Allied Warships

HMS Duchess (H 64)

Destroyer of the D class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantH 64 
Built byPalmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd (Jarrow-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered2 Feb 1931 
Laid down12 Jun 1931 
Launched19 Jul 1932 
Commissioned24 Jan 1933 
Lost12 Dec 1939 
Loss position55° 19'N, 6° 06'W

On 12 December 1939 HMS Duchess (Lt.Cdr. Robert Charles Meadows White, RN) was arriving in the Clyde (see below) escorting HMS Barham. At 0400 hrs in the North Channel, 9 nautical miles off Mull of Kintyre, at position 55º19'N, 06º06'W, possibly due to fog in the area, the zigzagging pattern of the battleship and destroyer crossed: Barham impacted Duchess, cutting her in half. Sadly, there were only 23 survivors of the crew of 160.


Commands listed for HMS Duchess (H 64)

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1Lt.Cdr. Robert Charles Meadows White, RN28 Sep 193812 Dec 1939 (+)

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Notable events involving Duchess include:

1 Sep 1939
HMS Duchess (Lt.Cdr. R.C.M. White, RN) was on China station at the outbreak of the war. Ordered by the Admiralty to return to UK forthwith with her Flotilla, proceeded via Singapore, Colombo, Aden, Suez and Malta.
At Malta, HMS Duchess, HMS Dainty (Cdr. F.M. Walton, RN) and HMS Delight (Cdr. M. Fogg-Elliot, RN) were detached to escort the battleship HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN) to the Clyde, leading directly to her loss, see above.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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