HMS Cavalier once boasted proudly of being the fastest ship in the Royal Navy
She was one of 96 destroyers ordered for the war effort between 1940-42 and was built a short walk away from where I saw the propeller at J.White & Co's shipyard at Cowes.
Cavalier's keel was laid at the White yard on 28th February 1943, she was launched on 7th April 1944 and finally completed on 22nd November 1944.
On completion HMS Cavalier joined the 6th Destroyer Flotilla (Home Fleet) and served during the war in the Arctic and the Western Approaches before joining the British Pacific Fleet as the war came to a close.
Refitted and modernized in 1957 she continued to play an active role until she was paid off at Chatham in 1972 where she is now on display.
So why is she known as the fastest ship in the fleet?
This followed a challenge set during an exercise in 1970 when a race was arranged between HMS Cavalier and the frigate HMS Rapid to decide which ship was faster. Both ships were similar as HMS Rapid was a former "R" class destroyer with a hull form and machinery identical to that of HMS Cavalier.
On 6th July 1971 the two ships met off the Firth of Forth in perfect weather conditions and although it was a hard fought race HMS Cavalier was declared the winner by a mere 30 yards over a distance of 64 miles. Her average speed was 31.8 knots.