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HMS Calpe (L71)
HMS Calpe IWM FL 7411.jpg
HMS Calpe
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Calpe (L43)
Ordered: December 1939
Builder: Swan Hunter (Wallsend)
Laid down: 12 June 1940
Launched: 28 April 1941
Commissioned: 11 December 1941
Fate: Sold to the Royal Danish Navy in 1952 and renamed Rolf Krake. Scrapped in 1966.
Career (Denmark) Royal Danish Navy Ensign
Name: HDMS Rolf Krake (1954)
Decommissioned: 1962
General characteristics
Class & type: Hunt class destroyer,
Type II
Displacement: 1,050 tons standard;
1,490 tons full load
Length: 85.34 m
Beam: 9.62 m
Draught: 2.51 m (8 ft 3 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft Parsons geared turbines; 19,000 shp
Speed: 25.5 knots (25½ kts full)
Range: 3,600 nmi (6,670 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 164
  • 6 x QF 4 in Mark XVI on twin mounts Mk. XIX
  • AAA - 2 x 4 12.7mm Vickers, 2 x 20mm
  • 6 Thornycroft depth charge throwers

HMS Calpe (pennant number L71) was a British Royal Navy Hunt-class destroyer escort type II. Built as a result of the outbreak of World War II, Calpe escorted convoys during the war and participated in the Dieppe Raid. Collaborating with the USS Wainwright in 1943, she assisted in the sinking of a German U-boat. Calpe was loaned and then sold to the Danish Navy, remaining active until she was scrapped in Sweden in 1966.


Calpe was ordered in December 1939 from Swan Hunter Wallsend as part of the 1939 emergency program. She was not the first ship of this name as HMS Calpe had been a ship in the British Navy from 1800 to 1802. Its keel was laid the following year and it was launched and completed in 1941. Following its acceptance on 11 December 1941, the ship set sail for Scapa Flow.[1] The ship was adopted in February 1942 by Abingdon-on-Thames in Berkshire as part of a National Savings campaign called Warship Week.[1]

In 1942 she sailed under the Spanish Ensign as she approached St Jean de Luz. To keep up the pretense, all the crew remained below deck. It was not until before the bombardment took place on 4/5 April that the British Ensign replaced the Spanish jack.[2] On 18 and 19 August 1942 HMS Calpe was involved in the Dieppe Raid. Her primary function was to act as the command ship for the raid and was used by Major-General Roberts (OC, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division) and Captain John Hugues-Hallet RN (Naval Commander for the raid). She acted as a hospital ship and sustained casualties, losing nearly a quarter of the crew. Despite this, Calpe managed to take on and care for 278 casualties.[3]

In October 1942, Calpe was included in the ships that would take part in action in North Africa. She was sent to guard a convoy to her namesake Gibraltar. (Calpe is an old name for Gibraltar). In November she became part of Operation Torch as she was included in the Central Task Force for allied landings.[1]

HMS Calpe identified the submarine U593 in the Mediterranean, and together with USS Wainwright, managed to sink the U-boat on 13 December 1943.[4] The U-boat had already sunk two sister Hunt class destroyers, HMS Tynedale and HMS Holcombe that month.[4] The captain of the Wainwright, Commander Strohbehn, noted in his account that "it was a pleasure" to work with the British Warship.[5]

After the war

HMS Calpe was active in the Indian Ocean until 1946. She was sent back to Britain in the November and was put in "reserve". She was laid up in Sheerness and moved to Portsmouth in 1947. During 1952 she was placed on loan with the Royal Danish Navy for nine years becoming the HDMS Rolfe Krake. Then Denmark bought her outright.[1] The Rolf Krake remained active until October 1966 when she was scrapped at Ystad in Sweden.[6]


The Government of Gibraltar issued both a 5p and a 22p stamp to celebrate HMS Calpe.[7] The name HMS Calpe was reused in 1965 when the Royal Navy Reserve formed its only HQ reserve unit in Gibraltar.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "HMS CALPE (L 71) - Type II , Hunt-class Escort Destroyer". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  2. Fraser, Lt. T.A.S.. "Photograph". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  3. "No. 38045". 14 August 1947. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "U-593 Interrogation Of Suppliers - Feb 1944". Naval Intelligence. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  5. "BRITISH AND AMERICAN DESTROYERS ACCOUNT FOR ANOTHER U-BOAT". 3 February 1944. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  6. HMS Calpe,, retrieved August 2012
  7. HMS Calpe,, accessed August 2012
  8. History Of Hms Calpe – Personal Reflections Heritage Talk 4, 2005, accessed August 2012

Coordinates: 37°38′N 5°58′E / 37.633°N 5.967°E / 37.633; 5.967

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