Allied Warships

HMS Zambesi (R 66)

Destroyer of the Z class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantR 66 
Built byCammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead, U.K.) 
Ordered12 Feb 1942 
Laid down21 Dec 1942 
Launched21 Nov 1943 
Commissioned18 Jul 1944 
End service 

Scrapped at Briton Ferry, Wales 12 February 1959.


Commands listed for HMS Zambesi (R 66)

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1Lt.Cdr. Walter Scott, DSC, RN27 Mar 194410 Mar 1945
2Lt.Cdr. Joseph Mansergh Palmer, RN10 Mar 1945late 1946

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Notable events involving Zambesi include:

15 Sep 1944

Convoy JW 60.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe on 15 September 1944 and arrived in the Kola Inlet on 23 September 1944.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adolph S. Ochs (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Arunah S. Abell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), British Patience (British (tanker), 8097 GRT, built 1943), Cardinal Gibbons (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Daniel Willard (American, 7200 GRT, built 1942), David Stone (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Dexter W. Fellows (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Edward A. Savoy (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Edward E. Spafford (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Empire Celia (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Francis Scott Key (Amercian, 7191 GRT, built 1941), Frederic A. Kummer (American, 7210 GRT, built 1944), Frederic W. Taylor (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), George T. Angell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Hawkins Fudske (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Henry Lomb (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John J. Abel (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Vining (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), John Woolman (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Joshua Thomas (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Julius Olsen (American, 7247 GRT, built 1944), Lewis Emery Jr. (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lucerna (British (tanker for refueling the escorts), 6556 GRT, built 1930), Nathaniel Alexander (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Neritina (British (tanker), 8228 GRT, built 1943), Noreg (Norwegian (tanker), 7605 GRT, built 1931), Raymond B. Stevens (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944), Richard M. Johnson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Samaritan (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Thomas U. Walter (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

The rescue ship Zamalek (British, 1567 GRT, built 1921) was also with the convoy.

The convoy had a close escort made up of the sloop HMS Cygnet (Cdr. D.M. MacLean, RD, RNR, Senior Officer of the close escort), destroyers HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Walker, RN), HMS Keppel (Cdr. I.J. Tyson, DSO, DSC, RNR), HMS Whitehall (Lt.Cdr. P.J. Cowell, DSC, RN) and the corvettes HMS Allington Castle (A/Lt.Cdr. P.A. Read, RNR) and HMS Bamborough Castle (T/Lt. M.S. Work, DSC and Bar, RNR).

A group of destroyers; HMS Saumarez (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Scorpion (Cdr. W.S. Clouston, DSC, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN) and HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN) also departed Loch Ewe with the convoy. The destroyer HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN) later joined at sea having departed Scapa Flow at 2359B/14.

To provide cover for this convoy the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN), escort carriers HMS Campania (A/Capt. K.A. Short, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN), light cruiser HMS Diadem (Capt. E.G.A. Clifford, RN) and the destroyers HMS Myngs (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMS Savage (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HNoMS Stord (Lt.Cdr. H. Øi) departed Scapa Flow around 1300B/16.

At 0720B/17, the destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN and HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, DSC, RN) joined. These destroyers had departed Scapa Flow at 2100B/15 and had fuelled at Skaalefiord in the Faroer Islands on the 16th. Upon these destroyers joining HMS Myngs, HMS Zambesi, HMS Savage and HNoMS Stord then parted company to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 1900B/17.

The cover force joined the convoy around 1030B/17. HMS Rodney and the escort carriers took station in the convoy.

The convoy and it's escort arrived in the Kola Inlet unmolested on 23 September.

On arrival Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Rodney. Shortly before leaving the Kola Inlet with the return convoy he transferred back to HMS Campania.

19 Sep 1944
HMS Scythian (T/Lt C.P. Thode, RNZNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN). (1)

20 Sep 1944
HMS Scythian (T/Lt C.P. Thode, RNZNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN). (1)

14 Dec 1944
HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN) conducted radar tracking exercises off Scapa Flow during which HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN) served as target. (2)

16 Apr 1945
HMS Scorcher (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Savage (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Palmer, RN). (3)

18 Apr 1945
At 0341 hours, HMS Varne (Lt. I.G. Raikes, DSC, RN), was illuminated by friendly destroyers that were operating in the area. HMS Varne was out of position and did not identify herself before crash diving. She was lucky not to be depth charged.

The friendly destroyers encountered were HMS Scorpion (Cdr. C.W. McMullen, DSC, RN), HMS Savage (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. C.G.H. Brown, DSC, RN) and HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Palmer, RN). They were on operation 'Invective', an anti-shipping raid. (4)

20 Apr 1945
HMS Trusty (Lt. W. St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducts exercises with HMS Carysfort (Lt.Cdr. L. St.G. Rich, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Palmer, RN) and ORP Garland (Lt. K. Hess). (5)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 173/18650
  2. ADM 53/120159
  3. ADM 173/19572
  4. ADM 199/1815
  5. ADM 173/20040

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

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