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Admiral_Bing

HMS Dragon D46 D (Danae) Class Cruiser “We yield but to St George”

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HMS Dragon was to have a interesting life and bar the Russian revolution and the day she met her fate a generally "Lucky" ship for her crews. 

 

 

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A brief timeline of HMS Dragon's life is set out below:.

   
1918 The recently commissioned HMS Dragon (10th August) is credited with firing the last Naval shots of WW1 on the  9th of November 1918 when it engaged seaplanes off the German coast. The person credited with firing them was South African Maurice Green.

 

1919 17th  October HMS Dragon defended the free states of Latvia and Estonia with shellfire against both advancing German Freikorps and Bolshevik forces but suffered 9 killed and 5 wounded when she was hit by three shells from a shore battery.

 

1923–24, HMS Dragon was part of the Special Service Squadron led by HMS Hood which sailed around the world, making many ports of call, The squadron departed Devonport on 27 November 1923 and headed for what is now Sierra Leone, heading towards Southern Africa and east towards the Asia and the Pacific, whilst the battlecruisers passed through the Panama Canal, the light cruisers including HMS Dragon headed south and called on South American ports via the Strait of Magellan.

 

1933 30th  May  Noel Coward the well-known playwright, composer, director, actor and singer having arrived at Bermuda on the 28th on SS Roma blags his way on board HMS Dragon commanded by Captain Philip Louis Vian (of Altmark incident fame) whose first words on his discovery were “What the h*** are you doing on board this ship?” but after having some gin in the Captain’s cabin Coward was allowed to stay for a cruise on the ship ending on the Pacific side of the Panama canal. HMS Dragon then headed out into the Pacific for the China Station.  

 
1934  13th August HMS Dragon rammed and sunk the small fuel ship SS Maplebranch in Montreal Harbour Her Captain Frederic Wake-Walker (known for later for Dunkirk, Sinking of the Bismarck and D Day) was found to be liable for the sinking.
 
1935 16th August my cousin, once removed, Wilfred joined the ship in Chatham as a Marine Gunner joining the Royal Marine crew of about 50. The ship sailed for the Bermuda Station. In December Wilfred Crossed the Line (Equator) for the first time becoming a "Trusty Shell Back" This was a southern summer cruise going as far South as the Argentine Capital Buenos Aires.

 

1936 25th October HMS Dragon unsuccessfully tried to tow the large Republican Spanish cruise liner the Cristobal Colon off a reef north of Bermuda - the wreck remains on the reef to this day. The crew of the Cristobal Colon both men and women were all killed on their return to Spain.

 

image.png.c0e6539d98511d416921f8bee953fde0.png

 

 

1937 June Wilfred my Cousin, once removed, left HMS Dragon and briefly joined HMS Diomede another D Class before joining HMS Ajax a Leander Class Light Cruiser a ship he was to serve on into the second world war and the Battle of the River Plate. 

 

In WW2 Dragon was considered a lucky ship by her Commonwealth crew in British service (many in the crew were South Africans). Her only damage was 37 splinter holes and a dead canary from shore battery fire at Dakar by Vichy French forces in September 1940 where she assisted in sinking a Vichy submarine.  (Wilfred coincidently by that time was a Sergeant in 101st Royal Marine Battalion and was on a landing ship at Dakar with a map of the Vichy artillery positions awaiting a order to disembark which never came. His first assault landing would be at Dieppe with 40 Commando) .

 

1941 HMS Dragon then transferred to the Far East and despite being the last naval ship to leave Singapore before it fell in late 1941 and being under regular Japanese air attack in and around the Java sea and the other UK and Dutch naval bases in the area in 1942. HMS Dragon due mostly to engine trouble was to miss all of the major surface engagements with the Japanese which sent most of her ABDA naval compatriots to the bottom of the sea.

 

1943 after a slow return from the Far East via Southern Africa on 15th January HMS Dragon was modernised in the UK and handed over to the Polish Navy and renamed ORP Dragon. Although the name remained the same the word Dragon in Polish relates more closely to the Dragoon type soldier.

 

6th of June 1944 ORP Dragon successfully engaged and silenced shore batteries during D Day landings off Sword Beach.

 

July 1944 a month later just off the D Day Sward Beach ORP Dragon was about to bombard strong points inland around the city of Caen to support a new offensive when she was hit by a manned German torpedo killing 26 Polish Sailors, though it did not sink the ship, she was considered beyond economic repair. Shortly after this ORP Dragon was scuttled as a Mulberry "B" Harbour blockship.

 

Edited by Admiral_Bing
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On 12/19/2018 at 4:26 PM, gustywinds said:

Very easy Premium for the Polish navy line to go with Błyskawica

 

Indeed only minor changes would be needed to modify the stock British Danae ship from the British line, mainly a "wet" flat non trawler bow (Danae did not have that either only the later D ships after the first 3 were commissioned)  and probably a slightly better AA suite and Radar... 

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Bit of an old thread, but since I hadn't seen it...

On 5/24/2018 at 5:27 AM, Admiral_Bing said:

1919 17th  October HMS Dragon defended the free states of Latvia and Estonia with shellfire against both advancing German Freikorps and Bolshevik forces but suffered 9 killed and 5 wounded when she was hit by three shells from a shore battery.

Funny thing about this - when the Allied help was actually needed they just sat nearby and "observed the situation". Their promise was to help Lavtia & Estonia (probably Lithuania aswell, not sure on that) but despite what's promised they just sat there and waited to see "who'll have the upper hand".

Only when it was absolutely clear that the Russian, German and Russian-German united (yeah there were such aswell, russian part mostly consisting of "whites", a.k.a. those supporting the Tsars throne not communism) armies were on the retreat did Allied ships come into local ports and started providing some off-shore artillery support. Literally when it wasn't even needed anymore

 

What a thing to be proud of!

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1 hour ago, wilkatis_LV said:

Bit of an old thread, but since I hadn't seen it...

Funny thing about this - when the Allied help was actually needed they just sat nearby and "observed the situation". Their promise was to help Lavtia & Estonia (probably Lithuania aswell, not sure on that) but despite what's promised they just sat there and waited to see "who'll have the upper hand".

Only when it was absolutely clear that the Russian, German and Russian-German united (yeah there were such aswell, russian part mostly consisting of "whites", a.k.a. those supporting the Tsars throne not communism) armies were on the retreat did Allied ships come into local ports and started providing some off-shore artillery support. Literally when it wasn't even needed anymore

 

What a thing to be proud of!

 

We may well be in the same situation in a few years. Once Putin is finished in Ukraine he’ll start on the Baltic states. And of course Europe will be too broken up to defend them an Trump will let his buddy do what he wants.

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