HMS Express (H 61)
Destroyer of the E class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend|
|Ordered||1 Nov 1932|
|Laid down||23 Mar 1933|
|Launched||29 May 1934|
|Commissioned||31 Oct 1934|
|End service||3 Jun 1943|
HMS Express was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Gatineau on 3 June 1943. Scrapped at Vancouver in 1956.
|Career notes||Became the Canadian destroyer Gatineau|
Commands listed for HMS Express (H 61)
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|1||Cdr. Jack Grant Bickford, RN||25 Aug 1939||1 Sep 1940 (+)|
|2||Lt.Cdr. David Hugh Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN||1 Sep 1940||late 1940|
|3||Lt.Cdr. Francis Jack Cartwright, RN||22 Jul 1941||3 Jun 1943|
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Noteable events involving Express include:
13 Mar 1940
German U-boat U-44 was hit by a mine around 13 March 1940, in minefield Field No 7. laid on 3 March 1940 by the British destroyers HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN) HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN), HMS Icarus (Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN).
9 May 1940
The mine laying destroyers HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.G. Gordon, RN) lay 180 mines in known German swept channels in operation XMG.
31 Aug 1940
On 31 August 1940 a group of destroyers sailed from Immingham on a mine laying mission off the Dutch coast. The minelayers were from the 20th Destroyer Flotilla and consisted of the destroyers HMS Express (Cdr. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, DSC, RN), HMS Icarus (Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The minelayers were escorted by members of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla consisted of the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) and HMS Vortigern (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Howlett, RN). Aerial reconnaissance detected a German force and the ships of the 20th and 5th DF were ordered to intercept, believing wrongly that the German ships were part of an invasion force. HMS Express struck a mine and was badly damaged, HMS Esk went to her assistance and hit mine and sank immediately, HMS Ivanhoe also went to her assistance and hit a mine and was badly damaged, so much so she had to be sunk by HMS Kelvin. The following day they were joined by the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) and while returning to base HMS Galatea struck another mine and was slightly damaged off Cleaner Shoal Buoy near the Humber light vessel.