Allied Warships

HMS Saumarez (G 12)

Destroyer of the S class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantG 12 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered9 Jan 1941 
Laid down8 Sep 1941 
Launched20 Nov 1942 
Commissioned1 Jul 1943 
End service 

HMS Saumarez was mined Corfu strait on 22 October 1946. The mines which heavily damaged the Saumarez had been secretly laid by Albanians, and this fact led to a crisis in the relationships between the two countries: we should note that we were at the opening of the Cold War. Among with the Saumarez, another destroyer got some trouble that day: the HMS Volage; first, she rammed the burning Saumarez in an attempt to save her crew; then she struck another mine, whose explosion torn off her bow. Howewer, Volage managed to reach Malta (with Saumarez in tow), where Volage was further repaired. A group of British minesweepers was sent to the area to clear the strait, and the dead sailors from the two destroyers now rests in the Corfu's cemetery. Saumarez was finally scrapped at Charlestown in October 1950.


Commands listed for HMS Saumarez (G 12)

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1Lt.Cdr. Eric Norman Walmsley, DSC, RN24 May 1943Jan/Feb44
2Lt. John Edwin Dyer, DSC, RNJan/Feb4419 Mar 1944
3Capt. Peter Grenville Lyon Cazalet, DSC, RN19 Mar 194417 Nov 1944
4Capt. Manley Lawrence Power, DSO, OBE, RN17 Nov 194414 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Saumarez include:

16 May 1945
On 9 May 1945 the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro and the Japanese destroyer Kamikaze (both offsite links) left Singapore for a transport run to the Andaman Islands. They were sighted the next day in Malakka Strait by the British submarines HMS Statesman (Lt. R.G.P. Bulkeley, RN) and HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN). To intercept the Japanese ships a task force made up of 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser, 2 light cruisers, 4 escort carriers and 8 destroyers left Trincomalee. Aircraft from the escort carriers attacked the Nicobar Islands on the 11th, forcing Haguro and Kamikaze to head back to Singapore.

On the 14th the Japanese ships again depart from Singapore for the Andaman Islands. They were spotted the next day north-east of Sabang by aircraft the British escort carrier HMS Shah (Capt. W.J. Yendell, RN). A few hours later they were attacked by aircraft from the British escort carrier HMS Emperor (Capt. Sir C. Madden, RN) causing light damaged to Haguro. In the meantime Japanese aircraft have sighted Allied destroyers closing in on Haguro and once again the Japanese ships reverse course.

In anticipation on the Japanese reversal of course the commander of the British 26th DF, Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, DSO with Bar, RN on board HMS Saumarez and the other British destroyers HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. D.H.R. Bromley, DSC, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, DSC, RN) and HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, DSC, RN) plotted a course to intercept the Japanese ships which they did shortly before midnight on the 15th. After careful manoeuvring the destroyers began attacking the Japanese ships from all sides shortly after one o'clock on the 16th. The Haguro was hit by torpedoed and gunfire and sank around 0230hours in position 04°49'N, 99°42'E but not before she hit the Saumarez with gunfire. The escorting Japanese destroyer Kamikaze escapes with only minor damage.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

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