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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS KEMPENFELT (ii) (R 03) -  W-class Flotilla Leader

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Kempenfelt (Photo Ships,  click to enlarge)

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Flotilla Leader for W-Class Destroyers ordered from John Brown at Clydebank with the 9th Emergency Flotilla in December 1941. The ship was laid down on 24th June 1942 and  was to be named HMS VALENTINE. This was changed as part of a rationalisation of the names to be used for V and W-Class destroyers. She was launched as HMS KEMPENFELT on 8th May 1943 and was the 3rd RN ship to carry the name, previously used by a Flotilla Leader built in 1932 and transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1939 as HMCS ASSINIBOINE. Build was completed on 25th October 1943 and she had been adopted after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1943 by the  civil community of Hammersmith, London


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC 1939 - ANZIO 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - OKINAWA 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a ta

B a d g e: On a field Black a Swan proper between two wings

Green over wavelets Silver and Blue.


M o t t o

Fideliter:  "Faithfully"



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 3


October                    Contractors trials and commissioned for service.

              25th            Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.


November                On completion of trials, storing and weapon system calibration took passage to Scapa Flow for

                                  work-up with ships of Home Fleet.


December                 On completion of work-up took passage to Mediterranean and to join 24th Destroyer Flotilla

                                   Nominated for support of allied landings at Anzio with ships of Flotilla. (Operation SHINGLE.)


1 9 4 4


January                      Joined Support and Escort Group of Northern Attack Force (PETER) for landings of 1st British

                                    Infantry Division at Anzio.

                2nd             Sailed from Naples with Assault Force

              21st              Bombarded Gaeta with HM Destroyer INGLEFIELD and Free French destroyer LE MALIN.

              22nd             Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, JANUS, LAFOREY, LOYAL, INGLEFIELD, TENACIOUS

                                    and URCHIN, HM Escort Destroyers BRECON, BEAUFORT, TETCOTT and WILTON as screen

                                    for HM Cruisers ORION and SPARTAN to provide naval gunfire support during landings.

                                     (For details see The Naval Staff History.)

              27th               Shelled train near Formia.


February                     On release from SHINGLE support resumed convoy defence and patrol in central Mediterranean.




May                             Passage to UK for service with 26th Destroyer Flotilla in support of Normandy landings

                                     (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                     (Note: For details of naval activities prior to and during allied see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards

                                               and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).) Took part in preliminary NEPTUNE exercises.

                                     Allocated for service in Force J with designated target in Fire Plan as Beach defences at Lagrune sur  Mer.


June                             Joined ships of Force J in Solent.

                 4th              Operation delayed 24 hours.

                 5th              Part of escort for Convoy J10 through swept channel with HM BLEASDALE and Norwegian destroyer


                                     (Note: Convoy comprised HM Frigate WAVENEY (Force J2  HQ Ship), nine Landing Ships (Infantry),

                                               three Motor Gunboats and two US Navy Coastguard Cutters.).

                  6th             On  arrival off beachhead joined HM Cruisers BELFAST and DIADEM, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR,

                                    VENUS,  FURY, VIGILANT, Canadian Destroyers ALGONQUIN and SIOUX, BLEASDALE,

                                    GLAISDALE (Norwegian). STEVENSTONE. and French LA COMBBATTJ\NTE in Bombardment

                                    Force E.

                                    Carried out naval gunfire support in accordance with Fireplan.

                                    On completion joined HM Cruiser DIADEM to support landings at Beny sur Mer.

                12th            During Build-up Phase deployed for gunfire support and patrols for the interception of enemy craft

                                    attempting to enter Eastern Task Force area


July                             On release from NEPTUNE resumed Home Fleet duties with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.

                                    Nominated for refit at Cardiff to prepare for foreign service as Leader of 27th Destroyer Flotilla,

                                    Eastern Fleet.


August                       Deployed with 27th Destroyer Flotilla for screening of Home Fleet major units during planned operations.

                 22nd           Part of screen for HM Aircraft Carriers INDEFATIGABLE, FURIOUS and FORMIDABLE, HM

                                     Battleship DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE and BERWICK with HM Destroyers MYNGS,

                                     SIOUX (RCN), VIGILANT, ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Norwegian STORD during air attacks on German

                                     battleship TIRPITZ in Kaafjord. (Operation GOODWOOD)..

               24th              On release from Home Fleet took passage to Cardiff for refit to prepare for service with Flotilla in Eastern



September                   Under refit


 October                      On completion of post refit trials took passage to Gibraltar.

                14th              Sailed from Gibraltar to join Eastern Fleet in Ceylon.


November                   Arrived at Trincomalee and prepared for operational service with ships of Flotilla.

                 22nd            Joined British Pacific Fleet on formation at Trincomalee with Flotilla.


December                   Nominated for screening duties with Flotilla for ships of British Pacific for first air operations by RN

                                    against oilfields in Sumatra  Operation OUTFLANK)

               17th              Sailed from Trincomalee as part of screen for HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and

                                    INDOMITABLE, HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT and NEWCASTLE with HM

                                    Destroyers WRANGLER, WHIRLWIND, WESSEX and WAKEFUL as Force 67, Eastern Fleet.

               18th              Refuelled from Force 69.

                                     (Note: Force 69 comprised HM RFA WAVE KING escorted by HM Destroyers WHELP and

                                               WAGER of Flotilla.

               20th              Arrived at flying-off position 60 miles north of entrance to Malacca Straits with Force 67.

                                    (Note: After some delay due to weather conditions over target, air attacks were carried out on oil

                                               installations at Belawan Deli and Pangkalan in Sumatra. Attacks were also carried out on

                                               airfields at Sabang and Oleelhoe as well as the harbour at Kota Raja.

                                               (Operation ROBSON).)

               22nd             Returned to Trincomalee with ships of Force 67.


1 9 4 5


January                       Prepared for passage to Sydney and planned air operations.

               17th              Deployed with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URSA, UNDAUNTED, WAKEFUL,

                                     WHIRLWIND, WAGER and WHELP as screen for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V, HM

                                     Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers

                                     ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS during passage as Force 63 to carry out a

                                     series of air attacks on oil refinery at Plajoe north of Palembang (Operation MERIDAN I)

              20th                Refuelled from replenishment tankers of Force 69.

              24th                Deployed with screen to provide defence against air and submarine attacks during air operations.

                                      (Note: Seven aircraft were lost during attacks and 25 in crashes whilst returning to carriers.)

.             26th                Carried out further replenishment.

              29th                Deployed with screen during second series of attacks on refineries at Soengi Gerong, near

                                      Palembang (Operation MERIDIAN II).

              30th                Took passage to Fremantle as screen for Force 63 ships after further refuelling



                 4th               Arrived at Freemantle.

                10th              Arrived at Sydney to join operations in SW Pacific with US Navy.

                                      Carried out exercises in preparation for joint deployment including use of new communications

                                      and manoeuvring procedures

                                      (Note: Pennant Number for visual signalling changed to D12 to suit US Navy identification for


                 28th              Took passage to forward RN base at Manus, Admiralty Islands with ships of BPF now

                                      designated Task Force 113


March                            Carried out further exercises during passage.

                   7th               Arrived at Manus to await approval for operational deployment with US Navy

.                                      (Note: This was eventually agreed by US Chiefs of Staff and BPF ships were then to join US 5th


                 17th               Took passage from Manus for US forward base at Ulithi with BPF still designated

                                       Task Force 113.

                 20th               Arrived at Ulithi with Task Force 113 to refuel and obtain details of planned deployment of RN


                 22nd              Detached from BPF and joined British Fleet Train for screening of oil tankers and replenishment

                                       ships of Task Force 112

.                                      (Note: See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET for details of Fleet Train organisation and activities.

                                                   BPF ships joined US 5th Fleet and was designated as Task Force 57 on 23rd March after

                                                    sailing from Ulithi to begin operations off the Sakishima-Gunto Group of islands SW of

                                                    Okinawa (Operation ICEBERG I).

                 30th               During replenishment of Task Force detached from screening duty in Task Unit 112.2.5 and

                                       deployed with HMS WHIRLWIND to relieve HM Destroyers QUALITY and WHELP in screen

                                       for Task Force 57 ships during continuation of ICEBERG I


April                               ICEBERG I screening duties in continuation.

                                        (Note: For details of Task Force57 deployment for this operation see Naval Staff History,

                                                    WAR WITH JAPAN, Volume VI (HMSO), THE FORGOTTEN FLEET and TASK

                                                    FORCE 57 by P Smith.)

                  20th              Took passage from operational area to Leyte for R&R.

                  24th              Arrived at US Forward-base at Leyte.



                    1st               Joined Task Group 58.5 with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, URSA, UNDINE. URCHIN,

                                        URANIA and UNDAUNTED of 25th Destroyer Flotilla, HM Destroyers QUILLIAM,

                                        QUEENBOROUGH, QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH and QUALITY of 4th Destroyer Flotilla,

                                        HM Destroyers WHELP and WAGER for screening of Task Force 57 ships during the continued

                                        operations with US Navy off Sakishima-Gunto

                                        (Operation ICEBERG II).

                                        Sailed from Leyte with BPF ships.

                  11th               Deployed as screen for HM Cruiser SWIFTSURE detached from BPF operations to act as

                                        Radar Picket to give advance warning of air attacks after earlier KAMIKAZE attacks on

                                        warships off Sakishima-Gunto. See above references.*

                                        (Note: HMS WESSEX of Flotilla was deployed with HM Cruiser UGANDA for the same duty.)

                  22nd              Detached from Task Force 57 duties and took passage from the operational area with HMS

                                        WHIRLWIND as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE during passage to Manus.

                                        (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE had been withdrawn from Operation ICEBERG II after damage in

                                                    KAMIKAZE and a fire.)


June                                Passage to Sydney with HMS FORMIDABLE.

                                        Taken in hand for repair and refit.

July                                 On completion resumed Fleet Service.

                                        (Note: Did not rejoin BPF which had been assigned to 3rd US Fleet and deployed off  Japan

                                                     as Task Force 37.)


August                            Deployed at Manus

                                         Reverted to RN control after end of hostilities and nominated for service in new Task Force 111.

                  15th                Passage to Subic Bay to join BPF units assembling for support of the reoccupation of Hong

                                         Kong .

                   27th               Sailed from Subic Bay with HM Destroyers URSA, QUADRANT and WHIRLWIND as

                                         screen for HMS INDOMITABLE and HM Escort Aircraft Carrier VENERABLE,

                                         HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, EURYALUS and BLACK PRINCE for passage to Hong Kong.


P o s t   W a r  N o t e s


HMS KEMPENFELT remained with British Pacific Fleet and was deployed in Far East until December 1945. She arrived at Chatham in January 1946 to pay-off and de-store. After she had reduced to Reserve status she was laid-up in Chatham Reserve Fleet for two years and then transferred to Simonstown. In 1953 the ship returned to UK and joined the Portsmouth Reserve Fleet. She was placed on the Disposal List and sold to Yugoslavia in 1956 with sister destroyer HMS WAGER. Both ships were towed for refit in Yugoslavia during October that year. This destroyer was renamed KOTOR and remained in service until 1971 when sold for breaking-up.



No Convoy Escort Movements Reported



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