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

HMS SWIFTSURE - Swiftsure/Minotaur-class Light Cruiser

HMS Swiftsure (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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MINOTAUR (Improved FIJI) Class cruiser ordered on 19th May 1941 from Vickers-Armstrong, Newcastle under a War Programme and laid down on 22nd September 1941. The ship was launched on 4th February 1943 and completed on 22 June 1944. First RN cruiser to be fitted on build with an Action Information System and radar for target indication linked to fire control radars as well as the latest types aircraft direction and radio communications equipment


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s 

ARMADA 1588 - CADIZ 1596 - SANTA CRUZ 1657 - LOWESTOFT 1665 - FOUR DAYS BATTLE 1666 - SCHOONVELD 1673 - TEXEL 1673 - BARFLEUR 1692 - VIGO 1702 - GIBRALTAR 1704 - VELEZ MALAGA 1704 - LAGOS 1705 - QUIBERON BAY 1759 - BELLEISLE 1761 - NILE 1795 - EGYPT 1801 - TRAFALGAR 1805 - SUEZ CANAL 1915 - DARDANELLES 1915-16 - OKINAWA 1945

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, an heraldic Tiger rampant, wings Gold and langued 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 4


May                        Contractors trials



                22nd       Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                Commissioned for service.

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


July                         Worked up with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.


August                  Deployed with Home Fleet

to                            Nominated for duty with Eastern Fleet with 4th Cruiser Squadron.



October                  Passage to Plymouth.

                16th        Under refit for foreign service at Devonport.


November              Passage to Mediterranean.

                                Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean.

                23rd        Transferred to British Pacific Fleet on formation.


December              Passage from Suez to Ceylon

                8th          Arrived at Trincomalee..

                10th        Passage to Fremantle with HM Escort Carriers FENCER and STRIKER screened by three destroyers.

.                               Joined by HM Escort Carriers ATHELING, BATTLER and HM Cruiser ACHILLES and two


                16th        Detached with HMS ACHILLES for independent passage.

                24th        Arrived at Hobart

                                Passage to Sydney to join British Pacific Fleet


1 9 4 5


January                  Deployed at Sydney and took part in Fleet exercises to prepare for service with US Navy ships.

                                (Note: These included use of US Navy signalling procedures..

                                BPF ships were identified as Task Group 113.


 February               Sydney deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: US approval for deployment of RN ships with US 5th Fleet was delayed. )

                                See OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton,

                                WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) ) and Task Force 57 by P Smith.

                28th        Took passage with ships of Task Group 113 to British Forward Base at Manus, Admiralty Islands.

                                (Note: Part of Unit 5 with HM Cruisers GAMBIA, BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT.)


March                    HM Battleship HOWE joined TG 113 during passage.

                7th          Arrived at Manus to await approval for operational service with US Navy

                15th        Approval for joint service with US 5th Fleet received.

                18th        Sailed with TF113.5 to Ulithi

                20th        Carried out further exercises on passage.

                23rd        Allocated to 5th Fleet and designated Task Force 57.

                                Sailed to support joint RN/USN carrier air operations against airfields and shore targets in

                                Sakishima-Gunto Islands ( Operation ICEBERG I)

                                US task Force 58 were also deployed in this Operation.)

                25th        Replenished in Area ANT from British Fleet Train (TF113)

                26th        Deployed in support of carrier air operations

                                (Note: This began a pattern of a period providing defence with TF57 followed by withdrawal

                                for replenishment and two or three days continuous attacks by British aircraft.

                                Replenishment were made in designated areas. See WAR WITH JAPAN.

                                See above references for details.)



                1st           Under KAMIKAZE attacks.

                8th          After replenishment in Area COOTIE carried took passage to provide cover during air operations

                                against airfields in Formosa by RN carriers (Operation ICEBERG OOLONG.)

                21st         Took passage to Leyte after final air operations in ICEBERG I.

                23rd        Arrived at Leyte for R&R..



                1st           Sailed from Leyte with TF57 to resume air operations in Sakashima-Gunto in conjunction with

                                TF58 aircraft carriers (Operation ICEBERG II)

                3rd          After replenishment in Area COOTIE nominated with

                                HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE and EURYALUS to bombard targets at Mitako Shina, Formosa

                4th          Returned from bombardment after ships in Sakishima Gunto had been under sustained

                                KAMIKAZE and conventional air attacks.

                                See above references for details of damage to RN carriers.

                                Resumed pattern of air strike operations and replenishment ,

                9th          Under further air attacks with damage to US and RN carriers.

                10th        Deployed with HM Destroyer KEMPENFELT as Air Picker away from carriers to give early

                                warning of enemy air attacks.

                25th        Took passage to Manus with ships of TF57 on completion of final air operations and replenishment

                                (Note: HM Battleship KING GEORGE V which had only recently joined BPF detached and took

                                passage to Guam.)


June                        Deployed at Manus for maintenance.

                                Nominated for special operation to carry out air strikes and bombardments on Truk.

                12th        Sailed from Manus with HMS IMPLACABLE, HM Escort Carrier RULER, HM Cruisers

                                UGANDA (RCN) NEWFOUNDLAND and ACHILLES (RNZN) as TF 111.2 with Fleet destroyer

                                screen to carry out air strikes and bombard enemy positions on Truk (Operation INMATE).

                14th        Provided air defence during strikes by aircraft from HMS IMPLACABLE.

                15th        Bombarded Moen with HM Destroyer TEAZER.

                                On completion took passage.

                17th        Rejoined BPF at Manus.

                                Passage from Manus to Sydney.


July                         Deployed at Sydney for R&R and to prepare for service with 3rd US Fleet as part of Task Force 37

                                Nominated for refit before rejoining BPF in operations against targets on Japanese mainland.

                15th        Under refit in Sydney.


August                  Completed refit and carried out post refit trials.

                15th        During passage to rejoin TF37 at Manus returned to RN control and redeployed for

                                support of re-occupation of Hong Kong.

                17th        Took passage to Subic Bay, Philippines.

                25th        Joined British TG111 on formation at Subic Bay.

                27th        Sailed with HMS INDOMITABLE, HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier VENERABLE, HM

                                Cruisers EURYALUS and BLACK PRINCE, HM LCI(L) PRINCE ROBERT (RCN), screened by

                                six destroyers and supported by minesweepers and submarines as TG111.2.

                29th        Joined by HM Battleship ANSON and HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier VENGEANCE

                                off Hong Kong prior to mine clearance operations.

                30th        Entered Hong Kong with TG111.2 after threat of attacks by Japanese explosive boats had been

                                eliminated by aircraft from HMS VENGEANCE.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SWIFTSURE returned to UK from Far East for duty with the Home Fleet and served as Flagship in Cruisers Squadrons. In 1953 she was badly damaged in a collision with HM Destroyer DIAMOND and paid off in 1955 for refit and modernisation. This work was never completed for reasons of economy and possibly because of design problems. The ship was reduced to Reserve status and laid-up until placed on the Disposal List in 1962. Sold to T W Ward for demolition she arrived in tow at Inverkeithing on 17th October 1962.


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