HMS Somali (F33)
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HMS Somali was a Tribal-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service in World War II. She was launched in 1937, captured the first prize of World War II and served in Home and Mediterranean waters. She was torpedoed on 20 September 1942 in the Arctic.
Somali at anchor
|Ordered:||19 June 1936|
|Builder:||Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom|
|Laid down:||27 August 1936|
|Launched:||23 August 1937|
|Completed:||7 December 1938|
|Identification:||Pennant numbers: L33/F33/G33|
|Fate:||Torpedoed by German submarine U-703 and sank while under tow, 25 September 1942|
|General characteristics (as built)|
|Class and type:||Tribal-class destroyer|
|Length:||377 ft (115 m) (o/a)|
|Beam:||36 ft 6 in (11.13 m)|
|Draught:||11 ft 3 in (3.43 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Range:||5,700 nmi (10,600 km; 6,600 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
|Sensors and |
On 15 May 1940, during the Norwegian Campaign, Somali was carrying Brigadier the Hon. William Fraser, commander of 24th Guards Brigade, back to Harstad from a reconnaissance of Mo when she was bombed by German aircraft and forced to return to the United Kingdom for repairs, taking the Brigadier with her. He did not reach Harstad until 23 May. On 23 October, Matabele, Punjabi and Somali shelled and sank WBS 5 Adolf Vinnen in the Norwegian Sea off Stadlandet, Norway.
Somali was the leader of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla and spent most of the winter of 1940–41 screening Home Fleet sweeps. In May 1941, Somali boarded the German weather ship München. Prior to being boarded, the crew of München threw overboard the ship's Enigma machine in a weighted bag. However, documents on the operation of the Enigma machine were left on board, as were vital codebooks providing a breakthrough for Allied codebreakers.
On 13 August 1942, Somali rescued all 105 crew of the American cargo ship Almeria Lykes, which had been torpedoed by E boats while taking part in Operation Pedestal. The rescued crew were landed at Gibraltar.
Lieutenant Commander Colin Maud took over as captain in September 1942 when her own captain, Jack Eaton, was ill. On 20 September 1942 Somali was torpedoed by U-703 while covering Convoy QP 14 during the Russian convoys. She was hit in her engine room, and although taken under tow by the destroyer Ashanti, she sank on 25 September, after heavy weather broke her back. Of the 102 men on board, only 35 were rescued from the Arctic waters. Leading Seaman Goad of Ashanti was awarded the Albert Medal for "great bravery in saving life at sea" after diving into the freezing water to save Lieutenant Commander Maud.
Somali was the last Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer to be sunk during the war.
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