HMS Bulldog (H91)
Bulldog secured to a buoy on the East Coast on 17 April 1945. Note the bow chaser gun.
|Ordered:||22 March 1929|
|Builder:||Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom|
|Laid down:||10 August 1929|
|Launched:||6 December 1930|
|Completed:||8 April 1931|
|Decommissioned:||27 May 1945|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping, 22 December 1945|
|Badge:||On a Field Black, a bulldog White|
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||B class destroyer|
|Displacement:||1,360 long tons (1,382 t) standard
1,790 long tons (1,819 t) full
|Length:||323 ft (98 m) o/a|
|Beam:||32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)|
|Draught:||12 ft 3 in (3.73 m)|
|Propulsion:||3 × Admiralty 3-drum water tube boilers
Parsons geared steam turbines
34,000 shp (25,000 kW)
|Speed:||35.25 knots (65.28 km/h; 40.56 mph)|
|Range:||4,800 nmi (8,900 km; 5,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
|Armament:||4 × QF 4.7 inch (120 mm) Mk. IX L/45 guns, single mounts CP Mk.XIV
2 × QF 2 pdr Mk.II L/39 (40 mm) guns, single mounts Mk.II
8 (4×2) tubes for 21 in (533 mm) torpedoes
1 rack & 2 throwers for 25 depth charges
HMS Bulldog (H91) was a B-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service throughout World War II, seeing service on convoy duty in the Atlantic and Arctic. Her most notable action was the first naval capture of a complete Enigma machine and coding documents from the German submarine U-110 on 9 May 1941.
The ship was ordered on 22 March 1929 from Swan Hunter at Wallsend, under the 1928 Programme. She was laid down on 10 August 1929, and launched on 6 December 1930, as the seventh RN ship to carry this name. Bulldog was completed on 8 April 1931 at a cost of £221,408, excluding items supplied by the Admiralty such as guns, ammunition and communications equipment.
In September 1939 Bulldog was deployed in the Mediterranean as attendant to the aircraft carrier Glorious at Alexandria. In October she was deployed with Glorious, the battleship Malaya and the destroyer Daring as part of a Hunting Group in the Indian Ocean, based at Socotra.
She sailed to Malta with Glorious in January 1940 to refit, returning to attendant duty in March. In April, after the German invasion of Norway, all carriers were recalled to the UK and Bulldog escorted the Ark Royal to Devonport. On 3 May Bulldog joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, and on the 9th sailed with a powerful force, consisting of the cruiser Birmingham and thirteen destroyers, to search near Little Fisher Bank, off the mouth of the Skagerrak, for German warships. On the 10th the destroyer Kelly was hit by a torpedo while in action against E-boats and was badly damaged. Bulldog towed Kelly to the Tyne for repairs, sustaining damage to her stern structure in the operation, which was repaired by Swan Hunter at Wallsend, before Bulldog resumed her Fleet duties on the 19th.
After repairs at Chatham Dockyard, on 4 June she was transferred to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla to support evacuations from French ports in "Operation Cycle". Bulldog limped back to Portsmouth Dockyard for repairs. On 24 August, while still under repair, the ship was damaged by splinters during an air raid, and her commanding officer was killed.
On 8 September she rejoined the Flotilla for Channel duties.
Two days later, on the 9th, while escorting Convoy OB 318 off Iceland, the corvette Aubretia depth-charged the U-boat U-110, forcing her to the surface. Bulldog and Broadway fired on, and then closed on the U-boat, whose crew were abandoning the vessel. Sub-Lieutenant David Balme of Bulldog led a boarding party, and the Enigma coding machine and documentation was removed. This significantly assisted the work in hand at Bletchley Park in breaking German naval codes. Bulldog remained on Atlantic convoy duties until October, when she sailed to Fairfields in Govan, Glasgow, for a refit, including hull strengthening.
Bulldog rejoined the Group on 10 February 1942 for Atlantic convoy duty, and on 12 April joined Convoy PQ 14 as Senior Officer's ship of the Ocean Escort with three other destroyers, four corvettes and three trawlers, arriving at Murmansk on the 19th. From 28 April she escorted the returning Convoy QP 11 with the same ships. Two days later the cruiser Edinburgh joined the convoy after embarking gold bullion at Murmansk. Whilst taking position at the head of the convoy Edinburgh was hit by two torpedoes fired by U-456. The cruiser, heavily listing and with her steering gear wrecked, was taken in tow. On 1 May the convoy was attacked by the German destroyers Z24, Z25 and Z26 which had been searching for Edinburgh. During the engagement, in which the enemy were finally driven off by torpedoes, Bulldog was damaged by shell splinters. After repairs at a shipyard in the Clyde, Bulldog joined the Greenock Escort Force on 14 August for further escort duty. In November she escorted military convoys to Gibraltar for the Allied landings in North Africa ("Operation Torch"), before returning to Greenock for repairs. On 15 December she rejoined Western Approaches Command for Russian Convoy duty.
From February 1943 was employed in defence of convoys betwee Iceland and the UK. On 22 April she sailed to Freetown and was deployed in the Freetown Escort Force for defence of coastal and Atlantic convoys. In October she sailed to Portsmouth Dockyard for conversion to anti-submarine escort. Her main armament was reduced to two 4.7 inch guns, and Type 271 centimetric target indication radar and a Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar was fitted.
Bulldog returned to duty protecting convoys to Iceland in June. In August she sustained damage to her hull after colliding with the frigate Loch Dunvegan in Gourock Bay. After repairs at Ardrossan she resumed convoy defence duties on 4 September, sailing on two more Russian convoys.
Bulldog was the first RN ship docking in a Channel Islands port after the German occupation of the Islands. On 9 May 1945 the ship arrived in the port of Guernsey, after which the German forces formally capitulated to the captain of the ship.
- English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9.
- Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8.
- Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Commonwealth Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7.
- Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.
- Winser, John de D. (1999). B.E.F. Ships Before, At and After Dunkirk. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-91-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HMS Bulldog (H91).|