HMS Lady Shirley

HMS Lady Shirley (ASW Trawler)
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Lady Shirley
Operator: Royal Navy
Yard number: 615
Launched: 25 February 1937
Completed: 19 April 1937
Acquired: 1940
Commissioned: February 1941
Fate: Sunk on 11 December 1941 by torpedo from U374 during World War II (Straits of Gibraltar 35.59N, 05.17W)
General characteristics
Class and type: Anti-Submarine Warship
Displacement: 472  tonnes
Length: 163.5 feet
Beam: 27.2 feet
Propulsion: 120 HP
Speed: 12 knots
Complement: 33
Sensors and
processing systems:
ASDIC anti-submarine dome[1]

Depth charges

1 × 1 12pdr gun

HMS Lady Shirley (ASW) (also known as HMT Lady Shirley)[1] was a fishing trawler requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1940 and converted for anti-submarine warfare.[2] A German U-boat sank her in 1941, but not until after she had sank U-111.

Service record

After conversion, which included fitting an ASDIC anti-submarine dome,[1] Lady Shirley went into service in January 1941 and served with the 31st Anti-Submarine Group based at Gibraltar, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Henry Callaway DSO RANVR.

On 4 October 1941, Lady Shirley sank German submarine U-111 south-west of Tenerife, in position 27°15′N 20°27′W / 27.250°N 20.450°W / 27.250; -20.450, by depth charges.[2] Lady Shirley had one crewmember killed and several injured in the battle.[1][3] Of the U-boat crew of 52, eight were killed and 44 survived. The survivors were later interrogated. This was the first time that prisoners of war (POWs) were captured from a U-boat operating in the South Atlantic.[3]

German survivors claimed that U-111 was the first U-boat to be lost of those operating in that area. According to the lengthy interrogation report, the crew of U-111 put up a poor fight and surrendered speedily to their much less powerful adversary. The crew consisted of four officers, three chief petty officers, fourteen petty officers, and thirty ratings, plus an officer under instruction as a prospective U-boat Captain. U-111's commander, Wilhelm Kleinschmidt, was killed in the action with Lady Shirley, along with her First Lieutenant, a junior officer, and five ratings. The captured POWs said that the normal complement was 43, including officers.

Lady Shirley took the POWs to Gibraltar. A British warship escorting a convoy then took them to England.

On 11 December 1941, a torpedo from U-374 hit Lady Shirley, sinking her in the Straits of Gibraltar in position 35°59′N 5°17′W / 35.983°N 5.283°W / 35.983; -5.283Coordinates: 35°59′N 5°17′W / 35.983°N 5.283°W / 35.983; -5.283. All 33 crew were lost with their ship.[1][2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Lady Shirley H464". Hull Trawler. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMS Lady Shirley". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  3. 1 2 "U-111 – Interrogation of Survivors". U-boat Archive. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
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