HMS Undaunted (R53)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Undaunted.
HMS Undaunted 1944 IWM FL 008812.jpg
HMS Undaunted (R53) on the River Mersey, 28 February 1944
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Undaunted
Builder: Cammell Laird
Laid down: 8 September 1942
Launched: 19 July 1943
Commissioned: 3 March 1944
Decommissioned: 1974
Fate: Sunk as target, 1978
General characteristics
Class & type: U-class destroyer

HMS Undaunted (R53) was a U-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service during World War II. She was later converted into a Type 15 fast anti-submarine frigate, with the new pennant number F53.

Operations against the Tirpitz[edit]

HMS Undaunted had a long, distinguished and industrious career, which started soon after her launching and acceptance into the Fleet in 1944. Built as a destroyer of 1,710 tons, most of her first ship's company joined her in February 1944, after travelling by overnight troop train from Devonport Barracks. After a hasty work up at Scapa Flow, her first action was in the operation to try to sink the Tirpitz in the Norwegian Altenfjord. She operated in the North Cape area where she escorted the aircraft carriers HMS Furious, HMS Victorious, HMS Emperor, HMS Fencer, HMS Searcher and HMS Pursuer with other escorts, including HMS Anson, HMS Belfast, HMS Jamaica, HMS Sheffield, HMS Royalist, HMS Meteor, HMS Milne, HMS Onslaught, HMS Ursa, HMS Verulam, HMS Vigilant, HMS Virago and HMS Wakeful. She was also joined by the Royal Canadian Navy ships HMCS Algonquin and HMCS Sioux. The aircraft from the carriers scored 14 hits.


She subsequently took part in the D-Day landings, as part of Task Force G, covering the Roger section of Sword Beach. It was while she was at Normandy that the recently appointed Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was embarked in her from the fast mine laying cruiser HMS Apollo, which had grounded, damaging her propellers. General Eisenhower and Admiral Ramsay were given a fast passage back to Portsmouth by the Undaunted and his flag was a Wardroom “Trophy” until 1969, when it was presented to the National Trust for Scotland during a ceremony in Edinburgh, during a visit to Leith.

The Eisenhower flag[edit]

The flag resides in the National Trust for Scotland property of Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the Eisenhower exhibition along with some other items of his, including his presidential flag, shirt, jacket and tie. The flag is thin and crudely made, and has Eisenhower's signature on two of the four stars sewn on. The description board for the flag states:

The Mediterranean and Far East[edit]

After D-Day, Undaunted saw service in the Mediterranean and did a great deal of escort work out of Malta. She then went on to Bari, Brindisi and Taranto (Italy), where crew members earned the Italy Medal for operations such as bombarding the Coast Road by Ancona, to help the Army and she was also engaged in operations off the coast of Yugoslavia.

She then travelled through the Suez Canal to Aden and Bombay, where she was engaged in escorting troopships. As part of the British Pacific Fleet she was assigned the Pennant Number D25, she acted as Guard ship off Yokohama Bay on VJ Day, whilst the peace treaty was being signed aboard USS Missouri. Shortly after VJ Day, HMS Undaunted sailed into Sydney, Australia, flying the flags of Japan, Germany and Italy. She also flew the flags of France, United States, China and Poland, as well as the personal flag of Dwight D. Eisenhower. One officer explained "We were feeling exuberant and flew the lot."

She then went on to Auckland, New Zealand, where she was in refit for six weeks, having steamed 150,000 miles since commissioning some 18 months beforehand. In January 1946, she sailed home via Sydney, Melbourne, Cape Town, St Helena, Freetown and Gibraltar, to Plymouth, where she arrived on 19 March 1946.

Post war[edit]

In 1954, like many former wartime destroyers, she was converted into a Type 15 anti submarine frigate, at the Cowes shipyard of J. Samuel White. Following her conversion, she was assigned the new Pennant Number F53 and she took part in Asdic trials, and other experimental work. She was fitted with a flight deck in 1962 and became the first small ship in the Navy to carry an Anti-Submarine helicopter.[1] As such she was involved with the development of the naval version of the Wasp helicopter. The Wasp's main role was for Anti Submarine Warfare.

She later became Captain "D" of the Portland Training Squadron, spending most of her time day-running out of Portland, training TAS ratings in Anti Submarine Warfare. In 1968 she took part in Navy Days at Portsmouth during that year.[2] She was in commission until 1974, when she was reduced to reserve. In 1978 she was used for further trials, she was sunk as a target for an Exocet missile, fired from HMS Norfolk, and she now rests on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean.

Commanding officers[edit]

From To Captain
1956 1956 Lieutenant Commander J M R Lutley RN
1958  ? Commander G R M de la Pasture [3]
1960 1960 Captain D H Mason RN
1962 1963 Captain Raymond P. Dannreuther RN
1965 1966 Lieutenant Commander A J Wood RN
1967 1968 Captain A Desmond Cassidi RN
1968 1970 Captain Brian C G Hutchings RN
1970 1971 Captain John B Robathan RN
1971 1973 Captain R Michael Burgoyne RN


  1. ^ Programme, Navy Days at Portsmouth August 31st-September 2nd 1968, p.21.
  2. ^ Programme, Navy Days at Portsmouth August 31st-September 2nd 1968, p.21.
  3. ^ Programme of Re-Commissioning Service