Malta diving essentials: HMS Maori

Advert Travel Gazette

Her extraordinary career ended when she was sunk at her moorings in Malta Grand Harbour on February 12th, 1942, after being attacked by Luftwaffe aircraft during the intense bombardment of the island.

Maori took part in many actions, including the night attack on the German battleship Bismark, before being sunk by German bombs off Malta.

Built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Ltd, of Govan, HMS Maori was a British Destroyer of 1,850 tons. She was launched by Mrs. W. J. Jordan, wife of the High Commissioner for New Zealand, in September 1937.

The Maori was the fourth of the Tribal Class to be launched and sister ship to the Gurkha. This particular class was a distinctive departure in destroyer construction at the time, being much larger than any previously evolved. The Maori was the second vessel of that name in the British Navy, the first having been a torpedo boat destroyer built on the Clyde in 1909.

In 1940, Maori convoyed troops from Norway. During an air attack on the ship, several soldiers were slightly wounded by shrapnel.

Then, in May 1941, she took part in the dramatic pursuit and destruction of the German battleship Bismarck – firing a single torpedo at the German giant.

Soon after, in December that same year, Commander R. E. Courage, and the ship’s company took part in the ‘brilliant night action’ in the Mediterranean in which two Italian cruisers and a U-boat were sunk and an Italian torpedo boat severely damaged.

Her extraordinary career ended when she was sunk at her moorings in Malta Grand Harbour on February 12th, 1942, after being attacked by Luftwaffe aircraft during the intense bombardment of the island.

Eventually, she was raised and scuttled off Fort Saint Elmo in July 1945.

Unsurprisingly, she has become a popular dive site. The bow section lies in the sand at a depth of around 14 metres, whilst the aft section of the ship was abandoned in deeper waters. Much of the forward superstructure is extant, including the two front gun bases.

 

 

Travel Gazette Ads