1 9 3 9
September Deployed in Mediterranean with 1st Cruiser Squadron.
(Note: Ships of Mediterranean Fleet were deployed for enforcement of blockade by
interception of German shipping and neutrals carrying cargo destined for
11th Sailed from Alexandria for exercises with Squadron.
17th Returned to Alexandria.
October Mediterranean deployment in continuation.
11th Took passage from Alexandria to Malta for repair.
13th Under repair to rudder in Malta.
24th Took passage from Malta for Alexandria.
26th Arrived at Alexandria.
November Nominated for return to Home waters with ships of Squadron.
3rd Sailed for Plymouth with ships of Squadron.
8th Sailed from Gibraltar with HM Cruisers SUFFOLK and NORFOLK.
11th Arrived at Plymouth and transferred to Home Fleet with ships of Squadron.
Taken in hand for repairs.
21st Took passage to Clyde to join ships of Home Fleet for
Atlantic convoy defence and interception of enemy blockade
runners and commerce raiders.
23rd Sailed from Clyde with HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY
to carry out search north of Shetlands for German battlecruisers
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after sinking of HM Armed
Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI in defence of Atlantic convoy.
29th Returned to Clyde with HMS NELSON after unsuccessful search.
(Note HMS RODNEY had detached.)
December Transferred to Loch Ewe instead of Scapa Flow after loss of HM
Battleship ROYAL OAK in Scapa Flow.
4th Entered Loch Ewe with HMS NELSON, HMS RODNEY.
(Note: HMS NELSON detonated a magnetic mine laid by U31 in
October. This battleship was badly damaged and was under
repair at Portsmouth for four months).
6th Returned to Clyde for Atlantic convoy defence duties.
9th Deployed in NW Approaches.
22nd On release returned to Scapa Flow.
1 9 4 0
January Resumed Atlantic duties based in Clyde.
3rd Sailed for patrol.
10th Returned to Clyde.
18th Passage to Scapa Flow arriving on 19th.
20th Deployed in NW Approaches.
February Atlantic convoy defence and interception duties in continuation. based in Clyde.
6th Flag of 1st Cruiser Squadron Home Fleet, Vice-Admiral J H D Cunningham
(Other ships of Squadron were HM Cruisers BERWICK, YORK, SUSSEX
NORFOLK and SUFFOLK. Last two ships were under repair in Clyde.)
NW Approaches deployment in continuation.
April Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Norway and took passage to
Rosyth. (Operation R4)
7th Deployed at Rosyth with HM Cruisers BERWICK, YORK and GLASGOW to
embark troops of 1/5th Royal Leicestershire Regiment and stores for landings at
Stavanger and Bergen,
8th Following German invasion of Norway, R4 was cancelled.
Troops and stores were landed before the four cruisers sailed to join Home Fleet
ships in North Sea. See NAVAL OPERATIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN
NORWAY 1940 (HMSO) for details.)
9th Joined French cruiser EMIL BERTIN and two French destroyers off Kinnaird Head
and carried out sweep to north in search for German force reported on passage to
reinforce landings in Norway. Rejoined main body of Fleet, including HM
Battleships RODNEY and VALIANT with destroyer screen.
Under heavy air attacks in position SW of Bergen and sustained
slight damage from wear miss with heavy expenditure of ammunition.
10th Remained with Fleet during air operations carried out by aircraft from
HMS FURIOUS at Trondheim.
11th Detached with HMS BERWICK, HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD and
ISIS, joined later by ISIS and ILEX to carry out search for enemy
shipping in Inner Lead between Trondheim to Vestfjord.
12th On completion of extended but unsuccessful search in Tromso area
ordered to intercept German warships reported to be on passage off
Lofoten Islands. Rejoined Fleet after fruitless search.
13th Took passage to Tromso with HMS ISIS and ILEX for meeting with
Norwegian military and naval authorities.
14th Sailed from Tromso after discussions and took passage to Kirkenes.
15th Joined by HMS BERWICK and HMS INGLEFIELD off North Cape.
Escorted Norwegian troop convoy from Kirkenes.
16th Deployed at Narvik with HMS BERWICK and HMS FURIOUS for
support for operations pending arrival of main allied landing force.
19th Released from support after landing force arrived and took passage to
Scapa Flow with HMS BERWICK and HMS INGLEFIELD.
20th At Scapa Flow.
29th Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Cruiser YORK, French cruiser
MONTCALM, HM Destroyers AFRIDI, NUBIAN, HASTY,
IMPERIAL and French Destroyer BISON as escort for French
transports LE D’JEZAIR, EL KANTARA and EL MANSOUR during
passage for evacuation at Namsos.
1st Subjected to air attacks and near missed. Operation delayed after fog
prevented transfer of troops from shore by destroyers.
2nd Remained off shore and decision made to carry out evacuation in one
night instead of two.
Deployed off Kya Light with HMS YORK and French transport
MONTCALM whilst the transports and destroyers entered Namsos to
(Note: HM Cruiser YORK, HMS Destroyers AFRIDI. KELLY
GRENADE and GRIFFIN together with the other troopships
carried out the evacuation.)
3rd Escorted transport EL D'JEZAIR with HM Cruiser CARLISLE to Scapa Flow.
During air attacks whilst on passage HMS AFRIDI and French
destroyer BISON were sunk. See above reference for details.
5th Arrived at Scapa Flow
(Note: See also THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by J Adams, NARVIK by
D Macintyre and CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton. for details of the
disastrous operations off Norway).
Passage to Norway to resume duties off Narvik in support of shore operations.
31st Deployed off Narvik.
6th Detached and took passage to Tromso to embark Norwegian Royal
Family, allied diplomats and members of the Norwegian government
for passage to UK.
7th Sailed independently for Clyde from Tromso with passengers.
8th During transit intercepted wireless signals from HM Aircraft Carrier
GLORIOUS when she came under attack by German battlecruisers
SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU,
(Note: The transmissions were garbled and in any event no response was made in
view of the need for security. See CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton
10th Resumed Home Fleet Atlantic convoy defence duties after the passengers
disembarked at Greenock and took passage to join Military convoy US3 to reinforce
(Note: This convoy was composed of ships carrying ANZAC personnel who
eventually served in Egypt.)
16th Detached from US3 west of Gibraltar and took passage to Halifax..
23rd At Halifax to replenish.
July Deployed with HM Battle cruisers RENOWN and REPULSE, HM Cruisers
AUSTRALIA (RAN) and YORK screened by Home Fleet destroyers in an
unsuccessful search for SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU reported on passage
to attack Atlantic shipping.
August Nominated for detached service in support of planned landing of
Free French troops at Dakar (Operation MENACE).
31st Deployed with HM Battleship BARHAM, HM Cruiser FIJI with screen of four
Home Fleet destroyers as Force M and sailed from Clyde as escort for troopships
during passage to Freetown in preparation for landings.
1st HMS FIJI withdrawn from operation after being hit by torpedo fired by U31.
3rd At Gibraltar with Force M.
13th Part of escort by Force M for passage from Freetown to Dakar.
(Note: HMS ARK ROYAL, HMAS AUSTRALIA and HM
Cruiser AUSTRALIA had joined Force M.)
14th Deployed to intercept Vichy French cruisers MONTCALM, GEORGES
LEYGUES and GLOIRE reported on passage to Dakar from Casablanca.
16th Returned to Freetown when the Vichy French ships had arrived in Dakar.
19th Sailed from Freetown to join HMAS AUSTRALIA and HMS CUMBERLAND to
ensure enemy cruisers could not leave Dakar during landing operations.
23rd Took part in bombardment of defences at Dakar with ships of Force M
(Note: HM Battleship RESOLUTION hit by shore return fire.
24th Under shore fire during approach for resumed bombardment.
Carried out further attack on defences with ships of Force M
25th Bombardment duties in continuation with HMS BARHAM,
HMS RESOLUTION and HMS CUMBERLAND.
After HMS BARHAM was hit by return fire from Vichy French battleship
RICHELIEU and HMS RESOLUTION hit by a torpedo from Vichy French
submarine BEVEZIERS the planned landings were cancelled.
(For details see MENACE by A Marder.)
29th Returned to Freetown with ships of Force M.
Nominated for further service with Force M in support of planned Free French
2nd Sailed from Freetown with 4 destroyers as escort for transport WESTRALIA during
passage for landings at Duala, French Cameroons by Free French troops.
7th Deployed with HM Sloop BIDEFORD to cover landings at Duala.
(For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute.)
10th On release from support duties returned to Freetown.
Transferred to South Atlantic Station for support of Free French
operations and trade defence based at Freetown.
7th Deployed with HM Cruiser DELHI to establish blockade of Gabon
during Free French attack on Libreville.
9th Vichy French submarine PONCELOT attacked by ship’s aircraft
and subsequently surrendered to HMS MILFORD.
23rd Relieved HM Cruiser NORFOLK as Ocean Escort for military
convoy WS4B during Atlantic passage from Clyde to Freetown.
29th Arrived at Freetown with WS4B.
1st Sailed from Freetown as Ocean Escort for WS4B during passage to Durban.
(Note: HMS CUMBERLAND was also deployed until 4th when relieved by
HM Cruiser HAWKINS.
12th Arrived at Durban with WS4B
16th Sailed from DURBAN as WS4B Ocean Escort with HM Cruise SHROPSHIRE.
18th Detached from WS4B and took passage to resume trade defence in South Atlantic.
1 9 4 1
January Nominated for refit in UK.
6th Deployed with HM Cruiser NORFOLK and HM Armed Merchant
Cruiser ARAWA in search for the German commerce raider
KORMORAN which was operating in the South Atlantic.
29th Detached from search and took passage to Freetown.
3rd Sailed from Freetown to UK for refit. Rejoined 1st Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.
March Taken in hand for refit at Liverpool commercial shipyard.
to (Note: Twin 4in mountings fitted and close range AA armament
May increased. Tripod foremast and mainmast fitted to enable
Aircraft Warning Radar Outfit 281 to be fitted. See RADAR
AT SEA by D Howse for details of development and use of
radar by RN. Type 285 Fire-Control Radar Type 285 was
June Post refit trials carried out before rejoining Squadron for Home Fleet
duties at Scapa Flow.
July Deployed with Squadron for fleet duties.
23rd Took passage to Iceland with HM Aircraft Carriers FURIOUS and
VICTORIOUS, HMS NORFOLK screened by six destroyers.
29th Sailed from Seidisfjord with HMS FURIOUS, HMS VICTORIOUS
and HMS NORFOLK with screen of four destroyers to carry out
air attacks on shipping at Petsamo and Kirkenes.
30th Provided cover during air operations.
(For details see CONVOY ! by P Kemp.)
1st Deployed as escort for HMS VICTORIOUS during passage to Tromso for air
4th Provided cover during attacks at Tromso.
5th Passage to Scapa Flow with HMS VICTORIOUS.
9th Present during visit to Scapa Flow by HM King George VI and took part in
23rd Deployed with HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS SUFFOLK, HM Destroyers ECLIPSE,
ESCAPADE and INGLEFIELD and sailed from Scapa Flow to provide Distant
Cover for passage of first Russian Convoy to Murmansk (Operation DERVISH)
and the passage of HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS with a mercantile to Archangel.
(Note: For details of all Russian Convoys with names of escorts and mercantiles see
CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B
Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and Naval Staff History.)
26th Joined Convoy PQ1.
30th Detached from PQ1 to refuel at Spitzbergen.
2nd Took passage from Spitzbergen to join HMS VICTORIOUS for covering duty with
HM Cruiser SUFFOLK during air attacks at Hammerfest.
3rd Provided cover during air operations and detached on completion to provide Distant
Cover for passage of HMS ARGUS, HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE, HM Destroyers
ECLIPSE, ESCAPADE and INGLEFIELD during passage to Archangel with aircraft
and RAF personnel. (Operation STRENGTH).
4th Joined HMS ARGUS and HMS SHROPSHIRE.
7th Detached with HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS SUFFOLK to refuel at Spitzbergen.
12th Deployed with HMS SUFFOLK to provide cover during air strikes on Bodo by HMS
13th Arrived at Scapa Flow on completion of air operations.
Transferred for Atlantic trade defence and took passage to Clyde.
1st Joined military convoy WS12 in Clyde as Ocean Escort for passage in Atlantic.
12th Detached from WS12 on relief by HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE.
19th Provided Ocean Escort for WS12 with HMS DORSETSHIRE on departure from
30th Detached from WS12 on arrival of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser DERBYSHIRE.
November Deployed interception of Vichy French ships with HM cruiser
COLOMBO, HM Armed Merchant Cruisers CARTHAGE and
CARNARVON CASTLE. (Operation BELLRINGER)
2nd Intercepted convoy on passage east of Cape of Good Hope from Indo China to
France. Captured five ships which were escorted to South African ports.
13th Consequent on decryption of ENIGMA traffic deployed for the
interception of German commerce raider ATLANTIS known to
be operating in South Atlantic and also providing fuel for U-Boats.
(Note: HMS DORSETSHIRE and HMS
CARNARVON CASTLE were also deployed
independently to intercept this raider and another raider, PYTHON.
See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR Volume 1 by C Blair.)
22nd Intercepted ATLANTIS in position north of Ascension Island after sighting by
aircraft from ship. German vessel was in process of refuelling U126.
Opened fire at long range obtaining hits after which ATLANTIS scuttled and was
Withdrew from area at high speed because of threat of attack from U126 which had
been able to leave the supply ship. See reference.
December Deployed for trade defence in Indian Ocean.
1 9 4 2
January Nominated for repair in USA and passage to Freetown.
12th At Freetown and passage to Norfolk, Va.
(Note: One source records escort of Convoy BM12 in Indian Ocean)
24th Taken in hand for repair by US Navy Yard at Norfolk.
February Under repair
(Note: Surface warning Radar Type 273 fitted during this period
See above reference.)
March Transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron in Indian Ocean.
On completion of trials took passage to join US Navy escort of
Military convoys AS1 and AS2 during Atlantic passage
(Note: These convoys were on passage to Freetown and
Ascension. US Navy ships included US cruisers MEMPHIS and
CINCINNATI with screen of eight USN destroyers.
HM Escort Aircraft Carrier ARCHER was also part of the escort
before detaching to proceed to UK.)
On release from escort took passage to Freetown.
13th Escorted Convoys AS1 and AS2 with US Navy ships.
(See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)
19th Detached from escort and resumed independent passage from
April Nominated for support of planned landings in Madagascar.
6th Joined HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleship MALAYA and HM
Cruiser HERMIONE for passage to Durban. as Force F
22nd Arrived at Durban with ships of Force F.
HM Battleship RAMILLIES joined Force F.
24th Detached as escort for Y convoy with 3 destroyers, corvettes of
23rd Escort Group and ships of 14th Minesweeping Flotilla.
May Rejoined Force F.
3rd Deployed with HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE. HM Battleship RAMILLIES
and two destroyers from Eastern Fleet for escort of Fast convoy from Durban during
passage to flying off and gunfire support positions during landings.
5th Provided cover during landings (Operation IRONCLAD)
7th Bombarded position at Diego Suarez. with HMS RAMILLIES and HM Cruise
10th On release from IRONCLAD resumed trade defence duties in Indian Ocean.
June Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.
26th Relieved HM Cruiser MAURITIUS as Ocean Escort for military
convoy WS19 during passage in Indian Ocean to Aden.
27th Replaced as Ocean Escort by HM Armed Merchant Cruiser
CORFU and detached from WS19 with three troopships as Ocean
Escort for passage to Bombay.
July (Note: During this period special deployments of Eastern Fleet
cruisers were made to carrying out search operations for
enemy supply ships operating in support of submarine
operations in the Indian Ocean See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)
1st Detached from troopships on arrival at Bombay.
14th Relieved HMS MAURITIUS as Ocean Escort for Convoy WS19L
during passage from Durban in Indian Ocean.
17th Detached from WS19L on arrival at Aden.
August Indian Ocean trade defence and patrol duties in continuation.
to See above Note.
September Escorted convoys between India, West Africa and Fremantle,
3rd Joined military convoy WS22 in Durban as Local Escort during passage in Indian
11th Detached from WS22 on arrival at separation point for Aden and Bombay sections.
21st Took passage from Kilindini to join search operation with HM Cruisers
MAURITIUS and ENTERPRISE for submarine supply ships in Gulf of Aden and
Gulf of Oman (Operation DEMCAT)
27th Commenced DEMCAT search with RAF CATALINA aircraft co-operation.
30th DEMCAT search terminated without success and resumed trade defence duties.
November Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.
December Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 3
January Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.
4th Joined military convoy of five troopships with HM Cruiser GAMBIA as Ocean
Escort during passage in Indian Ocean from Suez to Fremantle with 30,000 men
of 9th Australian Division recalled from Middle East service to Australia after
Japanese threat to Australia and New Zealand. (Operation PAMPHLET)
18th Detached from convoy on arrival at Fremantle and resumed Eastern Fleet duties.
March Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.
Nominated for return to UK for refit.
April Passage to UK via Cape of Good Hope.
29th Called at Freetown.
May Rejoined 1st Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet and took passage to Tyne for refit.
Taken in hand for refit at commercial shipyard.
June Under refit.
to (Note: Work included:
December Removal of X Turret and increase of close range AA
armament with additional 20mm weapons.
Replacement of Radar Type 281 by Type 281B which
required use of only one mast for aerial siting.
Additional Fire-control radar outfits added.
Surface warning radar Type 273 resited amidships.
IFF equipment added to radar fit. See RADAR AT SEA.).
1 9 4 4
January Under refit
February Post refit trials
March On completion of sea trials rejoined Home Fleet to work-up for
April Work-up at Scapa Flow.
May Deployed with Home Fleet for exercises in preparation for
planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)
June Deployed with Squadron in Home Fleet at Scapa Flow for
Distant Cover if required to protect landings in Channel.
17th Provided cover for air operations by HM Aircraft Carriers
FORMIDABLE, INDEFATIGABLE and FURIOUS against
German battleship TIRPITZ lying in Altenfjord, Norway with
HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruisers KENT,
JAMAICA and BELLONA screened by destroyers of Home
Fleet (Operation MASCOT)
(Note: These attacks were unsuccessful.)
9th Took passage from Scapa Flow with HMS KENT and five
Home Fleet destroyers as escort for HMS INDEFATIGABLE,
HM Escort Aircraft Carriers NABOB and TRUMPETER to
carry out air attacks on German airfield at Gossen near
Kristiansund and an air minelay between Lepsoy and Haramsa
Island (Operation OFFSPRING).
10th Provided cover during air operations
11th Returned to Scapa Flow
15th Deployed with HMS DUKE OF YORK, HM Cruiser
BERWICK and 14 Home Fleet destroyers to provide cover for
air attacks by HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS FURIOUS and
HMS FORMIDABLE, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers NABOB
and TRUMPETER on TIRPITZ (Operation GOODWOOD).
(Note: This operation also provided Distant Cover for passage
of Russian Convoy JW59 to Kola Inlet and returning
Convoy RA59A to UK.)
20th Provided cover during air operations during which only two hits
to were made on the enemy ship due to weather conditions and
29th use of smoke screens after warning of attacks.
5th Joined HMS KENT and HMS BERWICK as escort for rms
QUEEN MARY taking the Prime Minister and Chiefs of Staff
to USA for meeting with US President.
9th Return passage to UK with same ships.
12th Deployed with HMS KENT and destroyers as escort for HMS
FURIOUS and HMS TRUMPETER for air minelay and attack
on shipping south of Voska Is. (Operation BEGONIA)
October Under refit at Rosyth for fit of additional 20mm mountings.
24th Deployed as Senior Officer Force 2 comprising HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers CAMPANIA and TRUMPETER with screen
of destroyers to carry out air minelay and shipping attacks in
Haramsfjord (Operation HARDY).
November Squadron deployment in Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in
14th Deployed with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers TRUMPETER and PREMIER, HM
Destroyers ZEALOUS, ZEPHYR, SIOUX (RCN), ALGONQUIN (RCN),
SAVAGE and SERAPIS as Senior Officer Force 2 to carry out air minelay and
shipping strikes in Ramousund area. (Operation LACERATE).
1 9 4 5
January Home Fleet deployment in continuation.
12th Deployed with HMS PREMIER, HMS PUNCHER, HM Destroyers
CAVENDISH, CAVALIER, SCOURGE and ZEBRA as Force 2 to carry out air
minelay off Skatestrommen (Operation SELENIUM)
March Home Fleet deployment in continuation.
12th Escorted HM Minelayers APOLLO and ARIADNE with four
destroyers for passage to Oslo from Rosyth.
(Note: HMS APOLLO had the Crown Prince of Norway
embarked for his return following VE Day)
14th Relieved HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM as Guardship at Copenhagen.
24th Escorted German cruiser PRINZ EUGEN to Wilhelmshaven
with HM Destroyers IROQUOIS (RCN) and SAVAGE.
June Nominated for trooping duties after dockyard conversion.
5th Escorted HM Cruiser NORFOLK with HM Norwegian Destroyer STORD,
HM Destroyers ONSLOW and ORWELL during passage from Rosyth to Oslo.
(Note: HM King Haakon was embarked in HMS NORFOLK for return to his
Kingdom after end of hostilities.)
Passage to Plymouth
Converted for use as troopship.
29th Took passage from Plymouth for Australia
July Deployed for transport of returning prisoners of war and
to August allied nationals to UK and service personnel to Australia.