HMS Southwold was a Type II British Hunt-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during World War II. Ordered on 20 December 1939, and built by J. Samuel White and Company of East Cowes as part of the 1939 emergency program, the vessel was completed on 9 October 1941.

HMS Southwold went to Scapa Flow for trials, after which she joined the Mediterranean Fleet. On 16 November 1941, Southwold joined convoy WS12Z at the ocean escort Clyde Assembly point. The ship detached from the convoy on 14 December and made an independent passage from Mombasa to Alexandria. On 5 January 1942, she joined the 5th Destroyer Flotilla for patrol and convoy escort duties. On 12 February, she was part of the Malta Convoy MW9B, but the convoy was under a heavy air attack, so it returned to Alexandria.

On 20 March 1942, she carried out an anti-submarine sweep along a planned path for Malta relief convoy MW10, along with some other destroyers. On 21 March, she joined this same convoy and took part in the Second Battle of Sirte a day later. On the 23 March she left the convoy with HMS Beaufort to escort HMS Breconshire to Malta. On 24 March, Southwold was attempting to pass a line to Breconshire when she activated a British mine resulting in an explosion in which an officer and four ratings were killed. HMS Southwold sustained major structural damage and the engine room flooded as electrical supplies failed. She was towed by the tug Ancient but the hull split and she began to sink. The survivors were rescued by HMS Dulverton.

The Southwold wreck, which lies in two sections about 1.5 miles off Marsaskala Bay, Malta, is categorised as two separate sites (bow and stern) by UCHU. The bow is the largest section, about 40 metres in length, and lies on its starboard side at a depth of 70 metres. The stern, located about 300 metres away, is about 28 metres long and it lies upright in 72 metres of water.

HMS Southwold

Dive Site, War Grave, Unexploded Ordinance

Open to Divers through Registered Dive Centres and Clubs

Maximum Depth: 73 metres


Wreck Video

Skip to content