HMS Mendip (L60)

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HMSMendip.jpg
Career (UK)
Class and type: Hunt class destroyer
Name: HMS Mendip
Ordered: 11 April 1939
Builder: Swan Hunter, Wallsend
Laid down: 10 August 1939
Launched: 9 April January 1940
Commissioned: 12 October 1940
Recommissioned: June 1949 following repossession from ROC
Out of service: 20 May 1946
Fate: sold to Egypt
Career (China) ROCN Service Flag
Name: Lin Fu
Commissioned: 21 January 1948
Out of service: 29 May 1949
Fate: returned to RN control after the Nationalist Government fell.
Career (Egypt)
Name: Mohammed Ali
Acquired: 9 November 1949
Renamed: Ibrahim el Awal
Fate: captured by Israel on 31 October 1956 and commissioned as INS Haifa (K-38)
Career (Israel)
Name: INS Haifa (K-38)
Homeport: Haifa
Captured: 31 October 1956
Fate: Scrapped in 1972
General characteristics
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: Two x Admiralty 3 drum boilers
Two shaft Parsons geared turbines
19,000 shp
Speed: 27½ kts (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:
  • 4 x QF 4 in Mark XVI on twin mounts Mk. XIX
  • 4 x QF 2 pdr Mk. VIII on quad mount MK.VII
  • 2 x 20 mm Oerlikons on single mounts P Mk. III
  • 40 depth charges, 2 throwers, 1 rack
Honours & awards: NORTH SEA 1941–45 – ENGLISH CHANNEL 1942–43 – SICILY 1943 – SALERNO 1943 – MEDITERRANEAN 1943 – NORMANDY 1944
Badge: On a field Red, on a White roundel, a bugle horn stringed Black within the strings a blue rose.

HMS Mendip (L60) was a Hunt class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was a member of the first subgroup of the class. The ship is notable for seeing service in the navies of three other nations after her use by the Royal Navy.[1] She saw service in the Second World War and later as an Egyptian Navy ship in the Suez Crisis. She was captured in battle on 31 October 1956 by the Israeli Navy and re-commissioned as INS Haifa (K-38).

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Mendip was ordered under the 1939 Naval Building Programme from Swan Hunter at Wallsend on 17 April 1939 She was laid down as Job No. J4111 on 10 August 1939 and launched on 9 April 1940. She was the first Royal Navy ship to carry the name of the Fox-Hunt in Somerset. Build was completed on 16 October 1941, and following a successful Warship Week National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Shepton Mallet, Somerset.[1]

Career[edit]

Mendip arrived at the Home Fleet's base at Scapa Flow on 14 October, but sustained damage when one of her own depth charges exploded during work up exercises. She was repaired and resumed work up on 18 February 1941. On 30 March she was assigned to the 21st Destroyer Flotilla at Sheerness for convoy escort and patrol duties in the North Sea and English Channel. From 1942 to 1944, she escorted 25 convoys through the North Sea.[1]

She was lent to the Chinese Navy in May 1948, together with HMS Aurora, and was renamed Lin Fu, after major general Zhang Ling Fu, commander of the 74th division, who fell during the Chinese Civil War. After HMS Aurora (renamed Chung King) defected to the communists in February 1949, she was repossessed by Royal Navy in June 1949 and re-commissioned with the ship's company of HMS Consort. She was sold to the Egyptian navy, becoming Mohamed ali-El-Kebir on 15 November 1949. She was renamed Ibrahim-El-Awal later in 1951.[1]

Suez Crisis[edit]

Ibrahim el Awal being towed to the port of Haifa after being captured by the Israeli Navy

As part of the naval operations during the Suez crisis, Egypt dispatched the Ibrahim el Awal on 30 October 1956, to Haifa with the aim of shelling that city’s coastal oil installations. On 31 October the Ibrahim el Awal reached Haifa and began bombarding the city with her four 102 mm (4 inch) guns. The French destroyer Kersaint, which was deployed in Haifa harbour to guard the port as part of Operation Musketeer, opened fire on the Ibrahim el Awal but scored no hits.[2] Soon after, Israeli warships challenged the Ibrahim el Awal and the Egyptian warship immediately retreated. The Israeli warships gave chase and together with the Israeli Air Force, succeeded in damaging the vessel’s turbo generator and rudder. Left without power and unable to steer, the Ibrahim el Awal surrendered to the Israeli navy.[3] The Egyptian destroyer was subsequently incorporated into the Israeli navy and renamed Haifa.[4] She served with the Israeli navy through the late 1960s, when she was decommissioned. According to one source, she was relegated to duty as a target ship in 1968 and sunk as a target ship after being hit by a Gabriel missile.[5] Other sources write that she was deployed for training duties until 1970, then relegated to the role of accommodation ship before being scrapped in 1972.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN. "HMS MENDIP (L 60) – Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer". Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "The capture of Ibrahim el-Awal". Retrieved 18 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Hertzog, Chaim (1982). The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East from the War of Independence through Lebanon. Vintage. p. 138. ISBN 0-394-71746-5. 
  4. ^ Wurmbrand, Max (1970). The Valiant of Israel. Massada Press Ltd. p. 80. ISBN 0-902291-24-6. 
  5. ^ "HMS Mendip (L 60)". uboat.net. Retrieved 16 March 2011.