HMS Duchess sunk in collision with HMS Barham

HMS Barham

On 12 December 1939 the 1,375 ton destroyer HMS Duchess H64 (Lt.Cdr. R.C.M. White, RN) was arriving in the Clyde escorting the 33,000 ton battleship HMS Barham. At 0400 hrs in the North Channel, 9 miles off Mull of Kintyre, at position 55.19 N, 06.06 W, possibly due to fog in the area, the zigzagging pattern of the Barham and Duchess crossed. HMS Barham crashed into HMS Duchess, cutting her in half. There were only 23 survivors out of the 160 crew.

The tragedy recently inspired composer Sally Beamish to write the Sea Psalm.There is a much larger image of the sister ship to HMS Duchess, HMS Daring, at Naval History net.