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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 1999

HMS ENTERPRISE  -  World War 1 E-class Cruiser including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Emerald, sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List   

E-Class cruiser ordered from John Brown at Clydebank and launched on 23rd December 1919 as the 14th RN warship to carry the name which dates from 1705. After launch the ship was towed to HM Dockyard, Devonport. where work was completed on 31st March 1926. Part of the Active Fleet until 1937 when she went into Reserve and re-commissioned in April 1938 for service in the Reserve at Portsmouth. Manned by Reservists she attended the Royal Review of the Reserve  Fleet on 9th August 1939 and remained in Full Commission. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 this cruiser was adopted by the civil community of the city of Oxford


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


HAVANA 1762 - ATLANTIC 1939-40 - NORWAY 1940 - BISCAY 1943 - NORMANDY 1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Red, a lion rampant under a star Silver


M o t t o

 Spes aspera levat:  ‘Hope lightens difficulties’



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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                9th          Attended Review of Reserve Fleet at Weymouth.

                                War complement joined and remained in commission.

                                War Station allocated for Atlantic patrol with 4th Cruiser Squadron.

                                Completed storing and took passage to join Squadron.



                6th          Joined Squadron at Portsmouth

                9th          Sailed for Scapa Flow

                18th        Carried out patrol in NW Approaches to intercept enemy shipping on passage to

                                ports in Germany.


                2nd         After two patrols transferred to America and West Indies Squadron.

                                Took passage to Plymouth.

                                (For details of blockade operations see THE BLOCKADERS by C Hampshire).

                7th          Embarked gold bullion for transfer to Canada to pay for war materials obtained in

                                USA. Sailed with HM Cruiser EMERALD escorted by HM Battleship REVENGE

                                and HM Cruiser CARADOC.

                22nd       On arrival at Halifax transferred to Halifax Escort Force.

                23rd        Deployed on patrol off eastern Canada.


November              Deployed as Ocean Escort for Canada - UK convoys

                2nd         Sailed from Halifax as escort for Atlantic convoy.

                15th        Arrived at Portsmouth



                4th          Sailed for Portland to resume Atlantic convoy defence.

                8th          Passage from Portland to join convoy.

                15th        At Halifax.

                19th        Sailed from Halifax for convoy escort duty.

                29th        Arrived at Portsmouth after detaching from convoy.


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                4th          Sailed from Portsmouth to join Atlantic convoy.

                10th        On arrival at Halifax transferred to West Indies Station for trade protection.

                14th        Passage to Bermuda.

                                (Note: See entry for 27th February)

                23rd        Return passage to Halifax.

                26th        On arrival prepared for return to Portsmouth for refit.



                27th        During passage to Portsmouth intercepted German freighter KONSUL HORN but

                                could not board because of weather.

                                Mercantile avoided capture and arrived safely in Germany.

                                (Note: One source records this interception during January off Aruba and that

                                blockade runner, purporting to be a Soviet mercantile was not detained.)



                2nd         Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.


April                       Under refit

                                Nominated for duty with Home Fleet on completion.

                11th        Carried out post refit trials and took passage to Scapa Flow.

                14th        Deployed with Home Fleet in support of operations in Norway (Operation


                19th        Came under unsuccessful attack by U65 off Lofoten Islands.

                                (Note: This was due to torpedo failure. See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR Vol 1.)

                21st         Relieved HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM on patrol off Harstad.

                24th        Bombarded enemy positions at Narvik with H M Battleship WARSPITE, HM

                                Cruiser AURORA and HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM.


May                        Deployment in support of military operations in continuation.

                4th          Rescued survivors from Polish destroyer ORP GROM sunk in air attacks.

                7th          Deployed with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyer HESPERUS and HM Sloop

                                FLEETWO0D to take Scots Guards to Mo to hold the southern approaches to


                11th        Embarked Scots Guards for passage to Mo.

                                Passage to Bodo with HM Destroyer HESPERUS, HM Sloop FLEETWOOD

                                and ss MARGOT.

                12th        Landed troops at Mo.

                                Came under sustained air attacks.

                13th        Provided gunfire support to French Foreign Legion landings at Herjansfjord.

                29th        Withdrawn from operational service.

                                Embarked members of Norwegian Government and 20 tone of gold before passage

                                to Devonport for repair

                                (For details of the disastrous naval operations off Norway see NARVIK by Donald

                                Macintyre, CARRIER GLORIOUS by John. THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J

                                Adams and Naval Staff History (HMSO.)

                31st         Landed passengers and gold before being taken in hand for repair by HM

                                Dockyard at Devonport.


June                        Under repair.

                                Nominated for duty at Gibraltar with newly formed Force H.

                22nd       Dockyard work completed. Joined Force H on formation at Plymouth.

                29th        Sailed from Plymouth to join HM Battleships HOOD, VALIANT, RESOLUTION,

                                HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, HM Cruiser ARETHUSA and ships of the 8th

                                Destroyer Flotilla at Gibraltar.


July                         Arrived at Gibraltar and deployed with Force H to attempt negotiation with the

                                French Admiral at Mers-el-Kebir for satisfactory disposal of French warships.

                                (Operation CATAPULT - for details see THE DEADLY STROKE by W. Tute

                8th          Covered passage of HMS ARK ROYAL for air attacks on Cagliari with HMS

                                HOOD, HMS VALIANT, HMS RESOLUTION, HM Cruisers DELHI and

                                ARETHUSA screened by destroyers

                9th          Under high level air attacks.

                10th        Deployed with Force H to provide cover passage of convoys threatened by attack

                                by Italian warship in western Mediterranean.

                23rd        Deployed with screen of four destroyers to cover air strikes by HMS ARK ROYAL

                                on targets at Bordeaux and on enemy shipping

                                (Note: This operation was cancelled because of weather conditions.)

                26th        Returned to Gibraltar.

                31st         Joined HMS HOOD, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FORESIGHT and

                                FOXHOUND as Group 1 of Force H to provide cover for aircraft delivery to Malta

                                by HMS ARGUS (Operation HURRY) and diversionary attacks by aircraft from

                                HMS ARK ROYAL (Operation CRUSH).


                                For details of naval operations in the Mediterranean between 1940 and 1942 see

                                THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre, ENGAGE THE

                                ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and Naval Staff History (HMSO).


August                  Transferred to West Africa Command as part of the re-organisation of Force H.

                28th        Sailed for Capetown with call at Freetown.


September             On arrival at Simonstown became Flagship of South American Division.

                                Deployed for trade defence and interception duty in South Atlantic.

                                (Note: German commerce raiders were active in South Atlantic.)


October                  Trade defence and interception in continuation.

                25th        Refuelled at Buenos Aires.


November              Convoy defence and interception duty in continuation.



                7th          Joined HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and CUMBERLAND in an unsuccessful search

                                for the German raider THOR (Raider E - SCHIFF 10) after she had attacked and

                                damaged HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE south east of

                                Rio on 5th December.

                18th        Carried out search for German battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER between Rio de

                                Janeiro and Plate Estuary with the same ships.


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January                  Deployed in South Atlantic and Indian Ocean for trade defence and interception.

                30th        Replaced HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE as Ocean Escort for military convoy WS5A

                                during passage in Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: This convoy from UK was taking troops to Middle East.)


February                Transferred to East Indies Squadron.

                1st           Detached from WS5Aand took passage to join escort for troop convoy on

                                passage from Australia to Aden.

                22nd       Detached from convoy at Aden and joined HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES, HM

                                Cruisers AUSTRALIA (RAN)), CANBERRA (RAN), GLASGOW, SHROPSHIRE

                                and EMERALD as a Hunting Group. Searched for German battleship ADMIRAL

                                SCHEER in Indian Ocean.

                24th        After search abandoned detached from Group and joined military convoy WS5BX

                                off Mombasa as Ocean Escort during passage to Bombay.

                                (Note: This convoy was part of Convoy WS5B and included ships destined for

                                the Middle East and Singapore.

                                Ships for Singapore were designated WS5BX.

                                The convoy comprised EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, EMPRESS OF JAPAN,

                                ORMONDE and WINDSOR CASTLE.

                27th        HM Cruiser CAPETOWN joined for Ocean Escort.



                3rd          Arrived at Bombay with WS5BX.

                5th          Joined 4th Cruiser Squadron, East Indies.

                                Sailed from Bombay as escort for rms AQUITANIA and rms EMPRESS OF

                                JAPAN during passage to Singapore.

                8th          HM Cruiser DURBAN joined escort.

                9th          Detached from convoy and took passage to rejoin Squadron.


April                       Covered transit of military convoy to Basra for occupation of Iraq.

                                (Operation COUNTENANCE.)

                28th        Deployed at Basra with HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES and HM Cruisers

                                LEANDER and EMERALD to support landings of allied troops after pro-German

                                revolt in Iraq.


May                        Remained in Persian Gulf in support of military operations.


June                        Resumed trade defence and interception duties in Indian Ocean.


July                         Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.




September             Deployed with HM Cruisers MAURITIUS and HAWKINS for the interception of a

                                Vichy French convoy on passage in Indian Ocean to Madagascar from Indo

                                China. (Operation SNIP - See WAR WITH JAPAN).

                12th        Search for Vichy French convoy unsuccessful.

                                (Note: This was possibly due to diversion of RAF aircraft. See Reference.)


October                  Indian Ocean trade defence duty in continuation.


November              Under refit at Colombo.

                                (Note: During this period the two 6in gun mountings fitted amidships on either

                                beam were replaced by two quadruple 2pdr Pom-pom mountings for defence

                                against air attack at close range.)


December              After outbreak of war with Japan deployed for escort of military convoys in Bay of

                                Bengal to Rangoon and Singapore.

                                (Note: For details of Fleet dispositions see WAR WITH Japan (HMSO)



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January                  Part of escort for military convoy EM10 during passage to Singapore.

                                Returned to Colombo,


February                Embarked Royal Marines (VIPER Force) at Colombo for passage to Rangoon for

                                the defence of Burma against Japanese advance.

                11th        Arrived at Rangoon and resumed convoy defence role after landing marines.


March                    Deployed in Indian Ocean.

                7th          Relieved US cruiser USS PHOENIX as escort for Convoy MS5 in Celebes Sea.

                31st         Allocated to Force A of Eastern Fleet with HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM

                                Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers, CORNWALL,

                                DORSETSHIRE and EMERALD. Took part in unsuccessful search for Japanese

                                warships reported to be heading towards Ceylon.

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, OPERATION PACIFIC

                                by E Gray and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)



                5th          Carried out further search for Japanese ships which were not intercepted,

                6th          Rescued 1,122 survivors from HMS DORSETSHIRE in Indian Ocean with HM

                                Destroyers PALADIN and PANTHER.

                                Landed survivors at Bombay after refuelling at Addu Atoll.


May                        Deployed in Indian Ocean on interception and trade defence duties.

                30th        Joined military convoy WS18 with HMS EMERALD for Ocean Escort during

                                passage in Indian Ocean as reliefs for HM Battleship RESOLUTION and H M

                                Seaplane Carrier ALBATROSS.



                2nd         Remained with WS18 as escort for Bombay Section when Aden Section detached.

                7th          Detached from WS18 on arrival at Bombay and resumed Squadron duties.


July                         Escorted Troopship MONARCH OF BERMUDA during passage from Aden to

                                Kilindini. (Note: This mercantile had been part of military convoy WS19 and was

                               on return passage to UK after troops disembarked in Egypt.)

                16th        Joined military convoy WS19P to relieve Dutch cruiser HEEMSKERCK as Ocean 

                                Escort during passage in Indian Ocean.

                17th        Detached with Bombay section (designated Convoy WS19PB as Ocean Escort.

                23rd        Detached from WS19PB on arrival at Bombay and resumed Squadron duties.


August                  Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                                Passage to join military convoy WS 21PG

                20th        Joined WS21PG off Durban with HM Destroyer DUNCAN and HM Corvette

                                CYCLAMEN for Ocean Escort during initial phase of passage to Persian Gulf.

                                (Note: HM Armed Merchant Cruiser was already with convoy)

                25th        Detached from WS21PG with HMS DUNCAN during passage and resumed

                                Squadron duties for trade defence.


September             Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                11th        Joined military convoy WS21B as relief for HM Cruiser HAWKINS as Ocean


                19th        Detached on arrival of remaining mercantiles from WS21B at Bombay.

                                (Note: Two of the five ships in WS21B detached during passage for Persian Gulf

                                as independents.)

                                Took passage to Bombay. 

                27th        Nominated for return to UK via Cape of Good Hope.


October                  Refuelled at Aden and took passage to Kilindini.

                21st         During passage took part in search by HM Cruisers MAURITIUS and HAWKINS

                                for a Japanese mercantile suspected as being used as submarine supply ship.

                                (Operation DEMCAT).

                                (Note: This operation was terminated on 30th October)

                27th        Diverted during passage in Atlantic to assist HM Cruiser PHOEBE which had been 

                                beached at Pointe Noire in French Equatorial Africa after being hit by torpedo from

                                U161. On entry at 16 knots with two paravanes streamed on either beam both

                                fouled. (Note: One on a lighthouse and the other on the Mole. This brought the

                                ship to a halt !)


November              Deployed off west African coast.

                1st           Resumed passage to UK.

                2nd         Arrived at Freetown.


December              Passage to Clyde.

                                Paid off and taken in hand for refit at commercial shipyard.


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January                  Taken in hand for refit in Clyde shipyard.


February                Under refit

to                            Work carried out included:

October                  Replacement of the two 6in mountings on either beam.

                                Fire control radar Type 284 fitted on forward Director for forward twin 6” mounting

                                Fire control radar Type 285 fitted amidships for AA defence

                                Fire control radar Type 282 fitted for Pom-pom weapons

                                20mm Oerlikon guns added for close range air defence.

                                Two tripod masts fitted for aircraft warning radar Type 281.

                                Surface warning Radar Type 272 fitted with aerial on foremast structure.

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

                                Nominated for service with 4th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet


November              Carried out post refit trials and prepared for service.


December              Worked-up at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.

                                On completion transferred to Plymouth Command for interception duties in Biscay

                                of Biscay.

                                (For details of naval operations in Channel between 1941 THE NARROW SEA by

                                P Smith).

                27th        Deployed with HM Cruiser GLASGOW to join HM Cruiser GAMBIA for

                                interception of German blockade runner ALSTERUFER (Operation STONEWALL).

                28th        In action in Bay of Biscay with HMS GLASGOW against ten destroyers and

                                torpedo boats on passage to escort ALSTERUFER.

                                Engaged at 18,000 yards.

                                Defect in forward gun turret training.

                                Sank torpedo boat (T26) by torpedo.

                                (Note: During this engagement destroyers Z27and T25 were also sunk.)

                                Some survivors rescued by British ships which later came conventional bombing

                                and by radio controlled glider bombs.)

                29th        Arrived at Plymouth with machinery defects.

                                Taken in hand for repair.


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January                  On completion resumed interception duties in Plymouth Command.


February                Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

                                Aircraft and catapult landed and four additional 20mm Oerlikons added.


March                    Post refit trials.

                5th          Deployed in SW Approaches for convoy defence and interception duties.


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

.                               Transferred to 1st Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.

                14th        Detached for duty with Bombarding Force A in support of Assault Force U with

                                American Western Task Force.

                                (For details of naval operations in support of Normandy landings see

                                OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, JUNE

                               1944 (HMSO).

                                Prepared at Portsmouth for support role.

                                Nominally part of Home Fleet.


May                        Passage to Belfast.

                25th        Joined Bombardment Force A (HM Cruisers HAWKINS, BLACK PRINCE, HM

                                Monitor EREBUS, US battleship USS NEVADA, US cruisers USS TUSCALOOSA,

                                USS QUINCY and Netherlands Gunboat SOEMBA).


June                        Passage to Plymouth.

                3rd          Sailed with Assault Convoy U1A from Plymouth.

                5th          Passage from Solent to Western Task Force area.

                6th          Bombarded Saint-Martin-de-Varreville batteries and other defence positions  

                                during the assault on UTAH Beach with ships of Bombardment Force A.

                20th        Detached and took passage to Portland.

                24th        Sailed from Portland with Group 1 of TF129.

                25th        Bombarded shore batteries at Querqueville with USS NEVADA, USS

                                TUSCALOOSA, USS QUINCY and HMS GLASGOW.

                                (Note: Preliminary phase at long range (25,000 yards) had been cancelled and all

                                the ships moved to 13,000 yards.)

                                Under heavy fire from shore but without serious damage.

                26th        Returned to Portsmouth on completion.

                                Released from NEPTUNE duties.


July                         Transferred to RN control.

                4th          Deployed off Normandy in support of British military operations with HMS

                                RODNEY, HM Monitors EREBUS, ROBERTS, HM Cruisers MAURITIUS,

                                ARGONAUT, DRAGON and EMERALD.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY,

                                June 1944.)

                17th        Provided naval gunfire support for British attacks near Caen with HMS

                                MAURITIUS and ROBERTS.

                18th        Continued bombardment of Caen area.



                4th          Rejoined Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                                At Rosyth for replacement of gun-barrels.


September             Detached for further bombardment duties in support of military operations.

                                Deployed at Portsmouth for bombardment duties off Dutch coast in support of 2nd

                                British Army.

                                Not used operationally.

                                (Note: Transfer to Royal Canadian Navy for use as training cruiser considered but

                                not implemented.


October                  Withdrawn from operational service

                                Took Passage to Rosyth to Pay-off and reduce to Reserve status.

                16th        Joined Reserve Fleet at Rosyth.

                                Future deployment for trooping duties under consideration.


November              Reducing to Reserve Category B.


December              In Reserve at Rosyth.


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January                  In Reserve

to                            Refit approved for conversion to suit trooping duties.



March                    Under refit by HM Dockyard, Chatham

to                            (Note: Three 6in mountings removed.)



May                        Carried out post refit trials and prepared for new duty.


June                        Trooping deployments:

to                            To Bombay 6 - 7/45

December              To Colombo 8 - 9/45

                                To Colombo 10 - 11/45

                                To South Africa 12/45


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ENTERPRISE returned to Portsmouth from Simonstown in January 1946 and was then Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Portsmouth. On completion she was laid-up at Rosyth until placed on the Disposal List. This ship was sold to BISCO on 11th April 1946 for demolition by  JH Cashmore at Newport. She arrived at the Breakers Yard in tow on 21st April 1946.







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








HX 007





HXF 013





TC 003





HX 020





BSF 001A





BM 010





JS 004





MS 005





BA 032





MC 001





SL 146MK








(Note on Convoys)



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