Allied Warships

HMS Enchantress (L 56 / U 56)

Sloop of the Bittern class


HMS Enchantress as seen during the war.
Note that the HF/DF has been deleted by the censor.

Photo Courtesy of Graham White.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassBittern 
PennantL 56 / U 56 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered5 Oct 1933 
Laid down9 Mar 1934 
Launched21 Dec 1934 
Commissioned4 Apr 1935 
End service 
History

When under construction she was to be named the Bittern however a decision was made to modify her by adding aft accommodation in place of 2x4.7 guns to serve as a Admiralty Yacht. She was renamed H.M.S. Enchantress before launch. The outbreak of war led to heavy modifications. Enchantress had her accomodation removed but she never shipped her aft 4.7\'s instead she was fitted with 2 x multiple machine guns (2x4) a vertical HF/DF mast in the X position a 12pdr A.A. gun in the Y position. Two 20mm A.A. guns added to the bridge wings and eventually 4 Hedgehog anti submarine spigot mortars! This meant for a small sloop the Enchantress had the A.A. Anti/Sub fire power of a much larger vessel.

Sold in 1946 for £22,500 to the Three Star Shipping company she was refitted as The Lady Enchantress to \"Pullman\" standard. To pay off the huge debt incurred a good season Torquay to Guernsey was needed unfortunately she suffered a catastrophic boiler failure on an early run. She was laid up and eventually scrapped at Dunston on Tyne, Gateshead UK starting on 16 February 1952.

 

Commands listed for HMS Enchantress (L 56 / U 56)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Alan Kenneth Scott-Moncrieff, RN10 Jan 19399 Jan 1941
2Lt.Cdr. Arthur Edward Tolfrey Christie, RN9 Jan 19417 Nov 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Evelyn David John Abbot, DSC, RN7 Nov 1943Jan 1945
4T/A/Lt.Cdr. Alfred John Clemence, RNR1 Jan 19451 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Enchantress include:


24 May 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 23 survivors from the Greek merchant Kyma that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-37 about 175 nautical miles south of Cape Clear in position 48°30'N, 09°30'W.

12 Jun 1940
The British merchant Earlspark is torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-101 north-west of Cape Finisterre in position 42°26'N, 11°33'W. HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) later picks up 31 survivors.

26 Jul 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 79 survivors from the British passenger ship Accra that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-34 about 320 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 55°40'N, 16°28'W.

10 Oct 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 27 survivors from the British merchant Graigwen that was torpedoed and damaged the previous day by German U-boat U-103 37 nautical miles north-north-west of Rockall. The abandoned Graigwen was finally torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-123 in position 58°11'N, 13°57'W.

23 Nov 1940
HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, RN) picks up 26 survivors from the British merchant Justitia that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-100 about 160 nautical miles west of Bloody Foreland in position 55°00'N, 13°10'W.

Enchantress also picks up 7 survivors from the Norwegian merchant Salonica that was also torpedoed and sunk by U-100 west of Ireland in position 55°16'N, 12°14'W. (1)

3 Mar 1941
HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.F. Christie, RN) successfully locates the Royal Navy submarine HMS Taku (Lt. J.F.B. Brown, RN) damaged and adrift in the Atlantic. With the corvette HMS Gladiolus and tug HMS Slavonia, HMS Enchantress successfully escorts HMS Taku into Londonderry on the 10th March. (1)

13 Dec 1942
The Italian submarine Corallo (offsite link) was rammed and sunk off Bougie, Algeria in position 36°58'N, 05°07'E by the British sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.F. Christie, OBE, RN). HMS Enchantress was an escort for convoy KMS 4 Gibraltar-Algiers). The Corallo was forced to the surface due to the depth charge attacks made by Enchantress. Some reports claim the gun crew tried to bring her deck gun into action against the Enchantress. Next the Enchantress rammed the Corallo sinking her with all hands lost.

Sources

  1. Personal communication

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