Allied Warships

HMS Blanche (H 47)

Destroyer of the B class


HMS Blanche before World War Two

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassB 
PennantH 47 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Mar 1929 
Laid down29 Jul 1929 
Launched29 May 1930 
Commissioned14 Feb 1931 
Lost13 Nov 1939 
Loss position51° 29'N, 1° 30'E
History

Mined and sunk around 0830 hours on 12 November 1939 in position 51°29'N, 01°30'E. Two of the crew were killed and twelve injured. 

Commands listed for HMS Blanche (H 47)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Robert Marriott Aubrey, RN27 Jun 193913 Nov 1939

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Notable events involving Blanche include:


The page for this destroyer was last updated in August 2020.

31 Aug 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) departed Dover to patrol off the Goodwin light vessel. She returned to Dover the next day.

HMS Blanche was part of the 38th Division of the 19th Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover. (1)

1 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) departed Dover to patrol the Goodwin Sands area. (2)

3 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) returned to Dover from patrol.

She departed for patrol again later the same day. (2)

4 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) returned to Dover from patrol. (2)

5 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) departed Dover to patrol the Goodwin Sands area.

At 1833 hours she dropped a pattern of depth charges east-north-east of Ramsgate in position 51°25'N, 01°40'E.

At 1940 hours a floating mine was sighted in position 51°27'N, 01°41'E. It was attempted to explode the mine with rifle fire and then with pompom fire but this failed. The whaler was then launched and it dealth with the mine. After hoising in the whaler patrol was resumed. (2)

6 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) returned to Dover from patrol. (2)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) conducted exercises off Dover following which she escorted the survey vessel HMS Scott (Cdr. W.C. Jenks, RN) and also a buoy laying vessel.

Blanche returned to Dover late in the evening. (2)

8 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) escorted a buoy laying vessel near Dover. She returned to harbour later the same day. (2)

9 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) escorted the survey vessel HMS Scott (Cdr. W.C. Jenks, RN) near Dover. (2)

10 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) escorted the survey vessel HMS Scott (Cdr. W.C. Jenks, RN) near Dover. (2)

11 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) departed Dover to patrol the Goodwin Sands area.

At 2035 hours she obained an A/S contact and dropped a pattern of five depth charges in position 51°24'N, 01°39'E. This was probably a non-sub contact. (2)

12 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) shifted patrol to the Dungeness area (to the west of Dover).

In the evening, at 2037 hours, an A/S contact was obtained and a pattern of four depth charges was dropped. The contact was probably non-sub. (2)

13 Sep 1939
Shortly after noon, HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN), returned to Dover from patrol. (2)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) escorted the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN) which provided AA cover during minelaying operations off Dover. (2)

15 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) escorted the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN) which provided AA cover during minelaying operations off Dover.

Shortly after noon she was detached from this escort duty to patrol off Dungeness. (2)

16 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) made rendez-vous and then again escorted the AA cruiser HMS Cairo (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN) which provided AA cover during minelaying operations off Dover.

In the afternoon HMS Blanche resumed her patrol off Dungeness. (2)

17 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) returned to Dover from patrol. (2)

18 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) departed Dover to patrol the Goodwin Sands area. (2)

20 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) returned to Dover from patrol. (2)

21 Sep 1939
HMS Cairo (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), HMS Codrington (Capt. D.J.R. Simson, RN), HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Kingdon, RN) departed Dover for a sweep towards the Dutch coast to intercept German shipping. (2)

22 Sep 1939
While returning from their fruitless sweep towards the Dutch coast, HMS Cairo (Capt. H.P.K. Oram, RN), HMS Codrington (Capt. D.J.R. Simson, RN), HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Kingdon, RN) provided cover for convoy FN 9 which was a large convoy on passage from Southend to Methil.

They escorted the convoy until shortly before midnight when they turned south. (2)

23 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) arrived at the Chatham Dockyard where she is docked in no.4 dock. (2)

27 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) is undocked. (2)

28 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) shifted from the Chatham Dockyard to Dover. (2)

29 Sep 1939
HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) shifted Dover to Dunkirk, France. She returned to Dover later the same day.

[As no logs of HMS Blanche are available after September 1939 little details are known of her operatations during October and November 1939. She remained based at Dover until late October 1939 after which she was based at Harwich.] (2)

25 Oct 1939
HMS H 33 (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Caldwell, RN) shifted from Dover to Sheerness. She was escorted by HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN).

HMS H 33 was then taken in hand for refit at the Sheerness Dockyard.

HMS Blanche returned to Dover later the same day. (3)

2 Nov 1939
A submarine was reported near Margate Buoy and the destroyers HMS Keith (Cdr.(Retd.) H.T.W. Pawsey, OBE, RN), HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) and HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN) were ordered to hunt this submarine. No contact was obtained though.

12 Nov 1939
The minelaying cuiser HMS Adventure (Capt. A. R. Halfhide, RN) departed Grimsby for Portsmouth. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richard, RN) and HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN).

13 Nov 1939
During the night of 12/13 November 1939 the German destroyers Z 18 / Hans Ludemann, Z 19 / Hermann Kunne, Z 20 / Karl Galster and Z 21 / Wilhelm Heidkamp laid a minefield in the Thames estuary. Soon after the minefield had been laid the mine laying cruiser HMS Adventure (Capt. A. R. Halfhide, RN) hit a mine shortly after 0500 hours. She was disabled the injured were transferred to the destroyer HMS Basilisk (Cdr. M. Richard, RN) while the destroyer HMS Blanche (Lt.Cdr. R.N. Aubrey, RN) stood by. As the force made their way towards safety HMS Blanche also hit a mine around 0830 hours and settled by the stern. The tug Fabia went to the destroyers assistance but as she was towed the destroyer she capsized and sank. HMS Blanche lost two crew killed and twelve injured.

See this website (offsite link) for a detailed account of the mining of HMS Adventure and HMS Blanche.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/107789 + ADM 53/107790
  2. ADM 53/107790
  3. ADM 173/15709

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


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