HMAS Derwent (DE 49)

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HMAS Derwent (DE 49) 4.jpg
Silhouette of HMAS Derwent
Career (Australia)
Namesake: The Derwent River
Builder: Williamstown Naval Dockyard
Laid down: 17 June 1959
Launched: 8 April 1961
Commissioned: 23 April 1964
Decommissioned: 8 August 1994
Motto: "Swift and Deadly"
Honours and
Battle honours:
Malaysia 1964–66
Fate: Sunk as artificial reef
Badge: HMAS derwent crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: River class destroyer escort
Displacement: 2,750 tons full load
Length: 112.8 m (370 ft)
Beam: 12.49 m (41.0 ft)
Draught: 5.18 m (17.0 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × English Electric steam turbines
2 shafts; 30,000 shp total
Speed: 31.9 knots (59.1 km/h; 36.7 mph)
Sensors and
processing systems:
LW02 long range air warning radar
Mulloka sonar system
SPS-55 surface-search/navigation radar
Mark 22 fire control radar
Armament: Original:
2 × 4.5in Mark 6 guns
2 × Limbo Mark 10 anti-submarine mortar
1979 refit:
1 × quad Seacat SAM launcher
1 × Ikara ASW system
2 × Mark 32 torpedo tubes

HMAS Derwent (F22/DE 22/DE 49), named for the Derwent River, was a River class destroyer escort of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Commissioned in 1964, the ship operated during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, and was used for filming of the British drama series Warship. The ship was decommissioned in 1994, and was scutted as an artificial reef after use for ship survivability tests.


Derwent was laid down by the Williamstown Naval Dockyard at Melbourne, Victoria on 17 June 1959, launched on 17 April 1961, and commissioned into the RAN on 23 April 1964.

Operational history[edit]

On 25 May 1964, Derwent became the first RAN ship to launch a guided missile when she fired a Sea Cat missile.[1]

During the mid-1960s, Derwent was one of several ships operating in support of the Malaysian government during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. This service was later recognised with the battle honour "Malaysia 1964–66"; the only one to be earned by the ship.[2][3]

In 1976, Derwent was used to portray the fictional British warship HMS Hero during scenes filmed in Hong Kong and Singapore for the BBC action/drama series Warship.[4] Footage of Derwent was used in the episodes Wind Song and Singapore Incident, which aired in 1977. Derwent and her personnel were issued with ship's badges, cap tallies, name plates, and life buoys identifying Hero as part of the filming process.[citation needed]

On 8 September 1980, Derwent joined five other RAN vessels to form the Australia Squadron.[5] The Squadron, which included HMA Ships Melbourne, Perth, Stalwart, Supply, and Otama, spent two months in the Indian Ocean as part of a flag-showing cruise;[5] the largest RAN deployment since World War II.

On 24 January 1990, Derwent was awarded the Duke of Gloucester Cup for being the most efficient ship overall during 1989.[6] From 1991 to 1992, Derwent '​s Seacat and Ikara launchers were removed.[citation needed] During this time, Derwent was used as a training vessel.[citation needed]

Prior to Australian ships deploying to the Persian Gulf, Derwent conducted trials in launching the RBS 70 surface-to-air missile from a naval platform.[citation needed]


Derwent was decommissioned at HMAS Stirling on 8 August 1994 after 30 years of service. Derwent had steamed 890,927 nautical miles (1,649,997 km; 1,025,260 mi) during her naval career.[1]

Following scientific tests to study ship survivability, Derwent was sunk in deep waters, 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) west of Rottnest Island as a "fish attraction device" on 21 December 1994.[1] Her 4.5-inch (110 mm) gun turret was preserved, having been placed at the Rockingham Naval Memorial Park, opposite HMAS Stirling[1] and next to the fin of the submarine HMAS Orion.


  1. ^ a b c d Commemorative plaque for HMAS Derwent (DE 49) at Rockingham Naval Memorial Park
  2. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "HMAS Derwent". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Lind, Lew (1986) [1982]. The Royal Australian Navy – Historic Naval Events Year by Year (2nd ed. ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Reed Books. p. 297. ISBN 0-7301-0071-5. OCLC 16922225. 
  6. ^ "HMAS Derwent". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 

External links[edit]