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

HMS ARIADNE - Abdiel-class Fast Cruiser Minelayer 

HMS Manxman, sister ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List

Abdiel-class fast cruiser minelayer (second or Apollo group) ordered from Alex. Stephens at Govan on 19th April 1941 under a War Build Programme. The ship was laid down en 15th November 1941 and launched on 16th February 1943 as the 9th RN warship to carry the name. It was first used for a 6th Rate In 1776 and lastly in 1898 for a cruiser torpedoed and sunk off Beachy Head in 1917. The build of this ship was completed on 9th October 1943. Ships of this Class of warship, in addition to use as minelayers, were extensively deployed during WW2 for transport of stores and personnel. Their high speed and the availability of spacious minedecks made them very suitable for this purpose. Details of minelaying activities in WW2 are available in the Naval Staff History (MINING). This cruiser was one of the few RN ships which was loaned to the US Navy and served with the US Seventh Fleet in the Pacific during 1944. See Royal Navy Minelaying Operations.


B a t t l e  H o n o u r s


ST LUCIA 1778 - GRENADA 1779 - OSTEND 1798 - NEW ORLEANS 1814 - LEYTE GULF 1944


He r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, Within a wreath of vine Gold a

celestial crown also Gold, with Silver stars.


M o t to

Celer et audax: 'Quick and bold' or  'Swift and fearless'.



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 3


September             Contractors trials


October                  Commissioned.

                9th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with

                                ships of Home Fleet

                                (Note: This ship was fitted with two twin 4in mountings in A and Y positions

                                with fire control radar Type 285 fitted on the forward Director.

                                Surface warning radar Type 272 was fitted on foremast platform.

                                Close range 30mm and 20mm mountings were fitted to improve close range

                                AA defence. For details of development and use of radar in RN during WW2

                                see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)


November              Deployed at Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service.


December              Detached for interception duties in Atlantic.

                                Deployed in Atlantic and took passage to Gibraltar.

                                Sailed from Gibraltar to join HM Cruisers GAMBIA, PENELOPE. GLASGOW and

                                ENTERPRISE to intercept the blockade runner ALSTERUFER.

                                (Operation STONEWALL).

                                (Note: The blockade runner had been sighted by an RAF SUNDERLAND aircraft.).

                27th        In action with German destroyers and Torpedo Boats in Bay of Biscay.

                                (Note: The enemy ships had been sent to escort ALSTERUFER into the Gironde but

                                after the blockade runner had been sunk by an RAF Liberator aircraft the

                                returning ships were sighted by aircraft and located by HMS GLASGOW

                                and HMS ENTERPRISE.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and

                                HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith).

                                In this action Destroyer Z27, Torpedo Boats T25 and T26 were sunk by

                                HMS GLASGOW and HMS ENTERPRISE SW of Ushant.)

                28th        Under Glider Bomb (He293) attacks whilst on passage to Plymouth with HMS GLASGOW

                                and HMS ENTERPRISE.

                                (Note: This weapon carried by an aircraft was frequently used during attacks on warships

                                in the Bay of Biscay and in the Mediterranean. Counter-measurers against this weapon

                                were introduced later. See above reference.)

                29th        Arrived at Plymouth.

1 9 4 4


January                  Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for loan service with US Navy in Pacific.

                                Embarked mines at Milford Haven.


February                Worked-up for foreign service.

                                Passage to Pearl Harbour via Panama. See Naval Staff History (MINING).


March                    Commenced loan service with US Navy.


April                       Prepared for operational duties with 7th US Fleet


May                        Deployed with US 7th Fleet.

                                Nominated for minelay off Wewak, New Guinea in support of Operation RECKLESS

                                (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)


June                        Passage to Manus for deployment with US Task Force 75.

                19th        Carried out lay of 146 mines off Wewak.

                20th        Returned to Manus on completion.


July                         US Navy loan service in SW Pacific in continuation

to                            (See HISTORY OF US NAVAL OPERATIONS by Samuel E Morison.)

August                  Nominated for use as Assault Troop Carrier during landings in Philippines after

                                completion of minelay in Wewak harbour.

                                Passage to Wewak from Manus.



                1st           Carried out minelay and returned to Manus on completion.

                                Converted for new role.


October                  Deployed with Amphibious Force VH and took part in preparatory exercises.

                20th        Took part in landing operations at Leyte.

                to            (Note: HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and SHROPSHIRE, HM Australian

                22nd       Destroyers ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA, HM Australian Frigate GASCOYNE

                                and HM Australian Landing Ships (Infantry) WESTRALIA, MANOORA and

                                KANIMBLA also took part. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

                23rd        Present during action by US Navy against Japanese warships in Gulf of Leyte.

                to            See above reference.



November              Loan service with US Navy in continuation based at Manus.

                15th        Embarked US troops at Morotai for passage to Pegun Island in Mapia Group with US

                                destroyers USS SHAW, USS CALWELL and USS WILMARTH to establish a weather

                                and LORAN (Navigational Radio) stations. See above reference.


December              Loan service with US Navy in continuation.


1 9 4 5


January                  Recalled to UK for RN minelaying duties.

                                (Note: Extensive stock of mines had become available and minelaying operations were

                                planned for the lay of anti-submarine fields in Bay of Biscay, Irish Sea and NW

                                Approaches to deter operation of SCHNORKEL fitted U- Boats in UK coastal



February                Passage to UK from Pacific.


March                    Resumed RN service.

                31st         At Plymouth for leave and boiler cleaning.

April                       Prepared for minelaying operations in SW Approaches on Nymphe Bank.

                                First RN use as minelayer (Operation CH Series).

                                Deployed with HM Minelaying Cruiser APOLLO.

                10th        Began lay of Field S3.

                12th        Completed Field S3.

                17th        Began lay of Field 32.

                19th        Lay of Field S2 in continuation.

                22nd       Completed lay of Field S2.

                26th        Laid Field S1

                                (Note: HMS ARIADNE laid 1200 mines and HMS APOLLO 300 mines In Field S.)


May                        Redeployed in NW Approaches and Irish Sea.

                2nd         Began lay of Field J in North Channel.

                3rd          Begin lay of Field Y off Fishguard

                4th          Completed lay of Field Y

                6th          Completed lay of Field J

                                (Note: 300 mines were laid in Field J and 300 mines in Field Y.)

                7th          Rejoined Hone Fleet at Scapa Flow for support of reoccupation operations.

                9th          Joined HM Cruiser APOLLO at Rosyth.

                11th        Embarked Crown Prince of Norway for return to Oslo (Operation KINGDOM).

                                (Note: HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE with Flag Officer Norway (Designate) embarked,

                                HMS APOLLO with HM Destroyers IROQUOIS, SAVAGE, SCOURGE and

                                Norwegian destroyer ARENDAL (Ex HMS BADSWORTH) also took pert in this


                13th        Arrived in Oslo.

                14th        Passage to Devonport for refit.

                20th        Nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet

                                Taken in hand for refit.


June                        Under refit and prepared for passage to Pacific.


July                         Passage to Australia to join British Pacific Fleet via Mediterranean.


August                  Deployed with British Pacific Fleet after end of hostilities.

                                (Note: British ships had withdrawn from operations and were no longer part of US 3rd Fleet.

                                See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)

                                and FINAL REPORT BY SEAC (HMSO).


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ARIADNE remained with the BPF and was deployed In support of repatriation and other duties including delivery of mail and stores for which their speed was a great advantage.  Sister ships HMS MANXMAN and HMS APOLLO were also deployed in Pacific after VJ Day. This ship later returned to UK and paid off. She was reduced to Reserve status during 1946 and was refitted at Immingham after the outbreak of war in Korea. On completion she did not recommission but went back into the Reserve Fleet until 1956. She then prepared for service during the Suez crisis. However owing to the serious manning problems then being experienced she was never deployed operationally and remained in Reserve until 1965.  Placed on the Disposal List she was sold BISCO for demolition by to Arnott Young. She arrived at the breakerís yard at Dalmuir on 14th February that year and her demolition was completed at Troon the following June. 


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