HMS Brilliant

Vessel name on Arrival: HMS Brilliant

HMS Brilliant

Original Builder: Swan, Hunter, & Wigham Richardson, Wallsnd on Tyne

Original Yard No: 1409

Official Number:

Vessel Type: destroyer

GRT: 1360

Year Built: 1931

Arrival Date: 11/04/1948

Breakup Started: 12/04/1948

Date First Beached: 26/04/1948

Date Breakup Completed: 03/08/1948

Draught For’d: 7' 2"

Draught Aft: 14' 6"

Name Changes:

Other Information:

Destroyer HMS BRILLIANT          Pennant H-84


08-07-1929  :  Laid down

09-10-1930  :  Launched

21-02-1931  :  Completed

Nov   1945   :  Decommissioned

18-08-1947  :  Sold for breaking


Tonnage  :   1,360 tons  /  1,850 tons

Dimensions  :  98.5  x  9.9  x  3.7 metres

Complement :  138

Speed  :  35 knots

Range  :  4,800 nautical miles at mean 15 knots


Propulsion :  Parsons geared steam turbines driving twin screw shafts.  Steam from 3 x Admiralty 3-Drum Boilers


Armaments : 

4 x 1  4.7 inch Guns

2 x 1  QF 2-pounder Mk. II AA Guns

2 x 4  21" Torpedo Tubes

20 Nos. Depth Charges + 1 x Rail & 2 x Throwers


Wartime History of HMS BRILLIANT  H-84       [Provided escort duties to 29 different convoys during WWII]


September 1939       

Deployed with 19th Destroyer Flotilla at Dover for Anti-submarine convoy escort in English Channel and North Sea. Escorted BEF Convoys to French ports.

12th Sept :  Damaged in collision with harbour wall at Dover.

13th Sept :  Taken in hand for repair.


October 1939                

Under repairs


November 1939             

On completion of post repair trials rejoined Flotilla in continuation.


December  1939           

Convoy escort and patrol in English Channel and North Sea.


January – April   1940          

English Channel and North Sea deployment in continuation.

5th May : Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayer HAMPTON with HM Destroyers KEITH, BOREAS and VERITY during

                  minelaying in Thames Estuary (Operation DML9).

10th May : Deployed for demolition of port facilities in Dutch ports and evacuation of allied personnel (Operation XD)

12th May : Returned to Dover with over 200 refugees embarked.

15th May : Collided with HM Destroyer BOREAS when on passage to Hook of Holland.

16th May : Taken on hand for repair at HM Dockyard, Sheerness.


June 1940   Under repair

17th June :  Joined 1st Destroyer Flotilla based at Dover. Deployed for Channel convoy defence and interception patrol in English Channel.

July             Channel deployment in continuation. 

25th July :  In action with E-Boats attacking convoy in Straits of Dover.  Came under air attack by Ju87 aircraft off South Foreland after being ordered to withdraw. Near missed in initial attacks but then hit aft by two bombs which did not explode. Ship settled by the stern and lost way. Vessel lightened by jettison of X and Y guns as well as Depth Charges. No casualties on board and two aircraft were destroyed.  Initially towed into Dover.

27th July : Towed to HM Dockyard Chatham.


August –  October 1940  :  Under repair.  Nominated for duty with Home Fleet. September Post repair trials and        prepared for operational service.

15th August :  On completion took passage to join Home Fleet.

16th August :  Escorted newly completed battleship, HMS KING GEORGE V from the Tyne to Rosyth.

18th August :  Joined Home Fleet for screening of major units and patrol in NW Approaches.


November 1940 :  Home Fleet duties in continuation.

18th November :  Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC, MENESTHEUS, PORT NAPIER and PORT QUEBEC of 1st Minelaying Squadron with HM Destroyers BEAGLE and BULLDOG during minelay in Northern Barrage (Operation SN3).

December 1940  :  Home Fleet deployment in continuation


January  1941                Home Fleet deployment in continuation.


February  1941 :   Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, PORT QUEBEC, MENESTHEUS and SOUTHERN PRINCE during minelay in Northern Barrage with H.M. Destroyers ECHO, ELECTRA and INGLEFIELD


March 1941  :  Under refit at Southampton.

                                  Work done included:

                                – 3in mounting fitted for defence against aircraft in place of one set of torpedo tubes.

                                – Depth Charge outfit increased to 60 and two Oerlikons fitted.

                                – Radar Type 286M (Modified RAF Air-Surface Vessel equipment) installed.

                                (These were interim modifications for use of a Fleet Destroyer as an anti-submarine escort)


April   1941  :   Under refit

                         (Nominated for Atlantic convoy escort duty based at Freetown)


May 1941  :  On completion  of post-refit trials rejoined Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                12th        Part of escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS & HM Cruiser LONDON for passage to Gibraltar.

                19th        Deployed with H.M. Destroyers FAULKNOR, F.ORESTER, FOXHOUND, FURY and HESPERUS                                 as screen for H.M. Battlecruiser RENOWN, H.M Aircraft Carriers ARK      ROYAL & FURIOUS during  cover for Malta aircraft delivery.  (Operation SPLICE).


               23rd        On completion of Operation SPLICE deployed with HM Cruiser LONDON in search for German supply ships in Atlantic.


June 1941 :

                4th          Intercepted ESSO HAMBURG in South Atlantic which was scuttled.

                5th          Intercepted EGERLAND in same area which was also scuttled by ner crew.

                10th        Joined 18th Destroyer Flotilla at Freetown for convoy defence and interception patrol.

                16th        Joined military convoy WS9A with HM Destroyers BOREAS and HIGHLANDER off

                                African coast for Local Escort into Freetown.

                18th        Detached from WS9A on arrival.


July 1941 :               Freetown deployment in continuation.

                10th        Joined military convoy WS9B with HM Destroyers WILD SWAN and WIVERN, HM

                                Corvette ASPHODEL off African coast for Local Escort into Freetown.

                13th        Detached on arrival at Freetown.


August 1941 :          Deployment as Senior Officer's ship of 18th Flotilla in continuation.

                27th        Joined military convoy WS10X with HM Destroyers VELOX and WRESTLER, HM

                                Corvettes CLEMATIS and CROCUS off African coast for Local Escort into Freetown.

                28th        Detached from WS10X on arrival at Freetown.


September  to November  1941 :           Freetown deployment in continuation.


December 1941 :

                18th        Joined military convoy WS14 with HM Destroyer HURWORTH off African coast as

                                Local Escort into Freetown.

                21st         Detached from WS14 on arrival at Freetown.

                25th        Sailed with WS14 for Local Escort from Freetown.

                26th        Detached from WE14 with mv ABOSSO for escort to Takoradi.


January 1942 :        Deployment at Freetown with Flotilla in continuation


February 1942 :

26th February :        Joined military convoy WS16 with HM Destroyers BOREAS AND WILD SWAN off

                                African coast for Local Escort into Freetown.


March 1942 :

                1st           Detached from WS16 on arrival at Freetown.

                6th          Sailed with WS16 from Freetown with HM Destroyer WILD SWAN, HM Corvettes

                                JASMINE, NIGELLA and HM Sloop Bridgewater as Local Escort.

                8th          Detached from WS16 with HMS WILD SWAN and returned to Freetown.


April  to May 1942  :  Under refit.

                               (Work included:   After 4.7in gun in Y position landed an two additional 20mm guns fitted)


June 1942                On completion of post refit trials took passage to Freetown to resume Atlantic convoy

                                escort duties.

                26th        Joined military convoy WS20 with HM Destroyer BLACKMORE off W. African coast

                                for Local Escort to Freetown. (Part of Ocean Escort of Military W S Convoy to Durban)


July 1942 :

                2nd         Detached from W520 on arrival at Freetown.

                6th          Sailed with WS20 with HM Destroyers BLACKMORE and WIVERN as escort for

                                passage to Durban. Ocean.

               17th        Remained with VJS20 when HMS MALAYA and HMS BLACKMORE detached for

                                escort of part of convoy into Capetown.

                                HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE joined escort.

                20th        Detached from W320 on arrival at Durban.


August 1942 :        Passage to Freetown to resume Atlantic convoy escort deployment


September 1942 :  Convoy defence duties in continuation. Nominated for support of allied landings in North Africa.


October  1942 :    Passage to join Force H for Operation TORCH.


November 1942 : Deployed at Gibraltar and prepared for support duties.

                8th          Part of escort for Assault Convoy.

                                Provided naval gunfire fire support during landings on Beach Y at Oran.

                                Sank Vichy French Sloop LA SURPRISE that attempted to interfere with TORCH landings.

                                (Rescued 21 survivors from French WARSHIP – see above reference)

                14th        Transferred to 61st Escort Group at Gibraltar for anti-submarine defence of the

                                Follow-up convoys and patrol in Western Mediterranean.


December 1942 :   Convoy defence with Group continued.  Nominated for full conversion to A/S Escort Destroyer.


January 1943 :      Passage to Portsmouth.


February 1943 :      Taken in hand for Full Conversion by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.


March to May 1943 :  Under conversion.   Work done included :

                      – Ahead Throwing Anti-Submarine Mortar (HEDGEHOG) fitted in lieu of forward 4.7in gun mounting.

                      – Centimetric surface warning radar (Type 271) installed.

                      – Depth Charge allowance increased to 125.

                      – 3in AA gun removed and after set of torpedo tubes replaced.


June 1943 :      Post refit trials and prepared for operational service.


July 1943 :      Nominated for service with 13th Destroyer Flotilla based at Gibraltar. Carried out Work-up in Clyde area


August 1943 :  Passage to Mediterranean to join Flotilla.


September to November 1943  :   Deployed with Flotilla for Local Escort and anti-submarine search duties.

(During this period increased A/S patrols in conjunction with RAF aircraft carried out in Gibraltar Command area)


December 1943 :

12th December :  Took part in search with US Destroyers EDISON, TRIPPE and WOOLSEY for U73 which had torpedoed a ship in Convoy GUS24 off the coast of Algeria.

(U73 sunk later by US Destroyers by surface gunfire after attacks by Depth Charges forced the submarine to surface)


January to August 1944 :  Convoy defence and A/S duties at Gibraltar in continuation.


September 1944 :             Passage to UK for refit


October  1944 :               Under refit at Portsmouth.  Nominated for service with 1st Destroyer Flotilla.

November 1944 :            Joined Flotilla at Portsmouth and deployed in English Channel and S W Approaches                                         for convoy defence.

December 1944 :            Convoy defence duty with Flotilla in continuation.

24th December 1944 :    Deployed as escort for troopship LEOPOLDVILLE during passage to Cherbourg

                                       with HM Destroyer ANTHONY and two other escorts.

                                      After troopship was hit by acoustic torpedo fired by U486 took part in rescue of

                                      survivors with other escorts. Embarked 20 soldiers before ship sank.

                                      (Note: Ship was carrying 2,237 men of US 66th Division and crew of 237.

                                      1,673 men were rescued and 821 lost their lives)


January 1945 :       Channel deployment in continuation

                              Sustained major structural damage in collision with HM Canadian Corvette LINDSAY                   

                              during fog in the English Channel   English Channel.


February to March 1945 :  Under temporary repair at Portsmouth.   Transferred to Antwerp for completion


April  1945 :          Nominated for service as an Air Target Ship.

23rd April 1945 :  On completion of repair at Antwerp took passage to Portsmouth for conversion.


May 1945 :            Under conversion.


June 1945 :            Deployed at Portsmouth.

7th June 1945  :     Escorted HM Cruiser JAMAICA during passage to Jersey with HM King George VI for visit to the Channel Islands.

13th June 1945 :    Passage to Clyde for Air Target duty.


July 1945 :            Nominated for detached duty as required for collection of surrendered U-Boats.

                             (Operation DEADLIGHT).


12th Fenruary 1946 :  Went to the rescue of Liberty ship PONCE DE LEON when that vessel went aground on the Gantocks Light rocks off Dunoon Pier in the Firth of Clyde


P o s t  -W a r   N o t e s

HMS BRILLIANT was deployed for escort of surrendered U-Boats to Lisahally and Loch Ryan but did not take part in their destruction later. During November 1945 she Paid-off and was placed in Reserve. After she had been de-equipped the ship was used for target trials and placed on the Disposal List in 1947. Sold for to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers on 21st February 1948 the ship arrived in tow at the breaker’s yard at Troon in April 1948.