Allied Warships

HMS Swale (K 217)

Frigate of the River class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantK 217 
Built bySmiths Dock Co., Ltd. (South Bank-on-Tees, U.K.) 
Ordered11 Feb 1941 
Laid down19 Aug 1941 
Launched16 Jan 1942 
Commissioned24 Jun 1942 
End service 

Transferred to the South African Navy on 26 July 1945.
Returned to the Royal Navy in January 1946.
Scrapped on 26 February 1955.

Career notesTo South Africa as Swale

Commands listed for HMS Swale (K 217)

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1Lt.Cdr. John Jackson, RNR14 Apr 19425 Jul 1944
2A/Lt.Cdr. Patrick Varwell Collings, DSC, RNR5 Jul 194426 Jul 1945

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Notable events involving Swale include:

3 Jul 1942
HMS H 28 (Lt. J.S. Bridger, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with the brand new frigate HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR). (1)

17 May 1943
German U-boat U-657 was sunk east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, in position 58°54'N, 42°33'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, RNR).

22 Feb 1944
HMS Uther (Lt. A.A. Catlow, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Cam (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Smythe, RD, RNR), HMS Wye (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Powys-Smith, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR) and HMS Pennywort (T/Lt. A.W. James, RNR). (2)

14 Mar 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Tavy (T/A/Lt.Cdr. F. Ardern, RNR), HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR), HMS Starwort (Lt. A.H. Kent, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. G. Wallace, RNR), HMS Londonderry (Lt.Cdr. L.B. Philpott, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Louis (A/Lt.Cdr. R. Johnston, RNR), HMS Anguilla (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C. Morrison-Payne, RNVR) and HMS Petunia (Lt. R.M. Roberts, RNR). (3)

15 Mar 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. R. Hart, DSC, RN or Lt. P.J. Stoner, RN), HMS Goodall (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Fulton, RNVR), HMCS Midland (T/Lt. W.O.O. Barbour, RCNR) and HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR). (3)

6 Apr 1944
German U-boat U-302 was sunk in the North Atlantic north-west of the Azores, in position 45°05'N, 35°11'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR).

23 Apr 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. R.W. van Lynden, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Flint Castle (T/Lt. N. Harrison, RNVR), HMS Oxford Castle (T/Lt. H.E. Holden, DSC, RNR), HMS Rushen Castle (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Warwick, DSC, RNR), HMS Vidette (Lt. P.J. Stoner, RN), HMS Chelmer (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.A. Cherry, RNR) and HMS Swale (Lt.Cdr. J. Jackson, DSC, RNR). (3)

22 Feb 1945

Operation Stacey

Photographic reconnaissance of Penang and the Kra Isthmus between latitudes 7°N and 10°N, and of Northern Sumatra.

On 22 February 1945, ' Force 62 ', made up of the escort carriers HMS Empress (Capt. H.A. Traill, OBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.T.C. Walker, CB, RN), HMS Ameer (A/Capt. J.H. Lewes, OBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), destroyers HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) and the frigates HMS Spey (T/Lt.Cdr. A. Harrison, RNR), HMS Plym (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Swale (A/Lt.Cdr. P.V. Collings, DSC, RNR).

The escorts were refuelled in the morning / early afternoon of February 24th. HMS Volage and HMS Vigilant were fuelled by HMS Kenya. fuelled HMS Virago and HMS Plym. HMS Ameer fuelled HMS Spey

A tanker force was also deployed, ' Force 61 ', which was made up of the RFA tanker Echodale (8150 GRT, built 1941) escorted by the frigate HMS Trent (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Rankin, DSC, RNR). They departed Trincomalee on 26 February 1945.

In the evening of 26 February HMS Spey was detached with defects. She joined the refuelling force.

Photographic reconnaissance of the Kra Isthmus and Penang was carried out successfully between 26th and 28th February. Three enemy aircraft were shot down by Allied fighters without loss.

Force 62 proceeded to rendezvous with the oiling force on 2 March 1945 and continue the operation.

Force 62 then proceeded to a flying off position north west of Simalur Island. On 4 March 1945 a successful photographic reconnaissance was made of the northeast coast of Sumatra, and of Niass, Simalur, and Banjak Islands.

Force 62 arrived at Trincomalee on 7 March 1945. (4)


  1. ADM 173/17203
  2. ADM 173/19325
  3. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 199/1457

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

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