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HMS Antelope

At least twelve ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Antelope, a name of zoological origin given to any deer-like ruminant species.

Little information about early Antelopes is available.

In 1681, James Story, Captain of HMS Antelope conducted a census of the Avalon colony[?] (now Ferryland, Newfoundland[?]) and on September 1, 1681, wrote "An Account of what fishing Ships, Sack Ships, Planters and Boatkeepers from Trepassey to Bonavista..."

HMS Antelope, 54 was launched in 1741 at Woolwich. On June 16, 1756, she sailed from England for Gibraltar with Vice Admiral Sir Edward Hawke and Rear Admiral Charles Saunders. She arrived there on July 3 with an order to supersede Admiral John Byng[?]. Antelope returned to England with Byng, sailing on July 9 and arriving at Spithead[?] on July 26, where Byng was arrested before being landed on August 19. His trial started on board Monarch[?] on December 27.

On April 30, 1757, the 1st Viscount Hood of Whitley, Lord Samuel Hood, took command of Antelope. On May 15, after a short action off Brest, France, the French Aquilon, 50, was driven on to the rocks in Audierne Bay[?] where she was wrecked. Then, on October 31, 1758, off Barnstaple[?], Antelope took Belliqueux, 64, one of a French squadron returning from Quebec.

Not every action was a success. In 1759, under the command of Captain James Webb, Antelope was attached to Commodore William Boys's squadron, which had been blockading Thurot in Dunkirk throughout the summer and early autumn. On October 15, when the squadron had been driven off station during a gale, Thurot made his escape with six frigates and corvettes carrying 1300 troops and sailed to Gothenburg.

In 1762, Antelope was stationed in in Placentia Bay[?], Newfoundland, under the command of Captain Thomas Graves, who was acting Governor of the island. A French fleet from Brest, under M. de Ternay, with 1500 troops commanded by the Comte d'Haussonville, sailed into St. John's and captured the town on June 24. Captain Graves immediately sent word to Commodore Lord Colville at Halifax who joined him in blockading the French, and brought troops over from Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island on September 11. During a gale on September 16 de Ternay evaded the blockade and, abandoning the troops, sailed back to France.

On her way home to England Antelope encountered Marlborough[?], under Captain Thomas Burnett, which had sailed from Havana as part of the escort of a convoy of prizes and transports, but had become separated in very heavy weather. She was leaking so badly that her guns had to be thrown overboard and the pumps kept working. Antelope took all her people off on November 29 when she started to founder and she was allowed to sink.

Later, in 1780, Antelope was again patrolling the Labrador coast and intercepted the American ship Mercury. As the vessels came to close quarters, a package was thrown overboard from the latter. One of the sailors on Antelope dived from the deck and rescued the package, which contained details of secret negotiations then being conducted between the United States and the United Provinces. Antelope Harbour, Labrador[?], is named for this incident.

Antelope was sold in 1783.

Another HMS Antelope, 6, a 204-ton West Indian packet ship, was attacked and captured on October 10, 1782. She was taken into Nantes, but Captain Kempthorne, her commanding officer, re-purchased her on April 4, 1793, for 2750.16.8d (plus 34 for her ordnance stores).

On December 1, 1793, Antelope was sailing without Captain Kempthorne off Cumberland Harbour, Jamaica[?] when two privateers were sighted. Obeying orders, Antelope headed back to port to avoid trouble, but the next day the wind failed, and one of the privateers, Atlante, 8, was able to come alongside, and battle was joined. Antelope was armed with six three-pounder guns and manned by a crew of 21. Atlante a French privateer from Charleston, South Carolina, had a crew of 65, many American.

During the battle, all three of Antelope's officers were killed or wounded and command fell on the Boatswain, John Pascoe. He assumed command and led the crew to repel the boarding parties. The privateers were thrown back repeatedly, and eventually cut their grapplings, but Pascoe raced up the rigging, lashing the squaresail yard of Atlante to Antelope's foreshrouds, continued the battle until Atlante surrendered. There were 32 dead on the privateer, while Antelope lost 3 killed and 4 wounded. The victorious packet returned put into Jamaica with its prize.

On August 19, 1794, Antelope sailed for North America with thirty men. On September 19, 1794, she encountered a squadron of French frigates in a dense fog. Her crew sank the mail and surrendered. While a captive of the French, Captain Kempthorne died of yellow fever.

Another HMS Antelope, 14, was purchased in 1783, and in 1785 was under the command of Captain S.J. Gambier.

Another HMS Antelope, 50, a fourth-rate, was built in 1802 at Yarmouth Roads[?].

It is very likely she is the same Antelope that was in commission at least from 1811 to 1840. She brought the first contingent of convicts to Bermuda in 1824 to work at the dockyard.

Another HMS Antelope was an iron paddle-wheel vessel of 1020 tons and 650 horsepower. She was part of the Mediterranean fleet, recommissioned at Malta on February 25, 1880, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Walter Haylton Joliffe, with a crew of about 80 including a corporal and seven privates of Marines.

Another HMS Antelope, an Alarm-class torpedo gunboat[?], was launched in 1892 or 1893. She was no longer in service by 1906.

General Characteristics

  • Length: 230 feet
  • Beam: 27 feet
  • Draft: 12.5 feet maximum
  • Displacement: 810 tons.
  • Armament:
    • three 18-inch torpedo tubes forward
    • two 4.7-inch guns
    • four 3-pounders
  • Complement: 85 men

Another HMS Antelope (H36) was an A-class destroyer[?] built by Hawthorn Leslie[?]. Her keel was laid down July 11, 1928. She was launched July 27, 1929, completed March 20, 1930, and assigned to the 18th Destroyer Flotilla, Channel Force, Home Fleet.

In February 1940, Antelope sank U-41[?] in the South West Approaches[?]. The U-boat had attacked an outward-bound convoy on February 5 and sunk Beaverburn. It was the only U-boat at sea at the time in the area and was the first to be sunk underwater by a single destroyer.

In April 1940, Antelope escorted the French ship Emile Bertin, flagship of Admiral Derrien, to Scapa Flow after it was damaged off Namsos, Norway[?].

On June 13, 1940, Antelope collided with HMS Electra[?] off Trondheim, Norway[?], and had to return to the Tyne for repair. She then returned to her base at Harwich.

In August 1940, Antelope sailed in convoy to take part in Operation Menace, the raid on Dakar, but after HMS Fiji[?] was torpedoed on September 1, she escorted her back to the Clyde, Scotland.

On October 31, 1940, Antelope sank U-31[?] off northwestern Ireland. She rescued 43 survivors and returned them to the Clyde.

In May 1941, during in the chase for Bismarck in the Denmark Strait[?], Antelope searched for survivors from the sinking of HMS Hood and was escort to HMS Victorious[?].

In August 1941, Antelope took part in Operation Gauntlet[?], an operation that succeeded in destroying the coaling facilities on Spitzbergen[?], thus denying the coal to the enemy.

In 1942 and 1943, Antelope participated in various operations to get supplies to Malta, including Operation Pedestal in August 1943. In March 1943, she escorted Empress of Canada, but the liner was sunk on March 13. In 1944 she conducted numerous patrols and anti-submarine operations. In August 1945, she returned to the United Kingdom. In 1946, she was sold and broken up by Hughes, Bolkow[?].

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 1350 tons
  • Speed: 35 knots
  • Complement : 138
  • Armament:
    • four 4.7in guns
    • two banks of four torpedo tubes

Another HMS Antelope (F170) was an Amazon-class Type 21 frigate[?] of the Royal Navy, which participated in the Falklands War. Her keel was laid down March 23, 1971 by Vosper Thornycroft[?] in Woolston. She was commissioned July 17, 1975.

On May 23, 1982, while Antelope was on air defence duty at the entrance to San Carlos Water[?], protecting a beachhead established two days earlier, she came under attack by Argentine A-4 Skyhawk[?] jets.

A 1100-pound bomb entered the ship's starboard side, just aft of the funnel. Another bomb hit the ship forward in the vicinity of the petty officers' mess, killing a steward. Both bombs failed to explode, but that night Army EOD specialists triggered one of the bombs during attempts to defuse it, and the ship was torn open from water line to funnel. The blast started major fires in both engine rooms, and the fires spread very quickly. The starboard fire main was fractured, the ship lost all electrical power, and the commanding officer, Commander Nick Tobin, gave the order to abandon ship. Tobin was the last person to leave the ship, and about five minutes after his departure, the missile magazines began exploding. Explosions continued throughout the night, and Antelope sank the following day. TV and stills pictures of HMS Antelope's demise became one of the defining images of the Falklands War and appear repeatedly in histories of the event.

On January 27, 2002, a diving team from HMS Montrose[?] replaced the Naval Ensign on HMS Antelope.

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 2750 tons standard, 3250 tons maximum
  • Complement: 177
  • Length: 384 feet
  • Beam: 41' 9"
  • Draught: 19' 6"
  • Armament
    • Main: one Mk8 4.5" gun
    • Secondary: two 20mm Oerlikon guns
    • Torpedo tubes: none
    • four SeaCat SAMs
    • two Corvus chaff launchers
  • one Type 182 towed decoy
  • Aircraft:
  • Propulsion:
    • Engines: Two Rolls-Royce Olympus gas turbines, plus two Rolls-Royce RM1A Tyne gas turbines for cruising
    • Power: 50000shp with Olympus, 85000shp with Tyne
    • Speed: 18kts with Tyne, 32kts with Olympus
    • Range: 4000 nautical miles at 17 knots, 1200 nautical miles at 30 knots

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