Service History


"J" (JAVELIN) Class Destroyer ordered from John Brown at Clydebank on 25th March 1937 under the 1936 Build Programme and laid down on 11th October 1937. The ship was to have been named KASHMIR but this was changed to JAVELIN before launch on 21st December 1938 as the 2nd RN ship to carry the name, first used in 1913. Build was completed on 10th June 1939 and she commissioned for service in the 7th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet. After a a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in November 1941 this ship was "adopted" by the civil community of Stoke-on-Trent. Her Tender cost, excluding that of Admiralty supplied equipment such as weapons and radio was £391.570.

Battle Honours

Heraldic Data
Badge: On a Field Blue a Cubit Arm the hand grasping a broken Javelin.

Vi et armis: 'By force of Arms'

Details of Service

  • 1939
  • June
    Contractors Trials
    10th Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
  • July
    July Worked-up at Portland on completion of trials.
  • August
    Joined 7th Flotilla as relief for HM Destroyer ESK and carried out Flotilla and Fleet exercises.
    Passage to join Humber Force at allocated War Station
  • September
    Deployed for North Sea patrol to intercept enemy warships on passage for attacks on Fleet units or to enter Atlantic as commerce raiders.

    (For details of naval deployments at outbreak of war see Naval Staff History and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett.)
    2nd Carried out first patrol off Norway
    22nd Involved in collision with HM Destroyer JERSEY during patrol with HM Cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and GLASGOW in Skagerrak (Operation SK).
    Sustained damage. Operation cancelled.
    Taken in tow for repair in Tyne shipyard
    23rd Repair by Hawthorn Leslie commenced
  • October
    22nd During post repair trials prior to rejoining Flotilla involved in a further collision with mercantile SS MORDANT. Two ratings were killed in after messdeck and a third was washed overboard but was able to climb back on board.
    Taken in tow by HM Destroyer JUPITER and escorted to Middlesbrough for repair.
    23rd Taken in hand for repair by Smiths Dock
  • November
    Under repair.
  • December
    Under repair.
  • 1940
  • January
    3rd On completion of post repair trials rejoined Flotilla and deployed for convoy defence and patrol in North Sea. (Note: One source records that on departure from Middlesbrough ship detonated mine damaging one shaft and returned for repair. To be investigated.)
  • February
    Under repair.
  • March
    On completion deployed for North Sea convoy defence with Flotilla
    19th After sister ship HMS JERVIS sustained major structural damage after collision with Swedish SS TOR escorted damaged destroyer to Tyne for repair.
  • April
    Detached for escort of Trinity House Ship PATRICIA during lay of navigation buoys in Smiths Knoll.
    5th Deployed with HM Destroyers JANUS, JUNO and ECLIPSE as escort for Convoy ON25 on passage to Norway.
    8th Returned to Kirkwall with convoy after German invasion of Norway.
    9th Deployed with Flotilla for screening of Home Fleet major units and support of military operations passage to Norwegian waters and under air attacks.
    13th Escorted HM Battlecruiser REPULSE during passage from Norwegian coast to Scapa Flow.
    20th Deployed with HM Destroyers JACKAL as escort for ST MAGNUS, ST SUNNIVA and CEDARBANK during passage from Aberdeen taking troops to reinforce landings at Andalsnes, Norway (Operation SICKLE).
    21st CEDARBANK sunk by torpedo during passage. Detached on arrival at Rombaksfjord. Under air attacks.
    22nd Escorted merchant ship to Alesund (Note: This ship has insufficient coal to return to UK). Under further air attacks.
    23rd Took passage to UK escorting troopship.
    27th Deployed as escort for HM Cruiser GLASGOW with HMS JAVELIN to Molde from Scapa Flow.
    29th Sailed from Molde for Malangen Fjord near Tromso with HMS JACKAL as escort for HMS GLASGOW during passage. (Note: HMS GLASGOW had embarked HM King Haakon of Norway and members of the Norwegian Government with a quantity of bullion.
    30th Detached with HMS JACKAL after passengers disembarked from HMS GLASGOW at Malangen and resumed support duties.
  • May
    Resumed Flotilla duties in support of Norwegian operations.
    10th Deployed with HMS JAVELIN as escort for military convoy to Norway.
    11th On arrival diverted with convoy to Mo for support of landing of the troops.
    12th Provided naval gunfire support with HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE during the landings and came under sustained air attacks.
    13th Returned to Scapa Flow. (Note: For details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NARVIK by D Macintyre, CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton, THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams and The Naval Staff History.)
    16th Transferred to 1st Flotilla and deployed in Nore Command at Harwich for support of military operations and North Sea convoy defence.
    19th Escorted HM Trawlers GRAMPIAN, PELTON, JAMES LAY, MILFORD QUEEN, MILFORD PRINCES and CAPE MELVILLE with HMS JAGUAR and HM Corvette PUFFIN to cut commercial cables for UK to Continent communications off coast of Norfolk (Operation QUIXOTE)
    27th Transferred to Dover Command with ships of Flotilla to assist in evacuation of allied troops from beaches and harbour at Dunkirk (Operation DYNAMO).
    28th Rescued survivors from merchant ship sunk by torpedo. Remained off beaches and embarked troops from boats. Took passage to Dover with 900 troops. (Note: Further men were not embarked as ship stability affected by reduction in fuel carried.)
    29th Returned to Dunkirk after disembarking troops at Dover. Entered harbour to embark troops and under air attacks.
    30th Took passage to Dover with 850 troops.
    31st After return to Dunkirk ordered to take passage to Sheerness for duty with anti-invasion force and withdrawn from DYNAMO. (For details of DYNAMO see NINE DAYS AT DUNKIRK by AD Divine and Naval Staff History.) Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to G61.
  • June
    1st Arrived at Sheerness and remained on call for new duties.
    5th Released from duty at Sheerness and took passage to Humber for delayed routine docking and maintenance.
    6th Taken in hand by Brigham and Cowan shipyard in Hull (Note: Modified RAF Air-Surface radar set fitted during this period. This was designated Naval Type 286. For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)
    16th On completion transferred to 5th Destroyer Flotilla based at Immingham for patrol and interception duties in North Sea. (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Destroyers JACKAL, JUPITER, KELVIN, KASHMIR and KIPLING, joined later by HMS JACKAL. Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten was Senior Officer of the Flotilla and embarked in HMS JAVELIN during some patrols.
  • July
    North Sea deployment with Flotilla in continuation.
  • August
    Detached for duty with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow
    17th Deployed as escort for HM Auxiliary Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT NAPIER, PORT QUEBEC and MENESTHEUS of 1st Minelaying Squadron with HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD, JAGUAR. FIREDRAKE (HM Cruiser CAIRO as AA Guardship during minelay in Moray Firth to extend North Sea Mine Barrier (Operation SN12 – See Naval Staff History (Mining).)
    20th On completion resumed detached service at Scapa Flow for patrol and screening duties. Deployed with escort for initial stage of passage in NW Approaches for ships taking part in planned landing of Free French troops at Dakar (Operation MENACE.)
  • September
    1st Escorted damaged cruiser HMS FIJI to Clyde for repair (Note : HMS FIJI was part of assault force on passage to West Africa.)

    On release from detached service with Home Fleet resumed service with Flotilla. Transferred with Flotilla to Plymouth Command for duties in English Channel. (Note: This deployment was made in consequence of the movement of the German destroyers KARL GASTNER, HANS LODY, FRIEDRICH IHN, RICHARD BEITZEN and ERICH STEINBRINK from Wilhemshaven to Cherbourg which posed a threat to convoys from mines and surface attacks.)
  • October
    Deployed at Plymouth for interception patrols and convoy defence
    10th Joined H M Battleship REVENGE with H M Destroyers JAGUAR, JACKAL, JUPITER, KASHMIR and KIPLING to carry out bombardment of Cherbourg. Took part in bombardment covered by HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and EMERALD,
    11th On completion escorted HMS REVENGE with ships of Flotilla during the return passage to Portsmouth. Detached on arrival and sailed for refit at Immingham
    16th Taken in hand for refit by Humber Graving Dock.
  • November
    15th Post refit trials
    16th Sailed for Plymouth to rejoined Flotilla for interception patrols.
    28th Sailed from Plymouth with HM Destroyers JACKAL, JUPITER, JERSEY and KASHMIR to intercept German destroyers reported by an aircraft on passage in Channel from Brest. Deployed on patrol line between Lands End and Start Point.
    29th Sighted enemy destroyers which had attacked convoy off Start Point sinking two ships. Took part in night action against KARL GASTNER, HANS LODY and RICHARD BEITZEN during which enemy ships fired torpedoes. Hit by torpedo forward and another aft causing extensive damage. Complete bow structure forward of gun mounting demolished and after structure were both demolished with extensive fire caused when magazine exploded. Major flooding of other compartments and ship totally disabled. Only 155 feet of original 353 feet length of hull remained. 46 of ship’s company lost their lives For full details see DESTROYER MAN by AF Pugsley who was in command of the ship. Casualties were taken off by HMS JACKAL and the other ships returned to scene after a fruitless chase of the German destroyers. Air attacks were driven off by RAF aircraft and ship taken in tow to Plymouth by a Falmouth tug escorted by HMS KASHMIR.
    30th Arrived at Plymouth and taken in hand for repair by Devonport Dockyard. (Note: Captain Lord Mountbatten was on board the ship during this action and in command of the Flotilla. The execution of this attack has been the subject of much criticism. See above reference, HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)
  • December
    Paid off into Dockyard Control and under repair.
  • 1941
  • January - December
    Under repair. Bow and stern structures completely replaced.

  • 1942
  • January
    Recommissioned and on completion of post refit trials took passage to Scapa Flow.
  • February
    Worked-up for operational service with ships of Home Fleet. On completion deployed with Home Fleet for screening of major ships.
  • March
    1st Deployed with HM Destroyers ASHANTI, BEDOUIN, ECHO, ECLIPSE, ESKIMO, FAULKNOR, FURY, GROVE, ICARUS, INCONSTANT, JAVELIN, INTREPID, LANCASTER, LEDBURY, LOOKOUT, ONSLOW, PUNJABI, TARTAR, VERDUN, WELLS and WOOLSTON as screen for HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Cruisers BERWICK and KENYA to provide cover for passage of Russian Convoy PQ12 to Murmansk and the return convoy QP8 to Iceland. (For details of all Russian convoys see CONVOYS TO RUSSIAN by RA Ruegg, CONVOY! by P Kemp, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B. Schoefieldand ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
    10th On return to Scapa Flow nominated for support of planned British landings in Madagascar (Operation IRONCLAD) Prepared for foreign service and took passage to Clyde.
    23rd Joined military convoy WS17 with HM Destroyers INCONSTANT and PAKENHAM as part of escort during Atlantic passage. (Note: Ocean Escort included HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS.)
    24th HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser ALCANTARA with screen of three destroyers joined Ocean Escort.
    31st Detached from WS17 and took passage to Freetown.
  • April
    6th Joined Convoy WS17A with HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, LAFOREY, LOOKOUT, LIGHTNING, PAKENHAM and INCONSTANT as Ocean Escort during passage to Durban. (Note: Convoy WS17 had split at Freetown into two Sections, WS17A and WS17B which made separate passage to Cape of Good Hope.
    22nd Detached from WS17A on arrival at Durban and joined 14th Destroyer Flotilla for service in Indian Ocean.
  • May
    Deployed at Durban and prepared for support of IRONCLAD.
    5th Took part in support of landings at Diego Suarez and provided gunfire support. Deployment included anti-submarine defence of assembled ships. (For details of IRONCLAD see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) and Naval Staff History.)
    9th On release from IRONCLAD transferred with Flotilla for service at Alexandria with Mediterranean Fleet. Took passage to Alexandria via Aden and Suez Canal.
  • June
    Passage in Red Sea
    9th Joined 14th Flotilla, Mediterranean Fleet for Fleet duties in eastern Mediterranean.

    13th Sailed from Alexandria with H M Destroyers HASTY, HERO, INCONSTANT, JERVIS, KELVIN, NAPIER, NESTOR, NIZAM, NORMAN, PAKENHAM, PALADIN, SIKH and ZULU as screen for HM Cruisers ARETHUSA, BIRMINGHAM, CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS, HERMIONE and NEWCASTLE to join Convoy MW11 which had sailed earlier from Egypt (Operation VIGOROUS).
    14th Met convoy and came under air attacks. Convoy under threat of attack by U77 which was beaten off by HMS PAKENHAM.
    15th Under attack by German E-Boats during which HMS NEWCASTLE was hit by a torpedo and had to return to Alexandria. HMS HASTY was also torpedoed and had to be sunk by HMS HOTSPUR. (Note: HMS HOTSPUR had been part of escort for Convoy MW11A from Haifa which had joined MW11B and merged to form MW11 for passage to Malta.) Convoy ordered to reverse course following report of threat of attack by an Italian battle squadron reported by aircraft. Under heavy and sustained air attacks but earlier order rescinded and convoy ordered to resume westward passage. (Note: During these attacks HM Cruisers ARETHUSA and BIRMINGHAM HM Destroyers AIREDALE, NESTOR (RAN) and HM Battleship CENTURION were damaged. HMS CENTURION, had been disguised as a battleship of the KING GEORGE V Class.) Took damaged HMAS NESTOR in tow (by JAVELIN). Owing to heavy expenditure of AA ammunition and despite further order from CinC at Alexandria operation was abandoned and ship took passage to return to Alexandria with convoy and escorts. 16th Tow terminated during passage and HMAS NESTOR scuttled (depthcharged by JAVELIN) after her crew were rescued. Returned to Alexandria. (For details of this disastrous, confused and ill-directed operation see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.)
  • July
    Retained for service in Mediterranean with 14th Destroyer Flotilla. Deployed at Alexandria for convoy defence, patrol and military support
    17th Carried out bombardment at Mersa Matru.
    23rd Carried out further bombardment at Mersa Matru.
    Flotilla duties in continuation.
    12th Carried out bombardment at Rhodes. Under repair at Haifa.
  • September
    Resumed Flotilla duties on completion
    14th Carried out bombardment at Daba.
  • October
    Flotilla duties in eastern Mediterranean including support of military operations.
  • November
    Deployed with HM Cruiser EURYALUS, HM Destroyers JERVIS, KELVIN, NUBIAN, PAKENHAM, PALADIN and PETARD as escort for Convoy MW13 to Malta from Egypt (Operation PORTCULLIS) (Note: This was the first westward convoy passage to be attempted air cover from North Africa was available due to advance of the 8th Army from Alamein.)

    17th Detached from MW13 after HM Destroyers ALDENHAM, BEAUFORT, BELVOIR, CROOME, DULVERTON, EXMOOR, HURSLEY, HURWORTH, TETCOTT and Greek destroyer PINDOS arrived as escort for passage to Malta.Took passage to Alexandria with Fleet destroyers.
    18th Sailed from Alexandria with same Fleet destroyers as screen for HM Cruisers ARETHUSA,CLEOPATRA, DIDO and ORION to provide cover for passage of Convoy MW13 to Malta. Under air attacks off Derna after joining MW13 and HMS ARETHUSA hit by torpedo and had to be towed back to Alexandria by HMS PETARD. Detached from MW13 covering force and escorted HMS PETARD during tow of HMS ARETHUSA. (See above references and THE CROSS AND THE ENSIGN by P Elliot.) Transferred to Malta with HM Destroyers JERVIS, KELVIN and NUBIAN for interception of enemy supply convoys to North Africa as screen for HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA and DIDO as Force “K”.
  • December
    Deployed at Malta with Force “K” for convoy interception.
    2nd Took part in attack on convoy in Gulf of Gabes with HMS JERVIS, JANUS and KELVIN during which Italian destroyer LUPO was sunk whilst rescuing survivors from SS VELOCE sunk in an early convoy attack.
    13th Deployed with HMS CLEOPATRA, HMS DIDO, HMS JERVIS, HMS KELVIN and HMS NUBIAN and carried out successful attack on convoy off Tunisia.

  • 1943
  • January
    Force “K” deployment in continuation.
    8th Sank three small schooners off Kuriat during interception patrol.
    17th Deployed with HMS PAKENHAM off Lampedusa and attacked supply convoy escorted by torpedo boats and sank naval auxiliary.
    30th Intercepted Italian convoy north of Tripoli with HMS KELVIN and sank all eleven ships including four minesweepers.
  • February
    Malta deployment in continuation. Escort for convoy to Alexandria.
  • March - April
    Deployed for interception patrols with ships of Force “K”
  • May
    Deployed with ships based in Malta to establish blockade of Cape Bon area to intercept craft attempting to evacuation enemy personnel from North African coast after the defeat of the Afrika Corps (Operation RETRIBUTION – See above references.)
  • June
    Deployed with Fleet units and ships of Flotilla for bombardment of Pantellaria prior to occupation by British troops. (Operation CORKSCREW – See above references.) Nominated for refit in UK. for passage to UK as part of escort for military convoy MKF15.
    15th Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.
  • July - December
    Under refit by HM Dockyard. Nominated for service with 10th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet

  • 1944
  • January
    Under refit and carried out harbour trials.
  • February - April
    10th February Carried out post refit trials and took passage to Scapa Flow. Deployed with HM Destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, HAIDA (RCN), HURON (RCN), TARTAR, Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA and Polish destroyer ORP PIORUN of 10th Flotilla.
    Home Fleet deployment for screening duties during operations off Norway to April Nominated for service in support of planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE – For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE) by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY.
  • May
    Transferred to Plymouth with Flotilla and took part in exercises prior to landings.
  • June
    Deployed with Flotilla to carry out patrols between Gulf of St Malo and Ushant for interception of enemy surface craft attempting to attack cross Channel military convoys or coastal traffic.

    5th Deployed for patrol north of Ushant.
    6th Following aircraft sighting of two NARVIK Class destroyers and an Ex Dutch destroyer (TJERK HIDDES) carried out search with Flotilla but did not find the enemy ships.
    7th Returned to Plymouth with Flotilla on relief by 23rd Destroyer Flotilla.
    8th Deployed with Flotilla NE of Ushant to intercept NARVIK Class ships reported on passage in the area from Brest.
    9th In action against German destroyers with ships of Flotilla 20 miles NW of Ile de Bas during which TJERK HIDDES was sunk, NARVIK Z32 driven ashore and subsequently wrecked. NARVIK was damage and the ELBING Class T24 was able to return to Brest. (See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY for details.)
    25th Retained in Channel area with Flotilla based at Plymouth after NEPTUNE closed.
  • July
    Deployed at Plymouth for interception of enemy convoys in Bay of Biscay and Channel coast with ships of Flotilla.

    7th During return passage to Plymouth after interception patrol off Ushant involved in collision with HMS ESKIMO and sustained major damage aft. Three of ship’s company were killed and one injured. Steering for remainder of passage was by main engines.
    10th Taken in hand for temporary repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.
    20th Passage to Belfast for permanent repair. (Note : One source records at Liverpool – to be confirmed.)
    27th Taken in hand by Harland and Wolff shipyard.
  • August - November
    Under repair - Nominated for service in Mediterranean with 14th Destroyer Flotilla and re-commissioned.
  • December
    31st Completion of repair and prepared for post refit trials.

  • 1945
  • January
    Passage to Scapa Flow on completion of post refit trials. Worked-up with ships of Home Fleet for operational service
  • February
    Took passage to join Flotilla in Mediterranean on completion of work-up.

    19th Arrived at Alexandria and joined Flotilla.
  • March - April
    9th Withdrawn from Flotilla duties for replacement of boiler tubes at Alexandria.
  • May
    8th Resumed Flotilla duties on completion of post repair trials.
  • June - August
    June Remained with Flotilla in Mediterranean after VE Day and deployed for Fleet duties to August and support of re-occupation requirements at Trieste (Note: Ships on passage to Far East were worked-up for service in the Mediterranean during exercises with Fleet units.)

Post War Notes
HMS JAVELIN continued Mediterranean Fleet service with Flotilla until April 1946 during which period she took part in the Mediterranean Fleet exercise and visits programmes and patrol to intercept ships taking immigrants into Palestine. Her early service after VJ Day was marred by serious indiscipline involving a Leading seaman and 19 junior ratings which resulted in a court martial later in 1945. For details of the 'Mutiny on the Javelin' please click here. The ship sailed from Malta on 9th May 1946 to pay-off and reduce to Reserve status. After arrival at Portsmouth on 17th May that year she was de-stored prior to transfer into the Reserve Fleet which was completed on 31st July. Later this destroyer was transferred to lay-up at Harwich. Placed on the Disposal List on 31st October 1948 she was used for Ship Target Trials before being sold to BISCO for demolition and arrived in tow at Troon Ayrshire for demolition by the West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co. Ltd on 11th June 1949 .

with many thanks to SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2 by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002 and


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