Allied Warships

HMS Terror (I 03)

Monitor of the Erebus class

HMS Terror before the war

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantI 03 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered29 Jul 1915 
Laid down26 Oct 1915 
Launched18 May 1916 
Commissioned6 Aug 1916 
Lost24 Feb 1941 
Loss position32° 59'N, 22° 32'E

HMS Terror played an important part in Operation Compass, the British blitzkrieg against the Italian Army in Libya. Bombarded Italian forces and fortifications, among others the fortified port of Bardia in eastern Libya. HMS Terror also served as water carrier for the advancing British army.

On 23 February 1941 the departure of HMS Terror (Cdr. Henry John Haynes, DSC, RN) the previous day from Benghazi (see events below) was noticed by German recce aircraft and she was located at 1220 hours by a German Ju-88 of 1(F)/121. This plane broadcast her position at 1530 hours and, based on her report, 5 Ju-88s of III/LG.1 (Oberst Arwed Krüger) were ordered to take off from Catania, which they did starting at 1533 hours. After a long flight the planes, each of which carried 1 x 500 and 2 x 250 kg bombs, found the monitor at 1830 hours and made diving attacks in position 32º55'N, 22º45'E, about 90 nautical miles west of Tobruk.

Although the crew of L1+GS (pilot OL Theodor Hagen, observer Feldwebel Karl Cohnen) claimed to have scored on the largest unit with both 250-kg bombs and to have left her burning, no hit were recorded at this time. The 3 near-misses, however, 1 to port, 2 to starboard, were equally fatal, having opened several areas of the old ship to the sea. With her stern wrecked and the machinery rooms flooding, she took a list. Abandoned by the crew at 2200 hours, a tow was attempted by HMS Fareham and HMS Salvia but Terror sank at 0420 hours the following morning in position 32º59'N, 22º32'E, corresponding with 15 nautical miles north-west of Derna.

During the 6 weeks in which she was engaged in supporting the 8th Army, HMS Terror, which had been unsuccessfully attacked on several occasions by Italian VTBs and VBs of the 5th Flotta Aerea (Air Fleet) based in Libya, expended 660 rounds for her main battery. Her loss was a hard blow to the efficiency of the Inshore Squadron as far as support to the land operations in Cyrenaica. Terror was, by displacement, the largest warship sunk in the Med by Ju-88s during the entire war.


Commands listed for HMS Terror (I 03)

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1Cdr. Henry John Haynes, DSC, RN3 Jan 193924 Feb 1941

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Notable events involving Terror include:

4 Apr 1940
HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta to strengthen the defences against a foreseen Italian entry into the war.

10 Jun 1940
HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) defended the Maltese harbours during the first Italian air attacks with her Anti Aircraft armament. (1)

10 Nov 1940
HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) sailed from Malta for Alexandria with convoy ME-3. Remained in Egypt for local defence.

17 Feb 1941
HMS Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) arrived at Benghazi, Libya, escorted by the Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) and remained there to bolster the stronghold defences.

22 Feb 1941
In the morning, Terror (Cdr. H.J. Haynes, DSC, RN) having already weathered several air attacks without damage, was again attacked, between 0630-0655 hours by 3 Ju-88s of the III/LG.1 from Catania, while 3 He.111 VTBs of 6/KG.26, Hauptmann Barth flying out of Comiso, attempted torpedo attacks against other units in the roads but failed to score. HMS Terror sustained flooding from 3 near-misses and was ordered to sail for Tobruk, where the AA defence was better. She sailed in the evening, accompanied by the British minesweeper Fareham and the British corvette Salvia but while still in the swept channel inside the harbour, 2 magnetic mines went off close aboard, flooding some engineering compartments (these mines had been dropped on 16 February by 5 He.111 of 2/KG.4 (Hauptmann Kuhl) despite the damage, Terror was able to maintain a good speed.


  1. Personal communication

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