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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS ANSON - King George V-class 14in gun Battleship including Convoy Escort Movements

Editing & Additional Material by Mike Simmonds

HMS Anson in 1945 (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

KING GEORGE V-Class Battleship ordered from Swan Hunter of Newcastle on 28th April 1937 under the 1937 build programme and laid down on 20th July that year. Originally the ship was to be named JELLICOE but this was changed to ANSON before launch on 24th February 1940.  The 10th RN ship intended to carry this name, introduced for a 4th Rate in 1736, and lastly carried by an 1886 battleship sold in 1909. Build was completed on 22nd June 1942. She was adopted by the civil community of the City of London following a National Savings WARSHIP WEEK Campaign in March 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


THE SAINTES 1782 - DONEGAL 1798 - CURACOA 1807  - ARCTIC 1942-43


H e r a l d i c   Data

Badge: On a Field per fess wavy blue and white out of a ducal

           Coronet gold a spear head proper.



Nil desperandum: Never despair




D e t a i l s   o f   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


14th - Commissioned for trials.


Contractors trials.


22nd - Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials. Commanding Officer: Captain R G Kinaham, CBE, RN. Note: On measured mile during trials achieved speed of 27.62 knots.

Took passage to Scapa Flow for completion of trials and for gunnery firings.

28th - Flag Officer Second-in Command, Home Fleet joined ship.

July to August

Worked-up for operational service at Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet.


Ready for operational service with Home Fleet.

2nd - Took passage from Scapa Flow to Hvalfjord.

4th - Arrived at Hvalfjord.

9th - Took passage to Akureyri.

11th - Deployed with battleship DUKE OF YORK and cruiser JAMAICA screened by destroyers MONTROSE, BRAMHAM, KEPPEL and MACKAY to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy PQ18 and return Convoy QP14. (For details of all Russian convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg, CONVOY! by P Kemp, ARCTIC CONVOY by R Woodman and THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schofield.)

14th - Returned to Akureyri with DUKE OF YORK.

Passage to Scapa Flow.


Deployed at Scapa Flow

9th - Present at Scapa Flow during visit by Prime Minister and Sir Stafford Cripps to Home Fleet.

Passage to Iceland for interception of commerce raiders.


Home Fleet deployment in continuation in Iceland area and at Scapa Flow.


22nd - Sailed from Akureyri to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW51B with cruiser CUMBERLAND, destroyers BLANKNEY, FORESTER, CHIDDINGFOLD, ICARUS and IMPULSIVE.

31st - Convoy JW 51B was attacked in Barents Sea by the German Panzerschiff (Pocket Battleship) KMS LÜTZOW, the heavy cruiser KMS HIPPER and 6 destroyers but the covering force was patrolling 1000 miles to the west,north east of Jan Mayen Island and was unable to intervene.


1 9 4 3


Passage to Scapa Flow from patrol area.

3rd - Resumed Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.

23rd - Deployed with cruiser SHEFFIELD, destroyers ECHO, ECLIPSE, FAULKNOR, INGLEFIELD, MONTROSE, QUEENBOROUGH, RAIDER and Polish destroyer ORP ORKAN to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW52 and return Convoy RA52

27th - Remained in Arctic after arrival of JW52 at Kola Inlet

30th - Provided Distant Cover for RA52 with SHEFFIELD screened by destroyers INGLEFIELD, OBEDIENT, ORIBI and ORP ORKAN,


2nd - Took passage to return to Scapa Flow on completion of covering duties.

March to May

Deployed for interception of commerce raiders with Home Fleet ships at Scapa Flow and in Iceland area.


Deployed at Scapa Flow.

9th - Provided cover for relief of Anglo- Norwegian garrison at Spitzbergen with DUKE OF YORK, US battleships USS SOUTH DAKOTA and ALABAMA screened by five US Navy destroyers (Operation GEARBOX). Note: These US Navy warships had been transferred for loan service to reinforce Home Fleet after battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE were detached for service in Mediterranean for planned allied landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY)

13th - On release from GEARBOX took passage to Scapa Flow with covering force.

28th - Vice Admiral Bruce Fraser left ship on promotion to Admiral and relieved by Vice Admiral Sir Henry Moore as VA2 (Second in Command) Home Fleet


Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow in continuation.

27th - Deployed with aircraft carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN for repeat diversion operation to simulate possible allied landing in south Norway as a diversion during HUSKY, the invasion of Sicily. (Note: Ships involved included DUKE OF YORK and seven cruisers screened by RN and USN destroyers (Operation GOVERNOR). The earlier Operation CAMERA was carried out on 7th July.)


1st - Note: US ships were withdrawn from loan service.

Took passage for refit and routine docking,

Note: King George VI visited Home Fleet ships at Scapa Flow on 11th August. Presence of ship is to be confirmed.


Resumed Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.

8th - Deployed with DUKE OF YORK and screen of five Home Fleet destroyers to intercept German battleships TIRPITZ and SCHARNHORST which had carried out bombardment of Spitzbergen.

9th - Returned to Scapa Flow after German warships reported as returned to Altenfjord.


Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

4th - Part of Home Fleet cover with DUKE OF YORK, US cruisers TUSCALOOSA, three RN cruisers and screen of RN and USN destroyers during air strikes by US aircraft carrier USS RANGER on shipping at Bodo on coast of Norway (Operation LEADER).

6th - Returned to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.

14th - Deployed with destroyers HAIDA (RCN), IROQUOIS (RCN), HARDY, JANUS and VIGILANT to land relief stores for allied garrison at Spitzbergen (Operation GEARBOX III/FQ.)


2nd - Provided Distant Cover for return Convoy RA54 from Kola Inlet with aircraft carrier FORMIDABLE, cruisers JAMAICA screened by destroyers ONSLOW, VENUS, HAIDA (RCN), Norwegian STORD, US destroyers USS CAPPS and USS HOBSON.

19th - Deployed with USS TUSCALOOSA and screened by US Navy destroyers USS CORRY, USS FITCH, USS FORREST and USS HOBSON to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW54A to Kola Inlet.

28th - Provided Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW54B during passage to Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA54B with cruiser BELFAST screened by destroyers ASHANTI, MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER and OBDURATE.

29th - MATCHLESS detached with weather damage.


Detached from RA54B and returned to Scapa Flow. Note: Extreme weather conditions were experience during the cover of JW54B and destroyers were temporarily detached.

Deployed at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet duties.

1 9 4 4


Home Fleet service based at Scapa Flow in continuation.


24th - Deployed with Free French battleship RICHELIEU and two Home Fleet cruisers to provide cover for FURIOUS during series air strikes on Norwegian coast (Operation BAYLEAF).


Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow in continuation.

30th - Sailed from Scapa Flow with DUKE OF YORK, aircraft carriers VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS, cruisers BELFAST, ROYALIST, SHEFFIELD and JAMAICA, Escort aircraft carriers EMPEROR, FENCER. PURSUER and SEARCHER screened by destroyers MILNE, URSA, ONSLAUGHT, VERULAM, METEOR, UNDAUNTED, VIGILANT, VIRAGO, SWIFT, JAVELIN, WAKEFUL, ALGONQUIN (RCN), SIOUX (RCN) and Polish ORP PIORUN to provide Distant Cover for passage of Russian Convoy JW58 to Kola Inlet and for air attacks on German battleship TIRPITZ at Altenfjord (Operation TUNGSTEN)


2nd - DUKE OF YORK and two destroyers detached to provide Distant Cover for JW58.

3rd - Provided cover during strikes by aircraft from carriers. (For details see CONVOY! by P Kemp)

4th - Second series of strikes abandoned and took return passage to Scapa Flow.

6th - Arrived at Scapa Flow with Fleet units.

21st - Sailed from Scapa Flow with VICTORIOUS, FURIOUS, SEARCHER, STRIKER, EMPEROR and PURSUER, Home Fleet cruisers and destroyer screen to provide cover during further series of air strikes on TIRPITZ (Operation PLANET). Note: DUKE OF YORK did not take part.

25th - Air operations postponed because of weather conditions. See above reference.

26th - TIRPITZ attacks cancelled in view of weather and carried out on secondary target of shipping near Bodo.


Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.

12th - Deployed to provide cover for air strikes by VICTORIOUS and FURIOUS on TIRPIRTZ with Home Fleet cruisers and destroyer screen. Note: This operation was cancelled and ships returned to Scapa Flow.


Nominated for refit at Devonport to prepare for service in British Pacific Fleet.

Took passage to Devonport to Pay-off.


Paid-off and taken in hand for refit by Dockyard. Note: During the nine month refit extensive changes were made to the radar equipment and to improve close range AA defence prior to service in the Pacific. Radar changes included:

Aircraft warning Type 281 replaced by single mast 281B.
Surface warning Type 273 replaced by Type 293 and Type 277.
Close Range AA fire-control replaced by four Type 262 and single Type 282 retained. 4 AA Fire-control Type 285 replaced by Type 274. Barrage Control Type 283 fitted for all four mountings.
Main Armament Fire Control Type 284 replaced by two Type 274 to provide separate facilities for forward and after turrets.
The aircraft facilities were removed to provide additional accommodation and improved boat stowages.

July to December

Under refit


1 9 4 5

January to February

Under refit


Recommissioned for service with British Pacific Fleet. Commanding Officer Captain A C G Madden.

Post refit trials.


On completion of sea trials took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with ships of Home Fleet for operational service in Pacific.

Trials including gunnery firings and weapon calibrations whilst working up at Scapa Flow. Note: Trials of newly developed surface warning radar Type 277P were carried out.

25th - Took passage to Mediterranean with DUKE OF YORK.


2nd - Arrived at Malta. Note: DUKE OF YORK remained in Malta for repair of major electrical defect.

Took independent passage to Ceylon via Suez Canal.


Passage to Sydney


Arrived in Sydney, escorted by destroyers WAGER and WHELP, after British Pacific Fleet had sailed to join US 3rd Fleet as Task Force 37 to take part in operations off Japan. Note: Further research is required for these months.


Deployed at Sydney

Nominated for duty at Hong Kong as part of re-occupation Task Force.

Took passage from Sydney.

20th - Joined Light Fleet aircraft carrier VENGEANCE and ships of Task Force 111 during passage to Hong Kong.

26th - Arrived in Hong Kong and landed parties to assist in re-occupation and repatriation of military and civil personnel taken prisoner in December 1941 when Colony fell to Japanese forces.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ANSON was retained as part of the British Pacific Fleet and was deployed as Guardship at Tokyo after release from duties at Hong Kong. The ship went to Australia in 1946 and left the the BPF on 28th June that year when she took passage to return to UK. Arriving at Plymouth on 29th July she remained in service as part of the Training Squadron until 1949 when she Paid off into Reserve in November that year. After destoring the ship was towed to the Gareloch to be preserved before laying there in Reserve. Placed on the Disposal List in 1957 the ship was sold to Shipbreaking Industries for demolition and towed to the Breaker's yard as Faslane on 17th December 1957.






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above


Date convoy


 Joined convoy as escort


 Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy




PQ 018





QP 014





JW 051B





JW 052





RA 052





RA 054A





JW 054A





JW 054B





RA 054B




(Note on Convoys)



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