Tuesday, 30 December 2008

HMS Durban

Built by Scotts of Greenock in July 1917 and launched on the 29th May 1919 HMS Durban is a Danae-class light cruiser that was commissioned in 1921 so did not make voyage in the first World War.

Between the time of commission and World War Two HMS Durban was stationed in the east around China and the West Indies.

Just before the outbreak of World War Two HMS Durban was recommissioned and went into active service.

In 1939 HMS Durban first saw service as part of a convoy defense between Freetown and Cape of Good Hope before moving being transferred to China Station for service with 5th Cruiser Squadron where HMS Durban was deployed for defense of trade in the South China Sea.

The first quarter of 1940 saw HMS Durban carry out further trade defense in the East Indies before carrying out surveillance in the East Indies on German ships including
SS Bitterfeld, SS Franken, SS Rheinland, SS Sonek and SS Wuppertal. In July of 1940 HMS Durban was sent to Singapore for a refit and came back into service in mid August 1940 where she was deployed on trade protection and surveillance duty in China Sea till September. In September HMS Durban joined HM Cruisers Canberra (RAN), Capetown and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser Westralia (RAN) in Hunting Group to search for the German raider Atlantis.

1941 saw HMS Durban carry out trade defense and convoy duties from
Freemantle to Singapore.

1942 was a busy year for HMS Durban as she started the year by joining the striking force to reinforce the escort of military convoy DM1. This escort was the first of a series of convoys taking troops to reinforce the Singapore garrison after the Japanese invasion of Malaya.

In February 1942 HMS Durban provided escort for convoy MS3 before being relieved by
HM Australian Cruiser Canberra off Christmas Island, south of Java. Throughout the rest of February 1942 HMS Durban came under air attack while evacuating RAF personnel, escorting coastal steamers carrying evacuees and escorting merchant ships.

March 1942 saw trade defense in the Indian Ocean although HMS Durban did intercept German SS Doggerbank laying mines off Capetown.

In April 1942 HMS Durban went into repair at a US Naval dockyard in New York. It was October before HMS Durban was able to rejoin active service.

In October 1942 HMS Durban became part of military convoy WS23
in Clyde and left this convoy in November on arrival at Durban. Throughout the rest of November and for the whole of December 1942 HMS Durban saw duty as trade defence in Indian Ocean.

1943 saw HMS Durban spend the first 3 months under refit in Bombay. In April 1943 Durban was deployed in the military convoy MS27 in the Indian Ocean before being redeployed
for defence of Persian Gulf convoys on the 10th April. By the 28th April HMS Durban was in Bahrein.

June to September 1943 HMS Durban, based at Kilindini, resumed Indian Ocean convoy defence before being removed from active service in October for the rest of 1943.

In 1944 HMS Durban was refitted at Portsmouth for the special use
to be sunk as part of 'GOOSEBERRY' No 5 off Ouistreham to form part of breakwater off Normandy for the D day landings.

By May 27th HMS Durban was at Oban with all other blockships ready to be scuttled as part of the D day breakwater. On 2nd June HMS urban took passage to the Channel ready for convoy but was diverted to Poole due to a 24 hour delay of the landings, this was caused because of the weather.

On 6th June HMS Durban took passge to Ouistreham before being sunk on 9th June to form part of No. 5 GOOSEBERRY breakwater in British Assault Area.

On August 3rd 1944 HMS Durban's hulk was hit by a Torpedo
during attacks off Beachhead, although she was already scuttled at this point.

Personally I have a special love for HMS Durban as my grandfather was on active duty throughout World War Two on this ship.

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