HMS Broke (D 83)
Destroyer of the Shakespeare class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||Thornycroft (Southampton, U.K.)|
|Laid down||Oct 1918|
|Launched||16 Sep 1920|
|Commissioned||21 Jan 1925|
|Lost||8 Nov 1942|
|Loss position||36° 50'N, 0° 40'E|
Completed by Pembroke Dockyard. (Pembroke, Wales)
HMS Broke (Lt.Cdr. Arthur Frank Capel Layard, RN) was damaged by gunfire from Vichy-French shore batteries off Algiers, Algeria during the Allied landings in North Africa. Broke was later scuttled about 115 nautical miles west of Algiers in position 36º50'N, 00º40'E.
|Former name||HMS Rooke|
Commands listed for HMS Broke (D 83)
Please note that we're still working on this section.
|1||Capt. Ralph Kerr, RN||31 Jul 1939||27 Sep 1939|
|2||Cdr. Bryan Gouthwaite Scurfield, RN||27 Sep 1939||7 Jul 1941|
|3||Cdr. Walter Thomas Couchman, OBE, RN||7 Jul 1941||Apr 1942|
|4||Lt.Cdr. Arthur Frank Capel Layard, RN||Apr 1942||8 Nov 1942|
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Notable events involving Broke include:
4 Sep 1939
The battleships HMS Royal Oak (Capt. W.G. Benn, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.E.C. Blagrove, RN) and HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) both departed Scapa Flow to patrol to the east of the Fair Isle Channel. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Broke (Capt. R. Kerr, RN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. R.F. Morice, RN) and HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN). They were joined at sea early in the afternoon of the 6th by three more destroyers; HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN).
6 Sep 1939
Late in the afternoon the battleships HMS Royal Oak (Capt. W.G. Benn, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.E.C. Blagrove, RN) and HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) and their escorting destroyers; HMS Broke (Capt. R. Kerr, RN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. R.F. Morice, RN) and HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) returned to Scapa Flow from their patrol to the east of the Fair Isle Channel.
20 Oct 1939
Convoy FS 24.
This convoy departed Methil on 20 September 1939 and arrived at Southend on 22 September 1939.
The convoy was made up of 31 ships but not all names of the ships in the convoy are currently known. At least the following ships were part of the convoy; Benlawers (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), British Valour (British (tanker), 6952 GRT, built 1927), Corland (British, 3431 GRT, built 1917), Fulham V (British, 1584 GRT, built 1939), Hornchurch (British, 2162 GRT, built 1919), Inver (British, 1543 GRT, built 1919), Lolworth (British, 1969 GRT, built 1920), Maja (British, 8181 GRT, built 1931), Monarch (British, 1150 GRT, built 1916), Perth (British, 2259 GRT, built 1915), Scottish Musician (British, 6998 GRT, built 1922), Sheaf Field (British, 2719 GRT, built 1923) and Sherwood (British, 1530 GRT, built 1924).
The convoy arrived off Southend on 22 October. The escorts went to Harwich also arriving there on 22 October.
24 Oct 1939
Convoy FN 25.
This convoy departed Southend on 22 September 1939 and arrived at Methil on 24 September 1939.
The convoy was made up of 21 ships but not all names of the ships in the convoy are currently known. At least the following ships were part of the convoy; Baltrover (British, 4916 GRT, built 1913), City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922), Helena Margareta (British, 3316 GRT, built 1915), Kioto (British, 3297 GRT, built 1918) and Ross (British, 4878 GRT, built 1936).
The convoy arrived at Methil on the 24th. The escorts then went to Rosyth arrived there also on the 24th.
11 Mar 1940
HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) scuttled the wreck of the Dutch tanker Eulota that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-28 about 130 nautical miles west of Ushant in position 48°35'N, 08°22'W.
14 Jun 1940
Convoy US 3, made up of the troopships (liners) Andes (25689 GRT, built 1939), Aquitania (44786 GRT, built 1914), Empress of Britain (42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922), Mauretania (35739 GRT, built 1939) and Queen Mary (81235 GRT, built 1936) with troop from New Zealand and Australia on board and escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. the Hon. G.H.E. Russell, RN) and HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was joined around 0800 hours by HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), which came from Gibraltar, and joined around 1000 hours by the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN) escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN), HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN) which came from the U.K. Shortly afterwards HMS Dorsetshire left the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar.
Later that day, around 1500 hours, the convoy was joined by the destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, RN) and around 1600 hours by two more destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (1)
8 Jul 1940
HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) rescued 20 survivors from the Swedish merchant Bissen that had been sunk the day before by U-99 about 80 miles south-south-west of Cape Clear in position 50°06'N, 10°23'W.
10 Oct 1940
Bombardment of Cherbourg.
10 October 1940.
The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Plymouth for a night bombardment of Cherbourg during the night of 10/11 October. She was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN).
A cover force was also sailed from Plymouth on the same day. This force was to provide cover to the east of the bombardment force and was made up of the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN), the British destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, DSC, RN and the Polish destroyers Garland (Cdr. K. Namiesniowski, ORP) and Burza (Cdr. A. Doroszkowski, ORP).
The light cruiser HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Portsmouth to provide cover for the operation to the west of the bombardment force.
During the bombardment HMS Revenge fired 120 rounds of 15” in eighteen minutes from range between 14000 and 16000 yards. Her escorting destroyers fired 801 rounds of 4.7” during the first four minutes of the bombardment and then formed a screen on the battleship.
Large fires were seen to erupt in the target area. Shore defences opened up as for being under air attack. The ships were fired on only after the bombardment had ceased. No ships were hit though despite the enemy fire being accurate.
The western cover group returned to Plymouth at 0800/11.
The bombardment force and the eastern cover group arrived at Portsmouth around the same time.
12 Oct 1940
HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) departed Plymouth on this day. Both returned the next day. They might have been on patrol in the western Channel during the night of 12/13 October 1940. [No further details currently available.] (2)
20 Oct 1940
After a suspicious surface vessel was reported off Bolt Head the destroyer HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Plymouth at 1250 hours followed at 1315 hours by the destroyers HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) and Blyskawica (Lt.Cdr. W. Franki).
At 1510 hours HMS Kashmir signalled that there was nothing to report and the destroyers returned to Plymouth. (3)
14 Nov 1941
HMS H 50 (Lt. E.T. Stanley, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Broke (Cdr. W.T. Couchman, OBE, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rowland, RN), HMS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Mackay, RD, RNR) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN). (7)
8 Nov 1942
On the morning of 8 November 1942 at Algiers, HMS Broke had been ordered to break through the boom, enter the harbour and land a party of soldiers whose orders were to take and hold selected positions until the main landing force arrived. This she did but on leaving harbour she was targeted by 8inch shore batteries sited on the cliffs overlooking Algiers bay. She was hit several times, was on fire and almost still in the water. HMS Zetland overseeing the landing of troops immediately made to place herself between the batteries and HMS Broke, made smoke and dropped smoke floats, all the while returning fire with her 4inch guns. Zetland made enough of a distraction to allow Broke to slowly make for the open sea and then received orders to take HMS Broke in tow to Gibraltar which she commenced to do. Badly listing and making slow going in mounting seas, it was decided that she wasn't going to make it. Hammocks and bedding were spread on Zetland's forecastle and at a given signal groups of survivors were ordered to jump from the Broke onto the hammocks. Every man including stretcher cases were safely brought on board Zetland and as night began to fall, Zetland sailed alongside HMS Broke and dropped two depth charges primed at shallow settings. In a very short time HMS Broke sank beneath the waves. The survivors were landed at Gibraltar and Zetland returned to Algiers to commence escorting convoys of troops from Algiers to Bone. (8)
- ADM 53/112036 + ADM 53/111885 + ADM 53/112448
- ADM 199/2548 + ADM 199/2558
- ADM 199/372
- ADM 173/16291
- ADM 173/16822
- ADM 173/16793
- ADM 173/16795
- Personal communication
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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