Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The HMS Matchless-- Part 3

Continued from May 31st.

The battleship HMS Duke of York engaged the Scharnhorst on December 26, 1942, in the dark of night which was lit up by star shells and damaged the German ship.  The cruiser HMS Jamaica also launched torpedoes.

The Scharnhorst broke away and then the Matchless and other destroyers finished it off with 19 torpedoes.  The Scahrnhorst sank at 7:15 PM with 1,867 men.  Only 36 survived and the Matchless picked up six.

The British destroyers wanted to rescue more Germans, but fear of possible U-boats in the area, called off the effort.  This greatly bothered the Matchless' crew.  Norman Scarth said, "I grieve for those men every day of my life."

After this, the Matchless continued its Arctic convoys until August 1944 when it was decommissioned for repairs and then recommisioned and served in the Mediterranean.

It served in the Turkish Navy until 1971 when it was scrapped.

Former british crewmembers formed the HMS Matchless Association.  The ship's badge was presented to  the maidenhead Burrough Council in 1942, but it was since lost.

Story of a Ship.  --GreGen

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