HMS Zealous (R39)

Zealous after recommissioning as INS Eilat. Probably Israeli Navy photo, uploaded to Wikimedia by user קודקוד צהוב.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Laid down in 1943, and commissioned on 9 October, 1944, HMS Zealous operated in the North Sea and Arctic Ocean until the end of the war. In February, 1945, she assisted in the rescue of 525 Norwegians, pulling them out alongside three other destroyers, before rejoining a returning convoy from Murmansk. Zealous joined an attack on a coastal convoy in Norwegian waters on 5 April, and was sent to secure Copenhagen, Denmark, in May. Placed in reserve in 1947, she underwent a refit in 1950-51, which was followed by a short active period before she returned to reserve in 1953. In 1955, she was sold to Israel and renamed INS Eilat. During the Suez Crisis, Eilat participated in the capture of the Egyptian destroyer Ibrahim al-Awal, ironically another ex-British ship. Later, Eilat and two Israeli torpedo boats sank a pair of Egyptian torpedo boats on the night of 11-12 July, 1967. Eilat's streak was broken on 21 October, 1967, when she was hit by three P-15 Termit (NATO code name "Styx") missiles fired from Egyptian missile boats. Eilat went down with forty-seven of her 199 crew, and Israel retaliated by attacking the oil refineries in Port Said with heavy mortars.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: When Zealous arrived in Copenhagen, the German soldiers mistook her as a German destroyer come to evacuate them.