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

HMS SCYLLA - 4.5in-gunned Dido-class AA Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

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

Modified DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Scott's of Greenock under the 1938 Build Programme on 18th August 1938 and laid down on 19th April 1939. The ship was launched on 24th July 1940 as the fourth RN warship to carry the name, previously used by a cruiser sold in 1914 and Introduced in 1809. Completion was delayed by a series of factors including priority given to Escorts and the supply of 5.25in mountings. This ship and her sister HMS CHARYBDIS were fitted with four twin 4.5in mountings as their main armament. Before the build was completed on 12 June 1942 she had been adopted by the city of Aberdeen following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in torch of that year. During her war service she became know as The Toothless Tiger.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

NORTH AFRICA 1942 - ARCTIC  1942-43 - SALERNO 1943 - ATLANTIC  1943 - BISCAY 1943  - NORMANDY 1944

 H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, a representation of Scylla White,

crined finned and tailed 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 2


May                        Contractors trials


June                        Commissioned for service.

                12th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet.


July                         Deployed with 10th Cruiser Squadron for convoy defence and interception on completion

                                of work-up.


August                  Squadron duties in continuation based at Scapa Flow.


September             Nominated for duty as Flagship for Fighting Escort of Russian Convoy PQ 18 during passage

                                to Kola Inlet. (Operation EV)

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

                                ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodman, CONVOY ! by Paul Kemp and THE RUSSIAN

                                CONVOYS by B Schoefield

                8th          Joined convoy with Fighting Destroyer Escort of 14 Fleet Destroyers and H M Escort Carrier

                                AVENGER screened by HM Escort Destroyers WHEATLAND and WILTON.

                                (Note: Cover for the passage of this convoy was provided by HM Cruisers NORFOLK,

                                LONDON and SUFFOLK.

                11th        Detached with HM Destroyers MARNE, MARTIN, METEOR and MILNE to refuel at Lowe

                                Sound, Spitzbergen and on completion rejoined PQ18.

                14th        Embarked 209 survivors including wounded men rescued by HM Minesweepers HARRIER

                                and SHARPSHOOTER from mercantiles after their ships had been lost in the air attacks

                                since the convoy left Iceland.

                16th        Detached to join escort for returning Convoy QP14 with HMS AVENGER and ships of

                                Fighting Escort.

                                (Note: QP14 included ships with survivors from previous Convoy PQ17 - See above


                17th        Joined returning convoy QP14..

                20th        Detached from convoy with HM Cruiser SCYLLA because of increasing threat of submarine

                                attack and Flag transferred to HM Destroyer MILNE.

                                Took passage to land survivors at Akureri , Iceland escorted by HM Escort Destroyers

                                WHEATLAND, HMS WILTON and HM Destroyer FURY.

                                (Note: HM Destroyer SOMALI was torpedoed Just before departure and sank in tow

                                three days later).

                                Given resounding welcome by ships of Home Fleet on arrival at Scapa Flow


October                  Resumed duties in NW Approaches with Squadron.

                                Visited by Prime Minister and Stafford Cripps at Scapa Flow.

                28th        Transferred to 12th Cruiser Squadron , Mediterranean.

                                Embarked Admiral A B Cunningham at Plymouth for passage to Gibraltar to take

                                up appointment as Naval Commander for planned allied landings in North Africa.

                                Took passage escorted by HM Destroyer OPPORTUNE.



                2nd         Joined escort for Convoy KMF1 with HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS, HM Escort

                                Aircraft Carrier AVENGER and HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD for passage to Gibraltar,

                                (Operation TORCH).

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and Naval Staff History).

                6th          HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS joined escort for KMF1.

                8th          Joined Eastern Task Force at Gibraltar with HMS ARGUS. HMS AVENGER, HM

                                Monitor ROBERTS and HM Cruisers CHARYBDIS and SHEFFIELD.

                                Deployed with Eastern Task Force to provided cover for landings in British Assault


                10th        Rescued survivors from HM Sloop IBIS.

                13th        Embarked stores and bullion at Gibraltar for passage to Algiers.

                14th        Arrived at Algiers

                15th        Supplemented AA defence at Algiers and later assisted in tow of transport which

                                had grounded outside port.



                1st           Joined H M Cruisers AURORA, ARGONAUT, CHARYBDIS and SIRIUS in Force Q

                                at Bone for defence of coastal military convoys and attacks on enemy supply convoys.

                                See above references.

                25th        At Algiers.

                28th        Passage to UK with escort of Convoy MKS4.

                31st         Detached from convoy to search for German blockade runner located by aircraft of 10

                                Squadron RAF off Finisterre.


1 9 4 3



                1st           Intercepted and sank with torpedoes ss RHAKOTIS on passage from Japan to French

                                port. Rescued of survivors prevented by threat of attacks by U-Boats.

                                Taken in hand for refit in Tyne shipyard.


February                Under refit in Tyne shipyard. This included modifications for Arctic service.

                15th        Passage to Iceland with HM Escort Carrier DASHER.

                21st         Reinforced escort for Russian Convoy JW53 with HM Destroyers ECLIPSE,

                                IMPULSIVE, FURY, INTREPID and Polish destroyer ORP ORKAN.

                27th        Detached from JW53.



                1st           Joined escort for returning convoy RA53 at Kola Inlet.

                10th        Detached from RA53 and resumed Squadron duties in Home Fleet.

                                Present at Scapa Flow during visit to Home Fleet by HM King George VI.

                                Embarked His Majesty for return to Scrabster on the mainland.


April                       Squadron duties in NW Approaches in continuation.

                                Rescued crews from 3 SWORDFISH aircraft from HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS

                                which had crashed during exercise in foggy weather.



                11th        Escorted rms QUEEN MARY taking Prime Minister to TRIDENT conference in Quebec.

                13th        Relieved by HM Cruiser BERMUDA

                31st         Covered HM Cruisers BERMUDA and CUMBERLAND during operation to relieve allied

                                garrison on Spitsbergen ( Operation GEARBOX I).


June                        Nominated for duty in English Channel based at Plymouth for convoy defence and support

                                of operations against enemy coastal convoys.

                14th        Returned to Scapa Flow after GEARBOX I and took passage to Plymouth.

                20th        Covered anti-submarine operations by ships of 2nd Escort Group in Bay of Biscay

                                with HM Cruisers CHARYBDIS and ROYALIST.

                                (Operations SEASLUG and MUSKETRY - See CONFLICT OVER THE BAY by

                                A Franks).


July                         During cover of UK-Freetown convoys and cover for Interception of enemy coastal

                                convoys under attack by Glider Bombs.

                                Sighted NARVIK Class German destroyers but abandoned chase after order from the

                                Admiralty because of threat of further Glider Bomb attacks.

August                  Transferred to Mediterranean with H M Cruiser CHARYBDIS to replace H M Cruisers

                                CLEOPATRA and NEWFOUNDLAND which had been damaged.

                                On arrival, deployed on convoy defence based at Gibraltar.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE)


September             Took passage to Malta to join Support Carrier Force (TF88)

                                (Note: Other ships in TF88 were:

                                HM Cruisers EURYALUS and CHARYBDIS for defence of HM Light Fleet

                                Carrier UNICORN, HM Escort Carriers BATTLER, HUNTER, ATTACKER

                                STALKER, HM Escort Destroyers CLEVELAND, HAYDON, HOLCOMBE,

                                ATHERSTONE, LIDDESDALE, FARNDALE, CALPE and Polish

                                destroyers ORP SLAZAK and ORP KRAKOWIAK.)

                                Took part in preparatory exercises with Force V in TF88.

                8th          Sailed from Malta for Salerno with ships of Force V

                13th        Detached to embark troops at Tripoli for passage to Salerno as reinforcements.

                14th        Joined HM Cruisers CHARYBDIS and EURYALUS in Tripoli.

                                During return speed had to be reduced due to machinery vibration caused by the air

                                attack by Glider Bomb in Bay of Biscay (See above).

                                (Note: During passage with HMS CHARYBDIS through Straits of Messina -

                                with the mythological association of their birthplace !)

                16th        Disembarked troops.

                                Joined HM Cruisers EURYALUS and DELHI in escort for the damaged battleship

                                HMS WARSPITE to supplement AA defence during passage under tow to Malta.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History).

                21st         Turbines inspected in Malta


October                  Withdrawn from operational service and took passage to UK for repair of turbine beds.

                                Called at Devonport prior to being taken in hand at HM Dockyard Chatham.


November              Under repair and conversion for use as Escort Carrier Squadron Flagship.

to                            Paid-off.



1 9 4 4


January                  Repair and conversion

to                            Carried out Post refit trials




                1st           Re-commissioned for service with 10th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet.

                6th          Worked-up for operational service in NW Approaches based at Scapa Flow.

                                On completion Joined 10th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for duty as Flagship of Eastern Naval Task Force during allied landings

                                in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                (Note: Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian, KCB, DSO, RN who had been in command

                                of HM Destroyer COSSACK in 1940 during the rescue British seamen held

                                in the tanker ALTMARK).

                                Allocated target in Bombardment Plan - Ouistreham.

                                (For details of naval activities before and during the Normandy invasion see

                                OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944



May                        Took part in preparatory exercises with Home Fleet ships.

                                Passage to Solent to join assembly of invasion fleet.



                5th          Sailed from Solent to Beach Head area.

                6th          Bombarded Ouistreham area and on completion closed SWORD beachhead and provided

                                gunfire support prior to touch down.

                                Controlled night defence measures against surface attack from SWORD area.

                7th          Deployed in co-ordinating and night defence control role off SWORD Beach.

                8th          Escorted Motor Torpedo Boats of 14th Flotilla for minelay in Bay de la Seine as

                                part of Operation MAPLE (Operation KN26).

                11th        Repositioned MTB's scattered by enemy surface force during minelay off Cap d' Antifer

                                to allow another minelaying operation to proceed (Operation KN28).

                23rd        Detonated mine in six fathoms of water off beachhead.

                                Sustained major damage to starboard keel structure adjacent to machinery compartments.

                                Turbine casings cracked.

                                Ship disabled without electric power.

                24th        Flag transferred to HM Landing Ship (HQ) HILARY.

                25th        Control of night defences transferred to HM Frigate RETALICK.

                                Took passage to Spithead under tow.


July                         Passage to Chatham under tow.

                                On survey damage found to be uneconomic for total repair and given no priority.

                                Completion of conversion for use as Escort Carrier Flagship in British Pacific Fleet not

                                then implemented.


August                  Paid off into Dockyard Control at Chatham


September             Non operational.




1 9 4 5


January                  Remained at Chatham under Dockyard Control.




 P o s t   W a r   N o t e


HMS SCYLLA was held in the Reserve Fleet until 1948 when she was placed on the Disposal List. Later that year she was used for ship target trials before being sold for to BISCO for demolition at Barrow by Vickers. She arrived at the Breakersí yard on 6th May 1950. The name was carried forward in August 1968 when given to a LEANDER Class Frigate which had an active operational career lasting 25 years. This frigate Paid-off in December 1993 and was put on the Disposal List (Sales). 







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








PQ 018





QP 014





KMF 004





MKF 004Y





KMF 005A





JW 053





RA 053





SL 132MK





MKF 018





MKF 019





SL 133MK





MKF 020





MKS 020





SL 134





OS 053KM





MKS 025G








(Note on Convoys)




by Andy Goff , 13 October 2010

My Dad, William Alfred Goff, spent most of his time on HMS SCYLLA and thought the world of Captain McIntyre. He had a "good" war in a boys own kind of way - Russian convoys and the Med, and received his Russian Medal when they were distributed a few years ago. He finished the war as a Petty Officer, I believe on HMS STORK.

I occasionally hear from old hands or their children. Itís slightly frustrating that I didnít get Dad to write down his memories of events and people when his mind was more able. He is now 87 but canít be sure of what he remembers. However I do have his D-Day Diary on my website.

(Andy also sent Naval-History.Net this newspaper cutting.)






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