HMAS Vampire I

About This Unit

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Launched on the 21st May 1917, the Vampire was a V class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. As part of a British Admiralty loan agreement 16 years later, the Royal Australian Navy commissioned the Vampire in Portsmouth on the 17th October 1933. Over the next four years, it operated largely as a naval reserve vessel based at HMAS Cerberus (Flinders Naval Depot).

In May 1938, the Vampire was recommissioned into the permanent Royal Australian Navy. At the outbreak of World War Two, HMAS Vampire was among the flotilla sent to Singapore. Redirected to the Mediterranean, HMAS Vampire commenced her official War duties, which largely involved escort and patrol taskings, on the 21 December 1939.

In comparison to the losses experienced by other ships, HMAS Vampire’s casualties were relatively small. A total of twelve crewmen perished during her World War Two operations; 10 Royal Australian Navy and two Royal Navy servicemen. HMAS Vampire’s first casualty, and reportedly the first R.A.N. casualty of the Second World War, was Gunner (T) John Henry Endicott R.N., who died on the 11th July 1940, from bomb splinter wounds received during an aerial attack on the ship. Signalman Arnold Schofield Shaw R.N., was among the nine casualties, which included the Commanding Officer and eight ratings, who were lost or died of wounds when HMAS Vampire was sunk by Japanese aircraft on the 9th April 1942.

HMAS Vampire’s Battle Honours include; Calabria 1940, Libya 1940-41, Greece 1941, Crete 1941 and the Indian Ocean 1941-42.

Detailed accounts of both ships are available on the Navy website; (