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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS BERMUDA  -  Colony-class Light Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Bermuda in 1943 (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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COLONY-Class cruiser ordered on 4th September 1939 from John Brown of Clydebank and laid down on 30th November 1939. The ship was launched on 11th September 1941 by Viscountess Weir and was the eighth RN ship to carry this name, first introduced in 1795. Build was completed on the 21st August 1942 and this ship had been adopted in March 1942 by the civil community of West Bromwich, then in the county of Staffordshire 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 , White, a demi-lion affronte erased Red

holding in the dexter paw a trident also Red.



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 2


July                         Contractors trials



                5th          Commissioned for service.

                21st         Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                28th        On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to work up with ships of

                                Home Fleet


September             Carried out further trials and calibrations at Scapa Flow.


October                  Nominated for support of planned allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)

                26th        On completion of work-up joined HM Battleships DUKE OF YORK, NELSON and HM

                                Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and FORMIDABLE with

                                HM Cruiser ARGONAUT screened by eleven Home Fleet destroyers for passage to Gibraltar

                                to support of landings. For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett,

                                RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute and Naval Staff History).



                3rd          Arrived at Gibraltar and joined Force H.

                6th          Sailed from Gibraltar

                8th          Provided Distant Cover for landings and bombarded shore gun positions during assault.

                                Carried out patrolled in seaward approaches to prevent any interference by Vichy French

                                or Italian warships.

                                Under torpedo and bomb attacks by He111aircraft off Algiers with HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD.

                                (Note: One air craft was claimed destroyed and one damaged during attacks by 34 aircraft.)

                10th        Escorted convoy of three troop ships to Bougie with HMS SHEFFIELD.

                                On release from TORCH took return passage to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet duties

                14th        Deployed as Flagship of Force Q to carry out attacks on enemy supply shipping.

                                Released from Force H and nominated for return to Home Fleet.


December              Passage to Scapa Flow

                4th          Rejoined Home Fleet for convoy defence and patrol duty in NW Approaches.

                31st         Deployed with HM Battleship KING GEORGE V and HOWE with Fleet destroyers to provide

                                cover for returning Russian Convoy RA51 after the attacks on the inward Russian Convoy

                                JW51B by German warships HIPPER and LUTZOW.

                                (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY,

                                THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B. Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and Russian Convoys

                                by R Woodman.)


1 9 4 3



                4th          Detached from JW51B during passage and provided cover for return Convoy RA51

                                during passage from Kola Inlet to Loch Ewe.

                17th        Deployed with HM Cruisers GLASGOW and KENT to provide cover for passage of

                                Russian Convoy JW52 during passage to Kola Inlet.

                27th        Detached from JW52 on arrival at Kola Inlet

                29th        Deployed to provide cover for passage of return Convoy RA52 during passage to Loch Ewe

                                from Kola Inlet

                                (Note: Attack by U625 failed Ė See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)



                9th          Returned to Scapa Flow on release from RA52



                29th        Deployed with HM Destroyer ATHABASKAN (RCN) for patrol in Faeroes-Iceland Gap

                                after German battleships TIRPITZ, SCHARNHORST and LUTZOW were reported at sea



                2nd         Returned to Scapa Flow without sighting any enemy ships.


May                        Relieved HM Cruiser SCYLLA as escort for rms QUEEN MARY during passage to Canada

                                with Prime Minister embarked for TRIDENT Meeting with President Roosevelt..

                27th        Escorted HM Battleships ANSON and VALIANT from Scapa Flow to Rosyth.

                31st         Sailed from Greenock with HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND, HM Destroyers

                                ATHABASKAN (RCN) and ECLIPSE covered by HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS, HM Cruiser

                                SCYLLA screened by HM Destroyers ECHO and MIDDLETON

                                (Operation GEARBOX Ė Relief for Spitzbergen Garrison)


June                        Bad weather forced ships to shelter at Akureri, Iceland.

                7th          Sailed for Spitzbergen.

                10th        Arrived at Spitzbergen

                                Ship's aircraft used to patrol the area.

                14th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                30th        Transferred to Plymouth to provide cruiser cover for anti-submarine operations by Support

                                Groups B2 and 2nd Support Group in Bay of Biscay with HM Cruiser GLASGOW to prevent

                                any attacks by destroyers. (Operations MUSKETRY and SEASLUG).

                                (Note: These operations were carried out in conjunction with RAF Coastal Command).


July                         Bay of Biscay support duty in continuing.


August                  Supported Anti-submarine operations by 40th Escort Group and 5th Support Group off the

                                Spanish coast during which attacks were made for the first time by Hs293 weapons

                                (Operation PERCUSSION).

                                (Note: The escorts involved include HM Frigates NENE and TWEED.

                                See also HITLERíS BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

                                This deployment also covered passage of outward Convoy os54 and inward SL134)


September             Under refit at Devonport.

                                (Note: Close Range AA defence supplemented by additional 20mm Oerlikon guns.)


October                  Carried out harbour and sea trials on completion of dockyard work.

                25th        Passage to resume Home Fleet duty at Scapa Flow.



                19th        Provided cruiser cover with HMS JAMAICA and HMS KENT for passage of the Russian

                                Convoys JW54A and JW54B and later for returning convoy RA54B.



                3rd          Returned to Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.

                11th        Taken in hand for repair to heavy weather damage whilst in Arctic waters in Clyde shipyard.

                22nd       Resumed Home Fleet duties


1 9 4 4


January                  On completion rejoined Home Fleet.

                27th        Deployed in Barents Sea to provide cruiser cover with HMS BERWICK and HMS KENT for

                                passage of the Russian Convoys JW56A and JW56B.


February                Remained in area to cover returning Convoy RA56.

                7th          Detached from RA56 and resumed Fleet duties in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: Deployment to provide cover for intended air operations by HM Aircraft Carrier

                                FURIOUS against enemy shipping off Norwegian coast was not carried out.)


March                    Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow in continuation.

                31st         Taken in hand for refit in Tyne shipyard.


April                       Under refit.

                                (Note: Aircraft facilities removed and additional 20mm Oerlikon guns fitted.)


May                        Rejoined Home Fleet.

                                (Note: Operation by Home Fleet units to cover air strikes was abandoned when ships sighted and

                                ships returned to Scapa Flow.)

                19th        Took part in Home Fleet exercises to prepare for support of planned allied landings in Normandy.

                                (Operation NEPTUNE).


June                        Remained at Scapa Flow for deployment by major Home Fleet units as needed in Channel or in

                                NW Approaches.

                                (Note: Home Fleet units were deployed for diversionary operations off coast of Norway to

                                suggest assault operations in Norway were intended.

                                Ship did not therefore take part in active operations in Channel for NEPTUNE).

                30th        Nominated for duty with British Pacific Fleet and arrived in Clyde for refit in commercial



August                  Under refit in Clyde shipyard to prepare for service in Pacific.

to                            Fire control radar Type 284 replaced by modern Type 274 centimetric Radar.

December              Type 277 and Type 293 fitted for surface warning and for height finding.

                                Type 281B air warning radar using only one aerial unit replaced Type 281 which used two masts.

                                (For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse)


1 9 4 5


January                  Under refit




March                    Carried out harbour trials

                9th          Shipyard work completed and carried out sea trials.


April                       Prepared for foreign service at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.



                3rd          Sailed for Mediterranean to work-up.


June                        Completed work-up.

                6th          Took passage to Far East via Ceylon.



                7th          Arrived Sydney to join BPF with HM Cruiser BELFAST.


August                  Deployed at Sydney

                15th        Nominated for duty in British Task Unit 111.3 with HM Aircraft carrier

                                COLOSSUS, HM Cruiser ARGONAUT, HM Cruiser BELFAST and HM Destroyers

                                TUMULT, TUSCAN, TYRIAN and QUIBERON.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS BERMUDA joined the RN ships in TU111.3 and first went to the US Navy Base at Leyte before taking passage to Formosa where she attended the formal surrender of the island on 9th September. The ship assisted in evacuation of PoW from Japan and of civilian personnel from Weittsien. Later that month she was deployed at Shanghai for repatriation duties with HM Cruiser  ARGONAUT and assisted in shore operations At Hong Kong. This ship became Flagship of the 5th Cruiser Squadron and remained in the Far East when the repatriation was completed. Deployed with the PACIFIC Fleet she visited Australia and refitted in Hong Kong during 1946. Fleet service in the Far East continued in 1947 with visits to Shanghai and ports in Japan. In May 1947 this cruiser took passage from Hong Kong to return to UK via Suez and arrived at Plymouth on 19th June. Paid-off at Chatham the ship was reduced to Reserve status before refit at Chatham.


She re-commissioned at Devonport in October 1950 for service in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean until 1953 when she remained in service and re-commissioned in March 1953 for deployment in the Mediterranean until 1954 when transferred to the Home Fleet as Flagship of Flag Officer Flotillas. Paid-off in 1956 she was taken in hand for major refit and modernisation. The modernised ship rejoined the Fleet and remained in service until 1962, During her later commissions she was deployed in the Home Fleet and in the Mediterranean. Visits were paid to ports in Europe, in the Mediterranean and to Bermuda on three occasions. Nominated for reduction to reserve, she was deployed in Home Waters as a Flagship, Home Fleet. In 1963 she was paid off and destored before finally Paid-off at Portsmouth on 30th July 1962. Whilst in un-maintained Reserve the ship was placed on the Disposal List  in 1965 and sold to BISCO for demolition by T W Ward. She  arrived under tow at the breakerís yard in tow at Briton Ferry on 26th August that year.







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








RA 051





JW 052





RA 052





MKF 013





MKF 018





OS 053KM





SL 134





JW 054A





JW 054B





RA 054B





JW 056A





JW 056B





RA 056








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 3/6/11
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