Town Class Destroyer
The Town class destroyers were warships transferred from the United States Navy to the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy in exchange for military bases in the Bahamas and elsewhere, as outlined in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement between Britain and United States, signed on 2 September 1940. They were known as "four-pipers" or "four-stackers" because they had four smokestacks (funnels). Later classes of destroyers typically had one or two.
Some went to the Royal Canadian Navy at the outset. Others went on to the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and the Soviet Navy after serving with the Royal Navy. Although given a set of names by the Commonwealth navies that suggested they were one class they actually came from three classes of destroyer: Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson. Town class refers to the Admiralty renaming these ships after towns common to the United States and the British Commonwealth. Ships initially commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy, however, followed the Canadian practice of giving destroyers the names of Canadian rivers. The rivers selected for the town class were on the border between Canada and the United States, with the exception of the Nova Scotia river sharing the name of the United States Naval Academy location.
One of the Towns achieved lasting fame: HMS Campbeltown (ex-USS Buchanan). In the Commando raid Operation Chariot, Campbeltown, fitted with a large demolition charge, rammed the Normandie Lock at Saint-Nazaire, France. The charge detonated on 29 March 1942, breaching the drydock and destroying Campbeltown, thus destroying the only drydock on the Atlantic coast capable of accepting the German battleship Tirpitz. This exploit was depicted in the 1950 Trevor Howard film The Gift Horse, which starred HMS Leamington (ex-USS Twiggs) after her return from service in Russia.
Famous quotes containing the words town, class and/or destroyer:
“If I am to be a thoroughfare, I prefer that it be of the mountain brooks, the Parnassian streams, and not the town sewers. There is inspiration, that gossip which comes to the ear of the attentive mind from the courts of heaven. There is the profane and stale revelation of the barroom and the police court. The same ear is fitted to receive both communications. Only the character of the hearer determines to which it shall be open, and to which closed.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“To avoid the consequences of posterity the mulattos give the blacks a first class letting alone. There is a frantic stampede white-ward to escape from Jamaicas black mass.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)
“The supreme, the merciless, the destroyer of opposition, the exalted King, the shepherd, the protector of the quarters of the world, the King the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas, who by his lordly attack has forced mighty and merciless Kings from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same to acknowledge one supremacy.”
—Ashurnasirpal II (r. 88359 B.C.)