HMS Derwent (L83)

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HMS Derwent FL11118.jpg
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Derwent
Ordered: 4 July 1940
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow-in-Furness
Laid down: 29 December 1940
Launched: 22 August 1941
Commissioned: 24 April 1942
Identification: Pennant number: L83
Honours and
Fate: Scrapped in 1947
Badge: On a Field Blue, a stirrup Gold, over a rose White and two wings also White
General characteristics
Class and type: Hunt-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,050 tons standard; 1,435 tons full load
Length: 280 ft (85 m)
Beam: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
Draught: 8 ft 3 in (2.51 m)
Speed: 27 knots (25½ kts full)
Range: 2,350 nmi (4,350 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 168

HMS Derwent was a Hunt-class Type III destroyer escort of the Royal Navy. She was built by Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow-in-Furness and served during the Second World War.

Hunt-class destroyer ship class

The Hunt class was a class of escort destroyer of the Royal Navy. The first vessels were ordered early in 1939, and the class saw extensive service in the Second World War, particularly on the British east coast and Mediterranean convoys. They were named after British fox hunts. The modern Hunt-class GRP hulled mine countermeasure vessels maintain the Hunt names lineage in the Royal Navy.

Destroyer escort United States Navy mid-20th century ship classification

Destroyer escort (DE) was the United States Navy mid-20th-century classification for a 20-knot (23 mph) warship designed with endurance to escort mid-ocean convoys of merchant marine ships. Kaibōkan were designed for a similar role in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Royal Navy and Commonwealth forces identified such warships as frigates, and that classification was widely accepted when the United States redesignated destroyer escorts as frigates (FF) in 1975. From circa 1954 until 1975 new-build US Navy ships designated as destroyer escorts (DE) were called ocean escorts. Destroyer escorts, frigates, and kaibōkan were mass-produced for World War II as a less expensive antisubmarine warfare alternative to fleet destroyers. Other similar warships include the 10 Kriegsmarine escort ships of the F-class and the two Amiral Murgescu-class vessels of the Romanian Navy.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.


Construction and design

Derwent was one of seven Type III Hunt-class destroyers ordered for the Royal Navy on 4 July 1940, as part of the 1940 War Emergency Programme. [1] The Hunt class was meant to fill the Royal Navy's need for a large number of small destroyer-type vessels capable of both convoy escort and operations with the fleet. The Type III Hunts differed from the previous Type II ships in replacing a twin 4-inch gun mount by two torpedo tubes to improve their ability to operate as destroyers. [2] [3]

The Type III Hunts were 264 feet 3 inches (80.54 m) long between perpendiculars and 280 feet (85.34 m) overall, with a beam was 31 feet 6 inches (9.60 m) and draught 7 feet 9 inches (2.36 m). Displacement was 1,050 long ton s (1,070  t ) standard and 1,490 long tons (1,510 t) under full load. Two Admiralty boilers raising steam at 300 pounds per square inch (2,100 kPa) and 620 °F (327 °C) fed Parsons single-reduction geared steam turbines that drove two propeller shafts, generating 19,000 shaft horsepower (14,000 kW) at 380 rpm. This gave a design maximum speed of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph). [4] 345 long tons (351 t) of oil fuel were carried, giving a range of 3,700 nautical miles (6,900 km; 4,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). [5]

Length between perpendiculars form of ship length measurement

Length between perpendiculars is the length of a ship along the waterline from the forward surface of the stem, or main bow perpendicular member, to the after surface of the sternpost, or main stern perpendicular member. When there is no sternpost, the centerline axis of the rudder stock is used as the aft end of the length between perpendiculars.

Length overall maximum length of a vessels hull measured parallel to the waterline

Length overall is the maximum length of a vessel's hull measured parallel to the waterline. This length is important while docking the ship. It is the most commonly used way of expressing the size of a ship, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth.

Beam (nautical) width of a ship at its widest point measured at its nominal waterline

The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point as measured at the ship's nominal waterline. The beam is a bearing projected at right-angles from the fore and aft line, outwards from the widest part of ship. Beam may also be used to define the maximum width of a ship's hull, or maximum width including superstructure overhangs.

Main gun armament was four 4 inch (102 mm) QF Mk XVI dual purpose (anti-ship and anti-aircraft) guns in two twin mounts, with a quadruple 2-pounder "pom-pom" and three Oerlikon 20 mm cannon providing close-in anti-aircraft fire. [6] [4] Two 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted in a single twin mount, while two depth charge chutes, four depth charge throwers and 70 depth charges comprised the ship's anti-submarine armament. Type 291 and Type 285 radars was fitted, as was Type 128 sonar. [6] [7]

QF 2-pounder naval gun

The 2-pounder gun, officially designated the QF 2-pounder and universally known as the pom-pom, was a 40-millimetre (1.6 in) British autocannon, used as an anti-aircraft gun by the Royal Navy. The name came from the sound that the original models make when firing. This QF 2-pounder was not the same gun as the Ordnance QF 2 pounder, used by the British Army as an anti-tank gun and a tank gun, although they both fired 2 pounds (0.91 kg), 40 millimetres (1.6 in) projectiles.

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon series of autocannons

The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original German 20 mm Becker design that appeared very early in World War I. It was widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others, with various models employed by both Allied and Axis forces during World War II, and many versions are still in use today.

Torpedo tube Device for launching torpedoes

A torpedo tube is a cylinder shaped device for launching torpedoes.

Derwent was laid down at Vickers Armstrong's Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on 12 December 1940, was launched on 22 August 1941 and was completed on 24 April 1942. [1] [8]

Keel laying formal recognition of the start of a ships construction

Laying the keel or laying down is the formal recognition of the start of a ship's construction. It is often marked with a ceremony attended by dignitaries from the shipbuilding company and the ultimate owners of the ship.

Barrow-in-Furness town and seaport in the county of Cumbria, England

Barrow-in-Furness is a town and borough in Cumbria, North-West England. Historically part of Lancashire, it was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1867 and merged with Dalton-in-Furness Urban District in 1974 to form the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness. At the tip of the Furness peninsula, close to the Lake District, it is bordered by Morecambe Bay, the Duddon Estuary and the Irish Sea. In 2011, Barrow's population was 57,000, making it the second largest urban area in Cumbria after Carlisle, although it is geographically closer to the whole of Lancashire and most of Merseyside. Natives of Barrow, as well as the local dialect, are known as Barrovian.

Ceremonial ship launching Ceremonial process of transferring a newly-built vessel to the water

Ceremonial ship launching is the process of transferring a vessel to the water. It is a naval tradition in many cultures, dating back thousands of years. It has been observed as a public celebration and a solemn blessing.

Service history

HMS Derwent carrying out a Torpedo Exercise in the Indian Ocean 25 November 1942 (IWM A13695) British Destroyer Fires a Torpedo, and Brings It Back Again. 25 November 1942, in the Indian Ocean Aboard HMS Derwent. a British Destroyer Carried Out a Torpedo Exercise and Afterwards Recovered the Torpedo. A13695.jpg
HMS Derwent carrying out a Torpedo Exercise in the Indian Ocean 25 November 1942 (IWM A13695)

On 19 March 1943 while anchored in Tripoli harbour, Libya, Derwent was hit by a Motobomba (pattern-running torpedo) launched by an Italian aircraft. [9] Another, more specific source, says the destroyer was damaged by I./KG 54 and KG 77, which also sank the Ocean Voyager (7,174 grt), Greek steamer Vavara (1,654 grt). [10]

Tripoli Capital city in Greater Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.158 million people in 2018. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks.

Libya Country in north Africa

Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

The Motobomba, more properly the Motobomba FFF, was an Italian pattern-running torpedo used by Italian and German air forces during World War II. The designation FFF was derived from the last names the three men involved with its original design: Lieutenant-Colonel Prospero Freri, Captain-Disegnatore Filpa, and Colonel Amedeo Fiore.

Derwent was beached to prevent her from sinking and was later temporarily repaired and towed to England. Some repairs were carried out, but the decision was taken to suspend work in January 1945 and she was reduced to the reserve, and finally scrapped in 1947.


  1. 1 2 English 1987 , p. 17
  2. English 1987 , pp. 7, 12
  3. Lenton 1970 , pp. 83, 85
  4. 1 2 Lenton 1970 , p. 97
  5. Whitley 2000 , p. 147
  6. 1 2 Gardiner & Chesneau 1980 , p. 46
  7. English 1987 , pp. 12–13
  8. Friedman 2008 , p. 331
  9. Ciampaglia, Giuseppe (July 1999). "La sorprendente storia della motobomba FFF". Rivista Italiana Difesa (in Italian).
  10. Smith, Kindell and Bertke 2012, p. 68.


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