FFL La Combattante
Escort destroyer of the Hunt (Type III) class
|Navy||The Free French Navy|
|Class||Hunt (Type III)|
|Built by||Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland)|
|Ordered||28 Jul 1940|
|Laid down||16 Jan 1941|
|Launched||27 Apr 1942|
|Commissioned||30 Dec 1942|
|Lost||23 Feb 1945|
|Loss position||53° 22'N, 1° 01'E|
Loaned to the Free French Navy and renamed La Combattante.
About 23.45 hours on 23 February 1945, the Free French escort destroyer La Combattante hit a mine while on patrol
on the inside of the Outer Dowsing Shoal covering the swept channel from a point level with East Dudgeon lightvessel (off Cromer), northwards to the Humber Estuary, and broke in two. The forepart sank
immediately in position 53º22'N, 01º01'E, about three miles northeast of East Dudgeon buoy. The other part drifted away on the tide and sank shortly afterwards.
For years it was believed that she was torpedoed and sunk east of Dungeness by the German (Seehund) midget submarine U-5330 (Lt. Sparbrodt) but the ship sunk by this midget submarine was the British cable layer Alert (941 BRT).
The forepart of La Combattante lays in 11 meters of water in position 53º22'13"N, 01º01º40"E, the afterpart lays in 25 meters of water in position 53º20'52"N, 01º01'33"E.
See also this website (offsite link and the website is in French language).
|Former name||HMS Haldon|
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Notable events involving La Combattante include:
22 Feb 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. She was escorted by HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN) and FFS La Combattante (Lt.Cdr. A. Patou).
They arrived at Greenock on 23 February 1943. (1)
5 Mar 1943
HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral B.A. Fraser, CB, KBE, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSC, RN), HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN), HMCS Athabascan (Cdr. G.R. Miles, DSO, OBE, RCN), HMS Rapid (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, DSO, RN), HMS Charlestown (Lt. W.F.B. Webb, DSC, RN) and FFS La Combattante (Lt.Cdr. A. Patou) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.
Upon completion of the exercises HMS Furious, HMS Matchless and HMS Raidar proceeded to the Clyde while the other ships returned to Scapa Flow. (2)
9 Mar 1943
HMS Trespasser (Lt. R.M. Favell, RN) carries out A/S exercises with the Free French escort destroyer La Combattante (Lt.Cdr. A. Patou) and the British minesweeper HMS Salamander (Lt. W.R. Muttram, RN). (3)
12 Mar 1943
HMS Usurper (Lt. D.R.O. Mott, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with La Combattante (Lt.Cdr. A. Patou), HMS Brissenden (Lt. D.C. Beatty, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt. R.H.C. Wyld, RN). (4)
14 Dec 1943
Around 1000A/14, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. H.G. Norman, CBE, RN), after having first carried out D/G trials, departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow. She is escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Stevenstone (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.M. Duff-Still, DSO, RNVR) and La Combattante (Lt.Cdr. A. Patou).
Around 1515A/14, the original destroyer escort parted company upon them being replaced by the escort destroyers HMS Melbreak (Lt. G.J. Kirkby, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Tanatside (Cdr. B.J. de St. Croix, RN). They remained in company until around 2000A/14.
At 1130A/15, HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) joined and more exercises were carried out.
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at Scapa Flow around mid-afternoon. (5)
- ADM 53/117877
- ADM 53/118274
- ADM 173/18253
- ADM 173/18389
- ADM 53/118390
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.