Allied Warships

HMS Verity (D 63)

Destroyer of the Admiralty Modified W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
ClassAdmiralty Modified W 
PennantD 63 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
OrderedJan 1918 
Laid down17 May 1918 
Launched19 Mar 1919 
Commissioned17 Sep 1919 
End service 

Reconstruction to Long Range Escort finished in October 1943.

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 4 March 1947.


Commands listed for HMS Verity (D 63)

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1Lt.Cdr. Arthur Ronald Mawson Black, RN31 Jul 193929 May 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Robert Henry Mills, RN29 May 19407 Jun 1942
3Cdr. Charles Graham Thompson, OBE, RN7 Jun 1942Aug 1942
4Lt. Charles Poynder Adams, DSC, RNAug 19422 Oct 1942
5Lt.Cdr. Richard Horncastle, RN2 Oct 1942mid 1943
6Lt. Charles Poynder Adams, DSC, RNMay 1943Aug 1943
7Lt. Charles Grenville Cowley, RNAug 1943Jun 1945
8A/Cdr. (retired) Lawrence Henry Phillips, RNJun 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Verity include:

9 Sep 1939
Parts of the wreck of the British tanker Kennebec were sunk by gunfire of the British destroyer HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. A.R.M. Black, RN).

8 Mar 1941
HMS Verity (Cdr. R.H. Mills, RN) picks up 39 survivors from the British merchant Dunaff Head that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-A south of Iceland in position 60°33'N, 18°50'W.

21 Dec 1942
At 02.23 hours on 21 December 1942 German U-boat U-562 fired a spread of four torpedoes at convoy KMF-5 about 40 miles north of Oran and heard two detonations after 65 seconds and another after 5 minutes 50 seconds. However, only the ship of the convoy commodore, the British troop transport Strathallan was hit by one torpedo which struck on port side in the engine room. The explosion killed two engineer officers and two Indian crewmen on watch below, damaged the bulkhead separating the engine and boiler rooms and fractured a tank causing oil to enter the boiler room. The ship immediately developed a 15° list to port and the master ordered the nurses and troops to abandon ship in calm seas in the four motor boats, 16 lifeboats and rafts. All got away, except one lifeboat that had been damaged by the explosion and another that could not be launched due to the list. After it became clear that the ship would not sink fast, the evacuation was stopped and the troops ordered to the starboard side to help the stability. The about 1300 survivors in the boats and on rafts were picked up in the morning by the British destroyer HMS Verity (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and taken to Oran.

After two hours of work, at about 06.00 hours the British destroyer HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) took the Strathallan in tow for Oran at a speed of 5-6 knots. Shortly after midday about 2000 survivors were transferred to the British destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN) and taken to Oran. It appeared as though the ship could be saved as the British rescue tug HMRT Restive (Lt. D.M. Richards, RNR) went alongside to assist the pumping, but at 13.15 hours oil came in contact with the hot boilers and the fumes exploded, sending flames up through the funnel. The ship was soon ablaze amidships so the master ordered the ship to be abandoned. All men went aboard the tug except a skeleton crew and were then transferred to HMS Laforey because HMS Restive continued to tow the burning ship slowly towards Oran for 14 hours, but she capsized to port and sank 12 miles off Oran in position 36°01'N, 00°33'W at about 04.00 hours on 22 December.

The Strathallan had 440 crew members, 26 gunners, 248 Queen Alexandra nurses and 4408 British and American troops (among them 296 officers, some possibly of the Headquarter staff of the 1st US Army) on board. Of this number, only 6 crew members and five troops were lost.

20 Jan 1943
HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN) picks up 250 survivors from the Belgian merchant Jean Jadot that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-453 about 30 nautical miles west of Cape Ténès in position 36°33'N, 0°46'E.

20 Nov 1943
HMS Unswerving (T/Lt. M.D. Tattersall, RNVR) conducted A/S exercises off Londonderry with HMS Primrose (T/Lt. R.F. Pembry, RNR), USS Mackenzie (Cdr. B.N. Rittenhouse, Jr., USN) and HMS Verity (Lt. C.G. Cowley, RN). (1)

21 Nov 1943
HMS Unswerving (T/Lt. M.D. Tattersall, RNVR) was to conducted A/S exercises off Londonderry with HMS Primrose (T/Lt. R.F. Pembry, RNR) and HMS Verity (Lt. C.G. Cowley, RN). However the other ships collided with each other and the exercises were cancelled. (1)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 173/18430

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

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