Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence.
2nd - Arrived at Halifax.
14th - Sailed from Halifax and joined destroyers
HMCS's OTTAWA and SAGUENAY escorting convoy HX 16.
15th - HMCS-s OTTAWA and SAGUENAY detached from convoy
HX 16 and MALAYA remained as ocean escort.
23rd - Detached from convoy HX 16
30th - Sailed from Halifax in company with battleship
VALIANT, cruiser ENTERPRISE, destroyers HUNTER, and HMCS's FRASER, OTTAWA,
RESTIGOUCHE and ST LAURENT escorting Canadian troop convoy TC3 bringing Canadian
troops to the UK.
(Note: The convoy comprised the liners AQUITANIA, EMPRESS OF BRITAIN, Polish
CHOBRY, MONARCH OF BERMUDA and EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA.)
1st - HUNTER, HMCS's FRASER, OTTAWA, RESTIGOUCHE and
ST LAURENT detached from convoy TC3.
4th - ENTERPRISE detached from convoy TC3.
5th - At 0825 hours, 650 miles west of Malin Head
destroyers DARING, DIANA, FAME, FAULKNOR, FEARLESS, FIREDRAKE, FORESIGHT,
FORTUNE, FOXHOUND, FURY, KELVIN, KINGSTON joined convoy TC3.
7th - Arrived in Clyde with TC3 and detached
27th - Sailed from the Clyde with embarked gold
bullion for transfer to Canada in company with armed merchant cruiser ASCANIA
escorted by destroyers FAME, FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FURY and MOHAWK.
Passage to Halifax.
4th - Arrived at Halifax. On arrival deployed with
Halifax Escort Force for Atlantic convoy defence.
10th - Sailed from Halifax and joined destroyers
HMCS's SAGUENAY and SKEENA escorting convoy HX 26.
11th - SAGUENAY and SKEENA detached from convoy HX 26
and MALAYA remained as ocean escort.
22nd - Detached from HX 26 and returned to Halifax.
Nominated for transfer to Mediterranean
3rd - Sailed from Halifax escorted by destroyer HMCS
At 1800 hours took over escort of convoy HX 32 from destroyers HMCS's
RESTIGOUCHE and SAGUENAY. RESTIGOUCHE, SAGUENAY and ST LAURENT then detached
from HX 32.
14th - Detached from HX 32 for Gibraltar.
19th - Arrived at Gibraltar.
28th - At 1600 hours, sailed from Gibraltar for
Alexandria in company with battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by destroyers
VELOX, WATCHMAN and HMAS's VENDETTA and WATERHEN.
29th - Off Algiers they were joined by a French battle
group of 3 battleships, 4 cruisers and 3 destroyers.
30th - Off Bizerte, destroyers HMAS STUART and VAMPIRE
joined. Later in the Sicilian Channel cruiser ORION and destroyers DECOY and
1st - Off Malta VELOX and WATCHMAN detached.
3rd - At 1820 hours arrived at Alexandria.
Deployed with battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN to provide
cover for passage of convoys in eastern Mediterranean.
Joined 1st Battle Squadron and deployed with Fleet for
convoy defence and offensive operations against enemy shipping in eastern
(Note: During this period extensive exercises were carried out by Mediterranean
Fleet units in anticipation of the outbreak of hostilities with Italy. Italy
declared war at 0001hours on 11/6/40)
12th - At 0230 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleship WARSPITE, aircraft carrier EAGLE screened by destroyers DAINTY,
HASTY, ILEX, JANUS, JUNO, NUBIAN and HMAS's STUART, VAMPIRE and VOYAGER to carry
out a sweep west along the African coast.
At 0840 hours, cruiser CALEDON joined the fleet at sea.
At 1325 hours, cruiser CALYPSO joined the fleet at sea and destroyer MOHAWK
At 1840 hours, destroyers HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO, HOSTILE, HYPERION and IMPERIAL
joined the fleet.
At 1953 hours, HMAS's STUART, VAMPIRE and VOYAGER detached from the fleet. Later
destroyer DIAMOND joined the fleet.
14th - Returned to Alexandria.
4th - Took part in negotiations with French Fleet
after capitulation of France. (Operation CATAPULT - See RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W
7th - At 2330 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN, aircraft carrier EAGLE screened by destroyers
DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HYPERION, ILEX, JANUS, JUNO and HMAS's VAMPIRE and
VOYAGER as Force C to provide cover for transit of two convoys (MF1/fast 13 knot
and MS1/slow 9 knot) from Malta (Operation MA5)
(Note: This was a repeat of Operation MA3 that was cancelled on 28th June due to
engagement with Italian destroyers. See following references.)
8th - During the day, the fleet was under air attacks
from a total of 126 high level bombers. In one attack fire control cables were
damaged by near misses and repaired.
At 1515 hours, a Sunderland reported an Italian Fleet of 2 battleships, 6
cruisers and 7 destroyers, 100 miles north west of Benghazi, sailing north. On
receipt of the report the Mediterranean Fleet altered course in an attempt to
cut off the Italians from their base at Taranto.
At 1600 hours, cruiser GLOUCESTER received a direct hit on her bridge.
9th - At 1515 hours off Punta Stilo the two fleets
sighted each other. EAGLE, covered by GLOUCESTER, was detached and the
Battleships with their destroyer screens worked up to full speed to engage the
Italian Fleet. At 1552 hours 30 miles west of Punta Stilo WARSPITE and the
Italian Battleship GIULIO CESARE opened fire on each other and so the Battle of
Calabria commenced. Twice during the action, WARSPITE changed course to allow
the slower MALAYA to catch up. At 1554 hours MALAYA opened fire, but her shots
were 2700 yards short and she ceased fire at 1558 hours. The enemy ships
withdrew at speed after the brief exchange of fire.
(Note: Enemy ships could not be closed owing lack of speed.)
(For details of operations during 1940-43 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by
C. Barnett, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D. MacIntyre, THE NAVAL WAR IN
THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignani and the Naval Staff History
(In his after-battle report the CinC Mediterranean Fleet Admiral Cunningham;
wrote that having seen the deficiencies of MALAYA and ROYAL SOVEREIGN both in
terms of speed and main armament range he did not believe that he could
accomplish his strategic objective of dealing decisively with the Italian
Fleet without reinforcement by modernised battleships)
10th - At 0830 hours, EAGLE flew off a strike force
against shipping in Augusta Roads.
At 2030 hours off Malta, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and attendant destroyers detached to
refuel at Malta. MALAYA, EAGLE and attendant destroyers proceeded to the south
of Malta to await ROYAL SOVEREIGN.
11th - At 1000 hours, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and attendant
destroyers rejoined, following which the combined Force consisting of MALAYA,
ROYAL SOVEREIGN, EAGLE, GLOUCESTER, DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO,
HOSTILE, HYPERION and ILEX set course for Alexandria covering convoy MS1 (MS1
had sailed from Malta early on 10/7/40)
15th - At 0900 hours, arrived at Alexandria.
19th - At 1230 hours, sailed from Alexandria in
company with battleship RAMILLIES with EAGLE and escorting destroyers. Their
mission was to sweep westward along the coast searching for the damaged Italian
cruiser GIOVANNI DELLE BANDE NERE (Damaged earlier in the day in an engagement
with HMAS SYDNEY off Cape Spada) and believed to be making for Tobruk.
20th - Off Tobruk, EAGLE launched an air strike which
failed to locate the cruiser but which sank two Italian destroyers.
21st - Arrived back at Alexandria.
27th - 0300 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleships WARSPITE and RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier EAGLE escorted by
destroyers DECOY, HEREWARD, HERO, HYPERION, ILEX, IMPERIAL, JERVIS, JUNO, NUBIAN
and MOHAWK to cover the passage of convoy AS2/1. South of Crete the fleet was
joined by cruisers NEPTUNE and HMAS SYDNEY.
28th - The fleet divided. South of the Kithera Strait
convoy AS2/1 escorted by cruisers CAPETOWN and LIVERPOOL and destroyers DAINTY,
DEFENDER, DIAMOND and HMAS STUART were met by the covering Force of MALAYA,
RAMILLIES, EAGLE, HEREWARD, HERO, JERVIS, JUNO, MOHAWK and NUBIAN
30th - Arrived back at Alexandria.
31st - 1420 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleship RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier EAGLE escorted by destroyers HASTY,
HEREWARD, HERO, HOSTILE, ILEX, IMPERIAL, JERVIS and HMAS VENDETTA to carry out
gunnery practice. Following this, they were designated Force B for Operation
HURRY and were to sail west towards Gavdo Island. However when MALAYA developed
problems with salt water in her condensers the whole of Force B returned to
2nd - Arrived back at Alexandria.
16th - 1030 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleships WARSPITE and RAMILLIES, cruiser KENT, escorted by
destroyers DIAMOND, HEREWARD, HOSTILE, MOHAWK, NUBIAN and HMAS's STUART,
VENDETTA and WATERHEN and proceeded westwards on Operation MB2. After
sailing the fleet was organised into two forces. Force B comprised MALAYA,
RAMILLIES, HEREWARD, HERO, JUNO, STUART, VENDETTA and WATERHEN.
17th - Between 0658 and 0720 hours the fleet bombarded
Bardia and Fort Capuzzo (Operation MB2).
(Note: 62 rounds of 15in and 104 rounds of 6in were fired.)
18th - Under ineffective air attacks by
Savoia-Marchetti S.M.79’s, 12 of which the fleet shot down, during return
passage to Alexandria.
30th - At 0445 hours, sailed from Alexandria in
company with battleship WARSPITE, aircraft carrier EAGLE, cruisers ORION and
HMAS SYDNEY escorted by destroyers DECOY, DEFENDER, HEREWARD, IMPERIAL, HMAS's
STUART, VAMPIRE, VENDETTA and VOYAGER and Polish ORP GARLAND on Operation
HATS/MB3. The Fleet sailed towards the Gulf of Taranto. (The objective of
Operation HATS was to cover the passage of reinforcements for the Mediterranean
Fleet and convoy MF2 for Malta. Convoy MF2 was weakly escorted by 4 destroyers
to act as bait to invite an attack by the Italian Fleet).
31st - Early in the morning the Fleet was joined by
cruisers KENT, GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL and destroyers HASTY, HYPERION and ILEX,
returning from a sweep of the southern Aegean. On reaching a point approximately
100 miles west of Cape Matapan the Fleet turned south.
At 1554 hours KENT, GLOUCESTER and LIVERPOOL detached from the Fleet to join
At 1700 hours when the Mediterranean Fleet was around 150 miles west of Crete,
the Italian Fleet (4 battleships, 14 cruisers and 39 destroyers that had sailed
from Taranto at 0600/31/8/40) was only 120 miles north west of their position
making a Fleet action very likely. However at that point the Italian high
command, who knew of the convoy but not the presence of the Mediterranean Fleet
ordered the Italian Fleet to return to base.
At 1815 hours the Fleet turned west heading for towards Malta and DECOY was
detached to join MF2.
1st - At 0900 hours west of Malta the Mediterranean
Fleet R/Ved with Force F from Gibraltar, and turned with Force F towards Malta.
At 1657 hours east of Malta the Fleet divided for Operation MB3 (an operation to
attack Italian installations in the southern Dodecanese). Force E comprised
MALAYA, EAGLE, COVENTRY, DAINTY, DIAMOND, JANUS, JUNO, VAMPIRE and VENDETTA.
3rd - West of Crete the Fleet again divided and
MALAYA, EAGLE, DAINTY, DIAMOND, VAMPIRE, VENDETTA and WRYNECK proceeded direct
4th - At 2100 hours arrived at Alexandria.
8th - Sailed from Alexandria in company with
ILLUSTRIOUS, EAGLE, RAMILLIES, VALIANT, WARSPITE, cruisers AJAX, GLOUCESTER,
ORION, YORK, HMAS SYDNEY screened by destroyers HASTY, HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO,
HYPERION, ILEX, IMPERIAL, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO and NUBIAN to provide distant
cover for passage of Malta convoy MF3 from Egypt and convoy ME4 from Malta, and
convoy AS4 from Greece and an air attack on Leros (Operation MB6).
9th - At 0254 hours the fleet was joined at sea by
cruiser LIVERPOOL and destroyer DIAMOND.
10th - At 1715 hours RAMILLIES, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO,
HYPERION, ILEX and NUBIAN detached from the Fleet to refuel at Malta. At
intervals through the day and during the 11th, various units of the Fleet
detached to refuel in Malta.
11th - At 1105 hours IMPERIAL was mined and badly
damaged. She was towed into Malta by DECOY.
At 1600 hours convoy MF3 arrived at Malta in company with ORION, STUART and
VENDETTA. At this time the main body of the Mediterranean Fleet was 100 miles
south east of Malta, where it was sighted and reported by an Italian civil
At 2245 hours convoy ME4, which included River Gunboat APHIS, sailed from Malta
escorted by cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY and destroyers WRYNECK and HMAS
Late in the evening following the return of all the refuelled units, the Fleet
turned for Alexandria.
(North east of Malta, and positioned in anticipation that a convoy would be
sailing from Malta were 4 Italian destroyers, 3 torpedo boats and 4 MAS boats)
12th - During return passage to Alexandria, at 0200
hours, the fleet was 125 miles west of Malta, and about 70 miles north of the
convoy. The three Italian torpedo boats launched torpedoes against AJAX, the
northern most unit of the Fleet, all of which missed. AJAX, after initial
confusion, opened fire at 4000 yards, sinking ARIEL and ARIONE. In return AJAX
received 3 hits from AIRONE. (AJAX was equipped with type 279 radar which was a
long range air search set and of little use in a surface engagement).
Immediately the 4 Italian destroyers came to the aid of the torpedo boats and at
0230 hours ARTIGLIERE launched a torpedo attack which AJAX avoided. AJAX managed
to damage AVIERE and severely damage ARTIGLIERE. In return ARTIGLIERE hit AJAX 4
times, putting her radar out of action and damaging a twin 4in mount. At the
time of the second engagement the moon had set and the lack of flashless powder
caused problems for AJAX’s gunners.
At 0235 hours when the Italian destroyers withdrew behind a smoke screen
AJAX broke off the action since Capt. McCarthy believed that he had been in
action against 4 destroyers and 2 cruisers. (This action is known by the
Italians as the Battle of Cape Passero). The gunfire drew other cruisers of the
Mediterranean Fleet to the scene, but they arrived too late to see action.
13th - At dawn, the damaged ARTIGLIERE under tow by
the destroyer CAMICIA NERE, was sighted 107 miles west of Malta by a Sunderland.
The sighting report resulted in an air strike by Swordfish from ILLUSTRIOUS,
without result. YORK, AJAX and 4 destroyers were despatched from the fleet and
arrived at the position at 0900 hours. CAMICIA NERE slipped the tow and made
off, and YORK finished off ARTIGLIERE.
At 1100 hours south east of Gavdos Island convoy ME4 was joined by convoy AS4
that had sailed from Piraeus.
In the evening the Fleet divided and ILLUSTRIOUS, GLOUCESTER, LIVERPOOL, HAVOCK,
HEREWARD, HERO and NUBIAN headed into the Aegean.
14th - Early in the morning Swordfish from ILLUSTRIOUS
carried out an air strike on the airfield on the Island of Leros.
At 0840 hours the ILLUSTRIOUS Force rejoined the main body of the Fleet and the
combined Fleet set course for Alexandria.
In the evening the Fleet came under air attack and at 1845 hours 70 miles SE of
Crete, LIVERPOOL sustained an aerial torpedo hit in the starboard bow, delivered
by an Italian torpedo aircraft.
At 1920 hours the petrol storage compartment exploded, blowing the roof off A
turret the port gun fell into the sea and a fire was started. DECOY and HEREWARD
At 2230 hours ORION took her in tow backwards at 9.5 knots towards Alexandria
escorted by DAINTY, DECOY, DIAMOND and VAMPIRE.
15th - At 0100 hours the Mediterranean Fleet arrived
back at Alexandria.
25th - Sailed from Alexandria in company with aircraft
carrier EAGLE, cruiser COVENTRY, escorted by destroyers JANUS, MOHAWK, WRYNECK
and HMAS's VAMPIRE and VOYAGER on Operation MAQ2 (covering a Port Said to
Piraeus convoy AN5 and carry out an air attack on Rhodes in the Dodecanese)
26th - The Fleet sailed to the southern end of the
27th - Swordfish from EAGLE carried out an air strike
on the airfield at Maritza on the Island of Rhodes.
28th - Arrived back at Alexandria.
29th - At 0130 hours sailed from Alexandria in company
with battleships WARSPITE, VALIANT and RAMILLIES, aircraft carriers ILLUSTRIOUS
and EAGLE escorted by destroyers DAINTY, DECOY, DEFENDER, DIAMOND, HASTY, HAVOCK,
HEREWARD, HERO, HYPERION, ILEX, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO, MOHAWK and NUBIAN. The
Fleet sailed for the west of Crete on Operation CHURCH. (Following Italy’s
attack on Greece on 28/10/40 the Greek Government invited Britain to set up a
base at Suda Bay on the north coast of Crete. Operation CHURCH was the operation
covering the military convoys carrying personnel and stores to Suda Bay). Late
in the evening south of Crete cruisers YORK, GLOUCESTER, ORION and HMAS SYDNEY
joined the Fleet.
30th - The Fleet continued to sail north west and at
2000 hours, was 126 miles west of Cape Matapan.
31st - At 1630 hours 75 miles west south west of Cape
Matapan WARSPITE, ILLUSTRIOUS, YORK, GLOUCESTER, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, ILEX and
JERVIS detached from the Fleet and proceeded towards Alexandria. The rest of the
Fleet remained cruising to the west of Crete.
2nd - Arrived back at Alexandria.
6th - Sailed from Alexandria in company with
battleships WARSPITE ,VALIANT and RAMILLIES, ILLUSTRIOUS, cruisers YORK and
GLOUCESTER, destroyers DECOY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HAVOCK, HEREWARD, HERO, HYPERION,
ILEX, JANUS, JERVIS, JUNO and MOHAWK on Operation MB8 and Operation COAT. Later
joined by cruisers AJAX and HMAS SYDNEY from Suda Bay. (Operation MB8 was to
provide cover for the passage of Convoy MW3 [sailed from Alexandria on 5/11/40]
to Malta and Convoy AN6 [from Port Said on 4/11/40] to the Aegean. Operation
Coat was the passage of reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet).
7th - Covered the passage of convoy AN6 and MW3. The
two convoys proceeded together from off Alexandria towards west Crete.
9th - In the evening RAMILLIES, HAVOCK, HYPERION and
ILEX detached for Malta to refuel.
10th - The Mediterranean Fleet cruised to the south
east of Malta.
At 1015 hours Force F, comprising battleship BARHAM, cruisers BERWICK and
GLASGOW and destroyers GALLANT, GREYHOUND and GRIFFIN, and preceeded by
destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE and FURY acting as minesweepers, R/Ved with the
Mediterranean Fleet. Force F (The reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet,
Operation COAT) entered Valletta harbour to disembark their troops and supplies
and the 3 F-class destroyers to refuel.
At 1330 hours convoy ME3, which included Monitor TERROR, sailed from Malta,
escorted by RAMILLIES, COVENTRY, DECOY, DEFENDER and AS VENDETTA.
After disembarking their troops and supplies BARHAM, BERWICK, GLASGOW, GALLANT,
GREYHOUND and GRIFFIN sailed from Malta and joined the Mediterranean Fleet
11th - Covered passage of convoy ME3 from Malta to
At 1310 hours AJAX, ORION, AS SYDNEY, MOHAWK and NUBIAN detached from the Fleet
to carry out a raid on Italian military convoys in the southern Adriatic.
At 1800 hours ILLUSTRIOUS, YORK, BERWICK, GLASGOW, GLOUCESTER, HASTY, HAVOCK,
HYPERION and ILEX detached from the Fleet to carry out Operation JUDGEMENT.
(Note: The successful air attack on Taranto (Operation JUDGEMENT) by aircraft
from ILLUSTRIOUS during the night of 11/12th November was also covered as part
of Operation COAT).
12th - At dawn ILLUSTRIOUS, YORK, BERWICK, GLASGOW,
GLOUCESTER, HASTY, HAVOCK, HYPERION and ILEX rejoined the Fleet.
13th - The Fleet and convoy ME3 arrived at Alexandria.
(Following the success of Operation JUDGEMENT it was decided RAMILLIES and
MALAYA could be released from the Mediterranean Fleet)
23rd - Sailed from Alexandria in company with
battleship RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier EAGLE, cruisers AJAX, ORION and AS SYDNEY
escorted by destroyers DAINTY, DIAMOND, HASTY, HAVOCK, HYPERION and ILEX,
designated as Force C for Operation MB9 and Operation COLLAR.
(Operation MB9 was an operation to provide Fleet cover for Malta convoy MW4.
Operation COLLAR covered the passage of RAMILLIES, BERWICK and NEWCASTLE through
the Mediterranean to Gibraltar)
24th - At 0800 hours Force C arrived at Suda Bay to
refuel. After refuelling, Force C sailed from Suda Bay. Off Suda Bay cruiser
BERWICK joined Force C, which then sailed westward towards Malta.
26th - At 0813 hours convoy MW4 arrived at Malta
accompanied by MALAYA and RAMILLIES to refuel.
At 1200 hours MALAYA sailed from Malta to rejoin Force C.
30th - Returned to Alexandria with WARSPITE and
VALIANT covering passage of newly joined cruisers MANCHESTER, SOUTHAMPTON and
corvettes PEONY, SALVIA, GLOXINIA and HYACINTH.
16th - Sailed from Alexandria in company with
destroyers DEFENDER and DIAMOND escorting Malta supply convoy MW5A (Operation
20th - At 0400 hours arrived at Malta in company with
destroyers DEFENDER, DIAMOND, NUBIAN and WRYNECK with mercantiles of MW5A.
21st - At 1250 hours sailed from Malta screened by
destroyers HEREWARD, HYPERION and ILEX and escorting convoy MG1 formed of SS
CLAN FORBES and SS CLAN FRASER. They were joined by HASTY and HERO. The force
headed for the Sicilian Narrows, to R/V with Force H. The transfer of MALAYA to
Force H formed part of Operation HIDE.
22nd - At 0156 hours 24 miles west of Cape Bon,
HYPERION was torpedoed and seriously damaged by Italian submarine SERPENTE. ILEX
was detached to assist HYPERION.
At 0940 hours joined ships of Force H (aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, battlecruiser
RENOWN, cruiser SHEFFIELD) for passage to Gibraltar with mercantiles of
24th - At 1000 hours arrived at Gibraltar for loan
service in Force H.
7th - At 0800 hours sailed from Gibraltar in company
with battlecruiser RENOWN, aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and cruiser SHEFFIELD
screened by destroyers FAULKNOR, FIREDRAKE, FORESTER, FORTUNE, FOXHOUND, FURY
and JAGUAR as Force H to cover the passage of convoys to Malta and
Piraeus, and transit of cruiser BONAVENTURE with four Fleet destroyers, DUNCAN,
HASTY, HEREWARD and HERO, reinforcements for the Mediterranean Fleet at
Alexandria (Operation EXCESS).
9th - At 0930 hours cruisers GLOUCESTER and
SOUTHAMPTON and destroyer ILEX joined from the east to augment the convoy’s
close escort through the Skerki Channel and on to Malta.
At 1320 hours the Force came under high level attack by 10 Italian SM 79
aircraft, 8 aircraft attacked MALAYA, all their bombs falling just ahead and
causing no damage. Two of the attackers were shot down by FAA Fulmars from ARK
At 2200 hours Force H reversed course and set course for Gibraltar.
11th - At 1930 hours Force H arrived back at
14th - Dry-docked in No. 1 dock.
31st - At 1300 hours Force H sailed from Gibraltar on
Operations PICKET (air attack on Lake Omodeo Dam, central Sardinia) and RESULT
(the bombardment of Genoa). The Force was divided into 4 groups:
Group 1: battleship MALAYA, battlecruiser RENOWN,
aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and cruiser SHEFFIELD.
Group 2: destroyers FEARLESS, FIREDRAKE,
FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, FURY and JERSEY.
Group 3: destroyers DUNCAN, ENCOUNTER, ISIS and
Group 4: RFA ORANGELEAF escorted by Trawlers
RANGER and HAARLEM.
2nd - At 0530 hours, 8 torpedo armed Swordfish took
off from ARK ROYAL to carry out an air strike against the Santa Chiara d’Ula dam
on Lake Omodeo, central Sardinia (Operation PICKET). Due to the bad weather only
4 aircraft reached the dam where they met an intense barrage. One aircraft was
lost for no result.
(Note: Intended bombardment of Genoa (Operation RESULT) was cancelled due to
4th - En route to Gibraltar all ships carried out a
practice shoot. At 1800 hours Force H arrived back at Gibraltar.
6th - At 1615 hours Force H sailed from Gibraltar on
Operation RESULT (The bombardment of Genoa). The Force was divided into three
Group 1: battleship MALAYA, battlecruiser RENOWN,
aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and cruiser SHEFFIELD.
Group 2: destroyers FEARLESS, FIREDRAKE,
FORESIGHT, FOXHOUND, FURY and JERSEY.
Group 3: destroyers DUNCAN, ENCOUNTER, ISIS and
9th - At 0400 hours Ark Royal and 4 destroyers
detached to carry out an air strike against the Azienda oil refinery at Leghorn.
Between 0715 and 0745 hours, 10 miles off the Italian coast, carried out
bombardment of Genoa with RENOWN and SHEFFIELD. The two Walrus aircraft from
SHEFFIELD carried out fall of shot observations. The three ships fired 273
rounds of 15in, 782 rounds of 6in and 400 rounds of 4.5in. The result was 28
civil vessels sunk or damaged and harbour installations destroyed and damaged.
At 0845 hours the ARK ROYAL Force rejoined and Force H made at best speed, which
at one point was only 17 knots, the best MALAYA could make, for Gibraltar.
11th - At 1430 hours Force H arrived back at
On return to Gibraltar nominated for deployment in
Atlantic to cover UK - Gibraltar convoys.
17th - Sailed from Gibraltar to R/V with convoy WS6A.
19th - Off the Azores joined military convoy WS6A as
Ocean Escort, following which Force H detached and returned to Gibraltar.
28th - At 0800 hours convoy WS6A was joined by
destroyers FAULKNOR and FORESTER.
At 1815 hours in company with FAULKNOR and FORESTER detached from WS6A,
proceeded ahead of convoy to Freetown.
1st - At 1600 hours, in company with FAULKNOR and
FORESTER, arrived at Freetown. They immediately refuelled.
At 1705 hours, in company with FAULKNOR and FORESTER, sailed from Freetown to
catch up convoy SL67.
3rd - At 1500 hours, in company with FAULKNOR and
FORESTER, joined AMC CILICIA, corvette ASPHODEL and trawlers KELT, SPANIARD and
TURCOMAN escorting convoy SL67.
4th - KELT, SPANIARD and TURCOMAN detached from SL67.
7th - German battlecruisers SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU
sighted convoy SL67, but on finding MALAYA was part of the escort, they hauled
off and made a R/V with U.124.
(Note: none of the escorts of SL67 observed the German ships)
At the meeting between the battlecruisers and U.124 a plan was drawn up for
U.124 and U.105 to attack SL67 and try to sink or damage MALAYA.
During the afternoon MALAYA refuelled FAULKNOR, FORESTER and ASPHODEL.
8th - Between 0251 and 0256 hours, 5 merchants in the
convoy were torpedoed and sunk by U.105 and U.124.
At 1330 hours 130 miles off Cape Blanco FORESTER, which was well to the west of
the convoy, briefly sighted SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU steaming towards the
convoy. The German ships were also sighted at the same time by MALAYA’S
patrolling Swordfish. Following the sightings MALAYA and FAULKNOR hauled out of
the convoy to join FORESTER, and to put themselves between the convoy and the
At 1645 hours MALAYA and SCHARNHORST sighted each other.
At 1648 hours SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU turned away and after a brief pursuit
MALAYA (at least 10 knots slower than the German ships) and her consorts
returned to the convoy.
At 1900 hours they rejoined the convoy
10th - At 1500 hours battlecruiser REPULSE, aircraft
carrier FURIOUS and destroyers DUNCAN and FOXHOUND took over the escort of the
SL67, and MALAYA, FAULKNOR and FORESTER detached for Gibraltar.
12th - Arrived at Gibraltar.
13th - Sailed from Gibraltar escorted by destroyer
15th - In company with WISHART joined AMC CANTON and
Corvettes CALENDULA, CROCUS and MARGUERITE escorting convoy SL68.
20th - At 2323 hours 250 miles NNW of Cape Verde
Islands, SL68 came under submarine attack. MALAYA was hit by a torpedo from
U.106. The hit the port side caused damage in the boiler room and the ship had a
7 degree list. There were no casualties. MALAYA detached from SL68, escorted by
CROCUS, set course for Port of Spain, Trinidad.
23rd - CROCUS detached and returned to Freetown.
29th - Arrived at Port of Spain, Trinidad, where
temporary repairs were carried out.
(For details see HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)
On completion took passage to New York for repair.
6th - Arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and taken in
hand for repair. She was the first RN vessel to be repaired/refitted in the USA
in World War 2,
Preparation for installation of fire-control and air
warning radar carried out.
Some of ship's company transferred to Ex US Coastguard
Cutters being lent to the Royal Navy.
(First 4 Coastguard Cutters, BANFF, CULVER, FISHGUARD and HARTLAND were handed
over on 30/4/41 and Captain A.F.E. Pallister DSO RN the CO of MALAYA accepted
the cutters on behalf of the RN)
May to July
Under repair and refit in New York.
Passage to UK.
A and A work completed including fit of air warning
Radar Type 281, Fire control radars Types 282 for close range armament, Type 284
for Main armament and Type 285 for HA armament. Eleven single 20mm Oerlikon guns
were fitted for close range AA defence.
(For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)
(Note: One source records fitting of Radar Type 291 to provide warning of the
approach of surface ships, aircraft and land. This equipment was a Naval
designed outfit intended to replace earlier RAF equipment modified for shipboard
use, Type 286. This was never satisfactory and replaced in 1943 by centimetric
radar, Type 273. See below.)
On completion prepared for operational service. Four
additional 20mm Oerlikon guns fitted.
Nominated for transfer to Force H
20th - At 1030 hours sailed from Scapa Flow for the
Clyde escorted by destroyers BEDOUIN and PUNJABI.
At 1530 hours off Tiumpan Head destroyers LAFOREY and LIGHTNING joined, and
BEDOUIN and PUNJABI detached and returned to Scapa Flow.
Off Stornoway LAFOREY detached and landed a sick crew member at Stornoway.
At 1700 hours LAFOREY sailed and rejoined MALAYA.
21st - Arrived in the Clyde.
22nd - Sailed from the Clyde escorted by LIGHTNING. En
route destroyers HAVELOCK and HARVESTER joined.
24th - 575 miles west of Ushant destroyers SIKH and
ZULU joined and HAVELOCK and HARVESTER detached.
27th - Arrived at Gibraltar with LIGHTNING, SIKH and
ZULU. On entering Harbour she was in collision with merchant ships MV HOEGH
HOOD, 9356 tons and MV CLAN MACDONALD, 9656 tons, sustaining slight damage to
At Gibraltar, MALAYA became the Flagship of Force H.
(The CinC Force H, Admiral Sir James Somerville was most unhappy with MALAYA as
his Flagship which he believed to be most unsuitable)
10th - At 0235 hours sailed from Gibraltar in company
with cruiser HERMIONE to cover the delivery of Hurricane aircraft by ARK
ROYAL and ARGUS to Malta, screened by destroyers LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, SIKH,
LEGION, ZULU, GURKHA and Dutch destroyer ISAAC SWEERS. (Operation PERPETUAL).
12th - By 1100 hours, 37 Hurricanes had been flown off
from ARK ROYAL and ARGUS, following which the Force turned west and headed back
13th - At 1541 hours, 30 miles from Gibraltar during
the return passage under attack by U.81 which fired four torpedoes. One hit ARK
ROYAL which sank on 14th when under tow to Gibraltar. (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by
C Blair and Naval Staff History.)
Escorted to Gibraltar by destroyers SIKH, ZULU and ISAAC SWEERS, after ARK ROYAL
At 1622 hours ZULU was detached to return to assist ARK ROYAL.
At 1830 hours arrived back at Gibraltar.
(On arrival at Gibraltar the CinC immediately transferred to SIKH and returned
at high speed to the scene of the attack)
Deployed with Force H at Gibraltar for Atlantic trade
(Note: This ship was the only operational battleship in the Mediterranean as
QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT had been disabled at Alexandria on 19/12/41 by