HMS Foylebank was a converted 5,500 ton merchant ship active during the Second World War. She was launched in 1930 and requisitioned in September 1939. She was converted into an anti-aircraft
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...
ship, equipped with .5 inch machine guns and four twin high angle 4 inch turrets. The Foylebank saw action in Portland Harbour
Portland Harbour is located beside the Isle of Portland, off Dorset, on the south coast of England. It is one of the largest man-made harbours in the world. Grid reference: .-History:...
next to the Isle of Portland
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island, long by wide, in the English Channel. Portland is south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A tombolo over which runs the A354 road connects it to Chesil Beach and the mainland. Portland and...
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
. She arrived in Portland on 9 June 1940 for a build-up to anti-aircraft duties.
On 4 July 1940 whilst the majority of her crew were at breakfast, unidentified aircraft were reported to the south. These were originally thought to be Allied aircraft returning to base but they turned out to be 26 Stuka dive bombers
Junkers Ju 87
The Junkers Ju 87 or Stuka was a two-man German ground-attack aircraft...
. These aircraft had the objective of disabling the Foylebank which was seen as a threat to their plans to destroy Britain's coastal shipping. Two aircraft were shot down by the Foylebank but 22 bombs hit the ship and the ship listed to port, shrouded in smoke. She sank on 5 July 1940. One of the ship's company, Jack Foreman Mantle
Jack Foreman Mantle
Jack Foreman Mantle VC was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:...
, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....
for his actions in defending the ship from aircraft whilst mortally injured.