French destroyer Maillé Brézé (1931)
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A sister-ship of the Maillé Brézé
|Namesake:||Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé, Duc of Fronsac|
|Builder:||Ateliers et Chantiers de St Nazaire-Penhoet|
|Laid down:||October 1930|
|Launched:||9 November 1931|
|Commissioned:||6 April 1933|
|Fate:||Lost by accidental explosion, 30 April 1940, Greenock, Scotland|
|Class and type:||Vauquelin-class destroyer|
|Length:||129.3 m (424 ft 2.6 in)|
|Beam:||11.8 m (38 ft 8.6 in)|
|Draft:||4.4 m (14 ft 5.2 in)|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Range:||3,000 nmi (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)|
|Crew:||12 officers, 224 crewmen (wartime)|
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.
- Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
- Jordan, John & Moulin, Jean (2015). French Destroyers: Torpilleurs d'Escadre & Contre-Torpilleurs 1922–1956. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-198-4.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.