Allied Warships

HMS Melbreak (L 73)

Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type III) class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeEscort destroyer
ClassHunt (Type III) 
PennantL 73 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Ordered28 Jul 1940 
Laid down23 Jun 1941 
Launched5 Mar 1942 
Commissioned10 Oct 1942 
End service 
History

Scrapped at Grays on 22 November 1956.

 

Commands listed for HMS Melbreak (L 73)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Gerald Edward Christopher Talbot Baines, RN28 Aug 194213 Jul 1943
2Lt. Geoffrey John Kirkby, DSC, RN13 Jul 19432 Feb 1945
3Lt. Evelyn Francis Hamilton-Meikle, RN3 Feb 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Melbreak include:


23 Oct 1942
HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Ledbury (Lt. D.R.N. Murdoch, RN) and HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN). (1)

31 Jan 1943
The battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN) and aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN) departed Gibraltar for the UK. On departure they were escorted by the destroyers HMS Boreas (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Jones, DSC, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Poe, RN), HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. John Henry Wallace, DSC, RN), HMS Velox (Lt. G.B. Barstow, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN) and HMS Wivern (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, RN).

At 1230/31, they were joined by the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN) which was en-route from the Far East to the UK. She was at that moment escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN) and HMS Puckeridge (Lt. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN).

These two escort destroyers were detached to Gibraltar at 1930/31 after Illustrious original destroyer screen, HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN), returned at 1900/31 from fuelling in Casablanca.

At 1900/2, HMS Velox, HMS Wishart and HMS Wivern were detached to Plymouth.

At 1500/3, HMS Brilliant was detached to Plymouth.

At 1615/3, the destroyer HMS Escapade (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Peake, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN) joined from Falmouth.

Around 1930/3, HMS Boreas and HMS Anthony parted company for Plymouth.

In the afternoon of 4 January 1943, HMS Renown, HMS Furious, HMS Illustrious, HMS Pathfinder, HMS Panther, HMS Penn, HMS Escapade, HMS Melbreak and HMS Tanatside, arrived in the Clyde after which they proceeded to Greenock. (2)

28 Feb 1943
HMS P 511 (Lt. C.R. Pelly, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with HMS Tynedale (Lt. J.J.S. Yorke, DSC, RN), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and later with HMS St. Kilda (A/Skr.Lt. R.G. Utting, RNR), HMS Sheppey (T/A/Lt.Cdr. D. McNeil, RNVR), HMS Ensay (T/Lt. K.J. Reece, RNVR) and HMS La Nantaise (Skr. S.J. Cory, RNR). (3)

21 May 1943
HMS Thrasher (Lt.Cdr. A.R. Hezlet, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with The British escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Komandor Podporucznik (Lt.Cdr.) W. Maracewicz, ORP) in the morning and with HMS Wensleydale (Lt. W.P. Goodfellow, RNVR) and HMS Tanatside (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Brown, RN) in the afternoon. Upon completion of the A/S exercise in the afternoon Thrasher made a pracice attack on HMS Wensleydale. (4)

11 Jul 1943
The British escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN), HMS Wensleydale (Lt. W.P. Goodfellow, RNVR) and the Norwegian escort destroyer HNoMS Glaisdale (Lt. D.E. Kjeholt, RNN) intercept a German convoy off Quessant, France. In the resulting battle the German minesweeper M-153 (874 tons) is sunk by the Glaisdale but Melbreak in turn is heavily damaged by the German torpedo boats T-24 and T-25.

4 Oct 1943
The battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN) departed Greenock for Plymouth. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Skate (Lt. J.C. Rushbrooke, DSC, RN) and the frigate HMS Bentinck (Cdr. E.H. Chavasse, DSO, DSC, RN) until 1530/4 when the escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Talybont (Lt. E.F. Baines, DSO, RN) took over.

At 0645/5, the escort destoyer HMS Tanatside (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN) joined.

HMS Malaya and her escorts arrived at Plymouth around 1000/5. (5)

8 Nov 1943
Around 1230/8, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN), departed Scapa Flow for Portland and Plymouth respectively. On departure from Scapa Flow they were escorted by the destroyers HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, DSC, RN) and HMS Urchin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN).

At 1730/8, HMS Urchin parted company to return to Scapa Flow.

On 9 November, HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN) joined. [time unknown to us for the moment.]

At 0845/10, HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) joined.

At 1225/10, HMS Renown and HMS Rocket parted company with HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Oribi and HMS Melbreak.

Around 1330/10, HMS Renown and HMS Rocket arrived at Plymouth.

Around 1715/10, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Oribi and HMS Melbreak arrived at Portland. (6)

18 Nov 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN) departed Plymouth for Greenock. She was escorted until about Milford Haven by the escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN). (7)

17 Jan 1944
HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Brookes, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with HMS Peterhead (Lt. D.P. Croom-Johnson, RNVR), HMS Blyth (T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.R.S. Smith, RNVR), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN). (8)

3 Mar 1944
HMS United (Lt. N.R. Wood, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with ML 159 (T/Lt. B.D. Gerrans, RNVR), ML 183 (T/Lt. A.J. Wright, RNVR) and ML 184 (T/Lt. R.W.A. Winter, RNVR) and later with HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN) and HMCS Huron (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Rayner, DSC, RCN). (9)

4 Mar 1944
HMS United (Lt. N.R. Wood, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Plymouth with ML 159 (T/Lt. B.D. Gerrans, RNVR), ML 183 (T/Lt. A.J. Wright, RNVR) and ML 184 (T/Lt. R.W.A. Winter, RNVR), HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.E.C.G. Baines, RN), HMIS Godavari (A/Capt. J.W. Jefford, OBE, RIN), HMS Neave (T/Lt. T. Ross, RNVR) and HMS Skomer (A/Skr.Lt. D.E.S. Mair, DSO, RNR). (9)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/116528
  2. ADM 53/117549 + ADM 53/117550 + ADM 53/117652 + ADM 53/117653 + ADM 53/118426 + ADM 53/118427 + ADM 199/767
  3. ADM 173/17921
  4. ADM 173/18225
  5. ADM 53/117885
  6. ADM 53/118389 + ADM 53/118436
  7. ADM 53/117886
  8. ADM 173/18458
  9. ADM 173/19217

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


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