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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

HMS CAMPANIA (D 48), Escort Aircraft Carrier
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Nairana. half sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

Incomplete mercantile hull requisitioned by the Admiralty in 29th July 1942 and adapted for use as an Escort Aircraft Carrier by Harland and Wolff of Belfast. The ship had been laid down for use as a mercantile by the Cunard Line on 5th August 1941 and was launched on 17th June 1943. She was the 2nd major RN ship to carry the name, first introduced for another mercantile converter for use as an aircraft carrier in 1916 and which was lost in a collision in the Forth of Forth on 5th November 1918. The name has also been previously used by two hired trawlers during WW1. Build was completed on 7th March 1944.

 

Special Note

 

During shipyard work after† being requisitioned changes had to be made to the structure to ensure decks were watertight and some additional transverse bulkheads were added. The hangar and flight deck were were included as part of the structure and not added as superstructure as in US Built CVE. Only one lift was provided which  made movements of aircraft for ranging difficult. lack of parking space forward limited the number of aircraft which could be effectively operated to 20. Fighter Direction facilities were provided and floodlighting fitted to allow night flying operations

 

B a t t l e††† H o n o u r s

 

ATLANTIC† 1944† - NORWAY† 1944-45 - ARCTIC 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

 Badge: On a Field Red, a demi-lion rampant Gold, winged White.

(Note: Based on Cunard Company's† badge.

 

 

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 4

March††††††††††††††††††† Contractors trials.

††††††††††††††† 7th††††††††† Build completion date.

††††††††††††††† (Note: Radar Type 281B for aircraft warning and control, Type 276 for surface warning

††††††††††††††† and Type 277 for aircraft height-finding were fitted during build

††††††††††††††† Development of new system of dealing with radar information was carried out

††††††††††††††† in this ships and became standard requirement for major warships.

††††††††††††††† These outfits were of new design.. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse. for details

††††††††††††††† of the development and used of radar by the RN.).

††††††††††††††† 8th††††††††† Took passage after acceptance trials to embark aircraft and prepare for service

††††††††††††††† in the Clyde area before joining Home Fleet.

††††††††††††††† Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command

††††††††††††††† Carried out sea trials on newly developed Type 277 combined air and surface warning

††††††††††††††† radar.

††††††††††††††† (Note: This outfit had a height finding capability. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)

April†††††††††††††††††††††† Work-up in continuation

††††††††††††††† Embarked 813 Squadron SWORDFISH (12), WILDCAT (4) and FULMAR (4) aircraft

††††††††††††††† and personnel.

††††††††††††††† 16th††††††† Returned to builders for repair of defects.

May††††††††††††††††††††††† On completion of repair resumed work-up

††††††††††††††† 23rd††††††† Commenced operational service.

June††††††††††††††††††††††† Deployed to provide air cover for transit of outward Convoys OS79 and MKS53 to Gibraltar,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† inward Convoys SL160 and MKS51 to Liverpool from Gibraltar.

July†††††††††††††††††††††††† Atlantic convoy air cover deployment in continuation for outward OS82, KMS56, inward

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Convoys SL163, MKS54, inward SL163 and MKS54.

August††††††††††††††††† Atlantic convoy air cover deployment in continuation for outward OS85, KMS59, inward

††††††††††††††† SL166 and MKS57

††††††††††††††† Nominated for escort of Russian convoy with Home Fleet ships

September††††††††††† Aircraft and personnel from 813 Squadron disembarked.

††††††††††††††† Embarked 842 WILDCAT aircraft and personnel.

††††††††††††††† Took passage to Scapa Flow for Home Fleet deployment.

††††††††††††††† 17th††††††† Deployed with HM Battleship RODNEY, HM Cruiser DIADEM and HM Escort Aircraft

††††††††††††††† Carrier STRIKER screened by HM Destroyers MARNE, METEOR, MILNE, MUSKETEER,

††††††††††††††† VENUS, SAUMAREZ, SCORPION, VERULAM, VIRAGO, VOLAGE, ALGONQUIN (RCN)

††††††††††††††† and SIOUX (RCN) as escort for Russian Convoy JW60 during transit to Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† (Operation RIGMAROLE)

††††††††††††††† (For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,

††††††††††††††† THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and

††††††††††††††† CONVOY ! by P Kemp.

††††††††††††††† 23rd††††††† Detached from JW60 with Home Fleet escorts on arrival at Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 28th††††††† Joined return convoy RA60 with same ships for escort during transit to Loch Ewe.

††††††††††††††† 30th††††††† SWORDFISH aircraft F of 813 Squadron carried out attack on U921 which was sunk

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in position 72.32N 12.55E west of Bear Island. There were no survivors from the submarine.

October

††††††††††††††† 3rd††††††††† Detached with Home Fleet ships, except Fighting Escort, and took passage to Scapa Flow.

††††††††††††††† 23rd††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE. HM Escort Carrier TRUMPETER, HM Destroyers

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† SAUMAREZ, SCOURGE, SERAPIS, CASSANDRA, CAMBRIAN and CAPRICE for joint

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† minelay and shipping strike off Norway as Force 2 (Operation HARDY).

††††††††††††††† 24th††††††† Minelay carried out by embarked AVENGER aircraft and attacks on shore positions

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† by WILDCAT aircraft.

††††††††††††††† (Note: Anti-shipping operations were cancelled because of weather.

††††††††††††††† For details of minelaying operations see Naval Staff History (Mining).)

††††††††††††††† 27th††††††† Returned to Scapa Flow with Force 2.

††††††††††††††† 813 SWORDFISH (12), WILDCAT (3) and FULMAR (3) re-embarked

November

††††††††††††††† 2nd†††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser BERWICK, HM Destroyers CAMBRIAN, CAPRICE, CASSANDRA,

††††††††††††††† SAUMAREZ, SCOURGE and SERAPIS as escort for two mercantiles to Murmansk.

.†††††††††††††† (Operation GOLDEN)

††††††††††††††† (Note: ss EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA and ss SCYTHIA were carrying about 11,000 Russian

††††††††††††††† nationals captured in Normandy while serving in the German army.

††††††††††††††† One shadowing Bv138 was shot down during passage,

††††††††††††††† 6th††††††††† Arrived at Murmansk.

††††††††††††††† (Note: British personnel from escort and the resident Naval Liaison staff were unable to land or

††††††††††††††† witness the disembarkation of the Russian defectors.)

††††††††††††††† Passage to Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 11th††††††† Escorted returning two mercantiles from Kola Inlet during passage to Clyde with

††††††††††††††† HMS BERWICK, HM Destroyers CAMBRIAN, CAPRICE, CASSANDRA, SAVAGE,

††††††††††††††† SAUMAREZ, SCOURGE, SCORPION and SERAPIS as Convoy RA61A.

††††††††††††††† 17th††††††† Detached from RA61A on arrival in Clyde and took passage to Scapa Flow

††††††††††††††† One shadowing Bv138 was shot down during passage,

December

††††††††††††††† 1st†††††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA and HM Escort Aircraft Carrier NAIRANA with

††††††††††††††† HM Destroyers BEAGLE, BULLDOG, CAESAR, CAMBRIAN, CAPRICE, CASSANDRA,

††††††††††††††† KEPPEL, OBEDIENT, OFFA, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORIBI, ORWELL and WESTCOTT

††††††††††††††† to join Russian Convoy JW62 as escort during passage to Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† (Operation ACUMEN)

††††††††††††††† (Note: 14 Frigates and corvettes were already with JW62.)

††††††††††††††† 7th††††††††† Detached from JW62 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 10th††††††† Sailed from Kola Inlet as Escort for return Convoy RA62.

††††††††††††††† (Note: An anti-submarine operation was carried out against an assembly off Kola

††††††††††††††† by frigates of the escort. During this operation U387 was sunk by HM Corvette

††††††††††††††† BAMBOROUGH CASTLE.

††††††††††††††† 11th††††††† HM Destroyer CASSANDRA was torpedoed by U365 but able to return to Murmansk for repair.

††††††††††††††† 12th††††††† HM Norwegian Corvette sank after hitting a mine.

††††††††††††††† Under attack by torpedo bombers two of which were destroyed.

††††††††††††††† 13th††††††† SWORDFISH aircraft L and Q from 813 Squadron attacked and sank U365 during defence

††††††††††††††† of RA62 in position 70.43N 08.07E NW of Lofotens.

††††††††††††††† There were no survivors from the submarine.

††††††††††††††† 180 hours of air operations were carried out including 70 at night.)

††††††††††††††† 19th††††††† Returned to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.

††††††††††††††† Took passage to Clyde for repair.

††††††††††††††† 28th††††††† During unsuccessful search for coastal convoys sank 3 Norwegian fishing vessels.

††††††††††††††† (Note: This was an unfortunate error which caused local resentment.)

1 9 4 5

January††††††††††††††††† Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow in continuation

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Four WILDCAT aircraft and personnel embarked for special operation.

††††††††††††††† 30th††††††† Carried out attacks on shipping off Stadlandet with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers NAIRANA

††††††††††††††† PREMIER and HM Cruiser BERWICK screened by Home Fleet destroyers

††††††††††††††† (Operation WINDED).

February

††††††††††††††† 6th††††††††† Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HMS NAIRANA, HM Sloop LAPWING, HM Corvette

†††††††††††††††                and HM Trawler OSKOY(?), screened by HM Destroyers ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW,

††††††††††††††† OPPORTUNE, ORWELL, SERAPIS, ZAMBESI, ZEALOUS, ZEST and Canadian SIOUX to

††††††††††††††† provide anti-submarine cover during passage of Russian Convoy JW64 (Operation HOTBED).

††††††††††††††† Under surveillance by German aircraft. Ju88 destroyed.

††††††††††††††† Total U-Boat threat estimated as 11 submarines.

††††††††††††††† 7th††††††††† Under sustained attack by torpedo bombers of which 6 were destroyed by fighters

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† from Escort Carriers.

††††††††††††††† 10th††††††† Repeated torpedo bomber attacks driven off but poor convoy fire discipline posed threat to aircraft

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† from convoy.

††††††††††††††† 12th††††††† Experienced extreme weather conditions with Force 11 winds.

††††††††††††††† 13th††††††† HM Corvette DENBIGH CASTLE torpedoed.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: Towed to Kola Inlet but sank after grounding).

††††††††††††††† 15th††††††† Detached on arrival of JW64 at Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 16th††††††† Anti-submarine operations by Close Escort against U-Boats waiting off Kola Inlet

††††††††††††††† to attack return convoy.

††††††††††††††† (Note: After sinking U425 with HM Corvette ALNWICK CASTLE, HM Sloop LARK was

††††††††††††††† torpedoed and became a total loss after tow to Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 17th††††††† Joined return convoy on departure from Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 20th††††††† Despite horrendous weather conditions launched fighter attacks against enemy air attacks

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† which prevented loss of ships in convoy.

††††††††††††††† 21st†††††††† Ships in convoy dispersed due to continuation of extreme weather conditions.

††††††††††††††† 27th††††††† Returned to Scapa Flow with HMS BELLONA, HMS NAIRANA and Home Fleet destroyers.

††††††††††††††† (Note: Air operations lasted 87 hours with 17 at night.)

††††††††††††††† Passage to Clyde for repair.

††††††††††††††† Landed 813 Squadron aircraft and personnel

March††††††††††††††††††† Embarked 12 SWORDFISH and seven WILDCAT aircraft of 825 Squadron.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Returned to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet duties.

††††††††††††††† 12th††††††† Joined Close Escort of Russian Convoy JW65 with HM Cruiser DIADEM, HM Destroyers

††††††††††††††† ONSLAUGHT, OPPORTUNE, ORWELL, SCORPION, ZAMBESI, SIOUX (RCN) and HM

††††††††††††††† Frigate FARNHAM CASTLE to supplement defence and provide air cover for transit to Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† (Operation SCOTTISH)

††††††††††††††† 15th††††††† HM Escort Aircraft Carrier TRUMPETER joined escort.

††††††††††††††† 20th††††††† HM Sloop LAPWING sunk by U968 during attacks on convoy.

††††††††††††††† 21st†††††††† Detached from JW65 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

††††††††††††††† 23rd††††††† Sailed with HM Escort Carrier TRUMPETER, HMS DIADEM, HM Destroyers MYNGS,

††††††††††††††† ORWELL, OPPORTUNE, SAVAGE, SCORPION SCOURGE, ZAMBESI, SIOUX (RCN)

††††††††††††††† and Norwegian STORD to provide air cover and supplement defence of return convoy RA65

††††††††††††††† during passage to Scapa Flow.

††††††††††††††† (Note: An anti-submarine operation to clear assembled U-Boats off Kola Inlet was carried out

††††††††††††††† before departure of convoy.)

††††††††††††††† 30th††††††† Detached from RA65 on arrival at Scapa Flow.

††††††††††††††† (Note: 87 hours of air operations including 19 at night were flown.)

April††††††                 Passage to Clyde for repair

††††††††††††††† 7th††††††††† Taken in hand for repair

May††††††† Under repair in dock

June

††††††††††††††† 5th††††††††† Sustained serious damage when undocking

††††††††††††††† Passage to London for repair

July†††††††††††††††††††††††† On completion allocated for service in Nore Command for trooping duties.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (Note: It is assumed ship Paid-off and reduced to small complement.)

August††††††††††††††††† Prepared for new role.

P o s t† W a r†† N o t e s

 

HMS CAMPANIA was deployed for trooping duties between UK and Jamaica until December 1945 when she returned to Devonport from the Clyde and was de-stored.. After reduction to Reserve status the ship was Laid-up at Rosyth in December 1945. During 1947 this ship was considered for conversion to a Ferry Carrier manned by the RFA but this was not implemented. She was† brought forward from Reserve in 1951 and deployed on loan for use as a civilian manned Exhibition Ship during the Festival of Britain. She visited many UK ports. whilst in this role. During 1952 the ship re-commissioned for service in† the Task Force assembled for the British Atomic weapon tests at Montebello NW of Australia in October 1952. One source records that she carried components of the weapon used and also had two helicopters embarked. †When the ship returned to UK she was again reduced to Reserve status at Chatham. Placed on the Disposal List in 1954 she was sold to Hughes Bolckow and arrived at Blyth under tow at the breakerís yard on 11th November 1955.

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of  HMS CAMPANIA

by Don Kindell

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

02/06/44

03/06/44

OS 079KM

11/06/44

11/06/44

10/06/44

12/06/44

SL 160MK

21/06/44

21/06/44

01/07/44

02/07/44

OS 082KM

11/07/44

11/07/44

11/07/44

12/07/44

SL 163MK

20/07/44

22/07/44

01/08/44

03/08/44

OS 085KM

08/08/44

11/08/44

09/08/44

11/08/44

SL 166MK

16/08/44

20/08/44

15/09/44

17/09/44

JW 060

23/09/44

23/09/44

28/09/44

28/09/44

RA 060

03/10/44

05/10/44

31/10/44

02/11/44

JW 061A

06/11/44

06/11/44

11/11/44

11/11/44

RA 061A

16/11/44

17/11/44

29/11/44

01/12/44

JW 062

07/12/44

07/12/44

10/12/44

10/12/44

RA 062

18/12/44

19/12/44

03/02/45

06/02/45

JW 064

13/02/45

15/02/45

17/02/45

17/02/45

RA 064

27/02/45

28/02/45

11/03/45

12/03/45

JW 065

21/03/45

21/03/45

23/03/45

23/03/45

RA 065

30/03/45

01/04/45

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 

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