HMS Maori

Location: St. Elmo Bay, Valletta
Maximum Depth: 16m
Constructed: 1936
Launched: 1937
Type: Tribal Class British Destroyer
Weight (tons): 1959 grt
Dimensions: 115m X 11m
Builders: Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd., Govan
Owners: British Royal Navy, Admiralty, Rn, London


This 1959-ton Tribal Class British Destroyer, built by Fairfield in Govan, England, was launched on 2nd September 1937, with an overall length of 115m, breadth 11m, main armament 8 X 4.7in guns, 4 X 21in torpedo tubes, twin screws with a speed of 36 knots and a crew of 190 men. During World War II, HMS Maori was involved in the following campaigns: April/May 1940 – Norway; Bismark – May 1941; Malta Convoys during 1941 and 1942. She was one of the four destroyers which sank two Italian cruisers near Cape Bon on the 13th December 1941.

During the early hours of 12th February 1942, HMS Maori was moored in Grand Harbour, Valletta, when a parachute flare dropped by enemy aircraft became trapped in her foremast. Soon after the illuminated destroyer received a direct hit by a bomb and caught fire. She was abandoned and shortly afterwards the aft magazine exploded. The destroyer sank stern first causing the bows to rise out of the sea. During that afternoon she slowly filled with water and sank.


hms maori photo sharon forder

HMS Maori - Photo Sharon Forder

In 1945, she was cut in two and the forepart was re-floated, then towed to St. Elmo Bay near the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour and is still there today. The aft section was re-floated and sunk in deep water off the island.