Allied Warships

HMS Khartoum (F 45)

Destroyer of the K class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantF 45 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Laid down27 Oct 1937 
Launched6 Feb 1939 
Commissioned6 Nov 1939 
Lost23 Jun 1940 
Loss position12° 38'N, 43° 24'E

On 23 June 1940 HMS Khartoum (Cdr. Donald Thorn Dowler, RN) was heavily damaged by fire and beached in the Red Sea off Perim in position 12º38'N, 43º24'E.

It is often stated that Khartoum was damaged by gunfire from the Italian submarine Toricelli but this was not the case. The fire aboard Khartoum broke out 5 and a half hours after the sinking of the Toricelli. Toricelli was sunk at 0624 local time by RN destroyers HMS Kingston, HMS Kandahar and Khartoum as well as the sloop HMS Shoreham. The fire aboard Khartoum started at 1150. A torpedo air flask exploded propelling the warhead through the deck house of number 3 4.7" mount. A ruptured oil tank for the mount started the fire which led eventually to the loss of the ship. Her loss seems more due to inexperienced damage control. The Admiralty inquest ruled out damage from enemy action and sabotage but captured members of the Toricelli's crew were housed aboard. (Primary source are Admiralty records used in the book, "The Kelly's" by Christopher Langtree on page 106.)  

Commands listed for HMS Khartoum (F 45)

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1Cdr. Donald Thorn Dowler, RN15 Sep 193923 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Khartoum include:

23 Jun 1940
The Italian submarine Torricelli was forced to the surface and sunk off Perim in gun-battle by the British destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN) and the British sloop HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Miller, RN).

Shoreham was damaged by gunfire during this action. Repairs were made at Aden.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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