ZAMBESI or Z-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Denny of Dumbarton on 12th February 1942 with the 10th Emergency Flotilla and to be
named WESSEX. She was laid down on 19th May 1942 but in 1943, before launch the name was changed to ZENITH. The
ship was launched on 5th June 1944 as the second RN warship to
carry this name which had been used for a Drifter during WW1. She was adopted
by the civil community of Sevenoaks, Kent during 1943 as a replacement
for HM Destroyer GALLANT originally allocated after a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in February 1942. (HMS GALLANT was lost in January
1941). Build was completed on 22nd December 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
A sun with
M o t t o
‘ This above all ‘.
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
Contractor's sea trials and commissioned for service in 2nd Destroyer
Flotilla, Home Fleet.
22nd Build completion and commenced
1 9 4 5
completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.
Withdrawn from work-up with ships of Home Fleet because of defects
Passage to Clyde
for repair in commercial shipyard,
February Under repair.
to Nominated for
service in Far East.
May (Note: Arctic fittings
removed and alterations to suit tropical service made,)
June On completion of post
repair trials took passage to Scapa Flow to resume work-up with
ships of Home
July Worked-up for operational service.
on passage to Far East carried out work-up exercises prior to leaving for
August Foreign deployment
cancelled after VJ Day
source records that ship was present during landings in Malaya as support
ZIPPER. See BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.
This is not confirmed in WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO - 1998))
P o s t W a r
S e r v i c e
HMS ZENITH served with the
4th Flotilla in Home waters on return to UK. In 1947 the ship was Paid-off and
was placed in Reserve at Chatham. During
1950 she refitted in a Tyne shipyard and on completion the next year went back
into Reserve at Harwich. She was placed on the Sales List and sold to Egypt in
May 1955. After refit at Woolston by Thornycroft to suit Egyptian naval
requirements this destroyer was renamed EL FATEH and sailed to Egypt in
September 1956. During 1963 EL FATEH returned to UK for modernisation at
Woolston which was completed in July 1964.. She remained in Egyptian service
for another 15 years before being withdrawn from service.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS
by Don Kindell
No convoys have been identified