WAGER or W-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered in
December 1941 from Hawthorn Leslie .Newcastle with 9th Emergency Flotilla. She
was laid down on 1st May 1942 and launched on 3rd June 1943 as the 11th RN
warship to carry this name which dates from 1627. She was completed for service
on 25th April 1944. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign
in March 1942 this ship had been adopted by the civil community of Wembley,
Middlesex and now part of the London Borough of Brent.
B a t t le H o n o u r s
- GABBARD 1653 - OKINAWA 1945
H e r a l d i c Da t a
Badge: On a Field White, a
D e t a i l s o f
W a r S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search)
1 9 4 4
April Contractors trials.
17th Commissioned for
service in 27th Destroyer Flotilla on formation.
(Note: Prince Philip of
Greece, later HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
was First Lieutenant in this
duties in the Indian Ocean and Pacific).
20th Commenced Acceptance
25th Programmed Build
On completion of
trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow
to work-up with ships of Home
Attached to 3rd
Destroyer Flotilla during work-up.
May On completion of work-up
deployed with Flotilla for screening of Home Fleet major units and
part in preparatory exercises for planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation
June Deployed with screen
for HM Cruiser JAMAICA during replenishment of garrison at
(Note: Other ships
deployed included HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, MARNE, MILNE,
MUSKETEER, WAGER, WAKEFUL and WESSEX.)
For details of naval activities before and
during assault landings see LANDINGS IN
NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards.)
4th Returned to Clyde on release from GEARBOX.
Joined 27th Flotilla on formation for service in
(Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM
Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WAKEFUL, WHIRLWIND,
WESSEX, WAGER, WIZARD and WRANGLER.
Nominated for escort of HM Battleship RAMILLIES
during passage to Mediterranean for
of planned allied landings in South France (Operation DRAGOON).
Prepared for foreign service.
31st Joined HMS RAMILLIES at Portsmouth.
2nd Sailed from Portsmouth
as escort for HM Battleship RAMILLIES during passage to
11th Detached from HMS RAMILLIES on arrival at Algiers
Deployed with Flotilla in Mediterranean
(Note: Some ships on passage to Far East
carried out further work-up in the Mediterranean.
This ship was not directly involved in Operation
DRAGOON. See Naval Staff History.)
September Passage to Trincomalee with ships of Flotilla to join
Joined Eastern Fleet with Flotilla at Trincomalee.
15th Deployed with HM Destroyers WAKEFUL, WESSEX and WAGER as screen f or
Carriers INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser
PHOEBE as Force Unit 63.3.
(Operation MILLET - Eastern Fleet diversionary
operation during the US landing on Leyte
which air attacks and bombardments were carried out on Nicobar Islands).
17th Under attack by 12 torpedo bombers which were repelled by aircraft
Seven aircraft destroyed for loss of three
(For details of operations in Indian Ocean in
1944-45 see OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray,
THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH
18th Remained with RFA
WAVE PRINCE during replenishment.
19th Return passage to
Trincomalee with Force Unit 63.3.
17th Deployed with HMS WAGER as escort for Fleet Auxiliary Oiler WAVE
PRINCE during duty
as a replenishment unit during Eastern Fleet air
operations in NW Sumatra.
(Operation ROBSON – Part of major allied
18th Replenished fuel with other destroyers screening Eastern Fleet
22nd Transferred to British Pacific Fleet with ships of Flotilla on
December Eastern Fleet screening deployment in continuation.
See addenda for December and January)
1 9 4 5
January Deployed with HM
Destroyers KEMPENFELT, WAGER, GRENVILLE, URANIA,
and UNDINE as destroyer screen for HM Aircraft Carriers
INDOMITABLE, ILLUSTRIOUS, VICTORIOUS, HM Cruisers SUFFOLK,
and BLACK PRINCE as Force 63.
4th Part of screen during air attacks against oil refineries at
Pangkalan Brandan (Operation
6th Detached to take over tow of HM Submarine SHAKESPEARE from HM
(Note: The submarine had been damaged during an
attack on a merchant ship when on patrol
8th Arrived in Trincomalee with submarine).
16th Sailed with British Pacific Fleet as Task Force 63 for transfer to
US 5th Fleet in Australia.
20th Refuelled from Force 69 in Indian Ocean.
24th Deployed with HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE. URSA, UNDAUNTED,
WAKEFUL, WHIRLWIND and WAGER as screen for H M
Battleship KING GEORGE V,
HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS, INDEFATIGABLE,
INDOMITABLE , VICTORIOUS,
HM Cruisers ARGONAUT .BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS
during air attacks on oil refinery
at Pladjoe, north of Palembang, Sumatra
(Operation MERIDIAN I).
26th Replenished from Force 69.
29th Part of screen for Force 63 during air attacks on oil refineries at
(Operation MERIDIAN II).
(Note: This operation was not Judged an
Under air attack during which HMS ILLUSTRIOUS
was damaged by AA fire from HMS
EURYALUS (See above reference).)
30th Refuelled from Force 69.
4th Arrived at Fremantle with Force 63.
10th Prepared for Joint operations in Pacific on arrival at Sydney.
Number for visual signalling changed to D33 to conform with US Navy
28th Sailed for Manus with British Pacific Fleet as Task Force 113.
7th Arrived at Manus and allocation for service with the US 5th Fleet
delayed pending approval
in Washington by Admiral King.
17th Sailed with British Pacific Fleet as Task Force 57 for Joint
operations with US aircraft carriers
against airfields in Sakishima Gunto island
26th Part of screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE, aircraft
carriers and cruisers
British Pacific Fleet with HM Destroyers
ULSTER, UNDINE, URANIA,
UNDAUNTED, QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUALITY, WAGER
Withdrawn from operation during passage because
(Note: HM Destroyer QUALITY was also withdrawn
and the two ships later replaced by HM
Destroyers WHIRLWIND and KEMPENFELT).
Took passage to
Melbourne for repair.
June Under repair.
Transferred to US 3rd Fleet with British Pacific
Redesignated as Task Force 37.
July On completion of post
repair trials resumed Flotilla duties at Sydney.
31st Deployed with HM Destroyer WAGER as escort for HM Battleship DUKE
OF YORK for the
passage to Guam.
(Note: HMS DUKE OF YORK was taking Admiral
Fraser, CinC BPF for meetings with
Admiral Nimitz. During these Admiral
presented with the Order of the Garter).
3rd Arrived at RN Forward Base in Manus, Admiralty Islands
7th Took passage to Guam as escort for HMS DUKE OF YORK with HMS WAGER.
9th Arrived at Guam.
Passage from Guam as escort for HMS DUKE OF YORK with HMS WAGER to join British
Pacific Fleet off Japan.
(Note: BPF ships retained in US 3rd Fleet were
re-designated Task Unit 38.5 of US Task Force
after supplies of fuel from British Fleet Train
found to be insufficient. Task Force 37 was
disbanded but some RN ships were retained as a
Token Force. See above references).
16th Detached from HMS DUKE OF YORK on joining US 3rd Fleet in position 200
miles SE of
2nd (Attendance at the
formal surrender is to be confirmed.)
P o s t W a r
N o t e s
WHELP remained in the British Pacific Fleet based at Hong Kong with 27th
Destroyer Flotilla and assisted in the repatriation of allied personnel from Japanese captivity in
the Far East before return to UK. The ship returned
to UK with ships of the Flotilla during and arrived at Portsmouth to Pay-off on
17th January 1946. Reduced
to Reserve she laid-up at Portsmouth until November 1947 transferred until to
Simonstown. During 1952 she was
sold to South Africa and renamed SIMON VAN DER STEL. Selected for modernisation
she refitted in 1962-64 and re-commissioned in February 1964. She remained in
the active Fleet until 1976 when placed on the Disposal List.
SERVICE of ABLE SEAMAN
REGINALD AYERS on HMS
from Brian Rayner,
believed to be in Hong Kong, November 1945
AB Ayers served on WHELP in the Pacific and
provided further information on
the Ship's History, a ship's
photograph (above) signed by
members of her crew, and AB Ayers Paybook (following ).
Note: The 'G. or T.' question at the bottom left hand side of the Paybook
asks "Grog or Temperance" with regard to the rum ration.
HMS WHELP, December 1944 to January 1945
by David Hamilton, Commander (F), RN (Rtd)
On the 17th
Dec 1944, we sailed on an operation against the Japs
and it may be of interest to give some detail.
in company with Wager and the fleet
oiler RFA Waveking.
After receiving oil by the double trough method we joined up with the main
body, Force 66, consisting of the carriers Indomitable
and Victorious, and the cruisers
Newcastle, Argonaut and
Black Prince [ RNZN].
The anti-submarine screen, starting from the port wing, was
Whirlwind, Wrangler, Wakeful,
centre front Kempenfelt
[O/ic screen] and starboard wing,
Whelp and Wager.
All belonging to the 27th destroyer flotilla [DF].
Screening Diagram No 6 was ordered. The force steamed between Car Nicobar and
Sabang and down the Malacca Straits. The carriers flew off strikes
on airfields and oil depots. We picked up a downed aviator. On the way back
another strike was carried out on Sabang and we were
back in Trinco on the 22nd. We then went
alongside the depot ship Tyne for a
We were looking forward to a quiet Xmas but were sailed on Xmas
day to give aid to one of our submarines, HMS
Shakespeare. She had attacked and sunk a Jap tanker but received 4
shell hits in the process which prevented her
submerging, after which she was attacked by bombers several times but managed
to avoid further damage. When carrying out temporary repairs she had pumped out
some of the excess water in her compartments, which caused her prop shafts to
seize—they had been lubricated by the oil floating on
top of the water!! We arrived and passed a tow to her and while doing
this our CO put our stern a bit too close to the subs bows and collected a nice
2 foot slice in our starboard quarter. He was never much good at ship handling.
Back in harbour we had a late Xmas celebration while the damage was welded up.
On 31 Dec
Wakeful escorted the RFA
Waveking and RFA Empire
Salvage to the rendezvous. Task Force 65 set off on the 1st Jan
1945 and consisted of the carriers Indomitable
[Adml P.Vian, of
Indefatigable and Victorious,
cruisers Suffolk, Argonaut and
Black Prince escorted by the 27th
and 25th DFs. Screen from port wing—Ursa, Urania, Undaunted,
Grenville [o/ic], starboard wing
Undine, Wager, Whelp, Kempenfelt.
Screening Diagram no 7 and Cruising Disposition No 61 were ordered. Strikes
were flown off from between the Similan Islands and
Sumatra to put the airfield in the Medang area out of
action and bomb/rocket the oil refinery.
8 pr Hellcats
were a success and although several a/c were damaged and ditched on the way
back, all crews were saved [we picked up one] also, one aircraft went in on
takeoff and that crew was saved. There were two rescue submarines in the area—Statesman and
Thorough. One odd Jap aircraft flew over the fleet and the carriers
opened up with their 4.5 inch guns. Most of the shell
fragments fell back amongst the fleet.