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HMS Diamond (H22)
HMS Diamond
HMS Diamond, at Hong Kong pre-World War II
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Diamond
Ordered: 2 February 1931
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness
Cost: £223,509
Laid down: 29 September 1931
Launched: 8 April 1932
Completed: 3 November 1932

Honor clarissima gemma

("Honour is the brightest jewel")
Honours and
Spartivento 1940, Mediterranean 1941, Malta Convoys 1941, Greece 1941
Fate: Sunk by air attack, 27 April 1941
Badge: 100px
General characteristics as built
Class & type: D-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,375 long tons (1,397 t) (standard)
1,890 long tons (1,920 t) (deep)
Length: 329 ft (100.3 m) o/a
Beam: 33 ft (10.1 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.8 m)
Installed power: 36,000 shp (27,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × shafts
2 × Parsons geared steam turbines
3 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,870 nmi (10,870 km; 6,760 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 145
Sensors and
processing systems:

4 × 4.7 in (120 mm) Mark IX guns
1 × 12-pounder (3 in (76.2 mm)) anti-aircraft gun
2 × 1 - QF 2 pdr (40 mm) Mk II guns
2 × 4 - 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

20 (later 35) × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers

HMS Diamond was a D-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. The ship spent the bulk of her career on the China Station. She was briefly assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1939 before she was transferred to West Africa for convoy escort duties. Diamond returned to the Mediterranean Fleet in early 1940 where she generally escorted convoys to and from Malta. The ship participated in the Battle of Cape Spartivento in November. Diamond was sunk by German aircraft on 27 April 1941 whilst evacuating Allied troops from Greece.


Diamond displaced 1,375 long tons (1,397 t) at standard load and 1,890 long tons (1,920 t) at deep load. The ship had an overall length of 329 feet (100.3 m), a beam of 33 feet (10.1 m) and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 m). She was powered by Parsons geared steam turbines, driving two shafts, which developed a total of 36,000 shaft horsepower (27,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph). Steam for the turbines was provided by three Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers. Diamond carried a maximum of 473 long tons (481 t) of fuel oil that gave her a range of 5,870 nautical miles (10,870 km; 6,760 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The ship's complement was 145 officers and men.[1]

The ship mounted four 45-calibre 4.7-inch Mark IX guns in single mounts. For anti-aircraft (AA) defence, Diamond had a single 12-pounder (3-inch (76.2 mm)) gun between her funnels and two 40-millimetre (1.6 in) QF 2-pounder Mark II guns mounted on the side of her bridge. She was fitted with two above-water quadruple torpedo tube mounts for 21-inch torpedoes.[2] One depth charge rail and two throwers were fitted; 20 depth charges were originally carried, but this increased to 35 shortly after the war began.[3]


Diamond was ordered on 2 February 1931 under the 1930 Naval Estimates, and was laid down at Vickers-Armstrong's yard at Barrow-in-Furness on 29 September 1931. She was launched on 8 April 1932 and completed on 3 November 1933, at a total cost of £223,509, excluding equipment supplied by the Admiralty, such as weapons, ammunition and wireless equipment. The ship was initially assigned to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean and made a brief deployment to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea in September–November 1933. Diamond was refitted at Devonport Dockyard between 3 September and 27 October 1934 for service on the China Station with the 8th (later the 21st) Destroyer Flotilla and arrived there in January 1935, where she remained for the next four years.[4]

The ship began a refit at Singapore on 7 August 1939 and she was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet after it was completed in November. Diamond arrived at Malta on 19 December, but she was transferred to the South Atlantic Station the following month. She departed Malta on 8 January 1940, bound for Freetown where she joined the 20th Destroyer Division for escort duties. In April the ship returned to the Mediterranean where Diamond was assigned to the newly formed 10th Destroyer Flotilla after a short refit at Malta.[5]

She was slightly damaged by air attacks on 11 and 17 June near Malta after the Italians declared war on the Allies on 10 June.[6] Together with her sisters Dainty, Defender, the Australian destroyer Stuart, and the light cruisers Capetown and Liverpool, she escorted Convoy AN.2 from Egypt to various ports in the Aegean Sea in late July.[7] Diamond bombarded the Italian seaplane base at Bomba, Libya on 23 August.[6] A week later she escorted four transports to Malta with Dainty and the destroyers Jervis and Juno as part of Operation Hats.[8] The ship escorted Convoy MB.8 during Operation Collar.[6] After reaching Malta on 26 November, Diamond joined Force D and sailed to rendezvous with Force H, coming from Gibraltar. The next day, after the British forces had combined, they were spotted by the Italians and the inconclusive Battle of Cape Spartivento was fought.[9]

During Operation Excess, Diamond and Defender escorted Convoy MW.5 to Malta in January 1941. The ship escorted a convoy of four freighters from Malta to Alexandria in mid-April. Shortly afterwards, she began evacuating Allied troops from Greece.[10] On 27 April 1941, Diamond and another destroyer, Wryneck, rescued over 500 troops from the sinking Dutch troopship, Slamat, and set out for Crete. However, both ships were attacked and sunk about four hours later by German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and Junkers Ju 88 bombers.[11] Only one officer, 41 enlisted men and eight soldiers from all three ships were rescued.[6]


  1. Whitley, p. 102.
  2. Friedman, pp. 215, 299.
  3. English, p. 141.
  4. English, pp. 51, 58.
  5. English, pp. 58–59.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 English, p. 59.
  7. Rohwer, p. 35.
  8. Rohwer, p. 38.
  9. O'Hara, pp. 65–73.
  10. Rohwer, pp. 56, 69, 70.
  11. Shores, Cull and Malizi, pp. 295, 299.


  • English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Commonwealth Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7. 
  • O'Hara, Vincent P. (2009). Struggle for the Middle Sea: The Great Navies at War in the Mediterranean Theater, 1940-1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-648-3. 
  • Shores, Christopher; Cull, Brian and Malizia, Nicola (1987). Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete. London: Grub Street. ISBN 0-948817-07-0. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 36°30′N 23°34′E / 36.5°N 23.567°E / 36.5; 23.567

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