Allied Warships

HMS Chantala

Armed boarding vessel

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed boarding vessel
Class[No specific class] 
Built byBarclay, Curle & Co. Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched2 Apr 1920 
Commissioned21 Feb 1940 
Lost7 Dec 1941 

Passenger / cargo vessel completed on 19 August 1920.
Taken in hand for fitting out as Armed boarding vessel at Bombay on 23 January 1940.
Fitting out completed on 21 February 1940.
Displacement: 3129 GRT.
Dimensions: 100.6 x 14 feet.
Armament: 2 4" guns (2x1), 2 2pdr AA (2x1)
Speed: 14 knots.

HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr. (retired) Christopher Ernest Inman Gibbs, RN) was mined of Tubruk, Libya on 7 December 1941.


Commands listed for HMS Chantala

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. (retired) Christopher Ernest Inman Gibbs, RN25 Jan 19407 Dec 1941

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Notable events involving Chantala include:

20 May 1940
Around 0400Z/20, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) and the A/S trawler HMS Moonstone (Lt. W.J.H. Moorman, RN) departed Aden to reinforce the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) on the Perim patrol. HMAS Hobart was to provide cover for the two other ships.

30 Jun 1940
Around 1800C/30, the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) departed Aden for Berbera. They were transporting Indian troops.

They arrived at Berbera around 0710C/1. HMAS Hobart and HMS Chantala anchored in the harbour. HMS Flamingo carried out an A/S patrol off the harbour entrance.

Around 1830C/1, HMAS Hobart and HMS Flamingo left Berbera to return to Aden where they arrived around 0630C/2. (1)

16 Aug 1940

Evacuation of Berbera.

From 16 to 19 August 1940, Allied troops from Berbera, Italian Somaliland, were evacuated to Aden.

The troops were evacatuated by the transports Akbar (4043 GRT, built 1924), Laomedon (6491 GRT, built 1912), the hospital ship Vita (4691 GRT, built 1914) as well as the armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR) and HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Cover for the evacuation was provided by the light cruisers HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN), HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), AA -cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN), HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN), HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN), HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN), minesweeper HMS Derby (Lt.Cdr. F.C.V. Brightman, RN) and the netlayer HMS Protector (Capt. W.Y la L. Beverley, RN).

On 17 August, HMS Ceres bombarded Italian Army targets which temporarily halted the Italian advance.

On 18 August, HMS Caledon and HMS Kandahar bombarded enemy units on the Bulhar-Berbera road.

The evacuation was completed on the 18th. Over 7000 men had been evacuated.

The last men were taken off by HMAS Hobart at Berbera early on the 19th. She left around 0845C/19 for Aden with the last of the Army personnel and the demolition parties which had demolished the harbour facilities. HMIS Indus proceeded along the coast to pick up stragglers. (2)

6 Sep 1940

Convoy AK 1.

This convoy departed Aden on 6 September 1940.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Ethiopia (British, 5574 GRT, built 1922), Khosrou (British, 4043 GRT, built 1924) and Rahmani (British, 5463 GRT, built 1928).

On departure from Aden the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN) and the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN).

Around 1630C/6, HMS Chantala parted company.

The convoy arrived at Kilindini / Mombasa around 1000C/17. (3)

12 Dec 1940

Convoy BS 10A.

This convoy departed Suez on 12 December 1940.

It was made up of the (troop) transports; Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Cornwall (British, 10605 GRT, built 1920), Johan de Witt (Dutch, 10474 GRT, built 1920), Nieuw Zeeland (Dutch, 11069 GRT, built 1928), Talma (British, 10000 GRT, built 1923) and Tyndareus (British, 11361 GRT, built 1916).

On departure from Suez the convoy was not escorted.

Around 1100C/14, the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. P.W. Bowyer-Smith, RN) and AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) joined the convoy.

Around 1800C/14, the merchant vessel Talma was detached to Port Sudan.

Around 1830C/14, the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, RN) joined from Port Sudan.

Around 0810C/15, the armed boarding vessel HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN) and the merchant vessels City of Evansville (British, 6528 GRT, built 1922) and Stanpark (British, 5103 GRT, built 1937) joined coming from Port Sudan.

Around 1030C/15, the Stanpark was detached to return to Port Sudan apparently with engine trouble. HMS Chantala was sent with her as escort.

Around 1800C/16, HMS Carlisle parted company with the convoy to proceed to Aden arriving there around 0900C/17.

In the early afternoon of the 17th the sloop HMIS Indus (Cdr. E.G.G. Hunt, RIN) joined. HMAS Perth then proceeded to Aden arriving in the afternoon.

Later on the 17th the convoy was dispersed. HMS Kingston then proceeded to Aden with the City of Evansville, Johan de Witt and Nieuw Zeeland. They arrived at Aden around 1800C/17.

14 Mar 1941

Operation 'Appearance'.

Invasion of occupied British Somaliland.

In the late afternoon of 14 March 1941 the first group of warships; the British destroyer HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), armed boarding vessels HMS Chakdina (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Hickey, RNR), HMS Chantala (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E.I. Gibbs, RN), patrol vessels HMIS Netravati (Lt. D.A. MacDonald, RIN), HMIS Parvati (Lt. H.M.S. Choudry, RIN) and the cargo ships Beaconsfield (British, 4635 GRT, built 1938) and Tuna (British, 662 GRT, built 1907), carrying troops and towing three tugs and six lighters left Aden for the coast of British Somaliland.

Shortly after leaving however there was a problem with a tow which parted and the rope ending up in a propeller. It was decided that it would take to long to clear and delays loomed. HMS Kandahar then left the tugs and lighters to be towed by the cargo ships and in the afternoon of the 15th HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) was sent out to assist.

Also in the afternoon of the 15th a second group of warships left Aden, these were the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, RN), HMS Caledon (A/Cdr. C.S. Britton, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN). They were loaded with troops. They were to make rendez-vous with the first group.

By 0100C/16 the forces were split up as follows; HMS Glasgow, HMS Caledon, HMS Chantala, HMS Chakdina, HMIS Netravati, HMIS Parvati were to land their troop to the west of the Berbera lighthouse while HMS Kandahar and HMS Kingston were to land commando troops to the east of the lighthouse.

At 0358C/16 the gap in the reef to the western beach was found and 0417C/16 HMS Glasgow opened fire with her 4" guns and pompoms after which the landing forces went in.

The gap in the reef to the eastern beach had already been found at 0330C/16 and the landing zone was bombarded for 10 minutes from 0425C/16 by HMS Kandahar following which the commandoes were landed by HMS Kingston.

The landing on both beaches were succesful.

The town of Berbera was captured around mid-morning of the 16th. More troops were then landed as by now the first group had now also arrived.


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1940 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1940
  2. ADM 199/383
  3. ADM 53/111753 + ADM 199/383

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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