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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS EREBUS - Erebus-class 15in gun Monitor

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Erebus (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Monitor ordered under an Emergency War Programme from Harland and Wolff at Govan and laid down in October 1915. The ship was launched on 19th June 1916 as the 5th RN ship to carry the name which was introduced in 1807 for a Rocket Vessel. It was last used for an Iron ship in 1904 which was itself renamed in 1906. After completion in September 1916 she was deployed for support of the army operations in Belgium. The ship was modified after 1918 for training of cadets and additional accommodation was fitted. During 1938 she was selected for service in South Africa and taken in hand for refit at Southampton. Due to the outbreak of war this was not implemented and she remained in Home waters for some months. In January 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Preston, Lancs. following after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field Black, a Fork silver issuing from flames proper.



Inimicis nomen explicat :   'The name explains itself to enemies



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



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August                  Under refit at Southampton.

                                Refit work cancelled and commissioned for service.

September             Passage to join Home Fleet.

                                Prepared for war service.


October                  Deployed in Home waters.




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January                  Deployment in Home waters in continuation.




September             Transferred to Nore Command in support of anti-invasion dispositions.


October                  Carried out bombardment of Dunkirk area.


November              Nominated for refit.


December              Under refit.


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January                  Under refit.

to                            Three 3in HA guns fitted on port and starboard sides with radar control by two Type 285

June                        Fire-control outfits.

                                Three 3in HA guns fitted on either beam for AA defence with fire control Radar.


July                         Post refit trials and prepared for service.


August                  Joined Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.


September             Home Fleet duties in continuation.




1 9 4 2


January                  Nominated for foreign service in East Indies for AA defence at Trincomalee.


February                On completion of preparation for foreign service took passage to join East Indies Station.


March                    Arrived at Trincomalee.


April                       Deployed at Trincomalee.

                9th          Under Japanese air attack whilst in harbour and sustained casualties and damage.

                (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) for details.)

                (Note: Several aircraft were destroyed by defences to which this ship contributed.)


May                        Under repair

to                            (Note: In view of the lack of repair facilities it is assumed the work was done at Bombay.)



August                  Resumed Fleet service and took passage to Kilindini.

                Nominated for support of planned landings at Majunga, Madagascar to complete occupation

                of the island (Operation JANE).

                (Note: Operation IRONCLAD carried out in May 1942 had occupied the French naval base

                at Diego Suarez but the strategic value of Madagascar was essential to prevent any

                any invasion by Japanese forces).


September             Joined HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Cruisers BIRMINGHAM, GAMBIA, MANXMAN,

                DAUNTLESS and CARADOC, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Seaplane Carrier

                ALBATROSS (Deployed as HQ Ship) screened by 12 destroyers with additional minesweeping

                support to prepare for landings,

                (Note: Exercise TOUCHSTONE was carried out to prepare for the landings.

                10th        Present at first assault landings but naval gunfire support was not required..

                                Returned to Kilindini on release from JANE.


October                  Nominated for return to UK and took passage via Cape of Good Hope


November              Rejoined Home Fleet.

to                            Deployed in Home waters.



1 9 4 3


January                  Home waters deployment in continuation

to                            Nominated for service in Mediterranean.

April                       (Note: Award of Battle Honour ATLANTIC 1943 to be investigated.

                                Unless ship was involved in an attack on a convoy this seems extraordinary

                                and no supporting record has been traced.)


May                        Passage to Mediterranean


June                        Nominated for service with US Task Force 85 to support US landings in Sicily.

                                (Operation HUSKY: For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C.Barnett

                                and Naval Staff History).


July                         Joined Support Force East for gunfire support during landings of XXX Corps

                7th          Sailed from Sfax in Convoy MWS36 for passage to ACID Beach.

                                (Note: Intended passage with Fast Convoy MWF36 impractical because of speed in transit.

                                See BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser)

                10th        Provided gunfire support at ACID with HM Monitor ROBERTS during landings SW of


                11th        Provided Fire support for shore operations with HM Monitors ABERCROMBIE and


                12th        Bombarded airfield at Catania, Sicily with ships of Force A.


August                  Naval gunfire support off Sicily.

                                Nominated for support of British landings on Italian mainland.

                                (Operation BAYTOWN - See above references).

                31st         Deployed in Straits of Messina to provide gunfire support.



                2nd         Bombarded coast between Reggio Calabria and Pessaro with HM Monitors ROBERTS and

                                ABERCROMBIE, HM Battleships VALIANT and WARSPITE, HM Cruisers ORION and

                                MAURITIUS, HM River Gunboats APHIS and SCARAB.

                3rd          Provided naval gunfire support during landings by British XIII corps near Reggio and Villa San

                                Giovanni with HMS ABERCROMBIE, HMS ROBERTS, HMS ORION, HMS MAURITIUS,

                                HM River Gunboats APHIS and SCARAB.

                7th          Sailed from Bizerta with Convoy FSS2 for passage to Salerno to provide naval gunfire support

                                during landings (Operation AVALANCHE)

                9th          Present at landings

                                (Note: As no Battle Honour SALERNO 1943 was awarded it is assumed ship had to leave

                                the area, possibly due to defect - see below)


October                  Withdrawn from Mediterranean service and took passage to Plymouth

                                (Note: This may support reason for withdrawal from an operation which needed significant

                                naval gunfire support against opposition from German forces)


November              Taken in hand for repair and refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport.


December              Under refit

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January                  Under refit

                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                (Note: Extensive changes were made including fit of aircraft warning radar Type 279B

                at foremasthead and surface warning radar Type 276 on new lattice type

                mainmast. Multiple Pom-pom weapons with radar control and 20mm Oerlikon

                guns were also installed.


February                Post refit trials.

to                            Resumed operational service



April                       Prepared at Plymouth for naval gunfire support of allied landings in Normandy.

to                            Allocated for duty in Western Task Force under US Command.

May                        (For details of activities prior to and during landings see LANDINGS IN NORMANDY,

                                June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K. Edwards).


June                        Deployed at Weymouth prior to Joining Bombardment Force A for support of the US

                                landings on UTAH Beach.

                4th          Operation delayed 24 hours.

                5th          Joined US battleship USS NEVADA, US cruisers USS TUSCALOOSA and USS

                QUINCY, HM Cruisers HAWKINS, ENTERPRISE and BLACK PRINCE during

                their passage from Belfast to Solent.

                Dutch Gunboat HM Neth. Ship SOEMBA joined Force A

                Passage through swept channel with Force A.

                6th          On arrival off UTAH Beach took up bombarding position.

                                Provided gunfire support in accordance with fire-plan.

                7th          On completion of Assault Phase transferred to Eastern Task Force and came under RN


                                Deployed for naval gunfire support in Eastern Task Force Area with Support Squadron.


July                         Deployed with four Landing Craft, Gun (Large) in Seine Bay but unable to provide any

                                support as the positions of the opposing armies was not clearly defined.

                19th        Bombarded targets in Houlgate area.

                20th        Houlgate bombardment in continuation.

                26th        Bombarded targets at Caen in support of British Army operations.

                29th        Continued gunfire support on same areas.


August                  Remained in Channel area for support of shore operations.



                10th        Under fire from shore with HM Battleship WARSPITE during bombardment of Le Havre

                                area during military operations.

                                Credited with 30 direct hits cut of 130 rounds fired.

                19th        Deployed in Seine Bay and bombarded batteries in Houlgate area that were delaying

                                advance of British troops.

                20th        Returned to Portsmouth to replenish ammunition.


October                  Nominated for support of British landings at Walcheren with Support Squadron.

                                (Operation INFATUATE - For details see and THE CAMPAIGN NORTH WEST EUROPE,

                June 1944 – May 1945 (HMSO) and ENCAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C


                Deployed with HMS WARSPITE and HMS ROBERTS for support of landings.

                28th        Assembled with Squadron at Ostend.



                1st           Carried out bombardment of shore batteries at Westkappelle with HMS WARSPITE.

                2nd         Bombardment in continuation.

                                On release from INFATUATE returned to Plymouth.


December              Deployed in Home waters.


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January                  Home waters deployment in continuation.

to                            (Note: This ship was not nominated for service In Pacific).



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS EREBUS was paid off after VJ Day and reduced to Reserve status. She was placed on the Disposal List and sold in 1946 to BISCO for demolition by T W Ward. Towed to the breaker's Yard at Inverkeithing she arrived in the Forth on 29th January 1947.


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