Free French Destroyer Triomphant

A massive wave washes over the deck of the Free French Force destroyer, Le Triomphant, during a cyclone. She was on convoy duty with the American oil tanker Cedar Mills and the Dutch cargo ship Java when the cyclone hit and received considerable damage. Without fuel, water and provisions and listing 45 degrees, she was towed by the Cedar Mills to Diego Suarez, Madagascar, for repairs.

Le Triomphant, one of six Le Fantasque class destroyers built by At. & Ch de France of Dunkirk, France, was launched on 16 April 1934 and commissioned into the French Navy on 25 May 1936. She had a complement of 220 officers and men and was reputed to reach speeds of well over 40 knots.

On 3 July 1940 she arrived at the British port of Plymouth, escaping the Vichy French government and was transferred to the French Free force under the command of Commandant Pierre Gilly. She served in the Pacific after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, undertaking numerous escort and convoy assignments. (photo courtesy of Australian War Memorial)

 

The crew of the Free French Force destroyer, Le Triomphant, race to apply a collision mat to the damaged ship’s hull during a cyclone on 2 December 1943. The collision mat, a large piece of canvas, is passed under the ship and is held in place by the pressure of the water trying to enter the breach. (photo courtesy of Australian War Memorial)

 

The crew of the Free French Force ship Le Triomphant, a large destroyer of Le Fantasque class, are presented to the leader of the Free French Force, General Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle (saluting on right) while in port at Algiers. Saluting General de Gaulle is Lieutenant de Vaisseau Leon Mequin (later Commanding Officer of the Free French Force corvette Lobelia). General de Gaulle is attended by the Minister for the Navy, Louis Jacquinot and Commandant Pierre Gilly.  (photo courtesy of Australian War Memorial)

 

 

Starboard broadside view of the French Free Force ship the large destroyer Le Triomphant. One of six Le Fantasque class destroyers built by AT & CH de France of Dunkirk, France, she was launched on 16 April 1934 and commissioned into the French Navy on 25 May 1936.

 

Members of the ship’s crew of FFS LE TRIOMPHANT in working rig, seated on gantries hanging over the ship’s side, painting the ship’s bow. FFS LE TRIOMPHANT was one of the French naval ships which came to British ports after the capitulation of the French Government and was manned by Free French sailors, forming part of the Free French Navy.

 

*Feature photograph: Starboard broadside view of the French Free Force ship the large destroyer Le Triomphant. One of six Le Fantasque class destroyers built by AT & CH de France of Dunkirk, France, she was launched on 16 April 1934 and commissioned into the French Navy on 25 May 1936