HMS Virago (R75)
Virago at anchor on the River Tyne, October 1943
|Ordered:||1 September 1941|
|Builder:||Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom|
|Laid down:||16 February 1942|
|Launched:||4 February 1943|
|Commissioned:||5 November 1943|
|Identification:||pennant number R75/F76|
|Fate:||Scrapped 4 June 1965|
|Class and type:||V-class destroyer|
Second World War service
In addition to escorting the perilous Arctic convoys during 1943-44, Virago participated with other British destroyers in the Battle of North Cape on 26 December 1943, where her torpedoes sank the badly beaten German battleship Scharnhorst, following a fierce fight between the Germans and the battleship Duke of York.
Transferred to the Eastern Fleet in early 1945. On 26 March 1945 she, along with the destroyers Saumarez, Volage, and Vigilant, intercepted a Japanese supply convoy east of Khota Andaman, Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. She and Vigilant sank the Japanese submarine chaser CH-34.
She patrolled the Malacca Strait and supported Operation Dracula off the coast of Burma in late April 1945. Virago subsequently participated in the Battle of the Malacca Strait with Saumarez, Verulam, Venus and Vigilant which culminated in the sinking of the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro on 16 May 1945. This was a textbook destroyer night action, and was the last naval gun battle of the Second World War. Virago participated in preparations for Operation Zipper (the invasion of Malaya) in July/August 1945, and its eventual execution as a reoccupation manoeuvre in September 1945 following the surrender of Japan. Based in Hong Kong with the British Pacific Fleet after VJ day, Virago returned to Chatham, Kent in December 1945.
Throughout her wartime commission, Virago was under the command of Lt. Cdr. Archibald John Ramsay White (1910-1991).
Post War service
Between 1946 and 1949 Virago was part of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, based in the Mediterranean. In 1946, Virago and Venus participated in the rescue of crew from the British tanker Empire Cross, which caught fire, exploded and sank at Haifa, Palestine, with the loss of up to 25 lives.
Between 1949 and 1951 she was held in reserve at Chatham Dockyard. Between 1951 and 1953 she was converted to a Type 15 frigate at Chatham Dockyard. On re-commissioning in 1953 she became part of the 6th Frigate Squadron and in that year took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Between 1955 and 1960 she was held in reserve at Chatham Dockyard. Between 1962 and 1963 she was part of the Dartmouth Training Squadron.
Decommissioning and disposal
Virago was decommissioned in 1963 and held in reserve at Devonport. She arrived in Faslane for breaking up in June 1965.
- Mitchell, W.H.; Sawyer, L.A. (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. p. not cited. ISBN 1-85044-275-4.
- "Haifa Tanker Explosion". The Times (50521). London. 5 August 1946. col E, p. 3.
- Critchley, Mike (1982). British Warships Since 1945: Part 3: Destroyers. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Books. p. 70. ISBN 0-9506323-9-2.
- Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
"Japanese Sub Chasers". Combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Marriott, Leo (1994). Royal Navy Destroyers since 1945. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1817-0.
- Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1978). War Built Destroyers O to Z Classes. London: Bivouac Books. ISBN 0-85680-010-4.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.