HMS Battleaxe (D118)

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HMS Battleaxe
HMS Battleaxe
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Battleaxe
Ordered: 7 April 1943[1]
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 22 April 1944
Launched: 12 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number G18/D118
Fate: Arrived at Blyth for scrapping on 20 October 1964
General characteristics
Class and type: Weapon-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,980 tons standard
Length: 365 ft (111 m)
Beam: 38 ft (12 m)
Armament:

HMS Battleaxe was a Weapon-class destroyer of the Royal Navy, completed just after the Second World War.

Construction[edit]

Battleaxe was one of 19 Weapon-class destroyers ordered as part of the Royal Navy's 1943 War Programme. The Weapons were intended to be built in shipyards where the larger Battle class could not be built, but still mounting the heavy anti-aircraft armament and modern fire-control which war experience had shown to be necessary. As designed, the Weapons were to be armed by six 4-in guns in three twin turrets, two forward and one aft, with radar direction, with a close-in anti-aircraft armament of six 40-mm Bofors guns. Ten 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes were carried in two quintuple mounts, while up to 150 depth charges could be carried.[2][3]

Battleaxe was laid down on at Yarrows Scotstoun shipyard in Glasgow on 22 April 1944, and was launched on 12 June 1945.[4] The end of the Second World War meant that most of the class were cancelled, with the remaining four ships, including Battleaxe having their armament fit revised to improve their anti-submarine capability. One of the ships' four inch mounts (in Battleaxe's case the superimposed forward B-mount, leaving one turret forward and another aft) was removed to allow the fitting of two Squid anti-submarine mortars, while the conventional depth charge armament was also removed.[2][3] Battleaxe commissioned on 23 October 1947, the first of the four Weapon class to be completed.[4]

Operations[edit]

On commissioning, Battleaxe served as the leader of the Home Fleet's 6th Destroyer Flotilla, which consisted of the four Weapons. It remained part of the 6th Flotilla through the rest of the 1940s and well into the 1950s, deploying to form part of the Mediterranean Fleet from April 1955 to March 1956.[2] In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[5] Later in 1956, Battleaxe was laid off into the reserve.[2]

In 1957, the four Weapon-class destroyers were selected for conversion to Radar pickets in 1957, with Battleaxe being converted at Rosyth Dockyard.[6] The ship's torpedo tubes were removed to allow the fitting of an additional lattice mast carrying a Type 965 long-range air-search radar, with deckhouses built to house the radar equipment and operators. Battleaxe's Squid mortars were swapped with the aft mounted 4-inch turret, while a more modern fire control system for the ship's guns were fitted.[7]

Battleaxe recommissioned in February 1959, joining the 2nd Destroyer Squadron based in the Mediterranean, serving there until April 1960 when it transferred back to the British Isles to join the 5th Destroyer Squadron.[8] On 1 August 1962, during a night-time exercise in the Firth of Clyde, Battleaxe collided with the Type 15 frigate Ursa.[7][9] The damage to Battleaxe was considered not economical to repair and the ship was laid up at Rosyth to await disposal. Battleaxe arrived at Blyth Shipbuilding Company for scrapping on 20 October 1964.[10]

Commanding officers[edit]

From To Captain[citation needed]
1947 1949 Captain Charles Madden bt RN
1949 1951 Captain W Kaye Edden RN
1951 1952 Captain Peter D H R Pelly RN
1952 1954 Captain E C Bayldon DSC RN
1954 1955 Captain Colin H Campbell RN
1955 1956 Captain Arthur R Hezlet RN
1960 1960 Commander J E Maidwell RN
1961 1962 Captain Oliver Sutton

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitley 2000, p. 142.
  2. ^ a b c d Critchley 1982, p. 124.
  3. ^ a b Gardiner and Chesneau 1980, p. 44.
  4. ^ a b Blackman 1960, p. 19.
  5. ^ Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
  6. ^ Critchley 1982, pp. 124, 126.
  7. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 506.
  8. ^ Critchley 1982, p. 126.
  9. ^ Critchley 1982, pp. 68, 126.
  10. ^ Critchley 1982, pp. 126–127.

Publications[edit]

External links[edit]