HMS Grenade H86

HMS Grenade (H86) was a G class destroyer, launched in November 1935 and commissioned in March 1936.
Postcard which shows HMS Grenade at sea (uncredited but identified by her code)


Initially, she was part of the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean. She was given an overhaul in Malta in 1937 before a complete refit in Chatham in 1938. In October 1938 she was briefly stationed in the Red Sea. When WW2 broke out she was docked in Alexandria in Egypt, where she (along with the rest of her flotilla) was recalled to England where they became part of the Western Approaches Command, operating from Devonport, Plymouth. It was soon after that Grenade was involved in a series of collisions which would see her spending a great deal of time being repaired.

She took part in the ill-fated Norwegian campaign, where she was assigned as an escort vessel to both the battleship Warspite and the carrier Ark Royal. She also rescued 36 sailors from the French destroyer Bison following an air attack, which saw the Bison suffering a direct hit to her forward magazine, causing injuries to four of Grenade's crew. Unfortunately, by the time Grenade reached Scapa Flow on May 5th, 20 of the survivors had died from their wounds.


Photograph which shows HMS Warspite in action at Narvik. The vessel to the bottom left is a Destroyer and could well be HMS Grenade.

On May 14th 1940, she was again involved in a collision, this time with the anti-submarine trawler Clayton Wyke, resulting in the Grenade undergoing further repairs at Sheerness, which were completed on May 25th. Grenade initially served as part of the protective screen, to cover the vessels involved in the actual evacuation and it was only on the night of 28/29th May that she was herself sent over to the port of Dunkirk.




Salvus Life Jacket from HMS Grenade.

On May 29th, Grenade was attacked by Ju87 Stukas while berthed in Dunkirk. Two direct hits killed 14 with a further four seriously wounded; fire now swept through the ship. Fearing that Grenade might sink blocking the berth, she was cut free from her moorings and drifted into the main channel of the harbour, where the trawler John Cattling took her under tow to the western side of the port, in order to move her out of the way. It was here that she later sank, following the explosion of her magazines during the evening.

To read more about lifejackets, click here.

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