• Ivor C. Little
Keywords: South African Navy, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, British warships, HMS DRAGON, South Africans serving in the Royal Navy


Much has recently been written about the South African Navy in World War 2 but comparatively little has been mentioned about South Africans serving in the Royal Navy over the same period.

Large drafts of Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve personnel were called up at the outbreak of the war to augment the peacetime crews of British warships and bring them up to their wartime manning scale. One of these groups was dispatched to West Africa to join HMS DRAGON, reputedly in her time the luckiest ship in the Royal Navy. During her career she was comparatively obscure - never doing anything of note and her fame rested entirely on her ability to never be in the wrong place at any time. She was in fact a maritime dodger, malingerer and skiver and her crew, especially the South Africans aboard, loved her for it. After her luck finally ran out and she was sunk, she became a popular ship in literature (at least three books have been written based on adventures in her) and has since emerged in reference books as a bit of a curiosity because of her original strange design.


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How to Cite
Little, I. C. (2012). "IN THE WAKE OF HMS DRAGON". Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 23(3). https://doi.org/10.5787/23-3-298