Pacific Passenger Liner requisitioned on 28th August 1939 and hired for use as
an Armed Merchant Cruiser. The ship was to have been named METAPEDIA but was
later renamed MONTCLARE. She was ordered from John Brown at Clydebank and
launched on 18th December 1921. Her machinery was provided by Harland and Wolff
and on completion she was deployed for cross-Atlantic passenger trade. Details
of her tonnage and machinery as well as her armament during naval service are
given in the General Description information for Armed Merchant Cruisers, This
ship was converted for deployment as an Armed Merchant Cruiser and retained her
mercantile name which had not previously been borne by an RN ship. She carried
out trade protection duties until 1943 when she was purchased outright by the
Admiralty and selected for further use as a Depot Ship for destroyers. The ship
then underwent an extensive conversion for her new role and was allocated for
service in the Pacific.. On return to UK after the end
of hostilities she was again converted to suit the support of submarines and
served in the Clyde until 1955 when she was placed in Reserve until being sold
in 1957 for demolition.
B a t t l e H o n o u r
None are recorded in the Official
H e r a l d i c D a t
Badge: On a Field White a rose red,
M o t t
Mare Ditat Rosa Decorate: 'The sea enriches the rose
S u m m a r y 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 3
28th Requisitioned by the Admiralty at
Liverpool and hired for naval use.
(Note: Retained her mercantile name and renamed HMS MONTCLARE in accordance
with international convention.
September Taken in hand at Barrow in Furness
for conversion to suit use as an Armed Merchant Cruiser.
(Note: As an interim measure ship was fitted with WW1 vintage 6in guns
and two 3in AA guns.
fittings of a flammable nature were removed and in order to improve buoyancy
space and compartments not required were filled with empty steel drums wooden
barrels and timber
October Conversion in continuation.
15th Formally Commissioned for war
service with naval personnel.
(Note: Allocated for service based at Freetown for defence of convoys to and
from West Africa.
proportion of the ships company were merchant navy personnel under a T124
Agreement with the Admiralty.
crews and communications personnel were RN
personnel were given naval rank.)
Worked up and took
passage to Scapa Flow
to Freetown to join South Atlantic Command.
30th After arrival deployment at
Freetown cancelled due to lack of fresh water facilities adequate
the escort of convoy to UK and immediate return to Freetown.
November Joined escort for Convoy SL7 to UK.
December On arrival reallocated for Northern
(Note: For details see ARMED MERCHANT CRUISERS by K Poolman and ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Bamett.
Deployed for patrol in North Atlantic.
1 9 4 0
January Deployed in Denmark Strait for
interception of blockade runners and commerce raiders.
Weather conditions deteriorated significantly
after first week.
to Clyde on relief.
February Withdrawn for completion of conversion.
to (Note: 6in guns
were replaced by newer 5.5in mountings and both 3in AA replaced
April by three
fire control equipment was fitted for main armament
Carried out post conversion trials and shakedown
Embarked ammunition and worked up for operational service
May Deployed for trade defence and escort
1 9 4 1
defence and convoy escort in continuation.
in West Indies and Atlantic.
1 9 4 2
Atlantic trade defence and
convoy escort in continuation.
1 9 4 3
January Trade defence and convoy
escort in continuation
to (Note: Despite the
incessant U-Boat Group attacks on Atlantic
April traffic over
90% of convoys arrived at its destination without
loss. See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair).
May Future deployment of
Armed Merchant Cruisers under review.
to The need for this
type of auxiliary warship was diminishing and more
new construction was becoming available for convoy defence.
Withdrawn from service as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. Paid
to (Note: U-Boat
operations had been severely restricted in order to
December improve their
defensive armament and to introduce SCHNORKEL
U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO), SEEK AND
STRIKE by W Hackmann.and HITLER’S U-BOAT
WAR by C Blair.
Selected for conversion to suit use as a
Destroyer Depot Ship.
Taken in hand for extensive conversion, by Harland and
Wolff at Belfast
See General Information.
1 9 4 4
Under conversion at Belfast
to Nominated for service
in British Pacific Fleet.
Commissioned for service.
Post refit trials
to Allocated for duty
at Forward Base as part of British Pacific Fleet Train
Prepared for foreign
service and completed to full complement
Pacific Fleet was formed in November from ships serving in the East Indies
Fleets and others nominated or suitable ships on passage from UK.)
1 9 4 5
On completion took passage to Manus in Admiralty Islands to support of
to British Pacific
Fleet in Task Force 57
(Note: British Pacific Fleet Train was identified as Task Force 112 and
some of the ships
were already deployed in the Pacific
The Flagship HMS LOTHIAN arrived at Manus on 2nd March and had proved to
be totally unsuited for this task. See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET
by J Winton.
and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
Arrived at Manus for support of destroyers in BPF.
29th Rear Admiral DB
Fisher, Flag Officer Fleet Train and staff joined ship from HMS LOTHIAN.
officers and ratings together with equipment also transferred.
31st Took passage
from Manus to Brisbane.
Ships of BPF were returning to Australian ports for maintenance and leave after
part in Operation ICEBERG II in Sakishima
June Passage to Brisbane.
Deployed at Brisbane.
24th Sailed from Brisbane
with Flag Officer Fleet Train embarked for passage to Manus..
addition to duty as Destroyer Depot Ship the ship wore the Flag of Flag Officer
(Destroyers) BPF Rear Admiral JH Edelsten and
provided Base W/T communication
facilities for RA(D)).
30th Arrived at Manus for support duties.
(Note: Ships of BPF now re-designated Task Force 37 and part
of us Navy 3rd Fleet sailed
from Sydney on 28th June to return to operations off Japan
after Replenishment at
4th Provided support
for ships of BPF on arrival at Manus.
5th Remained at Manes during BPF operations
to provide repair and support to ships
31st (For details of BPF
involvement in operations off Japan see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO),
THE FORGOTTEN FLEET BY J Winton and TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith.)
August Deployed at Manus.
12th British Pacific Fleet ships of Task Force
37 left operational area leaving a Token Force of RN
ships as part of US Task Force 38 and designated Task Group
19th Provided support to BPF ships on return
to Manus from operational area off Japan.
September Deployed at Manus.
4th Fleet Train sailed from Manus for Hong
Kong to provide support for ships deployed for
re-occupation of the Colony and to
October Deployed at Hong Kong for support
of destroyers of BPF.
November On release from BPF took passage to
return to UK
1 9 4 6
January Paid off at Portsmouth and
reduced to Reserve status
February Nominated for conversion to suit
use as a Submarine Depot Ship.
to Taken in hand for
conversion to suit new role
1 9 4 7
service as Depot Ship in Clyde to support 3rd Submarine Flotilla.
Post refit trials
and completed storing for service.
passage to Clyde.
Deployed in Clyde
for repair and support of submarines.
1 9 4 8 t o 1 9 5 4
with 3rd Submarine Squadron.
were redesigned as Squadrons in 1953.)
reduction to Reserve status and withdrawn from duty in Clyde.
1 9 5 5
January Prepared for tow to enter
Reserve at Portsmouth
February Passage to Portsmouth in tow of
6th During passage in Force 12 Gale
conditions, medical assistance provided by helicopter to deal with
injured man on tug.
March Completed reduction to
Reserve and laid up at Portsmouth.
F i n a l S t a g e
MONTCLARE was placed on the Disposal List in 1957 and sold to BISCO for
breaking up by TW Ward at Inverkeithing. The ship was taken in tow from
Portsmouth on 29th January 1958 and arrived at the Breakers yard in the Forth
on 3rd February for demolition.