HMS Defender

HMS Defender

HMS Defender is the fifth of the Navy's six state-of-the-art Type 45 destroyers. She returned from her maiden deployment to the Middle East in December 2014 and is now in a period of maintenance in Portsmouth.

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Head of Royal Swedish Navy visits UK

Head of Royal Swedish Navy visits UK


HMS Defender Latest News

The Senior Service recognises the best ships and units of the past 12 months

Navy salutes the Surface Fleet of 2014

HMS Defender on Operation Kipion

HMS Defender beats the operational drum in new video

See all news for HMS Defender

Current operation Maintenance and sea-trials

Ships, units and aircraft need periods of maintenance and sea-trials to ensure that they are at their best for any tasks asked of them.

  • Alongside

    Alongside in her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base

Ready to fight

When diplomacy fails, the UK has to be ready to protect its interests and its allies. What’s more, as a member of NATO and the UN, the UK also acts to support the enforcement of UN resolutions and come to the aid of our allies. This is where the Royal Navy comes in: we train to go where we’re needed – by sea, land or air – and deploy our forces with the aim of restoring peace.

Location Portsmouth

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Unit History

HMS Defender1797

There have been seven previous ships of this name. The first was a 12-gun brig that was disposed of in 1802 during the Peace of Amiens


Only two years later, the second HMS Defender was a 14-gun brig launched in 1804 and wrecked in 1809.


The third Defender was a captured French privateer, previously the Beau Marseille. Captured by HMS Royalist, she was sold in 1814.

Colonial torpedo boat1883

The fourth Defender was a second class colonial torpedo boat, and can still be seen on display at the Torpedo Boat Museum in Lyttleton, New Zealand.

Battle History1911

The next HMS Defender was commissioned in 1911, a destroyer which saw extensive action throughout World War 1 before being sold in 1921.

Battle Honours1914

Heligoland 1914

Battle Honours1915

Dogger Bank 1915

Battle Honours1916

Jutland 1916 - Damaged by a German shell but carried out sufficient repairs to return to base in Aberdeen with HMS Onslow in tow,. The Captain, Lt Cdr L R Palmer, received the DSO.

The Fifth Defender1932

The fifth Defender took part in the action at Spartivento and the victory off Cape Matapan. Lost off Egypt in 1941 - bombed on a convoy run to Tobruk.

Battle History1940

Calabria 1940
Spartivento 1940


The penultimate HMS Defender detected the wreck of the Prince of Wales off Malaysia, supported operations at Suez in 1956, and took part in the Coronation Review of 1953.

Shore establishment1950

Named briefly as a shore-based unit in Liverpool during the Battle of the Atlantic, the Defender name returned to sea in 1950 as a Daring-class destroyer.

The latest Defender2009

The current HMS Defender is the fifth Type 45 Destroyer. She was launched in 2009.

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Commanding Officer Stephen Higham

Stephen Higham

Rank: Commander

Stephen Higham joined the Royal Navy in 1997. He was selected for early promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 2004 and in 2013 was selected for promotion to Commander. He joined HMS Defender as Commanding Officer in January 2015.

Previous units

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Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering)

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Defender has a top speed of 30 knots


Displacement: 8,000 tonnes; Length: 152m; Beam: 21.2m; Complement: 190

HMNB Portsmouth

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