Improved DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Harland & Wolff of Belfast on 4th September 1939 under War Estimates and laid on 2nd November 1939. She was launched on 27th August 1942 as the 5th RN warship to carry this name dating from 1650 and previously used for a cruiser sunk at Jutland in 1916. Build was completed on 20th November 1943. The ship was not adopted by a civil community after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in 1941-42 as she was not in service.
1 9 4 3
November Contractor's trials and commissioned for service with 10th Cruiser Squadron.
20th Build completion date and commenced Acceptance Trials.
On completion of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow to join Squadron
December Worked-up with ships of Home Fleet.
Transferred to SW Approaches based at Plymouth for interception of enemy convoys in English
Channel and Bay of Biscay (Operation TUNNEL Series)
For details of TUNNEL operations see HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith
1 9 4 4
January Channel deployment in continuation.
February Redeployed at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.
22nd Joined Russian Convoy JW57 as Flagship of escort with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier CHASER.
HM Destroyers METEOR, MILNE, MAHRATTA, MATCHLESS, OBEDIENT, OFFA,
ONSLAUGHT, ORIBI, SAVAGE, SERAPIS, SWIFT, VERULAM and VIGILANT for passage
to Kola Inlet (Operation FX).
. For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg,
THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS
by R. Woodman.
25th HMS MAHRATTA was sunk with only too survivors.
28th Detached on arrival at Kola Inlet. March
2nd Flagship of escort with same destroyer screen during return passage of Convoy RA57-
7th Detached from RA57 with Home Fleet destroyers before arrival of convoy in Loch Ewe
10th Resumed interception duties at Plymouth.
23rd Carried out unsuccessful shipping sweep with HM Destroyer ASHANTI, HM Canadian
destroyers ATHABASKAN, HAIDA and HURON of 10th Destroyer Flotilla.
(Operation TUNNEL series - For details see HOLD THE NARROW SEA.).
25th Bombarded shore batteries near Ile de Bas.
April Channel deployment in continuation.
26th In action with destroyers of 10th Flotilla against German Torpedo Boats which were laying
mines NW of Sept Iles. German T.29 sunk.
May Nominated for support of allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)
Allocated to Bombarding Force A of Western Task Force supporting Assault Force U.
For details of naval activities prior to and during allied landings see OPERATION NEPTUNE by
K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO))
15th Carried out bombardment exercises with ships of Bombardment Forces off NW Scotland
and took part in other training with Home Fleet ships.
31st Assembled in Clyde with US battleship USS NEVADA, US Cruisers USS QUINCY and USS
TUSCALOOSA, HM Cruisers HAWKINS and ENTERPRISE.
June Passage to Channel as part of Convoy U1A screened by four destroyers.
4th Operation delayed 24 hours.
5th Passage through swept channel with Bombarding Force A.
HM Monitor EREBUS joined Force from Weymouth.
6th On arrival took up bombardment position.
Provided naval gunfire support for assault landings on UTAH Beachhead with ships of Force A
and HM Netherlands Monitor SOEMBA.
Bombarded shore batteries near St. Vaast-la-Hogue.
On release from Western Task Force took passage to Tyne for repairs.
July Nominated for service in Mediterranean for support of allied landings in south of France.
Passage to Gibraltar to join 15th Cruiser Squadron.
August Allocated to Gunfire Support Group ALPHA.
2nd Passage from Gibraltar to join Task Force 84 under US Navy command.
15th Provided naval gunfire support with HM Battleship RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX,
AURORA, US cruiser USS QUINCY and Free French cruiser GLOIRE.
Bombarded coastal defence batteries prior to landings of US 3rd Division.
During assault provided gunfire support on demand. 80 rounds were fired in all.
20th Bombarded Giens batteries with French cruiser EMILE BERTIN, US cruisers USS AUGUSTA
Demolished Golf Hotel near Hyres.
For further details see LANDINGS IN SOUTH FRANCE (HMSO) and ENGAGE THE ENEMY
MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett.
September After release from DRAGOON returned to British control by CinC Mediterranean.
Nominated for duty in Eastern Mediterranean with British Aegean Force.
24th Deployed with HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, ROYALIST, ARGONAUT, AURORA and
CEYLON in British Aegean Force to support allied forces re-occupying Aegean Islands.
Took passage from Naples with HM Escort Aircraft Carrier STALKER.
25th Carried out preliminary investigation of area with HMS STALKER and two destroyers.
26th Deployed for interception of enemy convoys evacuating troops to Greek ports.
Supported allied landing operations.
29th Bombarded Skyros with Fleet destroyers covered by naval aircraft from carriers.
Bombarded Maleme airfield, Crete.
Passage to Alexandria with HI Escort Aircraft Carrier STALKER.
For details see Official History WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN).
7th In action against evacuation craft near Velos with HM Destroyer TERPSICHORE.
15th Covered reoccupation of Piraeus with HM Cruisers AURORA, AJAX, and ORION, HM Escort
Aircraft Carriers STALKER, ATTACKER and EMPEROR
(Note: Troops, vehicles and stores had been embarked in Alexandria for passage).
25th. Transferred to Eastern Fleet and took passage to Trincomalee.
November For details of operations in Indian Ocean see OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwyn Gray).
20th Covered air attacks by HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and ILLUSTRIOUS on Belawan
Deli with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and ARGONAUT screened by five Fleet Destroyers.
(Note: Diverted from original target Pangkalan Brandan because of weather).
22nd Transferred to British Pacific Fleet on formation.
(Note: To be deployed with 4th Cruiser Squadron -see below)
December Eastern Fleet deployment in continuation.
17th Covered air attacks on oil refineries, railway and harbour installations at Belewan Deli, Sumatra
by HMS INDOMITABLE and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE
and ARGONAUT screened by Fleet destroyers (Operation ROBSON).
1 9 4 5
4th Covered air operations by HM Fleet Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, INDEFATIGABLE
and VICTORIOUS against oil refineries at Pangkalan Brendan, Sumatra with HM Cruisers
SUFFOLK, CEYLON, ARGONAUT screened by Fleet destroyers as Task Force 67.
16th Took passage from Trincomalee to Pacific theatre with BPF as part of Task Force 63.
24th Covered air strikes by HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS and HMS VICTORIOUS on Pladjoe oil refinery, Sumatra, with ships of
TF63 (Operation MERIDIAN ONE).
29th Repeated operation against oil refineries at Soengi-Gerong and came under KAMIKAZE
suicide attacks. The aircraft were destroyed by naval aircraft before reaching the
February Passage to Sydney.
On arrival prepared for joint RN/US operations with 5th US Fleet under US Navy Command.
20th Arrived at Ulithi for deployment with Task Force 57.
23rd Sailed from Ulithi with Task Force 57 for operational area.
(Note: Task Force 57 comprised: -
HM Battleships KING GEORGE V (Flagship) and HOWE.
HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, INDEFATIGABLE, VICTORIOUS
HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA (RNZN), BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT
(4th Cruiser Sqdn.).
HM Cruiser EURYALUS and destroyers of 24th, 25th and 27th Flotillas.
26th Covered air operations by British aircraft carriers against airfields in Sakishima Gunto Group
to with HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE, ARGONAUT and EURYALUS.
28th Operation ICEBERG).
For details of ICEBERG operations see TASK FORCE 57 by P Smith, OPERATION
PACIFIC by E Gray, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)
31st Resumed cover during air operations after refuelling.
April BPF deployment in continuation.
1st Under KAMIKAZE attacks during these operations during which HMS INDEFATIGABLE and
HM Destroyer ULSTER were hit).
6th Resumed covering duties during flying operations after refuelling.
Under KAMIKAZE attacks.
9th During refuelling diverted with Task Force 57 ships for attacks on Formosa.
(Operation ICEBERG OOLONG).
11th Operations delayed by weather.
12th Covered air attacks on Formosan airfields and under air attack.
16th Rejoined US air operations with TF57 against Sakishima Gunto.
20th Returned to Leyte with TF57 for maintenance and repair of damaged ships.
1st Sailed from Leyte to covered air operations by British carriers.
(Operation ICEBERG II).
(Note: HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE had replaced HMS ILLUSTRIOUS).
4th Detached with HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and HOWE, HM Cruisers SWIFTSURE,
UGANDA, GAMBIA, EURYALUS and ships of 25th Destroyer Flotilla as screen
during bombardment at Miyako Shima.
Bombarded AA defences at Nobara with HMS EURYALUS.
Covered carrier flying operations and under KAMIKAZE attack.
(Note: HMS FORMIDABLE was hit with heavy casualties including eight killed).
Assisted AA defence of TF57 during repeated KAMIKAZE attacks during which HMS
INDOMITABLE was hit).
9th Under further KAMIKAZE attacks during which HMS FORMIDABLE was again hit.
12th Resumed covering duties after refuelling and positioned to give cover against the expected
20th Took over tow of HM Destroyer QUILLIAM from HM Destroyer NORMAN until arrival of
Remained as escort.
25th Withdrew from operations with ships of TF 57 for Rest and Recuperation period in Sydney.
June During this period ships of the British Pacific Fleet were transferred to the 3rd US Fleet when US Navy
command structure changes were made. They were re-designated as Task Force 37 which comprised:
HM Battleship KING GEORGE V (Flagship).
HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE, VICTORIOUS and IMPLACABLE.
HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS, ACHILLES (RNZN), UGANDA (RCN) and
4th Destroyer Flotilla - HM Destroyers UNDINE, URANIA, URCHIN, UNDAUNTED,
QUIBERON (RAN), QUICKMATCH (RAN), QUALITY (RAN) and
24th Destroyer Flotilla - HM Destroyers TENACIOUS, TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE
(See THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton, and OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwyn Grey
and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)
28th Sailed for Manus with Task Force 37 ships.
July Exercised on passage.
4th Arrived at Manus.
6th Sailed from Manus to join US 3rd Fleet for joint operations off Japan.
(Preparatory phase of Operation OLYMPIC).
Repair work after explosion of defective shell in forward mounting delayed her departure.
16th Covered flying operation by British carriers against targets in the Yokohama -Tokyo area.
17th Covered bombardment operations by British ships on Tokyo area.
18th Rejoined TF37 carrier group to cover flying operations in rotation with US Navy aircraft carriers.
August Fuel shortages in British Fleet Train for replenishment of TF37 became apparent.
2nd Deployed with other cruisers of Squadron as radio communications link between ships of TF37
and US TF38.
9th Rejoined US Task Force ships for operations off Japan.
Covered operations by Carrier groups on targets in N Honshu and Hokkaido.
12th Returned with TF37 to Manus because of oil fuel shortage in British Fleet train tankers.
(Note: HMS KING GEORGE V, HMS INDEFATIGABLE, HMS GAMBIA, HMS
NEWFOUNDLAND, HMS TROUBRIDGE, HMS TENACIOUS, HMS TERMAGANT,
HMS TERPSICHORE, HMS TEAZER, HMS BARFLEUR, HMS NAPIER (RAN),
HMS NIZAM (RAN), HMS WAKEFUL and HMS WRANGLER were retained
in operational area as part of Task Force 38 and re-designated Task Group 38.5.
See above references).
27th Redeployed under RN control in Task Group 111.2 and took passage from Subic Bay for Hong Kong.
(Note: TG111.2 comprised HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VENERABLE HM Cruiser
SWIFTSURE and Fleet destroyers).