HMS Janus (F53)

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Janus on sea trials in 1939
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Janus
Namesake: Roman god Janus
Ordered: 25 March 1937
Builder: Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Laid down: 29 September 1937
Launched: 10 November 1938
Commissioned: 5 August 1939
Identification: pennant number: F53
Fate: Sunk by a Fritz X bomb, 23 January 1944
General characteristics (as built)
Class & type: J-class destroyer
Length: 356 ft 6 in (108.66 m) o/a
Beam: 35 ft 9 in (10.90 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (deep)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 183 (218 for flotilla leaders)
Sensors and
processing systems:

HMS Janus, named after the Roman god, was a Javelin or J-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was ordered from the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited at Wallsend-on-Tyne as part of the 1936 Build Programme and laid down on 29 September 1937, launched on 10 November 1938 and commissioned on 5 August 1939.[1]

Service history

North Sea and Mediterranean duties

Off Namsos, Norway, on 30 April 1940 the sloop Bittern was mistaken for a cruiser and was badly damaged by German Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers and had to be sunk by Janus.[2] Janus served in the North Sea until May 1940 and had participated in over 20 convoy duties in that time. From May 1940 Janus began Mediterranean duties with the 14th Destroyer Flotilla in Alexandria.[1] She participated in the Battle of Calabria in July 1940 and the Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941.[2]


On 23 January 1944 Janus was struck by one Fritz X guided bomb dropped by a German He 111 torpedo bomber and sank off the Anzio beachhead in western Italy (according to another version, she was sunk by Henschel Hs 293 glider bomb or a conventional torpedo - see Fritz X article). It took a mere twenty minutes for Janus to sink. Of her crew only 80 survived, being rescued by HMS Laforey and smaller craft. It was recorded that during her last duty Janus had laid down nearly 500 salvos of 4.7-inch shells in the first two days of the landings in support of allied troops.[3]

Janus's badge is still on display at the Selborne dry dock wall.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "HMS Janus (F 53)". Retrieved 6 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "HMS Janus (F.53) - J-class Destroyer". Retrieved 6 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "HMS Janus (F53)". Retrieved 6 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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