HMS Matabele (G26)
|Pennant:||F 26 / G26|
|Built by:||Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland)|
|Laid down:||1 Oct, 1936|
|Launched:||6 Oct, 1937|
|Commissioned:||25 Jan, 1939|
|Lost:||17 Jan, 1942 (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, R.N., DSC) (c 69-15'N, 35-30'E) Arctic Ocean, off Murmansk, Russia in Barents Sea|
|Torpedoed by 1 torpedo from the German submarine U-454 (Hacklšnder).and sank in two minutes. Even in that short time, many had managed to abandon ship only to be frozen to death in the icy waters. Escort, Iceland/Russian convoy PQ.8;only 2 survivors from a crew of 200|
F 26 January 1939 - Autumn 1940
G 26 Autumn 1940 - January 1942.
HMS Matabele arrived at Plymouth, England on 26th January 1939 and after completing her sea trials went to Portland England to join the 2nd Tribal Destroyer Flotilla. After the outbreak of World War 2, she had to be docked in order for two new propellers to be fitted but she was made ready in time to rescue the submarine HMS Spearfish on the 26/27th September 1939.
In April 1940, Matabele joined the Home Fleet destroyer screen in the North Sea. She moved up and down the fjords of Norway ferrying soldiers ashore at Namsos and screening transports out to sea during the daytime. While operating in Norway, she ran onto the Fasken Shoal but managed to get back to her home port safely. On 17 May 1940 thr light cruiser HMS Effingham runs aground on an uncharted rock on Faksen Shoal in Vestfjord carrying troops to Bodo to help block the German advance on Narvik. She is later torpedoed and destroyed with gunfire by HMS Matabele and abandoned.
Repairs were substantial and the opportunity was taken to replace the \'X\' mounting with a twin 4\" AA gun. This work was completed at Falmouth, England by mid-August 1940.
In April 1941, Matabele underwent an extensive refit at Barrow-in-Furness, England. The refit was completed on the 27th May but the ship ran aground when leaving Barrow. The resulting repairs meant that she could not rejoin the Home Fleet until August 1941. Due to the German invasion of Russia, Matabele was immediately assigned to Russian convoy duty.
On 8 January 1942, HMS Matabele and HMS Somali were ordered to join the escort of convoy PQ-8. On 17 January, just off Kola Inlet, HMS Matabele