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HMS Gurkha (F20)
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Tribal-class destroyer
Name: HMS Gurkha
Ordered: 10 March 1936
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited, Govan
Laid down: 6 July 1936
Launched: 7 July 1937
Commissioned: 21 October 1938
Fate: Sunk 9 April 1940 by bombers off Norway
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,850 tons (standard),
2,520 tons (full)
Length: 377 ft (115 m) o/a
Beam: 36 ft 6 in (11.13 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Three x Admiralty 3-drum boilers, steam turbines on two shafts
44,000 shp
Speed: 36-knot (67 km/h)
Range: 524 tons fuel oil
5,700 nmi (10,600 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: 219
Armament: 8 x 4.7 in L/45 QF Mark XII, twin mount CP Mk.XIX
4 x QF 2 pdr, quad mount Mk.VII
8 x 0.5 in Vickers machine gun, quad mount Mk.II
4 x tubes for 21 in torpedoes Mk.IX
1 x rack, 2 x depth charge throwers
Honours & awards: Norway 1940, North Sea 1940
Notes: The name Gurkha was reused by an L-class destroyer
Badge: On a Field Blue, two crossed Kukri proper

HMS Gurkha (L20/F20) was a Tribal-class destroyer that saw active service in the Norway Campaign in 1940, where she was sunk.

Gurkha served with the 4th Destroyer Flotilla (the first of the two Tribal-class flotillas) in the Mediterranean where she was involved in exercises and port visits until the outbreak of war. In September 1939, Gurkha was one of a group ships assigned to monitor Italian naval activity in the Red Sea. In October, 1939 the flotilla was reassigned to the Home Fleet, on escort duty from Portland and Scapa Flow,[1] and in the Humber Striking Force. She attacked and sank the enemy German submarine U-53 south of the Faroe Islands on 23 February 1940.

Gurkha was part of a naval force that was attacked by German Ju-88 and He-111 bombers as it withdrew from the planned attack on Bergen, during the German invasion of Norway. In an attempt to obtain better firing conditions, Gurkha moved away from the mutual protection of the naval force. She then became an easy target for concentrated air attack and soon was stopped and sinking.[2] The crew were rescued by the cruiser Aurora and Gurkha sank in the North Sea, south-west of Bergen in Norway on 9 April 1940 with the loss of 15 of her crew, the first British destroyer to be sunk by air attack.


  1. Mason, Geoffrey B (2002). "HMS GURKHA - Tribal-class Destroyer". Service Histories Of Royal Navy Warships In World War 2. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  2. Vian, Sir Philip (1960). Action This Day. London: Frederick Muller. p. 37. 


  • Brice, Martin H. (1971). The Tribals. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0245-2. 
  • English, John (2001). Afridi to Nizam: British Fleet Destroyers 1937–43. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-95-0. 

See also

Coordinates: 59°13′0″N 4°0′0″E / 59.216667°N 4°E / 59.216667; 4

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