W-Class Destroyer ordered from Fairfield of Govan, Glasgow on 3rd
December 1941 with the 9th Emergency Flotilla.
The ship was laid
down on 3rd June 1942 and
intended to be named HMS ZEBRA. However this
name was changed as part of a rationalisation
of names of both W and Z-Classes.
on 30the June 1943 as
WAKEFUL she was the 2nd RN ship to carry the
The first ship to bear the name had been lost
being torpedoed by a E-Boat during evacuation of
allied troops from Dunkirk with heavy loss of
life of 29th May 1940. This
destroyer was fitted for Arctic service during
build which was completed on
17th February 1944. The earlier destroyer
had been adopted by the
civil community of Darwen,
Lancashire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in 1942.
a t t l
e H o n o u r s
1939-40* - DUNKIRK 1940* - NORTH SEA 1944
(* awarded to
HMS WAKEFUL (i))
e r a l d i
c D a t a
: On a Black field an eye proper with rays
ensuing therefore, Gold.
o t t o
: “If I sleep I will be caught”.
e t a i l s
o f W
a r S e r v i
Naval History Homepage
type name in Site Search)
9 4 4
Contractors trials and Commissioned
for service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla.
Build completion and commenced
On completion of trials
and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for
work-up with ships of
Joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla for
Home Fleet service on completion of work-up.
(Note : 27th Flotilla
was to be formed later when more ships of this
Class were available.)
Deployed with Flotilla for Home Fleet
Part of destroyer screen for HM
Battleship ANSON, HM Aircraft Carriers
VICTORIOUS, HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR, FENCER, PURSUER and
with HM Cruisers BELFAST, ROYALIST,
JAMAICA and SHEFFIELD during
air attacks on
German battleship TIRPITZ
(For details see ENGAGE
THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and CONVOY !
Escorted HMS FURIOUS and HMS SEARCHER
with HM Cruiser BERWICK and HM
WIZARD, ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Polish
destroyers ORP PIORUN and
BLYSKAWICA during air
attacks on shipping off Kristiansund
Escorted HMS EMPEROR and HMS STRIKER with
SHEFFIELD, HMS ROYALIST and
HM Destroyers ONSLOW,
OBEDIENT, URSA, ORP PIORUN and ORP BLYSKAWICA
air attacks on shipping
in Narvik and Stadlandet
areas off Norway.
: Award of Battle Honour NORTH SEA 1944
must have been made for an engagement during
service. This requires further investigation.
off Norway are covered by the NORWAY Battle
Fleet deployment in
Nominated for service in
Eastern Fleet with 27th Flotilla after refit.
Taken in hand for
Under refit and prepared for
On completion of post
refit trials joined 27th Flotilla and took
passage to join Eastern Fleet in
to Aden in Mediterranean
and Red Sea..
Sailed from Aden to Trincomalee.
Joined Eastern Fleet and prepared for
planned operations in Indian Ocean.
Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.
Sailed from Trincomalee with HM
Destroyers WHELP, WESSEX and WAGER as destroyer
screen for HM Cruiser
PHOEBE, HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and
Group 3 of Force 63 for
air attacks on Nicobar Islands including
(Operation MILLET which
was an agreed diversion by Eastern Fleet during
US landings in
For details see WAR
WITH JAPAN (HMSO) Vol.IV)
Fuelled with the other ten destroyers
of Force 63 from HM Battlecruiser RENOWN
in Group 1.
Detached with ships of Group 3 from
main force and took passage to begin air
Under air attacks which were repelled by
Return passage to Trincomalee with
Deployed at Trincomalee with Eastern
Transferred to British Pacific Fleet
with Flotilla on its formation at Trincomalee.
Deployed at Trincomalee with Flotilla :
Part of screen for HM Aircraft
Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and INDOMITABLE, HM
NEWCASTLE, ARGONAUT and
BLACK PRINCE with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT,
WESSEX, WHIRLWIND and
WRANGLER of Flotilla during air attacks
Sumatra as part of
(Operation ROBSON - First of series
oil installations in Sumatra
(Note : Part of overall
Operation OUTFLANK For details see above
reference Volume VI and
FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)
Refuelled from Replenishment Group
Remained with Force 67 during flying
Returned to Trincomalee with Force 67
9 4 5
Sailed from Trincomalee with British
Pacific Fleet as Force 63 to carry out air
attacks on oil
refineries in Sumatra
during passage to Australia for service with US
Navy in SW Pacific.
– Part of OUTFLANK Series)
(Note : Ships involved
Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, ILLUSTRIOUS,
HM Battleship KING GEORGE V HM Cruisers
PRINCE, EURYALUS and
CEYLON, HM Destroyers GRENVILLE,
UNDAUNTED and URSA of 24th Flotilla, KEMPENFELT,
(ii), WHIRLWIND, WAGER, WESSEX and WHELP of 27th
Deployed with screen
during air attacks on refineries at Pladjoe
After refuelling in
area away from coast deployed with screen
during further air attacks at
near Palembang. (Operation Meridian TWO).
Under air attacks which were repelled by carrier
(See above references re significant losses
and lessons learned)
Passage to Fremantle
Ships of BPF at Fremantle.
British Pacific Fleet arrived at
Sydney and prepared for service
with US Navy in SW
: Pennant Number for
visual signalling changed to D31 to conform with
British Pacific Fleet units sailed
from Sydney for the Forward British Base
Admiralty Islands as
Task Force 113.
(Note : Approval to
join US naval operations was awaited.
of the reasons see above references, TASK FORCE
57 by P Smith, OPERATION
PACIFIC by E
Gray) and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
British Pacific Fleet arrived at Manus
after carrying out extensive exercises on
the new communications
procedure, manoeuvring and weapon firings.
British Pacific Fleet units sailed to
join US 5th Fleet at Ulithi
as Task Force 113.
British Pacific Fleet arrived at Ulithi.
British Pacific Fleet sailed to join
operations as part of US 5th Fleet designated
Task Force 57
(Note : This ship did
not sail with Task Force 57 and the date of
detachment from Force 113 or of
deployment is to be confirmed.)
Deployment in Australian waters
or elsewhere is to be confirmed.
(Note : Did not take part in
Operations ICEBERG ONE or ICEBERG TWO
with BPF in
Honour “OKINAWA” was not awarded.)
Resumed duty with Flotilla at
Sydney after Task Force 57 returned to Sydney
for R&R period.
Transferred to 3rd US
Fleet with ships of BPF which were redesignated
Detached from Task Force 37 with HM
Destroyers BARFLEUR and
as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier
during passage to join
BPF off Japan.
Remained at Sydney.
At Sydney awaiting completion
of repair to HMS INDEFATIGABLE.
Passage to join BPF off
Japan as escort for HMS INDEFATIGABLE with
Arrived in Replenishment area off
Japan with HMS INDEFATIGABLE
Joined Task Force 37 ships during
Sailed with screen for Task Force 37
ships to resume operations against targets
in mainland islands of
Japan. See above references for details.
Deployed with Task Force 37 screen
during joint RN/US
Navy air attacks
on North Honshu and
Transferred with HM Battleship KING
GEORGE V, HM Aircraft Carrier
GAMBIA (RNZN) and NEWFOUNDLAND, HM Destroyers
TEAZER, BARFLEUR. NIZAM (RAN), WRANGLER, and
NAPIER (RAN) with HM
Battleship DUKE OF YORK and HMS WHELP to
in US 3rd Fleet as
Token Force of BPF ships and designated Task
Unit 38.5 within US Task
Transferred to revised Task Group identity
within US Task Force 38.
Transferred with all ships of Token
Force, except HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS WAGER and
HMS WHELP to reformed
Task Group 37 for entry into Japanese waters.
Entered Sagami Wan to await clearance
of anchorage and berths for the formal
support of the
subsequent occupation operations.
Present at formal surrender of
Japanese Empire in Tokyo Bay.
THE FORGOTTEN FLEET.
o s t W a r
N o t e s
WAKEFUL (ii) remained in
Japanese waters to assist in the repatriation of
allied nationals before taking
passage to Sydney. The ship returned to UK with
the Flotilla arriving in
December 1945. She remained in service as a Boys
Training ship until converted
for use as an Anti-Submarine Frigate at
Greenock. On completion in 1953 the
ship joined the 5th Frigate Squadron in which
she served until 1957 when
converted for use as a Radar Training Ship.
During 1959 she joined the
Portsmouth Local Squadron and later the 2nd
Frigate Squadron before carrying
out trials on Satellite
Communications Equipment in 1969. Placed on the
Disposal List in 1970 this ship
was sold to TW Ward on 10th July 1971 and
arrived in tow at Inverkeithing for demolition
on 5th July that year.
This convoy list has not been cross-checked
with the text above
convoy as escort