HMS Hambledon (L37)

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HMS Hambledon WWII FL 22844.jpg
HMS Hambledon during World War II.
History
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: HMS Hambledon
Namesake: A fox hunt in Hampshire, England [1]
Ordered: 21 March 1939 [1]
Builder: Swan Hunter, Newcastle upon Tyne [1] or Wallsend [2]
Laid down: 8 [1] or 9 [2] June 1939
Launched: 12 December 1939 [1]
Completed: 8 June 1940 [1]
Commissioned: 8 June 1940 [1]
Decommissioned: December 1945
Identification: pennant number: L37
Honours and
awards:
Fate:
  • Hulked for disposal 1955
  • Sold for scrapping August 1957
  • Scrapping began September 1957
Badge: On a red field, a gold fox 's mask and two gold brushes in saltire [1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Hunt-class destroyer
Displacement:
  • 1,000 t standard
  • 1,340 t full load
Length: 280 ft (85 m)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Draught: 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
Propulsion:
Speed: 27½ kn (26 knots full)
Range: 3,500 nmi (6,480 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h) / 1,000 nmi (2,000 km) at 26 knots (48 km/h)
Complement: 146
Armament:

The second HMS Hambledon was a Hunt-class destroyer of the Royal Navy in commission from 1940 to 1945. She was a member of the first subgroup of the class, and saw service throughout World War II.

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 Type of warship

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against powerful short range attackers. They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

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.

Contents

Construction and commissioning

Hambledon was ordered under the 1939 Naval Building Programme from Swan Hunter, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 21 March 1939. She was laid down on 8 [1] or 9 [2] June 1939 and launched on 12 December 1939. She was completed on 8 June 1940, [1] and immediately commissioned, under the command of Commander Stephen Hope Carlill, RN with the pennant number L37. [2]

Swan Hunter shipbuilding design, engineering and management company

Swan Hunter, formerly known as Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, is a shipbuilding design, engineering, and management company, based in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England.

Newcastle upon Tyne City and metropolitan borough in England

Newcastle upon Tyne, commonly known as Newcastle, is a city in Tyne and Wear, North East England, 103 miles (166 km) south of Edinburgh and 277 miles (446 km) north of London on the northern bank of the River Tyne, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) from the North Sea. Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East, and forms the core of the Tyneside conurbation, the eighth most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the UK Core Cities Group and is a member of the Eurocities network of European cities.

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.

Service history

Home waters, 1940

Upon commissioning, Hambledon immediately began acceptance trials, which she completed successfully later in June 1940. She then proceeded to Portland for work-ups, during which she deployed with the British destroyers Atherstone, Fernie, Inglefield, and Imogen to escort the minelayers Menestheus, Port Napier, Port Quebec, and Southern Prince of the 1st Minelaying Squadron as they laid the first section of the Northern Barrage north of North Rona in Operation SN1. On 12 July 1940, increased German activity in the English Channel prompted the Royal Navy to transfer her work-ups north to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, and she completed them there later in July 1940 and was assigned to a flotilla based at Sheerness, charged with patrol and convoy defence duties in the English Channel and along the east coast of Great Britain. On 31 August 1940 she and her sister ship Garth rendered assistance to Royal Navy ships that had struck mines in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands, rescuing the survivors of the sunken destroyer Esk and standing by the badly damaged destroyer Express, which had lost her bow in a mine explosion, until tugs arrived to tow her to safety. [1]

Isle of Portland tied island in Dorset, England, UK

The Isle of Portland is a tied island, 4 miles (6 km) long by 1.7 miles (2.7 km) wide, in the English Channel. Portland is 5 miles (8 km) south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A barrier beach called Chesil Beach joins it to the mainland. The A354 road passes down the Portland end of the beach and then over the Fleet Lagoon by bridge to the mainland. Portland and Weymouth together form the borough of Weymouth and Portland. The population of Portland is 12,400.

HMS <i>Atherstone</i> (L05)

HMS Atherstone was a Hunt-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was launched in late 1939 as the first of her class but was found to be unstable, and had to undergo significant modifications before entering service in March 1940.

HMS <i>Inglefield</i> (D02) destroyer

HMS Inglefield was an I-class destroyer leader built for the Royal Navy that served during World War II. She was the navy's last purpose-built flotilla leader. She was named after the 19th century Admiral Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield (1820–1894), and is so far the only warship to carry the name of that seafaring family. In May 1940, her pennant number was changed to I02.

In October 1940, Hambledon was selected to participate in Operation Lucid, a plan to use fire ships to attack German invasion barges in ports in northern France, but bad weather forced the Royal Navy to abort the operation on several occasions and it was never carried out. On 7 October 1940, during operations related to Lucid, she suffered major damage to her after structure from the explosion of an acoustic mine in the English Channel off South Foreland at position 51°08′00″N001°21′00″E / 51.13333°N 1.35000°E / 51.13333; 1.35000 (HMS Hambledon mined) , losing one rating killed and two injured. The destroyer Vesper towed her to Sheerness, and she was taken to Chatham Dockyard for repairs, which lasted until May 1941, and the installation of Type 285 fire-control radar for her armament. [1] [2]

Operation Lucid 1940 British plan to use fireships to destroy barges gathering for the invasion of Britain.

Operation Lucid was a British plan to use fire ships to attack invasion barges that were gathering in ports on the northern coast of France in preparation for a German invasion of Britain in 1940. The attack was initiated several times in September and October that year, but unreliable ships and unfavourable weather caused the plan to be aborted on each occasion.

Fire ship ship filled with combustibles, deliberately set on fire and steered (or, when possible, allowed to drift) into an enemy fleet, in order to destroy ships, or to create panic and make the enemy break formation

A fire ship or fireship, used in the days of wooden rowed or sailing ships, was a ship filled with combustibles, deliberately set on fire and steered into an enemy fleet, in order to destroy ships, or to create panic and make the enemy break formation. Ships used as fire ships were either warships whose munitions were fully spent in battle, surplus ones which were old and worn out, or inexpensive purpose-built vessels rigged to be set afire, steered toward targets, and abandoned quickly by the crew.

Barge flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river, canal transport of heavy goods, usually pushed by tugboats

A barge is a shoal-draft flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of bulk goods. Originally barges were towed by draft horses on an adjacent towpath. Today, barges may be self-propelled, usually with a slow-revving diesel engine and a large-diameter fixed-pitch propeller. Otherwise, "dumb barges" must be towed by tugs, or pushed by pusher boats. Compared to a towed barge, a pusher system has improved handling and is more efficient, as the pushing tug becomes "part of the unit" and it contributes to the momentum of the whole.

Home waters and Atlantic, 1941–1943

In May 1941, with her repairs completed, Hambledon passed her post-repair trials and on 14 May 1941 took up convoy escort and anti-invasion patrol duties in the North Sea with the 16th Destroyer Flotilla, based at Harwich, England, which she continued through October 1942. In March 1942 she was "adopted" by Hambledon Rural District Council as the result of a successful Warship Week national savings campaign run by nine of the Surrey villages that formed part of the then Hambledon Rural District council. [3] [4]

Harwich town in Essex, England

Harwich is a town in Essex, England and one of the Haven ports, located on the coast with the North Sea to the east. It is in the Tendring district. Nearby places include Felixstowe to the northeast, Ipswich to the northwest, Colchester to the southwest and Clacton-on-Sea to the south. It is the northernmost coastal town within Essex.

Hambledon, Surrey village in the United Kingdom

Hambledon is a rural scattered village in the Waverley borough of Surrey, situated south of Guildford. It is dominated by a buffer zone of fields and woodland, mostly south of the Greensand Ridge escarpment between Witley and Chiddingfold, having no dual carriageways or railways, however it is bordered to the west by the Portsmouth Direct Line and many of its small population are London commuters or retirees. Its main amenities are a church, a village pub, and the village shop and post office.

Warship Week British national savings campaigns during the Second World War

Warship Weeks were British National savings campaigns during the Second World War, with the aim of a Royal Navy warship being adopted by a civil community. During the early parts of the war, the Royal Navy not only had lost many capital ships but was facing increasing pressure to provide escorts for convoys in the Atlantic. While there was not a shortage of sailors, ships sunk by enemy action had to be replaced.

When convoy traffic along the east coast of Great Britain was reduced to free escorts for use elsewhere, Hambledon was selected for detached service in October 1942. Accordingly, in November 1942 she deployed to the North Atlantic Ocean to escort convoys bringing troops and equipment to Gibraltar for Operation Torch, the Allied amphibious invasion of North Africa, that month, and suffered slight damage from a torpedo explosion on 12 November 1942. In December 1942 she returned to her escort and patrol duties at Harwich, which in 1943 began to include interception of German S-boat – known to the Allies as "E-boat" – motor torpedo boats in the North Sea to prevent them from attacking Allied convoys. [1]

Gibraltar British Overseas Territory

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 32,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians.

Operation Torch Allied landing operations in French North Africa during World War II

Operation Torch was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the 'second front' which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

Allies of World War II Grouping of the victorious countries of World War II

The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.

Mediterranean, 1943

In June 1943, the Royal Navy selected Hambledon for participation in Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, and transferred her to the 58th Destroyer Division. She proceeded from Harwich to the River Clyde, where on 21 June 1943 she joined the light cruiser Uganda, the destroyers Viceroy, Wallace, Witherington, and Woolston, and the escort destroyers Arrow, Blankney, Blencathra, Brecon, Brissenden, Ledbury, and Mendip as escort for the military Convoy WS 31/KMF 17 for the Clyde-Gibraltar leg of its voyage. On 26 June 1943, the convoys divided and the Gibraltar-based destroyers Amazon, Bulldog, and Foxhound and escort destroyer Blackmore took over the escort of WS 31 as it continued its voyage to Freetown, Sierra Leone, on its way to the Middle East, while Blencanthra and her consorts pressed on to Gibraltar as the escort of KMF 17, arriving there on 28 June 1943. [1] [5]

While at Gibraltar, Hambledon was transferred to Escort Group V, in which she joined Blankney, Blencathra, Brecon, and Brissenden. The escort group escorted Convoy KMF 18, which departed Gibraltar on 7 July 1943 bound for the Sicily invasion, and, detaching temporarily on 9 July 1943 to refuel, brought the convoy to the BARK WEST assault area on 10 July 1943, the day of the initial landings. Hambledon then operated on patrol and escort duty in support of Husky until being released from the operation on 31 July 1943 and reassigned to the 58th Destroyer Division based at Malta for patrol and escort duty in the central Mediterranean Sea. [1]

In August 1943, Hambledon was selected to carry Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham for Operation Avalanche, the Allied landings at Salerno on the mainland of Italy planned for September 1943. On 9 September 1943, she embarked Cunningham and United States Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower at Bizerta, Tunisia, to take them to Malta to observe the surrender of the Italian Royal Navy 's battlefleet there, and was present when the surrender took place on 10 September 1943. She departed Malta later that day to take part in the Salerno landings, with Cunningham embarked. [1]

Released from Operation Avalanche in October 1943, Hambledon next operated in the Aegean Sea to assist in the unsuccessful Allied attempt to defend the Italian-held islands of Leros and Kos against invasion by German forces during the Dodecanese Campaign. After the campaign ended in an Allied defeat, Hambledon resumed patrol and convoy defence operations in the central Mediterranean in November 1943. [1]

Mediterranean, 1944

Early in 1944, Hambledon transferred to Naples, Italy, from which she patrolled the west coast of Italy and supported Allied ground operations. On 29 March 1944, Hambledon, Blencathra, and their sister ship Wilton departed Naples to assist the destroyers Laforey, Tumult, and Ulster in hunting the German submarine U-223, which they had detected with asdic in the Tyrrhenian Sea northeast of Palermo, Sicily, near Filicudi, 135 nautical miles (250 km) south of Naples. They attacked U-223 with depth charges until Laforey ordered them to halt, then continued to track U-223 for several hours until she was forced to surface in the early hours of 30 March 1944 after 27 hours of attack by depth charges and Hedgehog antisubmarine mortars. Hambledon joined the other ships in illuminating U-223 with searchlights and sinking her with gunfire at position 38°48′00″N014°10′00″E / 38.80000°N 14.16667°E / 38.80000; 14.16667 (U-223 sunk) with the loss of 23 of the submarine's crew, leaving 27 survivors, but not before U-223 sank Laforey with an acoustic torpedo with the loss of 182 lives, leaving 69 survivors. Hambledon assisted in rescuing Laforey's survivors, then took aboard 14 of U-223's survivors, two of whom died before Hambledon could reach port. [1] [2] [5]

In April 1944, the Royal Navy selected Hambledon, Blencathra, and Mendip to participate in Operation Neptune, the initial assault phase of the Allied invasion of Normandy scheduled for early June 1944. Accordingly, Hambledon departed Naples in May 1944 bound for the United Kingdom. [1]

Home waters, 1944–1945

Upon arrival in the United Kingdom in May 1944, Hambledon was assigned to the 21st Destroyer Flotilla at Sheerness, designated to escort assault Convoy G16 to the coast of Normandy for the initial landing and then to remain off the beachhead to defend it from German naval attack as part of Force G. In early June 1944, she joined the other forces allocated to Force G in the west Solent. [1]

U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes wave at HMS Hambledon while on board USS Augusta on the River Scheldt as they head to the Potsdam Conference on 15 July 1945 Truman Byrnes greeting HMS Hambledon 1945.jpg
U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Secretary of State James F. Byrnes wave at HMS Hambledon while on board USS Augusta on the River Scheldt as they head to the Potsdam Conference on 15 July 1945

After the landings were delayed from 5 June to 6 June due to bad weather, Hambledon departed for the landings along with the escort destroyer Albrighton on 5 June 1944 as escort for Convoy G16, which consisted of nine infantry landing craft and two rescue craft. The convoy arrived off Gold Beach on 6 June 1944 and put its troops ashore, with Hambledon supporting the landing by bombarding German shore defences. Later in the day, Hambledon steamed back to the Solent to escort Convoy EBP 2 bringing reinforcements and supplies to the beachhead, fighting an action against German S-boats south of the Isle of Wight along the way. On 7 June 1944, she joined the 112th Escort Group – made up of the frigates Spragge and Stockham and the sloop Magpie – to escort EBP 2 – five troop transports carrying United States Army troops for discharge on Utah Beach, the headquarters ship for Mulberry B, and three smaller merchant ships – to Utah Beach, where the convoy arrived on 8 June 1944. Later that day, she was released from convoy escort duty and assigned to patrol and interception duties to defend the beachhead from German naval attack. [1]

In July 1944, Hambledon was released from beachhead defence duties and reported to the 16th Destroyer Flotilla at Harwich for convoy defence operations in the North Sea and English Channel, which she conducted until March 1945. In March 1945, she was reassigned to escort convoys crossing the North Sea between the United Kingdom and ports in Belgium and the Netherlands and to patrol duties in the Nore Command and Dover areas. In April 1945, her focus again shifted to convoy defence and patrol operations in the southern North Sea and English Channel, and on 12 April 1945 she and the frigate Ekins fought an action with German S-boats which were laying mines off Flushing. [1]

After Germany surrendered in early May 1945, Hambledon was assigned to the Nore Local Flotilla. From June to August 1945 she operated on training duties and in support of re-occupation forces. She remained in the Nore Command until decommissioned and placed in reserve in December 1945. [1]

Reserve and disposal

Hambledon was in reserve in the Harwich Division of the Reserve Fleet from 1946 until 1953, when she was transferred to Barrow-in-Furness. [6] In 1955 she was stripped, hulked, and placed on the disposal list. The United Kingdom sold her in August 1957 to BISCO for scrapping by Clayton and Davie at Dunston-on-Tyne. Taken under tow, she arrived at the shipbreaker's yard in September 1957 and was scrapped. [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Naval History: HMS HAMBLEDON (L 37) - Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 uboat.net HMS Hambledon (L 37)
  3. "Hambledon Rural District Council minute book". Surrey History Centre. April 1938 – September 1943. ref. 6050/1/15.
  4. "Surrey Advertiser and County Times". Surrey History Centre. 14 March 1942.
  5. 1 2 HMS BLENCATHRA (L 24) - Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer
  6. Critchley, Mike, "British Warships Since 1945: Part 3: Destroyers", Maritime Books: Liskeard, UK, 1982. ISBN   0-9506323-9-2, page 24

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