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

HMS WAGER (R 98) -  W-class Destroyer

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Wager (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

W (WAGER)-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered in December 1941 from John Brown at Clydebank with the 9th Emergency Flotilla and  laid down on 24th June 1942. The ship was launched on 1 November 1943 as the 3rd RN ship to carry this name which dates from  1753. It had previously been carried by a 6th Rate sold In 1763. Build was completed on 14th April 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 : On a Field White, a cross Blue charged with five

bessants within a horseshoe inverted Red.


M o t t o

Spensione provoco:   ' I challenge with a wager '



D e t a i l s  o f   W a r    Se r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 4 4


April                   Contractors sea trials and commissioned for service in Home Fleet

           14th         Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                           On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up for service with

                           Home Fleet.


May                    Worked-up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                            On completion deployed with Home Fleet for screening of major units.


June                    Nominated for deployment with HM Destroyers MILNE, MARNE, MATCHLESS, METEOR,

                            MUSKETEER, WIZARD, WHELP. WAKEFUL and WESSEX for screening of major unite of

                            Home Fleet.

                            (Note : Home Fleet was required to be available to intercept any enemy surface ship interference

                                        during allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                        (For details of naval activities prior to and during this operation see LANDINGS IN

                                        NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and D

                                        DAY ships by J de Winser.)

                            Nominated for service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla in Eastern Fleet after refit.


July                     Taken in hand for refit

                            (Note : Other ships in 27th Destroyer Flotilla were :

                                        HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WAKEFUL, WHIRLWIND, WESSEX, WHELP,

                                        WESSEX, WHELP, WIZARD and WRANGLER)


August                 Under refit to prepare for foreign service.

                             Passage to Ceylon

           31st           Sailed from Aden to Trincomalee.


September            Joined Eastern Flotilla and deployed for Flotilla duties in Indian Ocean.

                             (Note : Eastern Fleet ships carried out exercises in preparation for planned operations.)



           15th           Deployed with HM Destroyers WAKEFUL, WESSEX and WHELP as screen for HM Aircraft

                             Carriers INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser PHOEBE as Task Group 65.3.

                             (Operation MILLET This was an Eastern Fleet operation carried out as a diversion during

                             US landings on Leyte.)

                             (Note : Ships in Group carried out air operations and bombardments on Nicobar Islands.)

           17th           Under attack by 12 torpedo bombers which were repelled by carrier aircraft.

                             (Note : Seven attacking aircraft were destroyed for loss of three fighters.

                                         For details of operations in Indian Ocean see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by E Gray

                                         and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).



           17th          Deployed with HMS WHELP as escort for RFA Tanker WAVE KING during duty as a

                             replenishment group during Fleet operations against targets in NW Sumatra.

                             (Operation ROBSON First of OUTFLANK Series. See references.)

           18th           Deployed with tanker during replenishment of destroyers involved in Fleet screening.)

           22nd          Transferred to British Pacific Fleet with Flotilla on formation.


December             Deployed with Flotilla for screening of Eastern Fleet major units in continuation.


1 9 4 5


January                 Deployed with HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WHELP, GRENVILLE, URANIA,

                              UNDAUNTED, URSA and UNDINE as screen for HM Aircraft Carriers INDEFATIGABLE,

                              INDOMITABLE, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers SUFFOLK, CEYLON,

                              ARGONAUT and BLACK PRINCE as Force 63.

            4th             Part of screen during air attacks on oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandan.

                              (Operation LENTIL).

          16th             Sailed from Trincomalee with British Pacific Fleet as Force 63 for transfer to overall US

                              Navy Command based at Sydney for support of operations in Pacific.

          20th             Refuelled from Force 69 in Indian Ocean.

          24th             Deployed with HM Destroyers  GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URSA. UNDAUNTED,

                              KEMPENFELT, WAKEFUL, WHIRLWIND and WHELP as screen for HM Battleship KING

                              GEORGE V, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDEFATIGABLE, INDOMITABLE,

                              VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers ARGONAUT, BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS during air

                              operations against oil refinery at Plajoe, north of Palembang, Sumatra.

                              (Operation MERIDIAN I)

          26th             Replenished from Force 69.

          29th             Part of screen for ships of Force 63 during air operations against oil refineries at Soengo

                              Gerong, Sumatra (Operation MERIDIAN II)

                               (Note : This operation was not judged as an unqualified success. See above references.

                                           Many lessons were learnt.)

                              Under  air attacks by aircraft during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was damaged by AA fire

                              from HMS EURYALUS.

          30th             Replenished from Force 69.



           4th              Arrived at Fremantle with ships of BPF..

         10th              Carried out preparations for service in Pacific after arrival ay Sydney.

                              (Note : Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to D30 to conform with US

                                          Navy identity system for destroyers.)

         28th              Sailed  from Sydney to Manus with BPF ships as Task Force 113.



           7th              Arrived at Manus to await decision about service under overall US Navy command.

         17th              Approval received after significant delay for transfer to US 5th Fleet as Task Force 57.

                               Sailed to take part in joint air operations against airfield in Sakishima Gunto group.

         26th              Part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V, HOWE , HM Aircraft Carriers and

                              HM Cruisers of British Pacific Fleet.

                               (Note : Other destroyers in screen were  GRENVILLE, ULSTER, UNDINE, URANIA,

                                          UNDAUNTED, QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUALITY, WHELP and


         31st               Deployed as screen during renewed air operations

                               (Operation ICEBERG I See TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith and above references.)


April                      Fleet screen deployment in continuation).

          1st                Deployed as screen for HM Cruiser ARGONAUT during use as a Radar Picket stationed away

                               from Force 57 ships to give advance warning of aircraft attacks. See references.

                               (Note : BPF ships came under KAMIKAZE attacks during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and

                                           HMS ULSTER were damaged.

        20th                Returned to Leyte with BPF ships for maintenance.

                               (Note : US Forward base was at Leyte.)



          4th                Sailed from Leyte to Sydney

                               Returned to Sydney with call at Manus.



                               Taken in hand for refit

                               Transferred to US 3rd Fleet with ships of BPF and identified as Force 37.

                               (Note  This was due to a re-organisation of US Navy command structure in SW Pacific.


July                        On completion of post refit trials nominated for detached from Flotilla for special duty.

                               Took passage to rejoin BPF ships in operational area off Japan.

                               Detached on arrival and deployed with HMS WHELP as escort for HM Battleship DUKE OF

                               YORK during passage to Guam.

                               (Note : HMS DUKE OF YORK was taking Admiral Fraser, CinC BPF. for meeting with

                                            Admiral Nimitz, CinC of US Pacific Fleets.

                                            During this visit CinCPACFLEET  was presented with the British Order of the Garter.)


August                  Returned to operational area as escort for HMS DUKE OF YORK with HMS WHELP during

                               passage from Guam.

         16th              On arrival deployed in 3rd US Fleet as Task Unit 38.5 with ships of BPF retained for service

                               as British Token Force.

                               (Note : Task Unit 38.5 included HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS IMPLACABLE,

                                           HMS GAMBIA, HMS NEWFOUNDLAND, HM Destroyers TROUBRIDGE,

                                           British ships had been withdrawn from Task Force 37 in operational area due to lack

                                           of fuel from tankers in British Fleet Train. See references.)

         20th              Transferred to Task Group 30.2 of US Task Force 30 with HMS DUKE OF YORK and HMS


                               (Note : Identity for British Flagship Group with same ship when remaining ships of Token

                                           Force transferred as reformed Task Group 37 for entry into Japanese waters.

         27th              Entered Sagami Wan to await clearance of anchorage and berths for formal surrender and the

                              subsequent occupation operations



          2nd               Present at formal surrender of Japanese Empire in Tokyo Bay. See THE FORGOTTEN




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS WAGER remained in the British Pacific Fleet based in Hong Kong . The ship was deployed to assist in the repatriation of allied personnel and for Fleet duties with the Flotilla. In late 1945 took passage to UK with the Flotilla . Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Portsmouth in January 1946 she laid-up there until 1948 when transferred to Simonstown, South Africa.. Placed on the Sales List and was sold to Yugoslavia in 1956 and after refit was renamed PULA on commissioning in 1959. She was stricken from the Active List during 1971 and sold for breaking-up in 1972.





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