Allied Warships

HMS Virago (R 75)

Destroyer of the V class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassV 
PennantR 75 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Ordered1 Sep 1941 
Laid down16 Feb 1942 
Launched4 Feb 1943 
Commissioned5 Nov 1943 
End service 
History

Reconstructed as Type 15 frigate during 1951-1952.

Scrapped in 1972.  

Commands listed for HMS Virago (R 75)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Archibald John Ramsay White, RN18 Sep 194315 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Virago include:


10 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (1)

13 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Ariadne (Capt. Lord Ashbourne, RN), HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. C.H.de B. Newby, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN) and another vessel. (1)

14 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Urchin (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (1)

26 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (2)

27 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. C.H.de B. Newby, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (2)

4 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Brontes (Skr. A.E. Wood, RNR) and HMS Istria (Skr. A.E. Larner, RNR). (3)

26 Jul 1944
HMS Malaya (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow during which she was escorted by HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (4)

15 Sep 1944

Convoy JW 60.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe on 15 September 1944 and arrived in the Kola Inlet on 23 September 1944.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adolph S. Ochs (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Arunah S. Abell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), British Patience (British (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1943), Cardinal Gibbons (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Daniel Willard (American, 7200 GRT, built 1942), David Stone (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dexter W. Fellows (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Edward A. Savoy (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Edward E. Spafford (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Empire Celia (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Francis Scott Key (Amercian, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Frederic A. Kummer (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Frederic W. Taylor (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), George T. Angell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Hawkins Fudske (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Henry Lomb (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John J. Abel (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Vining (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Woolman (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Joshua Thomas (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Julius Olsen (American, 7247 GRT, built 1944), Lewis Emery Jr. (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lucerna (British (tanker for refueling the escorts), 6556 GRT, built 1930), Nathaniel Alexander (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Neritina (British (tanker), 8228 GRT, built 1943), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Raymond B. Stevens (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Richard M. Johnson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Samaritan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Thomas U. Walter (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

The rescue ship Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921) was also with the convoy.

The convoy had a close escort made up of the sloop HMS Cygnet (Cdr. D.M. MacLean, RD, RNR, Senior Officer of the close escort), destroyers HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Walker, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. I.J. Tyson, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMS Allington Castle (A/Lt.Cdr. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Bamborough Castle (T/Lt. M.S. Work, DSC and Bar, RNR).

A group of destroyers; HMS Saumarez (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Scorpion (Cdr. W.S. Clouston, DSC, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN) and HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN) also departed Loch Ewe with the convoy. The destroyer HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN) later joined at sea having departed Scapa Flow at 2359B/14.

To provide cover for this convoy the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN), escort carriers HMS Campania (A/Capt. K.A. Short, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), light cruiser HMS Diadem (Capt. E.G.A. Clifford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Myngs (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMS Savage (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HNoMS Stord (Lt.Cdr. H. Øi) departed Scapa Flow around 1300B/16.

At 0720B/17, the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, DSC, RN) joined. These destroyers had departed Scapa Flow at 2100B/15 and had fuelled at Skaalefiord in the Faroer Islands on the 16th. Upon these destroyers joining HMS Myngs, HMS Zambesi, HMS Savage and HNoMS Stord then parted company to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 1900B/17.

The cover force joined the convoy around 1030B/17. HMS Rodney and the escort carriers took station in the convoy.

The convoy and it's escort arrived in the Kola Inlet unmolested on 23 September.

On arrival Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Rodney. Shortly before leaving the Kola Inlet with the return convoy he transferred back to HMS Campania.

28 Sep 1944

Convoy RA 60.

This convoy departed the Kola Inlet on 28 September 1944 and arrived in the Clyde on 5 October 1944.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Promise (British (tanker), 8443 GRT, built 1942), Charles A. McAllister (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Charles Dauray (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Clark Howell (American, 7198 GRT, built 1944), David B. Johnson (American, 7198 GRT, built 1944), Edward H. Crockett (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Edward L. Grant (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Elijah Kellogg (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Fort Glenora (American, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Frank Gilbreth (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), John La Farge (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jose Marti (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Josephine Shaw Lowell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Leo J. Duster (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Nacella (British (tanker), 8196 GRT, built 1943), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Oakley Wood (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samannan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samcalia (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samconstant (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samgara (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samidway (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samloyal (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samlyth (British, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Samsuva (British, 7219 GRT, built 1944), Samtredy (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Silas Weir Mitchell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Thomas Donaldson (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Thomas H. Sumner (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944) and Warren Delano (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944).

Two rescue ships were with the convoy Rathlin (British, 1600 GRT, built 1936) and Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921).

The convoy had a close escort made up of the sloop HMS Cygnet (Cdr. D.M. MacLean, RD, RNR, Senior Officer of the close escort), destroyers HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Walker, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. I.J. Tyson, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMS Allington Castle (A/Lt.Cdr. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Bamborough Castle (T/Lt. M.S. Work, DSC and Bar, RNR).

A cover force was with the convoy made up of HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN), escort carriers HMS Campania (A/Capt. K.A. Short, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), light cruiser HMS Diadem (Capt. E.G.A. Clifford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Saumarez (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Scorpion (Cdr. W.S. Clouston, DSC, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN) and HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN) and HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN).

On 29 September 1944 the merchant vessels Edward H. Crockett and Samsuva were sunk during an attack by the German submarine U-310. Following the sinking the rescue ships picked up the survivors and the wreck of the Edward H. Crockett was scuttled by HMS Milne and the wreck of the Samsuva by HMS Bulldog and HMS Musketeer. The German submarine was hunted and depth charged but managed to escape undamaged.

HMS Diadem arrived at Scapa Flow at 0700A/3 having parted company with the convoy at 2030B/1.

Around 1800A/3, HMS Rodney, HMS Campania, HMS Striker, HMS Saumarez, HMS Scorpion, HMS Venus, HMS Virago, HMS Volage and HMCS Sioux parted company with the convoy to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0800A/4.

The remaining destroyers, HMS Milne, HMS Marne, HMS Meteor, HMS Musketeer, HMS Verulam and HMCS Algonquin parted company with the convoy later and arrived at Scapa Flow around 1800A/4.

The convoy arrived in the Clyde on 5 October 1944.

1 Jan 1945
HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN). (5)

22 Feb 1945

Operation Stacey

Photographic reconnaissance of Penang and the Kra Isthmus between latitudes 7°N and 10°N, and of Northern Sumatra.

On 22 February 1945, ' Force 62 ', made up of the escort carriers HMS Empress (Capt. H.A. Traill, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Ameer (Cdr. J.H. Lewes, OBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), destroyers HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the frigates HMS Spey (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR), HMS Plym (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Swale (A/Lt.Cdr. P.V. Collings, DSC, RNR).

The escorts were refuelled in the morning / early afternoon of February 24th. HMS Volage and HMS Vigilant were fuelled by HMS Kenya. fuelled HMS Virago and HMS Plym. HMS Ameer fuelled HMS Spey

A tanker force was also deployed, ' Force 61 ', which was made up of the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941) escorted by the frigate HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR). They departed Trincomalee on 26 February 1945.

In the evening of 26 February HMS Spey was detached with defects. She joined the refuelling force.

Photographic reconnaissance of the Kra Isthmus and Penang was carried out successfully between 26th and 28th February. Three enemy aircraft were shot down by Allied fighters without loss.

Force 62 proceeded to rendezvous with the oiling force on 2 March 1945 and continue the operation.

Force 62 then proceeded to a flying off position north west of Simalur Island. On 4 March 1945 a successful photographic reconnaissance was made of the northeast coast of Sumatra, and of Niass, Simalur, and Banjak Islands.

Force 62 arrived at Trincomalee on 7 March 1945. (6)

10 May 1945

Operation Dukedom,
Intercepting Japanese surface ships trying to evacuate troops from the Andaman Islands.

On 8 May 1945 a report was received from two British submarines on patrol in the Malacca Strait (HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) that they had sighted a Japanese heavy cruiser and a destroyer proceeding to the north-west. The Eastern Fleet was already on alert due to intelligence and ships from the Eastern Fleet immediately (around 0700 hours) put to sea from Trincomalee, Ceylon for operation Dukedom. These ships formed Task Force 61. This task force was, at that moment, made up of the following ships;
British battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. R.M. Ellis, DSO, RN), the French battleship Richelieu (Capt. G.M.J. Merveilleux du Vignaux), the British escort carriers HMS Hunter (Capt. A.D. Torlesse, RN), HMS Khedive (A/Capt. D.H. Magnay, RN), HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN), HMS Emperor (Capt. Sir C. Madden, RN), the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), the British light cruiser HMS Royalist (Capt. W.G. Brittain, CBE, RN), the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the British destroyers HMS Saumarez (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN), HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Diack, DSC and Bar, RN). This latter destroyer however had to return due to defects.

The British destroyer HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN) sailed at 1700 hours to overtake and then join the Task Force. She was joined by HMS Tartar (Capt. B. Jones, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) as substitute for HMS Penn whose defects could not be repaired in time. Verulam and Tartar eventually joined the Task Force at 1505/11.

Most ships of the Task Force had only returned from the previous operation the day before and for instance HMS Queen Elizabeth had only 50% ammunition for her 15” guns on board. Also HMS Emperor and HMS Khedive were not fully fueled.

The same day the tanker Easedale (8032 GRT, built 1942) departed Trincomalee escorted by the British destroyer HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) (Force 70) to provide fuel for the smaller ships of Force 61.

At 1940/11 a fast attack force, made up of Richelieu, HMS Cumberland and the destroyer of the 26th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verlulam, HMS Viliglant and HMS Virago were ordered to proceed ahead to about 50 miles from the Task Force to be in a better position to intercept the reported Japanese heavy cruiser.

In the early afternoon of the 12th an air strike with four Hellcats was carried out against airfields on Car Nicobar Island. One Japanese aircraft was seen to go up in flames.

Also on the 12th submarine HMS Statesman reported that the Japanese cruiser and it's escort were returning to Singapore most likely to Force 61 being sighted the previous day by a Japanese aircraft.

During the 13th all destroyers of the Task Force fueled from HMS Emperor, HMS Hunter and HMS Shah. Besides that Task Force 62 was sent out from Trincomalee. This Task Force was made up of the British light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. H.A. King, DSO, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Roebuck (Cdr. C.D. Bonham-Carter, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN) and HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. F.W.M. Carter, DSC, RN). HMS Rocket (Lt.Cdr. H.B. Acworth, OBE, RN), which was escorting a convoy, was ordered to leave her convoy and then join this Task Force. Also sailed was Task Force 67, made up of Royal Fleet Auxiliary oiler Olwen escorted by HMS Penn, which by now had completed repairs on her defects.

On the 14th HrMs Tromp was sent ahead to fuel from Task Force 70. Late in the evening the remainder of Task Force 61 arrived at the rendez-vous with Task Force 70.

On the 15th the enemy cruiser and destroyer were sighted by an aircraft from HMS Shah. They were again proceeding to the south-east. Shortly afterwards the enemy was also sighted by a patrolling Liberator aircraft which began shadowing the enemy. At 1500 hours three Avenger aircraft attacked the cruiser.

The 26th destroyer flottila, made up of HMS Saumarez, HMS Venus, HMS Verulam, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vigaro were ordered to intercept the enemy after dark. At 1500 hours they were 85 miles from the position of the enemy.

Around midnight the destroyers made radar contact on the cruiser. They then attacked from all directions with torpedoes. About eight hits were scored and the cruiser was sunk. During the attack HMS Saumarez was hit three times with 8" shells. Two ratings were killed on one boiler room was put out of action. The destroyers rejoined the task force at 1000/16. HMS Virago had only 17% fuel left, the other destroyers between that and 30%. HMS Virago and HMS Venus had to fuel from the escort carriers as they could not make it to the oiling force without doing so.

In the evening of the 16th the Task Force was attacked by Japanese aircraft. HMS Virago was near missed and suffered four ratings killed, five ratings severely wounded and thirteen other casualties. She was also listing slightly due to splinter damage.

At 1000/17 the following ships were detached to return to Trincomalee; Richelieu, HMS Nigeria, HMS Royalist, HrMs Tromp, HMS Khedive, HMS Shah and HMS Racehorce.

1740 hours, the 26th Destroyer Flotilla was also detached to return to Trincomalee. By this time all the destroyers of this flotilla had fueled from Force 70.

The remaining ships were ordered to return to Trincomalee at 2130/19. (7)

16 May 1945
On 9 May 1945 the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro and the Japanese destroyer Kamikaze (both offsite links) left Singapore for a transport run to the Andaman Islands. They were sighted the next day in Malakka Strait by the British submarines HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN). To intercept the Japanese ships a task force made up of 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser, 2 light cruisers, 4 escort carriers and 8 destroyers left Trincomalee. Aircraft from the escort carriers attacked the Nicobar Islands on the 11th, forcing Haguro and Kamikaze to head back to Singapore.

On the 14th the Japanese ships again depart from Singapore for the Andaman Islands. They were spotted the next day north-east of Sabang by aircraft the British escort carrier HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN). A few hours later they were attacked by aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Emperor (Capt. Sir C. Madden, RN) causing light damaged to Haguro. In the meantime Japanese aircraft have sighted Allied destroyers closing in on Haguro and once again the Japanese ships reverse course.

In anticipation on the Japanese reversal of course the commander of the British 26th DF, Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO with Bar, RN on board HMS Saumarez and the other British destroyers HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN) plotted a course to intercept the Japanese ships which they did shortly before midnight on the 15th. After careful manoeuvring the destroyers began attacking the Japanese ships from all sides shortly after one o'clock on the 16th. The Haguro was hit by torpedoed and gunfire and sank around 0230hours in position 04°49'N, 99°42'E but not before she hit the Saumarez with gunfire. The escorting Japanese destroyer Kamikaze escapes with only minor damage.

Media links


British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/18096
  2. ADM 173/18180
  3. ADM 173/18214
  4. ADM 53/117886
  5. 2.12.03.7152 (Dutch Archives, The Hague)
  6. ADM 199/1457
  7. Files 2.12.03.6854 and 2.12.27.121 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands) and WO 203 / 4630 (British National Archives, Kew, London)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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