HMS Cavalier (R73)
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HMS Cavalier, September 2005, as she appears at Chatham Dockyard.
|Builder:||J. Samuel White and Company, Cowes, Isle of Wight|
|Laid down:||28 March 1943|
|Launched:||7 April 1944|
|Commissioned:||22 November 1944|
|Identification:||Pennant number: R73 (later D73)|
|Fate:||Preserved as a museum ship since 1998|
|Class & type:||C-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||1,710 tons (standard) 2,520 tons (full)|
|Length:||363 ft (111 m) o/a|
|Beam:||35.75 ft (10.90 m)|
|Draught:||10 ft (3.0 m) light,
14.5 ft (4.4 m) full, 16 ft (4.9 m) max
|Propulsion:||2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers,
Parsons geared steam turbines,
40,000 shp, 2 shafts
|Speed:||37 knots (69.45 km/h)|
|Range:||615 tons oil, 1,400 nautical miles (2,600 km) at 32 knots (59 km/h)|
3 x QF 4.5 in L/45 guns Mark IV on mounts CP Mk.V
HMS Cavalier is a retired C-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was laid down by J. Samuel White and Company at East Cowes on 28 March 1943, launched on 7 April 1944, and commissioned on 22 November 1944. She served in World War II and in various commissions in the Far East until she was decommissioned in 1972. After decommissioning she was preserved as a museum ship and currently resides at Chatham Historic Dockyard.
In April 2014 HMS Cavalier was added Google Maps Business View (formerly Google Business Photos) by CInsideMedia Ltd, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of her launch. The tour, which includes HMS Cavalier's engine and gear room, was enhanced with interactive audio hotspots to enable visitors with accessibility issues to explore the ship.
Cavalier was one of 96 War Emergency Programme destroyers ordered between 1940 and 1942. She was one of the first ships to be built with the forward and aft portions of her hull welded, with the midsection riveted to ensure strength. The new process gave the ship additional speed. In 1970 a 64-mile race was arranged between Cavalier and the frigate Rapid, which had the same hull form and machinery. Cavalier beat Rapid by 30 yards (27 m) after Rapid lifted a safety valve, reaching an average speed of 31.8 knots (58.9 km/h).
After commissioning she joined the 6th Destroyer Flotilla, part of the Home Fleet, and took part in a number of operations off Norway. Most notably in February 1945 she was despatched with HMS Myngs and HMS Scorpion to reinforce a convoy from the Kola Inlet in Russia, which had suffered attacks from enemy aircraft and U-boats, and had subsequently been scattered by a violent storm. She and the other escorts reformed the convoy, and returned to Britain with the loss of only three of the thirty-four ships. This action earned Cavalier a battle honour.
Later in 1945 Cavalier was dispatched to the Far East, where she provided naval gunfire support during the Battle of Surabaya. In February 1946 she went to Bombay to help quell the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny. After some time in the British Pacific Fleet she was paid off in May 1946 and was placed in reserve at Portsmouth.
Cavalier returned to service in 1957 after a modernisation, which included removing some of her torpedo tubes in favour of Squid anti-submarine mortars. She was again sent to the Far East, and joined the 8th Destroyer Squadron in Singapore. In December 1962 she transported 180 troops from Singapore to Brunei to help with a rebellion that became part of the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. After disembarking the troops she remained in Brunei as a communications centre for several days until other Royal Navy ships arrived to relieve her.
Cavalier was decommissioned in 1972, the last surviving destroyer of the Royal Navy to have served in World War II.
On 14 November 2007, Cavalier was officially designated as a war memorial to the 142 Royal Navy destroyers sunk during World War II and the 11,000 men killed in their service. The unveiling of a bronze monument created by the artist Kenneth Potts was conducted by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The monument resides adjacent to the ship at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, Kent.
After decommissioning at Chatham Dockyard, she was laid up in Portsmouth. As a unique survivor, after a five year campaign led by Lord Louis Mountbatten of HMS Kelly fame, the ship was bought by the Cavalier Trust for £65,000 and handed over on Trafalgar Day 1977 in Portsmouth. By selling the ship to the Trust, the UK Government and the Royal Navy severed all formal connection and responsibility for the ship. A special warrant was issued that allows her to retain the prefix "HMS" (Her Majesty's Ship) and fly the White Ensign, a privilege normally only enjoyed by commissioned ships of the Royal Navy. A similar privilege is enjoyed by another museum ship, HMS Belfast.
Moved to Southampton, Cavalier opened as a museum and memorial ship in August 1982. However, commercially this was not a success, and in October 1983 she was moved to Brighton, where she formed the centre piece of a newly built yacht marina.
In 1987, the ship was brought to the River Tyne to form the centrepiece of a national shipbuilding exhibition centre planned by South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council in the former shipyard of Hawthorn Leslie and Company, builders of many similar destroyers including HMS Kelly. Unfortunately the ambitious plans for the museum came to nothing, and the borough council, faced with continuing maintenance costs of £30,000pa and a hardening of public opinion against unnecessary expenditure, resolved to sell the ship and wind up the venture in 1996. The ship sat in a dry dock (owing to a previous list) in a rusting condition, awaiting a buyer or scrapping in situ.
After the reforming of the Cavalier Trust, and a debate in Parliament, in 1998 Cavalier was bought by Chatham Historic Dockyard for display as a museum ship. Arriving on 23 May 1998, Cavalier now resides in No. 2 dry-dock where HMS Victory was built.
In the Summer of 2009 the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust made available accommodation on board the ship for youth groups who wish to stay on board and experience life on board a Royal Naval Destroyer.
In September 2010, Cavalier fired the first full broadside from a ship flying the white Ensign since HMS London in December 1981. This was due to the work of the heritage naval gun crew who restored all three 4.5" gun back to working condition in conjunction with the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.
- Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989, p. 52.
- HMS Cavalier Association. "HMS Cavalier". Retrieved 2009-04-25.
- uboat.net. "HMS Cavalier". Retrieved 2009-04-25.
- National Register of Historic Vessels. "HMS Cavalier". National Historic Ships. Retrieved 2009-04-25.[dead link]
- "Business View". Google. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- "HMS Cavalier – Google Maps Business View". cinsidemedia.com. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- "HMS Cavalier - Google Maps". Google. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- "The Historic Dockyard Chatham - HMS Cavalier Virtual Tour". thedockyard.co.uk. Retrieved April 20, 2014.
- David Davies Lt. Cdr. Rtd Royal Navy/Royal New Zealand Navy. "The Laughing Cavalier in Borneo". Britain's Small Wars. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
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