HMS Mendip (L60) was a Hunt-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was a member of the first subgroup of the class. The ship is notable for seeing service in the navies of three other nations after her use by the Royal Navy.[1] She saw service in the Second World War and later as an Egyptian Navy ship in the Suez Crisis. She was captured in battle on 31 October 1956 by the Israeli Navy and re-commissioned as INS Haifa (K-38).

HMS Mendip
HMS Mendip in 1948
United Kingdom
Ordered11 April 1939
BuilderSwan Hunter, Wallsend
Laid down10 August 1939
Launched9 April 1940
Commissioned12 October 1940
Out of service20 May 1946
RecommissionedJune 1949 following repossession from ROC
IdentificationPennant number: L60
Honours and
FateSold to Egypt
BadgeOn a field Red, on a White roundel, a bugle horn stringed Black within the strings a blue rose.
NameLin Fu
Commissioned21 January 1948
Out of service29 May 1949
FateReturned to RN control after the Nationalist Government fell.
NameMohammed Ali el-Kebir
Acquired9 November 1949
RenamedIbrahim el-Awal
FateCaptured by Israel on 31 October 1956 and commissioned as INS Haifa (K-38)
NameINS Haifa
Acquired31 October 1956 (captured)
FateUsed as target ship, sank by missile in 1970
General characteristics
Class and typeType I Hunt-class destroyer
  • 1,050 long tons (1,070 t) standard
  • 1,430 long tons (1,450 t) full load
Length85.3 m (279 ft 10 in) o/a
Beam9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draught2.51 m (8 ft 3 in)
  • 27.5 knots (31.6 mph; 50.9 km/h)
  • 26 kn (29.9 mph; 48.2 km/h) full
  • 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
  • 1,000 nmi (1,850 km) at 26 kn (48 km/h)

Construction and commissioning


Mendip was ordered under the 1939 Naval Building Programme from Swan Hunter at Wallsend on 17 April 1939. She was laid down as Job No. J4111 on 10 August 1939 and launched on 9 April 1940. She was the first Royal Navy ship to carry the name of the fox hunt in Somerset. Construction of the ship was completed on 16 October 1940, and following a successful Warship Week National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Shepton Mallet, Somerset.[1]

Career in World War II


On commissioning Mendip was assigned to the Home Fleet's base at Scapa Flow for working-up in October, but sustained damage when one of her own depth charges exploded during work up exercises. She was repaired and resumed work up on 18 February 1941. On 30 March she was assigned to the 21st Destroyer Flotilla at Sheerness where she spent the next two years on convoy escort and patrol duties in the North Sea and English Channel.[1] During this time Mendip protected coastal traffic against attack by German aircraft and E-boats, rescued survivors, took part in minelaying and offensive operations against enemy installations. In September 1942 she became senior ship in 21 Flotilla with the appointment of Captain CR Parry, 21 Flotilla's Captain (D), as her commander.[1]

In June 1943, after a refit, Mendip was assigned to escort convoy WS31, part of the invasion force for Operation Husky, and in July took part in the invasion of Sicily itself. In September Mendip was part of Operation Avalanche, the landings at Salerno, part of the Allied invasion of Italy. For the remainder of the year she took part in convoy escort and patrol duties, assisting in the Mediterranean.[1]

in May 1944 Mendip returned to Britain to take part in Operation Neptune, the naval component of the Normandy landings. Following this she returned to 21 Flotilla and local escort duties in the English Channel and North Sea, until VE Day in May 1945.[1]

Post-war career


Mendip's last assignment was with Operation Deadlight, the disposal of the German U-boat fleet, and in January 1946 she was paid off and placed in Reserve.

Chinese Navy service


In May 1948 Mendip was lent to the Chinese Navy, together with HMS Aurora, and was renamed Lin Fu, after major general Zhang Lingfu, commander of the 74th division, who fell during the Chinese Civil War. After Aurora (renamed Chung King) defected to the communists in February 1949, she was repossessed by the Royal Navy in June 1949 and re-commissioned with the ship's company of HMS Consort.

Egyptian Navy service


In November 1949 Mendip was sold to the Egyptian navy, becoming Mohammed Ali el-Kebir on 15 November. She was renamed Ibrahim el-Awal later in 1951.[1]

In 1956, Ibrahim el-Awal took part in the naval operations during the Suez crisis, and on 30 October 1956, she was dispatched to Haifa with the aim of shelling that city's coastal oil installations. On 31 October she reached Haifa and began bombarding the city with her four 102 mm (4-inch) guns. The French destroyer Kersaint, which was deployed in Haifa harbour to guard the port as part of Operation Musketeer, opened fire on Ibrahim el-Awal but scored no hits.[2] Soon after, Israeli warships challenged Ibrahim el-Awal and the Egyptian warship immediately retreated. The Israeli warships gave chase and together with the Israeli Air Force, succeeded in damaging the vessel's turbo generator and rudder. Left without power and unable to steer, Ibrahim el-Awal surrendered to the Israeli Navy.[3]

Israeli Navy service

Ibrahim el-Awal being towed to the port of Haifa after being captured by the Israeli Navy.
The twin 4-inch gun of INS Haifa

The Egyptian destroyer was subsequently incorporated into the Israeli Navy and renamed Haifa.[4] She served with the Israeli navy through the late 1960s, when she was decommissioned, she was relegated to duty as a target ship in 1968 and sunk in 1970 after being hit by a Gabriel missile.[5]

One of her twin 4-inch gun turrets and a depth charge thrower are preserved at the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, Haifa.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN. "HMS MENDIP (L 60) – Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer". Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  2. ^ "The capture of Ibrahim el-Awal". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  3. ^ Hertzog, Chaim (1982). The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East from the War of Independence through Lebanon. Vintage. p. 138. ISBN 0-394-71746-5.
  4. ^ Wurmbrand, Max (1970). The Valiant of Israel. Massada Press Ltd. p. 80. ISBN 0-902291-24-6.
  5. ^ "HMS Mendip (L 60)". Retrieved 16 March 2011.