Allied Warships

HMS Limbourne (L 57)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type III) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type III) 
PennantL 57 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Ordered28 Jul 1940 
Laid down8 Apr 1941 
Launched12 May 1942 
Commissioned23 Oct 1942 
Lost23 Oct 1943 
Loss position48° 59'N, 3° 39'W
History

HMS Limbourne (A/Cdr. Walter John Phipps, MVO, RN) was heavily damaged by the German torpedo boats T 22 and T 24 along with cruiser HMS Charybdis in the English Channel. Sunk in position 48º59'N, 03º39'W by HMS Rocket and HMS Talybont when impossible to salvage.

 

Commands listed for HMS Limbourne (L 57)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Conrad Byron Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN1 Sep 194220 Oct 1943
2A/Cdr. Walter John Phipps, OBE, RN20 Oct 194323 Oct 1943

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Notable events involving Limbourne include:


13 Nov 1942
HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) departed Loch Cairnbawn (Port H.H.Z.) around 1145A/13 to proceed to Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN), HMS Haydon (Lt. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow around 0530A/13 for Loch Cairnbawn earlier that morning.

HMS Howe and her escort arrived at Scapa Flow around 1850A/13. (1)

17 Nov 1942
The battleship HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. During these exercises HMS Howe was escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN). (2)

19 Nov 1942
The battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Sir B. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN) and light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. During the exercises HMS Anson was escorted by the destroyers HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN). (3)

5 Dec 1942
HMS H 32 (Lt. C. Gordon, RN) conducted A/S exercises at / off Scapa Flow with HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN) and HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN). (4)

4 Jun 1943
Around 0845B/4, the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN) and HMS Meynell (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN) departed Plymouth to proceed to position 44°02'N, 10°58'W.

After arriving in the above position they were to patrol between latitudes 43°01'N and 45°02'N and longtitudes 10°01'W and 11°59'W on an anti-blockade breaker patrol.

They were recalled the following day and arrived back at Plymouth around 1230B/6. (5)

23 Jun 1943
HMS H 34 (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN), HMS Wensleydale (Lt. J.A. McClure, DSC, RN), HMS Itchen (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, DSO, RNR), HMCS Galt (T/Lt. A.M. Kirkpatrick, RCNVR), HMCS St. Francis (A/Lt.Cdr. H.V.W. Groos, RCN) and HMCS Sackville (Lt. A.H. Rankin, RCNVR). (6)

1 Aug 1943

Convoy MKF 20.

This convoy departed Algiers on 1 August 1943.

It was made up of the troop transports; Dempo (Dutch, 17024 GRT, built 1931), Highland Princess (British, 14133 GRT, built 1930), Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935) and Volendam (Dutch, 15434 GRT, built 1922).

Escort was made up of the sloops HMS Pelican (Capt. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Egret (Lt. G.H. Cook, RN), frigates HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSO, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Wear (Cdr. E. Wheeler, RD, RNR) and the escort destroyer HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN).

The convoy arrived at Oran on 2 August 1943.

The convoy departed Oran on 3 August 1943. The frigate HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO, RD, RNR) had reinforced the convoy escort now.

The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 4 August 1943. It departed for the U.K. later the same day minus the transport Dempo. The convoy escort was reinforced by the destroyers HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Whinney, RN).

On 5 August 1943, the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) departed Gibraltar to overtake the convoy and then join the convoy escort. She joined the convoy on the morning of the 6th.

At 1000B/8, HMS Charybdis parted company with the convoy to return to Gibraltar.

HMS Limbourne was detached to Plymouth where she arrived on 10 August 1943.

HMS Amazon and HMS Wanderer were detached to Londonderry where they arrived on 10 August 1943.

The convoy arrived in the Clyde on 11 August 1943. The remaining escort vessels then proceeded to Londonderry arriving there later the same day.

28 Aug 1943
With her refit completed, the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) departed Plymouth around 1615A/28 for Scapa Flow. She is escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, DSC, RN), HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Pumphrey, RN, DSO and 2 Bars, DSC, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN).

Around 1830A/29, the original screen parted company when the destroyers HMS Scorpion (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN) and HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN) joined.

Around 1430A/30, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Scorpion and HMCS Huron arrived at Scapa Flow. (7)

20 Oct 1943
Around 0500A/20, the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. St.J. Cronyn, DSO, RN) departed Greenock for Southampton. She is escorted by the AA ship HMCS Prince Robert (Cdr. A.M. Hope, RCN) and the destroyer HMS Saladin (Lt. A.A. Diggens, DSC, RN).

Around 1110A/20, HMS Saladin is detached.

Around 0715A/21, the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (A/Cdr. W.J. Phipps, MVO, RN), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Stevenstone (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN) joined coming from Plymouth and HMCS Prince Robert was detached.

HMS Revenge arrived at Portsmouth around 1615A/21. The escort destroyers then set course to return to Plymouth. (8)

22 Oct 1943
Around 1900A/22, ' Force 28 ', made up of the AA cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), destroyers HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Limbourne (A/Cdr. W.J. Phipps, MVO, RN), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Talybont (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN) and HMS Wensleydale (Lt. J.A. McClure, DSC, RN) departed Plymouth for a sweep along the north coast of Brittany. (9)

23 Oct 1943

Sinking of HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne.

Around 0135A/23, ' Force 28, made up of HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN), HMS Grenville (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, DSO, RN), HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), HMS Limbourne (A/Cdr. W.J. Phipps, MVO, RN), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Talybont (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN) and HMS Wensleydale (Lt. J.A. McClure, DSC, RN) encountered the German 4. Torpedo Boat Flotilla made up of T 22, T 23, T 25, T 26 and T 27.

In the resulting action HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne were hit by torpedoes and both sank as a result. HMS Charybdis was hit by the T 23 and T 27 while HMS Limbourne was hit by T 22.

' Force 28 ' was proceeding to the west at 14 knots when HMS Charybdis obtained a contact about 7 miles north of Triagoz Island. Two units were contacted about 9000 yards almost right ahead. HMS Charybdis opened fire with star shell but before these burst she was torpedoed amidships on the port side.

A number of torpedoes were observed by the other ships. HMS Charybdis was then hit by a second torpedo. HMS Limbourne was shortly afterwards also hit by one torpedo on the port side forward and the bow was blown off.

The enemy was not seen by the remaining ships and they soon became scattered in a heavy rain squall. HMS Grenville, which was now the ' Senior ' ship, reformed the surviving the ships and they returned to the scene of the action. The three remaining Hunt-class destroyers where then ordered to search for survivors while HMS Grenville and HMS Rocket searched for the enemy to the westward. They rejoined with the Hunt-class destroyers around 0500A/23. After picking up the survivors the force departed the scene of the action around 0630A/23. 4 Officers and 103 ratings were picked up from HMS Charybdis while from HMS Limbourne 11 Officers, including the Commanding Officer, and 92 ratings were picked up. (10)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/116071
  2. ADM 53/115992 + ADM 53/116071
  3. ADM 53/115326 + ADM 53/115992
  4. ADM 173/17220
  5. ADM 53/117200 + ADM 199/2266
  6. ADM 173/17795
  7. ADM 53/119386
  8. ADM 53/118468 + ADM 199/2280
  9. ADM 199/2280
  10. ADM 199/2281

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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