HMS Wessex (i) (D43)

Casualty List

Navy: Royal Navy
Type: Destroyer
Class: Admiralty V & W 
Pennant: D 43 
Built by: Hawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Laid down: 23 May, 1917 
Launched: 12 Mar, 1918 
Commissioned: 11 May, 1918 
Complement: 134
Lost: 24 May, 1940 (Lt. Cdr. W. A. R. Cartwright, RN.) was bombed and sunk off Calais by German aircraft. 
History: 24 May, 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza was ordered to join the British destroyers HMS Vimiera and HMS Wessex and shell German positions in Calais area. At 16.20 the Allied vessels opened fire on enemy armoured column at Sangatte Hill, west of Calais. 10 minutes later they were attacked by 27 German airplanes which hit and sank HMS Wessex. HMS Vimiera managed to escape. Then the entire enemy air group concentrated on the Polish destroyer. The AA guns (2 40 mm) jammed due to schrapnel hits, three bombs exploded in the water. They caused boiler damage and loss of speed. The commander (Lt. Cdr. Francki) ordered to emergency launch the torpedoes and drop all depth charges, trying to avoid additional explosions. Shortly after this, two bombs hit the Burza and badly damaged her. However the airplanes had dropped all of their bombs and broke off the attack. The crew managed to stop the leakage and return to Dover. One German airplane was shot down during the action.

Commanding Officer:
Lt.Cdr. W.A.R. Cartwright, RN
31 July 1939 - 24 May 1940 

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