HMS Vestal (J215)
|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (June 2013)|
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Ordered:||15 November 1940|
|Builder:||Harland and Wolff, Belfast|
|Laid down:||11 January 1943|
|Launched:||19 June 1943|
|Completed:||10 September 1943|
|Commissioned:||11 February 1944|
|Identification:||Pennant number: J299|
|Fate:||Hit by a Japanese kamikaze pilot on 26 July 1945 and subsequently scuttled.|
|Badge:||A sacred flame which was brought to Rome by Aeneas, and was then tended to by Vesta, Goddess of the Hearth. The patch is blue; with a gold altar with a flame.|
|Class & type:||Algerine-class minesweeper|
|Length:||255 ft (78 m)|
|Beam:||35.5 ft (10.8 m)|
HMS Vestal (J215) was an Algerine-class minesweeper of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1943 and saw service in the Pacific War against the Empire of Japan. She was critically damaged by Japanese kamikaze aircraft in 1945 and was subsequently scuttled in waters close to Thailand.
Vestal was the only British ship to be taken out of action by kamikaze pilots in the Indian Ocean and the last Royal Navy ship to be lost in the Second World War. She was sunk whilst partaking in Operation Livery. Vestal was commanded by Lt. Charles William Porter, DSC, from 26 July 1943 until 26 July 1945, when the ship was sunk. Her engine was provided by Paxman.
HMS Vestal underwent trials until October 1944. She took part in a minesweeping exercise around Harwich with a flotilla, which was working in the Scheldt estuary. This was with the ships HMS Pincher, HMS Recruit, HMS Rifleman, HMS Plucky, HMS Fancy, HMS Squirrel, and HMS Chameleon, all of which were Algerine-class minesweepers.
HMS Vestal was deployed as a part of the East Indies Fleet, along with HMS Pincher, HMS Plucky, HMS Recruit, HMS Pickle, HMS Rifleman, and HMS Chameleon. On 24 July, HMS Squirrel hit a mine, which killed seven men. The ship was scuttled by HMS Rotherham, and the survivors were rescued by Vestal, and taken to the battleship HMS Nelson.
Vestal was sunk on 26 July 1945 whilst participating in Operation Livery. At around 18:25, an alarm was sounded as three unidentified planes had been spotted coming over Phuket Island, and were soon followed by several more. The Vestal was hit by a kamikaze, sustaining critical damage. She was the last Royal Navy ship to be sunk in the Second World War. As the ship was hit close to Thailand, which was a Japanese held territory, the crew were taken off and the ship was scuttled.
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