HMS Somali (1939) DD  (1st)

This the only ship to carry the name HMS Somali was a Tribal Class, destroyer.

Built by Swan Hunter, laid down 26-Aug-1936, launched 24-Aug-1937, commissioned 12-Dec-1939.

At the start of WW2 took part in the Norwegian Campaign, then North Sea operations against German coastal convoys near the Norwegian coast.

In May-1941As part of a pre-conceived plan, she intercepted, boarded the German weather ship Munchen, and retrieved code documents which broke the German Naval Enigma Code for a few months.

Then assisted with the Hunt for the Bismarck.

The rest of 1941/42 was spent mostly in arctic waters with the occasional deployment to the Mediterranean for important Malta convoy escort including the Pedestal convoy of Aug-1942.

After this it was back to the arctic to cover convoy PQ18 and QP14 in Sep-1942.

On 20-Sep1942 was torpedoed by U-703 in the engine room but survived and a tow was begun by HMS Tartar. But 4 days later on the 24-Sep-1942 during a rising gale Somali, broke her back, folded up and sank south of Iceland.

There were now only four of the original 16 tribal class destroyers surviving, and Somali was the last to be lost.

Won the Battle Honours: Norway 1940-41, 'Bismarck' 1941, Arctic 1941-42 and Malta Convoys 1942.


- Tribal Class (1938) DD
- Specifications
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- Plans/Schematics
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- Full Battle Honours

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This page last edited - 31 January, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.