W-Class Destroyer ordered from Fairfield of Govan, Glasgow on 3rd December 1941 with the 9th Emergency Flotilla. The ship was laid
down on 3rd June 1942 and
intended to be named HMS ZEBRA. However this name was changed as part of a rationalisation of names of both W and Z-Classes. Launched
on 30the June 1943 as HMS WAKEFUL she was the 2nd RN ship to carry the name.
The first ship to bear the name had been lost
being torpedoed by a E-Boat during evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk with heavy loss of life of 29th May 1940. This
destroyer was fitted for Arctic service during build which was completed on
17th February 1944. The earlier destroyer had been adopted by the
civil community of Darwen, Lancashire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in 1942.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ATLANTIC 1939-40* - DUNKIRK 1940* - NORTH SEA 1944
(* awarded to HMS WAKEFUL (i))
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge : On a Black field an eye proper with rays
ensuing therefore, Gold.
M o t t o
Si dormiam capiar : “If I sleep I will be caught”.
D e t a i l s o f W
a r S e r v i
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 4
February Contractors trials and Commissioned
for service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla.
17th Build completion and commenced
On completion of trials
and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of
March Joined 3rd Destroyer Flotilla for
Home Fleet service on completion of work-up.
(Note : 27th Flotilla
was to be formed later when more ships of this Class were available.)
April Deployed with Flotilla for Home Fleet duties.
3rd Part of destroyer screen for HM
Battleship ANSON, HM Aircraft Carriers FURIOUS and
VICTORIOUS, HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR, FENCER, PURSUER and SEARCHER
with HM Cruisers BELFAST, ROYALIST, JAMAICA and SHEFFIELD during
air attacks on
German battleship TIRPITZ
in Altenfjord (Operation TUNGSTEN)
(For details see ENGAGE
THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and CONVOY ! by
6th Escorted HMS FURIOUS and HMS SEARCHER
with HM Cruiser BERWICK and HM
WIZARD, ALGONQUIN (RCN) and Polish destroyers ORP PIORUN and
BLYSKAWICA during air
attacks on shipping off Kristiansund North, Norway
12th Escorted HMS EMPEROR and HMS STRIKER with HMS
SHEFFIELD, HMS ROYALIST and
HM Destroyers ONSLOW,
OBEDIENT, URSA, ORP PIORUN and ORP BLYSKAWICA during
air attacks on shipping
in Narvik and Stadlandet
areas off Norway.
(Note : Award of Battle Honour NORTH SEA 1944 must have been made for an engagement during
service. This requires further investigation.
off Norway are covered by the NORWAY Battle Honour.)
Home Fleet deployment in
Nominated for service in
Eastern Fleet with 27th Flotilla after refit.
Taken in hand for
July Under refit and prepared for
On completion of post
refit trials joined 27th Flotilla and took passage to join Eastern Fleet in
August Passage to Aden in Mediterranean
and Red Sea..
31st Sailed from Aden to Trincomalee.
September Joined Eastern Fleet and prepared for
planned operations in Indian Ocean.
October Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.
15th Sailed from Trincomalee with HM
Destroyers WHELP, WESSEX and WAGER as destroyer
screen for HM Cruiser
PHOEBE, HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS
Group 3 of Force 63 for
air attacks on Nicobar Islands including shipping.
(Operation MILLET which
was an agreed diversion by Eastern Fleet during US landings in
For details see WAR
WITH JAPAN (HMSO) Vol.IV)
16th Fuelled with the other ten destroyers
of Force 63 from HM Battlecruiser RENOWN
in Group 1.
17th Detached with ships of Group 3 from
main force and took passage to begin air operations.
19th Under air attacks which were repelled by
20th Return passage to Trincomalee with
November Deployed at Trincomalee with Eastern
22nd Transferred to British Pacific Fleet
with Flotilla on its formation at Trincomalee.
December Deployed at Trincomalee with Flotilla :
17th Part of screen for HM Aircraft
Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and INDOMITABLE, HM Cruisers
NEWCASTLE, ARGONAUT and
BLACK PRINCE with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT,
WESSEX, WHIRLWIND and WRANGLER of Flotilla during air attacks at Pangkalan Brandon,
Sumatra as part of
(Operation ROBSON - First of series against
oil installations in Sumatra
(Note : Part of overall
Operation OUTFLANK For details see above reference Volume VI and
FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)
18th Refuelled from Replenishment Group
20th Remained with Force 67 during flying
22nd Returned to Trincomalee with Force 67
1 9 4 5
17th Sailed from Trincomalee with British
Pacific Fleet as Force 63 to carry out air attacks on oil
refineries in Sumatra
during passage to Australia for service with US Navy in SW Pacific.
– Part of OUTFLANK Series)
(Note : Ships involved
Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORIOUS and
HM Battleship KING GEORGE V HM Cruisers
BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS and
CEYLON, HM Destroyers GRENVILLE,
UNDAUNTED and URSA of 24th Flotilla, KEMPENFELT,
WAKEFUL (ii), WHIRLWIND, WAGER, WESSEX and WHELP of 27th Flotilla.)
24th Deployed with screen
during air attacks on refineries at Pladjoe
(Operation MERIDIAN ONE)
29th After refuelling in
area away from coast deployed with screen during further air attacks at
near Palembang. (Operation Meridian TWO).
Under air attacks which were repelled by carrier aircraft.
(See above references re significant losses
and lessons learned)
30th Passage to Fremantle
February Ships of BPF at Fremantle.
10th British Pacific Fleet arrived at
Sydney and prepared for service
with US Navy in SW
(Note : Pennant Number for
visual signalling changed to D31 to conform with US Navy
28th British Pacific Fleet units sailed
from Sydney for the Forward British Base
Admiralty Islands as
Task Force 113.
(Note : Approval to
join US naval operations was awaited.
of the reasons see above references, TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith, OPERATION
PACIFIC by E
Gray) and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
7th British Pacific Fleet arrived at Manus
after carrying out extensive exercises on passage including
the new communications
procedure, manoeuvring and weapon firings.
18th British Pacific Fleet units sailed to
join US 5th Fleet at Ulithi as Task Force 113.
20th British Pacific Fleet arrived at Ulithi.
23rd British Pacific Fleet sailed to join
operations as part of US 5th Fleet designated Task Force 57
(Note : This ship did
not sail with Task Force 57 and the date of detachment from Force 113 or of
deployment is to be confirmed.)
April Deployment in Australian waters
or elsewhere is to be confirmed.
to (Note : Did not take part in
Operations ICEBERG ONE or ICEBERG TWO
May with BPF in
Honour “OKINAWA” was not awarded.)
June Resumed duty with Flotilla at
Sydney after Task Force 57 returned to Sydney
for R&R period.
Transferred to 3rd US
Fleet with ships of BPF which were redesignated Task
28th Detached from Task Force 37 with HM
Destroyers BARFLEUR and
as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier
during passage to join
BPF off Japan.
Remained at Sydney.
July At Sydney awaiting completion
of repair to HMS INDEFATIGABLE.
Passage to join BPF off
Japan as escort for HMS INDEFATIGABLE with
17th Arrived in Replenishment area off
Japan with HMS INDEFATIGABLE
20th Joined Task Force 37 ships during
23rd Sailed with screen for Task Force 37
ships to resume operations against targets
in mainland islands of
Japan. See above references for details.
3rd Deployed with Task Force 37 screen
during joint RN/US Navy air attacks
on North Honshu and
12th Transferred with HM Battleship KING
GEORGE V, HM Aircraft Carrier
GAMBIA (RNZN) and NEWFOUNDLAND, HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE,
TEAZER, BARFLEUR. NIZAM (RAN), WRANGLER, and
NAPIER (RAN) with HM
Battleship DUKE OF YORK and HMS WHELP to continue service
in US 3rd Fleet as
Token Force of BPF ships and designated Task Unit 38.5 within US Task
20th Transferred to revised Task Group identity
within US Task Force 38.
23rd Transferred with all ships of Token
Force, except HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS WAGER and
HMS WHELP to reformed
Task Group 37 for entry into Japanese waters.
27th Entered Sagami Wan to await clearance
of anchorage and berths for the formal
support of the
subsequent occupation operations.
2nd Present at formal surrender of
Japanese Empire in Tokyo Bay.
See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET.
P o s t W a r
N o t e s
HMS WAKEFUL (ii) remained in
Japanese waters to assist in the repatriation of allied nationals before taking
passage to Sydney. The ship returned to UK with the Flotilla arriving in
December 1945. She remained in service as a Boys Training ship until converted
for use as an Anti-Submarine Frigate at Greenock. On completion in 1953 the
ship joined the 5th Frigate Squadron in which she served until 1957 when
converted for use as a Radar Training Ship. During 1959 she joined the
Portsmouth Local Squadron and later the 2nd Frigate Squadron before carrying
out trials on Satellite
Communications Equipment in 1969. Placed on the Disposal List in 1970 this ship
was sold to TW Ward on 10th July 1971 and
arrived in tow at Inverkeithing for demolition on 5th July that year.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS
by Don Kindell
This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)