HMS Wild Swan (D62)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Wild Swan.
Career
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
awards:
Dunkirk 1940
Atlantic 1940–42[1]
Fate: Sunk after air attack
17 June 1942
General characteristics
Class and 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
and 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 the sloop HMS Wild Swan in 1876. Like her sisters, she was completed too late to see action in the First World War.[1]

Pre-war service[edit]

Wild Swan was one of seven Modified W-Class destroyers that were completed after World War I, out of an original order of 38, issued in April 1918. She was built by Swan Hunter at Wallsend on Tyne, being laid down in July 1918 and completed on 14 November 1919. She joined the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet.[1]

During the 1920s, she served in the Baltic, the Mediterranean and Far East. In 1930 she was placed in reserve, but she was re-commissioned in 1931. She joined the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, initially on the China Station, but subsequently transferred to the Mediterranean during the Abyssinian crisis. In 1939, Wild Swan returned to Britain to join the Nore Local Flotilla. She underwent a long refit at Chatham in late 1939 to update her equipment, including the fitting of anti-submarine detection equipment (ASDIC). This refit and consequent trials did not complete until December 1939.[1]

Second World War[edit]

After her refit, Wild Swan joined the 18th Destroyer Flotilla; however, in January 1940 she was transferred to participate in trials on degaussing equipment, attached to the torpedo school, HMS Vernon.[1]

Loss[edit]

On 16 June 1942, Wild Swan was in the Western Approaches as part of the escort for convoy HG84. She was detached for refuelling, and happened to be passing through a group of Spanish trawlers, when a squadron of 12 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers mistook these vessels as the convoy and attacked them. Wild Swan replied vigorously, claiming six German aircraft destroyed (the record for any single ship in the war). She was, however, already seriously damaged by four near-misses, she lost steering control and collided with one of the Spanish trawlers, which sank almost immediately. She rescued 11 survivors from the trawler, but Wild Swan also sank (at 49°52′N 10°44′W / 49.867°N 10.733°W / 49.867; -10.733). The British reported that three of the trawlers were also sunk by bombs.[1][2][3]

The survivors of both vessels were subsequently rescued after fifteen hours in open boats, but 31 British seamen died through exposure. According to a 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." The survivors were landed at Milford Haven.[1][2][4]

The Wild Swan's commander, Claude Sclater, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for the action.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Gordon (12 July 2011). "Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2". navalhistory.com. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b HMS Wild Swan (D 62) Uboat.net
  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". navalhistory.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Commander Claude Sclater DSO and bar, FRGS, MA". The Hallowes Genealogy. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 

References[edit]

  • 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