HMS Zealous (R39)

The Royal Navy during the Second World War A27537.jpg
HMS Zealous moored at Gourock, March 1945
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Zealous
Ordered: 12 February 1942
Builder: Cammell Laird
Laid down: 5 May 1943
Launched: 28 February 1944
Commissioned: 9 October 1944
Out of service: Sold to Israel, 15 July 1955
Israel
Name: INS Eilat
Acquired: 15 July 1955
Commissioned: July 1956
Fate: Sunk 21 October 1967
General characteristics
Class and type: Z-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,710 tons
Length: 362.7 ft (110.6 m)
Beam: 35.7 ft (10.9 m)
Propulsion:
  • Geared turbines
  • two shafts
  • 40,000  hp (30,000 kW)
Speed: 37 knots (69 km/h; 43 mph)
Complement: 186
Armament:

HMS Zealous was a Z-class destroyer of the Royal Navy built in 1944 by Cammell Laird. She served during the Second World War, participating in operations in the North Sea and off the Norwegian coast, before taking part in some of the Arctic convoys. She spent a further ten years in Royal Navy service after the end of the war, before being sold to the Israeli Navy, which operated her as INS Eilat. She saw action during the Suez Crisis in 1956, attacking Egyptian ships and was still active by the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967. She was sunk several months after the conflict by missiles launched from several small Egyptian missile boats; this made her the first vessel to be sunk by a missile boat in wartime. It was an important milestone in naval surface warfare, which aroused considerable interest around the world in the development of small manoeuvrable missile boats.

Second World War

Zealous was one of four British destroyers of the Home Fleet that rescued 525 Norwegians, who had been hiding from German patrols in caves on the snow-covered mountains of Sørøya island, Norway for three months. The rescue involved the destroyers on a daring race 60 miles (97 km) behind enemy lines. The Norwegians were safely evacuated to the British port of Gourock.

Zealous made two trips from the UK to Russia as part of the Arctic Convoys taking supplies around Norway to Kola. Under the guidance of Commander R.F. Jessel RN DSO she ran the gauntlet of German U-Boats and aircraft.

On 5 April 1945 she was involved in an attack on a convoy entering the Jøssingfjord on the coast of Norway. One merchant ship was sunk and two were damaged. [1] When the Germans were on the brink of capitulation, the ship was ordered to Copenhagen. There she was mistaken by excited German soldiers as a German destroyer sent to evacuate them.[ citation needed]