was laid down at the shipyard of Yarrows & Co Ltd.,
Scotstoun, on 28th September 1942, launched on 16 September
1943 as HMS Swallow and first commissioned on 5th
She was one of 36 War Emergency class destroyers
built to replace ships lost in action. This early picture shows
her with the original RO1 pennant number.
During the war, the ship took part in Russian and
Atlantic convoys and acted as escort to the liners, Queen
Elizabeth and Ile de France on their high
speed trooping runs.
In 1945 she saw action in the Far East at the close
of the Japanese War and received the surrender of some 5,000 Japanese
prisoners at Uleeheue.
After the war the Caprice
spent some time with the Mediterranean and Far East Fleets and was
extensively modernised in the late fifties. In spite of her age,
the Caprice packed a heavy punch. Her Parsons geared turbines produced
a total of 40,000 shaft horse power, driving two shafts to push
her 362 foot long hull through the water at over 35 knots.
She was armed with three 4.5 inch radar
controlled guns in single turrets, for use against aircraft, surface
targets or shore bombardment. She was fitted with the (then) modern
Seacat anti-aircraft missile system, two 40mm close range guns and
also Sonar underwater detection gear for hunting submarines, which
were then attacked by two triple barrel mortars from the after end
of the ship.
By 1968, the Caprice was one of the
few wartime ships still in service with the Royal Navy, and one
of the last "Greyhounds of the Seas" as conventional destroyers
of the British Royal Navy, were once called. Finally in 1973, the
Caprice, then Navy’s last remaining, serving World War II
destroyer was finally taken out of commission and later broken up
in November 1979 at Washer Wharf, Queenborough.
During her 36 years of service she had steamed a total
of 400,283 miles – this is the equivalent
of almost to the moon and back, but more realistically 16 times
around the world (and this Association’s members were privileged
to have taken part on one of them in 1968).
See the Picture
Archive for other pictures of Caprice during her time in service.