HMS Express (H61)

HMS Express was an E-class minelaying destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. Although assigned to the Home Fleet upon completion, the ship was attached to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1935–36 during the Abyssinia Crisis. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39, she spent considerable time in Spanish waters, enforcing the arms blockade imposed by Britain and France on both sides of the conflict. Express spent most of the first year of World War 2 laying minefields in British, Dutch and German waters. She participated in the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk in May–June 1940, but resumed minelaying afterwards. The ship was one of three British minelaying destroyers that inadvertently entered a German minefield off the Dutch coast a few months later, leading to the sinking of two destroyers. Express had her bow blown off during the incident and was under repair for over a year. She escorted the battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse (Force Z) to Singapore in late 1941 in an unsuccessful attempt to deter Japanese aggression against British possessions in the Far East. The destroyer then escorted the capital ships in an attempt to intercept landings in British Malaya in December and rescued their survivors after they were sunk by Japanese bombers. Express was then assigned convoy escort duties in and around Singapore and the Dutch East Indies under the control of American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) as the Japanese advanced. She escaped from the East Indies and rejoined the main body of the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. The ship played a minor role in Battle of Madagascar as she screened an aircraft carrier during the late stages of the campaign in 1942. Express returned home in early 1943 to begin conversion into an escort destroyer. Upon its completion in June, the ship was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and renamed Gatineau. She assigned to convoy escort duties with the Mid-Ocean Escort Force and participated in sinking a German submarine in March 1944. Gatineau was transferred to Northern Ireland in preparation in May for the Invasion of Normandy and was sent to Canada in July to begin a lengthy refit. The ship was only operational for a few months before the war ended in May 1945 and she returned to Canada shortly afterwards. Gatineau was paid off in early 1946 and was sold the following year. The ship became part of a breakwater on the coast of British Columbia in 1948. More details on Wikipedia