Allied Warships

HMS Egret (L 75 / U 75)

Sloop of the Egret class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassEgret 
PennantL 75 / U 75 
Built byJ.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.) 
Ordered5 Mar 1937 
Laid down21 Jul 1937 
Launched31 May 1938 
Commissioned10 Nov 1938 
Lost27 Aug 1943 
Loss position42° 10'N, 9° 22'W
History

HMS Egret (A/Cdr. John Valentine Waterhouse, DSO, RN) was the first Allied warship to be sunk by a guided missle. 30 nautical miles west of Vigo, Spain she was attacked by a squadron of Dornier aircraft, one of which carried and launched the Henschel Hs-293A guided bomb which hit sank Egret in position 42º10'N, 09º22'W, killing 194 of its crew.

 

Commands listed for HMS Egret (L 75 / U 75)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. John Campbell Annesley, DSO, RN2 Jun 193919 Jan 1940
2Cdr. Dering Parker Evans, RN19 Jan 194020 Apr 1940
3Cdr. Emile Frank Verlaine Dechaineux, RAN20 Apr 194019 May 1940
4Cdr. Dering Parker Evans, RN19 May 194014 Jan 1941
5A/Capt. Edmund Mount Haes, RN14 Jan 19418 Feb 1942
6Cdr. Charles Robert Stanier Farquhar, RN8 Feb 1942Jun 1943
7Lt. George Henry Cook, RNJun 1943Aug 1943
8Lt.Cdr. John Valentine Waterhouse, DSO, RNAug 194327 Aug 1943

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Notable events involving Egret include:


6 Dec 1939
During 6 and 7 December 1939, HMS Otway (Cdr. H.R. Conway, RN) and HMS Oswald (Lt.Cdr. G.M. Sladen, RN), conducted exercises off Malta together with HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Egret (Capt. J.C. Annesley, DSO, RN). These included night exercises. (1)

6 Feb 1941
HMS H 43 (Lt. I.L.M. McGeogh, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) and HMS Weston (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Sutton, RN). (2)

24 Apr 1941
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) and HMS Verbena (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Rayner, DSC, RNVR). (3)

13 Oct 1941

Convoy OS 9

This convoy departed Liverpool on 13 October 1941 for Freetown where it arrived on 5 November 1941. Several merchant ships were detached en-route for other destinations.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adjutant (1931 GRT, built 1922), Alderamin (Dutch, 7886 GRT, built 1920), Arlesford (2472 GRT, built 1922), Annavore (Norwegian, 3324 GRT, built 1921), Baluchistan (6992 GRT, built 1940), Baron Cawdor (3638 GRT, built 1935), Baron Ramsay (3650 GRT, built 1929), Brittany (4772 GRT, built 1928), City of Barcelona (5787 GRT, built 1930), City of Dublin (1095 GRT, built 1882), City of Hereford (5101 GRT, built 1927), Cornish City (4952 GRT, built 1936), Cressado (1228 GRT, built 1913), Egba (4989 GRT, built 1914), Empire Glade (7006 GRT, built 1941), Empire Glen (6327 GRT, built 1941), Fagersten (Norwegian, 2342 GRT, built 1921), Filleigh (4856 GRT, built 1928), Fjord (Norwegian, 4032 GRT, built 1914), Graiglas (4312 GRT, built 1940), Guinean (5205 GRT, built 1936), Hadleigh (5222 GRT, built 1930), Harmonides (5237 GRT, built 1920), Harpasa (5082 GRT, built 1934), Ittersum (Dutch, 5199 GRT, built 1938), Leeds City (4758 GRT, built 1927), Leerdam (8815 GRT, built 1921), Leeds City (4758 GRT, built 1927), Leerdam (Dutch, 8815 GRT, built 1921), Loch Ranza (4958 GRT, built 1934), Madras City (5082 GRT, built 1940), Marwarri (8067 GRT, built 1935), Nigerian (5423 GRT, built 1936), Ottinge (2870 GRT, built 1940), Queen Victoria (4937 GRT, built 1936), Rembrandt (5559 GRT, built 1941), Ribera (5559 GRT, built 1940), Rio Blanco (4086 GRT, built 1922), Salabangka (Dutch, 6586 GRT, built 1920), Sheaf Crown (4868 GRT, built 1929), Spero (1589 GRT, built 1922), Stad Amsterdam (Dutch, 3780 GRT, built 1920), Stanmore (4970 GRT, built 1940), Superman (tug, 359 GRT, built 1933), Talthybius (10254 GRT, built 1912), Tintern Abbey (2471 GRT, built 1939), Treworlas (4692 GRT, built 1922) and Willemsplein (Dutch, 5489 GRT, built 1910).

Escort was initially provided by the following warships; Free French sloop / minesweeper Commandant Domine (13 – 24 October), sloops Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) (14 October – 2 November), Fowey (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN) (14 October – 1 November), Leith (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hulton, RN) (14 October – 1 November), Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RN) and the corvettes HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, RNR) (14 October – 5 November), HMS Stonecrop (A/Lt.Cdr. J.V. Brock, RCNVR) (14 October – 1 November).

When approaching Freetown the following corvettes joined on 31 October; HMS Burdock (T/Lt. H.J. Fellows, SANF(V)), Clover (Lt.Cdr. F.A. Shaw, RNR) and Nigella (T/Lt. L.J. Simpson, RNR). They remained with the convoy until it arrived at Freetown on 5 November.

On 24 October 1941 the Gibraltar (and Lisbon) section of the convoy split off. This were nine merchant vessels escorted by HMS Fowey, HMS Leith and HMS Stonecrop. The destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN) departed Gibraltar on 25 October to join the convoy on the 27th. Two more destroyers, HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) departed Gibraltar in the morning of 28 October and they joined the convoy in the afternoon of the next day. The convoy arrived at Gibraltar on 1 November. The previous day the ships destined for Lisbon had split off.

12 Dec 1941
HMS H 34 (Lt. W.A. Phillimore, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Walker (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN) and HMS Egret (A/Capt. E.M. Haes, RN) (4)

2 Apr 1942
HrMs O 10 (Lt. J.H. Geijs, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Monkshood (Lt.Cdr. J.E.R. Wilford, RNR), HMS Dahlia (T/Lt. M.S. Work, RNR), HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN), HMS Fishguard (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Pryse, RNR) and HMS Arctic Explorer (T/Lt. C. Pawley, RNVR). (5)

29 Sep 1942
HMS H 43 (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Philante (Capt. A.J. Baker-Cresswell, DSO, RN), HMS Banff (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN), HMS Pentstemon (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J. Byron, DSC, RNR), HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN) and aircraft. (6)

3 Nov 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. T.S. Weston, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle. Following these exercises she made a practice attack on HMS Egret (Cdr. C.R.S. Farquhar, RN). (7)

14 Jul 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Saxifage (T/Lt. J. Renwick, DSO, RNR), HMS Dianthus (T/A/Lt.Cdr. N.F. Israel, RNR) and HMS Egret. (8)

15 Jul 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMCS Kootenay (A/Lt.Cdr. K.L. Dyer, DSC, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Cdr. H.F. Pullen, OBE, RCN) and HMS Egret. (8)

16 Jul 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Egret and HMS Derg (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) J.W. Cooper, RNR). (8)

18 Jul 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. J.A. Burnett, DSC, RN), HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Egret (Lt. G.H. Cook, RN) and HMS Wear (?). (9)

18 Aug 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. J.A.R. Troup, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Jed (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Freaker, DSO, RD, RNR), HMS Egret, HMS Rother (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSO, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Northern Pride (T/Lt. A.L.F. Bell, RNR). (10)

23 Aug 1943
On the 23th August 1943 the 40th Escort Group (Cdr. Dallison), consisting of the sloops HMS Landguard, HMS Bideford, HMS Hastings and the frigates HMS Exe, HMS Moyola and HMS Waveney were deployed on a U-boat hunt off Cape Ortegal. The whole operation was covered by the British light cruiser HMS Bermuda.

On the 25th August the Canadian 5th Support Group (Cdr. Tweed), consisting of the British frigates HMS Nene, HMS Tweed and the Canadian corvettes HMCS Calgary, HMCS Edmundston and HMCS Snowberry were deployed to relieve the 40th Escort Group. While this was in progress the ships were attacked at 1415 hrs by 14 Dornier Do-217's and 7 Ju-88's. with the new German weapon, the Henschel Glider Bombs, (the "Hs293 A-1"). Designed by the German Professor Herbert Wagner. HMS Landguard and HMS Bideford were the first of the Allied and R.N. ships to be attacked and damaged by them. This being the first time of their being brought into action against Allied ships. Several sailors were injured on HMS Bideford and one sailor was killed.

Another two days later on the 27th August 1943 the Canadian 5th Support group was relieved by the 1st Support group (Cdr. Brewer) consisting of the sloops HMS Pelican, HMS Egret and the frigates HMS Jed, HMS Rother, HMS Spey and HMS Evenlode. Also the covering cruiser HMS Bermuda was relieved by the Canadian destroyer HMCS Athabaskan and the British destroyer HMS Grenville. These ships were also attacked by the Germans. This time with 18 Dornier Do-217?s also carrying Henschel Glider Bombs. HMCS Athabaskan was heavily damaged and HMS Egret was sunk with the loss of 194 of her crew. After this loss the U-boat hunt was blown off.

16 Aug 2009
My father, Lewis Thompson, was one of the few survivors of the sinking of the HMS Egret. He passed away last year at the age of 88. In 2007 he met with the grandson of one of his shipmates that did not make it, Ordenanceman John W. Chapman. His stories of the Egret were always exciting and I know the sinking had a profound effect on him. I miss him. (11)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15864
  2. ADM 173/16769
  3. File 2.12.03.6376 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 173/16767
  5. File 2.12.03.6379 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  6. ADM 173/17253
  7. ADM 173/17207
  8. ADM 173/17772
  9. ADM 173/17926
  10. ADM 173/17773
  11. Personal communication

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


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