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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS SAINTES (R 84) -  Battle-class Destroyer

HMS Saintes (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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1942 BATTLE-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered From Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle on 27th April 1942 with ships of the 1st and 2nd Flotillas on 27th April 1942. The ship was laid down on 8t.h June 1943 and launched on 19th July 1944. She was the 1st RN ship to carry this name which commemorates the brilliant action by Sir Samuel Hood in Frigate Bay on 12 April 1782. Build was completed on 29th September 1946 after delay due to late delivery of the Mk VI Gunnery Director and further problems to installation of the fire-control system. This delay enabled snip to be completed with the more modem design of ten centimetre Radar Type 293 with associated display units. During build she was fitted with a Dutch designed twin Bofor mounting controlled by an RN radar, but this proved to be unsatisfactory and was removed during later service. The new design Mark VI Twin 4.5 inch mounting was fitted in B-position, but the Type 262 radar controlled AA mounting was not installed during build, as in the later 1943 BATTLE Class. This ship was designed for use as a Flotilla Leader and had the necessary additional accommodation and office facilities.


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:  On a Field Blue, within  a  laurel wreath Gold a  bezant,

thereon an  eagle  displayed purple.

(Note:   Derived  from  the eagle in the Arms  of  of  Lord  Rodney



 S u m m a r y   o f   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 5


                                 Build completion delayed by deliver of Mk VI Director.


1 9 4 6


January                    Contractors trials

to                              Completion of fire-control and radar installations.

August                     (Note :  For details of development arid use of radar in the Royal Navy see

                                               RADAR AT AT SEA by D Howse

                                  Selected for use as Gunnery Trials Ship for new mounting after acceptance.


September               Commissioned  for trials.

26th                          Build completion date and commenced acceptance trials.


October                    On completion of trials and calibrations took passage to Portsmouth for service as

to                               Gunnery Trials Ship attached to HMS EXCELLENT.

December                 Deployed for trials on new Mark VI  twin 4.5" mounting.


 1 9 4 7  


                                  Deployed at Portsmouth and as required  for Gunnery  trials and training.


 1 9 4 8


                                  Gunnery trials and training attached  to HMS EXCELLENT  in continuation.

                                  Selected for service in 3rd Destroyer Flotilla,  Mediterranean Fleet.

                                  Pennant Number  for visual signalling purposes changed to D84.


1 9 4 9


January                     Gunnery Trials and training deployment  in continuation.

to May


June                          Prepared for commissioning with full complement.


July                           Joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla on formation with HM Destroyers ARMADA, GRAVELINES

                                  and VIGO. Deployed as Leader.

August                     Flotilla trials and exercises prior to deployment.

to                               Passage to Mediterranean for service in Destroyer Command in place of V-Class.

December                Attached to HM Depot Ship FORTH based in Malta.


1 9 5 0


                            Deployed with Flotilla for Fleet duties and took part in Fleet Exercise and Visits Programmes.


1 9 5 1


January              Mediterranean deployment in continuation,
to  July


August               Deployed with Flotilla in Persian Gulf.

to                         Relieved snips of 1st Destroyer Flotilla in support of British interests when the

October              oil industry was nationalised.

                            Returned to Mediterranean when all British nationals had been evacuated.


November          Resumed Mediterranean Fleet duties with Flotilla,
to  December


1 9 5 2


                            Deployed in Mediterranean for Fleet duties with Flotilla.


1 9 5 3


January              Mediterranean deployment in continuation.

to  July


August                Provided assistance with HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier THESEUS and HM Destroyer

                             DARING after earthquake in Cyprus.  Landed party at Paphos.


September          Resumed Fleet service with Flotilla in Malta on completion.

to  December


 1 9 5 4


January               Mediterranean deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

to February


March                 Despatched with Greek Destroyer STKITIS to assist in rescue of passengers and crew

                             of ss EMPIRE WINDRUSH on fire after an  explosion.

                             Embarked personnel and took troopship in tow.

                            (Note :  Tow not successful.  EMPIRE WINDRUSH sank near Algiers on 3oth March.)

April                     Resumed Fleet duties with Flotilla.

to                         Nominated for return to UK.


December            Returned to UK with Flotilla and paid off.


1 9 5 5


January               Recommissioned as Leader of 3rd Destroyer Squadron.

to                         Deployed in Home waters for Fleet service and took part in Exercise programmes.


October              Flotilla took passage to Mediterranean


November          Nominated for refit,

to                         Paid off


1 9 5 6


January                 Under refit.

to                            HM Destroyers ARMADA, BARFLEUR and ST KITTS of 3rd Destroyer Squadron were

December               still deployed in the Mediterranean and took part in Operation MUSKETEER at Suez in



1 9 5 7


                                On completion of post, refit trials placed in Reserve.


1 9 5 8


January                    Laid up in Reserve

to                               Nominated for service in 1st Destroyer Squadron.

October                    Prepared to re-commission for General Service in place of BARFLEUR.


November                Deployed as Leader with HMS CAMPERDOWN and HMS ARMADA in Home waters.

to December


1 9 5 9


3rd                             Destroyer Squadron deployment in continuation.


1 9 6 0


                                 Transferred to re-constituted 1st Destroyer Squadron

                                 Re-commissioned for General Service (Home and Mediterranean) with sister BATTLE

                                 destroyers FINISTERRE, CAMPERDOWN, SOLEBAY (May)

                                 Deployed in Home waters for Fleet exercises and visits.

                                 Passage to Mediterranean


1 9 6 1


January                      Deployed in Mediterranean with Squadron.

to June


July                             Despatched with Flotilla to Persian Gulf after request from Ruler of Kuwait for

                                   assistance to resist invasion by Iraqi forces.

                                   Passage to Bahrain. (Operation VANTAGE).


August                      On release from VANTAGE took return passage to Malta.


September                Resumed deployment in Mediterranean.

to December


1 9 6 2


January                     Mediterranean deployment in continuation.

to                                 Nominated for reduction to Reserve status.

March                         Passage to UK from Malta with Flotilla.


April                            Paid off and reduced to Reserve.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS SAINTES was transferred to Rosyth for use as a training ship attached to HMS CALEDONIA after being de-stored. The ship remained in that role until being placed on the Disposal List in 1972. Sold to Shipbreaking Industries (Queenborough) on 26th June 1972 she was towed to Cairn Ryan arriving there on 1st September 1972 for demolition.


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