anti-submarine trawler Jean Frederic

Design history
Mersey-class trawler-minesweeper, built for the Royal Navy during World War 1, sold off for commercial use and requisitioned for military service in 1939.

No picture available

Construction details [1]
Name Jean Frederic [2]
ex-M.J. Reid (mercantile, 1920 - 1922) [3]
ex-James Hulbert (mercantile, 1919-1920) [4]
ex-HMS James Hulbert (Royal Navy, 1919)
Dockyard Lobnitz & Company Limited, Renfrew (Scotland)
Dockyard Number 833
Laid down  
Commissioned September 9, 1919 (RN)
November 25, 1940 (RNethN)
Pennant P.65 (French navy)
?? (RNethN/RN)
[1]: information taken from [CHT], [MAS], with additional information added from [WST].
[2]: owned by Delpierre & Fils, Boulogne (France) until 1931, then by Soc. Boulonnaise d'Armement, Boulogne (France).
[3]: owned by South Fleetwood Fishing Company, Aberdeen (UK).
[4]: owned by E. Wallis & Others, London (UK).

Specifications [1]
Displacement 329 grt [2]
Crew 39
Dimensions 42,30 x 7,22 x 4,80 m
Armament [3] 4 x 75 mm (4x1)
4 x .303 (7.7-mm) Hotchkiss machineguns (2x2)
2 x .50 (12.7-mm) machineguns (1x2) [4]
Asdic Installed summer 1940. Type unknown.
Depthcharges Present. Type and number unknown.
[1]: Information from [CHT], [MAS] unless noted otherwise. Confirmed by other sources unless noted otherwise.
[2]: Strictly speaking, gross registered tonnage (grt) is not a measure of displacement.
[3]: Information taken from [GB110]. [CHT], [MAS] state that two 37-mm guns and no .303 (7.7 mm) Hotchkiss machineguns were carried. [VML] does not list the 7.7-mm Hotchkiss but does list the 12.7-mm, so the latter may have replaced the Hotchkiss.
[4]: This twin machinegun was taken from the torpedoboat G-15 and fitted in January 1941.

Propulsion details [1]
Boilers 1 boiler
Machinery 1 triple-expansion engine.
Performance 600 ihp [2]
Shafts 1
Bunkerage 180 tons coal. Normally only 70 tons were carried, due to low freeboard. [3]
Max Speed 10,5 knots
[1]: Information taken from [VML]. Confirmed by other sources unless noted otherwise.
[2]: from [MAS], [CHT]. According to [CLY], [VML], performance was 70 NHP.
[3]: from [GB110].

History [1]
Requisitioned by the French Navy in September 1939 and commissioned as an patrol boat. Captured in Falmouth on July 3, 1940 following the surrender of France in June. In July 1940, the Royal Navy requested this ship and others to be temporarily manned by the Royal Netherlands Navy. During her service with the Netherlands navy, the ship was known as "Her Netherlands Majesty's French Ship Jean Frederic", and carried both the Dutch and French flag.

Commissioned on November 25, 1940 by Luitenant-ter-zee der 2e klasse (Lieutenant) F.A. Staverman. The Jean Frederic was first engaged in "anti-invasion duties" in the Plymouth - Falmouth - Dartmouth area, but was later engaged in convoy duty in continuation in the same area until she was decommissioned.

Loss of Jean Frederic
Jean Frederic left Falmouth in the early monrning of May 1,1941 with a convoy of 17 merchant ships bound for Dartmouth. On May 1 at 1605 hours, the Jean Frederic obtained an asdic-contact in position 50.11 N - 03.38 E (approximately 4 nautical miles from Start Point). Contact was lost about 5 minutes later, and the trawler turned to rejoin the convoy. At 1615 hours, the Jean Frederic was attacked by a German dive bomber, which dropped four bombs and raked the deck with her machineguns. The four bombs were all near misses, but exploded close enough to leave the ship in a sinking condition.

The entire crew of 39 abandoned ship on only two Carley-rafts. Jean Frederic did have a lifeboat, but unfortunately, the lifeboat had a cracked bottom and was of no use. The two Carley-rafts did not have enough room for the entire crew of 39, so crewmen had to make do with whatever was afloat.

Meanwhile, the convoy (which also included Notre Dame de France in its escort) steamed on, unaware of the Jean Frederic's plight. It was not until the afternoon of May 2nd at about 1400 hours, that the British motor launch ML-157 picked up survivors from the rafts. By then, almost two-thirds of the crew had succumbed to exhaustion and wounds. The crew of the Jean Frederic totalled 39. Of these, 14 were rescued and 25 were killed (including the commanding officer, Luitenant-ter-zee der 1e klasse (Lieutenant-Commander) A.C. Lunsbeck).
[1]: Information primarily taken from [GB110] unless noted otherwise. [GB110] has a very detailed description of the ship's brief history with the RNethN, the circumstances of the ship's loss, and a full list of the ship's crew at the time of her loss.

CHT Jean Labayle Couhat "French Warships of World War II", Ian Allen, published 1971.
CLY The Clyde Built Ships - details for Jean Frederic
GB110 GB110 (Mededelingen van de Marinestaf), volume 3, chapter 18: "De bewegingen en acties van Hr.Ms. Nautilus, Hr.Ms. Medusa, Hr.Ms. Van Meerlant, Hr.Ms. Douwe Aukes, F.S. Bouclier, Hr.Ms. Campbeltown, F.S. Notre Dame de France, F.S. Jean Frederic, Hr.Ms. Gruno."
LCOL H.T. Lenton/J.J. Colledge "Warships of World War II", published 1962.
MAS Henri Le Masson "Navies of the Second World War - The French Navy 2", published 1969.
VML A.J. Vermeulen "De schepen van de Koninklijke Marine en die der gouvernementsmarine 1862-1962", published 1962.
WST - details for Jean Frederic

July 26, 2014 Updated page (all sections)

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