HMS Fearless (H67)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Fearless.
HMS Fearless (H67)
HMS Fearless in 1935
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Fearless
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Laid down: 17 July 1933
Launched: 12 May 1934
Commissioned: 22 December 1934
Motto: Explicit nomen
("The name explains itself")
Honours and
Norway 1940
Atlantic 1941
Malta Convoys 1941
Mediterranean 1941
Fate: Torpedoed by Italian aircraft and scuttled, 23 July 1941
Badge: On a Field Blue, a Lion's head Gold
General characteristics
Class and type: F-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,405 long tons (1,428 t) standard
1,940 long tons (1,970 t) full load
Length: 329 ft (100 m) o/a
Beam: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
Draught: 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Parsons geared turbines
3 × Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers
2 shafts
38,000 shp (28,337 kW)
Speed: 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph)
Range: 6,350 nmi (11,760 km; 7,310 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
1,275 nmi (2,361 km; 1,467 mi) at 35.5 kn (40.9 mph; 65.7 km/h)
Complement: 145
Armament: 4 × QF 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mk.IX/L45 dual purpose guns, single mounts CP Mk.XVII
8 × Vickers .50 machine guns, quad mounts Mk.I
8 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (4×2)
1 × 20-round depth charge rack
Service record
Part of: Home Fleet, 1939–1940
Force H, 1940–1941
Operations: Norwegian Campaign
Attack on Mers-el-Kébir
Malta Convoys
Victories: U-27

HMS Fearless was an F-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy, that was commissioned in 1934, and saw service early in World War II before being sunk in July 1941.[1]


The ship was ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead under the 1932 Programme. She was laid down on 17 July 1933, and launched on 12 May 1934, as the seventh RN ship to carry this name, and completed on 22 December 1934.[1]

Service history[edit]

Force H, 1940–1941[edit]

On 3 July 1940 she took part in the attack on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir ("Operation Catapult"), and was part of the screen for the carrier Ark Royal and other ships during air attacks on the French battleship Dunkerque two days later. On 8 July she escorted Force H ships during a planned attack on Cagliari, which had to be abandoned after Italian air attacks ("Operation MA5"). The attack was eventually carried out on 2 August (Operation Crush), but on 4 August, while returning to the UK Fearless was involved in a collision with the trawler Flying Wing and was repaired at the Barclay Curle shipyard on the Clyde. On 11 October she prepared for operational duty with the Flotilla, but on 30 October was involved in another collision with SS Lanark at Greenock. More repairs followed at Troon, and Fearless did not return to duty at Gibraltar until January 1941.[1]

On 31 January 1941 she took part in "Operation Picket", an air attack on the Tirso Dam on Sardinia, and also in Operation Grog, a naval bombardment of Genoa on 6 February. In March Fearless was deployed with three other destroyers of the Flotilla and the cruiser Sheffield to intercept a Vichy convoy. A later attempt to capture the French merchant ship Bangkok off the port of Ghazaouet, Algeria, was prevented by shore battery fire. In early April Fearless and four other destroyers escorted Sheffield, battlecruiser Renown, and the aircraft carrier Ark Royal in Operation Winch, which delivered 12 Hurricane fighter aircraft to Malta. Later in the month she was part of the screen for the same ships escorting Force S, a group of reinforcement ships for the Fleet in Alexandria (Operation Salient).[1]

In early May she was part of destroyer screen with five other destroyers for the battleship Queen Elizabeth, and the cruisers Naiad, Fiji and Gloucester which were joining the Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean. This was part of Operation Tiger which included a supply convoy taking tanks to the Middle East and the transfer of warships. After arrival in Malta on 12 May, Fearless carried out a minesweeping operation to enable the ships of 5th Destroyer Flotilla to safely leave harbour for an offensive operation against Italian convoys. On 19 May she and three other destroyers escorted the heavy cruiser London to cover the delivery of further aircraft to Malta by the carriers Ark Royal and Furious.[1]

In June she was deployed in the Atlantic on anti-submarine operations with the Flotilla. On 16 June Fearless and four other destroyers sank the U-138 off Gibraltar. On 22 June she was deployed with four other destroyers to intercept a German supply ship spotted heading towards the French coast. The next day the Flotilla intercepted SS Alstertor which was scuttled by her crew on the approach of the British ships. They rescued 78 British POWs taken from ships sunk by German raiders and the crew.[1]

In July Fearless resumed duty with "Force H" in the Mediterranean. On 20 July she joined Force X in "Operation Substance", another Malta convoy.[1] On 23 July whilst screening Ark Royal she was torpedoed and heavily damaged by an Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79. Her crew were rescued by Forester, which then sank the wrecked and burning ship with torpedoes about 50 nautical miles (93 km; 58 mi) north-north-east of Bône, Algeria, in position 37°40′N 08°20′E / 37.667°N 8.333°E / 37.667; 8.333Coordinates: 37°40′N 08°20′E / 37.667°N 8.333°E / 37.667; 8.333.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mason, Geoffrey B. (2003). "HMS Fearless, destroyer". Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War II. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur (2011). "HMS Fearless (H 67)". Retrieved 5 February 2011.