HMS Wild Swan (D62)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Wild Swan.
Name: HMS Wild Swan
Ordered: January 1918
Builder: Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne
Laid down: July 1918
Launched: 17 May 1919
Commissioned: 14 November 1919
Honours and
Dunkirk 1940
Atlantic 1940–42
Fate: Sunk after air attack
17 June 1942
General characteristics
Class & type: Admiralty Modified W-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,140 tons standard, 1,550 tons full
Length: 300 feet (91 m) o/a, 312 feet (95 m) p/p
Beam: 29.5 feet (9.0 m)
Draught: 9 feet (2.7 m), 11.25 feet (3.43 m) under full load
Propulsion: Yarrow type Water-tube boilers, Brown-Curtis geared steam turbines, 2 shafts, 30,000 shp
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 320-370 tons oil, 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h), 900 nautical miles (1,700 km) at 32 knots (59 km/h)
Complement: 127
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ASDIC fitted 1939
Type 286M Air Warning RADAR fitted 1941
Armament: As built 1920
• 4 x BL 4.7 in (120-mm) Mk.I guns, mount P Mk.I
• 2 x QF 2 pdr Mk.II "pom-pom" (40 mm L/39)
• 6 × 21-inch Torpedo Tubes
War Modifications cumulative
3 x BL 4.7 in (120-mm) Mk.I guns, mount P Mk.I
• 2 x QF 2 pdr Mk.II "pom-pom" (40 mm L/39)
• 1 x QF 12 pounder AA gun
• 3 × 21-inch Torpedo Tubes

HMS Wild Swan was an Admiralty modified W class destroyer built for the Royal Navy. She was one of four destroyers ordered in 1918 from Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne under the 14th Order for Destroyers of the Emergency War Program of 1917-18. She was the second Royal Navy ship to carry the name after it was introduced in 1876 for the sloop HMS Wild Swan. Like her sisters she was launched too late to see action in the First World War.[1]

Second World War[edit]

Upon completion she was nominated to join the 18th Destroyer Flotilla; however, she was diverted to Plymouth to carry out trials on degaussing equipment. She was attached to the torpedo school, HMS Vernon.


Having been detached from a convoy, Wild Swan was steaming in the Western Approaches, when she came under heavy air attack from a squadron of German Junkers Ju 88 bombers. The bombers had been dispatched to attack the convoy, but as Wild Swan happened at the time to be steaming through a formation of Spanish trawlers, the German aircraft misidentified these small vessels as the convoy and started to attack. The British reported that three of the trawlers were sunk by bombs. Wild Swan replied with vigour, the ship's crew claiming six German aircraft destroyed, the record for any single ship in the war.[2] But the naval vessel was already damaged by near-misses and she had lost steering control. The destroyer eventually collided with one of the Spanish trawlers, which sank almost immediately. After picking up 11 survivors from the trawler, Wild Swan also sank,[3] her bows and stern rising up into a "V" shape before she slipped under the surface (49°52′N 10°44′W / 49.867°N 10.733°W / 49.867; -10.733). The survivors of both vessels were picked up after a period in the water, but 31 British seamen were lost.[4] According to Ministry of Defence historical document: 17 June 1942 HMS Vansittart "Picked up 10 officers and 123 ratings, five of whom seriously injured, from WILD SWAN, (sunk after damaged by air attack and collision with Spanish trawler in Bay of Biscay) and 11 men from Spanish trawler."


  1. ^ "Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2". 
  2. ^ HMS Wild Swan (D 62)
  3. ^ Hammerton, John Alexander (1942). The War illustrated. Volume 6, Issues 131-155. The Amalgamated Press, p. 92
  4. ^ Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies, World War 2 - 1st - 30th JUNE 1942


  • Preston, Antony (1971). 'V & W' Class Destroyers 1917-1945. London: Macdonald. OCLC 464542895. 
  • Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1979). 'V' and 'W' Class Destroyers. Man o' War 2. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 0-85368-233-X. 
  • Winser, John de D. (1999). B.E.F. Ships Before, At and After Dunkirk. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-91-6. 

Coordinates: 49°52′N 10°44′W / 49.867°N 10.733°W / 49.867; -10.733