HMS Racehorse

Vessel name on Arrival: HMS Racehorse

HMS Racehorse

Original Builder: John Brown Shipbuilders and Engineers, Clydebank, Glasgow

Original Yard No: 576

Official Number:

Vessel Type: destroyer

GRT: 1705

Year Built: 1941

Arrival Date: 09/12/1949

Breakup Started: 13/02/1950

Date First Beached: 09/12/1949

Date Breakup Completed: 17/10/1950

Draught For’d: 10' 6"

Draught Aft: 11' 6"

Name Changes:

Other Information:


'R'-Class Twin-Screw Destroyer HMS Racehorse for the Royal Navy                  Pennant No. H 11


01-05-1940  :  Ordered

25-06-1941  :  Laid Down

01-06-1942  :  Launched

27-08-1942  :  Completed


Tonnages  :  1,705 tons / 2,425 tons                         Dimensions  :  103.5 mts  x  10.9 mts


Propulsion  :  Geared steam turbines providing a vessel speed of 36 knots


R-Class Fleet Destroyer ordered with 4th Emergency Flotilla from John Brown, Clydebank in April 1940. Construction work was delayed until September because of priority for repair work in ships damaged earlier that year in Norway and at Dunkirk. The ship was launched on 1st June 1942 as the 11th RN ship to carry the name which was introduced in 1757 and last used by a pre WW1 destroyer sold in 1920. Build was completed in November 1942. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK for National Savings in March 1942 she had been 'adopted' by the civil community of Hackney, Greater London.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

1943  –  ATLANTIC

1944  –  SABANG

1945  –  BURMA


1 9 4 2

Acceptance Trials and commissioned for service in 18th Destroyer Flotilla

Worked up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

Detached to escort HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS with HM Destroyers QUICKMATCH and REDOUBT for Atlantic passage to join US Fleet in Pacific.


1 9 4 3


Detached from HMS VICTORIOUS after stormy passage in Atlantic during which damage was sustained to structure including boats. On completion of repair at Newport News US Navy Yard took passage to join a Tanker convoy as part of escort during passage to Gibraltar.

Nominated for service in Indian Ocean with Flotilla as part of Eastern Fleet.

Deployed in Atlantic for convoy defence.

Joined military convoy WS26 on passage from Gibraltar area to Freetown with HM Destroyers QUALITY QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH and REDOUBT to supplement Ocean Escort for passage to Freetown.



Detached from WS26 with Ocean Escort on arrival at Freetown.

Rejoined WS26 as Ocean Escort for passage to Indian Ocean with HM Armed Merchan Cruisers CANTON and CILICIA, HM Destroyers QUIBERON, QUICKMATCH and QUALITY.

Detached from WS26 in Indian Ocean after ships from Capetown joined convoy.



Deployed for convoy defence in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic.

Joined military convoy WS27 with HM Destroyers FOXHOUND and QUILLIAM to relieve HM Destroyers QUAIL, QUALITY and RAIDER as Ocean Escort for passage to Capetown.

Detached from WS27 on arrival off Capetown.



Passage from Capetown to join military convoy WS28 in Atlantic.

Joined WS28 during passage from Freetown to Capetown with HM Destroyer RELENTLESS as relief for HM Destroyers QUADRANT and REDOUBT in Ocean Escort.

Detached from WS28 on arrival at Capetown and relieved by HM Destroyers QUADRANT, REDOUBT and RELENTLESS as Ocean Escort during passage to Durban



Convoy defence in continuation.  Passage to join military convoy WS29 in South Atlantic.

Joined WS29 with HM Destroyers RELENTLESS and ROTHERHAM for Ocean Escort during passage to Durban

Detached from WS29 with HMS RELENTLESS an arrival at Capetown.

Rejoined WS29 with HMS RELENTLESS and HMS ROTHERHAM as Ocean Escort for passage to Durban.

Remained with WS29 off Durban and after additional mercantiles joined deployed as Ocean Escort with HM Cruiser KENYA, HM Destroyers NORMAN, QUADRANT, REDOUBT.

Detached from WS29 and returned to Durban.



Deployed with M Destroyers NIZAM and RELENTLESS as screen for HM Cruisers SUFFOLK and NEWCASTLE during search for German tanker CHARLOTTE SCHLIEMANN  known to be in use for replenishment of U-Boats operating In the Indian Ocean.

 Search abandoned after no interception or sighting by CATALINA aircraft or ships.


July  to November            

Resumed deployment at Durban for Indian Ocean convoy defence and patrol.

Nominated for transfer to Trincomalee.



Passage to Trincomalee to Join Eastern Fleet.

Deployed at Trincomalee for screening of major units and convoy defence.


1 9 4 4

January to February        

Deployed with Flotilla in India for convoy defence patrol and the interception of enemy supply ships and blockade runners.



Deployed for Fleet duties.

Deployed with HM Destroyers NAPIER RAN), NORMAN (RAN), NEPAL (RAN) QUILLIAM, QUALITY, QUIBERON (RAN), PATHFINDER, QUEENBOROUGH, Dutch VAN GALEN and Dutch TJERK HIDDES as screen for HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers LONDON, CUMBERLAND, GAMBIA (RNZN) and CEYLON for shipping protection and exercises.

Carried out Fleet exercises after Eastern Fleet units met US Task Group 58.5 for loan service.

Returned with RN and USN ships to Trincomalee.



Deployed with Eastern Fleet as part of Force 69 for a diversionary operation off Sumatra and the Nicobar-Andaman area during allied operations in New Guinea.

Joined HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, PENN, PETARD, QUIBERON (RAN), NAPIER (RAN), NEPAL (RAN), NIZAM (RAN) and the Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN as screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and French RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers CEYLON, NIGERIA, GAMBIA (RNZN), NEWCASTLE and Dutch cruiser TROMP as Force 69.

Deployed with screen for Force 70 during air attacks on Sabang and airfield at Lho Nga.

Three Japanese torpedo aircraft were destroyed in an attempt to approach allied units after the air operations.



Fleet deployment in continuation.

Joined HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, PENN, NAPIER (RAN), NEPAL (RAN), QUIBERON (RAN) and QUICKMATCH (RAN) with the Dutch destroyer VAN GALEN in Force 65)

Sailed as the screen for battleships HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT HMS RENOWN and French RICHELIEU, HM Cruiser KENYA and the Dutch TROMP.

Replenished in Exmouth Bay, NW Australia from Force 67 (This comprised Six tankers and a Distilling ship escorted from Ceylon by HM Cruisers LONDON and SUFFOLK.)

Air attacks carried out on oil refineries and harbour installations.

USS SARATOGA and US destroyers from TF66 detached.

Returned to Ceylon after refuelling in Exmouth Bay.



Deployed with HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY, RAPID and RELENTLESS, HM Cruisers GAMBIA (RNZN), CEYLON, PHOEBE and HM Submarine SURF to cover HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and HM Escort Aircraft Carrier ATHELING for special operation to threaten an attack by carrier aircraft on Sabang

Returned to Trincomalee.

Deployed with HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY, QUICKMATCH, ROTHERHAM, RELENTLESS, ROEBUCK and RAIDER as screen for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS RENOWN, French RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NIGERIA and CEYLON in Force 60 during air attacks on Port Blair.



Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.

Carried out hunt with HMS RAIDER for 1537. (This submarine was on passage from Penang having delivered torpedoes and carried out an attack on a tanker which failed. This hunt lasted several days but unsuccessful.)

Joined HM Destroyers RELENTLESS, ROTHERHAM, ROCKET and RAPID as screen for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND, NIGERIA, KENYA, CEYLON, GAMBIA (RNZN), PHOEBE and Dutch TROMP during bombardment of Sabang, Sumatra as Force 62.

Aircraft carriers detached with HMS PHOEBE, HMS ROEBUCK and HMS RAIDER to take passage to Flying-off area.

Bombarded shore targets.



Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.



Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, REDOUBT, RAPID, ROCKET, RELENTLESS and RAIDER as screen for HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS, INDOMITABLE., HM Battleship HOWE HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND and KENYA during air strikes and photo-reconnaissance.

Planned strikes against airfields cancelled due to weather conditions.

Photo-reconnaissance flights carried out on northern Sumatra.

Air strikes carried out on targets at Sigli, Sumatra.

On completion returned with Fleet units to Trincomalee.


October to December         

Fleet deployment with Flotilla in continuation.



1 9 4 5

January to March         

Eastern Fleet screen and patrol duties with Flotilla in continuation.  (Ships of Flotilla went to Simonstown for refit and R & R prior to planned operations by newly identified East Indies Fleet in support of landings in Burma and Malaya.



Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, REDOUBT and ROCKET for shipping sweep off Burma coast between Mergui and Amherst and for investigation of possible use of Narcondan Island as a base for MTB's.

Bombarded radar station on Great Coco Island.

Returned to Akyab to refuel.

Sailed with same ships for anti-shipping sweep between Moulmein River and Mergui on Coast of Burma. Several small sailing craft destroyed.

Return passage to Trincomalee.

Deployed with HM Destroyers REDOUBT and ROEBUCK as Force 62 for offensive patrols in Indian Ocean during allied landings in Burma

Commenced operation to intercept craft between Rangoon and Tenasserim coast.

Intercepted convoy evacuating troops from Rangoon and destroyed all 11 ships.

Bombarded Car Nicobar and Port Blair



Bombarded Car Nicobar.

Rescued survivors from Japanese convoy destroyed on 30th April.  (Some Japanese refused assistance and committed ‘Hari-Kari')      

Deployed as screen for HM Cruiser NIGERIA with HMS REDOUBT and HMS ROEBUCK as Task Force 62 to reinforce Eastern Fleet during operation to intercept warships which were covering evacuation of Andamans and Nicobars. 



Deployed with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, RELENTLESS, REDOUBT and ROEBUCK as screen for Force 63 (HM Escort Carriers STALKER, KHEDIVE and AMEER, HM Cruisers SUFFOLK and ROYALIST).

Carrier aircraft carried out photo-reconnaissance missions over Southern Malaya and attacked airfields in Northern Sumatra.



Fleet duties with Flotilla in continuation.

Joined HM Battleship NELSON, HM Cruiser SUSSEX, HM Escort Carrier EMPRESS with HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, PALADIN and RAIDER to cover mine clearance by the 7th Minesweeping Flotilla off Phuket Island as Force 63.

Mine clearance commenced  (HM Minesweeper SQUIRREL badly damaged by mine. seven of ship's company were killed. Minesweeper had to be sunk after taking on heavy list.

Under attack by Japanese suicide dive-bombers.

HM Minesweeper VESTAL was hit and badly damaged by fire. Eleven of snip's company killed.  Sank HMS VESTAL by gunfire. On completion of clearance operation returned to Trincomalee. This was the last offensive operation by ships of the Eastern Fleet).



Deployed with Fleet at Trincomalee and prepared for Malaya landings.

Deployed with Eastern Fleet for screening duties during passage to Padang.



Fleet screening duties in continuation.

Part of covering force during landings in Malaya.

Deployed with Eastern Fleet ships at Singapore for Japanese surrender.


P o s t  W a r  

HMS RACEHORSE returned to UK after the occupation of Singapore and was reduced to Reserve status at Portsmouth. Laid up at Portsmouth she was selected for use as a ship target in trials at Gareloch. On completion in 1949 the ship was placed on the Disposal List and sold to The West of Scotland Shipbreakers on 9th November 1949. The ship arrived in tow at Troon for demolition In on 8th December that year.