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HMS Welshman & HMS Manxman

These ships were fast minelayers (reputed to be the fastest ships in the Navy in the early 1940's capable of some 40 knots).
They were used to supply Malta with service personnel, food & ammunition along with the Submarines during the early part of the siege.

HMS Manxman - M 70

Taken in Malta unknown date.

Taken in Scotland -1949.

Taken en route to Malta from Gibraltar 1941.
Photo courtesy of Paul from his father (Bill Lazell's) collection.

Bell currently in the Malta National War Museum.

1st December 1942, damaged by German submarine U-375.;nr=6
Scrapped in 1968.


HMS Welshman - M 84 - Commanded by Captain Dennis Friedberger RN.

HMS Welshman with Fort St.Angelo in the background. This photo may have been
taken in 1942 as she has been made to look like a French Leopard class destroyer.

10th May 1942....
Arrived from Gibraltar at dawn (6am) with a supply of canned meat, powdered milk, dehydrated foodstuffs, aero engines & Spitfire spare parts - including ammunition, spare aircrews & several tons of mail from home. Also part of the inventory was a chemical used to make a thick smoke screen over the Harbour to blind the bombers in selecting targets. Bomber pilots later referred to this as 'Fog over Grand Harbour'. At 0600 on this date she berthed at French Creek, Grand Harbour & was rapidly offloaded. A jetty was constructed which was referred to as 'a cone of steel'. Twenty Ju 87, 10 Ju 88 escorted by Me 109 fighters attacked the Harbour shortly before 1100 hrs. Although the smoke screen was complete the ship received a near miss which hit the jetty throwing large lumps of it onto her deck but no serious damage resulted.
The Luftwaffe made the ship a priority target & many attempts were made to sink her by 4 bombing raids. The RAF made 110 sorties by 37 Spitfires and 13 Hurricanes during the day & shot down 15 German aircraft.
The Army & helpers offloaded the precious cargo in about 6 hours & 14 hours later set sail. She was camoflagued as a French destroyer & even flew a French flag. For the journey back to Gibraltar 300 tons of fuel oil was loaded which left only 2,000 tons of fuel oil in underground bunkers as Malta's entire store.

She returned to the UK for a repair due to damage sustained on a Malta run. After returning to the Mediterranean she was sunk 35 miles east-northeast off Tobruk, Libya by a single torpedo from the German submarine U-617;nr=9 on the 1st February 1943.

Links - Some photos here which you can purchase online.
There is a Welshman Association. Mr.Payne has information & can be contacted at

References: Siege Malta 1940 - 1943. Ernle Bradford