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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS SHEFFIELD - Town-type Light Cruiser 
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Sheffield (Navy Photos/Ben Titheridge, click to enlarge)

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SOUTHAMPTON-Class Cruiser ordered from Vickers Armstrong at Newcastle on 17th December 1934 and laid down on 31st January 1935. The ship was launched on 23rd July 1936 and was the 1st RN ship to bear this name. Build was completed on 25th August 1937 and the ship commissioned for service in the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. This ship had a well established association with the civil community of the  city of  Sheffield which has endured since launch and which has continued with the two ships carrying this name up to the present time.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


NORWAY 1940 - SPARTIVENTO 1940 - ATLANTIC 1941-43 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941 - ARCTIC 1941-43 - NORTH AFRICA 1942 - BARENTS SEA 1942 - SALERNO 1943 - BISCAY 1943 - NORTH CAPE 1943 - FALKLANDS 1982*

(* Awarded to 2nd HMS SHEFFIELD).


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, eight arrows interlaced Silver,

feathered and pointed Gold.


M o t t o

Deo adjuvante proficio:  'With God’s help I advance '



D e t a i l s   o f   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 3 7




Contractors trials




Prepared for commissioning and acceptance


25th - Build completion and commissioned for service in 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet. Carried out Acceptance Trials.


September to December


On completion of trials, ammunitioning and storing worked-up for service in Home waters.







Photographs taken by Mr F Lowe, probably in 1937 during  visit to Portsmouth. Mr Lowe was a keen photographer from 1899 to the 1950's - with thanks to John Sowerby, his grandson



1 9 3 8


January to June


Deployed with Squadron in Home Fleet exercise and visits programme. Nominated for escort and support of planned assault landing by 9th Infantry Brigade in Start Bay.




Deployed with battleship REVENGE and cruiser SOUTHAMPTON as escort for troopships LANCASHIRE and CLAN MACALISTER during passage from Plymouth to Start Bay for assault landings.


6th - Provided cover and support during landings On release resumed Home Fleet Squadron duties.




Leave Period. Ship was fitted with newly developed air warning radar Type 79Y.




Rejoined ships of Squadron at Scapa Flow during Munich crisis.


October to December


On release from emergency deployment at Scapa Flow resumed Squadron duty in Home Fleet. (Note: This ship was fitted with a development model of aircraft warning radar Type 79Y and was the third RN warship fitted with this new device before the outbreak of war.)



1 9 3 9




Deployed with Squadron for Home Fleet exercises and visits.




Passage to Lisbon for Fleet visit (Note: This was part of an annual joint exercise at Gibraltar with ships of the Mediterranean Fleet and was usually interspersed with visits.)


3rd - At Lisbon with cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and Home Fleet destroyers.


8th - Sailed from Lisbon to Gibraltar to take part in joint Fleet exercises.


9th - Arrived at Gibraltar for exercises. (Note: Trials were carried out using Radar Type 79Y and valuable information was obtained about its operational use.)




Return passage to Home waters for Leave period.




Leave period in Chatham


May to July


Resumed Squadron duties with Home Fleet including visits in UK and preparatory exercises in anticipation of hostilities with Germany




31st - Sailed from Scapa Flow to take-up war station. Deployed with battleships NELSON, RODNEY, RAMILLIES, ROYAL OAK, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, battlecruisers HOOD and REPULSE screened by destroyers of Home Fleet.




Transferred to 18th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.


3rd - Deployed at Scapa Flow with Squadron in Home Fleet


5th - Under air attacks at Scapa Flow.


7th - Deployed with battleships NELSON, RODNEY, battlecruiser REPULSE, HM aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and cruiser AURORA in search for German mercantiles attempting return passage to Europe west of Hebrides.


9th - Returned to Scapa Flow to refuel


10th - Return passage to Scapa Flow.


12th - Sailed for Sullom Voe for interception patrols.


18th - Deployed for interception patrol in NW Approaches.


22nd - Carried out offensive sweep of Kattegat with 2nd Cruiser Squadron.


23rd - Returned to Scapa Flow after destroyers JERSEY and JAVELIN had been involved in collision.


26th - Sailed from Scapa Flow with cruisers SOUTHAMPTON, GLASGOW and AURORA screened by six destroyers to escort Submarine SPEARFISH during passage to Rosyth after damage on patrol. Under air attacks whilst on passage.


27th - Arrived at Scapa Flow




5th - Sailed for Invergordon.


6th - Resumed duty at Scapa Flow.


8th - Deployed with battlecruisers HOOD and REPULSE with screen of four Home Fleet destroyers in search for the German battleship GNEISENAU and cruiser KOLN reported on passage in North Sea.


10th - Returned to Scapa Flow after unsuccessful search.


15th - Transferred to Loch Ewe with other Home Fleet ships after the sinking of battleship ROYAL OAK in Scapa Flow


17th - Sailed from Loch Ewe for interception patrol in Denmark Strait.


21st - During interception patrol in NW Approaches boarded German freighter GLORIA which took ship to Kirkwall as Prize.


29th - Under refit at Rosyth.




9th - Resumed Fleet duties and sailed from Rosyth for patrol in NW Approaches.


21st - Returned to Loch Ewe.


23rd - Deployed with ships of Home Fleet in search for German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after the sinking of Armed Merchant cruiser RAWALPINDI in defence of an Atlantic convoy. (For details of naval activities in Home waters in 1939 including Northern Patrol duties see ARMED MERCHANT CRUISERS by K Poolman, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and Naval Staff History.)




10th - Taken in hand for routine docking in Tyne commercial shipyard.


17th - Return passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin Squadron.


18th - Deployed for interception patrol in NW Approaches.


28th - Return passage to Scapa Flow.



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7th - Deployed for interception patrol in NW Approaches.


30th - Stoker rating lost overboard in rough weather conditions. Sustained structural damage.




Under repair at South Shields.




On completion resumed Home Fleet duties based at Scapa Flow. Deployed for escort of convoys to and from Norway. Under air attacks and carried out an unsuccessful attack on a submarine contact.




(Note: 18th Cruiser Squadron comprised:  cruisers MANCHESTER (Flag), SOUTHAMPTON, GLASGOW and BIRMINGHAM with EDINBURGH and NEWCASTLE under repair.)


7th - Sailed from Scapa Flow with battleships RODNEY (Flag of CinC Home Fleet, VALIANT, battlecruiser REPULSE, HM cruiser PENELOPE and French cruiser EMILE BERTIN with HM destroyers CODRINGTON, GRIFFIN, JUPITER, ELECTRA, ESCAPADE, BRAZEN, BEDOUIN, PUNJABI, ESKIMO and KIMBERLEY to intercept German warships reported by aircraft on passage in North Sea off Norway.


8th - Remained with RODNEY and VALIANT when other Home Fleet ships detached for search to north and deployed to carry out search in Bergen – Trondheim area.


9th - Detached with MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM with seven destroyers to attack enemy forces in Bergen. Rejoined Home Fleet ships when attack cancelled by Admiralty Under air attacks after rejoining Fleet. (Note: GURKHA was sunk during these attacks.)


10th - Deployed for patrol off Bergen with GLASGOW. On release rejoined Home Fleet and took passage to Scapa Flow


11th - Nominated for patrol duty off Norway in inshore waters to intercept ships carrying reinforcements to German invasion forces. Took passage with GLASGOW, destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, AFRIDI, SIKH, MATABELE and MOHAWK


12th - Carried out patrol off coast of Alesund north of Stadlandet. Diverted with to carry out search for German landing force reported by aircraft


13th - Ordered to prepare a ship landing party to secure quay at Namsos (Operation HENRY)


14th to 16th - Landed seamen and marines at Namsos and remained in area. Ships’ aircraft carried out reconnaissance flights.


17th - Re-embarked landing party from destroyers and took passage to return to Scapa Flow.


20th - Nominated for transport of reinforcement for SICKLE Force at Molde.


22nd - After embarking troops and equipment at Rosyth took passage with cruisers GALATEA, GLASGOW, destroyers VANSITTART, CAMPBELL, IVANHOE, ICARUS and WITCH.


23rd - Arrived at Molde after GLASGOW detached for landing reinforcements at Andalsnes


24th - Took independent passage to Scapa Flow after landing troops on the quay at Molde.


25th - Escorted damaged cruiser CURACOA returning to Scapa Flow.


26th - Nominated for detached service in Nore Command in the Humber.


28th - Deployed to provide cover for aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL during air operations in defence of Fleet units off Norway (Operation DX).


30th - Deployed with cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA,  SOUTHAMPTON, destroyers SOMALI, MASHONA, SIKH, WANDERER, WALKER, WESTCOTT and Landing Ship ROYAL ULSTER to evacuate troops from Andalsnes. Anchored off shore and embarked troops from WALKER.




1st - Took passage to Scapa Flow with 600 troops embarked


9th - Despatched from Scapa Flow with MANCHESTER to cover passage in tow to Tyne of damaged destroyer KELLY which had been in action with E-Boats in North Sea.


10th - Arrived in contact with tow but withdrawn because of threat of submarine attack.


27th - Deployed with Humber Force for anti-invasion patrol. (Note: For details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NAVAL OPERATIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORWAY, April- May 1940 (HMSO), NARVIK by D MacIntyre, THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams and CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton.)




Anti-invasion deployment with Humber Force in continuation.




Deployed with REPULSE and RENOWN, cruisers DEVONSHIRE, YORK and AUSTRALIA (RAN) in search for German warships reported on passage to attack Atlantic shipping. Passage to Greenock for repair.




Nominated for service at Gibraltar with Force H as relief for HM cruiser ARETHUSA which had returned to UK for refit. Taken in hand for short refit at Greenock to prepare for foreign service. (Note: Other ships in Force H were:  RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL destroyers FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FEARLESS, FORTUNE , FIREDRAKE, FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND and FURY) battleship VALIANT, aircraft carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY which were to join Fleet at Alexandria took passage to Gibraltar prior to transit to Malta escorted by Force H (Operation HATS).


22nd - Took passage to Gibraltar as part of escort for military convoy taking troops and stores to Alexandria. (Note: Passage of this convoy in NW Approaches was provided by reinforcement warships on passage to Gibraltar.)


29th - Arrived at Gibraltar and commenced Force H service.


30th - Joined ARK ROYAL and RENOWN to provide cover for passage of reinforcement warships in western Mediterranean as Force F to Sicilian Narrows. (Operation HATS) (For details of Malta Convoy operations see MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman. THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene an d A Massignani).




1st - Took return passage to Gibraltar after Force F entered Sicilian Narrows.


2nd - Provided cover for air attacks by ARK ROYAL on airfield at Cagliari during passage of HATS (Operations SMASH and GRAB. See references.)


3rd - Arrived at Gibraltar.


4th - Nominated for cover of military convoy during Atlantic passage from Clyde.


5th - Took passage to UK




3rd - Provided cover for convoy WS3A (Slow)


13th - Detached from WS3A (Slow) on relief by cruiser CUMBERLAND and took passage to Gibraltar to rejoin Force H.


27th - Carried out unsuccessful search for German blockade runners reported leaving Azores.




5th - Intercepted French liner MESSILA on passage in Atlantic from Liverpool and allowed to proceed.


7th - Sailed from Gibraltar with ARK ROYAL and screened by destroyers DUNCAN, ENCOUNTER, FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FORESTER, FORTUNE and FURY to provide cover during passage in western Mediterranean to Sicilian Narrows for reinforcement warships in transit to join the Fleet at Alexandria designated as Force F (Operation COAT). (Note: Force F comprised battleship BARHAM, cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW, destroyers GALLANT, GRIFFIN and GREYHOUND.)


9th - Provided cover during air operations against Cagliari during passage (Operation CRACK) Detached on arrival at Sicilian Narrows for return to Gibraltar. (Note: ENCOUNTER, FAULKNOR, FORTUNE and FURY transferred to Force F as screen.)


14th - Arrived at Gibraltar with Force H ships.


15th - Deployed with RENOWN and ARK ROYAL screened by destroyers  FAULKNOR, FORTUNE, FORESTER, FIREDRAKE and FOXHOUND as Force B to provide cover for Malta aircraft delivery by aircraft carrier ARGUS (Operation WHITE – See references.)


17th - Detached to carry out search in Atlantic for German commerce raider and sustained  weather damage.


21st - Joined cruisers MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON west of Gibraltar for the escort of reinforcement warships on passage to join Fleet at Alexandria and transit of merchant ships (Operation COLLAR) (Note: This was a complex operation involving transfer of warships to and from Alexandria as well as passage of mercantile traffic to and from Malta. For details see above references.)


25th - Deployed with RENOWN. ARK ROYAL, cruiser DESPATCH, screened by destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FORESTER, FURY, WISHART, ENCOUNTER, KELVIN and JAGUAR as Force B to provide cover for passage of reinforcement warships in transit to join Fleet at Alexandria as Force F, and three mercantiles. See references for details.


27th - Took part in brief engagement with Italian surface force including two battleships (battle of Spartivento) (Note: cruiser BERWICK, battleship RAMILLIES and cruiser NEWCASTLE (Force D) on passage from Egypt had joined Force B and took part. BERWICK was hit and sustained damage with seven of her ship’s company were killed. The Italian ships withdrew after an incorrect assessment of the composition of the British force. For details of the subsequent criticism of the conduct of this action by Vice Admiral JF Somerville and his later exoneration see references).


29th - Returned to Gibraltar with ships of Forces B and D.




14th - Deployed on interception patrol off Azores till 18th December.


15th - Escorted m battleship MALAYA and 2 merchantmen to Gibraltar from Galita Island with RENOWN (Operation HIDE).


25th - Despatched from Gibraltar with RENOWN and ARK ROYAL to assist defence of Convoy WS5A attacked by German cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER off Spanish coast.



1 9 4 1




1st - Carried out offensive sweep in western Mediterranean


4th - Returned to Gibraltar.


7th - Covered passage of Malta convoy to Skerki Bank and aircraft delivery by ARK ROYAL with RENOWN, ARK ROYAL and HM battleship MALAYA (Operation EXCESS).


27th - Joined escort for Gibraltar - UK convoy for two days and returned.


31st - Escorted ARK ROYAL with RENOWN and MALAYA for air attack on Tirso Dam (Operation PICKET). (Note: This was intended as a diversion during planned bombardment of Genoa by ships of Force H. (Operation RESULT).




(Note: Planned bombardment of Genoa cancelled during operation because of adverse weather conditions.


4th - Returned to Gibraltar.


6th - Sailed for Genoa with ships of Force H.


8th - Bombarded Genoa with RENOWN and MALAYA and covered ARK ROYAL during air attacks on shore targets and minelaying (Operation GROG – For full details see Naval Staff History)


11th - Returned to Gibraltar


13th - Took part in searched for German cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER with HMS ARK ROYAL and RENOWN after it had attacked unescorted convoy SL54.


18th - Relieved KENYA as escort of convoy SL65 until 1st March




10th - Escorted troopship STRATHMORE to Clyde with cruiser ARETHUSA.


12th - Routine docking in Gibraltar


17th - Exploded two British A/S mines with paravane. Damage did not justify docking.


21st - Escorted Submarine Depot Ship MAIDSTONE during return passage to Gibraltar.


30th - Intercepted Vichy French convoy off Oran. Returned fire from shore batteries and sustained structural damage during attack by two French aircraft.




2nd - Escorted ARK ROYAL with RENOWN for aircraft delivery to Malta. (Operation WINCH)


5th - Docked at Gibraltar for repair of damage inflicted during air attacks on 30th March


6th to 16th - On completion of docking joined ARK ROYAL, RENOWN, cruiser FIJI and destroyers of 8th Flotilla in Atlantic search for German warships SCHARNHORST reported on passage to attack convoys.


20th - Escorted ARGUS for part of passage into Gibraltar with aircraft for transfer to Malta in ARK ROYAL.


24th - Covered transit of cruiser DIDO to join Mediterranean Fleet. (Operation TRANSIT) and also aircraft delivery to Malta by ARK ROYAL with RENOWN and ships of Force H. (Operation DUNLOP)




6th - Covered transit of battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, cruisers NAIAD, to PHOEBE, and FIJI to reinforce Fleet in eastern Mediterranean and convoy of


9th - tanks for Eighth Army in Middle East with RENOWN, ARK ROYAL and ships of Force H. (Operation TIGER) (For details of Mediterranean operations in 1941 see BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D. MacIntyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff Histories). Under air attacks


12th - Escorted damaged destroyer FORTUNE to Gibraltar during final stage of return passage.


19th - Escorted ARK ROYAL and FURIOUS for Malta aircraft delivery with RENOWN (Operation SPLICE).


24th - After BISMARCK had broken out into Atlantic urgently despatched from  Gibraltar with RENOWN, ARK ROYAL and screen of destroyers to join Home Fleet in the search in north Atlantic.


26th - Accidentally attacked by SWORDFISH from ARK ROYAL and then engaged in action with BISMARCK. Structural damage sustained to upper deck and radar equipment was disabled. Three seaman were killed. Detail in BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenhein-Rechberg and Naval Staff History)


29th - Returned to Gibraltar with Force H




5th - Escorted ARK ROYAL and FURIOUS with RENOWN during aircraft delivery to Malta (Operation ROCKET).


8th - Joined aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS and cruiser HERMIONE with RENOWN and ARK ROYAL to escort into Gibraltar.


10th - Relieved in Force "H" by cruiser HERMIONE and deployed on interception duty in Atlantic.


14th - Intercepted and sank U-Boat supply tanker FREDRICHE BREME. 88 survivors from the German ship were rescued.


20th - Joined cruiser CUMBERLAND to reinforce escort for UK convoy.




Under refit at Dockyard Rosyth. (Note: Radar Type 284 Fire-control for forward 6" main armament and Type 285 for secondary AA armament were fitted. Six 20mm Oerlikon guns fitted for Close Range defence against air attack.)




Under refit at Rosyth.


12th - On completion worked-up at Scapa Flow and deployed with 10th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet.


30th - Joined escort for military convoy WS1 1 in Atlantic with FURIOUS, REPULSE, cruiser CAIRO and Armed Merchant cruiser DERBYSHIRE.




2nd - Detached from convoy and returned to Scapa Flow


12th - Passage to Gibraltar to rejoin Force H.


22nd - Relieved battleship RODNEY in escort for Malta support convoy in Atlantic.


25th - Joined Force X with cruisers KENYA, EDINBURGH, HERMIONE and EURYALUS as the Close Escort for Convoy WS11 to Malta covered by Force H supplemented by ships of the Home Fleet including HM battleships NELSON, RODNEY and PRINCE OF WALES and ARK ROYAL to Skerki Channel (Operation HALBERD).


27th - Under air attack and threat from Italian surface units which never materialised.




Deployed at Gibraltar and despatched with cruiser KENYA to carry out search for U-Boat supply ship operating in Atlantic. (Note: This search was activated as a result of decryption of enemy signals.


3rd - Intercepted German Freighter KOTA PINANG and sunk by KENYA. (Note: German mercantile was located by aircraft from KENYA, scuttled on approach and set on fire before being abandoned. See HITLER'S U-boat war by C Blair and IN HARMS WAY by B J Crabb. Survivors were later rescued by a U-Boat.)


6th - Returned to Greenock with KENYA and joined Home Fleet.




3rd - Deployed with 18th Cruiser Squadron in Iceland for defence of Russian Convoys.




1st - Joined escort for Russian Convoy PQ5.


7th - Detached from PQ5 with Fleet Minesweepers HAZARD and HEBE on relief by Fleet Minesweepers BRAMBLE and SEAGULL. Passage to Kola Inlet.


16th - Deployed with KENYA and SUFFOLK in search for German battleship TIRPITZ reported breaking out into Atlantic.



1 9 4 2




27th - Deployed on Northern Patrol between Iceland and Faeroes in turn with  cruisers KENYA and TRINIDAD.




Northern Patrol duty in continuation.




4th - Detonated mine off NE Iceland when on passage to provide cover for Russian Convoy PQ12. Major damage was sustained aft and a RM sentry was killed. Escorted to Seidisfiord by destroyers FAULKNOR and ESKIMO. (Note: One source records BEDOUIN with FAULKNOR.)


6th - Arrived in Iceland after passage at 6 knots.


27th - On completion of temporary repair by ship's staff took passage to Scapa Flow.




2nd - Under repair and refit at- Palmer's Yard, Hebburn on Tyne. (Note: Radar Type 284 radar fitted for after 6" turret fire control.  Radar Type 285 sets fitted AA fire-control. Radar Type 273 surface warning radar added and Type 79Y air warning radar replaced by new design Type 281. IFF equipment added and US manufactured VHF radio telephone outfit (TBS) installed for inter-ship communications. (For details of radar equipment development and use see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse. Additional 20mm Oerlikon guns fitted.)


May to June


Under refit and repair by Palmers at Hebburn, Newcastle.




Carried out post refit trials before taking passage to Scapa Flow.


24th - Rejoined 18th Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow.




Worked up for service at Scapa Flow.




8th - Passage to Iceland with cruiser CUMBERLAND and destroyer ECLIPSE.


14th - Sailed from Iceland with cruisers CUMBERLAND, NORFOLK, SUFFOLK and LONDON.


16th - Detached with CUMBERLAND and destroyer ECLIPSE for passage to Spitzbergen to land equipment and personnel for garrison..


23rd - Covered returning Russian Convoy QP14 during passage to Scapa Flow.




9th - Present at Scapa Flow during visit by Prime Minister and Sir Stafford Cripps.


24th - Exercised in NW Approaches with cruiser JAMAICA and HMS ARGUS for support duty during planned assault landings


26th - Embarked 670 members of US combat team for passage to Gibraltar.


27th - Joined close escort for 38 ship military convoy taking troops for landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)




5th - After refuelling Joined KMF1 Convoy escort with aircraft carriers ARGUS and AVENGER and cruisers SCYLLA and CHARYBDIS.


6th - Joined Eastern Naval Force with BERMUDA to cover landings at Algiers. (Operation TORCH - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY), BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and Naval Staff History)


7th - Transferred US troops to destroyers MALCOLM and BROKE for landings.


9th - Deployed on protective patrol off landing areas.


10th - Escorted troopship convoy to Bougie for landings.


11th - In collision with Minesweeper CADMUS on passage. Slight structural damage in waist and a Stoker rating on the upper deck was killed.


13th - Passage to Gibraltar with destroyer CLARE.


14th - Passage to Scapa Flow with JAMAICA to rejoin Home Fleet.


20th - Under repair at Scapa and then began Home Fleet exercise programme. (Note: Welding equipment and radar stores were thrown overboard and had to be recovered by divers before dockyard work could start ! Return to Scapa Flow was met with concern by some of ship’s company who had anticipated that repair would have been done at a UK commercial shipyard. Retention at Scapa Flow was made necessary by requirement to have the ship available at Scapa Flow for despatch to intercept German warships on passage to attack Atlantic convoys.)




14th - After convoy conference for Russian Convoy JW61 at Loch Ewe sailed to rendezvous with JAMAICA for passage to Iceland.


15th - Joined JAMAICA, destroyers BEAGLE, MATCHLESS and OPPORTUNE and took passage to Seidisfjord.


19th - Provided cruiser cover in Force R with JAMAICA and same destroyers for passage to Kola Inlet of Russian Convoy JW51A. (Note: battleship KING GEORGE V and cruiser BERWICK gave Distant Cover.


27th - Sailed from Murmansk to provide cruiser cover for returning Convoy RA51.


31st - In action with German cruisers LUTZOW, ADMIRAL HIPPER and destroyer escorts which had been sailed to intercepted Russian Convoy JW51B. Engaged and sank German destroyer FRIEDRICH ECKOLDT  (battle of the Barents Sea - For details see SHEFFIELD by R. Bassett, 73 NORTH by D. Pope and Naval Staff History)



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1st - Escorted returning Convoy RA51 to Iceland with JAMAICA.


2nd - Detached from RA51 and took passage to UK.


23rd - Provided Distant Cover with battleship ANSON for Russian Convoy JW52 and the returning Convoy RA52. (For details see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R. Ruegg and CONVOY ! by P. Kemp).




Passage to Iceland and joined cruisers BELFAST and CUMBERLAND to join escort of Russian Convoy JW53 during passage to Kola Inlet.


15th - Sailed from Seidisfjord with Escort Carrier DASHER to join JW53 (Note: Convoy had sailed from Loch Ewe on 15th.)


18th - Sustained extensive structural damage in appalling weather during passage. (Note: Top of “A” Turret was completely removed


27th - Under repair in Clyde shipyard.




1st - Remained operational and provided cover for passage of return convoy RA53 to Loch Ewe Detached from cover and too passage to Clyde for repair


11th - Arrived in Clyde and taken in hand for repair and refit in Clyde commercial shipyard (Note: The aircraft facilities were removed except the two cranes which were retained.)


April to May


Under repair and refit (Note: Additional 20mm Oerlikon weapons fitted to improve defence against air attacks.)




10th - Escorted troopship convoy to Bougie for landings.


11th - In collision with Minesweeper CADMUS on passage. Slight structural damage in waist  On completion rejoined Home Fleet and worked up for service at Scapa Flow.


22nd - Deployed in SW approaches to cover passage of convoys to Gibraltar for military operations in Sicily (Operation HUSKY - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY and the Naval Staff History).




Under repair to Boiler Equipment at Dockyard Devonport.




On completion returned to deployment in Bay of Biscay of interception of blockade runners and to cover Atlantic convoys to Gibraltar. Carried out aircraft direction training.




Detached for duty in Mediterranean in 15th Cruiser Squadron to support military operations.


14th - Provided naval gunfire support for military shore operations at Salerno. (Operation AVALANCHE - Details as HUSKY).




Deployed in central Mediterranean for gunfire support and AA defence duty.




Based at Algiers in continuation.


19th - At Oran for visit of USS IOWA with President Roosevelt embarked.


20th - Passage to UK to rejoin Home Fleet.




7th - Rejoined 10th Cruiser Squadron. Home Fleet for Russian Convoy escort an covering duties


12th - Provided cruiser cover with BELFAST and NORFOLK for Russian Convoy JW55A. Detached from cover and took passage to Kola Inlet.


19th - Arrived at Kola Inlet.


23rd - Sailed from Kola Inlet to provide cruiser cover for incoming JW55A and return Convoy RA55A.


26th - Ordered by CinC Home Fleet to close convoy JW55A which was under imminent threat of attack Obtained radar detection of German battleship SCHARNHORST  In action with BELFAST and NORFOLK against German battleship SCHARNHORST and obtained hits with second salvo. Had to disengage when bearing of port inner shaft was damaged reducing speed to 22 knots. (battle of North Cape. See KOLA RUN by Campbell and D MacIntyre, Naval Staff History and SHEFFIELD by R. Bassett).


27th - Took passage to Kola Inlet



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Passage to Scapa Flow with BELFAST and NORFOLK. Repair arranged at Liverpool. Passage to Liverpool.


25th - Under refit and repair to port inner shaft at Liverpool.




16th - Rejoined Home Fleet in 10th Cruiser Squadron for Fleet duties on interception and patrol duty in North Sea and NW Approaches




Deployed in NW Approaches and North Sea with Home Fleet in continuation


30th - Sailed from Scapa Flow with aircraft carrier FURIOUS, cruiser JAMAICA Escort aircraft carriers EMPEROR, FENCER, PURSUER and SEARCHER with destroyer screen to provide cover for passage of outward Russian Convoy JW58 and return Convoy RA58 before detaching for air attacks on German battleship TIRPITZ (Note: Deployed as Force 2. Force 1 comprised battleships DUKE OF YORK, ANSON, BELFAST, cruisers ROYALIST and aircraft carrier VICTORIOUS with destroyer screen.)




3rd - Escorted aircraft carriers VICTORIOUS, FURIOUS, EMPEROR. FENCER, PURSUER and SEARCHER with cruisers ROYALIST, BELFAST, JAMAICA screened by Fleet destroyers during air attacks on German battleship TIRPITZ in Altenfjord. Cover was provided by ANSON and remaining ships of Force 1, concurrent with protection for Russian Convoy JW58 and returning RA58. (Operation TUNGSTEN).


6th - Returned to Scapa Flow with Fleet units.


15th - Escorted Escort Type aircraft carriers during A/S operations in North West Approaches (Operation PITCHBOWL). On release nominated took passage to Clyde.


21st - Under refit at Greenock. (Note: Further 20mm Oerlikon weapons added making total of 22,)




7th - Rejoined 10th Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow.


11th - Present at Scapa Flow during visit to Home Fleet by King George VI.


12th - Joined ANSON, VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS for provision of cover during air attacks on the German battleship TIRPITZ but operation cancelled due to weather over the target.


14th - Escorted Escort Carriers EMPEROR and STRIKER with cruiser ROYALIST and six Fleet destroyers during ai attacks on Norwegian coastal shipping off Rorvik and Stadtlandet


16th - Returned to Scapa Flow.




Nominated for refit in US Navy shipyard.


20th - Deployed on offensive patrol in northern waters beyond the Arctic Circle with Escort Escort aircraft carriers STRIKER and FENCER screened by six Home Fleet destroyers. (Operation WANDERER - This was intended to act as a diversion during Channel operations by simulating passage of convoy to North Russia or a invasion force on passage to make landings in Norway.)




18th - Passage to USA for refit. Under refit at Boston, Mass.


25th - Taken in hand for refit by US Navy Yard, Boston.


August to December


Under refit at Boston



1 9 4 5


January to April


Under refit at Boston




On completion of refit carried out post refit trials


28th - Passage to UK.




5th - Under refit for installation of new design fire control radars, target acquisition outfit and new air warning radar with improved R/T communication sets.


July to August


UK dockyard refit in continuation.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SHEFFIELD completed her UK refit work in July 1946 and worked-up in the Mediterranean Until 1954 most of her service was as Flagship on the America and West Indies Station with periods in Home waters including attendance at the Coronation Review. During General Service commissions between 1954 and 1958 the ship was deployed in Home waters and in the Mediterranean. Reduced to Reserve at Portsmouth in 1959 she became Flagship of the Reserve Fleet at Portsmouth in place of VANGUARD. Placed on the Disposal List in 1964 she was towed to Rosyth to be de-equipped in 1967 and on completion taken in tow to Faslane on 18th September that year for demolition by Shipbreaking Industries. The second ship to carry this name was a Type 42 destroyer which was sunk in air attacks during the operations against Argentina in April 1982.







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








ON 020/1





HN 021





ON 022/1





HN 023B





HN 024





WS 003A





SL 065










SL 076










PQ 005





PQ 018





QP 014





KMF 001





JW 051A





JW 051B





RA 051





JW 052





RA 052





SL 133MK





MKF 019





JW 055A





JW 055B





RA 055A








(Note on Convoys)



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