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1937 - 1978: Maidstone (F44)

Built By: John Brown and Co (Cylde)
Fate: On 23 May 1978 Maidstone was broken up for scrap at Rosyth.

In September 1939 Maidstone was Depot Ship at Rosyth with the 3rd Flotilla from May 1940 to Sept 1940.

In March 1941 she took up residence at Gibraltar with the 8th Flotilla

After taking part in operation Torch (invasion of North Africa) from Nov 1942 to Nov 1943 Maidstone was based at Algiers Harbour now the main Allied base in the Mediterranean.

In November 1943 she went to the Eastern Fleet.

In March 1944 she set up shop at Trincomalee and in September 1944 moved on to Fremantle in Western Australia to operate in Pacific waters.

From May 1945 to Sept 1945 she was at Subic Bay in the Philippines and then went to Hong Kong. Whilst on passage, she was diverted to Macassar to pick up 400 British naval prisoners of war from HMS Exeter, HMS Encounter and HMS Stronghold.

In November she arrived at Portsmouth and in 1946 Maidstone became depot ship to the 2nd and 7th, Submarine Flotillas. The 2nd Flotilla comprised operational boats, the latter was specifically a trials and training squadron. Maidstone had a semi-permanent mooring off Monkey Island (Portland) but often put to sea with her boats.

In 1951 Maidstone called briefly at Corunna to land a sick rating, but this was not classified as an official visit, although it was the first time a British ship had entered a Spanish harbour since the Spanish Civil War.

On 16 June 1955 the submarine HMS Sidon sank in Portland harbour alongside Maidstone twenty minutes after an internal explosion had occurred in the forward torpedo compartment. 13 men lost their lives. A week later, the submarine was raised and the accident was found to be caused by an explosion of the high-test peroxide fuel used in a torpedo.

In 1956 Maidstone was the Flag Ship of the C in C Home Fleet.

In September 1957, the Russians protested when Maidstone accompanied by the training aircraft carrier HMS Ocean visited Helsinki.

1958-1962 Maidstone received an extensive refit, allowing her to accommodate nuclear submarines, the 2nd Flotilla was then then based at Faslane with refits at Rosyth until August 1968 when she joined the Reserve Fleet at Rosyth before returning to Portsmouth.

In October 1969 Maidstone was restored and re-commissioned as an accommodation ship for 2,000 troops and sent to Belfast. She arrived under tow at Belfast to serve as barracks for the increased security forces in the area, and for a time as a prison ship for detainees. She retained a small party of naval ship-keepers onboard.


Events

17-08-1936 : Laid down by John Browns at Clydebank
21-10-1937 : Launched
05-05-1938 : Commissioned
23-01-1968 : Sailed to join reserve at Plymouth
23-05-1978 : After forty years service, she arrived at Inverkeithing to be broken up.


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1928 - 1942: Medway (F25)1938 - 1978: Forth (F04)