Allied Warships

HMS Hostile (H 55)

Destroyer of the H class

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2877

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantH 55 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered5 Sep 1934 
Laid down27 Feb 1935 
Launched24 Jan 1936 
Commissioned10 Sep 1936 
Lost23 Aug 1940 
Loss position36° 53'N, 11° 19'E

On 23 August 1940 HMS Hostile (Lt.Cdr. Anthony Frank Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) ran into minefield 5.AN, laid a couple of days previously by the Italian destroyers Maestrale, Grecale, Libeccio and Scirocco. She was severly damaged and had to be sunk by HMS Hero about 20 nautical miles south-east of Cape Bon, Tunisia in position 36º53'N, 11º19'E.


Commands listed for HMS Hostile (H 55)

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1Cdr. John Piachaud Wright, RN23 Aug 193818 Jul 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Anthony Frank Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN18 Jul 194023 Aug 1940

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Notable events involving Hostile include:

13 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Portsmouth. She was part of the ocean escort of convoy SL 16F together with Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cheshire (Capt. (Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN).

Besides the escort the convoy was made up of 12 British merchant ships; Adda (7816 GRT, built 1922), Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Baronesa (8663 GRT, built 1918), City of Nagpur (10146 GRT, built 1922), Cordillera (6865 GRT, built 1920), Cumberland (10939 GRT, built 1919), Mahia (10014 GRT, built 1917), Mary Slessor (5027 GRT, built 1930), Orari (10350 GRT, built 1931), Port Sydney (9129 GRT, built 1914), Raranga (10043 GRT, built 1916) and Scientist (6198 GRT, built 1938).

The destroyers departed the convoy on the 20th and then proceeded to Gibraltar. On the 24th the destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, RN) and sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN) took over the escort from the HMS Cheshire and HMS Severn which then proceeded to Plymouth and Portsmouth respectively where they both arrived on the 26th. (1)

17 Aug 1940
In the early morning the British battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) escorted by the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hostile (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) carried out a bombardment of Italian positions around the fortress of Bardia.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 199/2572

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

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