Allied Warships

HMS Bridgewater (L 01 / U 01)

Sloop of the Bridgewater class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassBridgewater 
PennantL 01 / U 01 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered19 Sep 1927 
Laid down6 Feb 1928 
Launched14 Sep 1928 
Commissioned14 Mar 1929 
End service 
History

In March 1935 HMS Bridgewater was based on the Cape Station and was first docked in the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa on the 18th of this month. She often used the facilities provided at Simonstown prior to the outbreak of war.

In September 1940, HMS Bridgewater in company with HMS Milford were summoned from the South Atlantic to proceed to Freetown and then on to the Mediterranean, to team up with the fleet involved in operation \"Menace\". This was the plan to prevent the Vichy French fleet from entering Dakar. British naval forces attacked Dakar to prepare a landing by the Free French troops. Bridgewater and Milford formed part of the British unit, with Vice Admiral Cunningham in overall charge.

On New Years Day 1942 convoy WS-14 arrived in South Africa from the U.K. with reinforcements. The convoy consisted of 18 ships. Bridgewater in company with the light cruiser HMS Ceres were responsible for the escorting of this convoy. On 19 March convoy WS-16 arrived in South Africa from the U.K. with reinforcements. The convoy consisted of 14 ships and HMS Bridgewater assisted with the escorting of this convoy.

In September 1943 HMS Bridgewater was serving in the Atlantic in company with Milford and formed a unit of the 40th escort group, involved in escorting convoys on the U.K. - Gibraltar route and was based at Freetown.

On 22 May 1947 Bridgewater was sold to Howells, Gelleswick Bay for breaking up.

 

Commands listed for HMS Bridgewater (L 01 / U 01)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Roy Carlton Harry, RN2 Jun 193915 Jul 1940
2A/Cdr. (retired) Henry Fawcus Gerrans Leftwich, RN15 Jul 19401 May 1942
3Cdr. (retired) Nelson Ward Hampton Weekes, OBE, RN1 May 1942Nov 1943
4Lt. Peter James Hill Hoare, RNNov 1943Feb 1944
5A/Lt.Cdr. Thomas Aitken Easton, RNVRFeb 1944Feb 1944
6Cdr. (retired) Richard Herbert Mack, RNFeb 1944Feb 1945

7Cdr. (retired) Michael Wentworth Ewart-Wentworth, RN4 Apr 194523 Jun 1945
8Lt.Cdr. David Drummond Bone, RN23 Jun 1945early 1946

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Notable events involving Bridgewater include:


30 Mar 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) departed Freetown for her 11th war patrol. She was ordered to participate in a special operation (Operation Grab) in which four Italian submarines coming from the Red Sea and their German supply vessel/tanker were to be intercepted. The British had discovered where these ships were to make rendez-vous though 'Ultra' (code breaking) and decided to spoil 'the party'.

Besides HMS Severn the armed merchant cruiser HMS Alcantara (Capt. (Retd.) J.G.P. Ingham, DSO, RN) and the sloops HMS Milford (Cdr. (Retd.) the Hon. V.M. Wyndham-Quin, RN) and HMS Bridgewater (A/Cdr. (Retd.) H.F.G. Leftwich, RN) were also involved in this operation. (1)

18 May 1941
The British merchant Piako is torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-107 about 130 nautical miles south-west of Freetown in position 07°52'N, 14°57'W. HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. H.F.G. Leftwich, RN (retired)) later picks up 65 survivors.

3 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Velox (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Roper, DSC, RN), HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and two ML's. (2)

7 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Starwort (Lt.Cdr. N.W. Duck, RD, RNR) and two ML's. (2)

9 Nov 1941
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Freetown together with HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. (Retd.) N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN), HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) and HMS Turcoman (T/Lt. R.F. Pretty, RNVR). (2)

1 Dec 1942
HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. N.W. Weeks, OBE, RN) picks up 19 survivors from the British tanker Cerinthus that was torpedoed and sunk on 10 November 1942 by German U-boat U-128 about 180 nautical miles south-west from the Cape Verde Islands in position 12°27'N, 27°45'W.

18 Jul 1943
At 07.56 hours on 18 July 1943, the unescorted British passenger ship Incomati was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-508 about 200 nautical miles south of Lagos. At 08.18 hours, the U-boat began shelling the ship, setting her on fire and left the wreck in sinking condition. The ship finally sank in position 03°09'N, 04°15'E. One crew member was lost. The master, 101 crew members, eight gunners and 112 passengers were picked up by the British destroyer HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and the British sloop HMS Bridgewater (Cdr. N.W.H. Weekes, OBE, RN) and landed at Takoradi.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16980 + ADM 199/1886
  2. ADM 173/16988

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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