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

HMS  NIGERIA - Fiji or Colony-type Light Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Nigeria (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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FIJI or Colony-Class cruiser ordered from Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle upon Tyne under the 1937 Estimates and laid down on 8th February 1938. The ship was launched on 18th July 1939 and was completed on 30th September 1940. During 1942 following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign this ship was adopted by the civil community of Ayrshire, Scotland.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ATLANTIC 1941 - NORWAY   1941 - ARCTIC 1942 - MALTA  CONVOYS   1942 - SABANG  1944 - BURMA  1944-45

H e r a l d i c   D a ta

Badge:  On a Field barry wavy of six White and Blue within two

triangles Green, the Imperial Crown Proper.



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 0


September             Contractors trials.

                30th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.


October                  On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.

                28th        Began work-up at Scapa Flow with 10th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.

                                Nominated for detached duty in SW Approaches for interception of enemy coastal convoys

                                and allied convoy defence based at Plymouth.


November              On completion deployed in SW Approach and returned to Scapa Flew for duty with Home

                                Fleet in NW Approaches.



                26th        Covered passage of Atlantic convoys with HM Battlecruiser REPULSE after Convoy WS5A

                                to the Middle East had been attacked by the German cruiser HIPPER.

                                For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Burnett and the Naval

                                Staff History.


1 9 4 1


January                  Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.



                6th          Provided ocean escort for ships during minelay in Northern Barrage by ships of 1st

                                Minelaying Squadron (Operation SN7A).

                                For details of all minelaying operations in WW2 see Naval Staff History (Mining).).

                                On completion deployed with HM Battleship NELSON for patrol off Iceland.

                17th        Covered minelay by ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron in Northern Barrage.

                                (Operation SN7B/68A)

                                Escorted military convoy to Middle East for initial stare of passage.


March                    Deployed as escort For landings ships to Lofoten Islands for raid by No 1, and No 4

                                Commando and covered landing and evacuation.

                                (Note: HM Cruiser EDINBURGH was also deployed as Distant Cover),

                                (Operation CLAYMORE).

                8th          Carried out search in North Sea for German warship reported on passage into the

                                Atlantic to attack allied convoys.

                11th        Escorted ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in Northern Barrage.

                                (Operation SN68B).

                17th        Deployed on patrol off Iceland with HMS NELSON to intercept German battleships

                                SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU reported on passage into the Atlantic.

                26th        Deployed on patrol in Denmark Strait with HM Cruiser FIJI.

                28th        Joined HM Battleship KING GEORGE V and two other Home Fleet cruisers in search for

                                German cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER on passage to Kiel. The enemy ship was not found.

                30th        Deployed with HM Battlecruiser HOOD and HM Cruiser FIJI to cover convoys between

                                UK and Gibraltar (Operation SN9B).


May                        Home Fleet deployment in NW Approaches for convoy defence continuation.



                28th        Intercepted German weather ship LAUENBURG with HM Destroyer TARTAR.

                                Enemy ship detonated scuttling charges but the ENIGMA code books were by recovered

                                by boarding party from HMS TARTAR before German ship sank.



                25th        Deployed with HM Cruiser AURORA, HM Destroyers PUNJABI and TARTAR.

                                Took passage to assess possible use for refuelling Russian Convoy escorts.



                1st           Evacuated Norwegian nationals and destroyed weather station on Bear Island.

                                On completion carried out offensive sweep off Norway.

                19th        Escorted troopship EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA taking Canadian Commando force for a raid

                                on Spitzbergen with HMS AURORA (Operation GAUNTLET).

                23rd        Provided gunfire support during landings and assisted in the destruction of coalmine

                                equipment. See ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and THE WATERY MAZE

                                by B Fergusson for details.

                                Embarked Russian nationals at Barentsburg.

                24th        Landed Russian passengers in Archangel and returned to Langyearby in Spitsbergen to

                                collect Norwegian nationals for passage to UK.



                1st           Escorted colliers and other craft to Scapa Flow with HMS AURORA.

                7th          During sweep off Norway with HMS AURORA intercepted small convoy of two troopships

                                near Porshanger Fjord.

                                In poor weather conditions engaged and sank German training ship BREMSE but the

                                troopships escaped in poor visibility.

                                Sustained damage to bow structure

                                (Note: Post War analysis suggested ship may have detonated a mine)


October                  Under repair and refit at Tyne commercial shipyard

to                            (Note: Work done included installation of Type 284 fire control radar for forward main

November              armament.



                15th        Carried out Post Refit trials on completion.


1 9 4 2


January                  Rejoined 10th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet.

                                Nominated for duty as Flagship for convoy defence and patrol in NW Approaches.

                8th          Escorted Russian Convoy PQ8 from Iceland to Murmansk

                                (Note: To be confirmed.)

                                (Note: For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOY! by P. Kemp,

                                CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B. Schoefield,

                                ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and

                                ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

                17th        Remained in Murmansk to supplement defence of future convoys for passage from

                                Bear Island to Kola Inlet.


February                Passage to join Russian Convoy PQ9/10 with HM Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID.

                5th          Joined convoy escort.

                8th          Detached from PQ9/10.

                13th        Covered passage of returning Convoy QP7.

                15th        Detached from QP7.

                22nd       Escorted inward Russian Convoy PQ11 with Russian destroyers for final stage of transit.



                2nd         Provided Distant Cover for passage of returning Convoy QP8

                7th          Detached from Distant Cover for QP8.

                22nd       Deployed with Home Fleet covering force for passage of Russian Convoy PQ13 and

                                returning QP9.



                5th          Escorted HM Battleship KING GEORGE V from Rosyth to Scapa Flow to join Fleet.

                10th        Part of Home Fleet Distant Cover for passage of Convoy PQ11 and returning Convoy OP10

                                with HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and DUKE OF YORK, H M Aircraft Carrier

                                VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser KENT, screened by Fleet destroyers.

                11th        Detached from Distant Cover.

                28th        Escorted Russian Convoy PQ15



                1st           Detached from PQ15 escort for returning convoy QP11 after the loss of HM Cruiser


                13th        Part of Home Fleet covering force with HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS VICTORIOUS,.

                                HM Cruisers KENT, LIVERPOOL, LONDON and NORFOLK screened by Fleet destroyers

                                for passage of damaged cruiser HMS TRINIDAD to UK for repair.

                                (Note: HMS TRINIDAD was sunk on 15th May by our own forces after being hit during

                                heavy air attacks).

                                Came under air attacks on return passage.

                23rd        Provided cruiser cover with HM Cruisers KENT, LIVERPOOL and NORFOLK screened by

                                HM Destroyers MARNE, ONSLOW and ORIBI for Russian Convoy PQ16 and for returning

                                Convoy QP12 until 28th


June                        Deployed for convoy and Fleet defence in NW Approaches.

                30th        Joined Home Fleet Distant Cover for Russian Convoy PQ17 with HMS DUKE OF YORK,

                                US battleship WASHINGTON, HMS VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND

                                with Fleet destroyer screen until convoy was scattered by Admiralty on 4th July.

                                Remained to west of Bear Island for cover of returning Convoy QP13 passage.

                                See above references.



                7th          After arrival of Convoy OP13 at Reykjavik resumed Home Fleet deployment.



                2nd         Detached with HM Battleship NELSON, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS KENYA, HM

                                Cruiser MANCHESTER, HM AA Cruiser CAIRO screened by Home Fleet destroyers to

                                reinforce escort of military supply convoy WS21s to Malta.

                                (Operation PEDESTAL).

                10th        Joined Force X at Gibraltar with HM Cruisers KENYA, MANCHESTER and CA1RO

                                screened by 12 destroyers for escort of convoy to Malta and for fighter direction duties.

                11th        Under attack by U-Boats followed by torpedo and dive bombing.

                                (HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE was sunk during the submarine attacks)

                13th        Hit by torpedo from Italian submarine AXUM during air attacks when entering

                                Skerki Channel.

                                Sustained serious damage.

                                Detached with escorted by HM Escort Destroyers WILTON, BICESTER and DERWENT to

                                return to Gibraltar.

                                (For details of this operation see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by Donald

                                MacIntyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, PEDESTAL by Peter Smith and

                                MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodhead. ).

                15th        Under temporary repair in Gibraltar.


September             Under repair at Gibraltar.

                                Permanent repair arranged in USA.



                7th          Passage to USA.

                23rd        Taken in hand for repair and refit at Charleston US navy Yard..

                                (Note: Work done included:

                                Removal of aircraft

                                Preparation for fit of AA Fire control radar on return to UK

                                Preparation for fit of aircraft warning radar Type 279 by Type 281.

                                Preparation for replacement of Surface radar Type 272..


November              Under refit




1 9 4 3


January                  Under refit.




September             Passage to UK on completion of post refit trials.


October                  Completion of refit and A & A work at Chatham.

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

December              Nominated for duty with Eastern Fleet in 4th Cruiser Squadron.


1 9 4 4


January                  On completion of trials, calibrations and storing took passage to Scapa Flow

                                Worked-up for operational service with 10th Cruiser Squadron.


February                Deployed at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet for convoy defence in NW Approaches.


March                    Passage to Ceylon.

                27th        Joined Squadron.



                16th        Deployed with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, CEYLON and GAMBIA and Dutch cruiser

                                TROMP to escort HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and the French

                                battleship RICHELIEU, screened by Fleet destroyers as Task Force 69.

                                (Operation COCKPIT).

                                (Note: These ships covered air attacks on airfields and other targets at Sabang, Sumatra by

                                the aircraft carriers HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA.



                6th          Joined HMS NEWCASTLE and Dutch TROMP as escort for HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH,

                                HMS VALIANT and French RICHELIEU with Fleet destroyer screen as Task Force 65 for

                                cover of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA during passage for Joint RN/USN

                                attacks on oil refineries at Soerabaya (Operation TRANSOM).

                15th        Replenished in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia.

                17th        Screened carriers during attacks.


June                        Deployed in Indian Ocean for patrol and convoy defence..


July                         Deployed with HM Cruisers KENYA, CEYLON and GAMBIA with Fleet destroyer screen

                                to escort HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS VALIANT, HMS RENOWN and French

                                battleship RICHELIEU during bombardment of targets at Sabang (Operation CRIMSON).

                25th        Detached to escort HM Submarine Depot Ship MAIDSTONE for passage to Fremantle.


August                  Deployed in Indian Ocean for convoy defence.

to                            (For details of Indian Ocean deployments 1943-45 see OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray,

September             ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, SINK THE HAGURO by John Winton and

                                WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).).



                11th        Passage to Trincomalee from Fremantle.


November              Joined 5th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet when British Pacific Fleet formed.



                1st           Deployed with HMS KENYA, HMS NEWCASTLE and HMS PHOEBE as Force 61 for

                                support of military operations in Burma (See Naval Staff History).


1 9 4 5



                1st           Deployed with HM Escort Carrier AMEER, HMS NEWCASTLE, HMS PHOEBE and

                                three Fleet Destroyers in support of landings by 3rd Commando Brigade on Akyab


                                Gunfire support not required as Japanese had left (Operation LIGHTNING).

                22nd       Embarked Royal Marines at Akyab for landing on Cheduba Island, Burma.

                26th        Landed Royal Marines and supported operation with HMS NEWCASTLE and HMS

                                KENYA escorted by HM Destroyers RAPID and PALADIN (Operation SANKEY).

                31st         Re-embarked RM's and bombarded west coast of Ramree Island with HMS KENYA and

                                HMS NEWCASTLE.

February                Passage to Simonstown.


March                    Under Refit and Rest and Recreation period.


May                        Post refit trials.

                3rd          Returned to Ceylon with call at Durban.

                13th        Deployed with HM Destroyers ROEBUCK, RACEHORSE and REDOUBT as Task Force 62

                                to reinforce ships of Force 61 during operation to intercept Japanese evacuation craft.

                18th        Returned to Trincomalee.


June                        Deployed in Indian Ocean with Eastern Fleet.



                5th          Joined HMS AMEER and HMS EMPEROR to cover minesweeping operations escorted by

                                HM Destroyers ROEBUCK, ESKIMO and VIGILANT.

                                (Operation COLLIE - Preparation for Malayan coast landings..

                                Bombarded Car Nicobar during the minesweeping task.

                15th        Bombarded Nancowry.


August                  Prepared for operations in Malacca Strait in support of landings.

                15th        Joined HM Battleship NELSON, HM Escort Carriers ATTACKER, HUNTER, SHAH

                                and STALKER for passage to Penang for occupation.

                                Landings delayed on passage because of political pressure by USA and implementation of

                                PYTHON release scheme to enable SEAC personnel to return to UK.

                                See references and Final Report from Supreme Commander, SEAC (HMSO).

                24th        Returned to Trincomalee with HMS SHAH and HMS STALKER to refuel.



                4th          Passage to Port Swettenham to join HM Cruisers CEYLON, CLEOPATRA, ROYALIST

                                and Escort Carriers of 21st Carrier Squadron.

                9th          Covered allied landings north of Port Dickson with HMS NELSON, RICHELIEU, HM

                                Cruisers CEYLON, HMS CLEOPATRA and 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron with destroyer

                                screen (Operation ZIPPER - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.


P o s t    W a r    N o t e s


HMS NIGERIA remained in full commission on return to UK from East Indies in 1945. Between 1946 and 1950 she served as Flagship, South Atlantic based at Simonstown. After paying off in 1951 she was placed in Reserve and three years later purchased by the Indian government. This ship was extensively refitted before recommissioning into the RIN as IS MYSORE in 1957. Following Fleet duties until 1975 she was used as a training ship for several years until being scrapped.



S u m m a r y    o f     P o s t    W a r    S e r v i c e


1 9 4 6


                                Commissioned for service and took passage to Simonstown.

                                Visited Lagos.


1 9 4 7


                                Deployed for visits and exercises including ships of the newly

                                formed South African Navy

(Note: Supervision of sovereignty of Falkland Islands was part

                                of the responsibility of CinC South Atlantic Station.


1 9 4 8


                                South Atlantic deployment in continuation

                                (Note: During this period an increase in presence of Argentine warships

                                became evident and whilst in Falklands area and the ship made

                                formal protest to Argentine naval tugs lying at Melchior, 800

                                miles south of Cape Horn.)


1 9 4 9    to    1 9 5 0


                                South Atlantic deployment in continuation.


1 9 5 1


                                Returned to UK to pay-off and reduce to Reserve status.

                                Paid-off and destored.

                                Accepted into Reserve.


1 9 5 2    to    1 9 5 3


                                Laid-up in Reserve and placed on Sales List


1 9 5 4


                                Sold to the Indian Government for 300,000 and to be refitted with

                                equipment brought up to current standards of an RN cruiser of this Class.


1 9 5 5    t o    1 9 5 6


                                Under refit and modernisation at Birkenhead by Cammell Laird shipyard.

                                (Note: Amongst the changes made during this period were:

                                Radar equipment replaced.

                                Aircraft Warning Type 960 in place of Type 279

                                Surface Warning Types 277 and 293 in place of Type 272

                                Under refit and modernisation at Birkenhead by Cammell Laird shipyard.

                                (Note: Amongst the changes made during this period were:      

                                Main Armament Fire Control Type 274 in place of Type 284.

                                Two Type 275 Fire Control Type 275 in place of  Type 285

                                Display equipment modernised and installed in

                                compartments designed for the RN Action

                                Information System.

                                New Type 974 Radar fitted for navigational purposes

                                Bridge structure replaced by new design.

                                Lattice masts fitted to replace earlier Tripod type.

                                Triple 6in mounting in X position aft removed.

                                Two triple torpedo tube mountings removed.

                                Electrical power supply system modified to suit new equipment



   S e r v i c e    i n    I n d i a n    N a v y


1 9 5 7


                                Commissioned on 29th August as INS MYSORE for service

                                as Flagship of the Indian Navy.

                                Passage to Bombay for operational service.


1 9 5 8


                                Flagship duties in continuation including exercises with other

                                Commonwealth Navies of SEATO Powers.


1 9 5 9


                                Flagship duties in continuation

                                Involved in collision with HM Destroyer HOGUE in Indian

                                Ocean during Exercise JET59.

                                (Note: HMS HOGUE sustained major structural damage and

                                on survey was found beyond economical repair.)


1 9 6 0    to     1 9 7 4


                                Flagship duties in continuation.


1 9 7 5    t o    1 9 8 0


                                Redeployed for training duties before being placed on Disposal List

                                Sold for breaking-up.







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








HG 057





PQ 009





QP 007





PQ 011





QP 008





PQ 014





QP 010





PQ 015





PQ 016





QP 012





PQ 017





QP 013





KMF 029A








(Note on Convoys)




by Lawrence Cooper.

"I am attaching a document of some 6,000 words describing my rather unusual experience in serving in a very close relationship with Commander (as he was then) Charles Playfair Coke on HMS NIGERIA during 1946/7 which I have written for the benefit of my grandchildren. I have also attached Cdr Coke's obituary." - click for Mr Cooper's Account and for Cdr Coke's obituary.


by Commander (F) David Hamilton RN, Rtd, from his Midshipman's Journal

10 February 1944 - Operation Posthorn, battleships Anson, Richelieu, carrier Furious, cruisers Belfast and Nigeria, escorted by destroyers Impulsive, Oribi, Iroquois (RCN), Serapis, Haida (RCN), Athabaskan (RCN), Onslaught. Barracudas with Seafire escort to strike reported German convoy. Not found but ship and repair ship alongside destroyed. One Me 109 shot down, one Seafire lost.


25 August - Sailed for Freemantle with Maidstone, Atheling and destroyers Pathfinder, Nizam (RAN), Van Galen (RNN). Joined later by liner Dunrotter Castle plus Norman (RAN) and HMS Helford. After three days all except Maidstone left.


5 September - Freemantle.


27 September - Left for Trincomalee and took two US fast troopships General Randall and General Mitchell with us.


3rd October - Met by destroyers Redoubt and Racehorse


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