1 9 3 9
7th Completed refit at HM Dockyard Devonport and sailed for Scapa Flow to work-up
12th Worked up at Scapa
service in Home Fleet.
15th Joined 18th Cruiser Squadron.
25th Deployed with Home Fleet to covered return of damaged
SPEARFISH from Horns Reef with
HM Battleship NELSON, HM Battlecruisers
HOOD and RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, HM Cruisers
EDINBURGH and NORFOLK screened by Home Fleet destroyers.
1st Transferred to Loch Ewe with Home Fleet after loss of HM
OAK by U-boat
attack at Scope Flow.
8th Searched with HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY for German
KOLN and battleship GNEISENAU which had been
reported in North
12th Covered passage of convoy of 19 oil tankers with HM Cruiser
21st Joined convoy and remained as escort.
25th Detached from convoy off Lands End.
12th During patrol in Denmark Strait intercepted German freighter PARANA which was
set on fire and scuttled by
crew. Boat with survivors attempting to reach Iceland
17th Returned to Northern Patrol for interception duty.
23rd Sighted German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU rescuing
from HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI
which they had sunk
Closed to a range of 6½ miles
before losing contact.
Joined HM Cruiser DELHI and continued the search without success
due to poor visibility
and rain showers.
28th Returned to Scapa
December Carried out two patrols in North Sea.
1 9 4 0
January Deployed on interception
patrol in northern Atlantic.
9th Sank wreck of German ship BAHIA BLANCA in Denmark Strait during patrol.
14th Deployed with HM Cruiser MANCHESTER, HM Destroyers MAORI, INGLEFIELD, ICARUS
KHARTOUM, KANDAHAR, KASHMIR, KIMBERLEY and KELVIN in an
search for German blockade runner TRAUTENFELS on passage in North Sea.
23rd Withdrawn for repair of an accumulation of defects which
rendered ship below the
fighting efficiency needed for Fleet duties.
February Not deployed operationally.
26th Under repair in Tyne
April Under repair.
29th Carried out post repair trials on completion of dockyard
3rd Rejoined Home Fleet.
5th Escorted HM Battlecruisers RENOWN and REPULSE with HM
screened by five
Home Fleet destroyers during fruitless search for German battleships
GNEISENAU in Iceland - Faeroes Gap.
10th Escorted evacuation convoy from Harstad arriving in Scapa Flow on 11th June.
7th Transferred to Plymouth for anti-invasion duties.
19th Docking at Devonport till 21/7/40
August Deployed in SW Approaches on
27th Docking at Devonport.
1st Resumed operational duties.
11th Deployed with HM Battleship REVENGE, screened by HM
Destroyers JAVELIN, JUPITER,
KELVIN, KIPLING, JACKAL, JAGUAR
and KASHMIR for bombardment of Cherbourg.
(Operation MEDIUM) 150 rounds of
15in shells were fired on harbour installations.
HM Cruiser EMERALD provided
Target illumination screened by HM Destroyers
WANDERER, BROKE, Polish destroyers, ORP
BURZA and ORP GARLAND
Five motor gunboats also
deployed for defence against E-Boat attacks.
17th During patrol between Scillies and Ushant with HM Cruiser EMERALD screened
by five Fleet destroyers engaged
4 German destroyers off Lands End at range of
18,000 yards but unable to close
because of enemy speed and withdrew.
Sustained structural damage from
blast effects from forward gun mountings.
23rd Under repair at Devonport.
27th Resumed operational duty.
November Nominated for transfer to
Mediterranean Fleet based at Alexandria.
1st Sailed from Plymouth with HM Cruiser NIGERIA screened by HM
JUPITER and KASHMIR to intercept German destroyers reported
from Brest in Channel.
2nd Returned to Plymouth after unsuccessful operations
destroyers had returned to Brest.)
6th Docking at Devonport.
8th Resumed operational duty.
9th Embarked 200 RAF personnel and stores at Plymouth for passage to Malta.
11th At Gibraltar
13th Passage to Malta
19th Arrived in Malta
24th Under boiler repair at Malta
26th Sailed from Malta with HM Battleship RAMILLIES, HM
Cruisers BERWICK and COVENTRY
screened by HM Destroyers
DEFENDER, DIAMOND, GALLANT, GREYHOUND and
HEREWARD deployed as Force D to
provide cover for transit of military convoy carrying troops
to Alexandria (Operation COLLAR)
27th After Force D met ships of Force B providing cover for COLLAR
convoy during passage in
western Mediterranean took part in brief engagement at long
range with Italian surface force
including two battleships and
seven cruisers with destroyer screen.
Enemy force withdrew and not
followed in order to ensure save passage of convoy.
(Battle of Cape Spartivento – For details see Naval Staff History,
HMS0-2001), THE BATTLE
FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D Macintyre, HMS SHEFFIELD by R
Bassett and THE NAVAL
WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignani )
(Note: The conduct of this
action was criticised by the Prime Minister, but at the subsequent Board
of Inquiry, the Admiral’s action
was not considered inappropriate.
28th Passage to Gibraltar with Force H ships HM Battlecruiser
RENOWN, HM Battleship
RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers
SHEFFIELD, DESPATCH and destroyer screen.
29th Arrived at Gibraltar with ships of Force H
1st Transferred to South Atlantic Command as Flagship for
ships deployed for interception of blockade
7th Joined HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND and ENTERPRISE in search for German raider
THOR after the Armed Merchant Cruiser CARNARVON CASTLE had been damaged
in action with the enemy ship
18th Took part in further search for German battleship ADMIRAL
SCHEER with HMS
CUMBERLAND and HMS ENTERPRISE between Rio de Janeiro and the Plate estuary.
1 9 4 1
January Deployed in South Atlantic for convoy defence and interception
to (Note: Type 286M Radar
to provide limited warning against aircraft and surface targets was fitted
March by this period. This
equipment was an RAF Air-Surface Warning (ASV) outfit modified for
April Atlantic deployment in
15th Joined Military convoy WS7 during passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope and
relieved HM Battleship
NELSON as Ocean Escort.
16th Remained with convoy on arrival off Cape Town and continued deployment as Ocean Escort
passage to Durban.
19th Detached on arrival at Durban and look passage to Simonstown for
docking and refit.
16th On completion resumed interception duties.
June Deployed in
South Atlantic on trade protection and interception.
23rd Intercepted German freighter ERLANGEN off Plate estuary.
August Nominated for refit at Boston, USA
7th Passage to USA from Rio de Janeiro via Freetown.
20th Taken in hand for refit at Boston Navy Yard.
(Note: Work carried out included
replacement of machine guns by nine single 20mm Oerlikon
guns and preparation for fit of
British design radar equipment.)
October Under refit.
to (Note: Radar Type
286M was replaced by an Type 290 an RN designed outfit.)
December On completion prepared for passage
29th Arrived at Plymouth.
1 9 4 2
January Docking and completion of
installation work not possible in USA, including
surface and air warning radars (Types 273, Type 291 and fire-control radar Type
25th Transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet for convoy
defence and interception duties.
21st Joined military convoy WS16 during passage in Atlantic from Clyde and relieved HM
Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE and screen of
eight Home Fleet
destroyers as Ocean Escort during
passage to Freetown.
(Note: These other ships
detached for Gibraltar.)
1st WS16 arrived at Freetown.
6th Deployed as Ocean Escort for WS 16 on departure from Freetown for Cape Town.
17th WS16 arrived at Cape Town.
22nd Deployed as Ocean Escort for WS 16 for passage to Durban from Cape Town.
25th Detached from WS16 when relieved by HM Cruiser GLASGOW and HM
Merchant Cruiser WORCESTERSHIRE
as Ocean Escort.
Joined 4th Cruiser Squadron and
deployed for trade defence in Indian
April Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.
(Note: No recorded can be found
as taking part in Eastern Fleet operations following
the attacks on Ceylon and the losses of HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE
Aircraft Carrier HERMES. This
ship was the only modern cruiser to be available
as HMS BIRMINGHAM was in dock at
Simonstown and HMS GLASGOW on
passage for repair in the USA.
May Deployed in Indian Ocean for convoy defence.
10th Arrived at Kilindini.
Detached from Eastern Fleet for
service in Mediterranean.
(Note: Reinforcement of
Mediterranean Fleet was essential to replace ships lost and damaged
in defence of evacuations in Greece and Crete.)
27th Passage to Alexandria with HMS BIRMINGHAM, HM Destroyers
GRIFFIN to reinforce Fleet in Mediterranean for planned Malta relief operation.
June Passage in Red Sea.
13th Deployed with HM Cruisers, BIRMINGHAM, CLEOPATRA, DIDO, EURYALUS,
HERMIONE and AURORA to escort Malta supply convoy (MW11}, screened by
Fleet destroyers (Operation VIGOROUS)
14th Under sustained air attacks and warned of threat from
superior Italian force.
15th Damaged by torpedo from German E-Boat S56 in position 90
miles NW of Derna.
The explosion blew a hole 30
feet diameter in starboard side with serious
damage to structure and
machinery. Forward turret was put out of action but no casualties caused.
(Note: Details of the disastrous
circumstances relating to conflicting orders and
hesitation in directives from
shore which lead to failure of this operation
are available in ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett,
BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D. MacIntyre and
MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
20th Under temporary repair to allow passage at reduced speed.
Permanent repair arranged at
Passage to Aden.
25th Sailed from Aden screened by HM Destroyers FORTUNE and GRIFFIN.
27th Sustained serious weather damage including loss of temporary
plating fitted over hole.
An attempt to steam stern first
was not possible and further passage to Cape of Good Hope
Took return passage to Aden
1st Arrive at Aden for temporary repair.
Completion of repair arranged at
On completion took passage to Bombay.
30th Arrived at Bombay for temporary repair.
August Hole plated over and new
frames fitted to enable safe passage to USA
repair arranged in US Navy dockyard.)
7th Took passage to USA via Mauritius, Capetown, Pernambuco and Bermuda.
October Passage in Atlantic
11th Under refit and repair at Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York.
(Note: In addition to repair of
damage work included preparation for fit of British Radar equipment
These were Type 281 for Long Range aircraft warning, Type 284 for main
control and an additional Type
285 for secondary armament fire-control.).
21st On completion of shipyard work carried out trials locally.
December Passage to Plymouth
18th Arrived at Plymouth
21st Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Devonport for docking and
completion or installation of British
designed radar outfits.
(Note: Additional 20mm Oerlikon
guns were fitted to improve close range AA Defence
For details of development and
use of radar see RADAR AT SEA
by D Howse.)
1 9 4 3
January Refit completion in hand at HM
to Nominated for
service in Eastern Fleet.
30th On completion took passage to Join Home Fleet for work-up.
2nd Worked-up at Scapa Flow
with ships of Home Fleet.
Nominated for Ocean escort of
military convoy from UK
to Indian Ocean whilst on passage to join Eastern Fleet.
6th Joined Joint Convoy WS29/KMF15 in Clyde with HM Destroyer RAPID as Ocean Escort.
20th Remained with WS29 when KMF15 detached to take passage to Gibraltar.
28th Arrived at Freetown with WS29,
6th Sailed from Freetown with HM Destroyers as Ocean Escort for
WS29 during passage to Cape Town.
18th Detached from WS29 on arrival at Cape Town and took passage for deployment in Indian Ocean for
and convoy escort as Flagship, 4th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet.
June Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.
Nominated to carry out search
for the German Supply Ship CHARLOTTE SCHLIEMANN known
to be on passage from Soerabaya
to support U-Boats operating in Indian Ocean.
24th Deployed with HM Cruiser SUFFOLK, HM Destroyers NIZAM, RACEHORSE and
south of Madagascar in conjunction with aircraft.
(Operation PLAYER - This was
activated following decryption of ENIGMA signal traffic was a
breach of normal procedures.)
30th Search abandoned after no sighting
July Resumed Indian Ocean trade defence and convoy escort duties.
August On release took passage to
Simonstown for refit and docking.
26th Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.
September On completion of post refit trials
rejoined Eastern Fleet for convoy defence
in Indian Ocean based in Ceylon.
October Indian Ocean trade defence and interception duties in
1 9 4 4
January Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.
Diverted to take passage to Mauritius for deployment as Force 62 with HM
SUFFOLK, HM Frigate BANN in renewed search for
U-Boat Supply Ship CHARLOTTE
SCHLIEMANN in conjunction with
aircraft sent to Mauritius from East Africa
. (Operation THWART.)
19th Sailed from Mauritius with HMS BATTLER to carry out a search
900 miles south
east of the
21st Returned to Mauritius with same ships.
24th HMS SUFFOLK and HMS BANN joined Force 62.
30th Search abandoned after lack of any sighting.
(Note: Forces 63 (HM Armed
Merchant Cruiser CANTON and Force 64 (HM Cruiser
KENYA and HM Destroyer NEPAL (RAN) were also deployed in THWART.)
February Resumed Squadron deployment in Indian Ocean.
(Note. CHARLOTTE SCHLIEMANN was
intercepted and sunk by HM Destroyer
RELENTLESS on 12th February.)
March Deployed at Mauritius
5th Sailed from Mauritius with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, HMS BATTLER
Destroyers QUADRANT as Force 67 in search for U-Boat supply tanker BRAKE
SW of Cocos Islands.
12th Tanker sighted by aircraft from HMS BATTLER and scuttled
after approach by
(Note: HMS ROEBUCK had joined
Force 67 from Force 58 on 6th March.
See WAR WITH JAPAN Vol iv (HMSO).)
16th Joined Task Force 69 in Eastern Fleet. Escorted HM
Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH
and VALIANT, French battleship RICHELIEU with British cruisers HMS NIGERIA,
HMS CEYLON, HMS GAMBIA and Dutch Cruiser TROMP to
cover air attacks on Sabang
by Task Force 70, the aircraft
carriers HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA.
21st Returned to Trincomalee.
6th. Escorted HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT and FS RICHELIEU
with HM Cruiser
NIGERIA and Dutch cruiser TROMP (TF65) to cover
air attacks on Soerabya by
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and USS SARATOGA
15th Replenished in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia.
17th Provided cover during attacks on Japanese bases at Soerabaya.
27th Returned with TF 65 to Trincomalee.
June Passage to Simonstown for
July Under refit in HM
7th Began post refit sea trials and took passage for Ceylon on completion.
10th Rejoined Eastern Fleet.
17th Escorted HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS
with HM Cruisers
ARGONAUT and BLACK PRINCE for
air attacks on targets at Pangkalan Brandan.
20th Provided cover during attacks launched on new targets at
Begawan Deli and
Sabang which were changed because of weather.
17th Escorted HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HMS BLACK
PRINCE and HMS ARGONAUT during
carrier raid on targets at Belawan Deli as
Force 67 (Operation ROBSON).
1 9 4 5
2nd Part of covering Eastern Fleet force during landings on Akyab Peninsula as
Force 61 with HM Cruisers NIGERIA and PHOEBE (Operation LIGHTNING).
24th Embarked Royal Marines for landing on Cheduba Island, Burma.
26th Deployed with HMS NIGERIA, HMS KENYA, HM Destroyers PALADIN and
RAPID as Task Force 65.
Landed Royal Marines Commando
unit on Cheduba Island, south of Ramree
31st Re-embarked RM's and bombarded west coast of Ramree Island.
(For details of operations in Indian Ocean area including the East Indies see
OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray and
WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
February Deployed on convoy defence in Indian Ocean.
from Fremantle for UK.
23rd Arrived at Devonport.
refit in Tyne shipyard
September Transferred to HM Dockyard Rosyth
5th Passage from Tyne
to Rosyth for completion.