Military Wiki
HMS Ilex (D61)
HMS Ilex
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Ilex
Builder: John Brown and Company, Clydebank, Scotland
Cost: £255,072[1]
Laid down: 10 March 1936
Launched: 28 January 1937
Commissioned: 7 July 1937
Identification: Pennant number: D61
Fate: Sold 1946, scrapped 1948
General characteristics (as built)
Class & type: I-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,370 long tons (1,390 t) (standard)
1,888 long tons (1,918 t) (deep load)
Length: 323 ft (98.5 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.1 m)
Draught: 12 ft 5 in (3.8 m)
Installed power: 34,000 shp (25,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, Parsons geared steam turbines
3 Admiralty 3-drum water-tube boilers
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,530 nmi (10,240 km; 6,360 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 145
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament: 4 × 1 - 4.7-inch (120 mm) guns
2 × 4 - 0.5-inch (12.7 mm) machine guns
2 × 5 - 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers
Service record
Operations: Battle of Calabria (1940)
Battle of Cape Spada (1940)
Battle of Taranto (1940)
Battle of Cape Matapan (1941)
Allied invasion of Sicily (1943)
Salerno landings (1943)
Victories: Sank U-42 (1939)
Sank Italian submarine Console Generale Liuzzi (1940)
Sank Italian submarine Argonauta (1940)
Sank Italian submarine Uebi Scebeli (1940)

HMS Ilex was an I-class destroyer that served during World War II. She is the only ship of the Royal Navy ever to have been named after Ilex, the genus of flowering plants commonly known as holly.



On the outbreak of war Ilex was deployed in the Mediterranean with the Third Destroyer Flotilla. She was immediately transferred to the Western Approaches for convoy escort duty with her flotilla. On 13 October under the command of Lieutenant Commander Philip Lionel Saumarez[2] she attacked and sank the German submarine U-42 (1939) south-west of Ireland in company with the destroyer Imogen.


The Italian submarine Uebi Scebeli sinking after attacks by Ilex and Dainty

The first half of 1940 saw Ilex conducting Fleet screening duties in and around the North Sea. In May she transferred to the Second Destroyer Flotilla for service in the Mediterranean. On 27 June 1940, in company with Dainty, Defender, Decoy and the Australian destroyer Voyager she depth-charged the Italian submarine Console Generale Liuzzi off Crete.[1] The submarine was forced to the surface and scuttled by her crew. Two days later, on 29 June, the same ships attacked and probably sank the Italian submarine Argonauta at around 0615, although the possibility exists that this submarine was sunk by an RAF Sunderland later that same day.[1] Also on 29 June Dainty and Ilex shared in the sinking of the Italian submarine Uebi Scebeli south-west of Crete.[3] Ilex participated in the Battle of Calabria and on 19 June she escorted Sydney during the sinking of the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni off Cape Spada, rescuing 230 survivors.

Continuous service with the Mediterranean Fleet continued through 1940, and on 11 November she was deployed as a screening destroyer for Illustrious during the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto.


On 20 March she formed part of the destroyer screen for the fleet at the Battle of Cape Matapan. On 14 June she suffered major structural damage from dive-bombing near misses during an operation to prevent interference by Vichy French warships. She was towed to Haifa and underwent a series of temporary repairs there, and at Suez, Aden, Mombassa and Durban, in order to reach the United States of America for a refit and full repair.


Ilex at Charleston on 7 September 1942

It was not until September 1942 that Ilex was re-commissioned. She spent the rest of the year at Freetown, Sierra Leone conducting convoy duties.


In February 1943 Ilex returned to the Mediterranean, and in July and August she participated in the Sicily and Salerno landings. On July 13, she sank, with assistance from Echo, Italian Submarine Nereide south east of the Straits of Messina. In December she was withdrawn from operational service because of a high defect load and poor availability.[1]


She was laid up at Bizerte in Tunisia, then transferred to Ferryville in June, and laid up there.


In March 1945 she was towed to Malta for repair, and in April reduced to "reserve category C", the survey declaring her "not required for further operational service". She was placed on the disposal list in August.


Ilex was sold for scrap at Malta on 22 January 1946 and broken up in Sicily in 1948.

Sea Cadet Corps

Salford Sea Cadets are affiliated with the ship and are named TS Ilex. Salford sea cadets are located in Worsley and provide youth services to young people aged 10–18 from across the City of Salford.

The unit was incorporated in 1936 during Eccles warship week and is one of the oldest continuously operating youth groups in the city. The current City of Salford Sea Cadets is an amalgamation of Eccles and District Sea Cadets (TS Ilex) and Salford Sea Cadets (TS Irwell). The unit moved to its present home in Worsley in the late 1980s. City of Salford Sea Cadets while an independent charity in its own right is also part of the larger Sea Cadet Corps



  • English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe:British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).