HMS Vestal (J215)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Vestal.
HMS Vestal FL21022.jpg
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: HMS Vestal
Ordered: 15 November 1940[1]
Builder: Harland and Wolff, Belfast[2]
Yard number: 1147[3]
Laid down: 11 January 1943
Launched: 19 June 1943
Completed: 10 September 1943[3]
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.[4]
General characteristics
Class & type: Algerine-class minesweeper
Length: 255 ft (78 m)
Beam: 35.5 ft (10.8 m)
Draft: 3.50
Propulsion: Steam Turbine[5]
Speed: 16.5 knots
Crew: 104–135
Armament:
  • 1 × 102 mm (-AA)
  • 4 × 20 mm (4 x I-AA)
  • ASW (× 4 DCT, 2 × DCR)[6]

HMS Vestal (J215)[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] Her engine was provided by Paxman.[10]

Operations[edit]

1944[edit]

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.[11]

1945[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[8] As the ship was hit close to Thailand, which was a Japanese held territory, the crew were taken off and the ship was scuttled.[8]

Wreck[edit]

The wreck of Vestal currently lies off Phuket at 72 meters below sea level.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HMS Vestal: Miinesweepers: United Kingdom". Valka.cz. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "HMS Vestal-World Naval Ships Directory". World Naval Ships. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b McCluskie, Tom (2013). The Rise and Fall of Harland and Wolff. Stroud: The History Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780752488615. 
  4. ^ "The 110 Ships, Their Fate & Their Badges RN(6)". Minesweepers.org. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "HMS Vestal (J-215)". Wreck Site. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "HMS Vestal (J215)". Warships of World War II. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "HMS Vestal (FL 21022)". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d "HMS Vestal". thaiwreckdiver.com. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "HMS Vestal (J 215) of the Royal Navy". uboat.net. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Paxman and the Royal Navy-Surface Ships". Paxman History. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "HMS Chameleon (J 387) – Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper". Naval History. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Mason, Geoffrey B., LCDR. "HMS NELSON – Nelson-class 16in gun Battleship". Naval History Homepage. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Donate, Andreas, "The Discovery of the HMS Vestal (Pdf)", Happy Divers, retrieved 24 June 2013 

Coordinates: 07°05′N 97°50′E / 7.083°N 97.833°E / 7.083; 97.833