HMS Daring (D05)

HMS Daring was the nameship of the Daring-class destroyers authorised in 1944. Between 1953 and 1957 they were reclassified as "Darings" and not included in the destroyer total, but from October 1957 they reverted to classification as destroyers. Daring was built by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson on the Tyne and engined by the Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company. She was laid down on 29 September 1945; launched on 10 August 1949; and completed on 8 March 1952. She served five commissions, was placed in reserve in December 1968 and sold for scrap in 1971. She was the sixth ship of her name in the Royal Navy.

Daring at sea during her first commission (1952–1954)
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Daring
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down: 29 September 1945
Launched: 10 August 1949
Commissioned: 8 March 1952
Decommissioned: 9 October 1968
  • Splendide audax
  • (Latin: "finely daring")
Fate: Sold for breaking, arriving at Blyth on 15 June 1971
  • On a Field Black, an arm and a hand in a cresset of fire all Proper
General characteristics
Class and type: Daring-class destroyer
  • Standard: 2,830 tons
  • Full load: 3,820 tons
Length: 390 ft (120 m)
Beam: 53 ft (16 m)
Draught: 13.6 ft (4.1 m)
Installed power: 54,000 shp (40 MW)
Propulsion: 2 Foster Wheeler boilers (650 psi, 850 °F), Parsons steam turbines, 2 shafts
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 4,400 nmi (8,100 km) at 20 kn (37 km/h)
Complement: Approximately 300
Sensors and
processing systems:

Design and construction

Daring was built by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson on the Tyne and engined by the Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company. She was laid down on 29 September 1945 and launched on 10 August 1949 by Mrs Leonard Hall,[1] daughter-in-law of George Hall, First Lord of the Admiralty. She was commissioned for the first time on 3 February 1952, as the sixth ship of her name in the Royal Navy.

Daring, in common with Dainty, Defender and Delight had a DC electrical system and these ships comprised the 2nd Destroyer Squadron. The remaining ships of the class received a modern AC electrical system, and formed the 5th Destroyer Squadron. Intended to have been of all-welded construction, Daring and two of her sisters were built using composite welded and riveted construction.

Armament originally consisted of six 4.5 inch guns, six 40 mm AA guns, ten 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (five of which were removed in 1958 – 1959) and one Squid triple-barrelled depth-charge mortar. Power was provided by Parsons steam turbines giving 54,000 shp (40 MW) and a maximum sea speed of 30.5 knots (56.5 km/h). Electrical supplies were from two steam turbo-generators, each capable of supplying 350 kilowatts (470 hp) at 220 volts DC, and two diesel generators, each capable of 150 kilowatts (200 hp).[2]


First commission (May 1952 – August 1954)

After commissioning in February 1952, she completed trials, visited her home port of Devonport and conducted final trials at Portland. On 7 May 1952 she sailed for Gibraltar and Malta, arriving on 16 May. She was inspected by the commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma, a previous captain of the last ship the bear the name Daring. On 19 June an accident with ammunition claimed the lives of Senior Commissioned Gunner G W Rossitter and OA2 W P Murphy. Daring acquired an early reputation as an 'unhappy ship',[3] and this was exacerbated when her commanding officer, Captain Vernon John St. Clair-Ford, died suddenly in August. The appointment of Captain Gick as his successor helped change attitudes, and she quickly became an efficient ship under her new management.[3] Visits to Syracuse, Navarin, Tripoli, Toulon, Golfe-Juan and Naples preceded operations in the Suez Canal Zone in October 1952.[3]

In March 1953 she took part in the NATO exrcise Spring Cruise before spending April to July in refit at Gibraltar. On 26 July she sailed to attend the scene of a collision in fog between the British-registered merchant ship Culrain and the Spanish Duero. Duero, on a voyage from Alicante to Las Palmas,[4] and at 1,375 GRT only about a fifth of the size of Culrain, had been sunk by the collision.[5] All 27 crew had been rescued by Culrain, and they were transferred to Daring for landing at Gibraltar.[4]

On 12 August she was recalled to harbour in emergency and ordered to load 200 tons of stores. She sailed for Argostoli to conduct disaster relief operations in the wake of the Kefalonian earthquake. Having landed stores, food and water, and having set up an emergency hospital, she took casualties to Zante on 18 August and passed through the Corinth Canal to Piraeus.[1]

Second commission (August 1954 – November 1956)

The ship's company remained on board for a further ten months after the end of the first commission, serving with the Home Fleet in the Arctic and then back out to the Mediterranean again. Daring returned to Devonport in mid August 1954, leave was granted and the ship returned to the Home Fleet for exercises. Following the exercises, Daring sailed for Tromso in Norway.[1]

Third commission (November 1956 – October 1958)

Daring was en route from the Kiel Canal to Londonderry Port when she was redirected to the Mediterranean. She paused at Gibraltar, and went alongside at Malta. She de-stored a UK destroyer sold to the Egyptians and allowed her to proceed, bombarded Suez with 4.5 inch guns and became a despatch vessel at Suez. On 24 December 1956 she observed the destruction of De Lesseps statue on the mole.

Refit (October 1958 – January 1959)

In October 1958 she paid off for refit in Devonport, during which her after torpedo tubes were removed and replaced with a deckhouse, providing additional accommodation.

Fourth commission (January 1959 – December 1960)

Daring recommissioned at Devonport on 20 January 1959 under the command of Captain C P Mills CBE DSC.[2] She sailed on 26 January for trials and this revealed faults in the gunnery system which necessitated a long spell in Devonport for repairs. She sailed for shakedown on 5 March before arriving at Portland on 11 March to start work-up under the guidance of the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training.

Leave was given during the second half of April prior to sailing for the Mediterranean, but further faults were discovered in the gunnery system, and a further two weeks had to be spent in the Dockyard rectifying the problem. After another brief work-up at Portland was completed on 29 May, the ship's company were given a week's leave before sailing from Portsmouth on 14 June for the Mediterranean. Stopping briefly at Gibraltar, Daring arrived in Malta and on 20 June was visited by Flag Officer Flotillas, Mediterranean (Rear Admiral Ewing), before joining 45 other ships for the NATO-run Exercise Whitebait off Libya. She conducted a Cyprus Patrol 6–26 July, interrupting the patrol to pay a visit to Athens between 16 and 18 July. Reaching Malta on 29 July, the ship's company immediately began final preparations for the Fleet Regatta at Augusta on 4 August.

After a visit to Monaco between 13 and 18 August and a period of leave in Malta, the ship took part in the annual 'SeptEx' for two weeks. At the end of the exercises she sailed for Venice, visiting the city between 21 and 26 September. A day later the ship arrived in Dubrovnik, but during the early morning of 29 September a fierce gale sprang up, and, fearing that she was dragging her anchor, Daring was forced to weigh and proceed to sea in a fierce storm. Some liberty men were left behind, but were recovered shortly afterwards by Crossbow. After a rough passage to Malta the ship replenished with fuel and stores and joined the ships of the Mediterranean Fleet for exercises with the Spanish Navy, followed by visits to Palma and Port Mahon in the Balearics.

After the Balearics the ship did more exercises with the fleet before visiting Tunis, where a British trade fair was in progress. Much of October was taken up with preparations for an inspection on 4 and 6 November by Flag Officer Flotillas, Mediterranean. 20 November found Daring with other Royal Navy units in Taranto for a lengthy exercise with the Italian Navy, and this was followed by a brief period exercising with the aircraft carrier Victorious. After detaching from Victorious, an oiling connection at a RAS station fractured and for a time almost the length of the starboard side was flooded by oil. She spent the night at anchor off Fiumincino cleaning the ship of oil before making her rendezvous with HMS Battleaxe for a visit to Civita Vecchia. Shortly afterwards she led the 2nd Destroyer Squadron in a farewell steampast in honour of the Flag Officer Flotillas, Mediterranean, embarked in HMS Tiger.

For ten weeks during Christmas 1959 and New Year 1960 Daring remained in Malta, except for a short visit to Annaba (formerly Bône), Algeria during January. At Malta she docked down and was refitted. In mid-March the maintenance period was over and she left Malta on 14 March 1960. In company with most of the 2nd Destroyer Squadron she made passage for Algiers. After a combined fleet visit to Gibraltar she transferred to the Home Fleet and sailed for Exercise Dawnbreeze V. Poor weather at the start steadily worsened, and on 26 March the force met a full gale on rounding Cape Trafalgar. Once in the Channel the weather improved, but the Exercise had been badly affected. Daring detached and anchored in Jenny Cliff Bay, Plymouth, having been away for nearly 10 months.

After a brief period of leave the ship returned to Portland for weapon training, and then went by way of Portsmouth to Bremen in company with Crossbow and two submarines. After a nine-day visit she sailed down the Elbe estuary and through the Kiel Canal in thick fog, making her way in to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic was traversed in company with other units of the Home Fleet under the watchful eyes of units of the Soviet Navy, arriving in Helsinki on 26 May. Trials in Scotland saw the ship spend 3 weeks in Campbeltown, and from there she went to Loch Eriboll via the Orkneys. A week at Loch Eriboll was the prelude to another NATO exercise, starting from Rosyth and conducted in poor weather. Visits to Bergen and Horten in Norway were followed by leave at Devonport.

Her final operation of the fourth commission was a patrol off Iceland patrol, a year after the end of the first Cod War. She paid off in December 1960.

In reserve (December 1960 – April 1963)

Daring was placed in reserve at Devonport between December 1960 and April 1963.

Refit (April 1963 – December 1966)

In April 1963 Devonport Dockyard took the ship in hand for a long refit, with a planned completion date of October 1964. Delay followed delay and the refit was not finally completed until December 1966. There were several changes to her weapon and sensor fit: The Mark V replaced the Mark II STAAG mounts, the MRS-3 director replaced the Mark VI, and the remaining set of torpedo tubes was removed. Commander J de B Suchlick Royal Navy, the last commanding officer of Daring joked that the ship earned her only battle honour during this period – "Devonport Dockyard (1960–1966)".[6]

Fifth commission (November 1966 – October 1968)

On 24 October 1966 Daring got under way for the first time in nearly 6 years.[6] Four days of preliminary sea trials, with a trials crew and dockyard workers, were successful. After sea trials many of the seamen were absent for pre-commissioning courses and command team training, while the dockyard worked feverishly to complete the work required by 16 December, the day of commissioning. After Christmas leave the ship's company took her to sea again January and February for Sea Acceptance Trials. Admiral Wise, CSO(T) to CinC Home Fleet, came on board for the acceptance inspection and pronounced the ship operational, despite problems with the gunnery system. Work-up at Portland followed, although this was interrupted to act as a range safety ship for the bombing of the stranded Torrey Canyon.[6]

The ship visited Cherbourg at Whitsun (mid May 1967), and leave was granted in June and July while the ship was prepared for a deployment East of Suez. The ship sailed from Plymouth for the East on 17 July 1967.[6] After visiting Gibraltar on 20 July, and Freetown in Sierra Leone, she conducted the traditional 'Crossing the line' ceremony on 30 July. A stop at Simonstown preceded time on the Beira Patrol and passage to the Far East via Gan. After Christmas in Singapore, she arrived at Hong Kong on 31 December 1967. During her time in Hong Kong the seizure of the USS Pueblo by North Korea raised tensions. She visited Australia, including Darwin, Sydney, where she was inspected by the captain of the 2nd Destroyer Squadron, and Melbourne. In company with Troubridge and Cavalier she made the 3,000 mile journey to Mauritius, ebcountering 80-foot (24 m) swells. Another 5 weeks were spent on the Beira Patrol before returning to the UK via Simonstown and Gibraltar.[6]

In August 1968 she was stationed at Gibraltar for guardship duties, which included a visit by Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma in September. By the end of September she was in Stockholm for British Week. On Wednesday 9 October 1968 she was commenced preparation for being placed on the disposal list, and in December 1968 she was placed in reserve.

In the course of the past two years we have seen a fair slice of the world – certainly more than our predecessors in other commissions. We have done our share of guardship duties and patrols East of Suez and nearer home; we have steamed many miles on goodwill visits, much of our time has been spent on detached service, remote from normal exercise and training facilities. On the occasions when we have been in company with other units of the Fleet we have acquitted ourselves well and earned a reputation for being a smart ship.

The success we have achieved has required a great deal of hard work, enthusiasm and good – humour from every member of the Ship's Company. It has been a team effort of which I believe you may be justly proud and has provided a fitting climax to the last commission of the sixth DARING.

Good Luck to you all[6]

Commander J de B Suchlick Royal Navy, commanding officer HMS Daring, 1966 – 1968


Daring was sold for breaking in 1971.

Commanding officers

8 March 195218 August 1952Captain Vernon John St. Clair-Ford MBE (died in command)
? 1952? 1952Captain E Hale
? 1952? 1952Commander J L Rathbone DSC
October 195225 February 1954Captain P D Gick OBE DSC*[7]
25 February 1954August 1954Captain E A Blundell OBE
November 1956October 1958Captain Graham James Balfour
20 January 1959December 1960Captain C P Mills CBE DSC
December 1960April 1963In reserve
April 1963December 1966Refit (Devonport)
February 19669 October 1968Commander J de B Suchlick


  1. "HMS Daring's first Commission, Trevor Rawlings". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  2. "Commissioning Book (Fourth Commission)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  3. "Commissioning Book (First Commission)". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  4. "Duero". Uboat. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  5. "Crew of Spanish ship rescued". The Times (52684). London. 27 July 1953. col E, p. 5.
  6. "Commissioning Book (Fifth Commission)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  7. "Unit website (search for "Gick" under Royal Navy)". Retrieved 17 August 2015.


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