Details of Lightning
HMS Lightning was ordered as job number J4052 on 31 March 1938 as part of
the build up of the Navy for a war with Germany that seemed inevitable.
Two flotillas of eight ships were built these were to be the L and M class
of fleet destroyer. A third flotilla was planned as an option but was never
Hawthorn Leslie & Co of Newcastle Upon Tyne were awarded the contract
to build her, the machinery being supplied by Parsons. She was laid down
on 15 November 1938 and launched nearly a year and a half later on 22 April
1940, shortly after my nineteenth birthday. Her cost was £457,415 and
I believe that she earned ever penny!
Length overall - 362.5 feet.
Beam - 37 feet.
Draught (full load) - 12.5 feet.
Displacement - standard 1,920 tons, 2,451 tons seagoing.
Main armament - 6 x 4.7 inch Mk XI guns firing a 62lb shell.
The main armamment was designed for two roles - ship or shore bombardment
and also as anti aircraft guns. Two guns were fitted in each of the three
type MK XX mountings which had fully enclosed gun shields and fixed central
ammunition hoists. The housing had power training with manual elevation
of each gun independently up to 50 degrees. Ammunition carried was 250 rounds
per gun. Firing rate was 12 rounds per minute (in ideal circumstances) with
19,400 yards maximum range. 12 rounds per gun were stored on either side
of the gun housing for ready use plus a further 2 rounds over the fuse setting
Main armament fire control - power trained HA/LA MkIV TP, combined director
and ragefinder with type 285 RDF and gyro director sight (known as the 'P'sight)
which also stabalised the layer's and trainer's binoculars.
Torpedo tubes - 4 x 21 inch on a single Mk X mounting with a fully enclosed
Anti Aircraft armament - single 4 inch gun MkV on a MkIII mounting with
no shield, later replaced by a 4 x 21 inch torpedo tube Mk X mounting as
above. Quadruple power operated 2 pdr MkVII pom-pom. 2 x 0.5 inch multiple
machine guns on the bridge wings later replaced by single power operated
20mm Oerlikons. 2 x 20mm single power operated Oerlikons abreast the main
searchlight (possibly later replaced by twin 20mm Oerlikons).
Depth charges - 42 (possibly more) on two over-stern rails and four throwers,
giving seven patterns.
Fuel oil - 567 tons.
Endurance - 5,500 miles at 15 knots, 1080 miles at full speed.
Maximum speed - 33.8 knots at 341.4 rpm.
Machinery - 2 geared turbines driving two shafts.
Shaft Horsepower - 48,200 at a mean of 341.4 rpm.
ASDIC for submarine location and echo sounding gear were fitted.
Battle Honours awarded to Lightning - Barfleur (1692), Vigo (1702), Velez
Malaga (1704), Louisberg (1758), Baltic (1854-5), Diégo Suarez (1942)
and Malta Convoys (1941-2).