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Ratch

Tribal Class Destroyer HMS Matabele

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HMS Matabele was a Tribal Class Destroyer of the Royal Navy that has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Matabele, which in common with the other ships of the Tribal class, was named after an ethnic group of the Empire. In this case, this was the Anglicisation of the Ndebele people of Zimbabwe.
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Matabele was ordered on 19 June 1936 under the 1935 Build Programme from the Greenock yards. She was laid down on 1 October 1936 and launched on 6 October 1937. She was commissioned on 25 January 1939 at a total cost of £343,005, which excluded items supplied by the Admiralty, such as weapons and communications outfits. 
She was initially assigned to the 2nd Tribal Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet, which was renamed the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in April 1939. Her early career with the flotilla mostly involved port visits and exercises. With war looming, she took up her Home Fleet war station in August and was deployed for interception and anti-submarine patrol in Home waters. On 27 May 1940 she was taken in hand for repair and refit at Silley Cox Falmouth, including the 'X' mounting being replaced by a twin 4-inch AA gun.
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In January 1942 she formed the screen, with HMS Somali, for the cruiser HMS Trinidad on Convoy PQ8 from Iceland to Murmansk. The convoy of eight merchant ships plus escorts departed on 11 January and came under torpedo attack on 17 January one day short of their destination by U-454. That evening the merchant ship Harmatis was hit at 6.46pm by a single torpedo and taken in tow by the minesweeper HMS Speedwell, with the Matabele providing escort as the rest of the convoy continued. U-454 was able to manoeuvre into a suitable position and at 10.21 pm fired and hit the Matabele in the stern area with a single torpedo which detonated a magazine, causing the destroyer to sink in less than two minutes at position 69.21N 35.24E. Unable to free their Carley life rafts the surviving crew were forced to jump overboard into the freezing sea, with many being killed when the Matabele's depth charges exploded as the ship sank. The ice-cold sea temperatures then caused further loss of life to such an extent that out of her complement of 238 only two survived of the four that were rescued up by the minesweeper HMS Harrier.
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Converted from the Airfix HMS Cossack kit.

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Edited by Ratch

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Beautifully modelled. I really enjoyed the inclusion of the history, the whole combo is a touching tribute.

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Thanks for looking in :cheers:

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Nicely done with the seascape Ratch, a nice tribute to a truly tragic event, one I knew little of. :poppy:

Steve.

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Thanks Rob and Steve, your comments are appreciated :thanks:

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