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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 1995

HMS, later HMAS SHROPSHIRE  - County-type Heavy Cruiser including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Shropshire (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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LONDON-Class cruiser ordered from William Beardmore at Dalmuir, Glasgow in the 1926 Estimates on 17th March 1926. Laid down on 24th February 1927 she was launched on 5th July 1927 as the first RN ship to carry this name, which had been selected by the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr Bridgeman, who was the local Member of Parliament. The close relationship maintained with the civil community lasted throughout the shipís life. Build was completed on 12th September 1929 and she served her first commission in the Mediterranean with the 1st Cruiser Squadron. After refit at Chatham she commissioned  for further service in the same Squadron in 1934. During the Spanish Civil War in August 1936 she acted as Refugee Control Ship at Barcelona. After a refit she again served in the Mediterranean where she was stationed on outbreak of war with Germany in September 1939.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ATLANTIC 1941 - ARCTIC 1941 -  EAST INDIES 1941 - NEW GUINEA 1942-44* - LEYTE GULF 1945* - LINGAYEN GULF 1945* - PACIFIC 1945*

(* RAN Allocation)

H e r a l d i c   Data

Badge: A leopardís head, Gold on a Blue Field.


M o t t o

Floreat ambo: 'May they both flourish'

(Note: County motto.)



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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Deployed with 1st Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.


9th - Carried out contraband control patrol in Mediterranean to enforce blockade of enemy shipping and cargoes destined for German ports.


11th - At Malta.


13th - At Gibraltar.


15th - Returned to Malta for docking.


18th - Passage to Alexandria from Malta.


20th - Rejoined Squadron at Alexandria.




Transferred to South Atlantic command for interception of commerce raiders and trade defence


2nd - Took passage to Simonstown via Suez Canal and Red Sea.


14th - Arrived at Simonstown.


16th - Deployed with HM Cruiser SUSSEX as part of Hunting Group in search for German battleship GRAF SPEE operating off South Africa.




11th - Sailed from Simonstown for Plate area to continue search.


23rd - Returned to Simonstown.




3rd - Deployed with HMS SUSSEX for interception and trade defence in Indian Ocean.


9th - Intercepted German blockade runner ADOLF LEONHARDT which scuttled to avoid capture.


15th - Returned to Capetown and sailed to Plate area to support operations after sinking of GRAF SPEE.


18th - Diverted on passage to Rio de Janeiro and continued trade defence duties.


28th - Passage to Falklands.



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18th - Arrived at Port Stanley.


21st - Deployed with HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE as escort for damaged cruiser HMS EXETER during passage in South Atlantic to UK.




10th - Detached from escort on relief by Home Fleet ships and took passage to Simonstown.


20th - Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.




16th - Resumed trade defence and interception duties on completion.




Trade defence and interception patrol in South Atlantic and Indian Ocean in continuation




Nominated for escort of military convoy on passage to UK from Australia.


20th - Relieved HM Australian Cruiser CANBERRA as Ocean Escort for convoy US3 during passage in Indian Ocean (Note: US3 was taking ANZAC personnel for service in Europe.)


26th - Arrived at Capetown with US3.


31st - Sailed from Capetown with HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND as Ocean Escort during passage in Atlantic.




7th - At Freetown with US3.


8th - Sailed from Freetown and joined by HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES and HMS CUMBERLAND as Ocean Escort.


10th - HMS HERMES detached.


12th - Joined by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE.


14th - HM Battlecruiser HOOD, HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS and six Home Fleet destroyers joined Convoy US3 escort.


16th - Arrived in Clyde with US3


20th - Under refit in Clyde commercial shipyard.




15th - On completion transferred to Home Fleet for temporary duty.


16th - Deployed with HM Cruisers SUSSEX, SOUTHAMPTON and GLASGOW, screened by ten Fleet destroyers in search for German warships reported on passage in North Sea. Operation cancelled when German ships reversed passage. During the return to Scapa Flow HMS GLASGOW was involved in collision with HM Destroyer IMOGEN which sank.




5th - Joined military convoy WS2 in Clyde as Ocean Escort during passage to Freetown with HM Cruiser EMERALD. (Note: Local Escort by HM Destroyers HARVESTER, HAVELOCK, HIGHLANDER, HURRICANE, VORTIGERN and WATCHMAN were deployed as Local Escort during passage from Clyde until detached on 7th July.)


8th - Remained with Slow Section of WS2 when convoy divided.


16th - Detached from WS2 Slow Section on arrival at Freetown.


18th - Rejoined WS2 Slow Section on departure from Freetown for Ocean Escort during passage to Capetown.


25th - Detached from WS2 Slow Section on arrival at Capetown.


30th - Joined Convoy WS2 on departure from Capetown as Ocean Escort for passage to Perim.




14th - Remained with Slow Section when Fast Section detached for passage to Suez escorted by HM Australian Cruiser HOBART, HM Cruiser COVENTRY, HM Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON which joined WS2 off Perim. Slow Section escort was then reinforced by HM Destroyer KIMBERLEY, HM Sloops AUCKLAND and FLAMINGO.


20th - After arrival at Suez with Slow Section of WS2A detached and took passage to Aden for convoy defence duties with Red Sea Force.


October to November


Deployed for convoy defence and support of military operations with ships of Red Sea Force.




Deployed for Indian Ocean trade defence and took passage to Durban.


16th - Joined military convoy WS4B at Durban for Ocean Escort during passage to Aden with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE and SOUTHAMPTON.


25th - Detached from WS4B on arrival at Aden and resumed Squadron trade defence duties.



1 9 4 1




Indian Ocean trade defence duties in continuation and passage to Capetown.


21st - Joined military convoy WS5A at Capetown to replace HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE and HAWKINS as Ocean Escort during passage to Durban.


22nd - Detached from WS5A on arrival at Durban.


29th - Deployed as Ocean Escort for Convoy WS5A with HM Cruiser CERES during passage in Indian Ocean to Aden.


30th - Detached during passage on relief by HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE and took passage to join HM Cruisers HAWKINS, CAPETOWN, CERES, HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES and HM Destroyer KANDAHAR as Force T. Owing to outbreak of epidemic on board withdrawn from patrol and planned support operations. Relieved in Force T by HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE.


Arrived at Durban for control of epidemic.




3rd - Took passage to resume Force T deployment (Note: Some of ships complement reported as fit only for light duties after epidemic had been controlled.)


10th - Provided support to military operations in Somaliland with ships of Force T.


14th - Bombarded Italian positions at Mogadicio in support of British advance. (Note: Heavy damage caused in port area and tanker PENSILVANIA was sunk.)


19th - Returned to Durban.


21st - Sailed from Durban to rejoin Force T.


22nd - Joined HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and CANBERRA, HM Cruisers GLASGOW, EMERALD and ENTERPRISE to form Hunting Group and carry out search for German battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER operating in Indian Ocean for attacks on shipping.




2nd - Intercepted Vichy French freighter VILLE DE STRASBOURG and taken as Prize.


5th - Detached from Hunting Group on relief by HM Armed Cruiser RANCHI and took passage to Simonstown after replenishment at Durban.


8th - Arrived at Simonstown and taken in hand for refit




Under refit and docking.




7th - Refit completion and prepared for post refit trials.


13th - Post refit trials unsatisfactory. (Note: Defects included sudden excessive vibration in starboard turbine and starboard outer condenser due to perforated tubes contaminating water in all boilers. Ship unable to steam and taken in tow to Simonstown for repairs.)


18th - Under repair




8th - Took passage to Freetown.


14th - At Freetown. (Note: Embarked German prisoners of war for passage to UK under guard.)


21st - Passage to UK for service with Home Fleet (Note: Relieved in 4th Cruiser Squadron by HM Cruiser MAURITIUS.)




5th - Arrived at Scapa Flow and joined 1st Cruiser Squadron. (Note: Prisoners were disembarked.)


25th - Sailed from Scapa Flow to Hvalfjord on completion of exercises.


28th - Passage from Hvalfjord for Denmark Strait patrol. (Note: During this period provided cover for ships of Home Fleet were carrying Operation EF for air attacks from HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS on Tromso and Kirkeness and passage of HM Cruiser ADVENTURE for delivery of mines to Archangel.)




1st - Sailed from patrol area for Havalfjord with call at Akureri.


18th - Took passage from Hvalfjord to Scapa Flow with HM Battleships PRINCE OF WALES, RAMILLIES,  and screen of five Home Fleet Destroyers. (Note: HMS PRINCE OF WALES was taking Prime Minister Winston Churchill back to UK from the Atlantic Charter meeting with US President Franklin Roosevelt.)


23rd - Deployed at Scapa Flow after call in Clyde to disembark passengers from meeting.


27th - Nominated for refit at Chatham. (Note: Originally intended to begin in September, this was delayed by Home Fleet operational requirements.)


30th - Deployed as escort for HMS ARGUS, screened by HM Destroyers MATABELE, PUNJABI and SOMALI during passage to Archangel. (Note: HMS ARGUS was taking HURRICANE aircraft and RAF personnel for duties in North Russia. (Operation STRENGTH). Cover was provided by HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS, HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE screened by HM Destroyers ECLIPSE, ESCAPADE and INGLEFIELD.)




6th - Took passage to Seidisfjord with escort after launch of aircraft to airfield near Murmansk.


10th - Passage from Seidisfjord to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet duties.


14th - Arrived at Scapa Flow.


28th - Passage to Archangel for escort of return convoy from North Russia.




2nd - Joined HM Cruiser LONDON, HM Destroyers ELECTRA and ACTIVE in escort for Convoy QP1 during passage from Archangel.


10th - Detached from QP1 off Orkneys and returned to Scapa Flow.


11th - Passage to Sheerness.


17th - Paid-off and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Chatham


November to December


Under refit



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Post refit harbour trials.


30th - Passage to Sheerness to ammunition and carry out post-refit sea trials.


31st - Trials unsatisfactory due to failure of starboard outer turbine.




Returned to Chatham for repair. (Note: Decision made for ship to only use three shafts. Repair to be undertaken by Harland and Wolf at Scotstoun, Glasgow.)


16th - Passage to Clyde for repair.


20th - Under repair at Scotstoun. (Note: One official records states that radar outfits were fitted: Type 281 for aircraft warning, Type 273 for surface warning, Type 285 for Secondary armament fire control and Type 282 for close range AA armament fire control.)




On completion to be deployed for Atlantic convoy defence


21st - Passage to Clyde from Belfast.


23rd - Joined military convoy WS17 in Clyde for Ocean Escort during passage to Freetown with HM Armed Merchant Cruiser ALCANTARA, HM Destroyers ALDENHAM, GROVE and LOOKOUT.




6th - Detached from WS17 on arrival at Freetown where convoy split into two sections.


11th - Joined military convoy WS17B on departure as Ocean Escort with HM Sloop MILFORD


23rd - Detached from WS17B on arrival at Capetown and deployed for trade defence in Indian Ocean.


29th - Returned to Simonstown after patrol including call at Durban.




12th - Resumed trade defence duties.


25th - Returned to Capetown.




2nd - Sailed from Capetown to join military convoy WS19 as Ocean Escort during passage to Durban from Cape of Good Hope.


5th - Provided Ocean Escort to WS19 during passage to Durban.


9th - Arrived at Durban with WS19.


12th - Escorted WS19 during passage from Durban in Indian Ocean


18th - Detached from WS19 on relief as Ocean Escort by HM Cruiser MAURITIUS. Took passage to relieve HM Battleships RODNEY and NELSON as Ocean Escort for military convoy WS19P.


26th - Relieved HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY as Ocean Escort for WS19P during passage from Freetown to Capetown.




Nominated for return to UK for Home Fleet service.


1st - Remained as Ocean Escort for WS19P to Durban on arrival off Cape of Good Hope.


4th - Detached from WS19P on arrival at Durban and resumed trade defence.


12th - Arrived at Simonstown.


14th - Deployed in Cape area.


16th - Returned to Simonstown.




Deployment restricted to Local Escort by CinC South Atlantic.


Escorted convoy to Durban.


28th - Returned to Simonstown.




1st - Taken in hand for docking and emergency defects by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.


8th - Offered to Royal Australian Navy as replacement for HM Australian Cruiser CANBERRA which had been sunk after damage in an action against Japanese warships at Savo Island on 9th August 1942.


22nd - Resumed operational duties on completion of dockyard work.


25th - Joined military convoy WS22 off Capetown as escort for passage to Durban.


29th - Detached from WS22 on arrival at Durban,


30th - Took passage to Capetown.




Deployed at Simonstown and nominated for escort of convoy to UK.


20th - Passage to UK,




Transfer to RAN confirmed. RAN Captain to be appointed.


2nd - At Freetown.


16th - Arrived in Clyde


20th - Took passage to Sheerness.


22nd - De-ammunitioned and prepared to Pay-off prior to refit and transfer to Royal Australian Navy.  (Note: Ship had steamed 220,000 miles since September 1939.)




Under refit and RAN personnel joined the ship. Single 4in Secondary armament mountings replaced by Twin mountings. Close range AA defence supplemented by 20mm single Oerlikon guns. Aircraft facilities removed.



1 9 4 3


January to March


Refit work in continuation




Refit completion date programmed for end of May, Ex Trials.


20th - Commissioned as HMAS SHROPSHIRE.


S e r v i c e   as   H M A S   S H R O P S H I R E




Refit work in continuation




Harbour trials and sea trials in Thames area.


16th - Trials completion and prepared to work-up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.




Deployed at Scapa Flow for work-up




Nominated for Ocean Escort of military convoy to Indian Ocean on completion.


13th - Joined joint military convoy KMF22 to Mediterranean and WS33 in Clyde as Ocean Escort with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier HUNTER, HM Destroyer WRESTLER, HM Sloops CHANTICLEER, WESTON and NARBADA (RIN).


24th - Detached from WS33/KMF22 on arrival at Gibraltar and took independent passage to Fremantle with call at Simonstown.




24th - Arrived at Fremantle.




Nominated for service with Task Force 74 under US Navy command. Taken in hand for refit on arrival at Sydney. On completion prepared for service with 7th US Navy Fleet in SW Pacific


30th - Joined HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and HOBART at Brisbane as part of Task Force 74.




Passage to Milne Bay, Papua with HMAS AUSTRALIA for support of planned military operations.


5th - Deployed for patrol with ships of TF74 off New Hebrides.


11th - Supported assault on Bougainville at Point Purvis.


17th - Passage to Milne Bay.




Deployed with TG74.


13th - Provided cover for landings by 112th US Cavalry at Arawe, New Britain with HMAS AUSTRALIA and HM Australian Destroyers ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA. (Operation DIRECTOR).


24th - Joined TG74.1 with HMAS AUSTRALIA and took passage from Milne Bay to Cape Gloucester, New Guinea.


26th - Covered landing of US 1st Marine Division with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA and HMAS WARRAMUNGA. Bombarded assault beaches with a high standard of accuracy and received praise from Command (Operation DEXTERITY).


On completion took passage to Buna.



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2nd - Covered landing by 32nd US Infantry Division near Saidor, New Guinea with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA, HMAS WARRAMUNGA and US destroyers.


23rd - Deployed with TF74 at Milne Bay for patrols and exercises.


27th - Passage to Sydney.


30th - Leave period in Sydney.




9th - Sailed for Milne Bay having relieved HMAS AUSTRALIA as Flagship of TF74.


13th - Deployed on patrols at Milne Bay.


29th - Passage to Sudea to Join TF74.




3rd - Sailed with TF74 to The Admiralty Islands. Deployed with US Cruisers PHOENIX and NASHVILLE and bombarded gun positions on Hauwei and Nbrilo Islands at entrance to Seeadler Harbour during the assault on the Admiralty Islands by 5th US Cavalry.


7th - Continued bombardment of same targets with TF74 ships.


Returned to Sudea to replenish.


11th - Arrived at Milne Bay with TF74.




14th - Passage from Milne Bay to Sudest with TF74 for Joint operations under TF77 command for support of landings in Dutch New Guinea.


22nd - Deployed with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA and two US destroyers to provide cover during landings at Hollandia and Aitape by US I Corps. (Operations RECKLESS and PERSECUTION).


Provided naval gunfire support at Tanamera Bay until 30th.




4th - Returned to Seeadler with TF74.


5th - Carried out exercises before further support duties.


17th - Passage to Sawar and Salmai, Dutch New Guinea.


On arrival bombarded enemy positions and deployed on patrol till 22nd.


23rd - Passage to Biak via Humboldt Bay


25th - Deployed with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA, HMAS WARRAMUNGA and two US Navy destroyers in support of landings by 41st US Infantry Division on the south coast of Biak as Task Group 77.2.


27th - Provided naval gunfire support.


28th - Propeller shaft defective. Withdrawn from operations.


Took passage to Sydney for repair and refit




3rd - In dock at Sydney. Torpedo tubes removed and additional 20mm Oerlikons fitted.


29th - On completion took passage to rejoin TF74.




6th - Arrived Humboldt Bay for operational service.


12th - Sailed for Aitape from Seeadler to support military operation.


14th - Bombarded Japanese positions opposing US advance with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA, HMAS WARRAMUNGA and US Navy destroyers.


15th - Deployed on patrol in Aitape area to support operations by US Navy motor torpedo boats (PT craft).


25th - On completion of patrol returned to Humboldt with HMAS ARUNTA.


30th - Covered assault on Cape Sansapor, New Guinea.




Continued deployment and patrol off Sanaspor and only RAN representative.




1st - Joined Task Group 75.2 with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS ARUNTA, HMAS WARRAMUNGA and two US Navy destroyers.


12th - Deployed in support of landings by US 31st Infantry Division and 32nd Divn of XI Corps at Morotai in Moluccas, based at Biak.


15th to 16th - Provided naval gunfire support at Morotai.


18th - Transferred to Nios Wundi.






11th - Sailed from Manus for Hollandia with TG77.2 to support ships of TF78 during the US assault on Leyte.


13th - Re-designated as Task Unit 77.3.2 and escorted military convoy to Leyte. Under air attacks


20th - Bombarded Leyte beachhead.


21st - Replaced damaged HMAS AUSTRALIA as senior RAN ship.


24th - In action with Japanese warships MOGAMI, SHIGURE and YAMASHIRO during Battle of Leyte Gulf (Surigao Strait). All these enemy ships were sunk. Achieved high rate of 8in gunfire (8 broadsides within 2 minutes). Took part in an unsuccessful pursuit of other enemy warships.


25th - Carried out patrols off entrance to Strait after return from pursuit.


29th - Joined Task Group 77.1 with HMAS ARUNTA and deployed in support of landings by providing naval gunfire support and carrying out patrols to intercept any Japanese attempt to prevent landings.




1st - Under KAMIKAZE attacks and near missed by aircraft which then hit and sank US Navy destroyer USS ABNER READ.


Continued patrol and support till 16th


16th - Returned to Manus with USN ships.




4th - Joined TG74.1 with HMAS AUSTRALIA.


15th to 21st - Covered landings on Mindoro by 503rd Parachute Regiment and 19th RCT.


26th - Detached for Rest & Recuperation period at Palua Island.



1 9 4 5




1st - Joined Fire Support Group TG77.2 for support of landings at Lingayen Gulf.


3rd - Escorted Carrier Task Group TG77.4 during passage.


6th - Provided naval gunfire support prior to landings. Under KAMIKAZE attacks and again near missed by an aircraft which then hit USS NEW MEXICO. A second attacker near missed B turret and crashed in sea.


7th to 9th - Continued bombardment duties.


10th - Took part in operations off Luzon with Luzon Defence Force as cover for US Navy aircraft Carriers.


Deployed for patrols off Luzon with TG77 ships.


15th - Provided fire support at Corregidor with USS PORTLAND and USS MINNEAPOLIS.


16th - Deployed off Luzon in support role.


24th - Covered landings in West Luzon with USS BOISE and USS PHOENIX as TG74.3. Landing ships under attack by Japanese submarine Ro46.




Part of Reserve Force with USS MINNEAPOLIS and USS PORTLAND.


14th - Reinforced bombardment force after some ships damaged by mines.


17th - Returned to Lingayen.


26th - Took passage to Leyte.




1st - RAN Squadron disbanded and took passage to Manus via Seadler


16th - Passage to Sydney.


April to May  


Under refit at Sydney. All 20mm AA guns replaced by 13 single 40mm weapons. Surface warning radar Type 273 replaced by Type 293 and Type 277. Fire control radar for main armament replaced.




Worked-up for further operational service.


13th - Joined Task Group 74.1 at Tawi Tawi


15th - Passage to Brunei.


18th - Bombarded Labuan Island till 19th


20th - Deployed off Borneo in support duty.


26th - Passage to Balikpapan for support of assault operation from Tawi Tawi after replenishment. (Operation OBOE II).


27th - Rejoined TG74.Cruiser Covering Force with HMAS HOBART and 2 USN destroyers off Balikpapan.


Bombarded shore targets until 1st.




1st - Returned to Tawi Tawi to replenish.


5th - Passage to Balikpapan to continue bombardment duty.


7th to 9th - Bombardment of shore targets.


9th - Passage to Tawi Tawi on completion.


11th - Passage to Subic Bay from Tawi Tawi.


14th - Arrived at Subic Bay.


19th - Passage to Manila for Rest and Recuperation period.


26th - Rejoined TF74 at Subic Bay.




Remained at Subic Bay.


17th - After Japanese surrender took passage to Japan via Manila and Okinawa.


Joined Task Group 70.9 with HMAS HOBART, HM Australian Destroyers BATAAN and WARRAMUNGA and 3 RAN minesweepers.


31st - Joined TF38 ships at Sagami Bay with TF70.9



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SHROPSHIRE was deployed in transfer of repatriated British and Commonwealth POW from Japan until November 1945 when she was relieved by HMAS HOBART in Japan. She carried the Australian contingent to UK for the Victory celebrations arriving at Portsmouth on 30th May 1946 and returning with them during August. After a refit in Sydney the ship made one more trip to Japan before paying of into Reserve at Sydney in April 1947. During 1954, HMS SHROPSHIRE was sold for breaking up at Dalmuir and was towed to UK by the Dutch tug OOSTZEE. Breaking up was completed at Troon in 1955.







by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








WS 002





WS 002S





WS 002A





BS 004C





SW 002





AP 003/1





AP 003/A





SW 002A





BN 008A





SW 003





SL 078





QP 001





CF 007





CF 007A








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 10/4/12
further editing is required