Allied Warships

HMS Kimberley (F 50)

Destroyer of the K class


HMS Kimberley at high speed.
Photo with thanks to Lee Brown.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassK 
PennantF 50 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Ordered 
Laid downJan 1938 
Launched1 Jun 1939 
Commissioned21 Dec 1939 
End service 
History

HMS Kimberley completed her war service patrolling the Greek Islands of Kos; Leros; Simi and Rhodes (amongst others) in the Dodecanese. Also patrolled by German motor Torpedo Boats. Stores and fuel were taken on board at the neutral Turkish port of Marmarice. The Germans had some big guns on Rhodes and the Kimberley kept a respectful distance so that all rounds fired at her fell short. On the 8th May 1945, Kimberley stood off shore at Rhodes and the Commandant of the German forces, together with his senior officers, came alongside, were invited aboard and formally surrendered. It was a droll moment, as they arrived alongside in a British Motor Torpedo Boat that had been captured the night before, flying a white flag and the German ensign. After the formalities were completed the Germans returned to Rhodes to disarm the garrison. Kimberley returned the next day and landed an armed party. The German garrison was confined to their quarters and Shore Leave was granted. Later, Kimberley transported the Germans (about 117 in number) to Alexandria, Egypt, before setting sail for home to Dartmouth to be decommissioned.

HMS Kimberley is not listed as an active unit in the October 1945 Navy List

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 30 March 1949.

 

Hit by U-boat
Damaged on 12 Jan 1942 by U-77 (Schonder).

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

Commands listed for HMS Kimberley (F 50)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Richard George Kirby Knowling, RN20 Nov 19391 May 1940
2Lt.Cdr. John Sherbrook Morris Richardson, RN1 May 1940early 1942

3Lt.Cdr. James Wolferstan Rylands, RN30 Aug 194210 Mar 1945
4Lt.Cdr. Edward Francis Baines, DSO, RN10 Mar 1945mid 1945

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Notable events involving Kimberley include:


10 Jan 1940
HMS H 50 (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.R.G. Harvey, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) and HMS Conqueror (Capt.(Retd.) E.T.R. Chambers, RN). (1)

20 Feb 1940
At 0755Z/20, HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN), joined HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN) to escort this cruiser while she was on the Northern Patrol. (2)

21 Feb 1940
At 1523Z/21, HMS Manchester (Capt. H.H. Bousfield, RN), together with the destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN), intercepted the German merchant vessel Wahehe (4687 GRT, built 1922) in position 62°52'N, 15°03'W.

The Wahehe was taken to Kirkwall by HMS Kimberley. She entered service for the MOWT as Empire Citizen.

9 Sep 1940
HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) departed Aden for Port Said.

Before proceeding a dummy attack was carried out on HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and an A/S exercise was carried out with HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN). (3)

20 Oct 1940
The Italian destroyer Francesco Nullo was beached after a surface action with HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) in the Red Sea. Kimberley was damaged by an Italian shore battery and had to be towed to Port Sudan. The damaged Italian destroyer was sunk the next day be the RAF.

12 Nov 1940
During this day, in the vicinity of Aden and before entering the Read Sea, convoy WS 3, at that moment made up of the British (troop) transports Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Highland Brigade (14134 GRT, built 1929), Monarch of Bermuda (22424 GRT, built 1931), Orontes (20097 GRT, built 1925), Oropesa (14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (10496 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933) under escort by the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and the light HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clarke, RN).

The transport City of Lille (6588 GRT, built 1928) and several more escort vessels, the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyer HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), sloops HMS Auckland (Cdr. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HMAS Parramatta (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Walker, MVO, RAN) joined during the day for the passage through the Red Sea in which the Italian Navy was still active at this time.

The troopships Duchess of York (20021 GRT, built 1929) and Georgic (27759 GRT, built 1932) also re-joined the convoy after a brief visit to Aden. HMS Caledon also briefly left the convoy to oil at Aden before re-joining it.

Around 2130 hours, the convoy entered the Perim Strait. (4)

1 Dec 1941
Acting on an ULTRA intercept, a British force sailed from Malta in the evening of 30 November with the British light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).
At 0330 hrs of 1/12 the British intercept and sink the Italian transport Adriatico (1976 GRT) then proceed towards the Libyan coast.
At a point 60 nautical miles north-north-west of Tripoli, Libya, Penelope, Aurora and Lively intercept a small convoy consisting of the Italian oiler Iridio Mantovani (10540 GRT) escorted by the Italian destroyer Alvise da Mosto (2125 tons) and sink both.

12 Jan 1942
At 01.57 hours on 12 January 1942 German U-boat U-77 sighted two destroyers off Tobruk and fired at 02.38 hours a spread of four torpedoes of which one hit the stern of HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN). The explosion blew her stern off and immediately stopped the vessel, which was missed by a coup de gr?ce at 02.45 hours. The destroyer was towed to Alexandria by the British escort destroyer HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN) and after temporary repairs towed in February 1942 to Bombay, India, where she was repaired and returned to service in January 1944.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


The Kellys

Langtree, Christopher


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16327
  2. ADM 53/112661
  3. ADM 173/16502
  4. ADM 53/112041

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


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