Naval History Homepage and Site Search




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

HMS SIRIUS -  Dido-class AA Cruiser

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Sirius (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List   

DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from HM Dockyard Portsmouth under the 1936 Estimates on 21st August 1937 and laid down on 6th April 1938. Construction was suspended in November 1939 to enable completion of more urgent work. The ship was launched on 18th September 1940 as the 6th RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1786 for a 20 Gun ship and last used for a cruiser built in 1890 and sunk as a blockship at Ostend in 1918. Completion was further delayed on 5th April 1941when the ship was hit by a bomb during an air raid on Portsmouth. Structural damage and electrical cable repair was caused and build was completed on 6th May 1942. After a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 this cruiser was adopted by the civil community of the city of Portsmouth. A lasting relationship with established as she had been built by the local dockyard and had the same Heraldic badge and motto.


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 in front of a five pointed etoile White a mullet Gold.


M o t t o

'Heaven's light our guide'




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 2



                6th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                9th          Commissioned for service.

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up with

                                ships of Home Fleet.

                                Commenced Work-up


June                        Work -up in continuation in North Sea and NW Approaches.

                20th        Deployed with HM Cruiser CURACOA and screen of 5 destroyers as Force X.

                                Escorted Dummy convoy of Auxiliary Minelayers from 1st Minelaying and colliers as a

                                diversion during passage of Russian Convoy PQ17 (Operation ES)

                                See Naval Staff History MINING.


July                         Nominated for detached duty from Home Fleet in support of Malta relief convoy.

                                (Operation PEDESTAL - For details see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by

                                Donald MacIntyre, PEDESTAL by P Smith and Naval Staff History).

                31st         Deployed with HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser PHOEBE to join HM

                                Aircraft Carriers EAGLE, INDOMITABLE and ARGUS, HM Cruisers PHOEBE in Atlantic


August                  Took part in exercises in fighter direction and multiple carrier operations.

                                (Exercise BERSERK - See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.).

                9th          Part of Force Z with HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carriers

                                VICTORIOUS, INDOMITABLE and EAGLE, HM Cruisers CHARYBDIS and

                                PHOEBE, screened by destroyers from Force H and Home Fleet to provide cover for

                                passage of Convoy WS21S to Sicilian Narrows from Gibraltar.

                20th        Passage from Gibraltar to Freetown with HM Cruiser PHOEBE, HM Destroyers QUENTIN

                                and VANSITTART for convoy defence.

                24th        Escorted rms QUEEN ELIZABETH to USA with HMS PHOEBE, HM Destroyers QUENTIN,

                                VIMY, VANSITTART and PATHFINDER.


September             Deployed for convoy defence in southern Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

                                Detached with HMS PHOEBE to assist South African Naval Force in establishing a patrol for

                                the interception of blockade runners.


October                  Deployed with HMS PHOEBE for convoy defence and anti submarine patrols in South


                23rd        Escorted damaged cruiser HMS PHOEBE to Pointe Noire after torpedo attack.


November              Nominated for support of allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)

                                See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History for details

                                Took passage to Gibraltar to join Force H.

                8th          Deployed to north of Algiers with HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK, HM Battlecruiser

                                RENOWN, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS FORMIDABLE, HM Cruisers ARGONAUT and

                                BERMUDA to prevent any surface interference during landings.

                25th        Joined 12th Cruiser Squadron and deployed as Force Q for defence of convoy traffic to and

                                from Algerian ports and interception of enemy convoys.


December              Force Q deployment in continuation..

                2nd         In action with HM Cruisers ARGONAUT and AURORA against convoy of troopships in

                                Sicilian Channel. Escorting Italian destroyer FOLGARE and all mercantiles were sunk.


1 9 4 3



                1st           Deployed with HM Cruisers AURORA, ARGONAUT and DIDO in Force Q for offensive

                                patrols and interception of enemy supply convoys.

                7th          Escorted HM Cruiser Minelayer ABDIEL to Bone from Gibraltar prior to minelay in Skerki

                                Bank area.

                                (Note: Deployed with HM Cruiser DIDO to cover minelay)

                                During air attacks on return passage HM Destroyer QUENTIN was sunk)

February                Squadron deployment as Force Q in western and central Mediterranean for offensive patrol and


                                (Note: Operated with HMS DIDO in rotation with HMS AURORA and HMS ARGONAUT

                                to maintain continuous patrols.)



                12th        In action against German E-Boats off Bizerta with HMS AURORA, H M Destroyers

                                LIGHTNING and LOYAL during which HMS LIGHTNING was sunk.


April                       Deployment in central Mediterranean in continuation.

to                            (Note: During this period enemy forces were defeated in North Africa).



June                        Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Sicily.

                                (Operation HUSKY - For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C.

                                Barnett and Naval Staff History).



                9th          Stationed south of Sardinia with HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE and H M

                                Cruiser DIDO screened by HM Destroyers JERVIS, PANTHER, PATHFINDER, PENN,

                                PALADIN and PETARD.

                                (Note: These ships were acting as a Reserve covering force in case of action by Italian

                                surface forces involving the main covering force deployed in the central


                                Detached with HMS DIDO to carry out bombardment in support of military operations.

                10th        Sailed from Bone with HMS DIDO and provided naval gunfire support at Marsala, Sicily.

                                (Operation FRACTURE)

                31st         Bombarded Vibo Valentia on west coast of Italy with HM Cruisers DIDO, EURYALUS as

                                preliminary to allied landings on mainland.


August                  Carried naval gunfire support for military operations in Sicily.

                                Based in Malta.



                8th          Embarked troops of 1st British Airborne Division at Bizerta with HM Cruisers AURORA,

                                PENELOPE, DIDO and ABDIEL for passage to Taranto.

                                (Operation SLAPSTICK).

                9th          Joined HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE, HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE,

                                DIDO, ABDIEL and USS BOISE at Taranto.

                                (Note: During this operation to occupy Taranto HMS ABDIEL was sunk in harbour

                                by a mine with heavy loss of life).

                17th        Relieved HM Cruisers MAURITIUS and ORION providing naval gunfire support during allied

                                landings at Salerno.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE - See above references).

                18th        Damaged by near misses in air attacks but remained operational.

                25th        Returned to Malta.


October                  Transferred to Aegean for support of British operations to occupy islands after Italian surrender.

                4th          Deployed in Aegean Spa with HM Cruisers AURORA, PENELOPE and DIDO to intercept

                                German invasion craft.

                                (For details see WAR IN THE AEGEAN by P. Smith and E. Walker)

                6th          In action against invasion convoy and escorts south of Levita with HMS PENELOPE

                                and HM Destroyers FAULKNOR and FURY

                                Submarine Chaser UJ2111 and all ships in convoy sunk or set on fire

.               7th          Returned to Alexandria with HMS FAULKNOR and HMS FURY escorting damaged cruiser

                                HMS PENELOPE.

                                Under heavy air attack during passage through Scarpanto Strait.

                17th        Deployed in Aegean with HM Destroyers PATHFINDER, ECLIPSE and BEAUFORT.

                                Reinforced HMS AURORA and destroyers in support of military operations.

                                Bombarded Cos harbour with HMS AURORA. Under heavy and sustained air attack.

                                Hit by 250 Kg bomb on quarterdeck and further 4 near misses causing fires aft.

                                Major damage to armament and radar aerials from splinters.

                                14 of ship's company were killed and 30 wounded.

                                (See FIGHTING DESTROYER by G. Connell and WAR IN THE AEGEAN).

                                Returned to Alexandria.


November              Passage to Massawa and taken in hand for repair.


December              Under repair.


1 9 4 4


January                  Under repair



                19th        Repair work completed.


March                    Prepared for further service in Mediterranean.


April                       Passage to Naples to join 15th Cruiser Squadron.


May                        Deployed in central Mediterranean for support of military operations in Italy.

                                Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy and took passage to Clyde.

                20th        Arrived in Clyde for service with Home Fleet.

                                (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                (Note: Home Fleet ships carried out bombardment exercises in NW Approaches).


June                        Deployed as Reserve Bombardment Ship for Eastern Task Force with HMS RODNEY.

                                (For details of naval activities prior to and during Operation NEPTUNE see book

                                of that name by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO)).

                                Passage to Channel area before assault.

                4th          Operation delayed 24 hours.

                5th          Deployed in Channel area.

                7th          Sailed from Solent with HMS RODNEY for naval support gunfire during Build up Phase.

                                Provided AA cover for HM Cruiser FROBISHER during bombardment off SWORD Beach.


July                         When released from NEPTUNE took passage to resume duties in Mediterranean with


                                Nominated for support of allied landings in South of France (Operation DRAGOON)

                                (Note: Operation DRAGOON was under overall US Naval Command).


August                  Deployed at Naples in Reserve with French cruiser JEANNE D'ARC.

                23rd        Nominated for relief of HM Cruiser AURORA and took passage to Toulon to join

                                Bombardment Group off Toulon.

                24th        Joined bombarding force off Toulon as relief foe HMS AURORA.

                                Took part in bombardment of St Madrier forts.

                                (For details see INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (HMSO) ).

                30th        Released from US Command with HMS DIDO.

                                Resumed RN control by CinC Mediterranean.


September             Mediterranean deployment with Squadron in continuation.

                13th        Represented UK as Flagship during ceremonial entry of allied fleet at Toulon.


October                  Transferred to British Aegean Force to support military operations to reoccupy

                                Aegean Islands and Greek mainland (Operation MANNA).

                15th        At Athens.

                27th        Landed troops on Diskopi.


November              Deployed with Squadron in eastern Mediterranean for support of military.


December              Support deployment in continuation

                18th        Embarked naval personnel from Mitylene


1 9 4 5


January                  Transferred with Squadron to Malta in continuation of Support duties.

                                (Note: Provided accommodation for Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden and the U S

                                Secretary of State during discussions in Malta prior to tine conference at Yalta).


February                Mediterranean support duties based in Malta with Squadron.




June                        Remained in Mediterranean after VE Day Fleet duties and support of operations

to                            in Adriatic and Aegean.

August                  (Note: Extensive training of ships for service in Far East was carried out in the Mediterranean

                                until the end of hostilities.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS SIRIUS was deployed in the Mediterranean until 17th February 1946 when she took passage to UK for refit. On completion of refit at Portsmouth she joined attended the dedication of the War Memorial at St Nazaire commemorating the raid during WW2. Later that year she was present at the Royal Review in the Clyde. She was laid up during the manning shortage in 1947 but re-commissioned the next year. Paid off in April 1949 this cruiser reduced to Reserve status in April 1949. After six years in the Reserve Fleet this cruiser was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO for breaking up by Hughes Bolcow at Blyth where she arrived on 15th October 1956.


back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 5/6/11
further editing and formatting is required


if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net