Allied Warships

HMS Vanessa (D 29)

Destroyer of the Admiralty V & W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
ClassAdmiralty V & W 
PennantD 29 
ModLong range escort 
Built byWilliam Beardmore & Co. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Ordered30 Jun 1916 
Laid down16 May 1917 
Launched16 Mar 1918 
Commissioned27 Apr 1918 
End service 

Reconstruction to Long Range Escort at the Green and Silley Weir shipyard, London was finished in June 1942.

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 4 March 1947.


Commands listed for HMS Vanessa (D 29)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt.Cdr. John Henry Plumer, RN31 Jul 193912 Feb 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Eric Alonzo Stocker, RN12 Feb 19407 Jan 1941
3Lt. John Humphrey Albert Stucley, RN7 Jan 1941late 1941

4Lt. Charles Edward Sheen, RN31 Mar 194221 Feb 1944
5Lt. Barry John Anderson, RN21 Feb 19444 Oct 1944
6T/A/Lt.Cdr. Arthur St. George Walton, RNVR4 Oct 1944Jan 1945 ?

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Notable events involving Vanessa include:

16 Mar 1918
HMS Vanessa was launched by Mrs. Frederick Elvy. (1)

5 Sep 1939
A convoy of eleven passenger liners departed the U.K. for destinations in the Atlantic or Mediterranean (or Far East via the Mediterranean).

The convoy was assembled off the Clyde and was made up of the passenger liners / merchant vessels; Britannic (British, 26943 GRT, built 1930), Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Durban Castle (British, 17388 GRT, built 1938), Montcalm (British, 16418 GRT, built 1921), Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Reina del Pacifico (British, 17702 GRT, built 1931), Scythia (British, 19761 GRT, built 1920) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Vivacious (Cdr. C.R.L. Parry, RN), HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Plumer, RN), HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. K.H. Fraser, RN), HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN) as well as HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. A.R.M. Black, RN), HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. H. Gartside-Tippinge, RN), HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. G.C. Fryer, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN).

Arond 2300A/5, the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) departed Portland escorted by the destroyers HMS Exmouth (Cdr. R.S. Benson, RN) and HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN). They were joined around 0530A/6 by the destroyers HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E.L. Woodhall, RN) and HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) which had come from Plymouth.

Around 1845A/6, HMS Ramillies and her four escorting destroyers joined the convoy after which HMS Vivacious, HMS Vanessa, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company. After conducting an A/S sweep astern of the convoy they proceeded to Plymouth where they arrived around noon on the 7th.

Around 1100A/8, HMS Verity, HMS Volunteer, HMS Witherington and HMS Wolverine parted company with the convoy to proceed to Milford Haven where they arrived in the morning of September 10th.

Late in the morning of September 10th, the French destroyers Le Fortune (Cdr. C.M.L. D'Hespel), La Railleuse (Lt.Cdr. J.E.C. Hourcade) and Simoun (Lt.Cdr. F. Hainguerlot) which had departed Gibraltar around 0810A/9, joined the convoy.

Around 1850A/10, the French destroyer Simoun was sent to Gibraltar with despatches. She arrived there around 0710A/11.

Around noon on the 11th, off Gibraltar, the British light cruiser HMS Galatea (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and the French destroyers Tramontaine (Cdr. R.M.J.A. Renault), Tornade (Lt.Cdr. R.G.A. Labat) and Typhon (Lt.Cdr. Y.M.J. Le Hagre).

HMS Ramillies, and the French destroyers Le Fortune and La Railleuse then proceeded to Gibraltar as did the liner Scythia. Apparently the French destroyers, including Simoun, later proceeded again to rejoin the convoy.

HMS Exmouth, HMS Eclipse, HMS Encounter and HMS Escapade most likely detached from the convoy on 12 September as they arrived at Gibraltar on the 14th via Oran.

The French destroyers were relieved near Malta on 14 September 1939 by the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN) and HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN). Also a French convoy (L 2), made up of the merchant vessels Sphinx (French, 11375 GRT, built 1915) and Ville de Strasbourg (French, 7007 GRT, built 1920), which had departed Marseilles on 12 September, joined the convoy for onward passage to Beirut. This French convoy had probably been escorted by the destroyers Maille Breze (Cdr. H.M.E.A. Glotin), Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A. Braxmeyer) and Kersaint (Cdr. G.R.J. Rebuffel) which apparently also joined the convoy. The Durban Castle also detached off Malta at 1000B/14 and entered Valetta.

Around 1600B/15 the Clan Ferguson parted company. She was carrying important stores for Istanbul, Turkey. She was escorted by the destroyer HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN).

At 0700B/16, the Britannic, Duchess of Bedford, Montcalm, Reina del Pacifico and Strathaird were detached to Port Said.

the Orcades, Orford and Orion arrived at Alexandria in the evening of the 16th. HMS Galatea did not enter but went to the west to make rendezvous with the destroyers HMS Griffin and HMS Garland of which the former was towing the later after she had been damaged by her own depth charges.

6 Jan 1940

Convoy HX 15.

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 January 1940.

It was made up of the following transports / tankers; Amakura (British, 1987 GRT, built 1924), Argos Hill (British, 7178 GRT, built 1922), Athelcrown (British (tanker), 11999 GRT, built 1929), Atlantic (British, 5414 GRT, built 1939), Auditor (British, 5444 GRT, built 1924), Barn Hill (British, 5439 GRT, built 1921), Bonnington Court (British, 4909 GRT, built 1929), Boulderpool (British, 4805 GRT, built 1928), Delilian (British, 6423 GRT, built 1923), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Geo W. McKnight (British (tanker), 12502 GRT, built 1933), Houston City (British, 4935 GRT, built 1934), I.C. White (Panamanian (tanker), 7052 GRT, built 1920), Inverarder (British (tanker), 5578 GRT, built 1919), Moveria (British, 4867 GRT, built 1935), Narragansett (British (tanker), 10389 GRT, built 1936), Oiltrader (British (tanker), 5550 GRT, built 1927), Panaghis (Greek, 5187 GRT, built 1920), San Roberto (British (tanker), 5890 GRT, built 1922), Sinfra (French, 4470 GRT, built 1929), Syrian Prince (British, 1990 GRT, built 1936), Trevalgan (British, 5299 GRT, built 1937), Voco (British (tanker), 5090 GRT, built 1925) and Wanderer (British, 5079 GRT, built 1925).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tisdall, RCN).

The Canadian destroyers parted company to return to Halifax on 7 January 1940.

On 18 January 1940, the destroyers HMS Wren (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Plumer, RN) and HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, RN) joined the convoy to escort the bulk of it towards Liverpool.

Also on the 18th, the destroyers HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, RN) and HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, RN) joined to escort HMS Resolution to Plymouth where they arrived on the 19th, minus HMS Viscount which did not enter harbour.

7 Feb 1940

Convoy HX 19.

This convoy departed Halifax on 7 February 1940.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Arakaka (British, 2379 GRT, built 1933), Athelduchess (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1929), Athelfoam (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1931), Barrwhin (British, 4998 GRT, built 1929), Blairangus (British, 4409 GRT, built 1930), British Commander (British (tanker), 6901 GRT, built 1922), British Workman (British (tanker), 6994 GRT, built 1922), Calgarolite (British (tanker), 11941 GRT, built 1929), Caprella (British (tanker), 8230 GRT, built 1931), Capulet (British (tanker), 8190 GRT, built 1932), Conch (British (tanker), 8376 GRT, built 1931), Cressington Court (British, 4971 GRT, built 1929), Davisian (British, 6433 GRT, built 1925), Dramatist (British, 5443 GRT, built 1920), Embassage (British, 4954 GRT, built 1935), Frederick K.S. Fales (British (tanker), 10525 GRT, built 1939), Generton (British, 4797 GRT, built 1936), Hadleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Harpathian (British, 4671 GRT, built 1930), Hird (Norwegian, 4950 GRT, built 1924), Johilla (British, 4042 GRT, built 1937), Loch Maddy (British, 4996 GRT, built 1934), Magician (British, 5105 GRT, built 1925), Mimosa (British, 3071 GRT, built 1905), Montrolite (British (tanker), 11309 GRT, built 1926), New York City (British, 2710 GRT, built 1917), Pacific Reliance (British, 6717 GRT, built 1927), Parracombe (British, 4702 GRT, built 1928), Peebles (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936), Port Halifax (British, 5820 GRT, built 1937), Queen City (British, 4814 GRT, built 1924), Rio Dorado (British, 4507 GRT, built 1924), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), San Cipriano (British (tanker), 7966 GRT, built 1937), San Florentino (British (tanker), 12842 GRT, built 1919), San Ubaldo (British (tanker), 5999 GRT, built 1921), Statira (British, 4852 GRT, built 1937), Temple Pier (British, 4312 GRT, built 1928), Thistlebrae (British, 4747 GRT, built 1928), Tower Field (British, 4241 GRT, built 1935), Tregarthen (British, 5201 GRT, built 1936), Varand (British, 6023 GRT, built 1927), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928), Warkworth (British, 4941 GRT, built 1924) and Waziristan (British, 5135 GRT, built 1924).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tisdall, RCN) and HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN).

During the forming up of the convoy HMS Revenge and the tanker Appalchee (British, 8826 GRT, built 1930) collided with each other. The tanker was therefore unable to proceed with the convoy and returned to Halifax. HMS Revenge was able to continue as planned.

On the 8th the Canadian destroyers parted company and returned to Halifax.

At 1500OP(+2.5)/14, HMS Revenge parted company with the convoy to return to Halifax.

Local escort on approaching the U.K. were the destroyers HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN), HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) and HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Stocker, RN).

The Loch Maddy, which had straggled from the convoy was hit in the early evening of 21 February 1940 by a torpedo from the German submarine U-57. The crew then abandoned ship but she did not sink. She was finished off shortly after midnight on 22 February 1940 by a torpedo the German submarine U-23. The ship broke in half and the bow section slowly sank. The stern section remained afloat and was later beached but the ship was declared a total loss.

18 Mar 1940

Convoy HX 28.

This convoy departed Halifax on 18 March 1940 and arrived at Liverpool 2 April 1940.

Upon departure from Halifax the convoy was made up of the following merchant ships: Aldersdale (British (tanker), 8402 GRT, built 1937), Annik (Norwegian, 1333 GRT, built 1940), Antigone (British, 4545 GRT, built 1928), Athelknight (British (tanker), 8940 GRT, built 1930), Avelona Star (British, 13376 GRT, built 1927), Beckenham (British, 4636 GRT, built 1937), Bengore Head (British, 2609 GRT, built 1922), Boreas (Norwegian, 2801 GRT, built 1920), Bridgepool (British, 4845 GRT, built 1924), British Captain (British (tanker), 6968 GRT, built 1923), British Prudence (British (tanker), 8620 GRT, built 1939), Cardita (British (tanker), 8237 GRT, built 1931), Collegian (British, 7886 GRT, built 1923), Cordelia (British (tanker), 8190 GRT, built 1932), Dalcroy (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Dromore Castle (British, 5242 GRT, built 1919), Edward F. Johnson (British (tanker), 10452 GRT, built 1937), Empire Confidence (British, 5023 GRT, built 1935), Eskdalegate (British, 4250 GRT, built 1930), Europe (Norwegian (tanker), 8371 GRT, built 1934), Grainton (British, 6341 GRT, built 1929), Harlingen (British, 5415 GRT, built 1933), Henri Desprez (French (tanker), 9805 GRT, built 1932), Hopepeak (British, 5179 GRT, built 1938), Indiana (French, 5751 GRT, built 1917), Induna (British, 5086 GRT, built 1925), Inversuir (British, 9456 GRT, built 1938), Jean L.D. (French, 5795 GRT, built 1935), Jumna (British, 6078 GRT, built 1929), Jutland (British, 6153 GRT, built 1928), Lancaster Castle (British, 5172 GRT, built 1937), Lucerna (British (tanker), 6556 GRT, built 1930), Macharda (British, 5998 GRT, built 1938), Malayan Prince (British, 8953 GRT, built 1926), Manchester Citizen (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Matheran (British, 7653 GRT, built 1919), Mathilda (Norwegian, 3650 GRT, built 1920), Narragansett (British (tanker) 10389 GRT, built 1936), Newfoundland (British, 6791 GRT, built 1925), Nicolaou Georgios (Greek, 4108 GRT, built 1930), Politician (British, 7939 GRT, built 1923), Pomella (British (tanker), 6766 GRT, built 1937), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Rio Azul (British, 4088 GRT, built 1921), Rockpool (British, 4892 GRT, built 1927), San Demetrio (British (tanker), 8073 GRT, built 1938), San Ernesto (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1939), San Gabriel (British, 4943 GRT, built 1920), Sarthe (British, 5271 GRT, built 1920), Scoresby (British, 3843 GRT, built 1923), Selvistan (British, 5136 GRT, built 1924), Shirak (British (tanker), 6023 GRT, built 1926), Stanwell (British, 5767 GRT, built 1914), Stiklestad (Norwegian (tanker"), 9349 GRT, built 1938), Torr Head (British, 5021 GRT, built 1937), Trecarrell (British, 5271 GRT, built 1919), Tuira (Panamanian, 4397 GRT, built 1912), Varanger (Norwegian (tanker), 9305 GRT, built 1925), W.B. Walker (British (tanker), 10468 GRT, built 1935) and Walter D. Munson (Greek, 3703 GRT, built 1917).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt. H.S. Rayner, RCN) and HMCS Ottawa (Capt. G.C. Jones, RCN).

HMCS Ottawa parted company with the convoy later on the 18th. HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena parted company on the 19th.

The convoy then continued on eastwards escorted by HMS Royal Sovereign which parted company with the convoy on the 27th.

On approaching the British Isles the destroyers HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN) and HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN) joined the convoy on the 27th, HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN) and HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Stocker, RN) on the 28th and HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. C.G.W. Donald, RN) on the 29th. Apparently only HMS Antelope remained with when the convoy until it arrived at Liverpool.

13 Jul 1940
Shortly after leaving Dover, escorting a convoy HMS Vanessa (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Stocker, DSC, RN) was damaged by near misses during a German air attack. Vanessa's propellers were damaged and put out of action by a bomb exploding 6 yards astern. Vanessa was towed to Sheerness by HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN). Repairs to Vanessa were completed on 4 November 1940.

19 Jun 1941
HMS Vanessa is damaged by a German aircraft while on patrol in the North Sea. She suffered a direct amidships, blowing up boilers, the fore funnel was blasted overboard, and the deck opened up. Eleven ratings and the engineer officer were killed and many of the crew were injured and burned. The damaged destroyer collided with anti-submarine trawler HMS Turquoise. Vanessa was towed to Yarmouth by destroyer HMS Vesper.

22 May 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.C. Medley, RN), HMS Scarborough (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Carnduff, RN), HMS Sandwich (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, RD, RNR), HMS Leamington (Lt. B.M.D. I'Anson, RN), HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR), HMS Columbine T/Lt. A.L. Turner, RNR) and HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, RN). (2)

26 Dec 1942
German U-boat U-357 was sunk in the North Atlantic north-west of Ireland, in position 57°10'N, 15°40'W by the British destroyers HMS Hesperus (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO, RN) and HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, RN). U-357 was forced to the surface by depth charges and was rammed by HMS Hesperus.

2 Mar 1943
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, RN), HMS Whitehall (Cdr. H. Bell, RD, RNR), HMS Heather (T/Lt. W.L. Turner, RNR) and HNoMS Rose. (3)

17 Oct 1943
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Chelmer (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Cherry, RNR), HMS Grassholm (T/Lt. J.A. Antonsen, RNR), HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, DSC, RN) and HMS Northern Sun (T/Lt. H. Meredith, RNVR), (4)

4 Nov 1943
HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.R.B. Newton, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with Escort Group B 2 and also with HMS Enchantress (Cdr. A.E.T. Christie, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Columbine T/A/Lt.Cdr. W.J. Griffiths, RNR).

Ship of Escort Group B 2 present at Lough Foyle on this day were HMS Hesperus (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Vanessa (Lt. C.E. Sheen, DSC, RN), HMS Vesper (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN), HMS Mourne (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Holland, RD, RNR), HMS Campanula (T/Lt. I. Bull, RNVR), HMS Clematis (T/Lt. R.H. Farrands, DSC, RNR) and HMS Gentian (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.W.C. Dempster, RNVR). Possibly not all of them participated in the A/S exercise though. (5)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 173/17201
  3. ADM 173/17814
  4. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  5. ADM 173/18231

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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