HMS Blankney was a Hunt class destroyer of the Royal Navy and was the first and so far only warship to bear the Name. She was laid down on 17 May 1940 at John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland, launched on 19 December 1940 and commissioned on 11 April 1941.
She was one of 33, Type II Hunt Escort Destroyers. The hulls of this second batch had an extra section which with the increased beam, gave stability for a 3rd twin 4" AA gun to be mounted as originally designed and to give additional storage for depth charges (increased from 40 to 110). The class were named after fox hunts located in different parts of Britain and in Blankney case, this was the Blankney Hunt, a fox-hunting pack based in the North Kesteven district of Lincolnshire.
In 1942 the British Wartime Government introduced a National Savings campaign named "Warship Week" where towns could "adopt" a Royal Navy ship. HMS Blankney was adopted by Nantwich in Cheshire and the town still has a residential street named after her and there is a plaque in Brookfield commemorating the towns support for the crew.
12th escort group
From October 1941 HMS Blankney was a member of the 12th escort group based at Londonderry, Northern Ireland. In December she was dispatched to reinforce Commander Johnny Walker's U-boat killer group that was escorting convoy HG 76 for passage to Gibraltar.
Sinking of U-131
On 17 December 1942, U-131 was spotted on the surface by a Martlet of 802 NAS flying from the escort carrier HMS Audacity and was forced to dive. After being damaged in a depth charge attack by HMS Pentstemon, U-131 tried to escape on the surface. The Martlet strafed the boat, but was shot down in the process.
U-131 was shelled the by the British escort destroyers HMS Exmoor and Blankney, the destroyer HMS Stanley, sloops HMS Pentstemon and HMS Stork. Realizing that the situation was hopeless, the crew scuttled the boat. All 47 of the crew survived and were taken prisoner.
Sinking of U-434
On the 18 December, HMS Stanley spotted U-434 on the surface and gave chase. As the submarine dived, Blankney achieved firm ASDIC (sonar) contact and made three depth charge attacks. U-434 was severely damaged, but managed to surface and allow her crew escape before sinking. Blankney rescued the crew before returning to Gibraltar to refuel.
At the start of 1942 Blankney was under repair at Gibraltar, before becoming part of the escort for Arctic convoy WS 16. Later she provided Distant Cover for Russian Convoy PQ 17 and the return Convoy PQ 13 from Murmansk to Iceland. In July 1942 Blankney was damaged in a collision and spent three months in Northern Russia under repair, before sailing from Archangel as part of the escort of convoy PQ 14.
Blankney spent the rest of the year under repair at Loch Ewe with a secondary role to provide a local escort for Convoy JW 51B
Operations’ in the Mediterranean
Allied landings on Sicily 10 July 1943
Sinking of U-450
On 10 March 1944 HMS Blankney, HMS Blencathra, HMS Brecon, HMS Exmoor and the U.S. destroyer USS Madison, sank U-450 in the western Mediterranean South of Ostia, at position , in a co-ordinated depth charge attack. All 42 crew members of the submarine were rescued and became prisoners of war.
Sinking of U-371
On the night of 2 May 1944, U-371 was spotted when she surfaced almost in the middle of the convoy off Djidjelli on the Algerian coast and immediately crash-dived. When the U-boat re-surfaced she was detected by the USS Menges (DE-320), who closed to 3,000 m (3,300 yd). U-371 fired a torpedo, then dived. The Menges was hit and the aft third of the vessel destroyed, but she remained afloat.
Blankney in company with the US destroyer escorts USS Pride and USS Joseph E. Campbell, along with the Free French destroyer escorts “Sénégalais” and L'Alcyon, were tasked to find U-371 and employed a new submarine hunting tactic called "Swamp". This called for the location of a known U-boat to be packed with escort ships and aircraft, to systematically search the area, forcing the U-boat to remain submerged until its batteries or air ran out and was forced to surface. U-371 lay on the sea-bed at around 240 metres (790 ft) for the rest of the day to evade sonar detection, before the U-boat's commander, was forced to surface and attempt to escape in the darkness. Blankney and the other escorts spotted the submarine and immediately opened fire, scoring several hits. The U-boat returned fire, and managed to hit the Sénégalais with a torpedo, causing some damage. The situation for U-371 was hopeless as she was unable to dive and faced massively superior firepower from the attacking Destroyers’. Most of her crew jumped overboard and were taken prisoner.
D-Day, 6 June 1944
End of the War
Following Operation Neptune, "Blankney " was deployed in and around the Channel and the North Sea to guard against any attempts for E-Boats or U-Boats laying naval mines in the Thames estuary. Her war was completed when in August 1945, following VJ Day she returned to the UK where she was laid up in Sheerness as part of the Reserve Fleet.
|Lt.Cdr. Philip Frederick Powlett, RN||27 Feb 1941||11 Mar 1943|
|Lt.Cdr. Douglas Henry Reid Bromley RN||11 Mar 1943||24 Apr 1944|
|Lt. Bernard Henry Brown, RN||24 Apr 1944||1 Apr 1946|
Blankney was refited after VJ Day and returned to UK. In May 1946 she was Paid off and entered Reserve at Devonport. The ship had another refit in 1948 and was then laid up in Reserve Fleet at Sheerness. During 1952 she wa moved to Hartlepool and approval was given for her to be placed on the Disposal List on 22 October 1958. She was sold to BISCO for scrapping by Hughes Bolcow at Blyth and was towed to the breaker’s yard 9 March the same year. Her badge can still be seen painted on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall at Simonstown, South Africa.
- Royal Mail Stamp
On the 7th September 1989 a 22p stamp featuring the Ships Badge was issued (SG616) 
- HMS Blankney, Type II, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer at naval-history.net
- The 'Hunt' class destroyer at WW2Today.com
- "The Type IXC boat U-131 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net". http://www.uboat.net/boats/u131.htm.
- Kemp, pp. 75-76.
- U-450 at uboat.net
- HMS Blankney off the coast of Normandy at June 6th 1944 at flikr
- SG616 at shipstamps.co.uk
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
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