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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS BELLONA  -  Bellona/improved Dido-class AA Cruiser including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Bellona (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List   

Improved DIDO-Class cruiser ordered on 4th September 1939 from Fairfield, Glasgow under an Emergency War Program and laid down on 30th November that year. Launched on 29th September 1942 she was as the 14th RN warship to carry the name, first used for the Prize BELLONE taken in 1747. Prior to WW2 it had been used for a 1909 cruiser built in 1921, but a trawler carrying this name was hired in November 1939 for minesweeping duties .This trawler was renamed HMS EGERIA in 1940 so the name could be again used for a major warship. Her main armament comprised only four twin 5.25 inch mountings (see General Information). Build was completed on 29th October 1943 after delays due to completion of electrical wiring. HM Cruiser BELLONA was adopted before commissioning by the civil community of the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


TRINIDAD 1797 - COPENHAGEN 1801 - BASQUE ROADS 1809 - JUTLAND  1916 - NORMANDY 1944 - BISCAY  1944 - NORWAY 1944-45 - ARCTIC  1944-45


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, a shield and trophy of classic weapons all Gold.



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



1 9 4 3


September             Contractor's trials.

                30th        Commissioned for service in Home Fleet..



                29th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials


November              Acceptance delayed by defects

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships

                                of the Home Fleet


December              Work-up delayed due to further repair of defects and incomplete electrical wiring as

                                well as foul weather.)


1 9 4 4


January                  On completion of work-up joined 10th Cruiser Squadron.

                                Transferred to English Channel for offensive patrols to intercept coastal shipping in Bay

                                of Biscay and English Channel.

                                Deployed as Senior Officer's ship in Force 26 comprising HM Destroyers TARTAR,

                                ASHANTI. HAIDA (RCN), IROQUOIS (RCN), HURON (RCN) and ATHABASKAN (RCN).

                                (Note: TUNNEL Operations - See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by Peter C Smith).

                                Had relieved HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS which had been sunk in October 1943 in

                                a most ill-fated TUNNEL operation.)


February                Channel deployment in continuation.


March                    Channel deployment including convoy defence against German destroyer and E-Boat attacks.

                15th        In action against E-Boats of 9th and 5th German Flotillas with HMS TARTAR and HMS

                                ASHANTI during cover of passage of coastal convoy WP492 in SW Approaches.



                24th        Routine docking at Plymouth after relief by HM Cruiser BLACK PRINCE in Force 26.


May                        Nominated for duty in support of Normandy landings (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                (For details see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and NORMANDY LANDINGS,

                                June 1944 (HMSO).).

                16th        During operation with HMS TARTAR, HMCS HAIDA and HMCS HURON opened fire

                                on HM Cruiser APOLLO covering minelay west of Ushant (Operation HOSTILE 32).

                                (Note: One source says Force 26 ships were not aware of minelaying operation.)

                                The minelaying operation was then abandoned.

                                For details of minelaying see Naval Staff History (Mining). ).

                26th        Withdrawn from cover during planned minelay because of threat of submarine attack.

                30th        Passage to Belfast to join Bombardment Force ships of Western Task Force.



                3rd          Passage to Solent with US battleships USS NEVADA, ARKANSAS and TEXAS.

                4th          Held in SW Approaches because of 24 hour postponement of landings.

                5th          Detached to Join US cruiser USS AUGUSTA at Plymouth and sailed to Solent for

                                passage to Western Task Force area.

                6th          Deployed off OMAHA beach head for gunfire support and AA Guardship duties.

                8th          Provided gunfire support to military operations in OMAHA area.

                to            Under night air attack and destroyed one aircraft by 20mm Oerlikon fire.


                16th        Withdrawn from NEPTUNE and remained in Reserve at Plymouth.


July                         Rejoined Han Fleet for operations off Norway.

                17th        Joined screen for HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK with HM Cruisers Kent

                                DEVONSHIRE and JAMAICA to cover air attacks by HM Aircraft Carriers

                                FORMIDABLE. INDEFATIGABLE and FURIOUS on the German battleship

                                TIRPITZ in Kaafjord (Operation MASCOT)

                                (Note: These attacks were unsuccessful. See CONVOY ! by Peter Kemp).

                19th        Returned to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.

                31st         Resumed Channel duties with ships of 10th Cruiser Squadron based at Plymouth.

                                Deployed with HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Escort Carrier STRIKER, destroyers of

                                10th Flotilla and Frigates of 11th Support Group as Force 26.

                                Carried out patrol between Brest and La Rochelle to intercept U-Boats being used

                                to evacuate Biscay ports (Operation KINETIC)



                5th          Deployed with HM Destroyers TARTAR, ASHANTI, HAIDA (RCN) and

                                IROQUOIS (RCN) as Force 26 for attacks on convoys between Belle Isle and

                                La Rochelle.

                6th          In action against two convoys off St. Nazaire, sinking minesweepers H263, MW6 and

                                patrol boat V414.

                                One merchant ship set on fire and JUPITER disabled.

                                (Note: A Post War Assessment of this operation included an Aircraft Repair Ship

                                RICHTOFEN as being sunk.

                                During this period ship also deployed to provide Air-Sea Rescue cover for

                                Royal Flight between Gibraltar and UK.)


September             On release from Force 26 took passage to Clyde for refit.

                                Taken in hand for refit in Clyde commercial shipyard.



                20th        On completion of post refit trials rejoined Squadron at Scapa Flow

                23rd        Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier IMPLACABLE with HM Destroyers VENUS, SCOURGE,

                                SAVAGE, VERULAM, CAPRICE, ZAMBESI, CASSANDRA and CAMBRIAN for

                                air strikes on targets at Sorreisa and Bardufoss, Norway (Operation ATHLETIC).


November              Deployed at Scapa Flow.

                12th        Carried out attack on German convoy KS357 off Listerfjord with HM Cruiser KENT,

                                HM Destroyers MYNGS, VERULAM, ZAMBESI and ALGONQUIN (RCN) as Force 2.

                                (Operation COUNTERBLAST).

                                Bombarded shore battery.

                                (Note: Post war assessment of losses included two mercantiles, CORNOSAILLES and

                                GRIEF, Minesweepers M416 and M427.)



                1st           Escorted Russian Convoy JW62 with HM Escort Carriers CAMPANIA, NAIRANA

                                HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG, CAESAR, CAMBRIAN,


                                ORWELL and WESTCOTT.

                                (Note: In addition frigates and sloops from Western Approaches were deployed for

                                anti-submarine defence.)

                7th          Detached from JW62 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

                10th        Joined escort for returning Convoy RA62 with same ships.

                                (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,

                                CONVOY ! by P Kemp and RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield).

                14th        Detached from RA62 for shipping strike off Norway with Horne Fleet ships.

                                (Operation COUNTERBLAST).

                                Passage to Rosyth for repair.


1 9 4 5


January                  Rejoined Home Fleet on completion of repair.

                11th        Joined Force 1 with HM Cruiser NORFOLK and Fleet destroyers to cover minelay off

                                Utsira Island (Operation GRATIS) and shipping strike off Egersund (Operation

                                SPELLBINDER - For details see Naval Staff History (MINING).

                                Strikes by HM Cruiser DIDO and aircraft from HM Escort Carriers TRUMPETER and

                                PREMIER were very successful with several ships and escorts sunk or damaged.

                                (Note: An attack by U427 was unsuccessful.)



                6th          Joined escort for Russian Convoy JW64 with HM Escort Carriers CAMPANIA and

                                NAIRANA screened by frigates and destroyer screen.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers ONSLAUGHT, OPPORTUNE, ORWELL, SERAPIS,

                                ZAMBESI, ZEST, ZEALOUS and SIOUX (RCN) were deployed as Fighting

                                Destroyer Escort with Sloops and Frigates from Western Approaches also

                                providing additional ant-submarine defence.)

                15th        Detached from JW64 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

                                (Note: During period at Kola Inlet a Diving Party detonated charges on the hulk of

                                HM Frigate DENBIGH CASTLE which had been beached after being badly

                                damaged by torpedo attack during defence of JW64 See above references.)

                17th        Joined escort for returning Convoy RA64.

                                (Note: HM Sloop LARK and HM Corvette BLUEBELL were lost during defence of

                                RA64. This convoy encountered very severe weather conditions.)

                                See above references.)

                27th        Detached and resumed Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.



                20th        Joined 'Force 1' with HM Escort Carriers PREMIER, SEARCHER and QUEEN escorted

                                by HM Destroyers ONSLOW, ZEST, SERAPIS, HAIDA (RCN) and IROQUOIS (RCN)

                                for minelay off Askevold and shipping strike on shore targets (Operation CUPOLA).

                                (See Naval Staff History (MINING) for details).

                22nd       Covered air strikes on shipping off Norway by HM Escort Carriers NAIRANA,

                                PUNCHER, QUEEN and SEARCHER with HM Cruiser DIDO and screen of six

                                Fleet destroyers.


April                       Deployed with Home Fleet during anti-shipping operations off Norway by aircraft

                                from escort carriers.

                18th        Joined escort for Russian Convoy JU66 with HM Escort Carriers PREMIER. VINDEX,

                                HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Destroyers OFFA, ZEPHYR, ZEST, ZODIAC, HAIDA (RCN),

                                HURON (RCN), IROQUOIS (RCN) and Norwegian STORD.

                25th        Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet.

                29th        Joined escort for return Convoy RA66.



                4th          Detached from RA66 and took passage to Rosyth.


June                        Deployed with Home Fleet.

                                Visited Oslo to take part in Victory Parade.


July                         Home Fleet duty with Squadron in continuation.




P o s t   W a r   N o t e s.


HMS BELLONA remained in commission after 'VJ' Day and served with the Home Fleet. In 1948 she was lent to the Royal New Zealand Navy with which she remained until 1956. On return to UK  the ship Paid-off and reduced to Reserve Status. As part of the Defence Review in 1957 she was placed on the Disposal List and sold in 1959 to BISCO for demolition by T H Ward in 1959. She arrived in tow at the breakerís yard in Briton Ferry on 5th February 1959.







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








JW 062





RA 062





JW 064





RA 064





JW 066





RA 066








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 3/6/11
further editing and formatting is required