|Ship Class||E-class Destroyer|
|Builder Name||Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England, UK|
|Launched||29 May 1934|
|Displacement||1,350 tons standard; 1,940 tons full|
|Machinery||3 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, Parsons geared turbines, 2 shafts|
|Bunkerage||471 tons oil|
|Power Output||36,000 SHP|
|Range||6,000nm at 15 knots|
|Armament||4x120mm Mk.XVIII guns, 1x76.2mm gun, 2x20mm Oerlikon cannon, 2x4x12.7mm Vickers machine guns, 5x7.7mm machine guns, 1x4x533mm torpedo tubes, two depth charge racks with 60 depth charges|
|Transferred to Canada||Jun 1943|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseHMS Express was originally built as a minelayer, and it was in this role she entered the European War in Sep 1939. As a member of the 20th (Minelaying) Destroyer Flotilla, she spent 1939 and 1940 laying mines in British and enemy waters, but during this time, she embarked on two special missions. First, in Sep 1939, she transported Duke and Duchess of Windsor from Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom to Cherbourg, France. Then, in 1940, she evacuated 2,795 men of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, France to England. On 31 Aug 1940, while laying offensive mines off the Dutch coast, Express struck a mine during the night time hours, destroying how bow. Friendly ships Esk and Ivanhoe attempted to approach to assist, but they each struck mines as well. Express was eventually towed back to Britain; 4 officers and 55 men were lost. Esk and Ivanhoe sunk.
ww2dbaseRepairs on Express lasted until Sep 1941 when she emerged as a fleet destroyer. In Oct, she escorted battleship Prince of Wales to Cape Town in South Africa, arriving on 16 Nov. They departed Cape Town on 18 Nov and reached Colombo, Ceylon on 28 Nov. On the subsequent days, they were joined by various warships, including the battlecruiser Repulse. The group was moved to Singapore
ww2dbaseOn 8 Dec 1941, Singapore was attacked by Japanese aircraft. At 1730, Prince of Wales and Repulse, escorted by Express, Electra, Vampire (Australian ship), and Tenedos. At 1830 on 9 Dec, Tenedos returned to Singapore due to lack of fuel. At 2055, the task force began to turn around and sailed for Singapore, but was spotted by Japanese submarine I-58 around that time. On the next day, Express was detached to investigate a rumored Japanese invasion at Kuantan, Malaya, which turned out to be false. The task force was attacked by 85 Japanese aircraft during Express' absence, resulting in the sinking of both Repulse and Prince of Wales. The two accompanying destroyers, joined by Express that returned shortly after, rescued more than 1,000 survivors. After the Battle off Kuantan, Express remained in the Indian Ocean as part of the Eastern Fleet until late 1942.
ww2dbaseIn Jun 1943, Express was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and was renamed HMCS Gatineau. Under the Canadian banner, she served in the Atlantic Ocean for the remainder of WW2. She was broken up for scrap in 1955.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2008
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
Visitor Submitted Comments
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
» Invasion of France and the Low Countries
» Invasion of Malaya and Singapore
- » 1,062 biographies
- » 331 events
- » 36,857 timeline entries
- » 1,041 ships
- » 333 aircraft models
- » 185 vehicle models
- » 345 weapon models
- » 104 historical documents
- » 192 facilities
- » 463 book reviews
- » 25,744 photos
- » 299 maps
Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939