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

HMS BARFLEUR (R.80) -  Battle-class Destroyer

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

1942 BATTLE-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered from Swan Hunter at Newcastle on 27th April 1942 with ships of the 1st and 2nd Flotillas on 27th April 1942. The ship was laid down on 28th October 1942 and launched on 1st November 1942. She was the 4th RN ship to carry this name which commemorates the victory off Cape Barfleur over the French Fleet by a combined British and Dutch Squadron and was first used in 1697 for a 2nd Rate. It had last been borne by an 1892 battleship sold in 1910. Build was completed on 14th September 1944 but the ship was accepted without the new fire-control director (Mk VI). Availability of this item had already delayed hand-over from the shipbuilder planned to be in March 1944 and it was decided to commission the snip and carry out as many First of Class trials as possible without this item fitted. The ship then returned to the builders’ yard to await installation of this fundamental item of equipment that also carried the radar aerials for the main armament fire-control system. This destroyer was the only one of her Class to take a part in war operations in the Pacific and was designated as belonging to  Group 1 TRAFALGAR Type of the 1942 BATTLE Class.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

VIGO  1702 - VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - CAPE PASSARO 1718 - TOULON  17440 - AIX 1757 - CHESAPEAKE 1731 - ST KITTS 1782 - THE SAINTES 1782 - GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE 1794  - GROIX 1795 - ST VINCENT 1797 - CALDER'S ACTION 1805 - CHINA 1900


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue’ a Goat statant white within a ohaplet of laurel Gold.



S u m m a r y   of   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 4


March             Planned completion date delayed due to lack of availability of Gunnery Director.

                         Ship deployment with British Pacific Fleet delayed.

April                Fitting out in continuation.

to                     Decision made to commission on 4th September.




         14th        Accepted Into service for First of Class trials.


October           Retained at builder's yard to await delivery of director.


November       Mk 6 Director and Type 275 radar installation.


December        Commenced trials of main fire-control system.

                         (For details of radar fit and use of radar in Fleet after 1943 see  RADAR AT SEA

                         by D Howse).


1 9 4 5


January            Radar trials including Target Indication and Fire Control system in continuation.

to                      and completion of First of Class trials.

March               (Note: Although fire control radar for tarns Bofors was intended to be fitted, it had not

                                      completed acceptance trials - See above reference )


April                 Prepared for foreign service on completion of trials.


May                  Passage to Mediterranean and worked-up for operational service in BPF.


June                  Passage to join British Pacific Fleet.

                          Following change of US Navy organisation in Pacific nominated for service in Task Force 37

                         of 3rd US Fleet.

                         (Note: RN ships deployed with 5th US fleet as Task Force 57 had been also  been transferred

                                     to 3rd US Fleet


July.                 Arrived in Sydney after Task Force 37 had sailed to join operations off Japan.


       15th           Deployed with HM Destroyers WAKEFUL and WRANGLER to screen HM Aircraft Carrier

                         INDEFATIGABLE with WRANGLER and WAKEFUL during passage to Join Task Force 37-

                         Called at British Fleet base at Manus in Admiralty Islands.

                         (Note: Pennant Number D61 allocated for Visual Signalling purposes D61 to conform with

                                     US Navy requirements whilst serving under overall US Navy Command.)

       20th           Arrived in Replenishment Area with HMS INDEFATIGABLE and Joined Task Force.

       23rd           Sailed as part of screen for Task Force ships to carry out flying operations off Japan against

                         airfields and shipping.

       26th           Returned with screen to Replenishment Area.

                          (Note: For details of operations off Japan see THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J. Winton,

                                     TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith, OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray and WAR WITH

                                     JAPAN (HMSO).).

       28th            Resumed screening duties during flying operations against subsidiary targets.

                          (Note: Due to US Navy internal directives Britain ships did not take part in the flying

                                      operations against primary targets such as naval installations. See above references.)

       31st             Returned with screen for replenishment after further air operations against air fields in SW

                           Honshu and shipping at Maizuru and Nagoya Bay.


August              Fleet screening duties in continuation with Task Force 37 ships.

         7th             First Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

         9th             Second Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

                           Part of screen for BPF units during Joint RN/USN attacks on airfields and ships in Nort  Honshu

                           and Hokkaido.

       12th             Transferred to Task Force 38 when ships of BPF had to return to Manus because of lack of fuel

                           from British Fleet Train tankers. See above references.

                           Note: This ship was the only BATTLE Class destroyer to see operational service in WW2).

                           Joined Task Group 38.5 with HM Destroyers NAPIER (RAN), NIZAM (RAN), TEAZER

                           TERMAGANT, TENACIOUS, WAKEFUL and WRANGLER for screening of HM

                           Battleship KING GEORGE V, HM Aircraft Carrier 1NDEFATIGABLE, HM Cruisers

                           NEWFOUNDLAND and GAMBIA (RNZN).

                           HMS KING GEORGE V was on passage from Guam and did not Join TG38.5 until later.)

       13th             Deployed with screen for TG38.5 during air strikes on Onagawa and under attack by Japanese

                           aircraft 25 of which were shot down by Ships of the Task Force.

       14th             Returned to Replenishment area with TG38.5 to refuel from US tankers.

       15th             Deployed with screen during what proved to be final air strikes made on Japan.

                           After attacks on airfields at Hisaruki and Nobara were made all strike operations were cancelled

                           but ships came under attack by an aircraft which dropped two bombs near to HMS


       16th             HMS KING GEORGE V Joined TG38.5 in position south east of Tokyo.

       18th             Replenished with ships of TG38.5.

       27th             Arrived in Sagami Wan with TG38.5.


P o s t   W a r   S e r v i c e



        2nd            Present in Tokyo Bay for formal surrender ceremony.


October            Deployed with ships of BPF under RN control to assist in repatriation of PoW and allied

to                       nationals.

December         Transferred to 19th Destroyer Flotilla.

                           Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to D80 after reverting to RN control.


1 9 4 6


                          British Pacific Fleet deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                          (Note: Ships in the 19th Destroyer Flotilla were all BATTLE Class.

                                     HM Destroyers ARMADA, CAMPERDOWN, HOGUE, LAGOS and TRAFALGAR

                                     joined the BPF after VJ Day as they became available for service.

                                    HMS SOLEBAY and HMS FINISTERRE were retained in tans waters.)

                          After requirements in Japan were terminated based at Hong Kong for Fleet duties including

                          protection of British flagged shipping off coasts of China and Indo China.


1 9 4 7


January              Flotilla recalled to UK.

to                        Passage to UK with Flotilla.



March                Paid off and reduced to Reserve status.


April                   Joined Reserve Fleet after reduction to Reserve.




1 9 4 8   t o   1952


                          Reserve Fleet deployment in continuation.

                          Completed Interim Modernisation.

                          (Note: Following changes were made::

                                     Twin RP10 4.5in mountings fitted.

                                     Five single Mk7 Bofors fitted.

                                     Twin Bofor STAAG Radar controlled mounting fitted.

                                     Single SQUID A/S Mortar fitted with Type 144Q and 147 Asdics fitted.

                                     High Definition Warning Surface Radar Type 974 fitted.

                                     4in Single mounting removed.

                                     Quadruple torpedo tubes were retained.


1 9 5 3


                          Commissioned for service in 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet in place of HMS

                          GRAVELINES, HMS VIGO and HMS ARMADA.

                          (Note: Other ships is Flotilla were SAINTES (Leader) and VIGO.

                          Deployed in Mediterranean and took part in Fleet exercise and visits programmes with ships

                          of Flotilla.

                          (Note: HMS VIGO was replaced by HMS ST KITTS).


1 9 5 4


                            Returned to UK in December and recommissioned for General Service Home/Med.


 1 9 5 5


                            Deployed with Flotilla in Home Fleet until October.

                            Passage to Mediterranean for Fleet duties with Flotilla.


1 9 5 6


                            Deployed with Flotilla in Mediterranean.

                            Took part in Suez operations in October and November (Operation MUSKETEER)

                            Returned to UK in December 1956 for service with Home Fleet.

                            (Note: HMS ARMADA replaced HMS SAINTES as Leader).


 1 9 5 7 / 1 95 8


                           Served with 3rd Destroyer Squadron.

                           Spent 1957 in the Med Fleet, with two anti-gun running patrols off Cyprus.

                           In  January 1958, took part in  Home Fleet Spring excursion to the West Indies, then various exercises around UK.

                           Homing torpedo trials in Loch Long June/July and back to Plymouth for Navy Days.

                           Paid off and reduced to Reserve in September 1958.                                                


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS BARFLEUR remained in Reserve until 1966 and was placed on the Disposal List. The ship was sold to Arnott Young for breaking-up at Dalmuir where she arrived in June that year.


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