Call Sign: Victor-Juliet-Zulu-Charlie
HMAS Vampire (D11)
HMAS Vampire was the third of three Australian-built Daring class destroyers serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of the first all-welded ships built in Australia, she was constructed at Cockatoo Island Dockyard between 1952 and 1959, and was commissioned into the RAN a day after completion.
Vampire was regularly deployed to South East Asia during her career: she was attached to the Far East Strategic Reserve on five occasions, including during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, and escorted the troop transport HMAS Sydney on six of the latter's twenty-five transport voyages to Vietnam. In 1977, the destroyer was assigned to escort the Royal Yacht Britannia during Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's visit to Australia. In 1980, Vampire was reclassified as a training ship.
The warship remained in service until 1986, when she was decommissioned and presented to the Australian National Maritime Museum for preservation as a museum ship; the largest museum-owned object on display in Australia.
On 25 June 1986, Vampire left active service. She was decommissioned on 13 August 1986, having spent 27 years in service, and travelled 808,026 nautical miles (1,496,464 km). She was later presented to the Australian National Maritime Museum for preservation as a museum ship: on loan from 1990 to 1997, then transferred outright in 1997. Vampire is the largest museum piece on display in Australia. The ship is also used for training RAN divers in hull clearance. In 1994, two disabled twin Bofors mounts were returned to the destroyer, replacing those removed in 1980. On 9 April 1997, permission was granted for Vampire to fly the Australian White Ensign, despite not being a commissioned warship.
The destroyer is towed to HMAS Kuttabul every five years for maintenance and cleaning. During a docking in October 2006, rumours spread among RAN personnel that Vampire would be refitted and returned to active service. During the same refit, a fire broke out in the ship's boiler room. Nobody was injured, and no irreparable damage was caused.
An overhaul of the RAN battle honours system completed in March 2009 saw Vampire retroactively honoured for her service in the Strategic Reserve between 1964 and 1966—the time of the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. Any future ships named HMAS Vampire will carry the battle honour "Malaysia 1964–66" in addition to the honours earned by the previous HMAS Vampire.