HMS Escapade

Escapade at anchor, 12 February 1945. The censor has whited-out her pennant number and the Squid mounts.
United Kingdom
Name: Escapade
Ordered: 1 November 1932
Builder: Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Greenock
Cost: £249,987
Laid down: 30 March 1933
Launched: 30 January 1934
Completed: 30 August 1934
Decommissioned: 1946
Reinstated: Pennant number: H17
  • Celeriter
  • ("Swiftly")
Honours and
  • Atlantic 1939–45
  • Norway 1940
  • Arctic 1941–42
  • Malta Convoys 1942
  • North Africa 1942
Fate: Sold for scrap, 17 May 1947
Badge: On a Field Green a white Horse, saltant
General characteristics
Class and type: E-class destroyer
Length: 329 ft (100.3 m) o/a
Beam: 33 ft 3 in (10.13 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (deep)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 × shafts; 2 × Parsons geared steam turbines
Speed: 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph)
Range: 6,350 nmi (11,760 km; 7,310 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 145
Sensors and
processing systems:

HMS Escapade was an E-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. The ship saw service before and during World War II, seeing service on Russian, Malta and Atlantic convoys.


The E-class ships were slightly improved versions of the preceding D class. They displaced 1,405 long tons (1,428 t) at standard load and 1,940 long tons (1,970 t) at deep load. The ships had an overall length of 329 feet (100.3 m), a beam of 33 feet 3 inches (10.1 m) and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 m). They were powered by two Parsons geared steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by three Admiralty three-drum boilers. The turbines developed a total of 36,000 shaft horsepower (27,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph). Escapade carried a maximum of 470 long tons (480 t) of fuel oil that gave her a range of 6,350 nautical miles (11,760 km; 7,310 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The ships' complement was 145 officers and ratings.[1]

The ships mounted four 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mark IX guns in single mounts, designated 'A', 'B', 'X' and 'Y' from front to rear. For anti-aircraft (AA) defence, they had two quadruple mounts for the Vickers 0.5 in (12.7 mm) AA machinegun. The E class was fitted with two above-water quadruple torpedo tube mounts for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes.[2] One depth charge rack and two throwers were fitted; 20 depth charges were originally carried, but this increased to 35 shortly after the war began.[3]

Wartime modifications

Escapade had her rear torpedo tubes replaced by a 12-pounder (76 mm) AA gun by April 1941. In June–September 1943, she was converted into an escort destroyer. A Type 286 short-range surface search radar was fitted and a Type 271 target indication radar was installed above the bridge, replacing the director-control tower and rangefinder. Her short-range AA armament was augmented by four 20 mm (0.8 in) Oerlikon guns and the .50-calibre machine guns were replaced by a pair of Oerlikons. A split Hedgehog anti-submarine spigot mortar was installed abreast 'B' gun and stowage for a total of 70 depth charges meant that 'Y' gun and the 12-pounder had to be removed to compensate for their weight.[4]

After the accident that destroyed her Hedgehog mount in September 1943, the ship was required extensive repairs and the navy took the opportunity to install two new Squid mounts in lieu of 'A' gun. The ship also received a HF/DF radio direction finder mounted on a pole mainmast and a Type 277 radar replaced the Type 271 and the Type 286 was superseded by a Type 291 radar.[5]

Construction and career

Escapade, the only ship of that name to serve with the Royal Navy,[6] was ordered 1 November 1932, from Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company under the 1931 Naval Programme. She was laid down on 30 March 1932 at their Greenock dockyard, and launched on 30 January 1934. The ship was commissioned on 30 August 1934, at a total cost of £249,987, excluding government-furnished equipment like the armament.[7] Escapade and her sister ships were assigned to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla (DF) and accompanied the Home Fleet during its West Indies cruise between January and March 1935. She collided with her sister Encounter off Portland on 18 June, but was only lightly damaged. The ship was attached to the Mediterranean Fleet, together with most of the rest of her flotilla, beginning in September 1935, during the Abyssinian Crisis, returning home with the rest of her sisters in March 1936. The flotilla patrolled Spanish waters during the Spanish Civil War, enforcing the edicts of the Non-Intervention Committee, Escapade being detached for this duty five times between January 1937 and March 1939. She was struck by one of her sisters, Eclipse, on 18 January when her engines broke down and Eclipse could not manoeuver clear in time; repairs took 17 days to complete. The ship was placed in reserve on 16 June at Devonport, but was recommissioned on 2 August to participate in the Reserve Fleet Review three days later.[8]

Damage to Escapade during World War II


  1. Lenton, p. 156
  2. Whitley, p. 103
  3. English, p. 141
  4. English, p. 141; Friedman, pp. 237, 239, 241–45; Lenton, p. 157
  5. Friedman, pp. 239, 246
  6. Colledge, p. 116
  7. English, pp. 63–64
  8. English, pp. 69–70


External links

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