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

HMS ROYALIST - Bellona-class AA Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Royalist (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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Modified DIDO or Bellona-Class cruiser ordered from Scotts of Greenock under War Estimates and laid down on  21st May 1940. The ship was launched on 30th May 1942 as the 11th RN ship to carry this name. It was introduced in 1796 and was last used for a cruiser sold in 1922. Completion date was 10th Sept 1943. This ship had the distinction of being adopted by the London Fire Brigade with which the Royal Navy has had a long association.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s 


  SAN SEBASTIAN 1813 - JUTLAND 1916 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944  - AEGEAN 1944 - BURMA 1945


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field White, a Fleur-de-lys under a crown all Gold.



Surtout Loyal :    'Loyal above all' 



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 and commissioning.

                10th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                Work-up delayed by trials defects and installation problems.


October                  Under repair


November              Under repair

                5th          Taken in hand in build yard for completion of Alterations and Additions (A and A's)

                                work and repair.


December              Under repair


1 9 4 4


January                  Under repair

                                (Note: Modification for use as Carrier Flagship with Aircraft Direction facilities.

                                was part of the additional work.)


February                On completion of work prepared for work-up in Clyde area.


March                    Work-up in continuation.

                30th        Joined escort for HM Battleships ANSON, DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carriers

                                FURIOUS, VICTORIOUS and Escort Carriers with HM Cruisers BELFAST,

                                SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA screened by Fleet destroyers for air attacks on German

                                battleship TIRPITZ at Altenfjord (Operation TUNGSTEN). April



                3rd          Air attacks not successful.

                                (Note: This Home Fleet deployment also covered passage of Russian Convoy JW5S)
                10th        Fighter Direction training at Scapa Flow.

                12th        Escorted HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR and STRIKER with HMS SHEFFIELD

                                during air attacks on shipping off Norway.

                                On return started refit in Tyne shipyard.


May                        Under refit.

                                Nominated for support of allied landings in South France and took passage.

                                (Note: To be deployed as Flagship of British Carrier Group TG881.)

June                        On completion took passage to Mediterranean.


July                         On arrival deployed in central Mediterranean.


August                  Transferred to US Navy overall Command for South of France landings.

                                (Operation DRAGOON - For details see LANDINGS IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE


                                Joined HM Cruiser DELHI and HM Escort Carriers ATTACKER, EMPEROR, KHEDIVE,

                                SEARCHER and PURSUER to form TG881 for air cover during Assault Phase of operation.

                15th        Arrived off Beach Head area and commenced Fighter Direction operations.

                                (See above reference).
                28th        Released from DRAGOON transferred to British Aegean Force to intercept craft

                                evacuating enemy forces from islands.


September             Deployed north of Crete to cover air operations by Escort Carriers.

                15th        In action against warships in Aegean off Cape Spatha with HM Destroyer TEAZER.

                                German escort EXPEL and UJ2171 (HEIDELBERG) were sunk (Operation OUTING I).

                24th        Covered reoccupation of Aegean Inlands and Greek mainland with HM Escort Carriers

                                EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE, PURSUER, SEARCHER and STALKER

                                (Operation MANNA).



                12th        Escorted Escort Carriers during support operations and provided naval gunfire with HM

                                Cruisers ORION, AJAX, BLACK PRINCE, ARGONAUT, AURORA and COLOMBO.

                30th        Returned to Alexandria after release from Aegean and Greek operations.


November              Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean. Nominated for duty with Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee.




1 9 4 5


January                  Under refit at Alexandria.


February                Passage to Ceylon.


Match                    Joined 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron.



                23rd        Worked-up for East Indies military support operations with HM Escort Carriers

                                HUNTER, STALKER, EMPEROR, KHEDIVE, HM Cruiser PHOEBE.

                28th        Covered assault landings near Rangoon (Operation DRACULA).



                4th          Escorted Escort Carriers during air strikes on shipping off Tenasserim coast and


                10th        Escorted Escort Carriers during search In 11 Degree Channel for Japanese warships

                                evacuating Nicobar and Andaman Islands.

                                (Note: HM Battleship QUEEN ELIZABETH, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM

                                Cruiser CUMBERLAND and Netherlands cruiser TROMP screened by eight

                                destroyers were also deployed. See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET and WAR

                                WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

                11th        Covered Escort Carriers during air attacks on Car Nicobar.

                14th        Search extended to cover 6 Degree Channel for interception of Japanese warships

                                by destroyers of 26th Flotilla.

                                Escort reinforced by HMS CUMBERLAND (Operation MITRE).

                                (This operation culminated in the sinking of the Japanese cruiser HAGURO.

                                For further details in SINK THE HAGURO by J Winton and above reference.

                16th        Covered air strikes by HMS HUNTER and HMS KHEDIVE on Andamans.



                20th        Escorted HMS STALKER, HMS KHEDIVE and HMS AMEER with HM Cruiser SUFFOLK

                                screened by five destroyers during series of air operations including attacks on airfields

                                and shipping off coast of Sumatra.

                                Photo-reconnaissance flights were also made over southern Malaya (Operation BALSAM).


July                         Escorted Squadron Carriers during shipping strikes and attacks on targets in Malayan area.

                                Prepared for assault landings in Malaya (Operation ZIPPER).


August                  Passage to ZIPPER operational area.

                                (Note: This British operations was postponed at US insistence and implementation of the

                                PYTHON Scheme to return long serving service personnel in SEAC to UK.

                                See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett , OPERATION

                                PACIFIC by E Gray and above reference.)



                9th          Covered landing operations in Malaya as escort for ships of 21st Aircraft Squadron with HMS

                                NELSON, French RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers CEYLON, NIGERIA and CLEOPATRA.

                11th        At Singapore for surrender ceremony.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s.


HMS ROYALIST returned to UK and paid off into Reserve in January 1946. The ship remained in Reserve until 1956 when she was modernised and on completion was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy. After 10 years serving as Flagship in the RNZN she was returned to the RN. Placed on the Disposal List in January 1968 she arrived at the breaker's yard in Osaka, Japan. It is fitting to record that the Ship's Bell is now held by the London Fire Brigade at their Training School.







by Don Kindell


This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived




HX 276 








(Note on Convoys)



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revised 5/6/11
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