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

HMS BLACK PRINCE  -  Bellona/Improved Dido-class AA Cruiser including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Black Prince  (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Improved DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Harland & Wolff of Belfast on 4th September 1939 under War Estimates and laid on 2nd November 1939. She was launched on 27th August 1942 as the 5th RN warship to carry this name dating from 1650 and previously used for a cruiser sunk at Jutland in 1916. Build was completed on 20th November 1943. The ship was not adopted by a civil community after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in 1941-42 as she was not in service.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, the head of the Black Prince in Armour white.


M o t t o

'With high courage’.



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


November              Contractor's trials and commissioned for service with 10th Cruiser Squadron.

                20th        Build completion date and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to join Squadron


December              Worked-up with ships of Home Fleet.

                                Transferred to SW Approaches based at Plymouth for interception of enemy convoys in English

                                Channel and Bay of Biscay (Operation TUNNEL Series)

                                For details of TUNNEL operations see HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith


1 9 4 4


January                  Channel deployment in continuation.


February                Redeployed at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.

                22nd       Joined Russian Convoy JW57 as Flagship of escort with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier CHASER.

                                HM Destroyers METEOR, MILNE, MAHRATTA, MATCHLESS, OBEDIENT, OFFA,

                                ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI, SAVAGE, SERAPIS, SWIFT, VERULAM and VIGILANT for passage

                                to Kola Inlet (Operation FX).

.                               For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg,

                                THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS

                                by R. Woodman.

                25th        HMS MAHRATTA was sunk with only too survivors.

                28th        Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet. March



                2nd         Flagship of escort with same destroyer screen during return passage of Convoy RA57-

                7th          Detached from RA57 with Home Fleet destroyers before arrival of convoy in Loch Ewe

                10th        Resumed interception duties at Plymouth.

                23rd        Carried out unsuccessful shipping sweep with HM Destroyer ASHANTI, HM Canadian

                                destroyers ATHABASKAN, HAIDA and HURON of 10th Destroyer Flotilla.

                                (Operation TUNNEL series - For details see HOLD THE NARROW SEA.).

                25th        Bombarded shore batteries near Ile de Bas.


April                       Channel deployment in continuation.

                26th        In action with destroyers of 10th Flotilla against German Torpedo Boats which were laying

                                mines NW of Sept Iles. German T.29 sunk.


May                        Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                Allocated to Bombarding Force A of Western Task Force supporting Assault Force U.

                                For details of naval activities prior to and during allied landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE by

                                K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO))

                15th        Carried out bombardment exercises with ships of Bombardment Forces off NW Scotland

                                and took part in other training with Home Fleet ships.

                31st         Assembled in Clyde with US battleship USS NEVADA, US Cruisers USS QUINCY and USS

                                TUSCALOOSA, HM Cruisers HAWKINS and ENTERPRISE.


June                        Passage to Channel as part of Convoy U1A screened by four destroyers.

                4th          Operation delayed 24 hours.

                5th          Passage through swept channel with Bombarding Force A.

                                HM Monitor EREBUS joined Force from Weymouth.

                6th          On arrival took up bombardment position.

                                Provided naval gunfire support for assault landings on UTAH Beachhead with ships of Force A

                                and HM Netherlands Monitor SOEMBA.

                                Bombarded shore batteries near St. Vaast-la-Hogue.

                                On release from Western Task Force took passage to Tyne for repairs.


July                         Nominated for service in Mediterranean for support of allied landings in south of France.

                                (Operation DRAGOON).

                                Passage to Gibraltar to join 15th Cruiser Squadron.


August                  Allocated to Gunfire Support Group ALPHA.

                2nd         Passage from Gibraltar to join Task Force 84 under US Navy command.

                15th        Provided naval gunfire support with HM Battleship RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX,

                                AURORA, US cruiser USS QUINCY and Free French cruiser GLOIRE.

                                Bombarded coastal defence batteries prior to landings of US 3rd Division.

                                During assault provided gunfire support on demand. 80 rounds were fired in all.

                20th        Bombarded Giens batteries with French cruiser EMILE BERTIN, US cruisers USS AUGUSTA

                                and PHILADELPHIA.

                                Demolished Golf Hotel near Hyres.

                                For further details see LANDINGS IN SOUTH FRANCE (HMSO) and ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                                MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett.


September             After release from DRAGOON returned to British control by CinC Mediterranean.

                                Nominated for duty in Eastern Mediterranean with British Aegean Force.

                24th        Deployed with HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, ROYALIST, ARGONAUT, AURORA and

                                CEYLON in British Aegean Force to support allied forces re-occupying Aegean Islands.

                                Took passage from Naples with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier STALKER.

                25th        Carried out preliminary investigation of area with HMS STALKER and two destroyers.

                26th        Deployed for interception of enemy convoys evacuating troops to Greek ports.

                                Supported allied landing operations.

                29th        Bombarded Skyros with Fleet destroyers covered by naval aircraft from carriers.

                                Bombarded Maleme airfield, Crete.

                                Passage to Alexandria with HI Escort Aircraft Carrier STALKER.

                                For details see Official History WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN).



                7th          In action against evacuation craft near Velos with HM Destroyer TERPSICHORE.

                15th        Covered reoccupation of Piraeus with HM Cruisers AURORA, AJAX, and ORION, HM Escort

                                Aircraft Carriers STALKER, ATTACKER and EMPEROR

                                (Operation MANNA).

                                (Note: Troops, vehicles and stores had been embarked in Alexandria for passage).

                25th.       Transferred to Eastern Fleet and took passage to Trincomalee.


November              For details of operations in Indian Ocean see OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwyn Gray).

                20th        Covered air attacks by HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS on Belawan

                                Deli with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and ARGONAUT screened by five Fleet Destroyers.

                                (Note: Diverted from original target Pangkalan Brandan because of weather).

                                (Operation OUTFLANK).

                22nd       Transferred to British Pacific Fleet on formation.

                                (Note: To be deployed with 4th Cruiser Squadron -see below)


December              Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.

                17th        Covered air attacks on oil refineries, railway and harbour installations at Belewan Deli, Sumatra

                                by HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE

                                and ARGONAUT screened by Fleet destroyers (Operation ROBSON).


1 9 4 5



                4th          Covered air operations by HM Fleet Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, INDEFATIGABLE

                                and VICTORIOUS against oil refineries at Pangkalan Brendan, Sumatra with HM Cruisers

                                SUFFOLK, CEYLON, ARGONAUT screened by Fleet destroyers as Task Force 67.

                                (Operation LENTIL).

                16th        Took passage from Trincomalee to Pacific theatre with BPF as part of Task Force 63.

                24th        Covered air strikes by HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS

                                ILLUSTRIOUS and HMS VICTORIOUS on Pladjoe oil refinery, Sumatra, with ships of

                                TF63 (Operation MERIDIAN ONE).

                29th        Repeated operation against oil refineries at Soengi-Gerong and came under KAMIKAZE

                                suicide attacks. The aircraft were destroyed by naval aircraft before reaching the

                                Task Force


February                Passage to Sydney.

                                On arrival prepared for joint RN/US operations with 5th US Fleet under US Navy Command.



                20th        Arrived at Ulithi for deployment with Task Force 57.

                23rd        Sailed from Ulithi with Task Force 57 for operational area.

                                (Note: Task Force 57 comprised: -

                                HM Battleships KING GEORGE V (Flagship) and HOWE.

                                HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, INDEFATIGABLE, VICTORIOUS

                                and IMPLACABLE.

                                HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA (RNZN), BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT

                                (4th Cruiser Sqdn.).

                                HM Cruiser EURYALUS and destroyers of 24th, 25th and 27th Flotillas.

                26th        Covered air operations by British aircraft carriers against airfields in Sakishima Gunto Group

                                to with HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, ARGONAUT and EURYALUS.

                28th        Operation ICEBERG).

                                For details of ICEBERG operations see TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith, OPERATION

                                PACIFIC by E Gray, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)

                31st         Resumed cover during air operations after refuelling.


April                       BPF deployment in continuation.

                1st           Under KAMIKAZE attacks during these operations during which HMS INDEFATIGABLE and

                                HM Destroyer ULSTER were hit).

                6th          Resumed covering duties during flying operations after refuelling.

                                Under KAMIKAZE attacks.

                9th          During refuelling diverted with Task Force 57 ships for attacks on Formosa.

                                (Operation ICEBERG OOLONG).

                11th        Operations delayed by weather.

                12th        Covered air attacks on Formosan airfields and under air attack.

                16th        Rejoined US air operations with TF57 against Sakishima Gunto.

                20th        Returned to Leyte with TF57 for maintenance and repair of damaged ships.



                1st           Sailed from Leyte to covered air operations by British carriers.

                                (Operation ICEBERG II).

                                (Note: HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE had replaced HMS ILLUSTRIOUS).

                4th          Detached with HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE, HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE,

                                UGANDA, GAMBIA, EURYALUS and ships of 25th Destroyer Flotilla as screen

                                during bombardment at Miyako Shima.

                                Bombarded AA defences at Nobara with HMS EURYALUS.

                                Covered carrier flying operations and under KAMIKAZE attack.

                                (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE was hit with heavy casualties including eight killed).

                                Assisted AA defence of TF57 during repeated KAMIKAZE attacks during which HMS

                                INDOMITABLE was hit).

                9th          Under further KAMIKAZE attacks during which HMS FORMIDABLE was again hit.

                12th        Resumed covering duties after refuelling and positioned to give cover against the expected

                                KAMIKAZE attacks.

                20th        Took over tow of HM Destroyer QUILLIAM from HM Destroyer NORMAN until arrival of

                                tug WEASEL

                                Remained as escort.

                25th        Withdrew from operations with ships of TF 57 for Rest and Recuperation period in Sydney.


June                        During this period ships of the British Pacific Fleet were transferred to the 3rd US Fleet when US Navy

                                command structure changes were made. They were re-designated as Task Force 37 which comprised:

                                HM Battleship KING GEORGE V (Flagship).

                                HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, VICTORIOUS and IMPLACABLE.

                                HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES (RNZN), UGANDA (RCN) and


                                4th Destroyer Flotilla - HM Destroyers UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN, UNDAUNTED,

                                QUIBERON (RAN), QUICKMATCH (RAN), QUALITY (RAN) and

                                QUADRANT (RAN).

                                24th Destroyer Flotilla - HM Destroyers TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE

                                and TEAZER.

                                (See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, and OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwyn Grey

                                and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)

                28th        Sailed for Manus with Task Force 37 ships.


July                         Exercised on passage.

                4th          Arrived at Manus.

                6th          Sailed from Manus to join US 3rd Fleet for joint operations off Japan.

                                (Preparatory phase of Operation OLYMPIC).

                                Repair work after explosion of defective shell in forward mounting delayed her departure.

                16th        Covered flying operation by British carriers against targets in the Yokohama -Tokyo area.

                17th        Covered bombardment operations by British ships on Tokyo area.

                18th        Rejoined TF37 carrier group to cover flying operations in rotation with US Navy aircraft carriers.


August                  Fuel shortages in British Fleet Train for replenishment of TF37 became apparent.

                2nd         Deployed with other cruisers of Squadron as radio communications link between ships of TF37

                                and US TF38.

                9th          Rejoined US Task Force ships for operations off Japan.

                                Covered operations by Carrier groups on targets in N Honshu and Hokkaido.

                12th        Returned with TF37 to Manus because of oil fuel shortage in British Fleet train tankers.

                                (Note: HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS GAMBIA, HMS


                                HMS TERPSICHORE, HMS TEAZER, HMS BARFLEUR, HMS NAPIER (RAN),

                                HMS NIZAM (RAN), HMS WAKEFUL and HMS WRANGLER were retained

                                 in operational area as part of Task Force 38 and re-designated Task Group 38.5.

                                See above references).

                27th        Redeployed under RN control in Task Group 111.2 and took passage from Subic Bay for Hong Kong.

                                (Note: TG111.2 comprised HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VENERABLE HM Cruiser

                                SWIFTSURE and Fleet destroyers).


Post  War  Notes


HMS BLACK PRINCE returned to UK and paid off into Reserve in 1947, This ship was loaned to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1948 and remained in that service until 1962 when placed on the Disposal List. She was sold for breaking-up in Japan where she arrived on 2nd March that year.







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








JW 057





RA 057








(Note on Convoys)



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