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Tuesday, 18 June, 2024
12December 1939

Royal Navy destroyer sunk by British battleship

On this day, the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duchess was sunk after colliding with the battleship it was escorting.

HMS Duchess was escorting the battleship HMS Barham back to the British Isles. As the battleship and her escorts passed the Mull of Kintyre, off the Scottish south-west coat, the vessels encountered thick fog. With visibility reduced, HMS Barham accidentally collided with the Duchess, capsizing the smaller ship. As HMS Duchess capsized, her depth charges detonated, creating multiple explosions and killing almost the entire crew. Of HMS Duchess’ crew of 145 sailors and officers, 136 died in the collision and explosions. The dead included the commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander¬†Robert C. M. White, who died in his cabin after the door jammed.

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