HMS Dauntless

Kingston St Mary has a long standing relationship with HMS Dauntless dating back to the Second World War. The village was involved in the sponsorship of HMS Dauntless.

Warships Weeks

'Warship Weeks' were organised by the National War Savings Committee, with the support of the Admiralty, and were intended to stimulate public loan investment by setting savings targets appropriate to the sizes of various communities and the type of ship which the targets represented. Thus a village could find the £25,000 needed to sponsor a motor torpedo boat while at the other end of the scale a large city could reach £2M for a battle-ship. The money was actually invested by individuals in Government Bonds, National Savings Certificates and even the Post Office Savings Bank, so that it was recovered with 2½ to 3 per cent interest (nearly £10M was loaned interest free) and there was no question of the communities "buying" their ships.

The savings targets were almost invariably exceeded, some areas being allocated additional ships in consequence. Local War Savings Committees organised 1,178 'Warship Weeks' in a total of 1,273 districts, some banding together to increase the target, between 18 October 1941 and 28 March 1942: this campaign raised £955,611,589. A small plaque and a scroll was presented by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to each of the participating districts, the Commanding Officers of the respective ships making the presentation whenever possible. The announcement to the Press quoted the adoption of eight battleships, four carriers, 49 cruisers, 301 destroyers, 25 submarines, 164 corvettes and frigates and 288 minesweepers: the balance of 339 was presumably made up of the Coastal Forces' MTBs, MGBs and Motor Launches, as well as many miscellaneous craft.

The extent to which affiliation was pursued by communities and ships varied considerably - some lost track immediately but others maintained very close links, which have endured to the present.

Source: Naval Historical Branch, 1983

HMS DAUNTLESS - Summary of Service 1939-46

HMS DAUNTLESS was a cruiser of the "D" Class designed in 1916, during The First World War, to meet the threat of new German light cruisers. The "D" Class were given a slightly heavier gun armament than those of the "C" Class (six 6" guns instead of five). Only two ships of the "D" Class -HMS DANAE and HMS DRAGON - were completed before the Armistice in 1918, the DAUNTLESS not being completed until 2 December of that year. HMS DAUNTLESS was built by Palmers Shipbuilding Company on the Tyne, her keel being laid on 3 January 1917 and her launch taking place on 10 April 1918. Of standard displacement of 4850 tons, her length was 471'3", breadth 46'3" and draught (aft) 17'3". Her maximum speed was 29 knots, with an endurance of 6300 miles at 10 knots and 1320 miles at maximum speed.

The first service for HMS DAUNTLESS was in the First Light Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, but she afterwards served on foreign stations. By 1939 she had been reduced to the Reserve Fleet at Portsmouth. In the mobilisation for the Second World War, the DAUNTLESS was allocated to the South Atlantic Station and based on Freetown. Her armament was then 6 x 6" guns, 3 x 4" HA guns, 4 x 3 pdr guns and 2 x 2 pdr guns. She had 4 torpedo tubes and carried 12 torpedoes.

In October, 1939, she was transferred to the China Station, proceeding via the Mediterranean. For the next two years her service was comparatively uneventful, chiefly patrol and convoy escorting, as Japan did not enter the war until December 1941.

On 25 November 1941, HMS DAUNTLESS was ordered home and left Colombo on the 27 November for Seychelles, but two days later she was recalled owing to the Far East situation. However, on 3 December, she was ordered to resume her passage to the UK. On 29 December she left Simonstown with £3m gold bullion embarked for the UK and eventually reached Portsmouth on 22 January 1942. There she was recommissioned and given a short refit.

HMS DAUNTLESS left Portsmouth on 10 March 1942 to return to the Far East. Her armament was now 6 x 6" guns, 3 x 4" HA guns, 2 x 2 pdr pom-pom guns and 8 x 20mm Oerlikon guns. She arrived at Simonstown on 3 April and was detained for a few days for repairs. On 17 April 1942 she left to join the escort of the Middle East troop convoy WS 17. Arriving at Mombasa on 9 May, the DAUNTLESS was ordered on 28 May to relieve HMS RAMILLIES as Senior Naval Officer's ship and guard ship at Diego Suarez, Madagascar, which had been occupied earlier in the month. She was there until July.

Early on the morning of 2 July 1942, the DAUNTLESS convoyed a military force which captured the island of Mayotta, in the Mozambique Channel, from the Yichy French. She returned to Diego Suarez on 8 July. After various escort duties, the DAUNTLESS left on 12 September with the convoy and screen carrying the troops who completed the occupation of Madagascar. On 24 October, the DAUNTLESS returned to Durban where, during the succeeding months, she was employed on the escort of troop convoys in the Indian Ocean.

In January 1943, HMS DAUNTLESS was refitted at Simonstown. On 14 March she was ordered to relieve HMS CAPETOWN in the Persian Gulf. She was not long on this duty as in May she returned to the United Kingdom via the Cape, arriving at Chatham at the end of June. There she was taken in hand for repairs until September.

A new scheme for the sea training of officer candidates from HMS KING ALFRED at Hove had been introduced and HMSs DAUNTLESS. DIOMEDE and CORINTHIAN were allocated for this duty, with the Senior Officer borne in the DAUNTLESS. The DAUNTLESS arrived at Rosyth from Chatham on 7 October 1943 to take up her new duties. Her armament now was 6 x 6" guns, 2 x 4" HA guns and 11 Oerlikon guns on single mountings.

In May 1944, the Training Group had the honour of being visited by King George VI, who saw demonstrations of training and also attended a Selection Board to watch the methods of judging the suitability of a candidate.

HMS DAUNTLESS continued as a training ship until mid-February 1946, when she was reduced to reserve and finally sold for scrapping.

Battle Honours are:

- BALTIC 1854
- CRIMEA 1854-55

Source: Naval Historical Branch
(S 5606 - revised July 1973)

HMS Dauntless

Certificate of adopting HMS Dauntless by Kingston Parish