This week’s photograph is a nice study of the battle class destroyer HMS Barfleur:The ship’s pennant number, D80, is painted on her hull making identification easy:Barfleur was the first commissioned Battle class destroyer and the only ship of her class to see action during the Second World War. She was present in Tokyo Bay when the official Japanese surrender was signed on USS Missouri.
In 1946, Barfleur deployed to the Far East along with the rest of the 19th Destroyer Flotilla, performing a variety of duties, including visiting many ports on ‘fly-the-flag’ visits. Barfleur returned to the United Kingdom with the rest of her flotilla in 1947, and was subsequently placed in Reserve.
In 1953, Barfleur took part in the Fleet Review at Spithead in celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Barfleur was positioned in the middle of the destroyers St. Kitts and Crossbow.
Barfleur also became Captain (D) of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, which served in the Mediterranean. While there, Barfleur picked-up survivors from a Handley Page Hastings that had crashed in the region. Upon the completion of her task, Barfleur returned the aeroplane’s crew to Malta. In 1954, Barfleur moved back home but was returned to the Mediterranean the following year.
The destroyer was involved in the Suez War in 1956, taking part in the Allied landings in early November. Barfleur returned home later in the year for the last time to join the Home Fleet.
In 1958, Barfleur was put in Reserve before being placed on the disposal list and broken up at Dalmuir in 1966.
Barfleur’s main armament was two dual 4.5 inch guns on the fo’castle:Barfleur was a fast ship, capable of making up to 35.75 knots, and this speed was achieved through her fine lines, with a bow capable of cutting through the water:And two steam turbines capable of giving 50,000 shp, venting through a single central funnel:Barfleur was home to 268 sailors and one dog, the ship’s mascot Gozo, a Maltese terrier:Gozo considered himself superior to all other pets in the ship; he had his own papers, kit bag, hammock, kit list and a conduct sheet (with many offences written therein) and S264, and many letters and signals of his activities. His rate was A/B Dog. He had a Crossing-the-line certificate and also claimed the honour of being the first allied dog in Tokyo. He met and talked to more than twenty Admirals, lunched with Commodores and taken leave in New Zealand.
His overall length was some 12 inches, his height almost six inches and his displacement some 3-lbs. The colour scheme was pure white, or at least for almost two minutes after bath time, after which he takes on a real battleship grey for camouflage purposes.