HMS Laforey (1913)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Laforey.
Career (United Kingdom) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Laforey
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company
Launched: 1913
Fate: Struck a mine off France, 23 March 1917
General characteristics
Class & type: Laforey-class destroyer
Displacement: 965–1,300 long tons (980–1,321 t)
Length: 269 ft (82 m)
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
Draught: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Installed power: 24,500 shp (18,300 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × Parsons steam turbines
water-tube boilers
2 × shafts
Speed: 29 kn (33 mph; 54 km/h)
Complement: 73
Armament: 3 × QF 4 in (100 mm) Mk IV guns, 1 × QF 2-pounder pom-pom Mk. II gun, 4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes (2x2)[1]

HMS Laforey was the lead ship of her class of destroyer built for the Royal Navy. Launched a year before the First World War began, she was attached to the Dover Patrol. Laforey saw action in several engagements with German torpedo boats, including the Battle off Noordhinder Bank and the Action of 17 March 1917. Laforey was sunk in 1917 by a British mine[2] after escorting several freighters to France. She was named for Francis Laforey, captain of HMS Spartiate at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Specifications[edit]

Laforey was launched at Govan in 1913, following construction by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.

The destroyer was fitted with three QF 4 in (100 mm) Mk IV guns, one QF 2-pounder pom-pom Mk. II gun, and four 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes in two twin mounts. Laforey was designed to operate in British coastal waters against enemy surface and sub-surface shipping.

Crewmen with dog circa. 1915-1916

Service[edit]

During the First World War, Laforey was assigned to the Dover Patrol, where she escorted troopships across the Strait of Dover: carrying soldiers from Britain to France, and wounded back to Britain. Ships on this duty had to remain alert for enemy submarines, destroyers, and sea mines in addition to the usual hazards of crossing the English Channel.

In 1915, Laforey, three of her sister ships and four naval trawlers engaged and destroyed a pair of German torpedo boats in the Battle off Noordhinder Bank.

During 1917, operations in the English Channel became more dangerous as German units became more adventurous in their operations against the link between Britain and France. Just four days before Laforey was lost, a raid by German destroyers sank the destroyer Paragon with all but 10 hands.[clarification needed]

On 23 March 1917, Laforey and sister ship, Laertes were escorting several cargo ships to France, using the Folkstone to Boulogne route. The merchant ships arrived safely, but at around 16:30, after the destroyers had begun the return trip, a large explosion occurred amidships on Laforey. The ship immediately broke in half, and the stern sank rapidly. The bow remained afloat for a short time before sinking, during which Laertes struggled to rescue survivors. Only 18 of the 77 aboard survived.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Conway, 76
  2. ^ HMS Laforey (+1917)

References[edit]

Coordinates: 50°38′36″N 0°13′48″W / 50.64333°N 0.23000°W / 50.64333; -0.23000