#OTD 21 May 1941 Royal Navy cruisers intercept German convoy off Crete

HMS Dido, HMS Ajax, and HMS Orion in action off Crete, 21st May 1941. The three cruisers and four destroyers (Janus, Hasty, Hereward, Kimberley) formed “Force D” under Rear-Admiral I.G.Glennie. On the night of 21st May, an Axis convoy of twenty caïques escorted by the Italian destroyer-escort Lupo attempted to land German troops at Maleme.

Interception of enemy convoy off Crete, by Rowland Langmaid, collection of National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

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HMS Mastiff, 1914-1921

HMS Mastiff was a Thornycroft M or Mastif-class destroyer commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1914. Mastiff served throughout the First World War.

HMS Mastiff, January 1919.

Service History

In December 1914, Mastiff was one of three M-class (Mastiff, Manly, and Minos) assigned to the First Destroyer Flotilla. In January 1915, she transferred to the Third Destroyer Flotilla. In March 1915, she joined the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla, which formed part of the Harwich Striking Force.

The Tenth Destroyer Flotilla comprised the Arethusa-class light cruiser HMS Aurora (flagship), the old Eclipse-class cruiser HMS Dido (depot ship), and the M-class destroyers Manly, Mastiff, Meteor, Milne, Minos, Moorsoom, Morris, Murray, and Myngs.

In January 1916, Mastiff was assigned to temporary duty with the Eleventh Submarine Flotilla supporting the Grand Fleet, before returning to service with the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich. Mastiff did not take part in the Battle of Jutland.

In April 1917, Mastiff transferred to Sixth Destroyer Flotilla with her sister ships Moorsom and Myngs. The Sixth Destroyer Flotilla was assigned to the Dover Patrol. The Dover Patrol was based at Dover in England and Dunkirk in France. The patrol was responsible for antisubmarine operations in the English Channel and for the escort of Allied shipping to-and-from the Channel ports.

In July 1918, the Sixth Destroyer Flotilla comprised the old protected cruiser HMS Arrogant (depot and flagship), the flotilla leaders Botha, Broke, Faulknor, Swift, Velox, Warwick, and Whirlwind, and the destroyers Afridi, Amazon, Cossack, Crusader, Gipsy, Kangaroo, Leven, Manly, Mansfield, Mastiff, Matchless, Melpomene, Mentor, Meteor, Milne, Miranda, Moorsom, Morris, Murray, Myngs, Nugent, Panther, Phoebe, Racehorse, Saracen, Senator, Sikh, Syren, Termagant, Trident, Viking, Violet, and Zubian.

HMS Mastiff was paid off at the end of the war and was sold for scrap in 1921 after six-and-a-half years of service.

HMS Mastiff, November 1919.

HMS Mastiff Construction Details
Thornycroft M or Mastif-class destroyer.
Built by J. I. Thornycroft, Woolston, Hants.
Laid down 10th July 1913.
Launched 5th September 1914.
Completed 12th November 1914.
Sold for breaking up 9th May 1921.

HMS Mastiff Specifications
Displacement: 985-1070t
Length: 274ft o/a
Beam: 27ft 9in
Draught: 10ft 6in
Machinery: Parsons steam turbines, 26,000 SHP, 2 shaft
Speed: 35kn
Complement: 78 officers and ratings
Armament: 3 QF 4-inch Mk IV, 1 QF 2-pounder Mk II, 2 21-inch torpedo tubes