Allied Warships

HMS Pintail (L 21 / K 21)

Patrol vessel of the Kingfisher class

Photo from Imperial War Museum (IWM), A-7577

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypePatrol vessel
PennantL 21 / K 21 
ModThird group 
Built byWilliam Denny & Brothers (Dumbarton, Scotland) 
Ordered6 Apr 1938 
Laid down23 Aug 1938 
Launched18 Aug 1939 
Commissioned28 Nov 1939 
Lost10 Jun 1941 
Loss position53° 31'N, 0° 53'E

Mined in the Humber estuary on 10 June 1941 some 28 nautical miles east-south-east of Spurn Point in position 53º30'536"N, 00º52'625"E.

On 10 June 1941, the Harwich based patrol vessel HMS Pintail was escorting a convoy near 62-Buoy some 30 miles off the Humber when the steamship Royal Scot detonated an acoustic mine, blew up and sank. Pintail immediately dashed to the scene to help in the rescue, but she was also caught out by an acoustic mine, close to the steamship. HMS Pintail blew up and was lost almost immediately, instantly killing her Commanding Officer, Lt. John Leopold Elphinstone McClintock, RN, six-officers and forty-eight ratings.

Lt.Cdr. D.J.L. Heber-Percy, RN, Commanding Officer of HMS Quantock, a destroyer also based at Harwich, which was passing with another convoy, reported later, "It was the most dreadful sight that I had ever seen. It did not seem possible that there could be any survivors". HMS Quantock and HNoMS Sleipner however, did manage to rescue one-third of her crew, twenty-two in all.


Commands listed for HMS Pintail (L 21 / K 21)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. Thomas Harry Hill-Walker, RN23 Nov 19391 Nov 1940 (+)
2Lt. (retired) John Henry Atkinson, RN1 Nov 19405 Feb 1941
3Lt. John Leopold Elphinstone McClintock, RN5 Feb 194110 Jun 1941 (+)

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Notable events involving Pintail include:

12 Dec 1939
HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. J.A.S. Wise, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS Scott (Cdr. E.H.B. Baker, RN) and HMS Pintail (Lt.Cdr. T.H. Hill-Walker, RN). (1)

10 May 1940
HMS Tigris (Lt.Cdr. H.F. Bone, RN) departed from Sheerness for Portsmouth. She is escorted by HMS Pintail (Lt.Cdr. T.H. Hill-Walker, RN). (2)

1 Oct 1940
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. W.J.W. Woods, RN) departed from Sheerness for Harwich where she arrived later the same day. She was escorted by HMS Pintail (Lt.Cdr. T.H. Hill-Walker, RN). (3)


  1. ADM 173/15805
  2. ADM 173/16603
  3. ADM 173/16659

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

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