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

HMAS PERTH - Leander/Perth-class Light Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMAS Perth (Navy Photos/Bruce Constable, click to enlarge) return to Contents List   

LEANDER-Class Cruiser ordered from Portsmouth Dockyard on 1st December 1932 and of  modified design. See General Information. The ship was laid down on 26th June 1933 and was launched as HMS AMPHION the name of a king of Thebes. It was introduced in 1780 for a 5th Rate in 1780 and was the 6th RN ship to carry the name, which was last used for a 1911 cruiser sunk by a mine in 1914. She was the 7th  to bear this name and build was completed on 6th July 1936. In June 1939 the ship was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and renamed HMAS PERTH following a refit during which her single 4in anti-aircraft armament was replaced by twin mountings.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


C r e s t



Field: White 

Badge: A Dragons head green out of a Naval Crown gold.



As this ships was part of the Royal Australian Navy no details are

included in the Official List of Heraldic Crests for the Royal Navy




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)



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Commissioned for service in the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS PERTH.




Post refit trials and shakedown in Home waters.




Took passage from Portsmouth for Sydney.


Retained in West Indies when Fleet mobilised.




Deployed in West Indies based at Bermuda for trade defence and interception of blockade-runners.




4th - Escorted Convoy KJ3 from Kingston with HMS Cruiser BERWICK for part of Atlantic passage to UK.


9th - On relief by HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM returned to Bermuda.


11th - Sustained slight structural damage in hurricane.


24th - Deployed in search for German Battleship DEUTSCHLAND reported to be carrying out commerce raiding activities in West Indies area.




Deployed in Pacific Ocean for trade protection and interception duties with HM Canadian Destroyers OTTAWA and RESTIGOUCHE.


25th - Refuelled Canadian destroyers.




Returned to Caribbean area and met HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM. Took passage to Bermuda with EFFINGHAM.



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Interception and trade defence duties based at Bermuda in continuation.


Deployed in south Caribbean based at Kingston, Jamaica.




Caribbean deployment in continuation. Released from RN deployment in West Indies.




Passage to Sydney to join RAN.


31st - Arrived at Sydney




Deployed for trade protection off eastern Australia.




5th - Part of escort for military Convoy US2 with HM Cruiser LEANDER of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and CANBERRA. (Note: This convoy included rms QUEEN MARY, MAURETANIA, AQUITANIA, EMPRESS OF BRITAIN and EMPRESS OF JAPAN which were taking ANZAC troops to UK via the Red Sea although later diverted via Cape of Good Hope in case Italy entered hostilities.)


Detached in Indian Ocean after call at Fremantle.




Trade Protection and interception duties in continuation.


29th - Escorted rms STRATHMORE to Bass Strait and resumed patrol.




Deployed off eastern Australia.




20th - Carried out search for German raider ORION with HM Australian Cruiser ADELAIDE off Gabo Island following receipt of Raider signal.


30th - Part of escort for convoy in Tasman Sea with HM Cruiser ACHILLES OF New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.




Deployed for convoy defence in Australian coastal waters between Sydney and Fremantle.


Carried out interception patrols off Cocos Islands.


Nominated for detached service in the Mediterranean.




Convoy defence and patrol in continuation.


Transfer to Mediterranean Fleet for service with 7th Cruiser Squadron approved.




Passage to New Zealand for escort of military convoy. Joined escort for convoy US7.


22nd - Detached from US7 in Tasman Sea to carry out search for German Raider PINGUIN.


28th - Rejoined US7 at Fremantle for Ocean Escort during passage in Indian Ocean.




Escorted US7 with HM Australian Cruiser CANBERRA.


12th - Detached from US7 for service at Aden.


18th - Joined military convoy WS4 at Aden with HM Destroyer KINGSTON, HM Australian Sloop YARRA and HM Indian Sloop INDUS as escort during Red Sea passage to Suez.


20th - HMAS YARRA and HMIS INDUS detached.


23rd - Detached from WS4 at Suez.


30th - Joined Squadron at Alexandria as relief for HM Australian Cruiser SYDNEY.



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Passage to Suda Bay for Squadron duties.


7th - Deployed with HM Cruisers ORION and YORK IN Aegean Sea to provide cover for the passage of convoys to Piraeus and Alexandria. (Operation EXCESS – See THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett, THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by Greene and Massignani.)


9th - Deployed with HMS ORION and HMS YORK as Force D and joined HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, H M Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT screened by HM Destroyers DAINTY, GALLANT, GREYHOUND, GRIFFIN, JERVIS, JUNO, NUBIAN and MOHAWK as screen (Force A). Passage south of Malta to meet EXCESS convoy.


10th - Met EXCESS convoy south of Pantelleria. (Note: HMS GALLANT struck a mine and was disabled.) Under air attacks by German Fliegerkorps 60 miles east of Malta during which HM Aircraft ILLUSTRIOUS was hit and sustained major damage.


11th - Detached from EXCESS convoy with HMS ORION, HM Destroyers JERVIS and JANUS to assist HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON which had been severely damaged in air attacks whilst on passage from Malta to rejoin convoy. Took part in rescue of survivors from HMS SOUTHAMPTON which had to be sunk by HMS ORION. HM Destroyer DIAMOND also assisted. Landed survivors in Malta and took passage to rejoin EXCESS convoy.


12th - Rejoined convoy and later detached with HMS PERTH (sic) and HMS JANUS to escort three mercantiles to Suda Bay.


15th - Passage to Malta from Suda Bay.


16th - Slightly damaged during air attacks on HMS ILLUSTRIOUS which was under repair in Malta. Took passage to Alexandria to rejoin Fleet.


18th - Arrived at Alexandria.


21st - Took passage to join escort for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during return passage to Alexandra.


23rd - Joined HM Battleships BARHAM and VALIANT as part of screen for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during passage in eastern Mediterranean


25th - Arrived at Alexandria with escort for HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.


26th - Passage to Suda Bay,.


28th - Deployed for patrol and escort of convoys to Piraeus.




Returned to Alexandria for refit.


7th - Inspected by Australian Prime Minister.


12th - Under refit during which 2pdr Pom-pom mounting was fitted to improve air defence.


24th - Deployed with HM Destroyers MOHAWK and NUBIAN to escort HM Monitor TERROR which was under tow to Alexandria after being badly damaged in air attacks


27th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE, HM Destroyers DECOY, HASTY, HERO and JAGUAR to take troops to Casteloriza in support of landing by Commando units landed on 25th (Operation ABSTENTION). After troops landed carried out patrol north of the island.


28th - Provided cover for evacuation of troops when operation abandoned. (See above references.)


29th - Passage to Alexandria with HMS DECOY and HMS HASTY after call at Suda Bay.




7th - Embarked troops at Alexandria for passage to Piraeus (Operation LUSTRE)


8th - Disembarked troops and took passage to Alexandria.


17th - Deployed with HMS AJAX and HMS ORION for transfer of troops to Greece.


19th - After disembarking troops at Piraeus escorted Convoy AG9 in Aegean with RAN destroyers.


20th - Joined Mediterranean Fleet units with HM Cruisers AJAX and ORION (Operation MC6). (Note: Ships of Mediterranean Fleet deployed to cover passage of Convoy MW6 to Malta were HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HM Battleships BARHAM ,VALIANT and WARSPITE, HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER and YORK with destroyer screen.)


21st - On release from covering duties for MW6 resumed convoy defence in Aegean.


26th - Sailed from Piraeus with HMS ORION, HMS AJAX and HMS GLOUCESTER, HM Destroyers HEREWARD and VENDETTA (RAN) as Force B to meet units of the Mediterranean Fleet on passage from Alexandria to intercept major Italian Fleet known to be intent on attacks on military convoys in the Aegean.


27th - Owing to delay during passage of Mediterranean Fleet remained in south of Aegean.


28th - Came under fire from Italian battleship VITTORIO VENETO and withdrew with ships of Force B out of range but remained in contact.


28th - After arrival of Mediterranean Fleet took part in the Battle of Matapan. (For details see Naval Staff History, MATAPAN by SW Pack and above references.)


29th - Resumed defence of military convoys to Greece in Aegean. (Part of Operation LUSTRE –Reinforcement of allied forces in Greece.)




Returned to Alexandria.


12th - Deployed with HM Cruisers AJAX and ORION to cover offensive sweep by destroyers of Mediterranean Fleet off Ras-el-Tin.


19th - Escorted supply ship HMS BRECONSHIRE with HM Destroyer HOTSPUR to Malta from Alexandria.


20th - Joined Mediterranean Fleet units providing cover for passage of Convoy ME7, empty supply ships from Malta. Deployed with HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers AJAX and ORION as Force C and detached with four destroyers as screen for passage to Tripoli area.


21st - Deployed with Force C to provide cover for bombardment of Tripoli by Force B (Operation MD2 – Force B bombarded targets and comprised HM, Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM and VALIANT, HM Cruiser GLOUCESTER with screen of nine destroyers.)


24th - Deployed with HM Cruiser PHOEBE to cover passage of Convoy AG13 to Piraeus and carried out patrol in Kithera Channel.


26th - Carried out offensive sweep off Nauphlia, Greece with HMS ORION, HMS PHOEBE and HM Destroyer DEFENDER. Embarked troops at Nauplia.


27th - Covered passage of evacuation Convoy GA14 with HMS PHOEBE, HM Destroyers HASTY and DECOY.


28th - Took part in evacuation of allied troops at Kalamata with HMS PHOEBE, HM Destroyers DECOY, HASTY, KANDAHAR, KIMBERLEY and KINGSTON. Withdrew when fires ashore silhouetted ships and forced to leave many soldiers behind.


29th - Covered final evacuation Convoy GA16 during passage through Kasos Strait to Alexandria with HM Cruiser CARLISLE, HM Sloop AUCKLAND, HM Destroyers KANDAHAR, KINGSTON, DECOY and DEFENDER.




6th - Sailed from Alexandria with HMS FORMIDABLE, BARHAM, VALIANT, WARSPITE, AJAX, ORION, HM Minelaying Cruiser ABDIEL and HMS BRECONSHIRE to give cover for passage of Convoy MW7 to Malta (Operation MD4).


9th - Remained off Malta with Fleet units and joined TIGER Convoy. (Note: TIGER Convoy was bringing tanks and supplies to Eighth Army in Egypt from UK. See above references.)


10th - Took up position to north of TIGER convoy to provide cover during passage to Alexandria.


14th - Deployed with HM Cruisers NAIAD and PHOEBE, HM Destroyers GREYHOUND and HASTY as Force D to cover passage of reinforcement convoy to Crete.


20th - During patrol of Crete with HMS NAIAD, HM Destroyers NUBIAN, JUNO, KANDAHAR and KINGSTON to intercept invasion craft came under air attack and by torpedo boats which were repelled.


21st - Under air attacks in Kaso Strait and reinforced by HM Cruisers CALCUTTA and CARLISLE.


22nd - In action against invasion convoy south of Milo and under heavy and sustained air attacks. Hit on Bridge structure which destroyed fire-control electrical circuits. Took passage to Alexandria for repair.


23rd - Taken in hand for repair.


28th - On completion rejoined Fleet units off Crete for evacuation of allied troops Deployed with HMS CALCUTTA, HMS COVENTRY, HMS PHOEBE, HMS HASTY. HMS JANUS, HMS JERVIS and HM Auxiliary GLENGYLE as Force D.


30th - Embarked 6,000 troops with ships of Force D from Spakhia and under air attacks. Took passage without serious damage.


31st - Under further air attacks during return passage to Alexandria. Sustained damage to forward boiler room.




2nd - Taken in hand for repair at Alexandria.


25th - On completion took passage to join support operations with Fleet units off Syrian coast (Operation EXPORTER).


26th - Relieved HM Cruiser LEANDER and took part in offensive sweep to intercept Vichy warships




EXPORTER deployment to support military operations in continuation.


7th - Bombarded Vichy shore battery at Abney, Damour. Took passage to Alexandria and bombed by RAF aircraft without damage.


12th - Whilst at Alexandria nominated for return to RAN service following Japanese threat of attacks.


18th - Sailed from Alexandria for passage to Sydney.




On passage.


12th - Rejoined RAN and taken in hand for refit.


September to November  


Under refit.




Post refit trials.


8th - Deployed with HM Australian Cruiser CANBERRA for patrol in Tasman Sea.


12th - Escorted US troop convoy with HMAS CANBERRA for final part of passage to Australia.


19th - Escorted US troop convoy to New Caledonia with HMAS CANBERRA and HM New Zealand Cruiser ACHILLES.


22nd - Return passage to Sydney with HMAS CANBERRA and HMNZS ACHILLES.


29th - Escorted military convoy ZK5 from Sydney to Port Moresby, New Guinea with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMAS CANBERRA, HMNZS ACHILLES and two RAN Sloops.



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Nominated for service with ABDA Command. for convoy defence.


13th - Escorted ss RANGATIRA with HMNZS ACHILLES.


29th - Transferred to ANZAC force with HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE, CANBERRA and HOBART under overall US Navy command.


31st - Took passage to Fremantle for convoy defence duties.




15th - Escorted military Convoy MS4 for passage to Singapore.


21st - After fall of Singapore detached from MS4 and took passage to join the Western Striking Force of ABDA Command in East Indies.


24th - Joined HM Cruiser EXETER, HM Australian Cruiser HOBART, HM Destroyers JUPITER, ELECTRA and ENCOUNTER at Tanjong Priok.


25th - Transferred to Eastern Striking Force at Soerabaya with same ships except HMAS HOBART which had been damaged in air attacks. (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)


27th - Joined Combined Striking Force comprising Dutch cruisers DE RUYTER and JAVA, HMS ELECTRA, US Cruiser HOUSTON, HM Destroyers ELECTRA, ENCOUNTER and JUPITER, Dutch Destroyers DE WITTE and KORTENAER, US Destroyers JOHN D EDWARDS ALDEN, and JOHN DF FORD. In action with Japanese warships covering passage of invasion convoys to Java during which the Flagship DE RUYTER and Dutch destroyer KORTENAER were sunk. Both USS HOUSTON and HMS EXETER were badly damaged and unable to contribute to further action. Took over command of allied ships after loss of DE RUYTER. (Battle of the Java Sea. See above reference for details.)


Withdrew from action and took passage to Java.




1st - In action with Japanese cruisers MOGAMI and MIKUMA escorting invasion fleet with destroyers, two of which were sunk. Later ship was disabled by surface gunfire and three torpedoes. A fourth torpedo struck the ship whilst being abandoned and she then sank. Over 300 of ships company lost their lives and 307 became prisoners of war. Sadly 105 of these died in captivity. For details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) (Casualty List - note on casualties)







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








KJ 003





BS 010B








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 12/6/11
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