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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS SWIFT (G 46) -  S-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Swift sinking off Normandy (Colin Henderson, click to enlarge)

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SAVAGE or S-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from J S White, Cowes, IoW in January 1941 with the 5th Emergency Flotilla and laid down on 12th June 1941. The ship was launched on 15th June 1943 as the 28th RN warship to carry the name, introduced in 1549 and last used for a Flotilla Leader sold in 1921. Completion was delayed until 6th December 1943 due to design and production difficulties which affected delivery of the guns and the associated fire control units. On completion the ship worked up at Scapa Flow prior to joining the 23rd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. In March 1942 after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted by the civil community of Edenbridge, Kent.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


DOVER  PATROL   1915-18 - BELGIAN COAST 1917-18 - ZEEBRUGGE  1918 - ARCTIC  1944 - NORMANDY   1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White. a swift volant Proper.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r    S e r v i c e


(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 4 3


December              Contractor's Trials and commissioning.

                12th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials


1 9 4 4


January                  On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.

                                Deployed for work-up with ships of Home Fleet.



                6th          Joined escort of return Russian Convoy RA56 from Kola Inlet with HM Destroyers

                                OBEDIENT and VERULAM during passage.

                                (Note: These destroyers were sent to replace HM Destroyer HARDY which had been sunk

                                and HM Destroyer OBDURATE which had been damaged during escort of the earlier

                                outward Convoy JW56A from Loch Ewe to Kola Inlet.).

                9th          Detached from escort with same ships and returned to Scapa Flow.

                22nd       Joined screen for HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE with HM Destroyers MAHRATTA,


                                ORIBI, SERAPIS, VERULAM and VIGILANT as escort for outward Russian Convoy JW57

                                to Kola Inlet.

                28th        Detached from JW57 on arrival at Kola Inlet.



                2nd         Joined return Russian Convoy RA57 as screen for HMS BLACK PRINCE with the same

                                destroyers except HMS MAHRATTA which had been sunk by U990 on outward passage.

                3rd          Under attack by U739 which fired an acoustic torpedo which failed to hit the ship.

                7th          Detached from RA57 with some of escort.

                                (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodhead

                                THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg and

                                CONVOY! by P Kemp.)

                8th          Resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.


April                       Deployed with Flotilla in Home Fleet.


May                        Nominated for duty with Flotilla in support of Normandy landings.

                                (Operation NEPTUNE - For details of naval activities prior to and during this operation see

                                NORMANDY LANDINGS JUNE 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K. Edwards.

                                and D-DAY SHIPS by J de Winser.)

                                Allocated to Force S with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, KELVIN, SAUMAREZ, SAVAGE,

                                SCORPION, SCOURGE, SERAPIS and Norwegian STORD for gunfire support and patrol


                                Target allocated in Pre-Arranged fire plan was Franceville defences in SWORD Beach area.

                                Took part in preparatory exercises with Home Fleet ships.


June                        Passage to Clyde.

                2nd         Deployed with HMS SAUMAREZ and Norwegian destroyer STORD as escort for ships of

                                Bombarding Force D to Solent area.

                                (Note: These were HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Battleship RAMILLIES and HM

                                Cruiser MAURITIUS).

                4th          Operation delayed by 24 hours.

                5th          Passage through swept channel to beachhead as escort for Bombarding Force D.

                6th          Took up assigned bombardment position before assault on SWORD Beach to provide gunfire

                                support in accordance with Fire Plan.

                                On completion of initial bombardment supported assault troops as required.

                                Rescued survivors from Norwegian destroyer HM Nor. Ship SVENNER.

                                (Note: Ex HM Destroyer SHARK) sunk by torpedo from E-Boat off SWORD Beach

                                during landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                7th          Deployed in Eastern Task Force area for gunfire support and for patrol off the beachheads to

                                prevent attacks by enemy surface craft and submarines on convoys.

                23rd        Replenished at Portsmouth as required.

                24th        Detonated mine off SWORD beachhead and sank after breaking in two.

                                There were 53 casualties.






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








RA 056





JW 057





RA 057








(Note on Convoys)




with thanks to Colin Henderson



The photographs of the sinking HMS SWIFT were taken by Lieutenant Peter Musgrave of LCI(S).518 who was on duty off Sword Beach from D-Day until September 1944. You can see G.46 on the stern. Peter also took photos on June 5th of HMS MAURITIUS and HMS MALAYA (on which he served) and also H Norwegian MS STORD which was the escort ship to the Commando LCI(S) flotillas. He would have taken more photos of the D-day landings but at 0910 just as he was about to take a shot, a shell killed all his ramp party and about six commandos. Sub Lieut Peter Musgrave, as he was then,  was in charge of the radar on landing craft LCI(S).518 and also the ramp party. The CO of 518 was Lieutenant Commander Jack Deslandes who was also flotilla leader for his ten LCI(s) carrying 45 RM Commando and 3 Commando. Peter Musgrave was earlier an Able Seaman on HMS Malaya. I have photos of him as an Able Seaman and as a Sub Lieutenant.


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revised 11/8/11
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