1 9 3 9
September Deployed with Home Fleet units for
anti-submarine operations and searches for commerce
blockade runners in NW Approaches.
October Took part in unsuccessful
search for German battleship GNEISENAU and cruiser KOLN north
after report of their passage into Atlantic for attacks on shipping.
November Atlantic deployment for trade
defence in continuation.
(For details of naval activities in
Home waters during 1939 see Naval Staff History and ENGAGE
THE ENEMY MORE
CLOSELY by C Barnett.)
from Halifax, NS with HM Battlecruiser REPULSE to join HM
Battleship WARSPITE in search for
German battleship SCHARNHORST
sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI.
When search abandoned returned to
Halifax with HMS REPULSE and
Atlantic convoy defence duties,.
December Escorted military convoy TC1
carrying Canadian troops from Halifax to UK
Battleship RESOLUTION, HMS REPULSE and HM Cruiser EMERALD.
1 9 4 0
January Atlantic deployment in
March Under refit at Devonport.
April Passage to Scapa Flow to
rejoin Home Fleet.
with HM Battleship WARSPITE in search for German warships SCHARNHORST and
the obvious need for protection against air attacks after the German invasion
Norway, no fighter aircraft were
an air strike against warships and shipping at Trondheim
where German cruiser HIPPER
HIPPER had sailed and torpedo attacks on other ships failed.)
bombing attacks and photo reconnaissance flights over Narvik prior to entry of
WARSPITE into Fjord, planned for 13th
ship was the only aircraft carrier available for Fleet defence, support of
ashore and provision of air cover for passage of incoming convoys.)
13th Provided anti-submarine air cover off Narvik during 2nd
Battle of Narvik.
18th Under air attacks at Tromso and
sustained damage by Near Miss.
Damage to shafts and machinery reduced speed to 20 knots.
Only half of embarked
aircraft were serviceable.)
by HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and GLORIOUS.
“Well Done “ signal received from Prime Minister for services off Norway as the
27th Passage to Scapa Flow.
details of the disastrous operations off Norway see NARVIK by D Macintyre,
CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton, THE
DOOMED EXPEDITION by D Adams and
History. (HMSO – 2001).)
in hand for repair in Clyde shipyard.
duties with Home Fleet and deployed for aircraft delivery to Norway,
with HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS GLORIOUS for defence of Fleet units off Norway
support of military operations.
21st Landed GLADIATOR aircraft to operate from shore.
Took passage to
return to Scapa Flow.
June Taken in hand for refit.
July Under refit
August On completion carried out post refit trials and
took passage to rejoin the Home Fleet.
September Deployed with Home Fleet units
during anti-shipping operations off coast of Norway.
November Home Fleet duties in continuation.
December Embarked aircraft for transfer to
the Middle East from Takoradi .
military convoy WS5A with HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS during passage in NW
from Clyde to Freetown.
Crated aircraft in transit were carried on flight decks).
HMS ARGUS was also carrying un-crated
RAF aircraft for delivery.
Ocean Escort was provided by HM
Cruiser NAIAD relieved by HM Cruisers BERWICK. DUNEDIN, BONAVENTURE and
Under threat of
attack by German cruiser HIPPER.
ships attacked by HIPPER
Engaged by HMS
BERWICK and HMS BONAVENTURE.
HIPPER withdrew due to fear of
torpedo attack after damaging ships in WS5A.
Convoy scattered and counter attack
by unarmed carrier aircraft was delayed and when launched
to find enemy ship.
operations by carriers cancelled by Admiralty.
(For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY
MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History.)
1 9 4 1
arrived at Freetown after re-assembly.
passage to Takoradi to disembark aircraft.
February Return passage to rejoin Home
March Home Fleet deployment in continuation.
for passage to Gibraltar.
convoy for passage to Gibraltar.
included troopship mv STRATHMORE”
April Deployed to carry aircraft to Gibraltar for
transfer to HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL
operations WINCH and DUNLOP after launch in western Mediterranean
from HMS ARK
8th Damaged by bomb in air-raid on
Belfast, one man killed (See Addendum for fuller account)
Embarked HURRICANE aircraft for delivery to
Gibraltar and took passage with HM Cruiser
LONDON as escort.
HMS ARK ROYAL off Gibraltar and passed into Mediterranean.
Cover for delivery was provided by HM
Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD and
LONDON, screened by HM Destroyers
FAULKNOR, FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FURY,
HESPERUS and BRILLIANT (Operation
Destroyers HARVESTER, WRESTLER and FEARLESS were also deployed as
aircraft for flight to Malta and took passage to Gibraltar.
Passage to UK to
embark aircraft for further delivery.
HURRICANE aircraft and took passage to Gibraltar.
June Arrived at Gibraltar.
from Gibraltar as part of Group 1 with HMS RENOWN, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR,
FORESIGHT, FORESTER and FOXHOUND
aircraft for flight to Malta and returned to Gibraltar
ARK ROYAL also made a delivery as part of ROCKET and formed Group 2 with
HMS SHEFFIELD, HMS
FEARLESS and HMS FEARLESS as screen.)
Passage to UK to
collect aircraft for further delivery of aircraft to Malta.
to Gibraltar escorted by HM Destroyers LANCE and LEGION
at Gibraltar and transferred some HURRICANE aircraft to HM Aircraft Carrier ARK
ROYAL for delivery after launch in
western Mediterranean. (Operation RAILWAY Phase One)
crated aircraft for delivery as Phase two of RAILWAY.
to launch area with HM Cruiser HERMIONE, screened by HM Destroyers FEARLESS,
FOXHOUND and LEGION
as Group A.
Force B comprising HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL
HM Destroyers FAULKNOR FURY, FORESTER and LANCE were
concurrently for launch operation by HMS ARK ROYAL which carried
launch operation the second aircraft struck part of ships structure
overboard. Fuel tank caught fire causing 13 casualties, nine
Launch operation resumed when fire
HURRICANE and six BLENHEIM aircraft arrived in Malta.)
Took return passage to Gibraltar.
at Gibraltar and later sailed for Scapa Flow to resume duties with Home Fleet.
from Scapa Flow for Iceland with HM Cruiser ADVENTURE and HM Aircraft Carrier
VICTORIOUS escorted by ships of 1st
Cruiser Squadron and Fleet destroyers.
28th Detached with HMS ADVENTURE for passage to Archangel.
ADVENTURE was carrying mines for use by Soviet Fleet.)
out series of air strikes at Petsamo.
Operation EF – This also included air attacks on Kirkenes
by HMS VICTORIOUS.
Attacks on Petsamo
were unsatisfactory owing to early detection and
aircraft were lost. See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA.
August Return passage to Scapa Flow.
Nominated for further Malta aircraft
delivery duties and embarked aircraft.
military convoy WS11 in Clyde with HMS REPULSE and HM
Cruiser SHEFFIELD for Atlantic
from WS11 for passage to Gibraltar.
at Gibraltar during Phase I of Operation STATUS.
Operation STATUS I was an aircraft delivery by HMS ARK ROYAL covered by HM
and destroyers of FORCE H.
as part of Force A with HMS HERMIONE, HM Destroyers LEGION, FORESTER
FORESIGHT in Western Mediterranean.
Cover was provided by Force B
comprising HM Battleship NELSON, HMS ARK ROYAL,
HM Destroyers ZULU,
GURKHA. LANCE and LIVELY.
aircraft and returned to Gibraltar with Force A.
Passage to UK to
resume Home Fleet duties. Nominated for refit in USA.
aircraft for delivery to Jamaica to provide anti-submarine air facilities in
Passage to Jamaica.
aircraft and took passage to USA for refit.
refit as US Navy Yard, Philadelphia.
to (Note: Refit work included preparations for fitting Fire-control radar
285 for fire control of main armament by both Gunnery Directors.
1 9 4 2
3rd On completion took passage to Bermuda.
6th Sailed from
Bermuda and joined eastbound convoy.
air cover during passage with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers ARCHER and AVENGER
which were in transit to UK after build in US shipyards.
for this convoy was provided by US Navy for part of passage.
15th Detached on
arrival of convoy in Home waters.
Taken in hand for completion of refit work including units of radar
outfits not undertaken in USA.
aircraft and prepared for operational service in Home Fleet.
Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.
for detached service in support of Malta relief convoy.
PEDESTAL - For details of this operation see ENGAGE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR THE
by D MacIntyre, PEDESTAL by P Smith and
Naval Staff History.)
2nd Joined convoy WS21S in Clyde with
detached ships from Home Fleet as escort during passage in
5th Detached with
other aircraft carriers to take part in exercises.
6th Joined HM Aircraft Carriers
VICTORIOUS, INDOMITABLE, EAGLE and ARGUS in Atlantic for
multi-carrier Aircraft Direction and Control exercises (Exercise
(Note: This was preparation for defence of planned Malta
Relief (Operation PEDESTAL)
details see MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman)
8th On completion of
BERSERK rejoined WS21S for further exercises and
detached to refuel at Gibraltar.
11th Rejoined convoy during passage in
attack by Italian submarine UARSCIEK which failed.
Sustained slight damage in collision with HMS VICTORIOUS.
from WS21S escorted by HM Destroyers LAFOREY and LOOKOUT to take passage to
Launched aircraft for delivery to Malta (Operation BELLOWS).
to Gibraltar escorted by HM Destroyers KEPPEL, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS,
WOLVERINE and WRESTLER.
12th Under attack by
Italian submarine DAGABUR which was sunk by HMS WOLVERINE.
HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair Volume 2.)
16th Sailed from Gibraltar for aircraft
delivery escorted by HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS with screen of 12
destroyers (Operation BARITONE).
18th Returned to
Gibraltar with same ships after launching aircraft.
Passage to UK from Gibraltar to resume Home Fleet duties.
with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.
Nominated for support of planned allied landings in North Africa.
TORCH - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY,
HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR
and Naval Staff History.)
aircraft for delivery to Malta.
20th Took passage to
21st Joined HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK to
provide cover for passage of military convoys to Gibraltar.
28th Sailed from Gibraltar escorted by HM
Cruisers CHARYBDIS and
HM Destroyers WESTCOTT, WISHART, COWDRAY, BRAMHAM, ACHATES,
VANOC, VERITY and Polish ORP BLYSKAWICA for aircraft delivery.
30th Returned to
Gibraltar with escort.
for service in Central Task Force at Gibraltar for TORCH support.
(Note: During this period Type 286 radar was fitted to
air and surface warning. See above reference. This equipment had a rotating aerial but
outfit modified for shipboard use.).
8th Deployed with HMS
ARGUS in Central Task Force covering landings at
attacks by U565 and U431 which were repelled by escort.
HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR.)
Launched air attacks on airfields which destroyed 47 Vichy French
in Mediterranean for support of shore operations.
1 9 4 3
in western Mediterranean.
release from detached service returned to UK with HMS RENOWN and HM Aircraft Carrier
with Home Fleet to provide cover for Fleet units and based in
for deployments to intercept any break out by German battleship SCHARNHORST
with HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK and HM Destroyer ORWELL for reinforcement
of Garrison at Spitzbergen.
FH - Part of GEARBOX Series.)
(Note: Radar Type 286P had been replaced by Type 291, the RN
equipment was not suitable for control of aircraft
Fleet duties in continuation.
8th Took part in offensive sweep off
Norwegian coast with HM Battleships DUKE OF YORK, ANSON
and MALAYA, screened by cruisers and destroyers of Home
Fleet as a diversion during allied
landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).
(Note: Home Fleet Operation
Home Fleet at Scapa Flow on completion.
1 9 4 4
Fleet deployment in continuation.
part in Home Fleet operation off Norway for attacks on shipping and coastal
24th Launched air attacks with cover from HMS
ANSON and French
Fleet deployment in continuation.
(Note: Radar Type 79B had been fitted by this date and
provided better coverage
for warning of
aircraft than previously available.)
for provision of air cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW58
to Kola Inlet and return Convoy RA58 together with attacks
30th Deployed with HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS
ANSON, HM Aircraft
VICTORIOUS, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPEROR, FENCER,
and PURSUER to provide air cover for convoys.
details of all Russian Convoys see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA
Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield,
CONVOY ! by P
Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
3rd Detached from covering duties to carry
out attacks on German battleship TIRPITZ in Altenfjord
with HMS VICTORIOUS and Escort Aircraft Carriers.
was provided by HMS ANSON and HM Cruisers JAMAICA, ROYALIST, BELFAST and
SHEFFIELD with 14 destroyer screen.
hits were recorded (Operation TUNGSTEN - (See CONVOY!)
23rd Deployed with HMS VICTORIOUS and Escort
Carriers for further series of attacks on TIRPITZ
at Altenfjord (Operation PLANET
24th Operation abandoned because of weather
25th Launched air attacks with the other
carriers on shipping. (See above reference.)
6th Launched air attacks on shipping in Kristiansund North with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier SEARCHER
covered by HM Cruiser BERWICK and two Home Fleet destroyers
ships were sunk.
11th Present at Royal visit to Home Fleet at
Scapa Flow by HM King George VI
(Note: Selected personnel from Fleet were inspected on board
by the King. and demonstrations were
carried out by Fleet units off Scapa Flow during the visit.)
14th Deployed for further air attacks on
TIRPITZ with HMS VICTORIOUS
screened by Fleet units (Operation BRAWN).
15th Operation abandoned due to weather
28th Further series of air attacks on TIRPITZ
cancelled because of weather.
TIGER CLAW - See CONVOY !)
1st Launched series of air strikes on
convoy off Statlandet
16th Deployed with HMS INDEFATIGABLE and HMS
FORMIDABLE for further
air attacks on
covered by HMS DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruisers KENT, DEVONSHIRE, JAMAICA and
with screen of Home Fleet destroyers (Operation MASCOT)
17th Launched air attacks which were detected
and s smoke screen to be placed to cover target.
CONVOY ! and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY.)
8th Took part in Home Fleet rehearsal for
planned further attacks on TIRPITZ with HM Aircraft Carriers
FORMIDABLE, INDEFATIGABLE and HM Escort
Carrier NABOB (Operation GOODWOOD).
17th Deployed with HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS
FORMIDABLE, covered by HMS DUKE OF YORK,
Cruisers BERWICK and DEVONSHIRE screened by 14 Home Fleet destroyers to provide
cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW59A and return
19th Detached with aircraft carriers and
covering ships HMS DUKE OF YORK, HMS BERWICK and
HMS DEVONSHIRE for planned GOODWOOD operations, joined by HMS
20th Operation delayed by weather.
22nd Launched strikes by BARRACUDA and CORSAIR
aircraft which were frustrated by early warning of
Under U-Boat attack during which HMS NABOB was hit and sustained major damage.
24th Launched two further attacks with HMS FORMIDABLE
and HMS INDEFATIGABLE
29th Launched further attacks without
obtaining any hits
(Note: During GOODWOOD 247 sorties were flown by carriers
and 11 aircraft were lost.
lack of success in attacks from aircraft carry resulted in use of RAF Bomber
12th Joined HM Escort Carriers TRUMPETER and
AVENGER and deployed for air minelay south of
Vorso Island and shipping attack near Statlandet
covered by HMS DEVONSHIRE and Home Fleet
BEGONIA - See Naval Staff History (Mining).)
from operation service with Home Fleet.
for aircrew training duties and trials in Home waters.
1 9 4 5
and trials deployment in continuation.