1 9 3 9
in south Atlantic and part of 6th Cruiser Squadron.
3rd Deployed on patrol in Freetown area.
8th Returned to Freetown from patrol to intercept
commerce raiders and German ships
return to Europe.
20th Passage to Dakar.
26th Sailed from Dakar to join HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND and the destroyers HYPERION
and HUNTER for
combined patrol In search for enemy shipping south of Ascension.
2nd Returned to Freetown.
5th Nominated to join Hunting Group
N which was never formed.
7th Deployed on trade defence in Freetown area because of activities
of commerce raiders
16th Sailed from Freetown to join HM Aircraft Carrier
18th Joined Hunting Group K (HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL and HM Battlecruiser
passage to Indian Ocean for raider search off Mozambique.
22nd Rescued crew of German freighter ADOLPH
WOERMANN which scuttled off Ascension.
transferred prisoners to HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE.
defence duty in Indian Ocean and Atlantic.
25th Passage from Freetown to Join HMS ARK ROYAL and
4th Deployed with Hunting Group from
Capetown to search for German raider GRAF SPEE
12th Joined by HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES, HM
Destroyers HOSTILE and HUNTER off St.
Rocks and took passage to Plate estuary.
After GRAF SPEE scuttled this re-inforcement was not required).
18th After refuelling at Rio
de Janeiro rejoined HMS ARK ROYAL.
20th Took passage to Freetown
with HMS ARK ROYAL.
26th Arrived at Freetown.
1 9 4 0
8th Deployed on interception patrol off Dakar.
British Q Ship BOTLEA (ss LAMBRIDGE) and boarded without knowing
true identity and function.
trade defence and interception patrol in continuation.
for transfer to 7th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet
be relieved by HM Cruiser GLOUCESTER which never took place..
passage to Malta to join Squadron.
with Squadron on patrol and for exercises to prepare for the entry of
to Italy into the war.
Other ships in Squadron were HM Cruisers ORION, SYDNEY, GLOUCESTER and
with Fleet at Alexandria.
12th Took part on offensive sweep off Benghazi with HMS ORION and HMS
14th Returned to Alexandria.
20th Escorted French Battleship LORRAINE with HM Cruisers ORION and SYDNEY and HM
STUART (RAN), DECOY, HASTY and DAINTY for bombardment of Bardia
MA3- See Naval Staff History (HMSO-2001)
21st Took part in bombardment and returned
27th Sailed from Alexandria with HMS EAGLE, HM
Battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN,
RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, ORION, H M Australian
SYDNEY, HM Destroyers
DAINTY, DECOY, DEFENDER, DIAMOND, ILEX, JERVIS,
JUNO and VOYAGER (RAN) to cover
passage of two convoys (MS1 and MF1) from Malta to
(Note: These convoys were carrying personnel evacuated from
28th Intercepted Three Italian destroyers
with cruisers of Squadron off Zante.
enemy destroyers and avoided torpedoes
Disabled Italian destroyer ESPERO was sunk later by HMAS SYDNEY but
and ZEFFIRO escaped.
of the expenditure of ammunition the mercantile passage was cancelled.)
30th During return passage to Alexandria with Fleet under air attack
damaged by near misses.
to cover passage of same convoys (Operation MA5)
4th Took part in negotiation with French
cruiser to avoid bloodshed when Admiralty
to impose rigid implications of Operation CATAPULT on CinC
For details of Operation CATAPULT at Oran and situation at Alexandria see
ENEMIES by W Tute and Naval Staff History
(HMSO – 2001).
7th Sailed from Alexandria with HMS EAGLE, HM
Battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN,
GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, ORION and SYDNEY (RAN)
by HM Destroyers DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HOSTILE, HYPERION,
IMPERIAL, JANUS, JUNO, VAMPIRE (RAN) and VOYAGER (RAN).
9th After Italian heavy units were
reported by aircraft from HMS EAGLE came under fire
cruisers which disengaged when HMS WARSPITE retaliated and attack by
from HMS EAGLE.
(Battle of Punta Stilo - first clash
with Italian Fleet units).
Italian heavy squadron included the battleships CAVOUR and CESARE, 16
and screen of four destroyers.
THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and above
12th Joined escort for Convoy MF1 with HMS
GLOUCESTER, HMS ORION and H M Destroyer
13th Arrived at Alexandria with MF1.
21st Deployed SW of Crete with HM Battleships MALAYA, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, WARSPITE,
EAGLE and HM Cruisers SYDNEY (RAN) screened by ten Fleet destroyers to cover
23rd Covered diversionary operation at
Castelloriso by HMS ORION, HM Australian Destroyers
27th On completion of operation detached with
HMAS SYDNEY to meet HMS MALAYA, HMS
and HMS EAGLE south of Crete.
28th Detached with HMAS SYDNEY to carry out
sweep away from Fleet.
and sank Greek petrol carrier ERMIONE.
for trade defence duties.
CinC had requested that an 8in cruiser be provided but HMS AJAX was sent
and was fitted with radar to give warning of the approach of aircraft.).
passage to Durban to carry out patrol and interception.
2nd Deployed at Durban for trade defence
30th Transferred to South Atlantic Command
and took passage to Freetown for Atlantic
defence and interception patrol duty.
7th Sailed from Capetown to Freetown
during passage for repair of defects.
8th On completion took passage to Freetown.
to relieve HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE.
transferred from DEVONSHIRE at Duala, French Cameroons.
military operation by Free French in Cameroons.
See RELUCTANT ENEMIES).
trade defence duties on release from Free French operation.
trade defence in continuation.
2nd Sailed from Lagos, Nigeria for patrol
18th Deployed with HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE in
search for German ADMIRAL SCHEER after
DUQUESA had made a raider report to divert attention from the break out of
HIPPER into the Atlantic.
28th Sailed from Freetown to UK and escorted convoy during
1 9 4 1
29th Sailed from Gibraltar
4th At Scapa Flow
5th Took passage to Plymouth.
in hand for refit by HM Dockyard
One source records damaged in an air raid. This is to be confirmed.)
out post harbour trials.
for return to Mediterranean after work-up with Home Fleet,
completion of post refit sea trials took passage to Scapa Flow.
3rd Joined 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home
Fleet and commenced work-up..
with ships of Squadron to escort. HM Battleship KING GEORGE V and HM
23rd Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS during
search for German Battleship BISMARCK.
part in search operation after loss of HM Battlecruiser HOOD.
25th Detached with HMS VICTORIOUS and HM
passage of military convoy WS8X against possible attack by BISMARCK.
3rd Joined HM Cruiser NORFOLK with HM Aircraft Carrier
VICTORIOUS to strengthen the
Ocean Escort for military convoy WS8X during Atlantic
5th Detached from WS8X to intercept German
ship GOZENHEIM, one of BISMARCK's supply
which had been reported by aircraft from HM Battlecruiser RENOWN.
ship scuttled on approach and hulk was then torpedoed.
survivors taken to Gibraltar.
passage to rejoin WS8X as Ocean Escort during passage from Freetown to Cape of
24th Detached from WS8X on arrival at
Atlantic Command at Simonstown.
28th Rejoined WS8X for escort during passage
to Mediterranean Fleet
This was due to heavy losses in defence of Crete).
11th Detached from WS8X on arrival at Aden and made independent pass to
20th Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean in 7th Cruiser Squadron as
relied for HM Cruiser
Australian Cruiser HOBART relieved HMAS PERTH during this period.)
Army and RAF personnel for passage to Cyprus to reinforce garrison
22rd Deployed with HM Battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH, VALIANT, HM Cruisers NAIAD,
AJAX, PHOEBE, LEANDER, CARLISLE, ABDIEL and HOBART (RAN)
screened by HM
HASTY, HAVOCK, JACKAL, JAGUAR, JERVIS, KANDAHAR and NUBIAN
diversionary sweep in eastern Mediterranean. (Operation MD5)
This deployment was made to distract enemy attention during passage of a relief
Malta from Gibraltar (Operation SUBSTANCE).
25th Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.
Mediterranean deployment in continuation.
25th Deployed with HM Battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH, BARHAM and VALIANT with
of Mediterranean Fleet screened by destroyers from Alexandria
in eastern Mediterranean (Operation MD5)
This was during passage of convoy from Gibraltar to Malta.
27th Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.
deployment in continuation.
23rd Carried out bombardment of petrol tanks
at Bardia with HM Cruisers AJAX and HOBART.
17th Carried out bombardment at Halfaya in
support of military advance in Western Desert
for transfer to Malta for interception of enemy
27th Took passage to Malta as Force B with HM Cruiser AJAX, HM Destroyers KIMBERLEY and
KINGSTON to reinforce Force K.
HM Cruisers NAIAD, EURYALUS, HM Destroyers HOTSPUR and GRIFFIN
as Force C also sailed in company.
AJAX came under attack by torpedo aircraft but was able to avoid the weapon.
29th Arrived in Malta to join Force K.
30th Deployed as Force B in
unsuccessful search operation with Force K.
Concurrent Force K deployment was successful.)
5th Escorted HM Supply Ship
BRECONSHIRE on passage to Alexandria with HM Cruiser
AJAX, HM Destroyers KIMBERLEY, KINGSTON and LIVELY (Operation MD8)
6th Detached with HMS AJAX and HMS LIVELY
from escort of HMS BRECONSHIRE.
7th Detached from HMS BRECONSHIRE on
relief as escort for passage to Alexandria by
Cruisers HOBART (RAN), GALATEA and CARLISLE.
8th Arrived in Malta.
9th Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA and
PENELOPE, HM Destroyers JAGUAR and
KANDAHAR in unsuccessful search for
an enemy convoy.
10th Returned to Malta.
17th Sailed from Malta with HM Destroyers JAGUAR
and KANDAHAR as Force B to support
Fleet ships from Alexandria which were engaging Italian warships attempting
prevent return of HMS BRECONSHIRE bringing fuel supplies to Malta
MF1 - First Battle of Sirte. See Naval Staff History, ENGAGE THE
MORE CLOSELY by C
Barrett and THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN).
18th After Italian, warships withdrew
deployed in search for Italian convoy M42.
to Malta after failing to find M42.
return despatched with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE, HM Destroyers
KANDAHAR, LANCE, LIVELY and HAVOCK to
intercept the supply convoy reported
entrance to Tripoli harbour.
passage, in position 20 miles from Tripoli, ran into enemy minefield.
one mine and disabled.
adrift hit second mine which wrecked propellers and rudder.
detonated a third mine which caused further damage aft.
three hours later a 4th mine was struck amidships and the ship then sank very
one seaman survived and taken prisoner.
was the only survivor out of a complement of 764. (Casualty
(Note: HMS AURORA and HMS PENELOPE
were also damaged but managed to return
Casualty List was published on 17th July 1942.)