French destroyer Maillé Brézé (1931)
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A sister-ship of the Maillé Brézé
|Namesake:||Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé|
|Builder:||Ateliers et Chantiers de St Nazaire-Penhoet|
|Launched:||9 November 1931|
|Commissioned:||6 April 1933|
|Fate:||Lost by accidental explosion 30 April 1940, Greenock, Scotland|
|Class and type:||Vauquelin-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||2,400 tonnes (2,362 long tons)|
|Length:||129 m (423 ft 3 in)|
|Beam:||11.84 m (38 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||4.97 m (16 ft 4 in)|
|Propulsion:||Geared turbines, 4 boilers, 64,000 shp (47,725 kW)|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Range:||3,650 nmi (6,760 km; 4,200 mi) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Complement:||220 officers and men|
On 30 April 1940, at 14:15, as Maillé Brézé was anchored at the Tail of the Bank off Greenock, a torpedo tube misfunctioned and launched an armed torpedo on the deck, setting fire to the fuel tanks and the forward magazine, which however did not explode.
At 15:15, the crew abandoned ship due to the danger of explosion, except for numerous sailors trapped in the mess hall. Around 16:30, a few sailors returned to the ship to flood the aft magazine, and by 19:30 the fire was controlled by the Greenock firemen. By that time, Maillé Brézé was so low in the water that she began sinking before she could be towed, and she went down with those still trapped in the forward part. The accident killed 25 and wounded 48.
The memorial to the Free French forces on the Lyle Hill in Greenock is often wrongly said to be for the Maillé Brézé but there is no mention of her or her crew at all either on or near it, the sinking having occurred before the Free French forces came into being a few months later. There is a somewhat more modest memorial to the lost crew of the Maillé Brézé at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, England.