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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS ORION - Leander-class Light Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Orion (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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LEANDER-Class cruiser ordered from HM Dockyard, Devonport on 24 March 1931 and laid down on 26th September 1931. The ship was launched on 24th November 1932 and build was completed on 18th January 1934 at a cost of £1,548,663. In November 1941, following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted by the City of Nottingham. In the course of WW2, 13 Battle Honours were added to the nine awarded to previous ships carrying this distinguished name.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE 1794 - GROIX 1795 - ST VINCENT 1797 - NILE 1798  - TRAFALGAR 1805 - BALTIC 1807 - BALTIC 1854-55 - ALEXANDRIA 1882 - JUTLAND 1916 - ATLANTIC 1939 - CALABRIA 1940 - MEDITERRANEAN 1940-44 - MATAPAN 1941 - GREECE 1941 - CRETE 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - ANZIO 1944 - AEGEAN 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Blue, a half length figure in semi-classical dress

holding a sword. all Gold.


M o t t o

Orbe circuncinto:  'Over the world'


' The world encompassed'



D e t a i 1 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 3 9


September             Deployed on the America and West Indies Station with the 8th Cruiser Squadron.

                                (Note: Other ships in Squadron were HM Cruisers BERWICK, YORK and PERTH (RAN).

                3rd          Deployed at Kingston, Jamaica for interception of blockade runners in Caribbean area.

                23rd        Returned to Kingston and nominated for patrol off Curacoa.



                1st           Sailed for patrol from Kingston.

                                Returned to Kingston from patrol.

                21st         Sailed for Caribbean patrol from Kingston

                23rd        Sighted German tanker EMMY FRIEDRICH in Yucatan Channel.

                                (Note: This ship later was scuttled when approached by HM Cruiser CARADOC).

                26th        Returned to Kingston from patrol.

                30th        Sailed from Kingston for patrol



                8th          Returned from patrol.

                13th        Sailed from Kingston for patrol.

                25th        Returned from patrol

                28th        Sailed from Kingston for patrol.

                                (For details of Interception operations see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by

                                C. Barnett and THE BLOCKADERS by C. Hampshire).



                5th          Returned from patrol.

                9th          Sailed from Kingston for patrol

                19th        Intercepted German freighter ARAUCA off coast of Florida with assistance from US Navy


                                Freighter avoided boarding by reaching US coastal waters and entered Everglades where

                                it was interned.)

                27th        Returned from patrol

                                (Note: Ship had spent 102 days at sea since outbreak of war,)


1 9 4 0



                2nd         Took passage from Kingston for routine docking at Bermuda.

                5th          Taken in hand by HM Dockyard Bermuda on arrival.


February                Nominated for passage via Canada and to bring the ashes of Lord Tweedsmuir to UK

                                (Note: Lord Tweedsmuir was the famous author John Buchan who had been Governor

                                General of Canada.)

                                Passage to Halifax.

                                Passage to Devonport and deployed as escort to troopship ss DUCHESS OF BEDFORD.


March                    Under refit in HM Dockyard Devonport.

                                (Note: It is assumed docking in Bermuda was deferred.

                                Work undertaken at Devonport included installation of degaussing equipment.)

                14th        Sailed from Devonport to rejoin Squadron in West Indies.

                                Nominated for transfer to 7th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet



                1st           Took passage from Bermuda to join Squadron and for deployment as Flagship of

                                Destroyer Command.


May                        Joined HM Cruisers NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN), LIVERPOOL and GLOUCESTER

                                in 7th Cruiser Squadron at Alexandria.

                                Took part in Fleet exercises arranged in anticipation of war with Italy.



                11th        Deployed with HM Battleships WARSPITE and MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE and

                                ships of Squadron screened by 12 destroyers of 2nd and 14th Flotillas.)

                                Met HM Cruisers CALEDON and CAPETOWN during passage.

                                (Note: This deployment was made to intercept any Italian ships encountered and to provide

                                defence against any attack on Malta. See Naval Staff History (HMSO-2002).

                                Other ships in Squadron were HM Cruisers NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN),

                                LIVERPOOL and GLOUCESTER.)

                12th        HM Cruisers CALEDON and CALYPSO joined off Crete.

                                (Note: HMS CALEDON was sunk by Italian submarine BAGNOLINI which had been

                                been one of a group of submarines positioned to attack warships in the

                                eastern Mediterranean For Full details of this RN deployment see Naval

                                Staff History (HMSO, 2002).)

                21st         Bombarded Bardia with French battleship LORRAINE, HM Cruisers NEPTUNE and

                                SYDNEY, HM Destroyers STUART (RAN), DECOY, DAINTY and HASTY.

                                (Operation MD3 – See Naval Staff History, Battle Summary No 6)

                                (Note: This was the last joint operation with French naval units based at Alexandria.)

                27th        Deployed as Force A with ships of Squadron to provide cover for passage of convoyAS1 to

                                Alexandria from ports in Greece, Convoys MS1 and MS1 from Malta. (Operation MA3)

                                Took part in engagement with Squadron against three Italian destroyer s escorting convoy

                                SW of Crete. The destroyer ESPERO which were covering escape of the other two

                                destroyers (OSTRO and ZEFPIRO). See reference for details.

                28th        Owing to the excessive expenditure of 6in ammunition by the cruisers, passage of MS1 and

                                MF1 was abandoned and Fleet units returned.



                7th          Joined Force A of Mediterranean Fleet with HM Cruisers NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN),

                                GLOUCESTER and LIVERPOOL to cover transit of Malta Convoys MS1 and MF1 in event

                                of interference from Italian Fleet.

                                Under high level air attacks which ware ineffectual.

                9th          In action against two Italian battleships, cruisers and escorts with HHS EAGLE,

                                HM Battleships WARSPITE and MALAYA (Battle of Calabria).

                                (For details of operations and actions in the Mediterranean during 1940-44 see THE

                                BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D. Macintyre, ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and the Naval Staff History).

                10th        Provided cover during refuelling of HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers.

                24th        Deployed with HM Australian Destroyers VOYAGER and VAMPIRE for a diversionary

                                demonstration off Casteloriso to divert enemy air activity away from protection

                                of Aegean convoys.

                27th        Deployed with HM Armed Boarding Vessels CHAKLA and FIONA escorted by the RAN

                                destroyers for a diversionary simulated landing approach on Casteloriso

.                               Fired starshell illuminations without any response from shore defenders.

                31st         Deployed with HMS NEPTUNE and HMAS SYDNEY screened by four destroyers to carry out

                                diversionary sweep in Aegean during Malta aircraft delivery by ships of Force H from

                                Gibraltar (Operation MA3)

                                (Note: These ships were now deployed as 7th Cruiser Squadron).



                3rd          Returned to Alexandria with ships of Squadron.

                30th        Joined HM Battleships WARSPITE and MALAYA, HMS EAGLE, HMAS SYDNEY and

                                screen of ten destroyers deployed as Force I to provide cover for transit of Convoy MS2 during

                                passage from Alexandria to Malta.



                2nd         Provided escort for ships of Force F, HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier

                                ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers CAIRO and COVENTRY joining Fleet based at Alexandria

                                from Gibraltar (Operation HATS). See above references for details.

                4th          Detached from Force I and carried out bombardment of targets at Scarpanto with HMAS

                                SYDNEY, HM Destroyers ILEX and DECOY.

                                Under attack by Italian torpedo boats MA536 which was damaged and MAS 537 sunk by.

                                HMS ILEX

                5th          Returned to Alexandria.

                28th        Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS,

                                HM Cruisers SYDNEY (RAN) and YORK screened by 11 destroyers to provide cover for the

                                passage of HM Cruisers LIVERPOOL and GLOUCESTER taking troops to Malta.

                                (Operation MB5)

                29th        Under attack by high level bombing and later by torpedo aircraft. See Naval Staff History.

                                (Note: Threat of attack by Italian surface units did not materialise as enemy ships withdrew,

                                See references.)

                30th        Remained with Fleet units when cruisers carrying troops detached.



                1st           Sighted by aircraft which was shot down by FULMAR aircraft from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.

                                Cruisers rejoined and Fleet units took passage to return to Alexandria.

                                Detached with HMAS SYDNEY and took passage to Stampalia.

                3rd          Carried out night bombardment of Port Maltaezana.

                                Returned to Alexandria with HMAS SYDNEY.

                8th          Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT, MALAYA and

                                RAMILLIES, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and EAGLE, HM Cruisers YORK,

                                GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, AJAX and SYDNEY (RAN) screened by 16 destroyers

                                including HM Destroyers DAINTY, DECOY, IMPERIAL, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO,

                                MOHAWK, NUBIAN, VAMPIRE (RAN) and VENDETTA (RAN) to provide cover for

                                passage of Convoy MF3 to Malta and return Convoy MF4 to Egypt (Operation MB6).

                11th        After arrival off Malta detached with HMS AJAX, HM Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK

                                to position north east of Fleet units in intercept any Italian attempt to close Fleet units and


                12th        Enemy destroyers engaged by HMS AJAX which damaged ARTIGLIERE and sank ARIEL

                                and ARIONE.

                                (Note: HMS AJAX was damaged in this action,

                                ARTIGLIERE later surrendered and sank after being abandoned. Position of survivors

                                was signalled on commercial frequency to enable rescue of survivors by Italian ships.

                                For details see above references.)

                13th        Rejoined Fleet to cover carrier air attacks on Leros.

                14th        Under air attacks off east end of Crete during which HMS LIVERPOOL was hit by torpedo

                                and disabled.

                                Took HMS LIVERPOOL in tow

                15th        Tow parted after 100 miles and the cruiser's forward structure broke off.

                                Re-established tow.

                16th        Arrived at Alexandria and detached after tow transferred.

                                See above references for details.)

                25th        Deployed with HMS MALAYA, HMS EAGLE, HMAS SYDNEY, HM Cruiser COVENTRY

                                screened by HM Destroyers JERVIS, JUNO and six other destroyers to provide cover for

                                passage of Convoy AN5 in Aegean (Operation MAQ2)

                                (Note: This also included anti-submarine sweep and air attacks Port Maltezana, Stampalia.)

                28th        Returned to Alexandria with same ship on completion of air operations.

                                (Note: Greece entered WW2 after German ultimatum and made necessary the provision of

                                assistance for defence of Crete including establishment of base at Suda Bay.)


November              Embarked RAF personnel and stores at Port Said and took passage to Suda Bay.

                                Sailed from Suda Bay after disembarkation and joined Force A on Mediterranean Fleet

                                on passage to meet re-inforcements in transit from Gibraltar as Force F and covering passage

                                to Malta of west bound Convoy MW3.(Operation COAT)

                11th        Detached from Force A with HM Cruisers AJAX. SYDNEY, HM Destroyers MOHAWK and

                                NUBIAN to carry out attacks on convoys in Strait of Taranto (Note: This was part of Fleet

                                Operation MB8.

                                (Note: HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with Force A carried out air attacks on Italian Fleet at Taranto

                                to execute Operation JUDGEMENT after HMS ORION detached to proceed to Strait

                                of Taranto).

                13th        Took part in night action with detached ships against convoy of four mercantiles and the escort

                                off Brindisi.

                                All four mercantiles were sunk and the escorts were damaged.

                14th        Returned to Alexandra.

                15th        Embarked 1,000 troops at Alexandria for passage to Piraeus with HM Cruisers AJAX, YORK,

                                GLOUCESTER and SYDNEY (RAN).

                20th        Returned to Alexandria.

                23rd        Sailed from Alexandria Force A to cover passage of military Convoy to Suda Bay.

                                (Note: Ships of Force A included HMS WARSPITE, HMS VALIANT, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS,

                                HM Cruisers SYDNEY (RAN). AJAX ,YORK, GLOUCESTER and GLASGOW

                                screen by nine destroyers

                                This deployment was part of a Operation COLLAR with Force H to pass reinforcement

                                ships to Alexandria from Gibraltar, return of HMS RAMILLIES and HMS BERWICK as

                                well as covering Convoy MW4 to Malta (Operation MB9).

                29th        Detached from Fleet unite with HM Cruisers SYDNEY (RAN) and AJAX to provide cover for

                                Convoy ME4 during passage to Alexandria. See Naval Staff History.



                2nd         Arrived at Alexandria with ME4,

                12th        Deployed with HMAS SYDNEY and HMS AJAX to provide cover passage of military convoy in

                                Aegean (Operation MC3)

                16th        Refuelled at Suda Bay and resumed cover duty.

                18th        After rejoining Fleet units which were covering Convoy MW5 on passage from Alexandria to

                                Malta detached to carry out fruitless anti-shipping sweep with HMS AJAX and HMAS SYDNEY

                                between Bari and Durazzo screened by HM Destroyers JANUS, JERVIS and JUNO.

                                (Note: Fleet units carried out bombardment of Valona (Operation MC2)

                20th        Rejoined Fleet units to cover passage of Convoy ME5 on passage to Egypt

                24th        Returned to Alexandria.


1 9 4 1



                6th          Escorted RFA Tanker BRAMBLELEAF from Alexandria to Suda Bay, Crete with HM Cruiser

                                YORK and HM Corvettes HYACINTH, PEONY, GLOXINIA and SALVIA.

                7th          Passage from Suda Bay with HMS AJAX and HM Cruiser PERTH (RAN) to join Fleet as

                                Force D

.               9th          Joined Fleet for deployment to provide cover passage of military convoy carrying tanks to Middle

                                East, the transit of convoys MW5A/B and ME4 and from Malta as well as another convoy taking

                                stores for Greece (Operation MC4 – See Naval Staff History)

                                (Note: This was part of joint Operation EXCESS with Force H to pass re-inforcements to

                                Fleet at Alexandria, HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE and four destroyers with a military

                                convoy to Piraeus and Egypt. (Operation EXCESS).)

                10th        Deployed for escort of EXCESS Convoy. Utter heavy and sustained air attacks.

                11th        Detached with HMAS PERTH, HMS JERVIS and HMS JANUS to help damaged Cruiser HMS

                                SOUTHAMPTON on fire during heavy air attacks. On arrival assisted HM GLOUCKS1KR also

                                damaged and later rescued survivors from HMS SOUTHAMPTON with HMAS PERTH and HM

                                Destroyer DIAMOND.

                                Sank hulk of HMS SOUTHAMPTON with three torpedoes.


 February               Deployed with Fleet in Eastern Mediterranean

                                (Note: First radar set fitted to Alexandria. Type 286M a modified RAF Air-Surface set used for

                                detection of surface targets and limited air cover. For details of development and use of

                                radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D. Howse and THE DEVELOPMENT OF RADAR

                                EQUIPMENTS FOR THE RN Edited by FA Kingsley.)

                19th        Took passage from Alexandria with HM Cruisers AJAX and GLOUCESTER screened by HM

                                Destroyers NUBIAN and MOHAWK for Malta.

                                (Note: Troops of Cheshire and Hampshire Regiments and stores were embarked for passage.)

                21st         Arrived in Malta and returned as escort for HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE and ss CLAN

                                MACAULAY during return passage to Alexandria with HMS AJAX and HM Destroyers

                                HAVOCK and HOTSPUR (Operation MC8)

                                (Note: The two escorted ships were returning empty.)



                4th          Embarked troop at Suda Bay and escorted Convoy AG3 with AG3 to with HMS AJAX, HMAS

                                PERTH and HMS GLOUCESTER (Operation LUSTRE).

                                (Note: Operation LUSTRE was the passage of of additional support by Army units for defence of


                12th        Further embarkation of troops for passage to Piraeus (Operation LUSTRE

                14th        Deployed on offensive sweep in Aegean against Italian convoys with HMS AJAX HMAS

                                PERTH and HMS GLOUCESTER screened by four Fleet destroyers identified as Force 9).

                20th        Sailed from Suda Bay with same ships to meet Fleet units covering passage of Convoy MW6

                                during passage to Malta (Operation MC9)

                21st         Met Fleet units which detached and continued as escort for MW6 to Malta.

                23rd        Rejoined Fleet units after arrival in Malta of MW6 and later detached to resume covering duties

                                for convoys to and from Piraeus.

                25th        Escorted Convoy AG9 to Piraeus with HMS AJAX and HM Australian Destroyer VENDETTA.

                27th        At Piraeus and despatched to rejoin Fleet units on passage to intercept major Italian units on

                                passage to attacks LUSTRE Convoys.

                26th        Rejoined Fleet and detached to carry out patrol in Kithera Channel with same ships to report any

                                sighting of Italian Fleet..

                                Made first sitting of Italian cruisers and lead these towards Mediterranean Fleet.

                                Deployed to NE of main Fleet during Battle of Matapan.

                                (For full details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett, MATAPAN by

                                SH Pack and Naval Staff History.

                29th        Rejoined Fleet and returned to Alexandria.

                31st         Arrived at Alexandria with Fleet units.


April                       Based at Suda Bay with Cruisers of Mediterranean Fleet.

                12th        Deployed with HMS AJAX and HMAS PERTH, screened by six destroyers to patrol along

                                North African coast and provide support to military operation at Ras-el-Tin.

                18th        Deployed with Squadron and Fleet unite to cover the passage to Malta of HM Supply

                                Ship BRECONSHIRE and the return of four empty ships (Convoy ME7) to Alexandria.

                                (Operation MD2)

                21st         Part of Force C as escort for HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE with HMAS PERTH

                                and HMS JAX during attacks on shore targets at Tripoli by Main Fleet), screened by HM

                                Destroyers GRIFFIN,  DEFENDER, KINGSTON and FURY (Operation MD2).

                25th        Returned to Suda Bay from Alexandria on completion of MD2.

                26th        Covered evacuation of allied troops from Greece and then ordered to replace Store Ship HMS

                                GLENEARN at Nauphlia with HMAS PERTH.

                                On arrival joined HM Cruisers PHOEBE and CALCUTTA, HM Destroyers DEFENDER,

                                DIAMOND and GRIFFIN.

                                Embarked 300 men taken off beach at Tolon by HM Australian Destroyer STUART

                                (Operation DEMON).

                27th        Passage to Suda Bay with HMS AJAX, HMAS PERTH and HMAS STUART.

                29th        Covered evacuation convoy GA15 taking 10,930 troops to Alexandria with HMAS PERTH,

                                HMS PHOEBE, HMS DECOY and HMS HASTY.

                                Later met HM Battleships BARHAM, VALIANT and MALAYA and escorted GA15.



                6th          Deployed with HMS WARSPITE, HMS BARHAM, HMS VALIANT, .HMS FORMIDABLE,

                                HMS AJAX and HMAS PERTH with screen of 19 destroyers to cover Malta supply convoy

                                and also a military convoy to Alexandria from central Mediterranean.

                                (Note: HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, HM Cruisers NAIAD, FIJI and GLOUCESTER

                                were also joining Mediterranean from Gibraltar (Operation TIGER)

                                Joint Operation MD4 with Force H.).

                9th          Met TIGER convoy with HMS AJAX, HMAS PERTH, HMS DIDO and HMS PHOEBE

                                screened by HM Destroyers KELLY, KELVIN and JACKAL.

                12th        Arrived at Alexandria with Convoy.

                21st         Deployed with HM Cruisers DIDO and AJAX screened by HM Destroyers HASTY, HERO,

                                GREYHOUND and HEREWARD as Force D for patrol between Suda. Bay and Maleme

                                to intercept invasion craft taking German troops to Crete.

                                Despite sustained air opposition made successful attack on caiques and mercantiles NE of


                22nd       Continued patrol and returned with Force D to Alexandria to replenish.

                28th        Deployed with HM Cruisers AJAX and DIDO, DECOY, .HM Destroyers HEREWARD,

                                HOTSPUR, IMPERIAL, JACKAL and KIMBERLEY as Force "B" to evacuate troops from


                                Under air attack on passage and remained off shore on arrival to embark troops from destroyers.

                29th        Sailed with 1,900 troops and came under dive-bombing air attacks from daylight

                                until about 100 miles from Alexandria.

                                Sustained direct hits on A Turret and on bridge structure with many casualties

                                (Note: 100 members of the ship’s company were killed and 260 troops with 280

                                troops wounded.)

                                Ship was disabled and fires caused with a loss of all services.

                                After extensive damage control had been undertaken returned to Alexandria at 12 knots


June                        Under temporary repair at Alexandria.

                29th        Sailed for passage to Simonstown via Aden.


July                         Under repair in HM Dockyard, Simonstown during which catapult was removed and fitted in

                                HM Seaplane Tender ALBATROSS.

                                Permanent repair arranged in US Navy Yard.


August                  On completion of repair to allow safe passage, sailed to San Francisco.

                28th        Transit of Panama Canal.



                5th          Arrived at Mare Island US Navy Yard.

                                Taken in hand for repair.


October                  Under repair




1 9 4 2


January                  Under repair and post refit trials.


February                Harbour trials

                15th        Carried out sea trials on completion of dockyard work.

                                (Note: Work undertaken included preparation for installation of RN radar equipment.)


March                    Passage to Plymouth


April                       Taken in hand by HM Dockyard Devonport for installation of radar equipment

                                to provide aircraft warning (Type 279); surface warning (Type 273); Main armament

                                fire control (Type 284) and Secondary armament fire control (Three Type 285)

                                Reference as above.

                21st         On completion took passage to work-up and to carry out radar trials.

                28th        Arrived at Lamlash to carry out trials and work-up for operational service


May                        Deployed in NW Approaches


June                        Under repair in Clyde commercial shipyard

                24th        Passage from Clyde to Scapa Flow

                26th        Arrived at Scapa Flow.

                                Nominated for service with 15th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.


July                         Prepared for foreign service.

                17th        Joined military convoy WS21P in Clyde with HM Destroyer NEPAL and Dutch destroyer

                                TJERK HIDDES as Ocean escort during passage to Aden.

                27th        At Freetown with WS21P



                13th        At Capetown with WS21P

                16th        Rejoined WS21P with HMS NEPAL and TJERK HIDDES to relieve HM Cruiser

                                SHROPSHIRE and HM Destroyer DUNCAN as Ocean Escort to Aden.

                29th        Detached from WS21P on arrival off Aden and took passage to join Squadron at Alexandria


September             Passage in Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

                29th        Suez Canal transit


October                  Deployed in eastern Mediterranean with ships of Squadron for interception patrol and support

                                of military operations.

                                (Note: Other ships in Squadron were HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA, ARETHUSA, DIDO and




                16th        Escorted Malta Relief Convoy MW13 with ships of Squadron screened by HM Destroyers


                                Class Escort Destroyers.

                                (Operation STONEAGE – See MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman)

                17th        Detached from MW 13 and returned to Alexandria with Fleet destroyers

                18th        Rejoined MW13 and came under aircraft attacks by torpedoes during which HMS

                                ARETHUSA was hit and sustained serious damage as well as casualties.

                19th        Detached from MW13 and returned to Alexandria.

                21st         Arrived at Alexandria.



                3rd          Deployed with HM Destroyers PAKENHAM, PETARD and Greek destroyer VASILISSA

                                OLGA as escort for Convoy MW14 during passage to Malta (Operation PORTCULLIS).

                                (Note: MW14 was the last major relief convoy operation to Malta see above reference.)

                5th          Arrived in Malta with MW14.

                7th          Sailed from Malta as escort for return Convoy ME 11 during initial stage of passage to Egypt.

                                HM Escort Destroyers PAKENHAM, PETARD, ALDENHAM, BELVOIR, CROOME,

                                DULVERTON, EXMOOR, HURSLEY, TETCOTT, Greek VASILISSA OLGA and GREEK


                9th          Detached from ME11 off Derna with HM Destroyers ALDENHAM, CROOME,

                                DULVERTON, EXMOOR and HURSLEY (Operation QUADRANGLE

                                Took passage to Malta


1 9 4 3


January                  Deployed with ships of Squadron based in Malta for interception of enemy supply convoys

                                and convoy defence.

                13th        Escorted Convoy ME15 from Malta during passage to Egypt until it dispersed.

                                (Note: HM Destroyers PAKENHAM, NUBIAN, JAVELIN, PALADIN, HM Escort

                                Destroyers ALDENHAM, BELVOIR and HURSLEY.

                                Returned to Malta.


February                Malta deployment with Squadron in continuation.




May                        Nominated for support of planned military operations to invade Pantelleria.

                12th        Carried out bombardment of Pantelleria.

                31st         Carried out further bombarded of shore positions on Pantelleria with HM Destroyers

                                PETARD and TROUBRIDGE. (Operation CORKSCREW).



                3rd          Bombarded Pantelleria with HM Destroyers PALADIN and TROUBRIDGE.

                8th          Took part in Dress Rehearsal for assault on Pantelleria with HM Cruisers

                                NEWFOUNDLAND, AURORA, PENELOPE, EURYALUS and seven destroyers.

                                (Operation CORKSCREW

                10th        Covered landings on Pantelleria with HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, PENELOPE and

                                EURYALUS screened by Fleet destroyers and MTBs.

                12th        Bombarded Lampedusa with HM Cruisers PENELOPE and HNS NEWFOUNDLAND).


July                         Nominated for support of planned landings in Sicily landings.

                7th          Joined Support Force East with HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, PENELOPE and

                                EURYALUS and destroyer screen (Operation HUSKY).

                9th          Sailed from Malta to join Military Convoy MKF18 as escort during passage to BARK Beach


                10th        Provided cover during assault phase of landings.

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support with HM Monitor EREBUS, HM Cruisers GAMBIA,

                                MAURITIUS and NEWFOUNDLAND.

                12th        Bombarded naval base at Augusta,



                3rd          At Augusta

                                Took passage to Malta to resume interception of enemy supply convoys.

                6th          Deployed in Malta.

                21st         Carried out bombardment of shore batteries in Straits of Messina.

                31st         Deployed with HM Battleships WARSPITE and VALIANT for bombardment of Reggio in

                                preparation for planned landings on Italian mainland (Operation BAYTOWN)

                                (Note: HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY also bombarded shore positions.)



                2nd         Carried out further bombardments on Calabrian coast with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS and


                3rd          Deployed in support of landing of British XIII Corps with HM Monitors EREBUS,

                                ROBERTS, ABERCROMBIE, HMS MAURITIUS, HM River Gunboats APHIS and

                                SCARAB with destroyers

                7th          Deployed with escort for assault convoy on passage from Augusta to Salerno Beach Head

                                with HMS MAURITIUS, HMS UGANDA, HM Destroyers LAFOREY, NUBIAN,

                                LOOKOUT, TARTAR and Greek PINDOS (Operation AVALANCHE).

                9th          Joined TF63, Northern Attack Force to provide cover during landing at Salerno.

                                (Note: Other ships in TF63 included HM Cruiser DELHI, HMS ROBERTS and destroyers

                                of 19th and 21st Flotillas.)

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support with HMS ROBERTS, HMS MAURITIUS, HMS

                                UGANDA, HMS AURORA, US cruisers USS PHILADELPHIA, USS BOISE and British

                                destroyers during German counter-attack in Bridgehead area.

                13th        Relieved by HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD for renewal of gun barrel rifling.

                15th        Continued support gunfire duty.

                17th        Relieved by HM Cruiser DIDO

                                (Note: HMS MAURITIUS was relieved by HMS SIRIUS)

                18th        Withdrawn from Station for repair.

                                Took passage to UK.



                1st           Taken in hand for repair in HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.


November              On completion returned to 15th Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.

                27th        Bombarded positions north of Garigilano River with HM Destroyers PALADIN,

                                TROUBRIDGE and TEAZER.

                29th        Arrived at Taranto


December              Based at Taranto for support of military operations.

                12th        Carried out bombardment at Gaeta

                                (Note: This was to prevent German reinforcement in Cassino area.)


1 9 4 4


January                  Nominated for support of planned allied landings at Anzio and took passage to Naples

                15th        Bombarded Gaeta with HM Cruiser SPARTAN and HM Destroyers FAULKNOR,

                                JERVIS, JANUS and LAFOREY.

                18th        Repeated bombardment at Gaeta with same ships.

                21st         Part of Northern Assault Force (PETER) escorting 1st Infantry Division with HM HQ Ship

                                BULOLO, HM Cruiser SPARTAN and HM AA Ship PALOMARES screened by Fleet

                                destroyers for landings as Anzio (Operation SHINGLE).

                22nd       Provided naval gunfire support off Anzio.

                23rd        Carried out further naval gunfire support.

                24th        Withdrawn due to weather damage and returned to Naples.

                25th        Relieved US Cruiser BROOKLYN off beaches.


February                Deployed in rotation with HM Cruisers HMS DIDO, DELHI, PHOEBE, PENELOPE.,

                                MAURITIUS, US Cruisers USS PHILADELPHIA and USS BROOKLYN for naval

                                gunfire support at Anzio.


March                    Gunfire Support duty in continuation.


April                       Transferred to 10th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet for support of planned allied landings

                                in Normandy and took passage to UK.

                28th        Arrived at Rosyth.


May                        Took part in exercises for assault landings with Squadron.



                2nd         Assembled in Clyde with Home Fleet ships prior to passage to Channel.

                3rd          Sailed with Bombardment Force K to provide naval gunfire support during for landings

                                on GOLD Beach with HM Cruisers ARGONAUT, AJAX, EMERALD, HM Netherlands

                                Gunboat FLORES.

                5th          Sailed from Portsmouth as Convoy G12 escorted by HM Destroyers GRENVILLE and


                                (Operation NEPTUNE - For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO).

                6th          Bombarded German battery of four 105mm guns at Mont Fleury with Force K

                10th        Remained in Channel for support of military operations after initial landings.

                                (Note: Returned to Portsmouth to replace worn gun barrels)


July                         Transferred to Mediterranean for support of allied landings in south of France.

                                Nominated as Flagship of Gunfire Support Group (Task Force 84) with ALPHA

                                Attack Force.

                                (Note: Other ships in Group were HM Battleship RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers AJAX,

                                AURORA and BLACK PRINCE, and US cruiser USS QUINCY.

                22nd       Arrived Naples and joined TF84.


August                  Preparation for South of France landings.

                11th        Sailed from Malta without HMS RAMILLIES.

                15th        Met HMS RAMILLIES in Assault Area.

                                Provided gunfire support during landings.

                                (Operation DRAGOON - For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO).

                22nd       Released from Task Force and returned to Naples..

                                (Note: Whilst at Naples ship was visited by HM King George VI)


September             Transferred to British Aegean Force to cover occupation of Aegean Islands and Greek


                24th        Covered CVE's during air operations in support of landings and reconnaissance.

                                Deployed for offensive sweeps and interceptions of evacuation craft with HM Cruisers

                                AJAX, ROYALIST, BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT, AURORA and COLOMBO.


October                  Deployed in support of operations in Greek coastal waters.

                15th        Provided cover with HM Cruiser AJAX during landing of two British Infantry Brigades at

                                Piraeus for re-occupation of Athens after German forces had retreated with HMS AJAX.


November              Deployed in support of military operations off Greek mainland and in Aegean.


December              Support deployment in continuation.

                7th          Landed Marine detachment to assist in prevention of sniping at Athens.

                14th        Sailed for Malta.


1 9 4 5


January                  Under repair in Malta



                5th          Mr Churchill and President Roosevelt on board prior to Yalta conference with Stalin.

                                On completion of repair resumed Squadron support duties in western Mediterranean for

                                operations off the west coast of Italy and south coast of  France.


March                    Support duties in continuation based at Naples.


April                       Carried out bombardment of San Remo on Italian Riviera

                                Transferred to Adriatic to support military operations.



                11th        Arrived in Trieste for support of military

                15th        Under fire from Albanian shore batteries in Corfu Channel,


June                        Deployed In Mediterranean based at Malta.

to                            (Note: Type 283 Radar fitted for Barrage Control of main and secondary armament.)



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ORION remained with 15th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet until June 1946 when she was relieved by HM Cruiser MAURITIUS. After arrival at Devonport on 5th July she paid off and was reduced to Reserve status. The ship never re-commissioned and in June 1948 was fitted for use as a trials ship during underwater explosion experiments in Loch Striven. The trials began in November that year. On completion she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers on 19th July 1949. She arrived at TROON, Ayrshire under tow in the following month.







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








KJF 001





KJ 001





KJ 002





KJ 003





MW 013





ME 011





MW 015





ME 012





MW 017





ME 015





MH 003/M





SNF 013




(Note on Convoys)



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