As part of a new project to feature more about this remarkable ship, built during WW2 at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in Scotland.
We will begin to feature more information on her while named as HMS Windrush, she would soon take on another name serving under another navy with distinction.
As HMS Windrush seen leaving the builders sailing through the Firth of Forth
HMS Windrush was the fifth of the six “River Class” Frigates to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb during World War II.
Her keel was laid in November 1942 with her launch at the Leith yard on June 18th, 1943
She was launched as HMS Windrush but was never commissioned into the Royal Navy, three months after her launch she was one of five such Frigates gifted to the (F.N.F.L.) Free French Navy and she was christened "La Découverte".
She served as an escort to the Atlantic convoys, under Canadian Navy control before being transferred to the F.N.F.L. (Free French) in February 1944 under French control.
As La Découverte
HMS Windrush now as La Découverte was to play a large part in the D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches, when she sailed from Great Yarmouth to lead a convoy, comprising the Group 11, G Force, which was part of the Assault forces for the landing of the 3rd Canadian Division, heading for Juno Beach at the head of the convoy of more than 100 LCT’s (Landing Craft Tank.) Once the invasion forces had reached the beaches she also provided anti-aircraft cover and shelled the coast.
La Découverte continued her duties along the French coast for the next couple of months. At the end of July she was the first French Ship into Cherbourg with the French Admiral Thierry d'Argenlieu. She also participated in the delivery of fuel to the 6th Armoured Div, 12th Group, 8th US Army, and took part in many further operations until the end of hostilities in May 1945.
After the war she stayed on active service with the French Navy until 1959 when she was dumped in the French naval cemetery at L'anderennec.
In 1967 she was towed north to become a training ship in the port of Cherbourg. She was to be used as a training ship to help firemen train in what is considered one of the most difficult of all fire types to face. She was beached in front of the training college and concreted into position.
As Lucifer II a sight that many French fire fighter would see during training.
This was when her name was changed to “Lucifer II” very apt as she was to be used amongst other things as a fire control ship to give practice to fire fighter who may have the un-enviable task some day of fighting a fire on board a ship.
After 33 years on the beach where she became a well-known sight, it was decided that there was no need for her anymore and for the next 8 years many schemes were thought up to try and preserve this the last of her type, but the decision was made in 2009 that she should be cut up for scrap, she was the last of the “River Class” Frigate’s.