N-Class destroyer ordered from John I Thornycroft of Woolston, Southampton
on 15th April 1939 under the 1939
Programme. Allocated Yard No 1203 the ship was laid down on 9th September 1939. During construction on
18th December 1940 the hull structure sustained major damage by a direct hit
and two other near misses during an
air raid. The subsequent repair work delayed launch until 4th December 1941.
Although intended to be sold to the Royal Netherlands Navy another ship of
this Class was selected and this destroyer was renamed HMS NEPAL in
January 1942 and was the 1st RN ship to bear the name. Following the loss of HM
Destroyer GURKHA (ii) in January
1942, this change fulfilled a promise by the 3rd Sea Lord to continue the
recognition of the great services rendered
by Nepal to the War Effort and thus to maintain the association of the Royal
Navy with both the Kingdom and
the Gurkha Regiment which dates from 1888. Transferred on loan to the Royal
Australian Navy this ship was commissioned
on 11th May 1942 before completion of build on the 29th which included fit of
degaussing gear as well
as 20mm Oerlikon guns to improve defence against close range air attacks. (Note: Prior to transfer the ship had been adopted as HMS NORSEMAN by the civil
community of Hartley Witney, Hampshire
following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign kin February)
B a t t l e†† H
o n o u r s
BURMA 1944-45 - OKINAWA 1945
H e r a l d i c††
D a t a
On a Field barry wavy of six White and Blue a Kukri and trident
in saltire white, in front of the centre prong of the trident a crescent
Gold, in chief a star of seven points also Gold.
D e t a i l s††
o f†† W a r†† S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 2
11th - Commissioned
for service by Royal Australian Navy in 7th Destroyer Flotilla.
29th - Build
completion and commenced Acceptance Trials
of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of Home Fleet.
to Clyde for rectification of defects prior to operational service.
Under repair in
commercial shipyard. Nominated as part of escort for
military convoy during passage to Indian Ocean.
17th - Joined
Convoy WS21P in Clyde with HM Cruiser ORION and Dutch destroyer TJERK HIDDES (Ex HMS NONPAREIL) as Ocean Escort during
passage to Freetown. (Note: Both destroyers were taking
passage to join 7th Destroyer Flotilla which was also to
include sister ships HMAS NIZAM, NAPIER and NORMAN.)
27th - Arrived
at Freetown with WS21P.
2nd - Sailed
with same ships as Ocean Escort for WS21P on departure from Freetown.
4th - Continued
as Ocean escort after mercantiles from US Convoy AS4 joined. (Note: Convoy AS4 was escorted by US Navy warships and
was made up of ships carrying supplies to Alexandria via Cape of
12th - Arrived
at Cape Town and detached from WS21P.
19th - Relieved
HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE and HM Destroyer DUNCAN with HMS ORION and Dutch destroyer TJERK HIDDES as Ocean Escort for WS21P
during passage in Indian Ocean.
24th - Detached
from Ocean Escort with TJERK HIDDES and took passage to join Flotilla at Kilindini.
25th - Arrived
at Kilindini to commence Flotilla duties
support of final occupation of Madagascar. (Operations
STREAM, LINE and JANE –See WAR WITH JAPAN, Volume III (HMSO).)
Took part in preliminary exercises with ships of Eastern
Fleet (Exercise TOUCHSTONE).
9th - Deployed
as screen for HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERCK and HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS on passage to meet the
troopship convoys from Kilindini and Diego Suarez carrying military
10th - Present
during landings at Majunga as screen with HM Destroyer FORTUNE for HM
Battleship WARSPITE (Operation STREAM). (Note: Naval Gunfire support was not required as
landings were not significantly opposed.)
19th - Present
during landings at Tamatave with HMS WARSPITE and HMS FORTUNE (Operation JANE). (Note:
Planned bombardment was cancelled in favour of an air demonstration and ship movements within sight of shore.)
On release from JANE resumed convoy defence duties.
Taken in hand
for routine docking by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.
resumed convoy defence and patrol duties. Passage
21st - Rescued
crew of US mercantile PIERCE BUTLER which had been sunk by U177 in position ESE of Durban.
convoy defence in South Atlantic Command.
1 9 4 3
February to April
Nominated for escort of military
convoy during passage from Aden to Fremantle. (Operation
Note: This convoy was taking troops
of the 9th Australian Division back to Australia after
the Australian government had requested their release from service in the 8th Army in the Western Desert to reinforce defence of
Australia because of the threat of Japanese attack.
On release from escort took passage to Sydney for
refit (To be confirmed) (Note: One source records that RAN
personnel were embarked for passage to Sydney.)
took passage to resume Flotilla duties in Indian Ocean convoy.
31st - Called
at Fremantle with HM Destroyer QUIBERON (RAN).
June to November
Indian Ocean convoy defence and
patrol based at Durban. (Note: Extensive military and
commercial convoy traffic in the Indian Ocean created a
shortage of suitable escorts. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)
1st - Joined HM
Destroyer NORMAN and HM Corvette ROCKROSE in escort for military convoy WS24 on passage in Indian Ocean from Bahia.
4th - Detached
from WS24 on arrival at Durban. Resumed convoy defence duties with
Flotilla based at Durban.
1 9 4 4
January to February
Indian Ocean convoy defence in
continuation Transferred to Trincomalee with
Flotilla and deployed in northern Indian Ocean.
screening of major warships during Eastern Fleet operation.
21st - Sailed
from Trincomalee with HM Destroyers QUALITY, QUEENBOROUGH, QUIBERON, QUILLIAM, NAPIER (RAN) and NORMAN (RAN), Dutch
destroyers VAN GALEN and TJERK HIDDES as screen for HM
Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM Aircraft
Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers CEYLON, CUMBERLAND, GAMBIA (RNZN) and LONDON during passage in Indian Ocean to meet US
Aircraft Carrier USS SARATOGA.
24th - Refuelled
from Tanker Force which was escorted by Dutch cruiser TROMP.
27th - US Task
Group TG56.25 comprising USS SARATOGA with destroyers USS CUMMINGS, FANNING, and DUNLAP joined Eastern Fleet units in
position 13.10S 65.40E and took joint return passage to Ceylon. (Note: Ships were deployed in two Groups, Group 1 comprised the battleships, two cruisers and a
screen of 7 RN destroyers with the two aircraft carriers screened
by the three US Navy and two RN destroyers.)
2nd - Arrived
at Trincomalee with screen for returning RN and USN ships.
16th - Deployed
with HM Destroyers NAPIER (RAN), NIZAM (RAN) PENN, PETARD, QUIBERON, RACEHORSE, ROTHERHAM and Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN as
destroyer screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS
VALIANT, French Battleship RICHELIEU, HM
Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, CEYLON, GAMBIA and Dutch TROMP as Force 69 to provide cover for air attacks on Sabang, NW Sumatra
by HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA deployed with covering
major warships and destroyer screen as Force 70 (Operation
19th - Carried
screening duties for Force 69 during provision of cover for air attacks. (Note: An attack by three Japanese torpedo aircraft
attempting to attack Force 69 failed when
intercepted and shot down by air cover.. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)
24th - Returned
to Trincomalee with Force 69.
6th - Deployed
with HM Destroyers NAPIER (RAN), QUALITY, QUIBERON, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, ROTHERHAM and Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN as
screen for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, HM
Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Cruiser KENYA as
Force 65 to provide cover during air attacks on Soerabaya, Java by HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA deployed with
covering major warships and destroyer screen as Force
66 (Operation TRANSOM – See above reference).
15th - Refuelled
in Exmouth Bay, Northern Australia from tankers of Force 67 deployed in support of TRANSOM.
17th - Carried
out screening duties for Force 65 during provision of cover for air operations.
27th - Returned
to Trincomalee with ships of Force 65.
June to July
Resumed Flotilla duties based at
Trincomalee for convoy defence and patrol in Indian Ocean. Nominated for
return to Australia for refit (Note: Record in one source that
ship took part in attack on Sabang (Operation CRIMSON)
confirmed in WAR WITH JAPAN).
18th - Taken in
hand for refit in Sydney
2nd - Carried
out post refit trials on completion of dockyard work.
for further service with Eastern Fleet.
Trincomalee to rejoin Flotilla for Fleet duties. On
arrival deployed in Force 64 for support of military operations off coast of
22nd - Retained
for duty with newly formed East Indies Fleet when British Pacific Fleet was
HMAS NAPIER in Force 64 for support of military operation on Arakan coast.
14th - Provided
naval gunfire support during assault by 74th Indian Brigade (Operation
ROMULUS). (Note: Force 64 ships replenished at
24th - On
release from support duties returned to Trincomalee
1 9 4 5
deployment in continuation.
2nd - Deployed
with HMAS NAPIER and HM Sloop SHOREHAM in support of landings by 3rd Commando Brigade on Akyab Peninsula (Operation
LIGHTNING) (Note: 870 men from Brigade were
26th - C in C
East Indies Fleet embarked to witness assault on Ramree Island (Operation
30th - Deployed
with HM Destroyer PATHFINDER in support of landings on Sagu Island, south of Ramree
return to Australia for deployment with Flotilla in British Pacific Fleet.
5th - Sustained
damage to starboard propeller and withdrawn from operational service.
Passage to Colombo for docking and repair. On completion took passage to Trincomalee to prepare
for return passage to Australia.
Deployed as escort for HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers FENCER and RULER during passage to Fremantle
14th - Arrived
at Williamstown. Prepared for service in 5th US Fleet
under US Navy overall command. (Note: Pennant Number for visual
signalling purpose changed to D125 to suit US Navy identification
took passage to Sydney for operational service in Logistical Support Group for screening duties. Passage
from Sydney to forward support base for British Pacific Fleet at Manus,
Admiralty islands with HMAS NAPIER, NORMAN and
NIZAM of 7th Flotilla. Deployed as escort for replenishment
convoy during passage from Manus to the operational area
south of the Sakishima Island Group
18th - On
arrival in MOSQUITO ONE replenishment area joined screen for ships of Fleet
Train (Task Force 112) providing support
to ships of BPF (Task Force 57) during attacks on airfields in Sakishima island Group (Operation ICEBERG ONE)
(Note: Ship may
also have been
deployed with screen for ships of Task Force 57 during final series of air attacks.)
19th - Took
passage from replenishment area with BPF ships to Leyte on completion of sixth
and final series of attacks in ICEBERG
Leyte. (Note: US Navy forward support base
was sited at Leyte
3rd - Deployed
with HMAS NORMAN, NIZAM and NAPIER as part of screen for Fleet Train to (Task Force 112) during BPF operations with US Task
Forces off Sakishima Gunto.
14th - (Operation
15th - Detached
for service with screen for ships of Task Force 57 during attacks on Sakishima
16th - Relieved
in TF57 screen by HMAS NORMAN and took passage to Leyte to resume duties with Fleet Train.
25th - Returned
to Manus with ships of on completion of ICEBERG TWO operations by BPF.
(Note: BPF was transferred to US 3rd
Fleet on 27th May
and became Task
Force 37. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)
Australia for R&R period.
12th - Resumed
screening duties with Task Force 112 and deployed for escort of replenishment convoys to support ships deployed off Japan.
26th - Deployed
as screen for ships of Task Force 112 in operational area during replenishment
of Task Force 37 with HM Escort Aircraft
Carriers SPEAKER, RULER, STRIKER, HMAS NAPIER, HMAS
NIZAM, HM Sloops PHEASANT, CRANE, REDPOLE, HM Frigates PARRET and PLYM
27th - Took
passage with screen during return of replenishment ships to Manus. (Note: For details of the withdrawal of RN ships from
operations see WAR WITH JAPAN and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)
20th - Docked
in AFD20 at Manus for routine inspections and repair.
30th - Resumed
operational duties and took passage to Tokyo.
6th - On
arrival deployed for support of re-occupation and repatriation operations.
P o s t†† W a r††
N o t e s
HMAS NEPAL was deployed in
support of Australian forces in Japan after VJ Day and returned from these duties on 12th October.
She arrived at Sydney on 20th of that month and was paid off from RAN service on 11th November
1945. The ship was re-commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS NEPAL on 19th November manned by
personnel returning to UK after service in the BPF or ashore in Australia and arrived at Portsmouth on
28th December. Selected for further service as Minesweeper Trials and Training ship to replace HM
Destroyer WITCH attached to the Torpedo School at Portsmouth the ship was taken in hand for refit
at conversion to suit her new role. Re-commissioned with personnel from HMS WITCH in July 1946 she was
deployed on these duties, initially at Portsmouth and later at Rosyth attached to HMS LOCHINVAR. This ship
was nominated for transfer to Reserve status and sailed to Devonport from Rosyth on 16th November
1950 and Paid-off on arrival. Although selected for conversion to Type 15 Frigate in February 1951 this
was never implemented and she remained in Reserve at Plymouth until transferred to lay-up Penarth
during March 1953. Placed on the Disposal List in May 1955 this destroyer was sold to BISCO for
demolition by TW Ward at Briton Ferry where she arrived in tow at the breakerís yard on 16th January 1956.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMAS NEPAL
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)