HMAS Vampire (D68)

HMAS Vampire (D68)

HMAS "Vampire" (D68/I68) was a V-class destroyer of the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy.

"Vampire" was laid down by J. Samuel White and Company, Limited, at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 10 October 1916, launched on 21 May 1917, completed on 22 September 1917 and commissioned into the Royal Navy.

She was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth, England, on 11 October 1933 and commissioned as HMAS "Vampire".

"Vampire" departed for Australia on 17 October 1933 and arrived in Sydney on 21 December 1933, paid off into reserve on 31 January 1934, recommissioned on 14 July 1936, and paid off back into reserve on 18 July 1936.

She was recommissioned on 11 May 1938, and was involved in the evacuation of Greece in April 1941.

In December 1941, she joined to the British Eastern Fleet at Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In the first week of December, the battlecruiser HMS "Repulse" started on a trip to Australia with "Vampire" and HMS "Tenedos" as escorts, but the force was recalled. ["Battleship", Middlebrook & Mahoney, 1979, Page 102.]

Early in the morning of 8 December (Singapore time), Singapore came under attack by Japanese aircraft. The battleship HMS "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse", which were in the harbor at the time, shot back with anti-aircraft fire; no planes were shot down, and the ships sustained no damage. After receiving the reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor and invasions of Siam by the Japanese, Force Z put to sea at 1730 hrs. on 8 December. Force Z at this time consisted of the "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse", escorted by the destroyers "Vampire", "Electra", "Express", and "Tenedos". ["Battleship", Middlebrook & Mahoney, 1979, Pages 99 to 113.]

At 2055, Admiral Philips cancelled the operation, and ordered the force to return to Singapore. On the way back, they were spotted and reported by the Japanese submarine I-58. The next morning, 10 December, they received a report of Japanese landings at Kuantan, and "Express" was sent to investigate the area, finding nothing. That afternoon, "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse" were sunk by 85 Japanese aircraft off Kuantan aircraft from the 22nd Air Flotilla based at Saigon. (For more information, see Sinking of "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse"). "Repulse" was sunk by five torpedoes in 20 minutes, and "Electra" and "Vampire" moved in to rescue survivors of "Repulse", while "Express" rescued survivors of the "Prince of Wales". ["Battleship", Middlebrook & Mahoney, 1979, Pages 145 to 267.]

In the Indian Ocean raid on 9 April 1942 she was escorting the British aircraft carrier "Hermes" off Batticaloa in Ceylon when both were attacked by Japanese carrier aircraft at 10:35. "Hermes" went down within twenty minutes. "Vampire" was hit by a bomb which broke her in half, and she sank at 11:05 with the loss of nine of her crew.


* Martin Middlebrook and Patrick Mahoney, "Battleship: The Sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse", (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1979). Contains details of the attack and damage sustained, and tables of survivors and losses.
* Richard Hough, "The Hunting of Force Z: the brief, controversial life of the modern battleship and its tragic close with the destruction of the "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse".
* Alan Matthews, "Sailors' Tales: Life Onboard HMS Repulse During World War Two" ISBN 0-9531217-0-4

External links

* Sea Power Centre - Australia. [ HMAS "Vampire" ship's history]

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