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HMS Cavalier

HMS Cavalier

Launched in 1944, HMS CAVALIER is a CA-class destroyer. She is preserved as The National Destroyer Memorial commemorating the 11,000 lives and 142 Royal Navy Destroyers lost during the Second World War.

HMS CAVALIER (1944)

The National Destroyer Memorial

Launched in 1944, HMS CAVALIER is a CA-class destroyer. She saw service in the Arctic, Western Approaches and British Pacific Fleet before finally paying off at Chatham in 1972.

One of 96 war emergency destroyers HMS CAVALIER currently resides in No.2 Dry Dock on the site of the Old Single Dock, where the Royal Navy’s most famous Chatham built ship HMS VICTORY was constructed – a fitting location for a vessel once known as ‘the fastest ship in the fleet’.

Today she is preserved as The National Destroyer Memorial commemorating the 11,000 lives and 142 Royal Navy Destroyers lost during the Second World War.

During a visit to the Dockyard you are free to explore HMS CAVALIER in your own time.

Accessibility

We have worked with AccessAble to create individual access guides to our galleries and spaces. These guides give you the detailed information you need to work out if a space is going to be accessible to you.

HMS CAVALIER Access Guide

Parking, Entrance, Ticket Office & Shop Guide

Changing Places & Accessible Toilets Guide

Getting Around Guide

cavalier 360

Thanks to our partnership with World of Warships, we are delighted to bring to you a collection of 360-degree virtual tours, presented by Dan Snow and Richard Cutland that give you a never seen before digital experience of CAVALIER.

national destroyer memorial

HMS CAVALIER is now preserved as a memorial to 142 Royal Navy destroyers sunk during the Second World War and over 11,000 men who lost their lives as a result.

In 2000 an independent Memorial Steering Group, chaired by the then Dean of Rochester, The Very Reverend Edward Shotter, was set up to advise on the presentation of the ship as a memorial.

Six artists were short listed for the project during 2002 with the respected sculptor Kenneth Potts being selected for the commission in late 2003.

Kenneth Potts is an acclaimed sculptor who specialises in bronze portraits. His other work includes a statue of Air Vice-Marshal ‘Johnnie’ Johnson.

HMS Cavalier Monument at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Kenneth Potts’ design has now become a reality. A unique bronze artwork has been produced located on shore alongside HMS CAVALIER’S port bow adjacent to the visitor entrance to the ship. 3.8m (12’6″) long and just over 3m (10’6″) tall and resting on a granite plinth of recycled dock stone, the monument is also a major price of public art.

Of particular significance to those who served in destroyers and their relatives is the Roll of Honour that occupies a prominent position on one side of the memorial. Listing by name the 142 Royal Navy destroyers lost during the war it also records the sacrifice of the other British Dominion and Allied destroyers that were lost between 1939 and 1945.

The monument also features an evocative high relief sculptured panel designed to place the memorial in context of time and place and show something of what it was like to be engaged in battle aboard a fragile fighting vessel of the mid 20th Century. This will be increasingly relevant to future generations who will have little or no direct links with the Second World War.

“My research revealed the moving story of ordinary men engaged in a titanic battle against an implacable enemy and the unrelenting elements. My design centres on a destroyer in action, with a graphic depiction of the lives of the men who served in her. Conscious of the fact that the ship in dry dock is removed from the two elements that gave her life, the men and the sea, I have tried to incorporate both and to convey the spirit of the ship in action…

Kenneth Potts 2004

The scene is set during an imaginary action on convoy protection duty. The ship is engaged in rescuing survivors from a sunken ship, a hazardous procedure that could result in the rescuer becoming a victim of torpedo attack. Beyond the destroyer an expanse of sea graphically portraits the harsh environment of the Atlantic and Arctic wastes in which the convoys operated…

Kenneth Potts 2004

…an inscription describes the significance of the memorial listing the 142 Royal Navy destroyers lost. The text also makes reference to the 11,000 men who died while operating destroyers in all theatres of battle during the Second World War and to the contribution made by the destroyers of British Dominion and allied navies. This panel continues the sea theme with the lettering super-imposed over the sculpted sea.

Kenneth Potts 2004

CAVALIER’s HISTORY

overnight stay experience

crash out on cavalier

Youth and education groups can take part in a unique overnight stay experience on board HMS CAVALIER

Sleeping in real ships bunks, young explorers will get first hand experience of what life was like on board. Included within the experience is an evening programme of fun naval-themed activities, led by our friendly team, providing a fascinating insight into the challenges of life at sea.