“On this day in history” HMS Gravelines placed in commission, 1946

“On this day in history” 14 June 1946, Royal Navy Battle-class destroyer HMS Gravelines (D24) was placed in commission.

hms_gravelines

Ordered in the 1942 naval estimates, Gravelines was built at Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, and launched in November 1944. She was not completed until 1946 (RN priorities towards the end of the war did not call for her immediate completion, and indeed many other Battle-class orders were cancelled) and after acceptance trails she was placed immediately in the Reserve Fleet.

In 1949, Gravelines was brought out of reserve and joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla serving in the Mediterranean with her sister ships HMS Armada (D14), HMS Vigo (D31), and HMS Saintes (D84). Based in Malta, the flotilla served in continuation with the Mediterranean Fleet based in Malta.

In 1951, Gravelines was detached for service East of Suez, serving at Basra during a crisis over proposals for Iraqi oil nationalization.

Gravelines was in reserve again from 1953 to 1955, when she rejoined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, serving with the Home Fleet.

In 1958, Gravelines commenced a refit at Devonport, but this was cancelled and she was laid up pending disposal. Gravelines was scrapped at Rosyth in 1961.

 

 

 

“Last Call” (1965) with HMS Bulwark and the Far East Fleet on Exercise Dark Night

Feature length documentary (61 minutes) demonstrating a Royal Navy and Royal Marines exercise in the Far East. Filmed during 1964/65 and based on Exercise ‘Dark Night.’

With 40 Commando, 42 Commando, and 845 NAS aboard the commando carrier HMS Bulwark (R08). The “Rusty B” was deployed East of Suez with the Royal Navy’s Far East Fleet throughout the 1960s and served during the Konfrontasi with Indonesia.

Also features strike carriers HMS Victorious (R38), HMS Eagle (R05), and the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21). Aircraft include the De Havilland Sea Vixen and the Blackburn Buccaneer.

Also the (new for 1964/5) County-class guided missile destroyers HMS Kent (D12) and HMS London (D16). Additional escorts include Battle-class destroyers HMS Barrosa (D68) and HMS Corruna (D97), C-class destroyer HMS Caesar (D07), Type 61 aircraft direction frigate HMS Lincoln (F99), Australian destroyer escort HMAS Derwent (DE49), New Zealand frigate HMNZS Otago (F111), and Type 15 frigate HMS Zest (F102).

Ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary include the replenishment oilers RFA Tidepool (A76), RFA Tidesurge (A98), and RFA Bayleaf (A79).

Photos of Royal Navy vessels at Invergordon during the First World War

Invergordon

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Iron Duke-class battleship HMS Emperor of India at Invergordon, 1915.

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Acasta-classs destroyer HMS Midge underway at Inverordon, 1915.

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“Splendid Cat” battlecruiser HMS Lion at Invergordon, 1915.

Wreck of armoured cruiser HMS Natal at Invergordon, sunk by cordite explosion in the aft 9.2-inch shellroom, 1915.

Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Malaya in drydock at Invergordon after the Battle of Jutland, 1916.

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US Navy minelayer USS San Francisco in drydock at Invergordon, 1918.

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M-class destroyer HMS Octavia departing Invergordon, 1919.

Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Valiant in drydock at Invergordon, 1919.

Admiralty Floating Drydock 5 (AFD5) at Invergordon, built at Cammell Laird 1912, moved to Invergordon 1914.

“On this day in history” HMS Zubian placed in commission, 1917

On this day in history 7 June 1917, the Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer HMS Zubian was placed in commission.

Zubian was constructed at Chatham from the forward end of HMS Zulu (damaged by mine in November 1916) and the rear and mid sections of HMS Nubian (damaged by torpedo in October 1916). The name “Zubian” is a portmanteau of Zulu and Nubian.

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‘The Destroyers’ by Rudyard Kipling, 1898

Kipling began work on the poem in 1897 after visiting the Thornycroft destroyer HMS Foam during her sea trials. He published the poem in McClure’s magazine in 1898

‘The Destroyers’ by Rudyard Kipling, 1898

The strength of twice three thousand horse
That seeks the single goal;
The line that holds the rending course,
The hate that swings the whole;
The stripped hulls, slinking through the gloom,
At gaze and gone again —
The Brides of Death that wait the groom —
The Choosers of the Slain!

Offshore where sea and skyline blend
In rain, the daylight dies;
The sullen, shouldering swells attend
Night and our sacrifice.
Adown the stricken capes no flare —
No mark on spit or bar, —
Girdled and desperate we dare
The blindfold game of war.

Nearer the up-flung beams that spell
The council of our foes;
Clearer the barking guns that tell
Their scattered flank to close.
Sheer to the trap they crowd their way
From ports for this unbarred.
Quiet, and count our laden prey,
The convoy and her guard!

On shoal with scarce a foot below,
Where rock and islet throng,
Hidden and hushed we watch them throw
Their anxious lights along.
Not here, not here your danger lies —
(Stare hard, O hooded eyne!)
Save were the dazed rock-pigeons rise
The lit cliffs give no sign.

Therefore — to break the rest ye seek,
The Narrow Seas to clear —
Hark to the siren’s whimpering shriek —
The driven death is here!
Look to your van a league away, —
What midnight terror stays
The bulk that checks against the spray
Her crackling tops ablaze?

Hit, and hard hit! The blow went home,
The muffled, knocking stroke —
The steam that overruns the foam —
The foam that thins to smoke —
The smoke that clokes the deep aboil —
The deep that chokes her throes
Till, streaked with ash and sleeked with oil,
The lukewarm whirlpools close!

A shadow down the sickened wave
Long since her slayer fled:
But hear their chattering quick-fires rave
Astern, abeam, ahead!
Panic that shells the drifting spar —
Loud waste with none to check —
Mad fear that rakes a scornful star
Or sweeps a consort’s deck.

Now, while their silly smoke hangs thick,
Now ere their wits they find,
Lay in and lance them to the quick —
Our gallied whales are blind!
Good luck to those that see the end,
Good-bye to those that drown —
For each his chance as chance shall send —
And God for all! Shut down!

The strength of twice three thousand horse
That serve the one command;
The hand that heaves the headlong force,
The hate that backs the hand:
The doom-bolt in the darkness freed,
The mine that splits the main;
The white-hot wake, the ‘wildering speed —
The Choosers of the Slain!

“Pluto” ship’s dog of Tribal-class destroyer HMS Cossack

ON BOARD THE DESTROYER HMS COSSACK DURING TORPEDO AND ANTI-SUBMARINE EXERCISES. 1940.
Onboard Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer HMS Cossack, 1940. Petty Officer Scott with “Pluto”, the destroyer’s mascot. Pluto has been in all the ship’s battles including Narvik and Altmark episode.© IWM (A 1597)