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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS GLOUCESTER  - Town-type Light Cruiser 
including Convoy Escort Movements

 Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Gloucester (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List   

SOUTHAMPTON-Class Cruiser ordered from HM Dockyard Devonport on 2nd March 1935 under the 1934 Estimates with two others and formed the last Batch of this type of warship. Laid down on 22nd September 1936 she was launched on 19th October 1937 as the tenth RN ship to bear this name, which was introduced in 1654 and probably a commemoration of the capture of the  city by the Parliamentarians. It had last been used for a 1909 cruiser sold in 1921. Her build was completed on 31st January 1939. Firm links with the ship's company have long been established between the city and the ship's company with many visits exchanged. A copy of this Chronology is held in the City Archives. Commissioned for service after Acceptance in February 1939 the ship joined the East Indies Station later that year.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue a Trident White enfiled by a  horseshoe gold.


M o t t o

Prorsum:   'Onwards'



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 3 9


September             Deployed in Red Sea for contraband control.


October                  Transferred to Indian Ocean for trade defence and interception of commerce raiders.

                                (Note: Part of this period carried out patrols in Bay of Bengal.)



                17th        Joined French Escort Vessel RIGAULT DE GENOUILLY in search for German

                battleship GRAF SPEE between Madagascar and Seychelles.

                For details of German commerce raider activities see ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and Naval Staff History.


December              Deployed as part of Hunting Group Force I for interception of commerce raiders

                                in Indian Ocean.


1 9 4 0


January                  Nominated for routine docking and took passage to Simonstown.

                8th          Taken in hand for docking and refit by HM Dockyard, Simonstown.



                1st           Resumed trade defence and patrol duties in Indian Ocean.


March                    Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for duty in South Atlantic as relief for HM Cruiser NEPTUNE.


April                       Transfer to South Atlantic cancelled and ordered to join 7th Cruiser Squadron,

                Mediterranean Fleet.

                Took passage to Alexandria via Red Sea

                (Note: This was part of a reinforcement of the Fleet at Alexandria in view of

                the increasing likelihood of Italian entry into hostilities.

                See Naval Staff History and above reference.)



                23rd        Joined HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE and HM Cruiser SYDNEY (RAN) as part

                of escort for military Convoy US3 during passage in Red Sea.

                (Note: US3 was taking troops of the ANZAC Division to Egypt for service in

                the Eighth Army

                HMS EAGLE and HMAS SYDNEY were also on passage to join Fleet at


                26th        Joined HM Cruisers ORION, NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN) and LIVERPOOL

                                in 7th Cruiser Squadron and formed 2nd Division with HMS LIVERPOOL.



                11th        Deployed with HM Battleships WARSPITE and MALAYA, HMS EAGLE, Ships

                of 7th Cruiser Squadron, HM Cruisers CALEDON and CALYPSO with screen of

                12 destroyers for an offensive sweep in Eastern Mediterranean against Italian

                warships protecting supply convoys to Libya.

                Detached with ships of 7th Cruiser Squadron to carry sweep ahead of Fleet units

                and then proceed to North African coast to attack any shipping or escorts..

                12th        Engaged six minesweepers off Tobruk with HMS LIVERPOOL and sank the

                Italian GIOVANNI BERTA..

                (Note: The other ships of Squadron found no targets off Benghazi.)

                Came under shore fire without any damage and cut some mine with paravanes,

                On completion rejoined Fleet and carried out search ahead of main force.

                14th        Rejoined Fleet units west of Crete.

                (Note: No enemy forces were sighted and ant-submarine patrols were provided

                from HMS EAGLE)

                15th        Returned to Alexandria with Fleet.

                                For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO, 2002)

                27th        Deployed with HM Battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and RAMILLIES, HMS

                EAGLE, HM Cruisers, LIVERPOOL, NEPTUNE, ORION and SYDNEY

                with screen of seven Destroyers to provide cover for passage of convoy AS1 to

                ports in Aegean from Port Said and two (MS1 and MF1) from Malta carrying

                personnel being evacuated to Egypt.

                (Operation MA3).

                Detached from battleships to carry out attack of three Italian destroyers which

                were engaged by all ships of Squadron.

                During this action off Zante the destroyer ESPERO was sunk although the other two

                ships (OSTRO and ZEFFIRO) escaped.

                (Note: These destroyers were taking supplies to Tobruk.

                Owing to the excessive expenditure of 6in ammunition the planned movement

                of MS1 and MF1 was cancelled.)

                Detached with HMS LIVERPOOL and returned to Port Said to replenish ammunition.



                7th          Sailed with HM Battleships WARSPITE, MALAYA, ROYAL SOVEREIGN,

                HM Cruisers ORION, NEPTUNE, SYDNEY (RAN), and LIVERPOOL and 32

                destroyer screen as Force A to cover passage of Malta convoys evacuating

                families to Egypt. (Operation MA5)

                (Note: It was also intended to take the opportunity to engage any Italian unit which

                had been reported in the eastern Mediterranean.)

                8th          Under heavy and sustained air attacks and hit on compass platform.

                Captain FR Garside, CBE, RN and 17 others of the ship's company were killed.

                Forward armament fire control and steering equipment disabled but after 6in mountings

                available in Local control allowing ship to remain with the Fleet.

                9th          Deployed as screened for HMS WARSPITE, HMS MALAYA and HMS ROYAL

                SOVEREIGN and HMS EAGLE with ships of 7th Cruiser Squadron and Fleet

                destroyers during an attack on a major Italian force covering passage of a convoy to

                Tobruk (Battle of Calabria).

                Detached with HMS EAGLE and hit by bomb during air attacks on Fleet but

                fortunately the bomb failed to explode.


August                  Under repair at Alexandria.

                14th        Returned to Alexandria as escort for Convoy MF1 with destroyer HMAS STUART.

                15th        At Alexandria during Italian air Raid

                20th        Joined HM Cruisers KENT, and LIVERPOOL in 3rd Cruiser Squadron on formation.

                22nd       Deployed with Squadron and HM Cruisers ORION and SYDNEY (RAN) of 7th Cruiser

                                Squadron for offensive sweep in defence of Aegean convoys.

                25th        Carried out similar operation and under attack by torpedo aircraft which failed.

                                (Note: Submarine threat never materialised.

                30th        Deployed with HMS WARSPITE, HMS MALAYA, HMS EAGLE, HM Cruisers

                KENT and LIVERPOOL to cover passage of convoy MF2 to Malta from Alexandria

                (Operation MB3 – Part of joint Operation HATS with Force H from Gibraltar to pass

                HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers

                CALCUTTA and COVENTRY (as Force F) through Mediterranean for reinforcement

                of Fleet at Alexandria..)

                31st         With same ships escorted Force F from the Sicilian Narrows.



                3rd          Detached with ships of Squadron to escort southbound Convoy AS3 during passage to

                                Port Said.

                6th          Returned to Alexandria.

                13th        Deployed with HMS KENT and HMS LIVERPOOL to provide AA defence for

                                northbound Convoy AN3 during passage in eastern Mediterranean

                16th        Deployed with HMS VALIANT, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, ships of Squadron and screen

                of seven destroyers to provide support to military units in their defence against Italian

                advance into Egypt.

                Provided cover during air operations from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS at Benghazi,

                17th        Detached with ships of Squadron to carry out bombardment of Bardia.

                Came under night bomb and torpedo attack by aircraft during which HMS KENT was

                substantially damaged and disabled with 32 fatal casualties

                19th        Returned to Alexandria.

                                (Note: HMS KENT after period under tow by HM Destroyer NUBIAN also returned.)

                28th        Embarked troops for passage to Malta with HMS LIVERPOOL with cover from the

                                Australian cruiser SYDNEY (Operation MB5)

                29th        Joined HMS VALIANT, HMS WARSPITE, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers

                ORION, SYDNEY (RAN) and YORK.

                (Note: These ships had been deployed to provide cover and to engage any Italian

                warships attempting interfere with Operation MB5 in support of Malta.

                MB5 also provided cover for passage of northbound Convoy AN4.)

                Under air attacks which were repelled.

                30th        Detached with ships of Squadron to disembark troops and stores in Malta.

                                (Note: Italian Fleet units sighted on return passage to bases.



                1st           Rejoined Fleet units.

                2nd         Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units after taking part in exercises.

                8th          Sailed from Alexandria with HMS WARSPITE, HMS VALIANT, HMS RAMILLIES,


                HMS SYDNEY (RAN) screened by `6 destroyers to provide cover for passage of

                Malta support Convoy MF3 during passage from Alexandria (Operation MB6).

                10th Detached from Fleet units with HMS RAMILLIES to join MF3 escort during final stage

                of passage into Malta.

                11th        Rejoined Fleet units after MF3 arrival.

                12th        Deployed ahead of Fleet units and after sighting of Italian destroyers and torpedo boats

                by HMS AJAX deployed in support...

                (Note: This move was made in anticipation of engagement with heavy Italian warships.

                HMS AJAX attacked Italian warships and damaged destroyer ARTIGLIERE,

                and sank Torpedo Boats ARIE and AIRONE but sustained significant damage with

                some casualties from return fire. Under air attacks which were unsuccessful.

                HMS YORK sank ARTIGLIERE which was under tow.

                13th        Deployed with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS LIVERPOOL and four destroyers to carry

                                out night attack on Leros.

                14th        Under air attacks during which HMS LIVERPOOL was seriously damaged.

                15th        Provided cover with Fleet units for passage of eastward Convoy MF4 from Malta

                and southbound Convoy AS during passage to Alexandria.

                (Note: The two convoys had merged on 14th. and met on14th.

                16th        Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units..

                28th        Greece entered war after delivery if Italian ultimatum.

                29th        Deployed with Fleet units to be in position off Crete by 31st.

                (Note: Fleet units included HMS WARSPITE, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, ships of

                Squadron and screen of five destroyers.

                This major deployment was made to cover passage of special convoy taking

                stores and personnel to Suda Bay for defence of Crete.)



                2nd         Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.

                5th          Sailed from Alexandria with HMS YORK of Squadron as part of Mediterranean Fleet

                deployment to provide Distant cover for passage of Malta Convoy MW3 during passage

                from Port Said (Operation MB8).

                Other Fleet units involved were HMS WARSPITE, HMS MALAYA, HMS VALIANT,

                HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS AJAX, HMS SYDNEY (RAN) and screen of 13 destroyers.

                8th          Air attack by S79 repelled by ILLUSTRIOUS FULMAR aircraft which destroyed two S79.

                9th          HMS RAMILLIES detached to join MW3 escort.

                                Remained with Fleet units.

                10th        Carried out search to north with ships of 7th and 3rd Squadrons.

                Met HM Battleship BARHAM, HM Cruisers BERWICK and GLASGOW with three

                destroyers in central Mediterranean to reinforce Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria

                (Operation COAT another combined Operation with ships of Force H which had

                covered passage from Gibraltar to Sicilian Narrows.

                11th        Escorted HMS ILLUSTRIOUS with HM Cruisers BERWICK, GLASGOW and

                YORK screened by HM Destroyers HASTY, HAVOCK, HYPERION and ILEX

                during air attacks on Italian Fleet at Taranto (Operation JUDGEMENT).

                12th        Remained with ILLUSTRIOUS screen on passage to launch position for 2nd series

                of air attacks on Taranto.

                Operation cancelled due to weather conditions and returned to Alexandria.

                14th        At Alexandria and nominated for escort of military convoys to Greece and Crete.

                                (Operation BARBARITY)

                15th        Embarked troops in Alexandria for passage to Piraeus with HM Cruisers BERWICK,

                YORK, GLASGOW and SYDNEY (RAN).

                (Note: Cover was provided by HMS BARHAM, HMS VALIANT, HMS EAGLE

                with screen of eight destroyers.

                Passage to Piraeus and returned to resume Squadron duties with Fleet.

                25th        Deployed for exercises with Squadron before joining Force A comprised of

                Mediterranean Fleet Units with 50th Commando on board HMS WARSPITE

                and escort troopship ULSTER PRINCE to Suda Bay.)

                (Note: Part joint Operation COLLAR with Force H at Gibraltar during which

                Forces C and D of Mediterranean Fleet was to provide cover for passage

                of Malta Convoy MW4, transit of HMS RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers BERWICK

                and NEWCASTLE to Gibraltar after service in eastern Mediterranean and

                of reinforcement ships joining Fleet at Alexandria with mercantile convoy

                ME4 from Gibraltar (Operation MB9)

                Other ships in Force A were HMS YORK and HMS GLASGOW of Squadron,


                26th        Detached with HMS GLASGOW and screen of four destroyers to provide cover for

                HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during air attacks on Port Laki, Rhodes.

                Rejoined Force A ships at Suda Bay and took passage to provide Distant Cover during

                transit operations.

                27th        Detached from Force A with ships of Squadron to support ships of Force H which

                were in action against Italian Fleet units in defence of MW4.

                (Battle of Cape Spartivento)

                Provided cover for passage of ME4 through Sicilian Narrows.

                29th        Detached from Force A off Malta and took passage to Suda Bay with HM Corvettes

                GLOXINIA, HYACINTH, PEONY and SALVIA which had been part of reinforcements

                joining Fleet in eastern Mediterranean from Gibraltar.



                3rd          Under attack by Italian torpedo carrying aircraft at Suda Bay, Crete, during which

                HMS GLASGOW was damaged.

                Took passage to Alexandria with HMS GLASGOW

                5th          Arrived at Alexandria.

                10th        Nominated for support of planned military operations to repel Italian advance in

                Egypt (Operation COMPASS)

                Sailed from Alexandria with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS YORK, HM Destroyers

                ILEX, HASTY and HERO as Force D to 16th.

                                Deployed with HMS VALIANT, HMS WARSPITE, HMS ILLUSTRIOUS screened

                by 11 destroyers, as Force A , HMS YORK of Squadron, as Force B, to provide Distant

                Cover for transit of convoys in Eastern Mediterranean (Operation MC3)

                (Note: Convoys included MW5 to Malta, ME5 to Egypt , two Aegean convoys as well

                as troopship ULSTER QUEEN on passage to Crete and Greece with personnel.

                In addition HM Battleship MALAYA was taking passage to Gibraltar and

                escorted MW5 during passage to Malta with HM Destroyer HYPERION and

                ILEX. as Operation HIDE.)

                17th        At Suda Bay with Force A and joined by HM Cruisers ORION, SYDNEY (RAN) and

                                AJAX of 7th Cruiser Squadron in Force B)

                18th        7th Cruiser Squadron detached for sweep in Adriatic to intercept military convoys.

                                Remained with Force A for covering duties.

                19th        Took part in bombardment of Valona with Mediterranean Fleet ships (Operation MC2).

                20th        Remained with Force A to Cover passage of HMS MALAYA and Convoy MG1

                passage through Sicilian Narrows when HMS WARSPITE detached to take

                CinC to Malta.

                22nd       Deployed with Force A to cover HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during air attacks on Tripoli.

                                (Operation MC2) 

                23rd        HMS WARSPITE rejoined Force A for return passage to Alexandria.

                24th        Detached with HMS YORK and took passage to Piraeus.

                                Returned to Alexandria.


1 9 4 1


January                  Nominated for escort of military convoy during passage from Gibraltar in western

                Mediterranean and through Sicilian Narrows to Malta (Operation EXCESS)

                (Note: This convoy was carrying troops for service in the Eighth Army in Egypt

                and Operation EXCESS involved Force H at Gibraltar.

                Mediterranean Fleet deployments were identified as Operation MC4).

                5th          Sailed from Alexandria with HM Cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and HM Destroyer

                                ILEX for Suda Bay, Crete to embark troops for passage to Malta.

                6th          Embarked troops and sailed for Malta with same ships.

                8th          Disembarked troops in Malta and took passage with same ships and HM Destroyer

                JANUS to join EXCESS convoy which was escorted by HM Cruiser

                BONAVENTURE, HM Destroyers HASTY, HEREWARD, HERO and JAGUAR.

                deployed as Force F

                9th          Met EXCESS convoy off Bizerta and joined Force F.

                10th        EXCESS under attack by Italian submarine SETTIMO which failed and then under

                surface attack by Italian torpedo boats CIRCE and VEGA.

                Engaged enemy ships with HMS BONAVENTURE, HMS SOUTHAMPTON and

                HMS JAGUAR during which VEGA was hit by fire from BONAVENTURE and later

                sunk by torpedo from HEREWARD.

                Immediately following this action HM Destroyer GALLANT detonated a mine

                which destroyed her forward structure with many casualties. This ship remained

                afloat and was taken in tow by HM Destroyer MOHAWK.

                (Note: HMS GALLANT and HMS MOHAWK were part of destroyer screen for

                Force A comprising ships of Mediterranean Fleet which was in the vicinity

                to provide Distant Cover for EXCESS convoy during onward passage

                in eastern Mediterranean.

                Provided cover for passage of damaged GALLANT with HMS SOUTHAMPTON

                during tow of GALLANT protected by HMS BONAVENTURE and HM Destroyer


                Under air attack during passage.

11th        Detached from cover with HMS SOUTHAMPTON and HMS DIAMOND which had

                Joined earlier to supplement defence of GALLANT tow.

                Took passage to rejoin Force A but later ordered to provide cover for Convoy ME6

                then on passage to Egypt from Malta

                (Note: Fleet Units including HMS ILLUSTRIOUS were under heavy and sustained

                air attacks whilst with ships of EXCESS convoy destined for Egypt. These

                air attacks were being carried out by German aircraft of Fliegerkorps 10 which

                had been transferred to the Mediterranean specifically for operations against

                British sea operations in defence of Malta and on this occasion were

                concentrated on HMS ILLUSTRIOUS which was severely damaged and had

                to return to Malta. For details see Naval Staff History, Battle Summary No18.)

                During passage to join ME6 with HMS SOUTHAMPTON came under dive bomber

                attacks by six aircraft during which HMS SOUTHAMPTON was totally disabled

                by two hits which caused major damage and started serious fires.

                Embarked survivors from HMS SOUTHAMPTON with HMS DIAMOND when it

                was decided the stricken ship should be sunk.

                (Note: HMS SOUTHAMPTON was sunk by torpedoes from HMS ORION which

                joined to assist in operations.)

                12th        Passage to Alexandria with HMS WARSPITE and ships of Force A.

                15th        Arrived at Alexandria with Fleet Units


February                (Note: Fleet operations were restricted by lack of a suitable aircraft carrier.

                Cruisers were deployed for diversionary operation in Aegean during

                major operations in western Mediterranean.

                Nominated for transport of military personnel of Cheshire and Hampshire Regts.

                with stores to Malta (Operation MC8)

                19th        Sailed from Alexandria with HMS AJAX, HMS ORION, HM Destroyers

                MOHAWK and NUBIAN taking troops and stores to Malta. Cover was

                provided by HM Battleships BARHAM, VALIANT and HMS EAGLE

                which also covered passage of HM Supply Ships BRECONSHIRE and mercantile

                CLAN MACAULAY returning empty from Malta to Alexandria.

                21st         Sailed from Malt after disembarkation and took passage to Suda Bay, Crete

                                with HM Destroyers HEREWARD and DECOY.

                24th        At Suda Bay to cover planned landing by Commando Unit at Casteloriso in

                Aegean (Operation ABSTENTION.)

                (Note: Commando Unit was carried in the two destroyers.

                Passage with HM Cruiser BONAVENTURE and the two destroyers to Casteloriso.

                25th        Deployed on patrol with destroyers south of island.

                (Note: Other ships involved were HM River Gunboat LADYBIRD carrying

                Royal Marines and HM Submarine PARTHIAN which acted as Beacon

                to assist in landing operation.)

                26th        Returned to Alexandria after enemy warships sighted off island.

                (Note: This operation was completely unsatisfactory and further reinforcement

                was necessary or provision of adequate ships for evacuation..

                See Naval Staff History and THE WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson.)


March                    Nominated for support of Operation LUSTRE with ships of Squadron.

                (Note: Ship carried personnel and stores for military support to

                Greek ports following the decision to send British army and

                RAF Units transferred to assist in defence against German attack.)

                20th        Sailed from Alexandria with HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HM

                Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM and VALIANT, HM Cruiser YORK

                and screen of 15 destroyers to provide cover for passage of west bound

                convoy MW6 during passage to Malta (Operation MC9).

                (Note: HMS FORMIDABLE arrived in Alexandria on 10th March to

                replace HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.)

                22nd       HM Cruisers AJAX, ORION and PERTH (RAN) joined covering force.

                23rd        Detached from covering force and took passage to Suda Bay with HMS YORK.

                25th        Arrived at Suda Bay with HMS YORK to refuel.

                26th        Despatched from Suda Bay with HM Destroyers VENDETTA and VAMPIRE to

                join HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX and PERTH (RAN) for major Fleet operation

                to intercept major Italian Fleet units known to be on passage to carry out attacks

                on convoys in Aegean supporting military defence of Greece.

                (Note: Whilst at Suda Bay HMS YORK was attacked by Italian explosive motor boats

                and seriously damaged

                27th        Deployed with HMS AJAX, HMS ORION, HMAS PERTH with destroyer screen

                                to meet Mediterranean Fleet units in position south of Crete.

                28th        Under fire from Italian cruiser TRENTO and made enemy report to CinC in

                HMS WARSPITE.

                Took part in the subsequent engagement with Italian Fleet at the Battle of Cape

                Matapan. For full details see Naval Staff History, Battle Summary No 44.)

                30th        Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.


 April                      Deployed in support of military operations and carried out bombardments.

                Nominated for Fleet duties to provide cover for passage of HM Supply Ship

                BRECONSHIRE to Malta and the transit of Convoy ME7 with empty supply

                ships from Malta to Egypt (Operation MD2).

                On completion of MD2 ship to take part in bombardment of Tripoli with

                Mediterranean Fleet ships (Operation MD3)

                18th        Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships WARSPITE, BARHAM, VALIANT,

                HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers CALCUTTA, ORION and PHOEBE with

                destroyer screen.

                19th        At Suda Bay to refuel destroyers.

                20th        HMS CALCUTTA and HMS PHOEBE detached to join ME7 escort.

                Remained with Fleet units and deployed as Force B screened by four destroyers

                (Note: Force C made up of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, HMS AJAX, HMS ORION and

                HMAS PERTH which had joined after escorting HMS BRECONSHIRE.)

                21st         Took part in bombardment of Tripoli.

                23rd        Transferred to Malta to join Malta Strike Force.

                24th        Deployed at Malta for attacks on Italian supply traffic to and from North African ports

                                as Force K with HM Destroyers JAGUAR, JANUS, JERVIS and JUNO.

                28th        Ships of 5th Destroyer Flotilla arrived in Malta to form new Force K.

                30th        During air raid on Malta slightly damaged by unexploded bomb which passed

                                through port side structure without major damage.


May                        Nominated for support and escort of military convoy during passage to Alexandria

                                (Operation TIGER)

                1st           Carried out interception patrol with HM Destroyers KELLY, KASHMIR, KELVIN,

                                KIPLING, JERSEY and JACKAL in central Mediterranean.

                2nd         Unable to re-enter when Grand Harbour closed by enemy mining.

                (Note: HMS KELLY, HMS JACKAL, HMS KELVIN were trapped in Grand

                Harbour Malta after HMS JERSEY was sunk by a mine when Force K

                ships made entry.)

                Took passage from Malta with HMS KASHMIR AND HMS KIPLING.

                3rd          Sustained damage when mine exploded in paravane during passage through

                                Sicilian Narrows and by bomb hit in air attack.

                5th          Docked at Gibraltar for examination and repair.

                6th          After undocking despatched to overtake ships of Force H deployed

                for escort and cover during passage of TIGER Convoy in western Mediterranean.

                convoy taking military supplies including tanks to Eighth Army in Egypt.

                Joined Force "F" on arrival with Force H.

                (Note: TIGER convoy included HM Battleship HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH,

                HM Cruisers NAIAD and FIJI to join Fleet at Alexandria and deployed

                as Force F.

                8th          Remained with convoy as escort through central Mediterranean and joined by

                HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX, DIDO, PERTH (RAN) and PHOEBE covered by other

                ships of the Mediterranean Fleet (Operation TIGER).

                9th          Series of air attacks on convoy and escort were driven off by aircraft from

                                HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE and ship's AA barrage.

                12th        Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet in support of reinforcement convoys to the

                                Crete garrison.

                13th        Passage to Heraklion with HM Cruiser FIJI taking troops to Crete..

                16th        Disembarked troops and joined Force B with HMS FIJI in attacks on invasion

                                convoys NW of Crete.

                21st         Part of Force A with HMS WARSPITE, HMS VALIANT and HMS FIJI to give

                support cruisers of Force C (HM Ships NAIAD, PERTH, CALCUTTA and

                CARLISLE and a screen of 3 Fleet destroyers) during attacks on invasion craft

                in Kithera Channel.

                22nd       Came under a series of heavy air attacks with HMS FIJI, HM Destroyers

                GREYHOUND and HMS GRIFFIN during withdrawal from Kithera Channel.

                After HMS GREYHOUND was sunk by dive bombers west of Crete.

                Rescue of survivors with HMS FIJI was prevented by the intensity of air attacks

                and by the depletion of stocks of AA ammunition.

                Hit by three bombs which caused internal explosions and major flooding.

                Major fires broke out and could not be controlled.

                Disabled ship had therefore to be abandoned.

                HMS FIJI was ordered to withdraw because of the continuing air attacks but

                left rafts and boats for survivors.

                Sank after ninety minutes with the loss of all but 82 of the ship's company.

            (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                (Note: HMS FIJI was later sunk by air attacks with heavy loss of life.)


P o s t   W a r   N o t e


The name was carried forward when used  for a Type 42 Destroyer completed in 1984 by Vosper-Thornycroft at Woolston. The association with the City has continued with most special regard to the extensive and gallant service of this cruiser.






by Don Kindell






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived
















(Note on Convoys)



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