HMS Solebay

The Ship

Broken up. 1967

HMS Solebay (D70) was a Battle-class destroyer of the Royal Navy (RN). She was named after the Battle of Solebay which took place in 1672 between an Anglo-French force and the Dutch Navy during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. Solebay was built by R. & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Company Limited on the Tyne. She was launched on the on 22 February 1944 and commissioned on the on 25 September 1945.

Solebay was intended to join the 19th Destroyer Flotilla of the British Pacific Fleet, but the war against Japan ended while Solebay was working up in the Mediterranean, and so she returned to Home Waters. She subsequently became Captain (D), or leader, of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Home Fleet which was based in the UK. Solebay also took part in Operation Deadlight, the large-scale destruction of the German U-boat fleet, and which resulted in over one hundred of the boats being sunk in a variety of ways.

In 1953, Solebay was involved in the 1953 Fleet Review at Spithead, which took place in celebration of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and which showed the still, at that time, immense splendour, and power of the Royal Navy. Solebay was positioned in the middle of her sister-ships Cadiz and Corunna. Later that year, like many of her sister-ships, Solebay was placed in Reserve. In 1957, Solebay finally returned to active service, becoming Captain (D) of the 1st Destroyer Squadron, which saw service with the Home and Mediterranean Fleets. In 1959, while still part of that squadron, Solebay deployed to the Far East. While there, tragedy struck her sister-ship, Hogue, which had collided with the Indian light cruiser INS Mysore. Solebay, along with another sister-ship, towed the heavily damaged Hogue to a nearby base.

After returning home in 1960, Solebay subsequently saw service once more in the Mediterranean, when she and the rest of the 1st Destroyer Squadron deployed to that region to relieve the 7th Destroyer Squadron. However, Solebay accidentally rammed her sister-ship Trafalgar, part of the 7th DS, while at Malta, delaying that Squadron's departure from the Mediterranean. While there, Solebay acted as escort for HMY Britannia, carrying Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, who were visiting Italy on a state visit. Solebay subsequently joined the Home Fleet, and once more joined up with the yacht Britannia and the Queen, when Solebay became escort during the Queen's visit to West Africa. In 1962, Solebay's eventful career came to an end, when she was decommissioned and placed on the disposal list, becoming the Harbour Training Ship, being based at Portsmouth. She was broken up at Troon in 1967.

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