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

HMS ZEALOUS (R 39) -  Z-class Destroyer
Including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Zealous (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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ZAMBESI or Z-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead on 12th February 1942 with the 10th Emergency Flotilla and laid down on 5th May 1942 as Build Number 1118. She was launched on 28th February 1944 as the third RN warship to bear this name, introduced in 1785 and previously used for an Ironclad ship in 1864, sold in 1886. Build was completed on 9th October 1944.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


TENERIFFE 1797 - NILE 1798 - NORWAY 1945 - ARCTIC  1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Derived from the arms of Captain S Hood, Royal Navy

(Captain of HMS ZEALOUS during the Battle of the Nile).



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 4


October               Contractor's sea trials and commissioned for service in 23rd Destroyer Flotilla.

          9th              Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

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


November           Worked-up at Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet and on completion joined Flotilla

                             for duty in Home Fleet.

         21st             Joined Force 3 as part of screen for HM Cruiser DIADEM. HM Escort Carriers PREMIER

                             and PURSUER with HM Destroyers ONSLAUGHT, SCORPION and SCOURGE during air

                             minelay in Kara Sound, Norway (Operation HANDFAST)


December            Part of screen for HMS IMPLACABLE, HM Aircraft Carriers TRUMPETER and PREMIER

          7th              with HM Destroyers SAVAGE, VIGILANT, ZAMBESI, SERAPIS, SIOUX RCN).

                             ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Norwegian STORD (Force 1) during shipping air strikes and air

                             minelay in Kara Sound.

                             (Operation URBANE - For details of all minelaying operations see The Naval Staff History


         14th             Joined Force 2 as part of screen for HM Escort Carriers TRUMPETER, PREMIER, HM Cruiser

                             DEVONSHIRE with HM Destroyers ZEPHYR, SIOUX (RCN), ALGONQUIN (RCN),

                             SAVAGE and SERAPIS for Joint shipping air strikes and air minelay in Ramoaund area.

                             (Note: Shipping strikes were cancelled because of weather). (Operation LACERATE).


1 9 4 5



         15th            Escorted HM Minelaying Cruiser APOLLO with HM Destroyer CARRON for minelay off the

                             island of Utsira (Operation SPELLBINDER)

                             (See Naval Staff History (MINING).).



          6th              Part of screen for HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Escort Carriers CAMPANIA and NAIRANA

                             with HM Destroyers ONSLAUGHT, OPPORTUNE, ONSLOW, ORWELL, SERAPIS,

                             ZAMBESI, ZEST, SIOUX (RCN), HM Sloop LAPWING, HM Corvette DENBIGH CASTLE

                             and HM Trawler OKSOY as Close Escort for Russian Convoy JW64.

         14th             Detached with HMCS SIOUX, HMS ZAMBESI and HMS ZEST to evacuate population of the

                             island of Soroy off North Norway which was under German attack.

                             Took passengers to Murmansk for later transport to UK.

         17th             Joined screen for same ships for Close Escort of return Convoy RA64.

         27th             Detached with Home Fleet ships after stormy passage during which many escorts were damaged

                             and convoy had to be reformed after scattering.

                             (For details of all Russian convoy operations and names of major warships involved see THE

                             RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, CONVOY!

                             by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman).


March                   Home Fleet screening duties in continuation.



         18th              Part of screen for HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Escort Carriers PREMIER and  VINDEX with

                              HM Destroyers OFFA, ZEPHYR, ZEST, ZODIAC, HAIDA (RCN), HURON (RCN),

                              IROQUOIS (RCN) and Norwegian STORD for escort of Russian Convoy JW66.

         25th              Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet after uninterrupted passage.

         29th              Joined escort for return Convoy RA66 with same ships.

                              (Note: See above references for details of anti-submarine operation carried out by frigates

                                          before departure of RA66).


May                       Deployed for screening of Hone Fleet units until VE Day.


June                       Deployed in Hone Fleet for screening duties and support of re-occupation operations

to                           in Germany.

August                  Attended VE celebrations at Woolwich, London with m Destroyers MYNGS and ZEST.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ZEALOUS remained in commission after VJ Day and joined the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. In August 1947 she Paid–off and reduced to Reserve status at Devonport. The ship was then laid-up in the Reserve Fleet at Plymouth.. In 1950 the ship refitted in Cardiff and in 1953 was transferred to Penarth during 1953. The next year she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to Israel. She was renamed ELATH at Cardiff on 15th July 1955 and during 1956 went to Liverpool for refit by Harland and Wolff. On completion this destroyer took passage to the Mediterranean.  She was sunk by 3 missiles fired from Egyptian patrol boats off Sinai on 21st October 1967.






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








JW 064





RA 064





JW 066





RA 066








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 11/8/11
further editing and formatting is required