3rd – At 1030 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN, CO Captain
Llewellyn Vaughan Morgan, DSC, RN, Part of 2nd Battle Squadron, Home Fleet,
escorted by the destroyers FAULKNOR, FORTUNE, ESKIMO and TARTAR arrived at Scapa
Flow from patrol of northern waters.
4th – At 1200 hours Battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and
ROYAL OAK (Flag CinC Rear Admiral H E C Blagrove) departed Scapa Flow, escorted
by destroyers BROKE, WANDERER and WHITEWALL for patrol in the North Sea.
At 1945 hours in position 59-23N, 00-11W the destroyer WANDERER attacked a
submarine contact that proved to be non-sub.
5th – at 1128 hours WANDERER rejoined the screen.
6th – At 1330 hours the destroyers FORESIGHT, FORESTER
and FURY joined the screen from Scapa.
At 1709 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN, ROYAL OAK, BROKE, FORESIGHT, FORESTER, FURY,
WANDERER and WHITEWALL arrived back at Scapa.
23rd – At 2330 hours the ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by
destroyers ESK and EXPRESS sailed from Scapa for Portsmouth.
24th – At 1750 hours when approximately 25 miles off
the north coast of Ireland the destroyers attacked a submarine that had been
sighted on the far side of a group of fishing boats. The submarine dived and a
DC attack kept it down until the ROYAL SOVEREIGN was clear.
26th – At 1109 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
ESK and EXPRESS arrived at Portsmouth, where ROYAL SOVEREIGN was taken in hand
for a refit.
It had been planned to give the ROYAL SOVEREIGN a full modernisation, similar to
that received by the ROYAL OAK. However with the outbreak of war the
modernisation was postponed indefinitely and she received a short refit that
addressed only urgent matters to enable her to remain operational.
At Portsmouth undergoing refit. It was decided to fit
ROYAL SOVEREIGN with degaussing cables, which necessitated her going to Plymouth
for the fitting to be carried out at Devonport, where she would also complete
6th – At 1730 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN was moved out of
Portsmouth Harbour into Spithead.
7th – At 0042 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by
destroyers SALADIN and SCIMITAR sailed from Spithead for Plymouth.
At 1240 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers SALADIN and SCIMITAR arrived in
18th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN went into the floating dock
where the degaussing cables were installed.
Under refit at Devonport.
Under refit at Devonport.
15th – At Devonport where her new CO, Captain Humphrey
Benson Jacomb RN joined.
18th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN was visited by His Majesty King
1 9 4 0
At Devonport where Rear Admiral S. S. Bonham-Carter
hoisted his flag as Rear Admiral 3rd Battle Squadron.
3rd – Moved out of the dockyard and moored in the
Tamar and commenced re-ammunitioning.
7th – At 0400 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by
destroyers WITCH and WIVERN sailed from Plymouth for Portsmouth. En route thick
fog was encountered so they cruised off Portland Bill until Portsmouth was
8th – At 1200 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
WITCH and WIVERN arrived at Portsmouth and went alongside the Pitch House Jetty
where she embarked £5M of gold bullion.
14th – At 1200 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by
destroyers ACHATES, ARROW and ANTHONY sailed from Portsmouth for Halifax Nova
15th – At 1640 hours the destroyers WINDSOR, VISCOUNT
and VANQUISHER joined and the destroyers ACHATES, ARROW and ANTHONY detached for
16th – At 1200 hours in approximate position 50N, 10W
the destroyers WINDSOR, VISCOUNT and VANQUISHER detached and ROYAL SOVEREIGN
proceeded alone across the Atlantic.
23rd – At 0730 hours in approximate position 44-30N,
61W, ROYAL SOVEREIGN was joined by the destroyers HMCS OTTAWA and SAGUENAY.
At 1800 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers HMCS OTTAWA and SAGUENAY arrived at
Halifax, where ROYAL SOVEREIGN joined the Halifax Escort Force.
31st – At 0800 hours convoy HX 18 escorted by ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the destroyers HMCS SAGUENAY and SKEENA sailed from Halifax.
1st - SAGUENAY and SKEENA detached from HX 18 and
returned to Halifax.
8th – In position 49-17N, 31W, ROYAL SOVEREIGN
detached from convoy HX 18 and set course to return to Halifax.
12th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
22nd - At 1000 hours convoy HX 22 escorted by ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the destroyers HMCS RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA sailed from Halifax.
23rd – RESTIGOUCHE and SKEENA detached from HX 22 and
returned to Halifax.
2nd – At 0800 hours in position 48-10N, 29-10W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN detached from convoy HX 22 and set course to return to Halifax.
8th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
18th - At 0800 hours convoy HX 28 escorted by ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the destroyers HMCS SAGUENAY, SKEENA and OTTAWA sailed from
At 2000 hours the destroyer OTTAWA detached and returned to Halifax.
19th – At 1800 hours the destroyers RESTIGOUCHE and
SKEENA detached and returned to Halifax.
27th – At 1800 hours in position 50-30N, 24-30W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN detached from convoy HX 28 and set course to return to Halifax.
2nd - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
10th – At 0800 hours convoy HX 34 escorted by ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the destroyers HMCS SAGUENAY, RESTIGOUCHE and OTTAWA sailed from
11th - SAGUENAY, RESTIGOUCHE and OTTAWA detached and
returned to Halifax.
20th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN received a signal from the
Admiralty ordering her to detach from convoy HX 34 and proceed to Gibraltar at
her best speed to join the Mediterranean Fleet.
At 0415 hours in position 48-52N, 23-36W, ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached from convoy
HX 34 and set course for Gibraltar.
(This deployment was in response to the
deteriorating situation in Europe. Germany had invaded Norway and Italy was
thought to be considering entering the war against Britain and France. The
Admiralty therefore decided to reinforce the Mediterranean Fleet)
23rd – At 0300 hours off the Straits of Gibraltar
ROYAL SOVEREIGN RVed with the destroyers KEPPEL and WATCHMAN.
At 0800 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN, KEPPEL and WATCHMAN arrived at Gibraltar.
28th – At 1600 hours the battleships MALAYA and ROYAL
SOVEREIGN escorted by destroyers VELOX, WATCHMAN and HMAS VENDETTA and WATERHEN
sailed from Gibraltar for Alexandria.
29th – Off Algiers the British Force was joined by the
French battleships LORRAINE, BRETAGNE and PROVENCE from Algiers, the heavy
cruisers TOURVILLE and DUQUESNE, light cruiser DUGUAY TROUIN and destroyers
LION, LYNX and FORBIN from Mers el Kebir.
30th - Off Bizerte the destroyers HMAS STUART and
VAMPIRE joined. Later in the Sicilian Channel the light cruiser ORION and the
destroyers DECOY and DEFENDER joined the allied Force from Malta.
1st – Off Malta the destroyers VELOX and WATCHMAN
detached for Malta.
3rd – At 1820 hours the battleships MALAYA and ROYAL
SOVEREIGN the light cruiser ORION and destroyers DECOY and DEFENDER and HMAS
STUART, VAMPIRE, VENDETTA and WATERHEN together with the French Force arrived at
On arrival at Alexandria the ROYAL SOVEREIGN joined the Mediterranean Fleet.
5th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Alexandria to carry
out exercises off the port.
Returned to Alexandria later in the day.
10th - At 1645 hours, the Italian Minister for Foreign
Affairs informed the British Ambassador in Rome that at one minute past midnight
on the 11th, a state of war would exist between Italy and the United Kingdom.
26th – At 2000 hours battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and
RAMILLIES of Force C, sailed from Alexandria to RV with the remainder of Force
C, comprising aircraft carrier EAGLE and destroyers HYPERION, HOSTILE, HASTY,
HEREWARD, HAVOCK, HERO, IMPERIAL and ILEX who had sailed at 1700 hours on
(Operation BQ was a plan for a British and French Force to bombard Augusta and
raid in the Messina area. However, at 2153 hours the operation was cancelled due
to the French Armistice)
27th – Force C arrived back at Alexandria.
7th - The Mediterranean Fleet
sailed from Alexandria to cover passage of Convoys MF1 (Fast 13 knots) and MS1
(Slow 9 knots) from Malta. (Operation MA 5). For the Operation the Fleet was
divided into three sections, forces A, B & C.
At 1800 hours Force C, comprising battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN (Flag Rear Admiral
H. D. Pridham Wipple, BS.1) and MALAYA, aircraft carrier EAGLE, and destroyers
HASTY, HYPERION, ILEX, VOYAGER, VAMPIRE, HOSTILE, JUNO, JANUS, DEFENDER and
DAINTY sailed from Alexandria on Operation MA 5.
(Outside the harbour Force C was sighted and reported
by a group of eleven S.81 bombers of the 39th Stormo, who were on a
bombing attack of Alexandria.
At approximately 0130 hours the Italian Submarine BEILUL,
in position 32-40N, 28-10E, sighted Force B, which
comprised WARSPITE and destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK, HERO,
HEREWARD and DECOY and reported her sighting to
Supermarina. So the Italians were well aware that the Mediterranean Fleet was
8th - At 0800 hours 200 miles
east of Malta HM Submarine PHOENIX sighted and reported the Italian Fleet as
being 180 miles east of Malta. Resultant of this report a Sunderland of 228 Sqd.
was dispatched from Malta to locate and shadow the Italians.
The Mediterranean Fleet proceeded in a generally NW direction.
(The Italian Fleet had sailed from Taranto at
1410/7/7/40 to cover a Naples to Benghazi convoy; comprising the troopship
SS ESPERIA 11,398grt and transports SS CALITEA 4013grt, transports MV MARCO
FOSCARINI 6405grt and MV VETTOR PISANI 6339grt escorted by Italian torpedo
boats ORSA, PEGASO, PROCIONE, and ORIONE of the 4th Torpedo Boat Division
departed Naples for Benghazi. The convoy was joined on the 7th by the
transport MV FRANCESCO BARBERO 6343grt and torpedo boats ABBA and PILO from
At 0950 hours and for the rest of the day the fleet
was under air attacks from a total of 126 high level bombers. WARSPITE and EAGLE
were generally selected as the main targets, but no hits were achieved on either
At 1600 hours the cruiser GLOUCESTER received a direct hit on her bridge.
At 1515 hours the Sunderland from Malta 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.
9th - At daylight WARSPITE
with Force B was 60 miles west of Sapientza LH, SW Greece, with Force A the 4
light cruisers of Vice Admiral Tovey’s 7th CS ahead and Force C astern. Air
reconnaissance placed the Italian Fleet 145 miles ahead.
At 1200 hours, when 90 miles east of the Italian Fleet,
Cunningham in WARSPITE decided to proceed at WARSPITE’s best speed of 24 knots,
leaving MALAYA and ROYAL SOVEREIGN behind. Both battleships followed after
Cunningham at their best speed. MALAYA being slightly faster than ROYAL
SOVEREIGN overtook her and left ROYAL SOVEREIGN astern. The ROYAL SOVEREIGN was
pushed to the limit by her engine room staff but they were unable to produce
sufficient steam from her tired boilers to achieve anymore than 19 knots,
therefore she failed to get into the action.
At 1448 hours off Punta Stilo ORION sighted the Italian Fleet, but the first
sighting report was made by NEPTUNE at 1514 hours.
At 1517 hours the Italian Fleet opened fire at 23500 yards, concentrating on the
4 cruisers of the 7th CS, thus commenced what became know as the Battle of Punta
Stilo or the Action off Calabria.
Twice during the action the WARSPITE changed course to allow the slower MALAYA
and ROYAL SOVEREIGN to catch up, but neither battleship got within range,
therefore they took no part in the battle.
By 1700 hours the enemy was no longer in sight and WARSPITE was within 25 miles
of the Calabrian coast. The Fleet turned south for Malta under high level
bombing attacks from Italian SM 79’s of 49 Squadriglia,
88 Gruppo, 32 Stormo BT, from Decimomannu airfield,
Sardinia. No hits were scored but there were several near misses.
10th – At 2030 hours off
Malta, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and the destroyers NUBIAN, MOHAWK
and JANUS were detached to refuel at Malta.
11th – At 1000 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and the
destroyers HERO and HEREWARD rejoined the Fleet. Following which the
Mediterranean Fleet now consisting of WARSPITE, MALAYA, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, EAGLE,
GLOUCESTER, DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO, HOSTILE, HYPERION and ILEX
set course for Alexandria. En route covering slow convoy MS1 (MS1 had sailed
from Malta early on 10/7/40 and carried mainly naval stores and equipment that
was urgently required at Alexandria )
14th – At 0830 hours battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and
MALAYA, aircraft carrier EAGLE, light cruiser GLOUCESTER, and destroyers HASTY,
HYPERION, ILEX, HOSTILE, DEFENDER, DAINTY, HERO and HEREWARD arrived back at
31st – At 1420 hours battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and
MALAYA, aircraft carrier EAGLE, with destroyers JERVIS, HERO, HASTY, HEREWARD,
IMPERIAL, ILEX, HOSTILE and VENDETTA departed Alexandria as Force B, to carry
out gunnery practices. On completion of gunnery practice Force B set course for
south west Crete, where it was intended that they would cruise
off Gavdos Island in the hope that the
Force would be sighted by the Italians and create a diversion for Operation
(Operation HURRY was an operation to deliver 12
Hurricanes to Malta. These were carried by ARGUS who had arrived at
Gibraltar on 30/7/40 and pass reinforcements through the Mediterranean for
the Mediterranean Fleet)
At 2200 hours MALAYA developed condenser problems,
this caused the abandonment of the diversion plan and the Force set course for
1st – At 1100 hours Force B arrived back at
11th – At 1530 hours ROYAL
SOVEREIGN escorted by destroyers DAINTY, DEFENDER and DECOY departed Alexandria
for Port Said.
12th – At 0800 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
DAINTY, DEFENDER and DECOY arrived at Port Said. They then proceeded to pass
through the Suez canal.
At 2300 hours at the southern exit of the canal course was set for Aden.
14th – At 2355 hours in approximate position 19N, 39E
the Force was sighted by the Italian submarine GUGLIELMO FERRARIS who then
unsuccessfully attacked with torpedoes.
16th – At 1730 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
DAINTY, DEFENDER and DECOY arrived at Aden. On arrival at Aden ROYAL SOVEREIGN
had only one of her 18 boilers operational.
Her engine room staff then set to work using the limited facilities available at
Aden to get at least half of her boilers operational.
29th – At 1500 hours ROYAL
SOVEREIGN sailed from Aden for Durban.
Steaming south through the Indian Ocean en route to
15th – At 1400 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at
Durban. The average speed had been 8 knots, but on occasions her speed had
fallen off to 3 knots. The conditions in the boiler and engine rooms had been a
ROYAL SOVEREIGN went straight into dry dock for repairs and a refit.
At Durban under repair and refit.
15th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Durban bond for
Gibraltar calling en route at Cape Town and Freetown.
Sailing north through the South Atlantic en route for
18th – At 1200 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at
On arrival at Gibraltar ROYAL SOVEREIGN was taken in hand for repairs
1st - Battleship ROYAL
SOVEREIGN escorted by destroyers JAGUAR and KELVIN departed Gibraltar for
2nd - In position 36-02N, 9-42W, KELVIN attacked a
3rd – The destroyers JAGUAR and KELVIN detached and
returned to Gibraltar.
9th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Halifax and joined
the Halifax Escort Force.
16th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed
from Halifax to join convoy SC 16 , which had sailed from Halifax on 15/12/40.
Joined convoy as Ocean escort in approximate position
24th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached from convoy SC 16 and
returned to Halifax.
28th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Halifax
1 9 4 1
15th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN,
destroyer HMCS RESTIGOUCHE and corvette HMCS ARROWHEAD
sailed from Halifax escorting convoy HX 103.
16th - RESTIGOUCHE and ARROWHEAD detached and returned
18th – Convoy HX 103 RVed with convoy BHX 103 that had
departed Bermuda on the 13/1/41. The combined convoy proceed as HX 103 with
ROYAL SOVEREIGN as Ocean escort.
26th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached
from convoy HX 103 and returned to Halifax.
30th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Halifax
17th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN and AMC
WOLFE sailed from Halifax escorting troop convoy TC 09
of five troopships with 5816 Canadian Troops embarked.
18th – AMC WOLFE detached from TC 09 and returned to
23rd – At 1200 hours in approximate position 55N, 30W,
the light cruiser EDINBURGH joined convoy TC 09, following which ROYAL SOVEREIGN
detached and returned to Halifax.
27th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived
9th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed
from Halifax to join convoy HX 113. Convoy HX 113 had sailed from Halifax on
15th – At 1130 hours in approximate position 50N, 35W,
ROYAL SOVEREIGN RVed with convoy HX 113 and its escort of AMC
ALAUNIA and corvettes BITTERSWEET and FENNEL.
16th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN and
ALAUNIA detached from convoy HX 113.
At 1800 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN RVed with convoy HX 114 and
its escort of battleship RODNEY and AMC CHITRAL.
17th –In the morning ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached from HX
114 and returned to Halifax.
21st - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Halifax.
22nd – At 0910 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from
Halifax to convoy HX 116. Convoy HX 116 had sailed from Halifax on 21/3/41.
23rd – At 1200 hours in position 42-28N, 55-53W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN RVed with convoy HX 116 and its escort of AMC ASCANIA.
31st – At 2300 hours in position 58N, 35-30W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN detached from convoy HX 116 and returned to Halifax.
5th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
11th – At 1030 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from
Halifax to RV with convoy HX 120. Convoy HX 120 had sailed from Halifax on
10/4/41. [convoy HX 120 transported the first priority equipment supplied under
12th – At 1200 hours in position 42-44N, 56-16W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the AMC LACONIA RVed with convoy HX 120.
13th – At 1200 hours in approximate position 43-30N,
51W, ROYAL SOVEREIGN joined the escort of convoy SC 28. Convoy SC 28 had sailed
from Halifax on 9/4/41 and at the time was very close to convoy HX 120.
19th – At 1500 hours the two convoy HX 120 and SC 28
which had been close now commenced to form one convoy with the HX 120 section
20th – At 2000 hours in position 55-44N, 36-37W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN detached from the combined convoy and returned to Halifax.
25th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
30th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Halifax to join
convoy HX 124 that had sailed earlier in the day from Halifax.
9th – In approximate position 55N, 40W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN detached from convoy HX 124 and returned to Halifax.
14th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Halifax.
22nd - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Halifax for Norfolk
24th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Norfolk Navy Yard,
Virginia, USA. Where she was taken in had for maintenance and improvements to
her close range anti-aircraft weapons and fire control.
At Norfolk Navy Yard. Whilst at Norfolk she landed her
two quad 0.5" machine guns and had ten single 20mm Oerlikons fitted.
23rd – ROYAL: SOVEREIGN sailed from Norfolk Navy Yard
27th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Bermuda.
28th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Bermuda and headed
7th – In approximate position 43-30N, 20W, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN RVed with and joined the aircraft carrier FURIOUS and troopships SS
SCYTHIA 1971grt and SS CAMERONIA 16297grt, with 188 prisoners of war embarked,
escorted by the light cruiser HERMIONE and destroyers the LANCE and LEGION. The
FURIOUS force had sailed from Gibraltar on 4/7/41 and were bound for the Clyde.
11th – The force was joined by the destroyer ORP
12th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN, FURIOUS, HERMIONE, LANCE,
LEGION and PIORUN with SCYTHIA and CAMERONIA arrived in the Clyde.
ROYAL SOVEREIGN was taken hand for a refit at Greenock
and further enhancement of her close range weapons. During this refit she was
also fitted with her first Radar fits, these were: Type 284 fire control radar
was fitted for the 15"armament; Type 285 forward and aft for secondary armament.
A modified RAF radar outfit Type 286 was also installed for aircraft warning;
Type 273 centimetric radar fitted on the mainmast for surface warning. A funnel
cap was also fitted.
At Greenock under refit.
(On the 22/9/41in response to Japanese
movements in the Far East, particularly the occupation of Saigon and Camranh
Bay in Vichy Indo-China, the Admiralty informed the US Naval Authorities
that the battleships RAMILLIES, RESOLUTION and ROYAL SOVEREIGN should be
available for deployment within the Eastern Theatre by the end of December)
26th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN received a new CO; he was
Captain Reginald Henry Portal DSC, RN.
15th – At 1330 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the
destroyers BEDOUIN and ANTHONY departed the Clyde for Scapa Flow.
16th – At 1500 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the
destroyers ORIBI and ANTHONY arrived at Scapa to commence working up exercises.
25th – At 0900 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by
destroyers ANTELOPE and DULVERTON, departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde having
completed working up exercises.
26th – At 1115 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
ANTELOPE and DULVERTON arrived in the Clyde. ROYAL SOVEREIGN then proceeded to
Greenock where she was docked for repairs.
12th – At 1500 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
FURY, FORESTER and FORESIGHT departed the Clyde for Milford Haven. ROYAL
SOVEREIGN was to be the Ocean escort for convoy WS 12Z which had sailed from the
Clyde earlier in the day. Because of her limited endurance the ROYAL SOVEREIGN
was routed via Milford Haven for refuelling then to pass south of Ireland and to
RV with the convoy north of the Azores.
13th – At 1000 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
FURY, FORESTER and FORESIGHT arrived at Milford Haven where they topped up their
At 1700 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers FURY, FORESTER and FORESIGHT sailed
from Milford Haven to RV with convoy WS 12Z.
16th – At 1900 hours in approximate position 44-30N,
23-30W, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers FURY, FORESTER and FORESIGHT RVed with
and joined convoy WS 12Z and its escort of the destroyers MAORI, DULVERTON and
17th – At 1600 hours approximately 220 miles north of
the Azores the destroyer MAORI detached for Gibraltar.
At 1900 hours the destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD detached to refuel at Ponta
19th – During the morning in position 34-05N, 25-50W,
the destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD rejoined, following which the destroyers
FURY, FORESTER and FORESIGHT detached to refuel from the oiler RFA DINGLEDALE
that had been prepositioned for this purpose. It had been intended that ROYAL
SOVEREIGN would also refuel from the DINGLEDALE but Captain Portal decided that
he could make Freetown without refuelling.
21st – At 1800 hours the destroyers VIMY and VELOX
from Freetown joined the convoy escort.
22nd – In the morning in approximate position 15-30N,
21W, the corvette CLOVER from Freetown joined the convoy escort.
23rd – At 1500 hours the convoy was split into fast
and slow sections. ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers DULVERTON, SOUTHWOLD and VELOX
proceeded at 16 knots with the fast section.
24th – At 1520 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and destroyers
DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD entered Freetown ahead of the fast section.
28th – At 1500 hours convoy WS 12Z escorted by ROYAL
SOVEREIGN, destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD, the sloop MILFORD and corvettes
VERBENA and HOLLYHOCK sailed from Freetown for Pointe Noire in French Equatorial
2nd – At 2100 hours south of Cape Palmas ROYAL
SOVEREIGN and the destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD detached from convoy WS 12Z
and proceeded independently to Pointe Noire.
5th – At 0745 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN anchored off
Pointe Noire. Here the tanker MV BULLMOUTH 7519grt, who been socially positioned
for this purpose, came alongside and refuelled ROYAL SOVEREIGN, the destroyers
were refuelled simultaneously from the tankers other side.
At 2030 hours with refuelling complete ROYAL SOVEREIGN, DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD
sailed to RV with convoy WS 12Z that was waiting their return offshore.
6th – At 0600 hours in approximate position 5-15S,
10-35E, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD rejoined convoy WS 12Z.
At 0630 hours the sloop MILFORD and corvettes VERBENA and HOLLYHOCK detached
from the convoy and proceeded to Pointe Noire to refuel from the BELLMOUTH.
The convoy now proceeded at a speed sufficient for steerageway in a southerly
direction awaiting the return of the escorts.
7th – At 0630 hours in approximate position 5-44S,
10-45E, MILFORD, VERBENA and HOLLYHOCK rejoined convoy WS 12Z and course was
then set to round the Cape of Good Hope for Durban.
(All the vessels refuelling in the open bay off
Pointe Noire experienced difficulties due to the heavy swell. Also at the
bottom of the rollers there was only 10ft of bottom clearance)
14th – At 0700 hours in approximate position 36S, 17E,
the destroyers DULVERTON and SOUTHWOLD detached to refuel at Simonstown.
15th – At 1400 hours in approximate position 37S, 23E,
the convoy was joined by the corvettes ASTER and MARGUERITE from Simonstown.
At 1430 hours the corvettes VERBENA and HOLLYHOCK detached for Simonstown.
18th – At 0001 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and MILFORD
detached from WS 12Z and proceeded ahead to Durban.
At 0600 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN and MILFORD arrived at Durban.
24th – At 1030 hours convoy WS 12Z formed off Durban
and escorted by the ROYAL SOVEREIGN, set course for the Mozambique Channel.
30th – At 1000 hours in approximate position 4S, 46E,
the light cruiser EMERALD with the US transport MOUNT VERNON joined the convoy.
31st – At 0600 hours in position 1-26S, 48-44E,
EMERALD and the troopships ABBEKERK, AORANGI, MOUNT VERNON and NARKUNDA and the
MT ship SUSSEX detached forming convoy DM 1 for Singapore.
ROYAL SOVEREIGN continued north with the remaining ships of convoy WS 12Z.
At 0900 hours the heavy cruiser CORNWALL, light cruiser COLOMBO and US transport
ORIZABA joined the convoy from Mombasa. At this point the convoy split into two
sections, one for Suez and one for Bombay.
ROYAL SOVEREIGN and CORNWALL with the troopships CAPETOWN CASTLE, EMPRESS OF
JAPAN, DUCHESS OF BEDFORD, INDRAPOERA and ORIZABA and the MT ships DEUCALION,
ADRASTUS, and EMPIRE STAR formed convoy WS 12ZB and set course for Bombay.
At 2330 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached from convoy WS 12ZB and steered for the
1 9 4 2
2nd – At 0600 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at the
Seychelles to refuel.
3rd - At 0800 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN departed the
Seychelles for Mombasa.
6th – At 1000 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at
18th – At 0600 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from
Mombasa and steered south easterly to RV with convoy WS 14.
19th – At 0730 hours in position 8S, 42-30E, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN RVed with convoy WS 14. At this point the convoy split into three
ROYAL SOVEREIGN with six troopships and four MT ships, forming convoy DM 2and
ultimately bound for the Sunda Strait, set course to pass north of the
21st – At 2230 hours north of the Seychelles convoy DM
2 altered course to pass south of Addu Atoll.
26th – At 0900 hours in position 1-12S, 73-11E, the
convoy was joined by the AMC RANCHI. Following which ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached
from DM 2 for Addu Atoll.
At 1130 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Addu Atoll.
1st – ROYAL SOVEREIGN became part of the 3rd Battle
Squadron of the Eastern Fleet.
5th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN and netlayer GUARDIAN departed
Addu Atoll for Trincomalee.
In approximate position 3-15N, 79E, ROYAL SOVEREIGN and GUARDIAN RVed with the
minesweepers HMAS BATHURST and LISMORE who were to provide an escort to
6th - BATHURST suffered engine problems and speed was
reduced to seven knots. ROYAL SOVEREIGN proceeded unescorted at 17 knots to
8th – At 1830 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at
17th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyers HMAS
NIZAM and VAMPIRE sailed from Trincomalee to RV with convoy BM 13.
18th – In approximate position 4N, 82-35E, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE RVed with the eleven troopship convoy BM 13. Convoy
BM 13 had sailed from Bombay on 13/2/42, with seven troopships and on 17/2/42,
south of Ceylon, had RVed with the five troopship convoy JS 3 that had sailed
from Colombo on 16/2/42. The combined convoy known as BM 13 was bound for the
Suda Strait and escorted by the light cruisers GLASGOW, CALEDON, the sloop
FALMOUTH and the minesweeper HMAS BATHURST.
21st – When in approximate position 00-30S, 90-30E
convoy BM 13 was ordered to reverse course and make for Colombo.
24th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE detached
from convoy BM 13 and steered for Trincomalee.
25th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE arrived back
28th – At 2000 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the
destroyers HMAS NIZAM and VAMPIRE sailed from Trincomalee to RV with convoy SU
1st – At 1415 hours in approximate position 5N,
80-30E, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE RVed with the troopship convoy SU 1.
Convoy SU 1 had sailed from Colombo earlier in the day escorted by the heavy
cruiser CORNWALL, AMC HMAS MANOORA, destroyer EXPRESS and corvette HOLLYHOCK and
was bound for Freemantle. Most of the ships in the convoy had been in convoy BM
At 1430 hours HOLLYHOCK detached and returned to Colombo.
3rd – At 1800 hours in approximate position 2S,
86-15E, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE detached from convoy SU 1 and set
course north for Trincomalee.
During the voyage back to Trincomalee ROYAL SOVEREIGN refuelled NIZAM and
VAMPIRE, this operation turned into a disaster due to poor technique causing
lines to snap and hoses breaking.
7th – At 0345 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN, NIZAM and VAMPIRE
arrived back at Trincomalee.
11th – At 0715 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the
destroyers EXPRESS and TENEDOS sailed from Trincomalee to carry out a 15"
practice shoot. On concluding the shoot ROYAL SOVEREIGN and her escort sailed
13th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN, EXPRESS and TENEDOS arrived at
23rd – At 0730 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the
destroyers ARROW and FOXHOUND sailed from Colombo to RV with the battleship
At 1400 hours the destroyer HMAS NORMAN joined and ARROW detached,
At 1630 hours in approximate position 5N, 79-12E, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, FOXHOUND and
NORMAN RVed with RAMILLIES escorted by destroyers GRIFFIN and HNethMS ISAAC
SWEERS who had sailed from Trincomalee.
The combined Force then set course for Addu Atoll.
25th – At 1000 hours the Force arrived off Addu Atoll
where they carried out a practice shoot.
At 1500 hours the Force entered the anchorage to refuel.
28th – The 3rd Battle Squadron comprising the
battleships RESOLUTION (Flag Vice Admiral Sir Algernon Usborne Wills RN, CinC
3rd Battle Squadron) ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES, aircraft carrier
INDOMITABLE, destroyers FORTUNE, FOXHOUND, GRIFFIN, DECOY, HMAS
NAPIER, NORMAN and NIZAM, and HNethMS
ISAAC SWEERS. Sailed from Addu Atoll to carry out fleet
exercises. Part of the exercise was a practice shoot at a moving target towed by
the netlayer GUARDIAN.
On conclusion of the exercises the 3rd Battle Squadron
returned to the anchorage.
(Admiral Somerville had arrived from the UK on
24th March as CinC Eastern Fleet. He took command of a disparate fleet of 29
vessels. He decided to divide his Fleet into a fast division, Force A, and a
slow division, Force B. The ROYAL SOVEREIGN and her sisters were to form
part of Force B)
29th – At 0030 hours the Eastern Fleet units at Addu
Atoll sailed to RV with the battleship WARSPITE (Flag Admiral Somerville) and
the other units of the Eastern Fleet.
31st - At 1600 hours off the south coast of Ceylon the
various elements of the Eastern Fleet RVed at 4-40N 81-00E. The Fleet was then
divided into Force A and Force B.
Force B comprised RESOLUTION, RAMILLIES, REVENGE, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, aircraft
carrier HERMES, light cruisers CALEDON, DRAGON and HNethMS JACOB van HEEMSKERK
and destroyers ARROW, DECOY, FORTUNE, SCOUT, HMAS NORMAN and VAMPIRE and the
HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS.
The Fleet then commenced patrolling off the south of Ceylon, sweeping east
during the day and west during the night.
2nd - (Late in the evening, without any sighting of
the Japanese being reported and with several of his fleet requiring
replenishment, including the R Class battleships, Somerville decided to withdraw
his fleet to Addu Atoll).
At 1300 hours FORTUNE detached to search for survivors from the British
freighter MV GLENSHIEL 9415grt that was sunk by the Japanese submarine I 7 in
position 00-48S, 78-32E.
At 2100 hours the fast group, Force A withdrew first, immediately followed by
Force B, less HERMES and VAMPIRE who went to Trincomalee.
4th - At 1500 hours as Force B arrived at Addu Atoll.
(At 1630 hours a sighting report timed at 1605 hours, was received from Catalina
L of 413 Sqd. RCAF, flown by SL L. J. Birchall, of a large Japanese force
steering north-westward in position 0-40N, 83-10E, 360 miles 155 from Dondra
Head Whilst making the sighting report the Catalina was attacked by 12 Zeros and
5th - At 0700 hours Force B sailed from Addu Atoll
6th - At 0720 hours approximately 150 miles NNE of
Addu Atoll Force A and B combined. Then sailed east.
(At this time Somerville didn’t know where the Japanese Fleet was. But
Somerville was concerned that the Japanese might be heading for Addu Atoll)
At 1115 hours the Fleet altered course to the south east towards the position of
the wreckage reported the previous evening.
At 1800 hours course was reversed to the NE.
7th – At 0200 hours the Fleet altered course to the
At 0428 hours an A.S.V. equipped aircraft located two submarines in positions
2-08N, 75-16E and 2-46N, 75-10E; i.e. to the southward of the course of the
(Somerville considered that this indicated the possibility of an enemy submarine
patrol having been established to cover the eastern approaches to Addu. He
therefore decided to pass through the Veimandu Channel to the west of the
Maldives and make an unexpected approach to Addu Atoll from the west)
At 0700 the Fleet was almost back at the position it had been 24 hours
previously and course of the fleet was altered to 210 degrees.
The Fleet then sailed for Addu Atoll by a circuitous route.
(In the early hours of 7/4/42 the Admiralty
signalled Somerville that their policy of discouraging the Japanese from
entering the Indian Ocean in force had failed and they further realized that
the Eastern Fleet was inferior in all respects to the Japanese Fleet. The R
Class battleships were in this respect considered more of a liability than
an asset due to their slow speed and poor anti-aircraft armament. Therefore
Somerville was given discretion to withdraw them to Africa)
8th - At 1100 hours the Fleet arrived back at Addu
Atoll. Refuelling commenced, Force B being refuelled first.
(At 1517 hours a RAF Catalina made a sighting report of Japanese battleships and
aircraft carrier approximately 600 miles east of Dondra Head. This report came
in whilst Somerville was in conference deciding what action he should pursue. He
decided, with the Admiralty’s approval, that due to the enemy’s size and the
preponderance of numbers and quality of his aircraft, the most important duty
was to keep his Fleet in being. Force B was therefore to be sent to Kilindini
and Force A would go to Bombay)
9th – At 0200 hours Force B now comprising,
RESOLUTION, RAMILLIES, REVENGE, ROYAL SOVEREIGN, CALEDON and destroyers ARROW,
FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, HOTSPUR and ISAAC SWEERS sailed from Addu Atoll for Kilindini.
14th – Force B arrived at Kilindini.
30th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyers
ARROW and the HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS sailed from Kilindini to carry out exercises
off the coast.
On completion of the exercises ROYAL SOVEREIGN, ARROW and ISAAC SWEERS returned
8th – At 1030 hours ROYAL SOVEREIGN the AMC CORFU
escorted by the destroyers ARROW and the HNethMS ISAAC SWEERS sailed from
Kilindini to RV with convoy WS 17.4-02S, 40-55E,
the ROYAL SOVEREIGN force RVed with convoy WS 17 which was escorted by the
battleship REVENGE and light cruiser DAUNTLESS.
At 1600 hours in position
Following the RV the REVENGE detached for Kilindini escorted by the destroyers
ARROW and ISAAC SWEERS.
The convoy then continued in a northerly direction.
At 1900 hours the DAUNTLESS with the troopships ALMANZORA,
NOVA SCOTIA, KHEDIVE ISMAIL, SAMARIA, CAMERONIA and MENDOZA detached for
Course was then set for Bombay.
11th – At 0800 hours in position 05-30N, 50-02E, the
AMC CORFU with the troopships ELISABETHVILLE and GLAUCUS and the MT ships CITY
OF EDINBURGH and CITY OF LINCOLN detached for Aden as convoy WS 17A.
The remainder of the six troopships and four MT ships, now designated convoy WS
17B, continued on course for Bombay escorted by ROYAL SOVEREIGN.
13th – The MT ships BRAZIL, MORMACTIDE and MONTEREY
detached as independents for Karachi.
16th – At 1300 hours the remaining ships of convoy WS
17B arrived at Bombay.
At 1315 hours the ROYAL SOVEREIGN anchored west of Karanja Beacon.
22nd – ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Bombay for
30th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Kilindini.
9th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Kilindini the RV
with convoy CM 29.
11th – In approximate position 3N, 51E, ROYAL
SOVEREIGN RVed with seven troopship convoy CM 29 that had sailed from Durban on
1/7/42 escorted by the heavy cruiser FROBISHER, corvette FRITILLARY and the
ROYAL SOVEREIGN took over as escort and FROBISHER, FRITILLARY and GUARDIAN
14th – In approximate position convoy CM 29 was joined
by the AMC CORFU, following which ROYAL SOVEREIGN detached and returned to
18th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived back at Kilindini.
27th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyer
DUNCAN sailed from Kilindini for Durban.
2nd – ROYAL SOVEREIGN and DUNCAN arrived at Durban.
12th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyer
DUNCAN sailed from Durban for Cape Town.
15th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN and DUNCAN arrived at Cape
24th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyer
DUNCAN sailed from Cape Town for Saint Helena.
29th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN and DUNCAN arrived at Saint
30th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN escorted by the destroyer
DUNCAN sailed from Saint Helena for Freetown.
5th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN and DUNCAN arrived at Freetown.
Whilst at Freetown her new CO, Captain Desmond Nevill Cooper Tufnell DSC, RN,
7th - ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed from Freetown with sealed
orders. Once at sea the orders were opened and instructed ROYAL SOVEREIGN to
proceed to Philadelphia Navy Yard via Bermuda.
18th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at Bermuda.
19th – ROYAL SOVEREIGN in company with two damaged
destroyers and the American tanker SS BULKOIL (the BULKOIL was returning to the
USA having been on load to the UK) sailed from Bermuda for Philadelphia Navy
21st – ROYAL SOVEREIGN arrived at the Philadelphia
Navy Yard and was taken in hand for repair and upgrading of her armour
protection and anti-aircraft weapons. Whilst at Philadelphia:
She was fitted with addition areas of 2in thick
non-cemented armour plate; this was the equivalent of British Class B armour
plate, over her magazines. This was to give additional protection from bombs
and plunging fire.
Landed her two forward 6in guns.
After conning tower was removed.
Watertight integrity was improved; damage control and fire fighting systems
New water distillation equipment was fitted.
Two Mirlees Bickerton auxiliary diesels were replaced by two General Motors
14 single and 16 twin 20mm Oerlikons were fitted.
Shell and cordite handling gear from the magazines to the 15in turrets was
found to be badly worn and in need of replacement but the Americans refused
to carry out this work.
The lead based paint was chipped off and she was repainted with zinc oxide
During the period of the works, two thirds of her crew
were sent back to the UK for redrafting and she was reduced to care and
November and December
At Philadelphia Navy Yard
Whilst at Philadelphia, command of ROYAL SOVEREIGN was
passed to her Commander, Commander Peter Skelton RN.
1 9 4 3
January to October
At Philadelphia Navy Yard
At the end of her refit ROYAL SOVEREIGN sailed to
Norfolk Navy Base from where she carried out trials and working up in Chesapeake
When the time came for ROYAL SOVEREIGN to return to
the UK she was loaded with a range of stores including mines and torpedoes. She
also embarked a party of children who were being returned to the UK having been
evacuated to the USA earlier in the war; together with a party of American news
ROYAL SOVEREIGN returned via Argentia, Newfoundland,
she then crossed the Atlantic arriving in the Clyde where she disembarked her
passengers at Greenock.
Whilst at Greenock her new CO, Captain (retired)
Sydney Hopkins RN, took command.
ROYAL SOVEREIGN then sailed round to Rosyth where she
off loaded her stores.
1 9 4 4
The Admiralty commissioned a report on the condition
of ROYAL SOVEREIGN to see if she would be suitable for bombardment duties during
the Normandy Invasion which was at that point of time in the planning stage. The
report identified major defects in the shell and cordite handling gear for the
main armament which the Admiralty decided not to repair so she was not included
in the invasion bombardment plan.
At Rosyth where she was reduced to care and