destroyer ordered from Swan Hunter at Wallsend
with the 8th Emergency Flotilla on 1st September
1941. She was laid
down on 31st January 1942 and launched on 22nd
December 1942 as the 19th RN
warship to carry this name, introduced for a Prize
taken in 1743 and previously
used for a WW2 hired trawler until 1943. She had
been adopted by the civil
community of Launceston in Cornwall after a
successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in March 1942. The build
was completed on 10th
September 1943 and included protection for Arctic
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
USHANT 1778 - GRENADA 1779 - ARCTIC 1943-44 - NORMANDY 1944 -
MALAYA 1945 - BURMA 1945.
H e r a l d i
c D a t a
Badge: On a Field
dragon gardant Gold.
t a i l s o f
W a r S e r v i c e
Naval History Homepage
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1 9 4 3
Contractor's sea trials and commissioning for
serve in 26th Destroyer
Flotilla, Home Fleet.
Build completion and
commenced Acceptance Trials.
Passage to Scapa
Flow on completion of trials and storing.
for service with ships of Home Fleet at Scapa
with HAIDA (RCN), IROQUOIS (RCN), HARDY and
to Spitsbergen with
relief garrison (Operation GEARBOX Series).
On completion of work-up deployed with Flotilla
in NW Approaches for
Joined Ocean Escort for Russian Convoy
JW 54B with HM Destroyers HARDY, SAVAGE,
SCORPION, SCOURGE, VENUS and Norwegian STORD.
(For details of
all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO
RUSSIA by RA Ruegg
ARCTIC CONVOYS by
R Woodhead, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B.
Detached from JW54B
after unscathed passage.
passage to Scapa Flow with other destroyers of
On arrival resumed
Home Fleet duties with Flotilla.
1 9 4 4
Fleet Flotilla duties in NW Approaches in
Joined escort for
Russian Convoy JW56A at Akureyi with HM
INCONSTANT, SAVAGE, VENUS, VIRAGO and Norwegian
On arrival at Kola
Inlet despatched to join escort for following
HMS OBDURATE was
hit by torpedo during defence of JW56A and taken
temporary repair in Murmansk).
Reinforced escort for
Joined escort for returning Convoy
RA56 at Kola Inlet with Home Fleet ships.
Detached from RA56
with HM Destroyers OFFA, OPPORTUNE,
SAVAGE and VENUS
Joined Russian Convoy
JW57 with HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE, HM Destroyers
MATCHLESS, MILNE, OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT,
SERAPIS, SWIFT and VERULAM to supplement Close
to Kola Inlet.
U-Boat attacks on 25th February HMS MAHRATTA was
hit by torpedo
U956 and sank immediately with only two
Detached from JW58
Part of destroyer
escort for return Convoy RA58 with HM Destroyer
JW58 (except HMS MAHRATTA).
Detached from RA58
with HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, MILNE, OFFA,
ORIBI, SAVAGE and
SERAPIS before arrival of convoy at Loch Ewe.
Fleet duties with Flotilla.
Part of screen for HM Battleship
ANSON, HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS HM Escort
SEARCHER, EMPEROR. PURSUER , FENCER, HM Cruisers
BELFAST, SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA with HM
Destroyers MILNE, URSA,
VERULAM, METEOR, UNDAUNTED, VIRAGO, SWIFT,
ALGONQUIN (RCN), SIOUX (RCN) and Polish
destroyer PIORUN during air
on German battleship TIRPITZ in
TUNGSTEN - See CONVOY 1 for details).
duty in Support Force J during Normandy landings
with HMCS SIOUX, HMCS
KEMPENFELT and HMS VENUS of 27th Destroyer
NEPTUNE - See OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and
1944 (HMSO) for details).
Passage to Channel for
Destroyers FAULKNOR, FURY, BLEASDALE, GLAISDALE,
and Free French
Escort Destroyer FS LA COMBATTANTE with ships of
Flotilla in Force J.
Took part in final rehearsal for Forces
S, G and J (Exercise FAB1US).
Berthing, and loading and sailing
Took part in Assault landing at
Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex.
Carried out Defence Exercise in
Channel off Brighton
On completion took
passage to Solent for final preparations.
(Note: Bombardment target allocated
Pre-Arranged Fire Plan - Langrune-sur-Mer with
Joined HMCS SIOUX as escort for Convoy
comprised Fleet minesweepers and Danlayers of
7th Minesweeping Flotilla,
Motor Launches and minesweepers of 159th BYMS
Convoy sailing delayed by 24 hours.
Escorted Convoy through swept channel.
Detached from Convoy J2 and reversed
course to Join Convoy J4
On arrival at
beach head took up bombardment station.
gunfire support for JUNO Beaches.
Deployed in Task
Force area for patrol, convoy defence and
support as required by Assault
Remained in Channel area on completion
On release from Channel
deployment rejoined Flotilla in Home Fleet
Home Fleet Flotilla duties in
Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier
INDOMITABLE, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers
and NABOB with HM
Cruisers KENT, DEVONSHIRE, HM Destroyers MYNGS,
SCOURGE ALGONQUIN (RCN) and SIOUX (RCN)
for air minelay
air attacks on
coastal shipping and an airfield at Gossen.
OFFSPRING - For details of all minelaying
operations see Naval Staff History
Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS
and HMS TRUMPETER with HMS DEVONSHIRE
MYNGS, MARNE, MUSKETEER, ALGONQUIN (RCN), SIOUX
shipping strikes and air minelay south of Vosko
Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.
HM Aircraft Carriers IMPLACABLE, TRUMPETER and
PREMIER with HM
HM Destroyers ZEALOUS, ZAMBESI, SCOURGE. SERAPIS,
(RCN) and Norwegian destroyer STORD during
attacks on shipping and an
air minelay in
Karm Sound (Operation URBANE).
took passage for refit.
in hand for refit by HM
Dockyard Chatham to prepare for service with
1 9 4 5
completion of refit took passage with Flotilla
to Join Fleet at
Deployed as escort for
HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE with HMS
details of naval
activities In Indian Ocean see THE FORGOTTEN
FLEET by J.
OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray and WAR WITH JAPAN
Part of screen for HM
Cruiser KENYA, HM Escort Carriers EMPRESS and
EMIR with HM
VIRAGO, VOLAGE and HM Frigates SPEY, SWALE and
PLYM as Force 62
attacks on shipping in the Andaman Sea and
photo-reconnaissance of Kra
and the Malayan
coast (Operation STACEY).
Trincomalee with defects.
Rejoined Task Force 62
Deployed with screen during
Fleet screening and patrol in continuation.
Deployed with HM
Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VOLAGE and VIRAGO as Force
Sailed with Force
70 ships for anti-shipping strike in Andaman
In action against
convoy of four snipe and escort of 2 submarine
After very heavy
expenditure of ammunition and with assistance
from Liberator aircraft of 222
Group RAF, all
four ships and both escorts were sunk.
Some Japanese and
two RAF aircrew were rescued.
(For details see
THE FORGOTTEN FLEET)
Part of screen HM
Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, French battleship
CUMBERLAND and LONDON with HM Destroyers
and VENUS during
bombardment of Sabang, Sumatra (Operation
with HMS SAUMAREZ and HMS VERULAM.
Trincomalee for Akyab as part of screen for 21st
Aircraft Carrier Squadron to
cover assault convoys during passage for
comprised HM Cruisers PHOEBE, ROYALIST, HM
Escort Carriers HUNTER
KHEDIVE screened by HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ,
VIRAGO and VIGILANT).
Part of screen to
Carrier Squadron ships during cover for convoys.
DRACULA - See above
(Note: In all
six convoys were covered).
operations began with cover by Eastern Fleet
from 21st Carrier
Joined Task Force 63 as
escort for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and French
SHAH and EMPRESS, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND,
and Dutch VAN
TROMP for bombardment of Andamans (Operation
Joined Task Force 61
(HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, FS RICHELIEU, HMS
Dutch VAN TROMP
and 21st Carrier Squadron) with HM Destroyers
intercept Japanese ships sighted in entrance to
Detached with HM
Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VERULAM, VENUS and VIRAGO
to search for
enemy craft north
of Sumatra (Operation MITRE).
cruiser HAGURO and destroyer KAMIKAZE.
(Note: During a
brilliant tactical night torpedo attack HAGURO
sunk in Malacca Straits SW of
full details see SINK THE HAGURO by John
Fleet escort and Indian Ocean patrol duties in
exercises for support of planned allied landings
in Malaya (Operation ZIPPER).
planned operation was subject to delays
due to lack of approval by US
and implementation of the PYTHON release scheme
in SEAC. See above references and Final Report
Deployed with HM Cruiser
NIGERIA, HM Destroyers ROEBUCK and ESKIMO to
Japanese surface and air attacks during
minesweeping operations off coast of
Burma prior to
landings in Malaya.
with screen for Eastern Fleet major units to
Operation was postponed at the insistence of the
did not take place until
VJ Day .For details see above
references, BRITISH INVASION FLEETS
de Winser and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).
P o s
t W a r N o t e s
VIGILANT returned to UK after the surrender at
Singapore and was retained in
service. She returned to Harwich in January 1946
prior to being deployed in the Londonderry
anti-submarine training. During September that
year she was transferred to the
Mediterranean Fleet in Malta. On return to UK in
1947 the ship was Paid-off and
reduced to Reserve status at Portsmouth. This
ship was converted into a Type
15 Frigate by J Thornycroft at Woolston between
1951 and 1952. On completion
in September 1953 she joined the 6th Frigate
Squadron Home Fleet. She collided
with HM Frigate RELENTLESS in the Clyde area on
27th October 1954 and was
seriously damaged. HMS VIGILANT was selected for
use as a cadet training ship
in the Dartmouth Training Squadron after repair
and was refitted for this duty.
The alterations included an enclosed bridge and
a deckhouse for classroom use.
She was deployed with this Squadron until 1963
when she was reduced to Reserve
at Devonport. Placed on the Disposal List in
1965 the ship was sold to BISCO
for breaking-up at Faslane by Shipbreaking
Industries. The ship arrived at the
breakers yard in tow on 6th June 1965.
ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
convoy lists have not been cross-checked with
the text above
convoy as escort