HMS/HMAS Vendetta was an Admiralty V-class destroyer that saw service during the First World War and the Second World War. Vendetta served in the Royal Navy from 1917 to 1933 and then transferred to the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Vendetta in 1933. She was sold for scrap in 1946 and scuttled off Sydney Heads in 1948.
HMS Vendetta, June 1919 (IWM Q73903).
First World War
HMS Vendetta was commissioned in 1917 and assigned to the Thirteenth Destroyer Flotilla which was attached to the Grand Fleet. In October 1917, the flotilla consisted of the light cruiser HMS Champion as flagship, the depot ship HMS Woolwich, two flotilla leaders, twenty-one M-class destroyers, seven R-class destroyers, and six V-class destroyers (including Vendetta). Her first action was against German minesweepers operating in the Kattegat.
On the night of 17th November 1917, Vendetta formed part of the destroyer screen for the First Light Cruiser Squadron at the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight.
In March 1918, the flotilla was transferred to the Battle Cruiser Force (Rear Admiral William Pakenham).
HMS Vendetta, June 1919 (IWM Q73907).
Following the First World War, Vendetta was assigned to the Baltic in support of White forces during the Russian Civil War. On 12th December 1918, she rescued 430 crew from HMS Cassandra when the cruiser struck a mine and sank. Vendetta also took part in the capture of the Bolshevik Orfey-class destroyer ‘Spartak’ and the Izyaslav-class destroyer ‘Lennuk’ which were transferred to the Estonian Navy.
Between 1924 and 1933, Vendetta served with First Destroyer Flotilla and the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet.
In 1933, Vendetta was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. Together with the destroyer leader Stuart and the destroyers Vampire, Voyager, and Waterhen, she departed Chatham on 17th October and arrived in Sydney on 21st December. The 5 ships formed the Australian Destroyer Flotilla, later to become the infamous “Scrap Iron Flotilla.”
HMAS Vendetta ship’s company 1937 (RAN photo).
Second World War
HMAS Vendetta served in the Royal Australian Navy throughout the Second World War. In November 1939, the RAN approved an Admiralty request to transfer Australian destroyers to the Mediterranean Fleets. HMAS Venedtta took passage with Stuart, Voyager, and Waterhen via the Red Sea and Suez, arriving at Malta on 14th December.
During her time in the Mediterranean, Vendetta earned battle honours for the Libya campaign (1940-41), the Battle of Cape Matapan (1941), the Battle of Greece (1941), and Crete (1941). She also served as a convoy escort between Gibraltar, Malta, and Alexandria, and as a member of the famous ‘Tobruk Ferry Service’ ferrying supplies into the besieged city and evacuating wounded. After 2-years continuous service in the Mediterranean, Vendetta was nominated for refit and, after transit of Suez and Bombay, arrived at Sembawang Dockyard, Singapore on 12th November 1941.
HMAS Vendetta, Tobruk Ferry Service, 1941 (RAN photo).
When war with Japan broke out, Vendetta was still under refit at Sembawang. When the Japanese bombed Singapore on 8th December 1941, a stick of bombs fell within 200-yards of the destroyer. There was a further air raid on 31st December, during which time Vendetta‘s anti aircraft armament went into action. During an air raid on 21st January 1942, Vendetta shot down a Japanese bomber with a direct hit on its bomb bay. With Japanese forces approaching Singapore from landward, the stripped-down Vendetta was towed from the dockyard on 2nd February, reaching Batavia on 10th February, Fremantle on 4th March, and Melbourne on 15th April. Her refit recommenced at Williamstown and was finally complete in September 1942.
HMAS Vendetta (RAN photo).
Vendetta‘s refit involved a reduction in main armament and an increase in anti aircraft armament. She would now serve as a well-armed dedicated escort vessel instead of a “workhorse” destroyer. During her service in the Far East, Vendetta earned the battle honours Pacific (1941-43) and New Guinea (1943-44). In September 1945, Vendetta transported Australian representatives to Rabaul to accept the surrender of Japanese forces.
HMAS Vendetta paid off on 17th November 1945 and was placed on the disposal list. The ship was sold for scrapping in 1946 and her hulk was scuttled off Sydney Heads on 2nd July 1948.
HMS Vendetta / HMAS Vendetta Details
Admiralty V and W-class destroyer.
Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan.
Laid down November 1916.
Launched 3rd September 1917.
Completed 17th October 1917.
Sold for scrap, scuttled off Sydney 1948.
HMS Vendetta / HMAS Vendetta Specifications
Length: 312ft o/a
Beam: 29ft 6in
Draught: 14ft 8in
Machinery: 3 Yarrow boilers, 2 Brown-Curtis turbines, 29,417 SHP, 2 shafts
Complement: 6 officers and 133 ratings
as built: 4 QF 4-inch Mk V guns, 1 QF 2-pounder Mk II, 2 triple 21-inch torpedo tubes
added later: 2 depth charge rails, 4 depth charge throwers
post-1942 refit: 2 4-inch guns, 2 pom-poms, 4 Oerlikon guns, 7 .303-inch guns, depth charges
HMS Vendetta, January 1919 (IWM ART1657).