HMS Icarus (D03)
HMS Icarus was an I-class
I class destroyer
The I class was a class of eight destroyers plus a flotilla leader of the British Royal Navy ordered under the 1935 naval programme, laid down in 1936 and completed in 1937 and 1938...

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 that served with the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


On 29 November 1939, Icarus sighted the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

 U-35 between the Shetland Islands
Shetland Islands
Shetland is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies north and east of mainland Great Britain. The islands lie some to the northeast of Orkney and southeast of the Faroe Islands and form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the North Sea to the east. The total...

 and Bergen (Norway), but was unable to launch an effective attack because her ASDIC (sonar) was out of commission. Fellow destroyers and were called to the scene, and Icarus departed. HMS Kingston was able to launch a successful depth charge attack, forcing the U-boat to surface and scuttle.

Icarus participated in the Norwegian campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

 in 1940, first capturing the 8,514 ton German supply ship Alster (brought to the UK and renamed Empire Endurance) on 11 April and then taking part in the Second Battle of Narvik on 13 April 1940.

In early May 1941, the British Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 was on the alert that the Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

 may attempt to break out into the North Atlantic; so Icarus was ordered to Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...

 for possible deployment against the Germans. On 22 May, just after midnight, Icarus sailed along with the destroyers , , , , and , escorting the and to cover the northern approaches. The intention was that the force would refuel in Hvalfjord, Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and then sail again to watch the Denmark Strait
Denmark Strait
The Denmark Strait or Greenland Strait |Sound]]) is an oceanic strait between Greenland and Iceland...


On the evening of 23 May, the weather deteriorated. At 20:55 hrs., Admiral Lancelot Holland
Lancelot Holland
Vice Admiral Lancelot Ernest Holland, CB commanded the British force in the Battle of Denmark Strait in May, 1941 against the German battleship Bismarck. Holland was killed during the battle.-Early life:...

 aboard the Hood signalled the destroyers "If you are unable to maintain this speed I will have to go on without you. You should follow at your best speed." At 02:15 on the morning of 24 May, the destroyers were ordered to spread out at 15 miles (24 km) intervals to search to the north. At about 05:35, the German forces were sighted by the Hood, and shortly after, the Germans sighted the British ships. Firing commenced at 05:52. At 06:01, Hood took a 38 centimetres (15 in) shell from Bismarck in the after magazine, which caused a massive explosion, sinking the ship within 2 minutes. Electra and the other destroyers were about 60 miles (97 km) away at the time.

Upon hearing that the Hood had sunk, Electra raced to the area, arriving about 2 hours after the Hood went down. They were expecting to find many survivors, and rigged scrambling nets and heaving lines, and placed life belts on the deck where they could be quickly thrown in. From the 94 officers and 1,321 ratings aboard the Hood, just three survivors were found. Electra rescued them, and continued searching. Shortly thereafeter, Icarus and Anthony joined in the search, and the three ships searched the area for more survivors. No more were found, only driftwood, debris, and a desk drawer filled with documents. After several hours searching, they left the area.

She participated and in Operation Pedestal
Operation Pedestal
Operation Pedestal was a British operation to get desperately needed supplies to the island of Malta in August 1942, during the Second World War. Malta was the base from which surface ships, submarines and aircraft attacked Axis convoys carrying essential supplies to the Italian and German armies...

, escorting a convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

 to Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 in August 1942.

Icarus was involved in many important events of World War II, Dunkirk
Operation Dynamo
The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940, because the British, French and Belgian troops were...

, Spitsbergen
Operation Gauntlet
During World War II, Operation Gauntlet was a Combined Operations raid by Canadian troops, with British Army logistics support and Free Norwegian Forces servicemen on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, 600 miles south of the North Pole, from 18 August 1941....

, and numerous Atlantic and Russian convoys.

Icarus sank four German U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

  • On 14 October 1939 she participated in sinking of U-45
    German submarine U-45 (1938)
    German submarine U-45 was a Type VIIB U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was ordered by the Kriegsmarine on November 21, 1936 and laid down February 23, 1937 at F. Krupp Germaniawerft AG in Kiel as werk 580. She was launched on April 27, 1938 and comissioned on June 25, 1938...

     in the Western Approaches with destroyers , and .
  • On 29 November 1939 U-35 was scuttled by its crew in the North Sea
    North Sea
    In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

    , after a depth charge
    Depth charge
    A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...

     attack from Icarus, and . All 43 hands on board survived.
  • On 6 March 1944 she sank U-744 while in company with the corvette
    A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

     , the Canadian frigate
    A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

     HMCS St. Catharines, corvettes HMCS Fennel and HMCS Chilliwack
    HMCS Chilliwack (K131)
    HMCS Chilliwack was a of the Royal Canadian Navy. She was ordered from Burrard Dry Dock in North Vancouver, British Columbia, laid down on 3 July 1940, launched on 14 September 1940, and commissioned on 8 April 1941 named after the city of Chilliwack, British Columbia.-Background:Flower-class...

     and destroyers HMCS Chaudiere
    HMS Hero (H99)
    HMS Hero was an H-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1930s. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 the ship enforced the arms blockade imposed by Britain and France on both sides as part of the Mediterranean Fleet...

     and HMCS Gatineau in the North Atlantic.
  • On 21 January 1945 she sank U-1199 while in company with the corvette in the English Channel
    English Channel
    The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

     near the Isles of Scilly
    Isles of Scilly
    The Isles of Scilly form an archipelago off the southwestern tip of the Cornish peninsula of Great Britain. The islands have had a unitary authority council since 1890, and are separate from the Cornwall unitary authority, but some services are combined with Cornwall and the islands are still part...


A long-time captain of Icarus, Colin Maud
Colin Maud
Colin Douglas Maud D.S.O., D.S.C. was a Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander who captained HMS Icarus and acted as Juno beach master at the D-day landings in World War II....

, was the Juno
Juno Beach
Juno or Juno Beach was one of five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during the Second World War. The sector spanned from Saint-Aubin, a village just east of the British Gold sector, to Courseulles, just west of the British Sword sector...

 beach master at the D-day landings, in the film 'The Longest Day' he was played by Kenneth More
Kenneth More
Kenneth Gilbert More CBE was a highly successful English film actor during the post-World War II era and starred in many feature films, often in the role of an archetypal carefree and happy-go-lucky middle-class gentleman.-Early life:Kenneth More was born in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, the...

, complete with bulldog.

Lieutenant-Commander John Simon Kerans
John Simon Kerans
Commander John Simon Kerans was an officer in the Royal Navy and later a Conservative Party politician....

, famous for his part in sailing , down the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

, a feat made famous in the film Yangtse Incident
Yangtse Incident (1957 film)
Yangtse Incident: The Story of HMS Amethyst is a 1957 British war film that tells the story of the British frigate HMS Amethyst caught up in the Chinese Civil War....

, also served on Icarus as "number one
Executive officer
An executive officer is generally a person responsible for running an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization.-Administrative law:...


Icarus was paid off on 29 August 1946, handed over to the British Iron and Steel Corporation on 29 October 1946 and broken up at Troon
Troon is a town in South Ayrshire. It is situated on the west coast of Scotland, about eight miles north of Ayr and three miles northwest of Glasgow Prestwick International Airport. Lying across the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran can be seen. Troon is also a port with freight and ferry services...

in Scotland.

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