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 position42.10N, 09.22W
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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Noteable events involving Egret include:


My father (Stanley Henry Dovey died on 16th April 2011. He was on HMS Egret from 1939-1941. He was critically wounded when the ship was attacked in the Thames estuary and spent 13 months in Chatham and Park Prewett Hospitals (not sure how you spell the latter). He wanted to make a career in the navy, but this was not to be. He did have a few tales to tell - one such being that he was awfully seasick but so was the captain, who used to spend the first 2 or 3 days in bed when they left port. I wonder if he was the last survivor of the Egret! (1)

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. (1)

Sources

  1. Personal communication

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