HMS Kelvin (F37)

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HMS Kelvin.JPG
HMS Kelvin (F37)
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Kelvin
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
Laid down: 5 October 1937
Launched: 19 January 1939
Commissioned: 27 November 1939
Identification: pennant number: F37
Fate: Sold for scrap, 6 April 1949
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: K-class destroyer
Length: 356 ft 6 in (108.66 m) o/a
Beam: 35 ft 9 in (10.90 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (deep)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 183 (218 for flotilla leaders)
Sensors and
processing systems:

HMS Kelvin was a K-class destroyer of the Royal Navy laid down by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited, at Govan in Scotland on 5 October 1937, launched on 19 January 1939 and commissioned on 27 November 1939 with the pennant number F37.

Service history[edit]

Kelvin fought in several theatres during the Second World War. In September 1940, as part of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla she scuttled HMS Ivanhoe, which had struck a mine off Texel during the Texel Disaster. In October, she was part of the escort for the battleship HMS Revenge when she shelled Cherbourg.

Under Admiral James Somerville, she was involved at the action off Cape Spartivento on 27 November 1940,[1] and for the next two years she was employed heavily in the Mediterranean Sea, being involved in several major actions as well as several minor engagements.

In May 1941, she bombarded Benghazi in company with HM destroyers Jackal, Kashmir, Kelly and Kipling before heading to Crete on 20 May 1941. She survived the withdrawal with comparatively light casualties,[2] but required repairs and was sent to Bombay during which time her crew had sufficient time to tour India as far north as the Khyber Pass.[3] By March 1942 she was back in the Mediterranean escorting convoy MW10 which took part in the Second Battle of Sirte. Later in the year she was involved in diversionary attacks in support of Operation Pedestal and bombarded Rhodes.

Winston Churchill on Kelvin, June 1944

On 16 April 1942, Kelvin landed troops from the 11th Battalion of the Royal Marines at Koufonisi near Crete to destroy a W/T station (Operation Lighter). In December, in company with Janus, Javelin and Jervis, she sank the Italian torpedo boat Lupo off Kerkennah Bank, Tunisia.

In January 1943, she bombarded Zuwara and in company with Nubian was responsible for sinking a variety of Italian supply ships and minesweepers.[4] Then along with Javelin, Kelvin destroyed an Italian convoy on the night of 19 January 1943. Several members of her crew were decorated for their part in destroying enemy ships and aircraft in the Mediterranean.

By June 1944, she was back in home waters and carried Winston Churchill and various other dignitaries across the English Channel during Operation Overlord.[5] She returned to the Mediterranean and took part in operations to liberate the Dodecanese. She bombarded Tilos and landed a party of Special Boat Service troops[6] in November 1944.

Post-war fate[edit]

Unlike many of the other J-, K- and N-class destroyers, Kelvin survived the war and was sold for scrap on 6 April 1949 and broken up at Troon in Scotland.

Battle honours[edit]

  • Atlantic (1940)
  • Spartivento (1940)
  • Crete (1941)
  • Mediterranean (1941–43)
  • Sirte (1942)
  • Malta Convoys (1942)
  • Normandy (1944)
  • Aegean (1944)



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  • Langtree, Charles (2002). The Kelly's: British J, K, and N Class Destroyers of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-422-9. 
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  • March, Edgar J. (1966). British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892–1953; Drawn by Admiralty Permission From Official Records & Returns, Ships' Covers & Building Plans. London: Seeley Service. OCLC 164893555. 
  • O'Hara, Vincent (2009). 'Struggle for the Middle Sea'. Anova Books. ISBN 978-1844-86102-6. 
  • Prysor, Glyn (2012). 'Citizen Sailors: The Royal Navy in the Second World War'. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-04632-7. 
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  • Winser, John de D. (1999). B.E.F. Ships Before, At and After Dunkirk. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-91-6. 

External links[edit]