United Kingdom
Name: HMS Fidelity
Builder: H. & C. Grayson Ltd., Garston, Liverpool
Completed: 1920
Commissioned: 24 September 1940
Fate: Sunk, 30 December 1942
General characteristics [1]
Type: Special Service Vessel
Tonnage: 2,356 GRT
Length: 80.7 m (264 ft 9 in)
Beam: 12.6 m (41 ft 4 in)
Depth: 5.7 m (18 ft 8 in)
Propulsion: 252 nhp triple expansion steam engine
Speed: 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 280
Aircraft carried: 2 × OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes

HMS Fidelity (D57) was a Special Service Vessel of the British Royal Navy during World War II, originally the French merchant vessel La Rhin.

Ship history

The 2,456 ton ship was built by H. & C. Grayson Ltd. of Garston, Liverpool, and completed in 1920 for Compagnie de Navigation Paquet, Marseilles.[2]

In June 1940 Le Rhin sailed for Gibraltar under the command of Lieutenant de Vaisseau Claude Andre Michel Peri, and was turned over to the Royal Navy at Barry, Wales. The ship was converted into the special service vessel, and commissioned on 24 September 1940 as HMS Fidelity (D57) under the command of Lt. Peri, serving as Lieutenant Commander Jack Langlais RNVR. Her officers included Lt-Cmdr. Patrick Albert O'Leary RNVR and First Officer Madeleine Barclay WRNS.[2]

In 1941 Fidelity operated off the coast of Southern France under the direction of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), landing agents and picking up escaped prisoners, disguised as Spanish or Portuguese freighters.[3] She also took part in small-scale sabotage operations.[4] In 1942 Fidelity was refitted to operate as a commando carrier for operations in south-east Asia. She was armed with four 4-inch guns, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and carried two OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes, the motor torpedo boat MTB-105, and the landing craft HMS LCV-752 and LCV-754.[2]


In December 1942 Fidelity, with T Company, 40 Commando aboard, joined Convoy ON 154. The convoy was attacked by U-boats from 27 December while north of the Azores. Fidelity, suffering from engine problems, was left behind by the convoy. On 30 December she was torpedoed and sunk by U-435 under the command of Siegfried Strelow at position 43°23′N 27°07′W / 43.383°N 27.117°W / 43.383; -27.117Coordinates: 43°23′N 27°07′W / 43.383°N 27.117°W / 43.383; -27.117 with the loss of 274 crew, 51 Marines and 44 survivors from SS Empire Shackleton. The only survivors were the eight crew of the motor torpedo boat, detached on anti-submarine patrol, who were later picked up by HMCS Woodstock (K238), and two crewmen of a seaplane that had crashed on take off on 28 December and been picked up by HMCS St. Laurent (H83).[2] To this day 40 Commando has never reused T as a company designation in memory of the loss[5].


  1. ^ "FIDELITY CARGO SHIP 1920-1942". wrecksite.eu. 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Helgason, Guðmundur (2013). "HMS Fidelity (D57)". uboat.net. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  3. ^ Kinross-Purser, John (15 December 2005). "A Marine on HMS Fidelity". BBC WW2 People's War. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  4. ^ "The Pat O'Leary Line". WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society. 2013. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  5. ^ http://www.commandoveterans.org/HMSFidelity
 5.  Heroisme, Jean AYRAL, Compagnon dela Liberation, (By Xavier Jean REYES-AYRAL) Editions l'Harmattan

External links

  • Kemble, Mike. "HMS Fidelity". secondworldwar.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013.
  • Mumford, Gordon (2009). "Memorial to the Seaman and Marines on HMS Fidelity". gordonmumford.com.