIMULA and SNAPDRAGON. Cover for was provided by HM Cruisers ARETHUSA, BIRMINGHAM, CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS, HERMIONE and NEWCASTLE.


13th - Joined escorts for Convoys MW11A and NW11C also destined for Malta.


14th - Covering Force joined combined convoy. Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which two mercantiles were sunk


15th - Convoy ordered by CinC Mediterranean at Alexandria to reverse course because of threat from an Italian battle Squadron known to be on passage to intercept the convoy. Under attack by German Motor Torpedo Boats during which HMS NEWCASTLE was hit and had to be withdrawn from covering duty. HMS HASTY was also hit and had to be sunk. Convoy ordered to resume westward passage after optimistic reports of successful air and submarine attacks on Italian ships. Order by CinC rescinded and convoy again reversed passage. Following later reports this order was cancelled but ignored and convoy maintained course to return to Alexandria.


Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which she sustained serious damage by three near misses causing flooding of Boiler Rooms which completely disabled ship. Taken in tow by HMS JAVELIN and escorted by three other destroyers from escort. (Note: Several other warships including HMS ARETHUSA, HMS BIRMINGHAM and HMS AIREDALE were also damaged.). Owing to heavy expenditure of AA ammunition, local command decided to disregard the order from CinC to reverse course yet again. HMS AIREDALE had to sunk by HMS ALDENHAM.


16th - Tow broke when ship became unstable due to ingress of water. Ship's company taken off by HMS JAVELIN which then sank this ship using shallow set depth charges. (For details of this disastrous attempt to pass a convoy to Malta from Alexandria and its conflicting orders from CinC ashore see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by Donald Macintyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignani . MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman and the Naval Staff History.)







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








OG 070





HG 070





MW 011








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 12/6/11
further editing is required