HMS Shoreham (FG-1930)


Back to Commonwealth Ships List


The World War One Hunt and Flower class minesweepers and sloops had been slapped together with no thought to longevity. By the late 1920's a lot of those classes members had been discarded or reduced to second class service. The Royal Navy decided that both those classes could be replaced with one type of vessel that could do both minesweeping and anti-submarine duties. While this might have worked in theory it took the Royal Navy three classes of these vessels, Bridgewater (2), Hastings (5), Shoreham (8) to figure out that both types of duty should be carried out by specialist vessels. Once the Halcyon class of minesweepers began production, the fifteen earlier sloops were converted to ASW vessels only.

Originally armed with either single 4.7" or 4" low angle guns, these ships were given a refurbishment when the minesweeping gear was removed that upgraded the weapons to a standard 4" AA mounting and a quad 0.5" machinegun for anti-aircraft work. During the early part of World War Two, the light AA armament was changed and increased as these vessels were mainly used around the coasts of Britain as their range was not great.

The 1942 armament reflected their usage around the coasts of Britain. Most had a single 2 pounder mounted in the bows to fire at the E-Boats that enjoyed attacking from the bow. Hedgehog started mounting in place of the twin 20mm in B position in the later part of 1942. A full DP gunnery director with radar aids was mounted from 1939 onwards. The AA armament was much improved by changing the 4" to a HA/LA mounting and replacing the quad 0.5" machine guns with 20mm cannons in single and twin mountings. ASDIC started being added to the ships from 1938 onwards and all had it mounted by 1940. Radar and other electronic aids were continually updated throughout there careers.

Displacement 1,200 tons std, 1,550 tons full load.
Length 266 ft
Breadth 32 ft
Draught 10 ft
Machinery  2 shaft steam turbines, 3,000shp
Speed 16 knots
Range 3000 miles at 10 knots
Armament Hastings as completed

2x4" LA (2x1)
4 x 0.5"mg (1x4)
Shoreham refits to 1942

2 x 4" DP (2x1)
1 x 2pd (1x1)
8 x 20mm (1x2, 6x1)
ASW DC's DC's & Hedgehog
Complement 95-105

Ships - Shoreham Class (From Wiki)

HMS Shoreham (originally L32, from May 1940 U32) was launched on 22 November 1930 at Devonport and sold for scrapping in 1946. From 1932, HMS Shoreham served in the Persian Gulf and, from the outbreak of war, in the Red Sea. She was active in the suppression of the Regia Marina in East Africa, participating in the sinking of the submarine Torricelli. Shoreham was also involved in the invasion of Iran in 1941, where she suppressed Iranian naval ships at Abadan. Apart from a spell in the Mediterranean - including the Allied invasion of Sicily - from February 1943 to September 1943, Shoreham's war was spent with the Eastern Fleet, with which she served up until VJ Day. Shoreham returned to the UK in 1946, sold off in November and broken up in 1950. Her battle honours were Sicily 1943, Mediterranean 1943, Burma 1944-45.

HMS Fowey was launched on 4 November 1930 and sold for merchant use in 1946. From 1940 to 1942, she was engaged in North Atlantic escort and anti-submarine duty. Fowey participated in the sinking of U-55 on 30 January 1940 and rescued survivors from various sinkings.

HMS Bideford was launched on 1 April 1931 and scrapped in 1949. After participating in the Dunkirk evacuation (May 1940), she was used in anti-submarine sweeps and as a convoy escort in the North Atlantic. She rescued 63 survivors of the torpedoed MV Edward Blyden on 3 September 1941 and 31 more from the MV Abosso on 31 October 1942. In August 1943, Bideford, with the 40th Escort Group in the Bay of Biscay, was damaged by a Henschel Hs 293 glider bomb.

HMS Rochester was launched on 16 July 1931, and was operating in the Persian Gulf when war was declared. She returned to England with convoy SL 32 in December 1939. After refit at Humber, she was assigned to the 2nd Escort division in March 1940 patrolling the Western Approaches for the Battle of the Atlantic. On 7 May 1941 she participated in the attack on U-94 while escorting convoy OB 218. She was then assigned to the 37th Escort Group in July after Type 271 radar was installed during refit at Liverpool. She participated in sinking U-204 while escorting convoy HG 74 on 19 October 1941. Rochester was then transferred to the 43rd Escort Group and participated in sinking U-82 while escorting convoy OS 18 on 2 February 1942. After installation of HF/DF and a new air search radar, she participated in sinking U-213 while escorting convoy OS 35 on 30 July 1942. Rochester escorted convoy KMS 2 to the Operation Torch invasion, and escorted convoys between Gibraltar and North Africa until returning to England in February 1943 with convoy MKS 7. She then transferred to the 39th Escort Group and participated in sinking U-135 while escorting convoy OS 51 on 15 July 1943. In May 1944 Rochester sailed to Portsmouth Harbour in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy and remained engaged in English Channel escort duties with the 41st Escort Group until refit in November. The refit completed in March 1945 included modifications for service as the training ship for the Portsmouth Navigation School, HMS Dryad. Rochester served as the navigation training ship until September 1949 and was scrapped in 1951.

HMS Falmouth was launched on 19 April 1932 and became the RNVR Calliope in 1952. Scrapped in 1968. Falmouth was assigned to the China Station (later merged into the Eastern Fleet) where she was used as the Commander-in-Chief's yacht. In 1936, her new skipper was Frederick "Johnny" Walker who later became a highly successful anti-submarine commander in the Battle of the Atlantic. In June 1940 Falmouth sank the Italian submarine Galvani off the Gulf of Oman. She participated in Operation Countenance, the invasion of Iran, in August 1941. Her role was to transport infantry to Khorramshahr and, with HMAS Yarra, neutralise local Iranian land and sea forces. Her departure from the Shatt al-Arab near Basra was delayed when she ran aground and had to wait for the tide to refloat her.

HMS Milford was launched on 11 June 1932 and scrapped in 1949. On 28 March 1938, Milford claimed Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean for Britain. In the Second World War she was credited with sinking the Vichy French      submarine Poncelet off the coast of Gabon, on 7 November 1940, though this was later credited to David Corkhill flying a Supermarine Walrus biplane. On 30 May 1943, she went to the assistance of the freighter Flora McDonald,
torpedoed off the coast of West Africa.

HMS Weston was launched on 23 July 1932 and scrapped in 1947. She spent the war years in home waters and the North Atlantic. On several occasions, she rescued survivors of torpedoed ships and on 31 May 1940, Weston sank U-13 in the North Sea.

HMS Dundee was launched on 20 September 1932 at Chatham and sunk on 15 September 1940 by U-48, while escorting a convoy.

Hastings Class

Five ships were built in total, four for the Royal Navy and one for the Royal Indian Navy. They were launched in 1930 and all saw service in the Second World War. HMS Scarborough was disarmed before the outbreak and was rearmed with a 4 inches (100 mm) high angle anti-aircraft gun, a 12-pounder gun and 15 depth charges, this number later being increased to 80. One, HMS Penzance was lost during the war after being torpedoed by U-37. The remaining Royal Navy ships were decommissioned after the war and had all been scrapped by 1949. The sole Indian ship, HMIS Hindustan was later involved in the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny, and was subsequently transferred to the Pakistan Navy in 1948 on its formation, and was renamed Karsaz. She was broken up in 1951.

Bridgewater Class

Both ships were ordered from Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Hebburn in September 1927. They entered service in 1929 and were based at first on the China Station. Bridgewater was moved to the Cape in 1935, while Sandwich remained in China until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Both ships were active in the Battle of the Atlantic, Bridgewater being based at Freetown carrying out patrols and escorting convoys until November 1943, when she moved to cover the Western Approaches. For the last two years of the war she was used in submarine training activities. Sandwich was also used in home waters, being based out of Plymouth, Liverpool, and Freetown between 1940 and 1944, though by 1945 her condition had deteriorated so much that she was kept at Bizerta. Both ships were decommissioned after the war, with Sandwich being sold for scrapping in early 1946. Bridgewater was retained for slightly longer, being used for static bomb trials during 1946 and 1947, until being sold and broken up in May 1947.


Back to Commonwealth Ships List