HMS Wrestler (1918)

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HMS Wrestler
HMS Wrestler underway
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Wrestler
Ordered: 9 December 1916
Builder: Swan Hunter, Wallsend
Laid down: July 1917
Launched: 25 February 1918
Commissioned: 15 May 1918
Out of service: 6 June 1944
  • "Nitendo vincimus"
  • ("By doing our utmost we win")
  • Mined off Juno Beach 6 June 1944.
  • Sold to J Cashmore at Newport to be broken up for scrap, 20 July 1944.
General characteristics
Class and type: W class destroyer
Displacement: 1,100 long tons (1,118 t)
  • 300 ft (91 m) o/a
  • 312 ft (95 m) p/p
Beam: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
  • 9 ft (2.7 m) standard
  • 11 ft 3 in (3.43 m) deep
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)
  • 3,500 nmi (6,500 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • 900 nmi (1,700 km) at 32 kn (59 km/h; 37 mph)
Complement: 110

HMS Wrestler (D35) was a W class destroyer launched by the Royal Navy in the latter stages of the First World War and active from 1939 to 1944 during the Second World War. She was the first Royal Navy ship to bear that name, and the only one to do so to date.


She was the tenth order in the 1916-1917 programme, ordered on 9 December 1916 from Swan Hunter. She was laid down at Wallsend during July 1917, launched on 25 February 1918 and commissioned on 15 May that year, too late to see active service in the war. In the month of Wrestler's commissioning the battleship HMS Hindustan collided with Wrestler and badly damaged her.

Service history[edit]

Wrestler′s first deployment was in 1921, to the Atlantic Fleet's 5th Destroyer Flotilla. On 8 October 1921, the American steamer West Camak rammed the British passenger ship Rowan from astern in fog in the North Channel. Her passengers were mustered on deck. The British steamer Clan Malcolm then rammed Rowan from starboard and cut her in two. Rowan sank with the loss of 22 of the 97 people on board. Wrestler joined Clan Malcolm and West Camak in rescuing survivors from Rowan.[1][2]

The 5th Destroyer Flotilla visited the Mediterranean in 1925. The flotilla returned to the United Kingdom during the 1930s on the commissioning of new destroyers and Wrestler was placed in reserve. She then served as tender to the torpedo school at HMS Vernon from 1938 until October 1939 – the month before the outbreak of the Second World War – when she was put on station at Gibraltar.

From there she joined the 13th Destroyer Flotilla to defend convoys in the early stages of the Battle of the Atlantic. During 1940 she escorted Convoy OG-22F alongside HMS Bideford and Fowey through the Western Approaches on its way to Gibraltar in March. In July 1940 she was present at the attack on Mers-el-Kébir (where she rescued crews from the British-sunk Strasbourg) then joined the destroyers HMS Faulknor, Foxhound, Fearless, Forester, Escort, Douglas, Active, Velox, and Vortigern as they screened the capital ships preparing for air attacks from Ark Royal on Italian targets on Cagliari in July 1940 - the operation was abandoned after the force came under heavy air attacks. Wrestler then sank the Adua class Italian submarine Durbo east of Gibraltar on 18 October 1940 alongside HMS Firedrake and two flying boats.

From July 1941 to April 1942 she was stationed at Freetown and was then transferred to the Malta Convoys as part of Force H and "Operation Harpoon", before serving as one of the naval escorts for "Operation Torch". She was adopted by Hyde in December 1941 after a successful "Warship Week" National Savings campaign. She, a flying boat and HMS Wishart sank the U-boat U-74 east of Cartagena on 2 May 1942, then on 15 November 1942 sank U-98 alone. In July 1942 Wrestler also boarded the Vichy French merchantman Mitidja (intercepted off Cape Palos, Spain by HMS P222) and escorted her into Gibraltar.

Wrestler underwent reconstruction as a Long Range Escort from January to May 1943 at HM Dockyard Sheerness before taking part in "Operation Husky" off Sicily until July that year, when she returned to Atlantic and Russian convoy duties. On 6 June 1944, whilst participating in "Operation Neptune" (the naval side of D-Day), she was mined off Juno Beach and declared a constructive total loss, being sold off on 20 July as scrap.

Battle honours[edit]

  • Mediterranean 1940-42
  • Atlantic 1940-43
  • Malta Convoys 1942
  • North Africa 1943
  • Sicily 1943
  • Arctic 1943-44
  • Normandy 1944
  • English Channel 1944

See also[edit]


  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4. 
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. 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. 
  • Cocker, Maurice; Allan, Ian. Destroyers of the Royal Navy, 1893-1981. ISBN 0-7110-1075-7. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7. 
  • March, Edgar J. (1966). British Destroyers: A History of Development, 1892-1953; Drawn by Admiralty Permission From Official Records & Returns, Ships' Covers & Building Plans. London: Seeley Service. OCLC 164893555. 
  • 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. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Whinney, Bob (2000). The U-boat Peril: A Fight for Survival. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-35132-6. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 
  • Winser, John de D. (1999). B.E.F. Ships Before, At and After Dunkirk. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-91-6. 


  1. ^ Patton, Brian (2007). Irish Sea Shipping. Kettering: Silver Link Publications. pp. 178–84. ISBN 978-1-85794-271-2. 
  2. ^ "Disaster at sea". The Times (42847). London. October 1921. col D, p. 10. 

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