Naval History Homepage - and Site Search




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

HMS ZENITH (R 95) -  Z-class Destroyer

HMS Zambesi, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 


ZAMBESI or Z-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Denny of Dumbarton on 12th February 1942 with the 10th Emergency Flotilla and to be named WESSEX. She was laid down on 19th May 1942 but in 1943, before launch the name was changed to ZENITH. The ship was launched on 5th June 1944 as the second RN warship to carry this name which had been used for a Drifter during WW1. She was adopted by the civil community of Sevenoaks, Kent during 1943 as a replacement for HM Destroyer GALLANT originally allocated after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942. (HMS GALLANT was lost in January 1941). Build was completed on 22nd December 1944.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: A sun with rays.


M o t t o

This above all .



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


December            Contractor's sea trials and commissioned for service in 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet.

            22nd         Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials


1 9 4 5


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

                               Withdrawn from work-up with ships of Home Fleet because of defects requiring dockyard


                               Passage to Clyde for repair in commercial shipyard,


February                Under repair.

to                            Nominated for service in Far East.

May                       (Note: Arctic fittings removed and alterations to suit tropical service made,)


June                       On completion of post repair trials took passage to Scapa Flow to resume work-up with

                               ships of Home Fleet


July                        Worked-up for operational service.

                                Took passage to Mediterranean

                                (Note: Ships on passage to Far East carried out work-up exercises prior to leaving for

                                              operational duties.


August                   Foreign deployment cancelled after VJ Day

                                  (Note: One source records that ship was present during landings in Malaya as support

                                                for operation ZIPPER. See BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.

                                                 This is not confirmed in WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO  - 1998))


P o s t   W a r   S e r v i c e


HMS ZENITH served with the 4th Flotilla in Home waters on return to UK. In 1947 the ship was Paid-off and was placed in Reserve at Chatham.  During 1950 she refitted in a Tyne shipyard and on completion the next year went back into Reserve at Harwich. She was placed on the Sales List and sold to Egypt in May 1955. After refit at Woolston by Thornycroft to suit Egyptian naval requirements this destroyer was renamed EL FATEH and sailed to Egypt in September 1956. During 1963 EL FATEH returned to UK for modernisation at Woolston which was completed in July 1964.. She remained in Egyptian service for another 15 years before being withdrawn from service.






by Don Kindell


No convoys have been identified


back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

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