HMS Laforey


The Ship

Mined and sunk 25 March 1917

HMS Laforey, the name ship of the Laforey class destroyers, was launched at Govan in 1913 following construction by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. She possessed 3 4" guns and 4 torpedo tubes, and was designed to operate in British coastal waters against enemy surface and submarine shipping.

During the First World War, Laforey was assigned to the Dover Patrol, a tough mission involving the safe conduct of packed allied troopships from Britain to the frontline in France and then returning the ships full of wounded men. The ship's participating in this duty had to constantly remain alert for attacks by submarines, destroyer squadrons and mines in addition to the normal hazards of the sea crossing. During 1917 operations in the English Channel had become ever more dangerous, as German units became more adventurous in their operations against the link between Britain and France. Just four days before the Laforey was lost, a raid by German destroyers had sunk the destroyer HMS Paragon with all but ten hands.

On the 23 March, 1917, the Laforey and her sister ship the HMS Laertes were escorting several cargo ships to France, using the Folkstone to Boulogne route. The ships were safely berthed in France and the destroyers had turned for home when at 4.30pm a large explosion detonated on the Laforey amidships. The ship immediately broke in half, with the stern sinking immediately with all aboard. The bow remained floating for some time, as the Laertes struggled to rescue the surviving crew. However, that part too rapidly disappeared, leaving just 18 survivors. The wreck remains in situ, with the 59 crew members who lost their lives in the wreck still aboard.

Roll of Honour

"Lest we forget"

Their name liveth for evermore

Mark Rolfe - Leading Stoker K/143, “H.M.S. Laforey”. Died 23 March 1917. Age 29. Son of Daniel Jesse and Sarah Jane Rolfe, of the Street, Lympne, Hythe, Kent. Commemorated on the Chatham Memorial. Panel 23. Also commemorated on the Lympne School memorial plaque.

My Postcards

Not postally used.
Postcard series: Abrahams Devonport, Great Naval Deeds of the War
Series number: II


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