HMS Exmouth (H 02)
Destroyer of the E class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Portsmouth Dockyard (Portsmouth, U.K.): Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland)|
|Ordered||1 Nov 1932|
|Laid down||16 May 1933|
|Launched||7 Feb 1934|
|Commissioned||3 Oct 1934|
|Lost||21 Jan 1940|
|Loss position||58° 18'N, 2° 25'W|
HMS Exmouth (Capt. Richard Stoddart Benson, DSO, RN) was torpodoed on 21 January 1940 by the German submarine U-22 off Tarbett Ness in the Moray Firth. HMS Exmouth was hit at 0444 hrs, sinking with no survivors in position 58º18'N, 02º25'W, east-south-east of Wick, Scotland. The wreck lies in 40 meter of water.
Hit by U-boat
|U-boat Attack||See our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Exmouth|
Commands listed for HMS Exmouth (H 02)
Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.
|1||Capt. Richard Stoddart Benson, RN||31 Jul 1939||21 Jan 1940 (+)|
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Notable events involving Exmouth include:
5 Sep 1939
A convoy of eleven passenger liners departed the U.K. for destinations in the Atlantic or Mediterranean (or Far East via the Mediterranean).
The convoy was assembled off the Clyde and was made up of the passenger liners / merchant vessels; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Montcalm (British, 16418 GRT, built 1921), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).
On assembly the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Vivacious (Cdr. C.R.L. Parry, RN), HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Plumer, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. K.H. Fraser, RN), HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN) as well as HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. A.R.M. Black, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. H. Gartside-Tippinge, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. G.C. Fryer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN).
Arond 2300A/5, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) departed Portland escorted by the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN). They were joined around 0530A/6 by the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Woodhall, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) which had come from Plymouth.
Around 1845A/6, HMS Ramillies and her four escorting destroyers joined the convoy after which HMS Vivacious, HMS Vanessa, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company. After conducting an A/S sweep astern of the convoy they proceeded to Plymouth where they arrived around noon on the 7th.
Around 1100A/8, HMS Verity, HMS Volunteer, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company with the convoy to proceed to Milford Haven where they arrived in the morning of September 10th.
Late in the morning of September 10th, the French destroyers Le Fortune (Cdr. C.M.L. D'Hespel), La Railleuse (Lt.Cdr. J.E.C. Hourcade) and Simoun (Lt.Cdr. F. Hainguerlot) which had departed Gibraltar around 0810A/9, joined the convoy.
Around 1850A/10, the French destroyer Simoun was sent to Gibraltar with despatches. She arrived there around 0710A/11.
Around noon on the 11th, off Gibraltar, the British light cruiser HMS Galatea (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and the French destroyers Tramontaine (Cdr. R.M.J.A. Renault), Tornade (Lt.Cdr. R.G.A. Labat) and Typhon (Lt.Cdr. Y.M.J. Le Hagre).
HMS Ramillies, and the French destroyers Le Fortune and La Railleuse then proceeded to Gibraltar as did the liner Scythia. Apparently the French destroyers, including Simoun, later proceeded again to rejoin the convoy.
HMS Exmouth, HMS Eclipse, HMS Encounter and HMS Escapade most likely detached from the convoy on 12 September as they arrived at Gibraltar on the 14th via Oran.
The French destroyers were relieved near Malta on 14 September 1939 by the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN) and HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN). Also a French convoy (L 2), made up of the merchant vessels Sphinx (French, 11375 GRT, built 1915) and Ville de Strasbourg (French, 7007 GRT, built 1920), which had departed Marseilles on 12 September, joined the convoy for onward passage to Beirut. This French convoy had probably been escorted by the destroyers Maille Breze (Cdr. H.M.E.A. Glotin), Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A. Braxmeyer) and Kersaint (Cdr. G.R.J. Rebuffel) which apparently also joined the convoy. The Durban Castle also detached off Malta at 1000B/14 and entered Valetta.
Around 1600B/15 the Clan Ferguson parted company. She was carrying important stores for Istanbul, Turkey. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).
At 0700B/16, the Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Montcalm, Reina del Pacifico and Strathaird were detached to Port Said.
the Orcades, Orford and Orion arrived at Alexandria in the evening of the 16th. HMS Galatea did not enter but went to the west to make rendezvous with the destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Garland of which the former was towing the later after she had been damaged by her own depth charges.
7 Dec 1939
HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) departed the Clyde for Liverpool where she is to undergo repairs to her damaged rudder. Tugs assisted HMS Rodney with steering.
During the passage to Liverpool several destroyer provided escort and A/S sweeps along the route. These were HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN).
HMS Rodney arrived at Liverpool on the 9th. She was immediately docked in the Gladstone dry dock.
11 Dec 1939
HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN) and her two escorting destroyers, HMS Duncan (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN), HMS Duchess (Lt.Cdr. R.C.M. White, RN), are joined by three more detroyers; HMS Exmouth (Capt. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) joined around 1500 hours while HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) joined shortly after 1700 hours. (1)
HMS Barham stopped and lowered her seaboats. Around 0450 hours the ready use depth charges on board HMS Duchess exploded and she sank.
HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) remained behind to search for survivors. Only one officer and twenty-two ratings could be picked up from the water. Six officers and one hunderded and twenty-four ratings were lost.
HMS Barham arrived at the Clyde around noon. (1)
27 Dec 1939
HMS Triumph (Lt.Cdr. J.W. McCoy, RN) is joined by an escort during her return to Rosyth.
0943 hours - Sighted one Hudson aircraft.
0955 hours - There were now four Hudson aircraft overhead.
1056 hours - Sighted one enemy aircraft approaching. The Lewis gun was manned and the bridge was cleared with the exception of the Commanding Officer and the gun crews. The enemy was however driven off by the escorting Hudson aircraft.
1105 hours - Sighted HMS Exmouth (Capt. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN), HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN).
1110 hours - The enemy aircraft again came in to attack but was again driven off by the Hudsons. (2)
29 Dec 1939
Convoy ON 6.
This convoy departed Methil on 29 December 1939 and arrived in Norwegian waters near Bergen on 1 January 1940.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Highlander (British, 1216 GRT, built 1916), Rigel (Finnish, 1477 GRT, built 1937), Salerno (British, 870 GRT, built 1924), Vienti (Finnish, 1715 GRT, built 1911) and Wanda (Finnish, 1902 GRT, built 1897).
The small minelayer HMS Ringdove (Lt. C.R. Pilgrim, RN) was also part of this convoy.
A close escort was provided for the convoy made up of the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) and the submarine ORP Orzel (Lt.Cdr. J. Grudzinski).
A close cover force, made up of the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN) departed Rosyth on 30 December.
At 0050Z/30, the Highlander parted company to proceed to Aberdeen escorted by HMS Eclipse. HMS Eclipse rejoined the convoy screen around 1000Z/30.
During the night of 29/30 December, the Vienti had straggled from the convoy and was not seen again before the convoy arrived in Norwegian waters.
At 1100Z/30, HMS Eclipse was again detached but now to escort HMS Ringdove towards Scapa Flow. At 1555Z/30, the escort was taken over by the auxiliary A/S trawler HMS Arctic Explorer (Skr. C.L. Buchan, RNR). HMS Eclipse rejoined the convoy screen around 15 minutes later. By that time the Rigel and Wanda had also straggled from the convoy being unable to keep up even at 6.5 knots. They rejoined the convoy the next day after the remainder of the convoy had doubled back for a while as Capt. Benson had been ordered to do so due the important cargoes the ships had on board.
The convoy arrived in Norwegian waters on 1 January where it was dispersed.
1 Jan 1940
Convoy HN 6.
This convoy departed from Norwegian waters near Bergen on 1 January 1940 and the bulk of the convoy arrived at Methil on 4 January 1940.
The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Boreas (Norwegian, 2801 GRT, built 1920), Catherine (Estonian, 1885 GRT, built 1904), Consul Bratt (Swedish, 1117 GRT, built 1913), Corona (Finish, 1569 GRT, built 1922), Crown Arun (British, 2372 GRT, built 1938), Dokka (Norwegian, 1168 GRT, built 1925), Dux (Norwegian, 1590 GRT, built 1934), Eros (Norwegian, 974 GRT, built 1922), Fagerbro (Norwegian, 994 GRT, built 1923), Garm (Swedish, 1231 GRT, built 1912), Gaston Micard (Norwegian, 982 GRT, built 1917), Glen Tilt (British, 871 GRT, built 1920), Granli (Norwegian, 1577 GRT, built 1935), Hague (British, 974 GRT, built 1919), Haukefjell (Norwegian, 2495 GRT, built 1921), Havtor (Norwegian, 1524 GRT, built 1930), Hektos (Finnish, 2108 GRT, built 1903), Ibis (Norwegian, 1367 GRT, built 1918), Iris (Swedish,1974 GRT, built 1886), Kalix (Swedish, 2801 GRT, built 1913), Kis (Norwegian, 1249 GRT, built 1915), Majorca (British, 1126 GRT, built 1921), Maurita (Norwegian, 1569 GRT, built 1925), Miranda (Norwegian, 1328 GRT, built 1920), Oria (Norwegian, 2127 GRT, built 1920), Plato (Swedish, 836 GRT, built 1898), Porjus (Swedish, 2965 GRT, built 1906), Saimaa (Finnish, 2001 GRT, built 1922), Sarmatia (Finnish, 2417 GRT, built 1901), Sirius (Swedish, 1832 GRT, built 1889), Skarv (Norwegian, 852 GRT, built 1923), Svarton (Swedish, 2475 GRT, built 1906), Transport (Norwegian, 1998 GRT, built 1921), Ulv (Norwegian, 938 GRT, built 1920), Wiima (Finnish, 3272 GRT, built 1897) and Zilos (Finnish, 1711 GRT, built 1884).
On departure the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, DSO, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St.J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN) and the submarine ORP Orzel (Lt.Cdr. J. Grudzinski).
A distant cover force for the convoy was also nearby, it was made up of the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and HMS Edinburgh (Capt. C.M. Blackman, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN).
On forming up in bad visibility four of the merchant ships failed to join the convoy.
Around 0800Z/3, the destroyers HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) joined the convoy to take the ' westcoast section ' with them. The ships that were to proceed to the westcoast were the Consul Bratt, Fagerbro, Hektos, Maurita, Oria, Saimaa and Zilos.
Around 0630A/4, the Glen Tilt and Hague parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Dundee.
The remainder of the convoy arrived off Methil on 4 January.
- ADM 53/107659
- ADM 199/1848
- ADM 173/16650
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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