ORP Blyskawica (H34)

Casualty List

Blyskawica today

Navy: Polish Navy



H 34 

J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 

9 Nov, 1935 

1 Oct, 1936 

25 Nov, 1937 

1 May, 1976 

Blyskawica means lightning in English.

On 3 September 1939 ORP Blyscawica received the pennant number H 34 from the British.

Decommisioned 1 May 1976 and preserved as museum in Gdynia. 

Laid down:
End service:
Events of interest involving Blyskawica :


1 Sep, 1939
The Polish destroyers Burza (Lt.Cdr. S. Nahorski, ORP), Grom (Lt.Cdr. A. Hulewicz, ORP) and Blyskawica (Cdr. W. Kodrebski, ORP) were met in the North Sea by British aircraft and the British destroyers HMS Wallace (Lt.Cdr. W.M.L. Astwood, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr R.F. Morice, RN). They were escorted to Leith.

7 Sep, 1939
On 7 Sepember 1939, ORP Blyskawica becomes the first among the Polish Navy warships in World War 2 to attack a submerged U-boot 10 miles south east of South Uist island in the English Channel.

6 Nov, 1939
Blyskawica (Lt. T. Gorazdowski, ORP) and Grom (Cdr. A. Hulewicz, ORP) recieved orders to find and rescue downed British pilots in the Dogger Bank area. The Polish ships were attacked by two German He-115 hydroplanes. One of them dropped a torpedo aiming for Blyskawica. The destroyer turned rapidly and avoided the threat.

10 Nov, 1939
Blyskawica (Lt. T. Gorazdowski, ORP) was docked at Chatham for a screws change and a boilers cleaning.

26 Nov, 1939
Blyskawica recieved a new commanding officer, Lt.Cdr. Jerzy Umecki.

30 Nov, 1939
While Blyskawica was escorting a coastal convoy the commodore's ship Sheaf Crest, hit the mine and sank. Blyskawica picked up 25 survivors.

12 Dec, 1939
The 1st Destroyer Flotilla (including Blyskawica) conducted a raid in the Texel - Terschelling area in order to intercept German destroyers detected by reconissance. Due to the dense fog, this proved impossible. Two days later the entire flotilla returned to Harwich.

18 Dec, 1939
The British destroyers HMS Grenville (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN), HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN) and the Polish destroyer Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. J. Umecki, ORP) formed the escort of two British minelayers which conducted a night operation off the German coast. Mines were laid between Sylt Island and the harbor of Emden.

22 Mar, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza and Blyskawica escorted three French submarines and their tender Jules Verne on their route from Brest to Harwich.

4 Apr, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica reached their new homebase Rosyth. In the afternoon they left the harbour with the British light cruisers HMS Arethusa, HMS Galatea and three British destroyers. These ships were ordered to conduct a patrol at North Sea and were later ordered to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway.

9 Apr, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica were ordered to join the British destroyer HMS Tartar and provide escort for convoy HN-24 (31 merchants escaping from Norway to England, some of them were loaded with Norwegian gold). The convoy reached Britain without any loses.

12 Apr, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica entered Rosyth for refueling. Then they were sent to Scapa Flow.

17 Apr, 1940
Blyskawica was part of the escort of the damaged British heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk while this ship returned to Scapa Flow.

19 Apr, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica left Scapa Flow and head to Narvik. During a storm Burza was damaged by high waves and forced to return.

21 Apr, 1940
The Polish destroyers Blyskawica and Grom entered the Vest Fjord, off Narvik, Norway.

2 May, 1940
Blyskawica entered the Rombaken Fjord in the Narvik area. She was ambushed by a German gun battery and machine guns firing at point-blank range. Despite this, ship didn't retreat. Polish gunners returned fire, destroyed three guns and silenced rest of them. Blyskawica was hit four times by gun shells and damaged. Three members of her crew were killed. After this fight, she was sent to Skjel Fjord for repairs which lasted for two days.

5 May, 1940
Blyskawica was on patrol in Rombaken Fjord. German aircraft conducted a heavy but unsuccessful attacks which lasted for 12 hours. In the evening, Blyskawica traded fire with a german 88mm gun battery. She was hit eleven times, but suffered only minor damage. The enemy guns were silenced.

6 May, 1940
Another day and again heavy fighting with German aircraft. Lot of bombs exploded in the water, causing no damage. The Polish ship fired it's entire supply of Anti-Aircraft ammunition and shot down one enemy bomber. After that, she entered Skjel Fjord where an Allied supply base was located.

10 May, 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza and Blyskawica left Norwegian waters in order to return to Scapa Flow.

10 May, 1940
Another heavy air attack. Blyskawica was operating in Skjel Fjord. She avoided all bombs and shot down one enemy bomber. Some fragments of wing of this airplane were found by Norwegian fishermen and were given to the Polish crew as a present.

26 May, 1940
Blyskawica acompanied the British light crusier HMS Galatea on a patrol in the English Channel.

27 May, 1940
In the evening, the Polish destroyer Blyskawica recieved orders to meet with the British destroyers HMS Gallant and HMS Vivacious to enter the small port of La Panne (in the Dunkirk area) and evacuate part of RAF personnel. Unfortunely, she failed to find her partners and didn't complete the task. Instead of this, she was ordered to enter Dunkirk harbor together with the British destroyer HMS Vega and conduct a night reconnisance mission. The Admirality wanted to find out, if this harbor (partially blocked by wrecks) may be useful in Allied evacuation. Both destroyers were attacked by two German aircraft, but inspected the positions of wrecks. After that, Admiral Ramsey learned that navy vessels are able to conduct evacuation from Dunkirk and sent part of them there.

28 May, 1940
Blyskawica was ordered to patrol on Dunkirk evecuation route "Y" and provide Anti-Aircraft cover for Allied vessels.

29 May, 1940
Aroud 1700hours, two German bombers attacked the Polish destroyer Blyskawica, but missed. At night, she recieved a signal from the badly damaged British destroyer HMS Greyhound (loaded with some 1000 soldiers). The Polish destroyer managed to tow Greyhound to Dover.

30 May, 1940
The French destroyer Cyclone was hit by a torpedo fired by the German motor torpedo boat S-24. She was badly damaged but was able to sail at a speed of 5 knots. The French Commanding Officer asked the Polish destroyer Blyskawica for escort. The Polish destroyer answered and provided the cover requisted. Both ships then met the French destroyer Sirocco that was loaded with soldiers. She passed nearby and dissapeared in the darkness. After one hour Sirocco was torpedoed and sunk by the German motor torpedo boats S-23 and S-26. Blyscawica left Cyclone. She picked up 15 survivors from the Sirocco. Then she returned to Cyclone and acompanied her to Dover.

31 May, 1940
Blyskawica continued her patrol on Dunkirk evacuation route "Y".

1 Jun, 1940
Blyscawica was ordered to return to Harwich where she arrived the next day.

9 Jun, 1940
Blyskawica left Harwich and steamed to Cowes for repairs and refitting.

12 Aug, 1940
Blyskawica took part in the Anti-Aircraft defense of Portsmouth. She shot down one enemy bomber (He-111).

30 Aug, 1940
The Polish destroyers Blyskawica and Burza joined the escort of a convoy heading to the USA. Later Burza suffered a malfunction and was forced to return to base.

1 Sep, 1940
Lookouts on Blyskawica spotted a lifeboat from the British Merchant Har Zion with one survivor (Seaman Osman Adem). He was picked up. The Har Zion was torpedoed and sunk the previous day by the German submarine U-38 northwest of Bloody Foreland in position 56.20N, 10W. 34 members of her crew went down with the ship.

2 Sep, 1940
Blyskawica and some British destroyers left the convoy they were escorting and formed an escort of another convoy which was heading to England.

3 Sep, 1940
While escorting a convoy, ORP Blyscawica observed a periscope and atacked a U-boat with depth charges. Two hours later, in fog, she encountered a U-boat (probably this same) on the surface at a distance of 700 meter and attacked it with artillery and depth charges.

29 Sep, 1940
The 5th Destroyer Flotilla (including Blyskawica) was on patrol in English Channel. At night, HMS Broke and the Polish destroyer were sent against group of German motor torpedo boats. However, the Germans found their target first. They approached and fired several torpedoes. The Allied crews managed to spot the torpedoes and avoided them. The destroyers fired star shells, but spotted only one of the attackers retreating at high speed. After few salvos, contact was lost.

20 Oct, 1940
The British destroyers HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine RN), HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) and the Polish destroyer Blyskawica (Cdr. W. Franki, ORP) conducted a patrol in the English Channel. They detected four German destroyers. The enemy ships turned back to their base. The allied pursuit was unsuccessfull.

26 Oct, 1940
Blyskawica collided with a freighter. There were no casualities, but the destroyer had to be repaired.

4 Dec, 1940
Shortly after the end of the repairs, Blyskawica was ordered to join the escort of convoy heading to the USA. During a very strong storm the destroyer suffered serious damage. The rudder jammed 20 degrees to portside. A group of sailors managed to unblock it and steer the ship using the manual steering system. Also Depth charges were smashed into the water by the pounding waves. A torpedo mount was damaged and rotated without control. Later, the rudder jammed again, however only 2 degrees to portside, so they were able to steer with the ships propellers. Blyskawica returned to Greenock on 6 December 1940.

11 Feb, 1941
Blyskawica escorted a convoy to Iceland. But on the 14th she was again damaged in a storm and she had to return to Greenock

13 Mar, 1941
While in dock Blyskawica took part in the Anti-Aircraft defense of Glasgow.

2 Dec, 1941
After a long repair and rearming period, ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. Francki) came to Scapa Flow for training.

20 Dec, 1941
With her refresher training completed Blyskawica arrived in Greenock fully combat ready.

30 Dec, 1941
Blyskawica arrives at Reykjavik, Iceland.

4 Apr, 1942
Blyskawica suffered damage due to a storm.

6 Apr, 1942
The damaged Polish destroyer arrived in Greenock.

9 Apr, 1942
Blyskawica was sent to Cowes for repairs.

11 Apr, 1942
Blyskawica arrived at Cowes where she was welcomed by the sirens and a German air raid.

12 Apr, 1942
Blyscawica moves to J.S. White's yard to service her engines, refurbishment and repair the storm damage.

23 Apr, 1942
While Blyskawica was under repair at Cowes, German bombers conducted an air raid (at night) against the dockyard. One bomb exploded near the destroyer causing some damage.

28 Apr, 1942
Around 0600 hours the ship yard was attacked by 6 Me 109's. Blyskawica received some damage.

4 May, 1942
During another heavy air raid on Cowes, ORP Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. Gorazdowski) took part in the AA defense. After the attack, part of Polish crew helped in fighting the fires in the town.

10 Aug, 1942
ORP Blyskawica, together with the British destroyer HMS Broke receives orders to reinforce the escort of convoy SC-94.