there are none of the "F" Class around today.
is what became of them.
damaged by a mine off Normandy CTL; scrapped September 1944.
interesting find by Matt Liberty one of our members, is this set of
first day issue stamps issued in Gibraltar in 1985 with the Firedrake's
badge third from the left.
thanks to Mike Waugh for donating
the Ships Badges to this article you can see more if you visit
two very different sides
the Firedrake was painted in camouflage colours in 1941, she was
painted in two different stiles. These photos show the two very
different sides of HMS Firedrake.
The photo right: was taken when the Firedrake was in dry dock at
Gibraltar, and clearly shows that the pattern on the port-side is
different to that of the starboard-side.
The photo below and left: was taken by Telegraphist Maurice Stevenson
onboard the Faulknor, the eighth Destroyer Flotilla leader, in very
rough seas in the Mediterranean in 1941, This photo shows how different
the design was on the port-side to that on the starboard-side.
The photo below and right: was taken in the Mediterranean by some
one on the battleship Nelson, it is of Firedrake's starboard-side
as she returns to Gibraltar after being damaged by the Italian 500kilo
bomb, when on "Operation Substance" in July 1941. This
again shows how different the design was on the starboard-side to
that of the port-side
This group of four pictures from
left to right: Are the Firedrake with a wake from the damage sustained
by the near miss in the Mediterranean in 1941, then another photo
of the Firedrake in Gibraltar before she was damaged.
|Second row: Two new photos of the Firedrake
sometime after January 1942 in her new livery after the repairs
had been carried out in America, the first one is of her entering
the Clyde and the next one shows her in the Atlantic.
Fame was one of Firedrake’s sisters, one of the 8th destroyer flotilla,
she was at the sinking of U39 and at the second battle of Narvik.
On the 16th October 1940 the new battleship King George V, was nearing
completion at Vickers Armstrong’s yard on the Tyne. Such a valuable
but raw unit needed a powerful escort of cruisers and destroyers
to take her up the coast to Scapa Flow. Six destroyers Fame, Ashanti,
Maori, Sikh, Electra and Brilliant were ordered to carry out a high
speed run through the Channel leading to the Tyne. These ships should
thus produce enough magnetic and acoustic disturbance to simulate
a battle ship’s passage and so detonate any mines of that nature
in the channel. Their own speed should carry the destroyers safely
away from the explosion.
The scientific sweeping of ground mines was still in its early stages.)
It was vital that the Germans should not learn of the battleship’s
move and security was so tight that the destroyers had not been
told the purpose of their sweep, nor the ship they were supposed
to escort. Worse still, a navigational buoy had been moved and the
requisite chart corrections were lacking.
Photo Left: HMS Fame
at the second battle of Narvik.
0400, at almost full speed in murky drizzle, Fame ran straight onto
the beach at Whitburn Rifle Range. Ashanti was right astern, going
full speed astern and hard a port. For a moment a rumble through
the ships hull sounded like depth-charges being dropped astern,
then Ashanti still doing 7 knots struck the Fame a glancing blow
on her port quarter and ended up alongside. The shock shattered
oil fuel pipes in both ships boiler rooms, the Fame caught fire.
Maori, next astern could not stop before touching the bottom but
just managed to get off with the loss of her Asdic dome. The others
stopped in time, but they still had no idea why they were there.
Hearing all the commotion the defense post ashore thought the invasion
had started and raised the alarm, but daylight showed the destroyers
so high and dry they could be walked round at low tide. Sunderland
Fire Brigade manhandled their pumps and equipment over the rocks
to put Fame’s fire out. While her crew emptied her magazines.
tides found them still held fast by the bows.
The swell lifted and swung their free sterns, dropping them on to
the rocks and crumpling the bottom plating. In spite of collision
mats and rubbers, Ashanti’s bow twisted and chafed through Fame’s
side. One by one aerials and mast stays snapped.
Damage control training in Ashanti included being sent down into
the boiler rooms in breathing mask with the eyepieces blacked out,
to shut down the boilers.
was the time that such exercises paid off, as store rooms were emptied
and equipment jettisoned. Oil fuel was everywhere. Some people were
so immersed in it that for the rest of their service days they seamed
to exude fuel oil whenever they perspired.
Armstrong sent their gangs with sheer legs and tackle to strip and
lift out all armament, while the destroyer crews were accommodated
in the rifle range huts ashore. Greenwall & Co. patched and welded
and sealed off what they could during the brief hours of low tide
and after a fortnight Ashanti (who had priority treatment) was re-floated
and taken to Sunderland. Greenwalls made her more seaworthy for
the longer tow to Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Wallsend on
the Tyne for complete rebuilding. Fame also lived to run again,
but the affair was a closely kept secret. King George V, meanwhile
slipped up the coast virtually unescorted.
was out of service for two years re-entering service in 1942. She
then sank U353 while in escort group B6 escorting convoy SC 104.
On the 17.2.43 she sank U201. And D-day joined support group 14
for anti-u-boat patrols in the English Channel and Bay of Biscay.
On the 18.4.44 with others of S.G.14 she sank U-boat U767 in the
Channel. She then served in A/S training Flotilla post war until
sold to the Dominica in 1948 and renamed General Issimo.