Friday, December 18, 2009

HMS Malaya in WW2

Postcard of HMS Malaya
HMS Malaya was a Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship launched in 1915, and saw action in both World Wars. It was scrapped after WW2 in 1948. Its bell is on display at the East India Club, London.

I obtained the postcard photograph seen above in Gibraltar on behalf of Mr James ('Jimmy') Campbell of Whitehaven, Cumbria who served on HMS Malaya just before and during WW2.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

During the early part of WW2 HMS Malaya served in the Mediterranean. In 1940 she escorted Merchant fleet convoys and saw action against some of the fleet. The ship also sailed with the convoys off the west coast of Africa and put into Gibraltar several times. Unfortunately for researchers in years to come, while in many cases it is possible to trace when various ships of the British fleet arrived or left Gibraltar, because the information was restricted in wartime the information about actual dates is less readily available in the Gibraltar Chronicle and Gibraltar Garrison library records.

However, HMS Malaya was damaged by a torpedo from U-106 at 2323 on 20 March 1941. The German U-Boat made the attack by shadowing a merchant ship in the convoy and then fired a spread of two stern torpedoes. The light was such that it favoured the attacker and so 'Malaya' was hit and damaged. This happened while escorting Convoy SL-68 approximately 250 miles WNW of the Cape Verde Islands.

The German Naval records of U-106 show the location and other details. One torpedo caused damage to HMS Malaya while another hit the 'Meerkerk'.

Malaya was damaged on the port side and sailed for the West Indies (Trinidad) where temporary repairs were made. She then went to New York and sdocked in the Navy Yard four months while repairs were made.

Malaya then provided a convoy escort across the Atlantic. Afterwards, it took part in the vitally important convoys between Britain, South Africa and Malta until the summer of 1943.

Strange as it my seem nowadays, HMS MAlaya was withdrawn from service in late 1944 and placed in reserve.

The crew were reassigned, and at this stage Jimmy Campbell, for whom this research was made, transferred to a sister ship, HMS Valiant. HMS Malaya was eventualy scrapped in 1948.

Saturday, 19 December, 2009  
Blogger Peter G said...


Regarding when HMS Malaya was in Gibraltar. In March 1940 she was in the Home Fleet on North Atlantic escort duties. On 10 June 1940 HMS Malaya was in the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet, Force C, based at Alexandria. In early January 1941 (but no later than 6 January) she moved to Gibraltar to the British Gibraltar Squadron (Force H).

Force H consisted of the battleships HMS Malaya and HMS Renown; the carrier HMS Ark Royal; the cruiser HMS Sheffield; and the destoyers Faulkner, Fury, Forester, Fortune, and Firedrake.

More information here

Saturday, 19 December, 2009  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Hi Joseph if you look back to August 2007 you will see more photos of HMS Malaya and her crew. I have several more of these and would be happy to email them to you for Mr James Campbell's perusal.


Tuesday, 22 December, 2009  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Hello Boabbie,

I have seen the photos you mention, although I had trouble printing them off. If you could e-mail copies of photos or other information I will give them to Mr Campbell.

In Gibraltar, I found it was possible to get the dates of various ships when they came in or left, but not during the war. Obviously this would be for security reasons.

Thursday, 31 December, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father died in 1991 and left me a few photographs from his time as a sailor in the RN when in New York being entertained (for example a beer party) by the very Brit supportive NY locals in 1941 as he waited to reboard HMS Malaya after the repairs you mention and I have a few pages of a handwritten daily diary written on HMS Malaya during the convoy (TC 12) back from Halifax to Scapa Flow.

Any suggestions as to where I might pass or lodge these or if anyone would like pdf copies let me know.

Christopher S

Thursday, 23 August, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home