HMS Jaguar (F34)

HMS Jaguar was a J-class destroyer of the Royal Navy.

Jaguar dropping depth charges, 1940
United Kingdom
Name: Jaguar
Namesake: Jaguar
Builder: William Denny and Brothers
Laid down: 25 November 1937
Launched: 22 November 1938
Commissioned: 12 September 1939
Identification: Pennant number: F34
Fate: Sunk by German submarine U-652, 26 March 1942
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: J-class destroyer
Length: 356 ft 6 in (108.66 m) o/a
Beam: 35 ft 9 in (10.90 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (deep)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 183 (218 for flotilla leaders)
Sensors and
processing systems:


The eight ships of the J class were ordered on 25 March 1937, and Jaguar was laid down at the Dumbarton shipyard of Denny on 25 November 1937. She was launched on 22 November 1938 and commissioned on 12 September 1939.[1]

Jaguar was 339 feet 6 inches (103.48 m) long between perpendiculars and 356 feet 6 inches (108.66 m) overall, with a beam of 35 feet 8 inches (10.87 m) and a draught of 9 feet (2.7 m). Displacement was 1,690 long tons (1,720 t) standard and 2,330 long tons (2,370 t) deep load.[2] Two Admiralty three-drum boilers fed steam at 300 pounds per square inch (2,100 kPa) and 620 °F (327 °C) to Parsons to two sets of Parsons single-reduction geared-steam turbines, rated at 40,000 shaft horsepower (30,000 kW). This gave a design speed of 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph) at trials displacement and 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph) at full load.[3]

As completed, Jaguar had a main gun armament of six 4.7 in (120 mm) QF Mark XII guns in three twin mountings, two forward and one aft. These guns could only elevate to an angle of 40 degrees, and so were of limited use in the anti-aircraft role, while the aft mount was arranged so that it could fire forwards over the ship's superstructure to maximise the forward firing firepower, but was therefore incapable of firing directly aft. A short range anti-aircraft armament of a four-barrelled 2-pounder "pom-pom" anti-aircraft mount and eight .50 in machine guns in two quadruple mounts was fitted, while torpedo armament consisted of ten 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes in two quintuple mounts.[4]


On commissioning, Jaguar joined the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at Grimsby, operating off Britain's east coast. On 11 October, the ship ran aground in the Firth of Forth and was under repair until November. She was refitted at the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company's Dundee yard from 15 March 1940 to 1 May that year, with leaks being rectified and her fuel tanks modified.[5] On 20 May 1940, Jaguar, along with sister ships Jackal and Javelin and the corvette Puffin, escorted Naval trawlers as they cut the undersea telegraph cables between the UK and Borkum.[6][7]

On 26 May 1940, the Royal Navy set Operation Dynamo in motion, to rescue trapped British troops from Dunkirk and the surrounding area.[8] On 27 May, Jaguar, together with Javelin and Grenade, was deployed to screen the evacuation operations from the North.[9] On 28 May, Jaguar and other destroyers rescued survivors from the sinking of SS Abukir.[6][10][11] Jaguar landed 370 troops picked up from the beaches of Bray-Dunes at Dover early on 29 May.[12][13]Later that day she was ordered to embark troops from Dunkirk harbour. Jaguar, Grenade and Gallant were attacked by German dive bombers as they arrived at Dunkirk at about noon, with Gallant damaged by a near miss and forced to turn back. Jaguar and Grenade berthed side-by-side on the East Pier at Dunkirk. She embarked about 1000 troops before leaving the harbour at about 15:50 hr, when she was attacked by dive bombers and near missed by four bombs, which severed a steam pipe, which disabled her engines and knocking out her steering. She was towed clear of a wreck by the destroyer Express, which along with the coaster Rika, took off Jaguar's troops. Later that day, Jaguar managed to restore power and returned to Dover under her own steam.[14][13][15]

Jaguar was sent to the Humber for repair, returning to service on 23 June.[5] In October 1940 she was transferred to Portsmouth,[6] and on 11 October, took part in Operation Medium, when the destroyers of the 5th Destroyer Flotilla, including Jaguar, escorted the battleship Revenge during a bombardment of Cherbourg harbour.[16] From 14 October to 1 November, Jaguar was refitted at Devonport, being fitted with degaussing coils.[5]

In later February 1941 she took part in Operation Abstention, where she engaged the Italian destroyer Crispi off Kastelorizo, disengaging after Crispi scored a 40 mm (1.6 in) hit on her searchlight; that March she took part in the Battle of Cape Matapan. Jaguar was struck by two torpedoes fired by the German submarine U-652 and sank off Sidi Barrani, Egypt, 31°53′N 26°18′E on 26 March 1942 with the loss of 3 officers and 190 of her crew. 8 officers and 45 crewmen were rescued by the naval whaler HMS Klo.


  1. English 2001, p. 71.
  2. Whitley 2000, p. 117.
  3. Lenton 1970, p. 121.
  4. Whitley 2000, p. 117–118.
  5. English 2000, p. 73.
  6. Mason, Geoffrey B. (3 August 2011). "HMS Jaguar (G34) — J-class Destroyer: including Convoy Escort Movements". Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  7. English 2000, pp. 73, 76.
  8. Winser 1999, p. 13.
  9. English 2000, p. 76.
  10. Mason, Geoffrey B (27 July 2011). "HMS Codrington (D 65) – A-class Flotilla Leader: including Convoy Escort Movements". Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  11. Mason, Geoffrey B (30 July 2011). "HMS Grenade (H 86) – G-class Destroyer". Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  12. Winser 1999, p. 89.
  13. Sebag-Montefiore 2015, pp. 391–392.
  14. Winser 1999, pp. 17–18.
  15. H.M. Ships Damaged or Sunk by Enemy Action 1952, p. 133.
  16. Rohwer and Hümmelchen 1992, p. 38.


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