Allied Warships

HMS Trinidad (46)

Light cruiser of the Fiji class


Nice close up view of HMS Trinidad refueling a destroyer in the Arctic in late 1941

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassFiji 
Pennant46 
Built byDevonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): Hawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered1 Dec 1937 
Laid down21 Apr 1938 
Launched21 Mar 1940 
Commissioned14 Oct 1941 
Lost15 May 1942 
Loss position73° 37'N, 23° 27'E
History

HMS Trinidad (Capt. Leslie Swain Saunders, RN) was hit by one of her own torpedoes on 29 March 1942, while in battle with the German destroyers Z 24, Z 25 and Z 26, sinking the latter. She received temporary repairs in Murmansk, Russia and sailed for home on 13 May 1942. She was scuttled in the Arctic Ocean north of North Cape in position 73º37'N, 23º27'E after being hit by German Ju-88 bombers on 15 May 1942.  

Commands listed for HMS Trinidad (46)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Leslie Swain Saunders, RN15 May 194115 May 1942

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Notable events involving Trinidad include:


30 Apr 1941
During the night of 29/30 April Trinidad was damaged when she received a direct hit during a German air raid. She was however not seriously damaged.

14 Nov 1941
HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. G. Quint, RNN(R)) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) and HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN). (1)

7 Mar 1942
HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) departed Scapa Flow for position 69°00'N, 01°00'W. (2)

9 Mar 1942
HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) and HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) arrived near position 69°00'N, 01°00'W.

At 0030 hours they were joined by the destroyers HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN), HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN).

HMS Liverpool then fuelled HMS Punjabi and HMS Trinidad fuelled HMS Fury. Owning to the bad weather HMS Echo could not be fuelled.

On completion of the fuelling HMS Liverpool, HMS Trinidad, HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury set course for Scapa Flow. (2)

11 Mar 1942
HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN), HMS Punjabi (Lt.Cdr. J.M.G. Waldegrave, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow.

HMS Liverpool then fuelled HMS Punjabi and HMS Trinidad fuelled HMS Fury. Owning to the bad weather HMS Echo could not be fuelled.

On completion of the fuelling HMS Liverpool, HMS Trinidad, HMS Punjabi and HMS Fury set course for Scapa Flow. (2)

12 May 1942

Attempted passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad from northern Russia to Iceland.

Timespan: 12 May to 17 May 1942.

12 May 1942.

Shortly before midnight on this day a cruiser cover force departed Seidisfiord to provide cover during the passage of the damaged light cruiser HMS Trinidad (Capt. L.S. Saunders, RN) from northern Russia to Iceland. After the passage to Iceland it had been intended to send Trinidad to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the U.S.A. for full repairs. This cruiser cover force was made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN), light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN) HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN).

Earlier this day, in the early morning, HMS Norfolk (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN) had departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to join the other cruisers at sea which she did shortly after midnight the following morning.

13 May 1942.

In the evening the damaged HMS Trinidad departed Murmansk for the U.S.A. via Hvalfiord, Iceland. She had a close escort made up of the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, OBE, RN) and HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. G.P. Huddart, RN).

14 May 1942.

Around 0730 hours, HMS Trinidad, was spotted by enemy aircraft. She was shadowed from then on and Soviet air support, that had been promised failed to show up. At 2200 hours she was attacked by JU 88's dive bombers. After about 25 attacks the force did not sustain serious damage although many ships had been near-missed. About ten torpedo aircraft then attacked at 2237 hours. Then at 2245 hours a lone Ju 88 attacked from the clouds and released a bomb from the height of 400 feet which hit HMS Trinidad right in the area where her previous damage had been starting a serious fire. She was able to avoid the torpedoes that had been fired at her by the torpedo bombers. Trinidad soon took on a 14 degree list to starboard but was still able to make 20 knots.

Shortly before midnight HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade were detached by the cruiser cover force and set course to proceed to the Kola Inlet to reinforce the escort of the upcoming convoy QP 12.

15 May 1942. In the early morning however the fire in HMS Trinidad got out of control. In the end the ship had to be abandoned and was scuttled at 0120 hours by three torpedoes from HMS Matchless in position 73°35'N, 22°53'E.

Also in the early morning hours ships from the Home Fleet departed Scapa Flow to provide distant cover for HMS Trinidad during the later part of her passage. These ships were; battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.M. Servaes, CBE, RN) destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. H.N.A. Richardson, DSC, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSC, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.E.H. McBeath, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Wheatland (Lt. R.deL. Brooke, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Blankney (Lt.Cdr. P.F. Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Middleton (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN) and HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC, RN).

The US battleship USS Washington (Capt. H.H.J. Benson, USN, with Rear-Admiral R.C. Griffen, USN on board), heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (Capt. L.P. Johnson, USN) and the destroyers USS Mayrant (Cdr. C.C. Hartman, USN), USS Rhind (Lt.Cdr. H.T. Read, USN), and USS Rowan (Lt.Cdr. B.R. Harrison, Jr., USN) departed Hvalfiord, Iceland to make rendez-vous at sea with the ships from the Home Fleet.

The cruiser cover force was attacked by German aircraft (about 25 Ju 88's) for over an hour in the early evening. Many near misses were obtained but none of the ships was hit. By this time the cruiser force had been joined by HMS Punjabi, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester.

16 May 1942.

HMS Inglefield and HMS Escapade arrived at the Kola Inlet.

Both the cruiser cover force as the battlefleet were sighted and reported by enemy aircraft on this day but no attacks followed.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester, which all had survivors from Trinidad on board, were detached by the cruiser cover force with orders to proceed to Seidisfiord, Iceland to fuel and then to proceed to the Clyde.

17 May 1942.

HMS Somali, HMS Matchless, HMS Foresight and HMS Forester all arrived at Seidisfiord to fuel. After doing so they departed for the Clyde A.M. HMS Forester which had some wounded survivors from Trinidad on board that required immediate surgery was later diverted to Scapa Flow where she arrived on the 18th. The other three destroyers arrived at the Clyde on the 19th.

The cruiser cover force; HMS Nigeria (flag), HMS Liverpool, HMS Kent, HMS Norfolk, HMS Onslow and HMS Icarus arrived at Hvalfiord early in the afternoon.

The battlefleet; HMS Duke of York (flag), USS Washington, HMS Victorious, HMS London, USS Tuscaloosa, Faulknor, HMS Fury, HMS Eclipse, HMS Marne, HMS Oribi, USS Mayrant, USS Rhind, USS Rowan, HMS Wheatland, HMS Blankney, HMS Middleton and HMS Lamerton also arrived at Hvalfiord around the same time. (3)

Media links


Running the Gauntlet

Pearce, Frank

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6388 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  2. ADM 199/427
  3. ADM 199/427 + ADM 234/369

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


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