HMS Kempenfelt (ii) (R 03)
Destroyer of the W class
|Navy||The Royal Navy|
|Built by||John Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland)|
|Laid down||24 Jun 1942|
|Launched||8 May 1943|
|Commissioned||25 Oct 1943|
In January 1944 HMS Kempenfelt was a member of the 19th DD Flotilla, and was involved in the shelling of enemy held positions at Anzio before the landing of the Allied troops. On June 6th during D-day operation Neptune she was assigned to the Gunfire Bombardment Support Force E (Juno Beach). In 1945 Kempenfelt was amongst the many destroyers that joined the British Pacific Fleet, her task being the prevention of Japanese supplies reaching Okinawa, it was here that the Kamikazes were used for the first time, being nicknamed by the British as "deadly Johnsons”. The dropping of the Atomic Bomb put an end to the war in the Pacific, and she teamed up with the mightiest array of naval vessels ever formed, and sailed into Japanese waters to accept the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire.
Sometime after this she returned to U.K. to be decommissioned. In November 1947 Kempenfelt was brought forward from reserve and with a delivery crew she sailed from the U.K. to join the Cape Station Reserve Fleet at Simonstown, South Africa where she was used as a living in ship. On 27 April 1948 Kempenfelt entered the Selborne dry dock to commence her refit. On June 30th she was undocked. In 1953 the admiralty decided there was no need for a Reserve Destroyer Squadron to be based in the South Atlantic and Kempenfelt sailed from Simonstown for the U.K. to join the Reserve Fleet there. In 1956 Kempenfelt was purchased by the Yugoslavian government, and towed to that country where she was refitted at Split. On 10 September 1959 Kempenfelt was fully commissioned into the Yugoslavian Navy and renamed Kotor. Her appearance did not vary greatly from the original configuration. In 1970 Kotor was broken up at Split.
Her original R.N. ships badge can still be seen today displayed on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall.
|Former name||HMS Valentine|
Commands listed for HMS Kempenfelt (ii) (R 03)
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|1||Lt.Cdr. James Bogue Marjoribanks, RN||31 Aug 1943||24 Apr 1944|
|2||Capt. Manley Lawrence Power, OBE, RN||24 Apr 1944||9 Jul 1944|
|3||Capt. Eric George McGregor, DSO, RN||9 Jul 1944||early 1946|
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Notable events involving Kempenfelt (ii) include:
8 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN), HMS Hardy (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN). (1)
9 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN) and HMS Hussar (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Biggs, DSO, DSC, RN). (1)
19 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN) and HMS Halcyon (T/A/Lt.Cdr. L.J. Martin, RNVR). (2)
29 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN) and HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN). (2)
6 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Obdurate (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN) and HMS Speedwell (Lt.Cdr. T.E. Williams, RD, RNR). (3)
6 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Eskimo (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, DSC, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. M.L. Power, OBE, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN). (4)
1 Jan 1945
Air strikes against oil refineries at Pangkalan-Brandan (North-East Sumatra).
On 1 January 1945 a Force made up of the aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral P.L. Vian, KCB, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Suffolk (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), light cruisers HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN), HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN), HMS Grenville (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMCS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN), HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Urania (Lt.Cdr. D.H.P. Gardiner, DSC, RN) and HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN) departed Trincomalee for an air strike on oil refineries at Pangkalan-Brandan (North-East Sumatra).
On the morning of 4 January 1945, carrier aircraft were flown off to attack the oil refineries at Pangkalan Brandan and successfully completed the operation. Photographic reconnaissance was also made of port installations at Belawan Deli, Brandan, and Soesoe.
In the afternoon of 6 January 1945, HMS Indifatigable, HMS Sussex, HMS Kempenfelt, HMS Wakeful and HMS Uriana parted company with the remainder of the Force. These ships were to proceed to Colombo.
All ships from the force arrived at Trincomalee / Colombo on 7 January 1945. (5)
16 Jan 1945
Air strikes against oil installations in the Palembang area (South-East Sumatra).
On 16 January 1945 ' Force 63 ' made up of the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.B. Rawlings, KCB, OBE, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. J.A.S. Eccles, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral P.L. Vian, KCB, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CB, CVO, RN), HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, CBE, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN), HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and the destroyers HMS Grenville (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMCS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. C.E.R. Sharp, RN), HMS Undine (Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN), HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Wager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wessex (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Whelp (Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and Whirlwind (Cdr. W.A.F. Hawkins, DSO, DSC, OBE, RN).
HMS Wessex apparently sailed from Trincomalee on the 17th and joined the Force at sea on the 19th.
An oiling force (' Force 69 ') made up of the tankers Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941), Wave King (8159 GRT, built 1944) and Empire Salvage (10746 GRT, built 1940) had already departed Trincomalee on 13 January. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Urchin (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RD, RNR). A fouth tanker, the Arndale (8296 GRT, built 1937) joined ' force 69 ' on 23 January coming from Fremantle.
The submarines HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Tantivy (Lt. P.S. May, RN) and HMS Sturdy (Lt. W.St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) were positioned for air/sea rescue duties. (Tantalus east of Sumatra, Tantivy west of Sumatra and Sturdy in the Sunda Strait area.)
On 20 January ships from ' Force 63 ' were refuelled by ' Force 69 '. Due to the weather conditions this was done only with difficulty and some of the refuelling gear of the tankers was damaged. HMS Ceylon was now assigned to ' Force 69 ' to give protection to this Force. [Note: Arndale at this moment was not yet with ' Force 69 '.]
' Force 63 ' then proceeded on the first phase of the operation, to launch air strikes on the oil installations at Pladjoe (north of Palembang) which were to be flown off on 21 January but the weather prevented this. It was only at 24 January that the weather had cleared to enable flying operations. 43 Avengers, 12 Firefly's (equipped with rockets) and 50 Hellcat, Corsair and Seafire fighters were flown off. The enemy installations were damaged but at the cost of no less then 32 aircraft due to enemy action (7) or crash landings (25). 14 enemy fighters were reported shot down in the air and 38 aircraft were reported to have been destroyed on the gound.
' Force 63 ' then retired from the area to rendezvous with ' Force 69 ' and refuel. This was done on 26 / 27 January.
' Force 63 ' then proceeded to the launch position for the second phase of operation during which air attacks were to be made on oil installations at Soengi-Gerong (also near Palembang). 48 Avenger, 10 Fireflies, 24 Corsairs and 16 Hellcats were launched. During dogfight 30 Japanese aircraft were shot down and another 38 were reported as having been destroyed on the ground. 16 aircraft did not return to the carriers.
A Japanese counter attack with 12 bombers failed. All were shot down by fighters from the Combat Air Patrol or AA fire from the ships.
' Force 63 ' then fuelled again from ' Force 69 ' on 30 January.
' Force 63 ' arrived at Fremantle on 4 February 1945.
' Force 69 ', minus Arndale and Wave King returned to Trincomalee on 6 February 1945. The other two tankers went to Australia. HMS Ceylon had parted company with ' Force 69 ' on 4 February and arrived at Trincomalee on 5 February.
- ADM 173/18096
- ADM 173/18180
- ADM 173/18214
- ADM 173/19434
- ADM 199/1457
- ADM 173/20293
ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.
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