DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Alexander Stephen's of
Govan, Glasgow under the 1937 Programme on
The ship was laid down on 6th October 1937 and launched on 18th May 1939 as the third RN ship to carry the name, previously used in 1893. Her completion date
was 25th March 1941 and following a
successful WARSHIP WEEK National
Savings campaign in November 1941 she was adopted by Smethwick
then in the county of Staffordshire
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
CHINA 1900 - BISMARCK Action 1941
- MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - DIEGO SUAREZ 1942
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field
Blue, in a ducal coronet an oak tree fructed
penetrated transversely in the main stem by a frame saw
D e t a i l s o f W a r
S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 4 1
25th Commissioned and carried out Acceptance
April On completion
of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.
13th Began work-up with 15the Cruiser Squadron
Home Fleet for service.
May Deployed with
15th Cruiser Squadron in NW Approaches
Provided Ocean Escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during a
minelay in Northern Barrage.
(Operation SN9A). For details
see Naval Staff History - MINING.
Deployed with ships of 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet search for the
Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS with HM Cruisers AURORA and KENYA when carrying
air strikes on BISMARCK
(For details of the search
and sinking of BISMARCK see Naval Staff History and BATTLESHIP
25th Detached to refuel in Iceland.
29th In collision with merchant ship TEMBIEN.
Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS from Clyde carrying aircraft for delivery to Malta.
On passage aircraft from Carrier searched for German supply ship
GOZENHEIM in Atlantic.
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett).
13th Joined by destroyers from Force
H at Gibraltar for escort during passage in Mediterranean for
(For details of all
Mediterranean activities between 1940 and 1943 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY
MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and The
Naval Staff History)
Diverted during return passage to UK to join Force H search
for enemy raider in Atlantic.
Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS for passage to Gibraltar carrying aircraft for
delivery to Malta.
Joined Force H
Covered HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and FURIOUS during aircraft
deliveries to Malta
(Operation RAILWAY 1)
30th Provided cover to same ships for repeat
delivery RAILWAY 2 on 30/6).
July Under repair at Gibraltar.
Escorted HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Battleship NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL
covering passage of Malta
personnel convoy as far as Skerki Channel and transit of HM Supply Ship
BRECONSHIRE) from Malta
Transferred to Convoy Close Escort after HM Cruiser MANCHESTER was
damaged and remained
with convoy for rest of
Sailed from Malta to rejoin Force H at Gibraltar.
Embarked troops from Transport LEINSTER which had grounded and had not
Joined HM Cruisers MANXMAN and ARETHUSA as Force X for
passage to Malta with
During return passage to Gibraltar rammed and sank Italian submarine
TEMBIEN off Tunis.
Under repair to bow structure at Gibraltar.
Escorted HMS NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL for air attacks on Tempio,
during a demonstration sweep
by Force H off Valencia as diversion for minelay off Italian
by HM Minelaying Cruiser
MANXMAN (Operation MINCEMEAT).
Escorted HMS NELSON during covering operations
for three aircraft deliveries to Malta by HMS
ARK ROYAL and HMS FURIOUS
(Operations STATUS 1 , 2 and 3)
Resumed duties with Force H on completion.
Joined Force X with HM Cruisers KENYA, EDINBURGH, SHEFFIELD,
EURYALUS for the
escort of a personnel and
stores convoy through Sicilian Narrows to Malta with cover by HM
Battleships NELSON, PRINCE OF
WALES and RODNEY as Force A.
Provided AA cover for HMS ARK
ROYAL during passage.
intervention was prevented by the astute use of covering force and the enemy ships withdrew.
Detached to carry out diversionary bombardment of Pantellaria.
October Deployed with Force H.
16th Escorted HMS ARK ROYAL covered by HMS
RENOWN for aircraft delivery to Malta.
H Deployment in continuation.
3rd (Note: Under unsuccessful attack by U83
near Gibraltar during escort of HMS ARK ROYAL and
HMS ARGUS during
passage near Gibraltar.
U-BOAT WAR, Volume 1 by C Blair.)
10th Escorted H M Battleship MALAYA, HM
aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and ARGUS for
to Malta (Operation PERPETUAL).
13th HMS ARK ROYAL torpedoed east of Gibraltar
by U81 and sank the following day.
December Deployment at
Gibraltar in continuation.
1 9 4 2
January Routine docking and maintenance at
Took passage to UK with Admiral
Somerville embarked after his appointment as Cin C designate
East Indies Station.
February Deployed in Home
waters and nominated for
escort of military convoy during return passage to
Gibraltar for service in
17th Joined military convoy WS16 in Clyde with
HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft
EAGLE and FORMIDABLE as Ocean Escort
during Atlantic passage.
Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, BLANKNEY, CROOME, DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE,
FIREDRAKE, LAFOREY and LIGHTNING provided screen during passage.)
Detached from WS16 and took passage to
Gibraltar with HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS
service in Mediterranean.
HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for aircraft delivery to Malta.
Escorted HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for aircraft delivery to
(Operation PICKET I).
Repeat aircraft delivery with same ships (Operation PICKET II).
1st Detached with HMS MALAYA, HM Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, LAFOREY,
and DUNCAN, six corvettes
and six minesweepers for support of planned landings in Madagascar as
as Force F.
9th Passage from Freetown to Durban.
19th Arrived at Capetown.
22nd Arrived at Durban.
28th Escorted HMS RAMILLIES and HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS with screen of six Fleet destroyers to meet
Convoy Y taking main
Diego Suarez assault force to assault area (Operation IRONCLAD).
(For full details see
Naval Staff History, RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute, ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and
OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray).
3rd Carried out diversionary bombardment of
French positions south of Diego Suarez Bay
Bombarded shore batteries
commanding Orja Pass which ceased return fire after 10 minutes.
10th On release from IRONCLAD completion
transferred to Mediterranean Fleet.
This was necessary to replace ships sink or damaged during operations in
defence of Crete.)
to Alexandria for service with 15th Cruiser Squadron.
7th Arrived at
Alexandria with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and ARETHUSA.
11th Nominated for support of passage to Malta
of relief convoy MW11 with HM Battleship
CENTURION (Disguised as a KING GEORGE V battleship,) HM Cruisers
CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS, ARETHUSA, and COVENTRY screened
nine HUNT Class Escort destroyers were deployed as close escort for
mercantiles to fight this convoy through to the beleagured
island (Operation VIGOROUS).
13th Sailed with these ships to join MW11
14th Joined MW11 and under air attacks and
threat from Italian major warships.
(Note: Heavy expenditure
of AA ammunition)
Attack by Torpedo boats
after nightfall was driven off by escort
15th Convoy ordered by CinC at Alexandria to
reverse course and under attack by torpedo boats.
(Note: HM Destroyer HASTY
was hit and had to be sunk by HM Destroyer HOTSPUR.
NEWCASTLE was also hit and sustained serious damage,
Under heavy and sustained air
attacks during which several ships were damaged.
(Note: HM Escort
Destroyer AIREDALE and HM Destroyer NESTOR (RAN) were later
sunk by other
ships in escort.
Convoy ordered by CinC to resume
westward passage and later rescinded
Later instruction to
resume west passage was ignored owing lack of AA ammunition
return passage hit on starboard side amidships by torpedo fired from U205 in position
26.10E, south of Crete.
Machinery compartments flooded and ship took on a 22 degree list- before
lying completely on one
for 21 minutes prior to sinking.
440 of ship’s company were
rescued by HM Escort Destroyers ALDENHAM, BEAUFORT and
List - note on casualties)
mercantiles and escorts returned to Alexandria when operation was abandoned
due to threat
of surface intervention by Italian fleet and continuation of heavy air attacks.
details of this disastrous operation during which ill-advised and unhelpful
instructions by CinC
deprived those at sea from making appropriate decision based on actual
See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Bamett,
THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, MALTA CONVOYS by
R Woodman and
the Naval Staff History.
was published on 30th July 1942.)
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)