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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS WHIRLWIND (ii) (R 87) -  W-class Destroyer

HMS Whirlwind (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

W (WAGER)-Class Fleet destroyer ordered from Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle with 7 others of this Class as the 9th Emergency Flotilla on 3rd December 1941. The ship was laid down on 31st July 1942 and launched on 30th August 1943 as the 2nd RN ship to carry the name. Her build was completed on 20th July 1944. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this destroyer was adopted by the civil community of the New Forest in Hampshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ZEEBRUGGE 1918 -  OSTEND 1918 - ATLANTIC 1939-40 - NORWAY 1940 - OKINAWA 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, a head Proper with wind issuant

from the south.


M o t t o

Tot itenara tot vent:  'Every voyage has its gales'



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)



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July                    Contractors trials and commissioning for service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla.

         20th           Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

         24th           Accepted for service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla.

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


August              Worked up at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.

                            Deployed as screen for ships of Home Fleet during air operations against shipping off Norway.


September          Prepared for service with Flotilla in Eastern Fleet.

         17th            Sailed from Scapa Flow to Gibraltar with HM Destroyer WRANGLER as screen for HM Aircraft

                            Carrier FORMIDABLE.



         14th           Sailed from Gibraltar with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WAKEFUL, WESSEX and

                           WRANGLER for passage to Ceylon

                           Retained for Mediterranean Fleet duties in Mediterranean on arrival in Alexandria



         13th          Deployed as part of screen for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V during bombardment of


                           On release from Mediterranean Fleet detachment resumed passage to join Flotilla at Trincomalee.

         23rd           Transferred to British Pacific Fleet with ships of 27th Destroyer Flotilla on formation.


December          Prepared for British Pacific Fleet operations with US Navy in SW Pacific.

         17th           Deployed with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WAKEFUL, WESSEX and WRANGLER as

                           screen for H M Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS, H M Cruisers

                           ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE and NEWCASTLE during attacks on oil installations at

                           Pangkalan Brandan. (Operation ROBSON).

         18th           Replenished from RFA tanker WAVE KING.

         20th           With screen during carrier air attacks on Belawan Deli.

                           (Note: Raids were diverted to this secondary target because of weather conditions at

                                      Pangkalan Brandan. For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwyn Gray , THE

                                      FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

         23rd          Returned to Trincomalee with Force 67..


1 9 4 5



           16th         Sailed with British Pacific Fleet as Force 63 for transfer to US 5th Fleet in Australia.

           20th         Refuelled from Force 69 in Indian Ocean.

           24th         Deployed with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URSA .UNDAUNTED, KEMPENFELT,

                           WAKEFUL, WAGER and WHELP as destroyer screen for H M Battleship KING GEORGE V,

                           HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDEFATIGABLE, INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS,

                           H M Cruisers ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS during air attacks on oil refinery

                           at Pladjoe, north of Palembang, Sumatra (Operation MERIDIAN I).

           26th         Replenished from Force 69.

           29th         Part of screen for Task Force 63 during air attacks on oil refineries at Soengi-

                           Gerong, Sumatra (Operation MERIDIAN n).

                           (Note: This operation was not judged an unqualified success. See references above.)

                           Under air attacks during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was damaged by AA fire from

                           HMS EURYALUS..

           30th         Refuelled from Task Force 69-



             4th         Arrived at Fremantle with Force 63

           10th         Prepared for joint operations in Pacific on arrival at Sydney.

                           (Note: Exercises included use of US Navy signalling and manoeuvring procedures.)

                                        Allocation for service with the US Navy in SW Pacific was delayed pending approval

                                        in Washington by US Chiefs of Staff

                                        (For details see TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith and above references.

           28th         Sailed from Sydney for Forward British Base at Manus, Admiralty Islands


March                 Exercises continued on passage.

             7th          Arrived at Manus with ships of Force 113.

                            Nominated for escort duty of Fleet Train, Task Force 112.

            15th         Approval given for BPF after long delays

.                           See above THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by John Winton and above references.

            17th         Deployed with HM Frigate FINDHORN and HM Sloop CRANE in Task Unit 112.12 as the

                            screen for HM Escort Carrier STRIKER, Replenishment Tankers SAN AMBROSIO,

                            CEDARDALE and SAN ADOLOPHO.

            20th         Arrived at Ulithi to join 5th Fleet.


April                    Fleet Train screening duties in continuation.

                            (Note: Ship was detached when required for screening of Task Force 57 ships. during

                                        Operation ICEBERG I.)

            20th         Task Force 57 returned to Leyte.

                            (Note  Transferred to Task Force 57 for screening duties during rest period at Manus.

                                       Task Force 57 then comprised:-

                                       Task Group 57.1 HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE.

                                       Task Group 57.2 HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS,

                                       FORMIDABLE and INDEFATIGABLE.

                                       Task Group 57.4 H M Cruisers SWIFTSURE, UGANDA (RON), GAMBIA (RNZN)

                                       and BLACK PRINCE.

                                       Task Group 57.8 HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, URSA, UNDINE, URCHIN,

                                       URANIA, UNDAUNTED, QUILLIAM (RAN), QUEENBOROUGH (RAN),

                                       QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH, QUALITY, KEMPENFELT, WHIRLWIND and



             1st                     Sailed from Manus with TG57.8 to continue attacks on Sakishima Gunto.

                                      (Operation ICEBERG II).

             4th                    Deployed for screening duties with TG57.8 during air operations off Sakishima Gunto.

            22nd                  Detached with HM Destroyer KEMPENFELT to escort HMS FORMIDABLE to Sydney.

                                      (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE needed repair to damage sustained during the air operations and

                                                  these two destroyers were due for refit.)


June                               Under refit.

to                                   (Note: The ship did not join Task Force 37 when ships of the BPF were transferred to the 3rd

July                                           US Fleet for operations off Japan.  See above references).



            15th                   Returned to RN control after Japanese surrender.

                                      Nominated for support of re-occupation of Hong Kong and joined RN Task Force 111.

                                      Passage to Subic Bay with HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS SWIFTSURE, HMS EURYALUS,

                                      HMS BLACK PRINCE, HMS KEMPENFELT, HMS URSA and HMAS QUADRANT

            27th                   Deployed with HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier VENERABLE and above ships as Task

                                      Group 111.2 and took passage from Subic Bay to Hong Kong.


September                      Deployed with ships of Flotilla at Hong Kong.

                                         (For details of the problems faced in the Far East after VJ Day see Final Report by the Supreme

                                          Commander SEAC (HMSO)).


Post War Notes


HMS WHIRLWIND remained in the Far East for support of repatriation operations until December 1945 and  returned to Chatham. On arrival on 15th January 1946 she was kept in commission. During 1947 she was deployed at Rosyth for training purposes. After selection for conversion to a Type 15 Anti-submarine Frigate the ship was withdrawn from operational service. When conversion was completed at Newcastle in 1953 the ship re-commissioned for service in the 5th Frigate Squadron and was deployed in Home Waters and the Mediterranean. She took part in the support of military operations in Cyprus and the ill-fated Suez operations. In July of 1961 she re-commissioned for service in the West Indies with the 8th Frigate Squadron until 1966 when placed on the Disposal List. This ship was selected for use as a target for weapon trials and towed from Portsmouth to Pembroke Dock on 12th September 1969. Whilst moored in Cardigan Bay. prior to trials use she foundered during gales and became a total loss.


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