HMS Imperial (D09)
|Built by:||Hawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.)|
|Ordered:||14 Nov, 1935|
|Laid down:||22 Jan, 1936|
|Launched:||11 Dec, 1936|
|Commissioned:||30 Jun, 1937|
|Lost:||29 May, 1941 (Lt. Cdr. C.A. De W. Kitcat, RN ) (c 35-30'N, 25-30E) Eastern Mediterranean, off north coast ,Crete- (HMS Imperial ) was sunk by a torpedo from HMS Hotspur after being severely damaged by German bombers on 28th.May aircraft bombs off Crete the previous day.|
A British convoy with 4 merchants left Alexandria for Malta on 8 October 1940. This convoy was escorted by the Anti-Aircraft cruisers HMS Calcutta, HMS Coventry and 4 destroyers.
Cover was provided by the Mediterranean Fleet (Admiral Cunningham) with the battleships HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, HMS Malaya, HMS Ramillies, the aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious, HMS Eagle, the cruisers HMS York, HMS Gloucester, HMS Liverpool, HMS Ajax, HMS Orion, HMAS Sydney and 16 destroyers.
The convoy was not spotted and arrived safe at Malta on 11 October. The only damage sustaned was to the destroyer HMS Imperial that was mined off Malta and was out of action for over 6 months.
While on the return trip the Mediterranean Fleet was sighted by an Italian aircraft. The Italian Navy tried to intercept them in the Ionian Sea. In the night of 11/12 October the first Italian torpedo boat flottilla with Airone, Alcione and Ariel attacked HMS Ajax. The attack failed and Ajax sank Airone and Ariel, Alcione escapes. A little while later the Italian 11th destroyer flottilla, with Artigliere, Aviere, Camicia Nera and Geniere arrived at the scene. They were suprised by gunfire from HMS Ajax. Artigliere was heavily damaged and Aviere was lightly damaged. Camicia Nere tried to tow Artigliere away but she was sighted by a British Sunderland aircraft that homes in 3 Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious. However the torpedo's they fire don't hit the Italian ships. Later the Britsh heavy cruiser HMS York arrived at the scene. Camicia Nera quickly slipped the towing line and sped off. After her crew had left the ship Artiglire was sunk by York.
While the Mediterranean Fleet was still on the return trip aircraft from HMS Illustrious and HMS Eagle attacked Leros and in the evening of the 14th the British light cruiser HMS Liverpool while south-east off Crete was hit in the bow by a torpedo from an Italian aircraft. The cruiser was heavily damaged and was repaired at the Mare Island Navy Yard in the USA. HMS Liverpool was not operational again until January 1942.