Alec ‘Ernest’ KellawayIt comes to something when a man who served on HMS hood says that HMS Skate was an unlucky ship!
Alec ‘Ernest’ Kellaway – HMS Hood
The HMS Hood (crew size 1,200+) was the last Battle-cruiser of its class to be built and was involved in a number of flag-waving exercises between 1920 and the outbreak of war in 1939. Her sinking in May 1941 had a profound effect on Winston Churchill who in retaliation ordered the sinking of the German Battleship the Bismarck. Two days later the Navy fulfilled this mission.
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The Hood was scheduled for a major upgrade in naval gunnery but the outbreak of war forced the ship into service as a convoy escort. In May 1941, she and the HMS Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the Bismarck in the Denmark Strait. The Hood was struck by several German shells and exploded. There were just three survivors.
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HMS Cossack (crew size 226+) was a Tribal-class destroyer which became famous for the boarding of the German supply ship Altmark in Norwegian waters and the associated rescue of sailors originally captured by the Admiral Graf Spee in April 1940. The Cossack was sunk in October 1941 off the coast of Gibraltar by a single torpedo from the German submarine U-563.
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Motor Launches (MLs) were small vessels (crew size 12+) which proved such a seaworthy and versatile design that they were used in every theatre of operations as the war progressed. They were to be found escorting convoys off the West Coast of Africa, carrying out covert activities in the Mediterranean and undertaking anti-submarine patrols off Iceland.
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Although ML 100 had been built for anti-submarine warfare she had been converted into a mine layer, laying mines in enemy coastal waters. It operated mainly around the Hook of Holland, a very busy area for German conveys.
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HMS Skate (crew size 98+) was an R-class destroyer which saw extensive service as a convoy escort. She was converted to a minelayer while undergoing repairs, but such was the need for escorts that she was rearmed in 1941 to take part in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was on North Atlantic duties until 1942 and was part of the escort for the Normandy landings in June 1944.
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On D-Day the Skate along with a convoy of military ships approached the French coast but due to adverse weather conditions the invasion was cancelled and she returned to base to refuel. Skate remained in harbour until the following day when she was called upon for anti-submarine and E Boat sweeps of the Normandy beach heads.
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The Loch Tarbert (crew size 160+) was a class of anti-submarine frigate with an innovative design based on the experience of 3 years of fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic and attendant technological advances. Its arsenal consisted of a 1 x 4 gun, several anti-aircraft weapons and its primary weapon Squid Mortar bombs.
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HMS Concord was a C-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She had a crew size of 186+ and was armd with 4 x 4.5 guns and 4 x 21 torpedoes. She was involved in the 'Amethyst incident' on the Yangste river in 1949 and went on to serve during the Korean War before being decommissioned.
It comes to something when a man who served on HMS hood says that HMS Skate was an unlucky ship!