Allied Warships

HMS Wessex (i) (D 43)

Destroyer of the Admiralty V & W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassAdmiralty V & W 
PennantD 43 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered9 Dec 1916 
Laid down23 May 1917 
Launched12 Mar 1918 
Commissioned11 May 1918 
Lost24 May 1940 
Loss position51° 01'N, 1° 45'E
History

On 24 May 1940 HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. William Archibald Rosebery Cartwright, RN) was bombed and sunk off Calais by German aircraft.
The wreck lies in 35 meters of water in position 51º00'54"N, 01º45'50"E.

 

Commands listed for HMS Wessex (i) (D 43)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. William Archibald Rosebery Cartwright, RN31 Jul 193924 May 1940

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Noteable events involving Wessex (i) include:


24 May 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza was ordered to join the British destroyers HMS Vimiera and HMS Wessex and shell German positions in Calais area. At 16.20 the Allied vessels opened fire on enemy armoured column at Sangatte Hill, west of Calais. 10 minutes later they were attacked by 27 German airplanes which hit and sank HMS Wessex. HMS Vimiera managed to escape. Then the entire enemy air group concentrated on the Polish destroyer. The AA guns (2 40 mm) jammed due to shrapnel hits, three bombs exploded in the water. They caused boiler damage and loss of speed. The commander (Lt.Cdr. Francki) ordered to emergency launch the torpedoes and drop all depth charges, trying to avoid additional explosions. Shortly after this, two bombs hit the Burza and badly damaged her. However the airplanes had dropped all of their bombs and broke off the attack. The crew managed to stop the leakage and return to Dover. One German airplane was shot down during the action. (1)

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. Personal communication

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