HMS Fearless – Battle Honours


Battle Honours:
Heligoland 1914 Jutland 1916
Norway 1940 Malta Convoy 1941
Mediterrenean 1941 Atlantic 1941
Falklands 1982


HMS Fearless – The Ships

The First Navy Ship to bear the name was a purpose built gun vessel, which was launched in 1794 at Gravesend. She carried 12 guns and a complement of 50 men but was unfortunately wrecked in January 1804 at Cawsands Bay in Plymouth Sound.
A Gunbrig followed 11 months later, again with 12 guns. She saw action at Copenhagen in 1807 before also being wrecked, this time near Cadiz in December 1812.
An ex-GPO vessel, the Flamer built at Limehouse, was re-named becoming the third Fearless in 1837 when the Admiralty took over the packet service. She was a wooden paddlewheel survey vessel and served until June 1875 when she was broken up by Admiralty Order.
The fourth Fearless was a Torpedo Cruiser of 1850 tons, armed with four 5 inch guns and three torpedo tubes. She was built by Barrow S.B. (Vickers) and was launched 20 March 1886. Originally commissioned at Portsmouth, she served mainly in the Mediterranean but also saw service at he Cape of Good Hope in 1899 before paying off in Portsmouth in 1900. She was re-commissioned for the China Station in November 1901 at Sheerness and was finally sold at Portsmouth on 11 July 1905.
An “Active” class scout cruiser of 3440 tons was the next to bear the name. Built at Pembroke dock and launched in 1912, she carried ten 4 inch guns, four 3 pounder guns and two 21 inch torpedo tubes. She served with the Home Fleet 1913-14 seeing action off the Dutch coast on 18 August 1914 in an engagement with the German light cruiser Rostock. Ten days later, off Heligoland, she was present at the sinking of the German destroyer “V187”. Two years later she was in action again at the battle of Jutland and subsequently became attached to the 12th Submarine Flotilla. Fearless was present at the battle of May Island in the Firth of Forth in 1918 before being sold in November 1921.
The predecessor of LPD HMS Fearless was an “F Class” destroyer of 1375 tons. Launched in May 1934 at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, she had four 4.7 inch guns and eight 21 inch torpedo tubes. She was involved in the Spanish Civil War in 1937 before teaming up with HMS Brazen to sink U.49 off Harstadt in 1940. In June 1941, again with other ships, she helped sink U.38 west of Cape Trafalgar, only to suffer torpedo damage one month later from Italian aircraft whilst screening HMS Ark Royal. Fearless caught fire, lost all power, and when judged too damaged to tow, she was sunk north of Bone by Forester on 23 July 1941.
A gap of twenty years followed before LPD HMS Fearless was built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff launched in December 1963 by Lady Hull. She served throughout the world in her primary role as an assault ship and Headquarters, or as many Royal, Commonwealth and Foreign Naval Officer will remember her, as the Dartmouth Training Ship.