H.M.S. Caprice
World Cruise 1968 Association

HMS Caprice - Ship’s History

HMS Caprice 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 April 1944.

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.

A complete history of the ship is available in a book - Destroyer DO1 - The history of HMS Caprice 1942 - 1979 - see Book Page
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This page last updated July 9, 2018 --- -