HMS Faulknor (H62)
HMS Faulknor during the Second World War
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Ordered:||17 March 1933|
|Laid down:||31 July 1933|
|Launched:||12 June 1934|
|Commissioned:||24 May 1935|
|Decommissioned:||25 July 1945|
|Motto:||Dulcit amor Patria
("Love of fatherland leads")
|Battle honours :
Malta Convoys 1941
|Fate:||Sold, 21 January 1946|
|Badge:||On a Field White, a trident Gold, over two laurel leaves Green|
|General characteristics (as built)|
|Class and type:||E-class destroyer flotilla leader|
|Displacement:||1,475 long tons (1,499 t) (standard)
2,010 long tons (2,040 t) (deep load)
|Length:||343 ft (104.5 m) o/a|
|Beam:||33 ft 9 in (10.3 m)|
|Draught:||12 ft 6 in (3.8 m)|
|Installed power:||38,000 shp (28,000 kW)
3 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
|Propulsion:||2 × shafts, 2 × geared steam turbines|
|Speed:||36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)|
|Range:||6,500 nmi (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
|Armament:||5 × single 4.7 in (120 mm) Mark IX guns
depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers
HMS Faulknor was a F-class destroyer flotilla leader of the British Royal Navy in commission from 1934. The ship had a particularly active operational role during World War II, being awarded 11 battle honours, and was known as "The hardest worked destroyer in the Fleet". She was the first ship to sink a German U-boat, took part in the Norwegian Campaign, served with "Force H" in the Mediterranean on the Malta Convoys, escorted convoys to Russia and across the Atlantic, and saw action during the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Normandy, and was at the liberation of the Channel Islands. She was then decommissioned and sold for scrap in late 1945.
- 1 Description
- 2 Construction
- 3 Service history
- 3.1 Pre-war
- 3.2 World War II
- 3.3 Decommissioning and disposal, July 1945–April 1946
- 4 References
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 External links
Faulknor displaced 1,475 long tons (1,499 t) at standard load and 2,010 long tons (2,040 t) at deep load. The ship had an overall length of 343 feet (104.5 m), a beam of 33 feet 9 inches (10.3 m) and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 m). She was powered by two Parsons geared steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by three Admiralty three-drum boilers. The turbines developed a total of 38,000 shaft horsepower (28,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph). The ship carried a maximum of 490 long tons (500 t) of fuel oil that gave her a range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The ship's complement was 175 officers and ratings.
The ship mounted five 45-calibre 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mark IX guns in single mounts. For anti-aircraft defence, Exmouth had two quadruple Mark I mounts for the 0.5 inch Vickers Mark III machine gun. She was fitted with two above-water quintuple torpedo tube mounts for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes. One depth charge rack and two throwers were fitted; 20 depth charges were originally carried, but this increased to 35 shortly after the war began.
The ship was ordered from Yarrows at Scotstoun under the 1932 Programme. She was laid down on 31 July 1933, and launched on 12 June 1934, as the third RN warship to carry this name. Faulknor was completed on 24 May 1935 at a cost of £271,886, excluding items supplied by the Admiralty such as guns, ammunition and communications equipment.
As the flotilla leader for the 1932 programme of destroyers, she was built to the same design as Exmouth, flotilla leader for the 1931 programme of E-class destroyers, which marked a return to building flotilla leaders to an enlarged design, the most obvious difference being the additional 4.7 inch (120 mm) gun between the funnels in the 'Q' position. Overall, Faulknor was only slightly larger than normal F-class destroyers in terms of length, beam, and draught, although she displaced an additional 90 long tons (91 t) tons, and had a complement of 175, compared to the standard F-class complement of 145.
World War II
Home Fleet and Norway, September 1939–June 1940
Operating in the North-West Approaches, she took part in the sinking of U-39 and U-27 in September, and U-44 in May, in unsuccessful patrols seeking to engage German battleships, and in convoy escort duties. In April and May 1940 she was deployed to support Allied operations at Narvik in northern Norway, attacking shore targets, and carrying out anti-submarine patrols. After repairs in June she was transferred with the flotilla to Force H at Gibraltar.
Force H, July 1940–August 1941
In July 1940 Faulknor took part in the attack on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir, and was then deployed with the Flotilla in screening ships engaged in protecting convoys carrying troops and supplies to the besieged island of Malta. These included Operation MB8, Operation Collar - which lead to the indecisive Battle of Cape Spartivento - "Operation Excess" and Operation Substance, as well as offensive operations against airfields in Sardinia. From August to October 1940 Faulknor was detached to support the Free French landings at Dakar in Operation Menace, supporting operations off West Africa before returning to Force H at Gibraltar. In June 1941 she participated in the sinking of U-138 and in the interception of the German supply ship SS Alstertor.
Arctic and Atlantic convoys, August 1941–June 1943
In August 1941 Faulknor returned to the UK to repair at Southampton, returning to duty with the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in November, and was part of the escort to the battleship Duke of York taking Prime Minister Winston Churchill to meet with U.S President Roosevelt in the Atlantic Conference in December 1941.
In 1942 she was deployed with units of the Home Fleet escorting convoys to Russia. These included Convoy PQ 9/10 in February, Convoy PQ 12 and Convoy PQ 13 in March, Convoy PQ 14 and Convoy PQ 15 in April, Convoy PQ 16 in May, and Convoy PQ 17 in June. She also took part in attempted attacks on the Tirpitz in March. In July Faulknor refitted at a shipyard at Hull, where Type 285 fire control radar and Type 286PQ warning radar was fitted, a 3-inch (76 mm) HA gun replaced the 4.7-inch mounting in the X position, and the after torpedo tube mounting was also replaced. She then returned to convoy escort duty, screening Convoy PQ 18 in September, and sinking the U-88 south of Spitsbergen. In October she escorted returning Convoy QP 15, and Convoy JW 51A in December. Further escort duty followed in 1943, escorting Convoy JW 52 in January, Convoy JW 53 in February, and Convoy RA 53 in March. In April she was detached for convoy escort duties in the North Atlantic with the Flotilla as the 4th Escort Group, escorting convoys HX 234, SC 127, ONS 6, ONS 182, and HX 239.
Mediterranean and Aegean, June 1943–March 1944
In June 1943 Faulknor rejoined the 8th Destroyer Flotilla for Fleet duties in the Mediterranean, arriving at Alexandria on 5 July to support the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky). She served as part of the screen for the covering force in the Ionian Sea (two aircraft carriers, three battleships, and four cruisers with 17 other Allied destroyers). After screening and patrol duties in August, she supported Allied landings on the Italian mainland (Operation Baytown) and at Salerno (Operation Avalanche) with destroyers of 4th, 8th and 24th Flotillas. She was then detached with other destroyers to screen ships escorting the Italian Fleet to Alexandria via Malta, and then was transferred to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Allied operations in defence of Aegean Islands against German invasion. She transported troops to Leros, carried out patrols, sank several cargo ships and landing craft, and carried out bombardments of shore positions before the operation was abandoned in November.
In December Faulknor supported military operations on the west coast of Italy, escorting the landing ships Royal Ulsterman and Princess Beatrix with No. 9 Commando for a landing north of the Garigliano (Operation Partridge), then carrying out diversionary bombardments. In January 1944 she took part in the landings at Anzio (Operation Shingle), providing naval gunfire support and anti-aircraft defence during the initial landings, then as a patrol and escort ship into March.
Normandy and the Channel, April 1944–May 1945
In April 1944, Faulknor returned to Scapa Flow to support the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune) joining ten other destroyers in Force J of the Eastern Task Force, and assigned to attack the beach defences west of La Riviere. On 27 April she sailed to the Solent for exercises. She sailed for Normandy on 4 June, but was recalled when the operation was postponed for 24 hours. On the 5th she sailed with Convoy J1, made up of the 9th Minesweeping Flotilla, four Danlayers, a Harbour Defence Motor Launch and the 1st Division of 159 BYMS Flotilla. On the morning on 6 June she provided naval gunfire support off Juno Beach, returning to Portsmouth to re-ammunition later in the day. On the 7th she returned to Normandy with General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, the Allied Land Forces Commander for the initial phase of the invasion, on board for transport to the beachhead to set up his Tactical HQ. She was then deployed on patrols, anti-aircraft defence, and ferrying duties. On the 24th she embarked the First Sea Lord Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham, the Second Sea Lord Admiral Algernon Willis, the Naval Secretary Admiral Cecil Harcourt, and the Lord Privy Seal Lord Beaverbrook at Portsmouth to visit the Assault Area. After arrival the flag of Admiral Bertram Ramsay, the Allied naval commander was worn during a visit by Admiral Alan G. Kirk, the U.S. naval commander. She returned to Portsmouth with her passengers same day.
Faulknor was released from duty in July and sailed to Grimsby for repairs. In September she was deployed for support and convoy defence duty in the Channel, and in October joined the 14th Escort Group based at Milford Haven, employed in the Irish Sea, English Channel and the South-West Approaches. In December she rejoined the reformed 8th Destroyer Flotilla at Plymouth, and was deployed for the defence of Channel convoys. On 8 May 1945 she accepted the surrender of the German garrison at Saint Peter Port, Guernsey, and on the 17th escorted six German minesweepers and two patrol boats to the UK. On 6 June she escorted the cruiser Jamaica taking King George VI to visit the Channel Islands.
Decommissioning and disposal, July 1945–April 1946
In July Faulknor was reduced to the Reserve and de-stored at Plymouth, then sailed to Dartmouth to decommission on the 25th. She was put on the Disposal List in December 1945, and was sold on 21 January 1946 to British Iron & Steel Corporation (BISCO) for breaking-up by T.W. Ward at Milford Haven. After being stripped of equipment at Plymouth in March she was towed to the breaker's yard, arriving on 4 April 1946.
- Lenton, p. 158
- Whitley, p. 105
- English, p. 141
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9.
- Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8.
- Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7.
- Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.
- Peter Smith: Destroyer Leader: HMS Faulknor 1935 - 1946, Pen & Sword Books, London 2005 ISBN 1-84415-121-2