Allied Warships

HMS Scotstoun

Armed Merchant Cruiser

Caledonia as seen before the war.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
Built byWilliam Beardmore & Co. Ltd. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched22 Apr 1925 
Commissioned15 Oct 1939 
Lost13 Jun 1940 
Loss position57° 00'N, 9° 57'W

On 30 August 1939 the passenger ship Caledonia of the Anchor Line (Henderson Bros) Ltd, Glasgow was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser being renamed HMS Scotstoun. Conversion was completed on 15 October 1939.

Tonnage: 17046 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15.5 knots

October 39 - June 40: Northern Patrol

At 07.16 hours on 13 June 1940, HMS Scotstoun (Capt. Sydney Keith Smyth, RN (Retired)) of the 10th Cruiser Squadron was hit in the stern by one torpedo from the German submarine U-25 about 80 nautical miles west of Barra Island, Outer Hebrides in position 57º00'N, 09º57'W . At 17.29 hours, a first coup de grâce missed, but a second hit just aft of the funnel and caused the ship to sink by the stern. Six ratings were lost.


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 13 Jun 1940 by U-25 (Beduhn).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Scotstoun

Commands listed for HMS Scotstoun

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Capt. (retired) Sydney Keith Smyth, RN2 Sep 193913 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Scotstoun include:

19 Oct 1939
The German tanker Biscaya (6386 GRT) is intercepted and captured in the Denmark Strait in position 66°30'N, 23°00'W by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Scotstoun (Capt. S.K. Smyth, RN).

21 Oct 1939
At 1406Z/21, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Scotstoun (Capt. S.K. Smyth, RN), which was on patrol in the Denmark Strait, sighted a merchant vessel which was identified as the Danish Virginia (4088 GRT, built 1920). It was at that time not possible to board the vessel due to the weather conditions.

As the vessel was thought to be suspecious HMS Scotstoun remained in company with the vessel and at 1030Z/22, she was ordered to raise colours. She complied at 1100Z/22 when the German ensign was hoised. It was then found out that the merchant vessel was in fact the German Poseidon (5864 GRT, built 1922).

Around 1300Z/22, a boarding party was sent over. The sea boat returned with the German Captain which then informed Captain Smyth that he had just scuttled his ship and that she was sinking. At 1330Z/22, the Germans abandoned ship and rowed towards HMS Scotstoun.

The Germans were picked up which was completed around 1430Z/22.

At 1535Z/22, a boarding party was sent over. She was alongside the German ship at 1600Z/22. The boarding officer reported that she was not sinking. It was intended to take the ship to Kirkwall with the boarding party.

At 1800Z/22, the boarding party reported that they were unable to raise steam and at 2200Z/22 they reported that they were still unable to do so. At 2330Z/22, the boarding party dropped anchor.

At 0630Z/22, the boarding party weighted anchor as they had got the ships engines working.

At 0750Z/23, HMS Scotstoun lost sight of the Poseidon in a snow storm and it she was only found later by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Transylvania (Capt. F.N. Miles, OBE, RN) which took her in tow towards Reykjavik.

Light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) was briefly with HMS Transylvania on the 25th. Sheffields Engineer Officer went over to inspect the engines of the German ship.

The German ship finally sank on the 26th (or 27th) [sources differ, and there is no log available of HMS Transylvania.]

19 Nov 1939
HMS Scotstoun (Capt. S.K. Smyth, RN) captures the German merchant Eilbeck (2185 GRT) north-west of Ireland in position 58°45'N, 14°10'W.

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