Ordered 2nd February 1931 under the 1930 Naval Estimates the steel D class destroyer HMS Daring (H16) was laid down on 18th June 1931 at Woolston, Southampton yard of J I Thornycroft and Co Ltd and launched on 7th April 1932. She measured 329.0’ x 33.0’ x 12.5’ and she displaced 1375 tons. She was powered by 2 x Parsons geared steam turbines, 3 x Admiralty 3 drum boilers, dual shaft delivering 36000 shaft horse power. Her armament consisted of 4 × 4.7 inch Mrk IX guns, 1 × 12-pounder anti-aircraft gun, 1 × quick firing 2 pounder Mrk II gun, 2 × 4 – 21 inch torpedo tubes, 20 × depth charges, 1 rail and 2 throwers.
She was initially assigned to the 1st Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean and made a brief deployment to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea in the autumn of 1933. Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s cousin, was given charge of the destroyer on 29th April 1934 but the tenure of the illustrious commander was to be brief as, after a refit at Sheerness Dockyard in December 1934, she sailed to join the 8th Destroyer Flotilla in the Far East. Immediately upon arrival at her new base in Singapore, Mountbatten was transferred to command HMS Wishart and Commander Geoffrey Barnard assumed command aboard Daring. She was to serve in this location till the threat of war in Europe resulted in her recall to the European theatre.
After five years service in the Far East, Daring and her sister ships Duncan, Diana and Dainty were transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet shortly before World War II began in September 1939. Daring was briefly based in the Red Sea for escort and patrol work but in November 1939, after another refit in Malta, she headed for Britain and eventually joined the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla in Scapa Flow on 10th February 1940.
On Saturday 17th February 1940 Daring, under the command of Sydney Alan Cooper RN, joined Convoy HN.12 heading west from Bergen, Norway towards Britain as escort and took up a position to the port quarter of the main convoy of twenty ships. As evening approached, she carried out an anti-submarine sweep five miles to the rear of the convoy and at that point everything appeared normal as the convoy proceeded on its westward course towards its destination at Methil. However, at around 3 am HMS Ilex reported a contact and launched a pattern of depth charges. The next report from Ilex at 04.03 am reported that a ship they couldn’t immediately identify had been hit by a torpedo.
That ship turned out to be the Daring. She had been hit in a position reported as 58° 39’N, 01° 40’W by a torpedo fired from U-23, under the command of Otto Kretschmer. Kretschmer’s log indicates first contact with the convoy at 03.05. He intended to attack one of the steamships in the convoy but, as he approached for his shot, he was caught between two of the escort destroyers and fired at one of those instead. The torpedo blew off Daring’s stern and she capsized and sank very quickly with the loss of 157 of the ship’s company. Despite a desperate search by a number of the escort ships, there were only five survivors. One man was rescued by the submarine HMS Thistle, which had also witnessed the attack, and a Carley float with four men aboard was picked up later by HMS Inglefield. 157 men lost their lives.