Submarine operations on HMS Lawford

| August 10, 2018

Sank on June 8, 1944

The U.S.-built Evarts class destroyer escort, the USS Lawford (DE 516) was launched on August 13, 1943 from the U.S. Navy Yard Boston in the United States.

Transferred to the Royal Navy on November 3 under the lend/lease agreement and commissioned as a Royal Navy captain class destroyer escort, the ship was renamed HMS Lawford, the name of Captain John Lawford who commanded the HMS Polyphemus during the battle of Copenhagen in April 1801.

HMS Lawford served in the Atlantic escorting convoys between the USA and England before participating in Operation Overlord in Normandy.

During the first few days of operation Overlord, this war building was being used as an Assault force J1 flagship headquarters under the command of Captain A. F. Pugsley of the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade.

In the early hours of June 8, the Germans launched an air attack on allied war ships in the Baie de Seine HMS Lawford was targeted and received a direct shot which split it in two. Both the bow and stern halves remained visible several hours off Juno Beach before sinking: 37 crew members were killed.

The wreck of the Lawford now lies 21 metres deep, about 6 miles north-northeast of Courseulles-sur-Mer.


The equivalent de 3 tonnes de TNT

Since 2016, any dive is prohibited on HMS Lawford, which still contains ammunition of extreme danger: Anti-Submarine Spigot mortars and 20 mm Anti-aircraft munitions. Almost 3 tons of TNT equivalent, a part of which was found around the wreck in October 2016 by an amateur diver who reported it to the maritime Prefecture of the Channel and North Sea.

The group of divers (GPD) of the National Navy, based in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (Manche), has been regularly involved since October 2016 on the wreck. In his holds: 83 Anti-submarine mortars and 50 crates of ammunition. At the end of 2017, 1,3 tons of TNT equivalent was destroyed. Between the end of June and early July 2018, 700 kg were still destroyed and the equivalent of one tonne remains to be destroyed.

HMS Lawford Technical Sheet

Creator Country: United States
User Country: Great Britain
Name: K 514-H.M.S. Lawford
Initial Class: Evarts class escort destroyer
Final class: Captain class frigate

Crew: 156 sailors

Weapons (1944): 3 guns of 76 mm, 1 40 mm Anti-Air Cannon, 7 Oerlikon guns of 20 mm

Displacement: 1 140 tonnes (in battle order)
Speed: 20 knots
Length: 88,24 m
Master-Bau: 11 m
Draught: 2,7 m

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