HMS Egret (L75)

HMS Egret (L75)

HMS "Egret" (L75) was a sloop of the British Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was built by J. Samuel White at Cowes, Isle of Wight and was launched on 31 May 1938.

"Egret" had the dubious honor of being the first ship ever to be sunk by a guided missile. The Germans had used the Henschel Hs 293 glider bomb for the first time on 25 August 1943 against the 40th Support Group in the Bay of Biscay. "Landguard" was slightly damaged by a near miss. "Bideford" were hit and damaged, with one sailor killed, though more serious damage was avoided because the bomb's explosive charge did not fully detonate.

On 27 August 1943 the 40th Support Group was relieved by the 1st Support Group, consisting of "Egret" together with the sloop "Pelican" and the frigates "Jed", "Rother", "Spey" and "Evenlode". The group was attacked by a squadron of 18 Dornier Do 217 carrying Henschel glider bombs. The covering destroyer "Athabaskan" was heavily damaged by a bomb and "Egret" was sunk with the loss of 194 of her crew. At the time there were four RAF Y-Service electronics specialists on board, all of whom also died in the attack. "Egret" had been fitted with electronic surveillance equipment designed to monitor Luftwaffe bomber communications and these Y-Service technicians were aboard to operate this equipment.

"Egret's" sinking led to the anti-U-boat patrols in the Bay of Biscay being suspended.


*citation | url =
title = The Anti-Ship Missile - A Revolution in Naval Warfare
first = Stephen
last = Maj. Sim
journal = Pointer
volume = 24
number = 4
date = Oct-Dec, 1998
accessdate = 2007-04-16

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