History highlights: On This Day 9th Jan 1939.

Destroyer HMS Kingston is launched. 


She was launched at East Cowes on 9 January 1939 and named by the Mayoress of Kingston upon Thames. Commissioned on 14 September 1939, she joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet, for convoy defence and anti-submarine duties in the North Sea.
Name: HMS Kingston (F64)
Builder: J. Samuel White and Company at Cowes on the Isle of Wight
Laid down: 6 October 1937
Launched: 9 January 1939
Sponsored by: Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
Commissioned: 14 September 1939
Fate: On 11 April 1942, badly damaged by aircraft in La Valletta harbour at Malta while in dry dock. She rolled over and became a constructive total loss
Status: Scrapped at Malta
General characteristics
Class & type: K-class
Displacement: 1,690 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 357 ft (109 m)
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 2 shafts, 40,000 HP
Speed: 36 knots
Complement: 183 men
Armament: Six 4.7" guns (3x2) Four 2pdr AA (1x4) 8 .5" MG AA (2x4) 10 21" torpedo tubes (2x5


HMS KINGSTON Summary of Service 1939-1942 Supplied by Naval History Branch of Ministry of Defence HMS KINGSTON was a destroyer of the ‘Kelly’ Class, completed on 14 September 1939. Her standard displacement was 1,710 tons, length 357 feet, breath 36 feet and mean draught 13 feet. She was built by J Samuel White and Co Limited, East Cowes, Isle of Wight. On 29 November 1939, while serving with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet, she took part with HMS ships ICARIS and KASHMIR in the attack on a U boat, U.35, off the Shetland Isles, and sank her. All the crew of the U-boat were saved. For the first four months of 1940 the KINGSTON’s duties included the hunting of U-boats, assisting in the recovery of U-boat survivors and escorting to port ships which had been attacked by U-boats. In May she proceeded to Malta., and joined the Red Sea Force, 14th Destroyer Flotilla, under East Indies Command, in June. In company with HM Ships KANDAHAR and SHOREHAM, she sank the Italian U-Boat EVANGELISTA TORRICELLA OFF Perham in the Red Sea, on the 22 June, while on sea patrols. On the 27th HMS KINGSTON attacked another Italian U-boat PERLA, but did not sink her. She acted as escort to convoy bringing supplies from the UK when the Italian invasion of Egypt began in September, escorting them through the Red Sea. In March 1941 the KINGSTON took part in the capture of Berbera, the capital of British Somaliland, which had been in enemy hands for seven months. She was part of Force G in April, which established an advanced base at Mersa Kuba in the Eritrean campaign. This greatly facilitated the occupation of Massawa, which virtually completed the conquest of Eritrea. Later in April, when British forces had to be evacuated from Greece, the KINGSTON, served with the Mediterranean Fleet, was one of four destroyers which embarked troops from Kalamatra. In the Battle of Crete, she was damaged by three near misses on the 22 May. She proceeded to Alexandria with HMS KANDIHAR, picking up on the way survivors of the cruiser FIJI, which had been bombed and sunk that day. During the invasion of Syria, in June, she took part in the bombardments at El Atiqua and various targets off the Damur coast. In operations to transport troops to relieve the 18th Australian Infantry Brigade at Tobruk in August, the KINGSTON was one of three destroyers with the covering force of cruisers protecting the convoys and in the following month when a large convoy of troops and stores was passed from Gibraltar to Malta, she sailed with the Mediterranean fleet to create a diversion to mislead the enemy. In November, in the newly constituted Force B, The KINGSTON sailed from Alexandria with supplies of ammunition and torpedoes for Malta. HMS KINGSTON took part in the escort of further convoy to Malta in 1942. In March, when an operation was mounted to pass a supply convoy to Base, the KINGSTON was part of a striking force formed to attack the enemy should they appear. This operation led to the brilliant action known as the Battle of Sirte. HMS KINGSTON was hit by a shell on the 22nd but managed to fire three torpedoes at the enemy. She was able to proceed to Malta but while under repair she was further damaged on 11 April during an air raid and broke in two. HMS KINGSTON was awarded the following Battle Honours:

Atlantic 1939
North Sea 1939
Greece 1941
Crete 1941
Libya 1941
Malta Convoys 1941-2
Sirte 1942.
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