HMS Egret (L 75 / U 75)
Sloop of the Egret class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Pennant||L 75 / U 75|
|Built by||J.S. White & Co. (Cowes, U.K.)|
|Ordered||5 Mar 1937|
|Laid down||21 Jul 1937|
|Launched||31 May 1938|
|Commissioned||10 Nov 1938|
|Lost||27 Aug 1943|
|Loss position||42° 10'N, 9° 22'W|
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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|1||Capt. John Campbell Annesley, DSO, RN||2 Jun 1939||19 Jan 1940|
|2||Cdr. Dering Parker Evans, RN||19 Jan 1940||20 Apr 1940|
|3||Cdr. Emile Frank Verlaine Dechaineux, RAN||20 Apr 1940||19 May 1940|
|4||Cdr. Dering Parker Evans, RN||19 May 1940||14 Jan 1941|
|5||A/Capt. Edmund Mount Haes, RN||14 Jan 1941||8 Feb 1942|
|6||Cdr. Charles Robert Stanier Farquhar, RN||8 Feb 1942||Jun 1943|
|7||Lt. George Henry Cook, RN||Jun 1943||Aug 1943|
|8||Lt.Cdr. John Valentine Waterhouse, DSO, RN||Aug 1943||27 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)
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). (3)
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 (?). (6)
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. (7)
- ADM 173/15864
- ADM 173/16767
- File 2.12.03.6379 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
- ADM 173/17207
- ADM 173/17772
- ADM 173/17926
- Personal communication
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.