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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS AURORA  -  Arethusa-class Light Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

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

ARETHUSA-Class cruiser ordered from HM Dockyard Portsmouth under the 1934 Programme on 1st March 1935 and laid down on 23rd July 1935. The ship was launched on 20th August 1936 by Lady Fisher, the wife of the renowned Admiral 'Jackie' Fisher and was the 10th Royal Navy warship to carry the name, first used in 1758 for the Prize ABENOIRE. The ship was commissioned for Home Fleet service on 9th November 1937 at a cost of almost 1.25M. She is easy to identify as she had a Deck House fitted in the catapult space as no aircraft were carried. Prior to WW2 she was deployed as the Flagship, Commodore (Destroyers), Home Fleet, In November 1941, following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted by the civil community of the city of Bradford. The ship achieved national distinction during her WW2 service, especially in the Mediterranean from 1941 onwards.

 

B a t t le   H o n o u r s

 

ST. LUCIA 1778 - MINORCA - GUADALOUPE 1810 - CHINA 1900 - DOGGER BANK 1915  - NORWAY 1940 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941-43 - NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943  - SALERNO 1943 - AEGEAN 1943-44  - SOUTH FRANCE 1944

 

Heraldic  Data

Badge:  In chief red a rising sun, party per fesse,

barry of silver and gold.

 

Motto

Post Tenebras Lux:  'After darkness light'

 

Manning  Division

Portsmouth

 

 

S u m m a r y   o f   P r e - W a r   S e r v i c e

 

1 9 3 7

 

August                   Contractors trials

                9th          Commissioned for trials with reduced complement.

                                Commenced Acceptance trials

 

September             On completion of Acceptance Trials and storing took passage to Portsmouth.

 

October                  Deployed at Portsmouth and completed storing for service.

                                Full complement joined ship.

 

November

                9th          Commissioned for Home Fleet service as Flagship of Commodore (Destroyers)

                                Passage Portland for work-up.

 

December              Joined Home Fleet and on completion of work-up

 

1 9 3 8

 

January                  Deployed with Home Fleet including joint exercises at Gibraltar with ships of Mediterranean

to                            Fleet.

March

 

April                       Returned to UK for leave period.

 

May                        Deployed with Home Fleet ships for visits and exercises in Home waters.

to                             (Note: Visits included Copenhagen and Malmo.).

July

 

August                  Leave Period

 

September             Deployed in Home waters during Munich crisis and prepared for war.

to                            Carried out exercises in NW Approaches and North Sea.

December

 

1 9 3 9

 

January                  Home Fleet deployment including joint exercises at Gibraltar.

to

March

 

April                       At Portland

 

May                        At Rosyth

 

June                        Home waters deployment for Fleet exercises and visits.

to                            War Station allocated

August                   Passage to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet units.

 

 

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

 

 

September             Attached to 18th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet as Flagship for Rear Admiral (Destroyers).

                8th          Deployed with H M Battleships NELSON and RODNEY, HM Battlecruiser REPULSE,

                                HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD and destroyers of 8th Destroyer

                                Flotilla in search for enemy shipping off Norway.

                11th        Returned on to Scapa Flow

                13th        Carried out patrol in NW Approaches.

                20th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                22nd       Deployed with HM Cruisers SOUTHAMPTON, GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD with seven

                                destroyers of 7th Destroyer Flotilla for an offensive sweep in Kattegat

                                (Operation DK - Operation cancelled after a collision between HM Destroyers JERSEY and

                                JAVELIN.

                23rd        Passage to Scapa Flow.

                25th        Covered return passage of damaged submarine SPEARFISH to Rosyth and under air attack at

                                sea for first time.

                                Sustained slight damage from near misses.

                27th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

 

October

                8th          Escorted HM Battlecruisers HOOD and REPULSE with HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD screened

                                by nine destroyers in search for German battleship GNEISENAU and cruiser KOLN, reported

                                off Norway.

                                Returned to Scapa Flow after failing to make any contact.

                14tth       Transferred to Loch Ewe (Port A) after HM Battleship ROYAL OAK had been torpedoed and

                                sunk in Scapa Flow.

                16th        Deployed with HM Battleships NELSON and RODNEY, HM Battlecruiser HOOD, HM

                                Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS and HM Cruiser BELFAST, screened by 10 Home Fleet destroyers

                                in support of operations by ships of Northern Patrol to intercept blockade runners.

                22nd       Returned to Port A (Loch Ewe)

                23rd        Escorted iron ore convoy from Norway.

                31st         Returned to Rosyth.

 

November

                10th        Transferred to 2nd Cruiser Squadron with HMS SOUTHAMPTON, HMS GLASGOW and

                                HMS BELFAST.

                                Deployed as a Striking Force based at Rosyth for the interception of German warships in

                                North Sea.

                11th        Carried cut North Sea patrols.

                18th        Returned to Rosyth.

                21st         During departure from Rosyth with Striking Force HMS BELFAST detonated a magnetic

                                mine and sustained serious damage which disabled her.

                                Stood by HMS BELFAST until tow was established.

                                (Note: For details of Home Fleet activities in 1939 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                CLOSELY by C Barnett

                25th        Patrolled off Fair Isle with HM Cruisers EDINBURGH and SOUTHAMPTON screened by

                                three Home Fleet destroyers

                                Carried out search for German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after the

                                sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser RAWALPINDI.

 

December

                2nd         Returned to Rosyth

                6th          Taken in hand for refit in Clyde shipyard

                31st         Qn completion took passage to Scapa Flow.

 

1 9 4 0

January

                4th          Rejoined Squadron at Scapa Flow.

                14th        Deployed on patrol in NW Approaches

 

February                HM Cruiser ARETHUSA joined Squadron

                                Boiler cleaning and routine maintenance at Rosyth.

                                Some seaman ratings loaned to HM Destroyers MAORI and COSSACK for use as

                                Boarding Parties after German tanker ALTMARK was intercepted.

                                Became Flagship of 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

 

March                    Under maintenance at Rosyth.

 

April                       Nominated for escort of troopships on passage to Norway for planned allied landings.

                                (Operation R4)

                2nd         Passage to Clyde for duty as Flagship for operation.

                                (Note: Troopships for operation included CHOBRY and BATORY.)

                8th          Operation R4 cancelled after German invasion of Norway confirmed.

                                Passage to join Home Fleet ships at Scapa Flow for support of planned military

                                operations.

                9th          Rescued survivors from HM Destroyer GURKHA which had been sunk during air attacks

                                on Home Fleet ships during passage to Norway.

                                (Note: An attempt to tow the damaged destroyer was abandoned.)

                10th        Arrived at Scapa Flow and despatched to Rosyth to embark Admiral of the Fleet, the

                                Earl of Cork and Orrery, Flag Officer, Norway (designate)

.               12th        Sailed from Rosyth with the admiral to join Squadron off Norway.

                14th        Arrived at Skelfjord

                                Joined escort for military convoy NP1 during final stage of passage to Norwegian coast

                18th        Carried out bombardment of shore targets in Rombaksfjord..

                19th        Embarked General Mackesy for reconnaissance of Narvik area.

                20th        Deployed with HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM, HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, JUPITER and

                                ESCAPADE for patrol off Harstad to intercept enemy convoys.

                22nd       Carried out further bombardment in Rombaksfjord.

                24th        Bombarded enemy positions near Narvik with HMS WARSPITE, HMS EFFINGHAM,

                                HMS ENTERPRISE and HM Destroyer ZULU prior to allied landings by troops from

                                HM Cruiser VINDICTIVE.

                27th        Sailed to Harstad from Bjervik with HM Destroyer FAULKNOR.

                30th        Assisted in evacuation from Molde with HM Cruiser GALATEA.

 

May

                1st           Provided naval gunfire support at Otfjord with HM Battleship RESOLUTION and

                                HMS EFFINGHAM.

                3rd          Carried out further bombardments in Beisfjord with HMS RESOLUTION and Polish

                                destroyers ORP GROM and ORP BLYSKAWICA which were damaged by return fire.

                7th          Sustained serious damage during air attacks with two turrets disabled and several

                                casualties.

                12th        Bombarded enemy positions in Herjangsfjord, north of Narvik with HMS RESOLUTION,

                                HM Cruisers EFFINGHAM, VINDICTIVE and Fleet destroyers during landings by

                                French Foreign Legion battalions.

                                (Note: 1,500 troops were embarked in warships for passage to landings.

                                General Auchinleck was embarked during the bombardment.

                                Support bombardment limited by availability of turrets)

                13th        Released from support of landing and returned to Harstad

                                Passage to UK for repair.

                25th        Arrived at Portsmouth for repair.

                                (Note: For details of the disastrous naval operations off Norway see NAVAL

                                OPERATIONS OF THE CAMPAIGN IN NORWAY, April-June 1940),

                                THE DOOMED EXPEDITION by T Adams, NARVIK by D Macintyre,

                                CARRIER GLORIOUS by J Winton and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE

                                CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

 

June                        Under repair by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.

                                (Note: Close range AA defence augments by fit of two 2pdr Pom-pom mountings

 

July

                5th          Passage to rejoin Squadron in Home Fleet on completion of repairs.

                20th        Nominated for service with Humber Force and took passage to Humber.

                22nd       Deployed for anti-invasion patrols with Humber Force.

 

August                  Humber Force patrol duties in continuation.

                31st         Deployed with HMS GALATEA and three destroyers to intercept German warships

                                reported on passage in North Sea.

 

September

                1st           Returned to Humber after unsuccessful search.

                6th          Transferred to Nore Command for anti-invasion operations.

                9th          Carried out bombardment of Boulogne to destroy reported assembly of invasion

                                craft.

 

October                  Nore Command deployment in continuation.

 

November

                18th        Resumed Home Fleet duties with Squadron at Scapa Flow.

                                Deployed for Northern Patrol to intercept commerce raiders and supply ships.

                20th        Provided Ocean Escort for minelay in Northern Barrage by ships of 1st Minelaying

                                Squadron

                                (Operation SN1 IE - See Naval Staff History (Mining).

 

December              NW Approaches service in continuation.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                3rd          Deployed with HM Cruiser ARETHUSA screened by HM Destroyers BEDOUIN,

                                MATABELE, MASHONA, and TARTAR to cover minelay off Egersund, Norway

                                by HM Destroyers INTREPID and ICARUS (Operation DZ).

                23rd        Deployed with HM Cruiser NAIAD to meet five merchant ships which had escaped from

                                Sweden and were on passage to UK in North Sea (Operation RUBBLE).

                24th        Met mercantiles ELIZABETH BAKKE, TAURUS and TAI SHAN and transferred

                                escort to HM Cruisers EDINBURGH and BIRMINGHAM screened by HM Destroyers

                                ELECTRA and ECHO.

                                Carried out successful search for other RUBBLE mercantiles, JOHN BAKKE and

                                RA which were then escorted to Kirkwall.

                25th        Arrived at Kirkwall with mercantiles.

 

February

                1st           Sailed with HMS ARETHUSA screened by HM Destroyers MATABELE and TARTAR

                                to cover minelay off Fro Havet near Trondheim by HMS INTREPID.

                                Returned to Scapa Flow when operation cancelled due to weather conditions.

 

March

                9th          Provided Ocean Escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minela in Northern

                                Barrage (Operation SN69).

 

April

                6th          Covered Minelay by ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in Northern

                                Barrage (Operation SN8)

                                Resumed patrol duties in NW Approaches on completion of minelay.

                30th        Taken in hand for repair in Tyne commercial shipyard

 

May                        Resumed Squadron duties at Scapa Flow on completion.

                                Carried out sea trial RN design replacement for Type 286 Type 290 prior to its

                                introduction.

                                (Note: Type 286 was an RAF Air-Surface warning radar modified for for shipborne

                                use and was of limited value. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse..)

                22nd       Deployed with other ships of Squadron as screen for HM Battleship KING GEORGE V

                                and HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS during search for German battleship

                                BISMARCK and cruiser PRINZ EUGEN which were known to have sailed for attacks

                                on Atlantic convoys. For details see Naval Staff History, ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                                MORE CLOSELY and BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mulleneheim Rechberg).

                24th        Detached with HM Cruisers KENYA and HERMIONE to escort HMS VICTORIOUS

                                during air search operations.

                26th        Detached to refuel in Iceland.

                30th        Resumed patrol duty in NW Approaches after sinking of BISMARCK.

 

June

                3rd          Intercepted German supply ship BELCHEN in Denmark Strait with HMS KENYA.

                                (Note: Sank BELCHEN by torpedo after radar detection and surface gun attacks

                                following information obtained from decrpyption of ENIGMA signals.

                                See IN HARMS WAY by B Crabb and Naval Staff History. The enemy ship

                                had been deployed to provide fuel for German commerce raiders. This interception

                                had after decryption of enemy signal traffic by GCHQ at Bletchley Park.

                                See BRITISH INTELLIGENCE IN WW2 (HMSO -Ed by Hinsley)

                25th        Provided cover with HMS KENYA for minelay by ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron in

                                Northern Barrage (Operation SN70B).

 

July                         Deployed in further search for German supply ships

                1st           Returned to Scapa Flow.

                27th        Deployed with HM Cruiser NIGERIA, HM Destroyers PUNJABI and TARTAR

                                to carry out a reconnaissance to determine the suitability of use of Spitzbergen for

                                refuelling warships in Lowe Sound.

                                (Note: This was in anticipation of future requirements for Russian convoys and to

                                deny use of the island to Germany.

                                See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).

                31st         Arrived at Spitzbergen.

 

August

                2nd         Called at Bear lsland on return passage and destroyed installations before

                                evacuating personnel.

                6th          Arrived at Scapa Flow.

                19th        Deployed with HM Cruiser NIGERIA, HM Destroyers TARTAR, ICARUS,

                                ANTHONY, ANTELOPE and ECLIPSE as escort for ss EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA

                                during passage to land Canadian troops on Spitzbergen (Operation GAUNTLET)

                                (Note: This was to demolish mines and evacuate Russian and Norwegian nationals

                                at Barentsburg.

                                Personnel were taken to Archangel by HMS NIGERIA and the liner.

 

September

                1st           HMS NIGERIA rejoined from Archangel.

                2nd         Canadians re-embarked and sailed from Spitzbergen.

                                (Note: Several small vessels captured during raid also sailed.

                                See ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman and THE WATERY MAZE

                                by B Fergusson.)

                7th          Carried out surface gunfire attack on German military convoy off North Cape

                                with HMS NIGERIA.

                                (Note: A German naval training ship BREMSE deployed as escort was sunk and

                                two other escorts damaged. The two troopships in this convoy escaped.

                                HMS NIGERIA was damaged possibly after grounding or striking a wreck.)

                8th          Escorted three colliers, an icebreaker, a whaler, a tug and fishing vessels to

                                Clyde.

                10th        Returned to Scapa Flow and resumed Squadron patrol duties.

                                Deployed for interception duties near Iceland

                25th        Arrived in Iceland during patrol.

 

October                  Transferred with HM Cruiser PENELOPE to 15th Cruiser Squadron based at

                                Alexandria and prepared for service in Mediterranean.

                12th        Sailed from Scapa Flow for Gibraltar with HM Cruiser PENELOPE.

                18th        At Gibraltar.

                19th        Sailed from Gibraltar with HMS PENELOPE and met HM Destroyers LANCE and

                                LIVELY before taking joint passage to Malta to form Force K.

                21st         Arrived in Malta for deployment as Force K for attacks on enemy supply

                                traffic to and from North African ports.

                25th        Deployed with Force K ships to intercept convoy reported on passage to Brindisi.

                                Returned to Malta after unsuccessful search.

 

November

                1st           Carried out another unsuccessful search with ships of Force K.

                9th          During interception operation carried out night attack on seven ship convoy escorted

                                by four destroyers. Sank all mercantiles and Italian destroyer FULMINE in gun

                                attacks.

                                (Note: Two other destroyers EURO and GREGALE were damaged.)

                                Returned to Malta undamaged with HMS PENELOPE, HMS LANCE and HMS

                                LIVELY

                18th        Carried out offensive sweep as a diversion during military operations in North Africa.

                21st         Deployed with Force K in further diversionary operation to simulate convoy

                                movement and returned to Malta after nightfall.

                23rd        Sailed for interception of convoy on passage to Benghazi from Greece.

                24th        Intercepted convoy west of Crete and sank mercantiles MAROTZA and PROCIDA

                                carrying oil fuel.

                                The two torpedo boats LUPO and CASSIOPEA escorting the convoy were damaged.

                25th        Returned to Malta with ships of Force K

                28th        Sailed from Malta with ships of Force K to meet HM Cruisers AJAX and NEPTUNE,

                                HM Destroyers KIMBERLEY and KINGSTON on passage from Alexandria to

                                reinforce Malta Striking Force as Force B to increase offensive operations against

                                supply traffic.

                29th        Arrived in Malta.

                30th        Deployed on joint deployment with Force B

 

December

                1st           Engaged Italian auxiliary cruiser ADRIATICO with ships of Force K and later

                                intercepted tanker IRIDIO MANTOVANI escorted by destroyer ALVISE DA

                                MOSTA which were both sunk by surface fire in position 75 miles NE of Tripoli.

                                (Note: Ships of Force B were deployed separately.)

                                For details see following references.)

                9th          Deployed in search for convoy with HM Cruisers PENELOPE and NEPTUNE

                                screened by HM Destroyers JAGUAR and KANDAHAR.

                10th        Returned to Malta after unsuccessful operation.

                17th        Joined HM Cruisers NAIAD and EURYALUS of 15th Cruiser Squadron from

                                Alexandria and Fleet destroyers escorting HM Supply Ship BRECONSHIRE

                                carrying supplies for Malta and under threat of attack by Italian major warships

                                including battleship LITTORIO and two cruisers.

                                Took part in tactical deployments which caused Italian ships to retire.

                                (1st Battle of Sirte - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, MALTA

                                CONVOYS by R Woodman, THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D

                                Macintyre and Naval Staff History (HMSO-2001).

                                Afterwards detached with ships of Force K to ensure safe arrival of HMS

                                BRECONSHIRE.

                18th        Deployed with HMS PENELOPE, HMS NEPTUNE,

                                HM Destroyers KANDAHAR LANCE, LIVELY and HAVOCK to intercept

                                a convoy off Tripoli.

                19th        Force ran into enemy minefield as a result of which HMS

                                NEPTUNE and HMS KANDAHAR were sunk.

                                Struck mine on port side forward, abreast B turret ,causing flooding and severe

                                structural damage. List corrected by counter flooding and ship returned to Malta

                                escorted by HMS LANCE and HMS HAVOCK. See above references

                21st         Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard Malta.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Under temporary repair to allow permanent repair in UK.

to                            Sustained further damage in dry dock during air raids.

February

 

March

                29th        Passage to Gibraltar escorted by HM Destroyer AVONVALE

                31st         Arrived at Gibraltar after unsuccessful air attacks when south of Sardinia.

 

April                       Atlantic Passage to Liverpool.

                5th          Taken in hand for repair at commercial shipyard on arrival.

 

May                        Under repair and refit

to                            (Note: Aircraft warning radar Type 281 using new tripod masts was fitted with

June                        Fire-control radars for main and AA armament (Types 284 and 285)

                                See RADAR AT SEA.

                                20mm Oerlikon weapons were installed to improve defence against close

                                range air attacks.

 

July                         Carried out post refit trials.

                7th          On completion took passage from Liverpool to Scapa Flow.

                                Worked-up with ships of Home Fleet.

 

August                  On completion deployed with Home Fleet.

                21st         Provided cover for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in

                                Northern Barrage (Operation SN73).

                29th        Joined military convoy WS22 as Ocean Escort during Atlantic passage with HM

                                Armed Merchant Cruiser CARTHAGE, HM Destroyers PARTRIDGE and

                                QUIBERON.

 

September

                9th          Detached from WS22 on arrival at Freetown and deployed for trade defence.

 

October                  Atlantic trade defence in continuation based at Freetown.

                22nd       Joined Fleet at Gibraltar after release from trade defence duties

                28th        Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS with HM Cruiser CHARYBDIS

                                during an aircraft delivery to Malta (Operation TRAIN).

 

November              Nominated for support of allied landings in North Africa.

                                (Operation TORCH see above references and Naval Staff History)

                5th          Joined escort of military convoy KMF1 on passage to Gibraltar.

                7th          Deployed with Central Task Force with HM Landing Ship LARGS,

                                HM Escort Aircraft Carriers BITER, DASHER, HM Cruisers JAMAICA

                                and DELHI with screen of 13 Fleet destroyers to provide escort and

                                cover during allied landings in North Africa.

                                Led assault craft to marker submarine (HMS P54) stationed off X and Y

                                Beaches.

                8th          Deployed on patrol in Bay of Oran and then supported Ex USN Coastguard

                                Cutters HMS HARTLAND and HMS WALNEY during the attack on Oran

                                harbour.

                                Joined by HM Destroyers CALPE and BOADICEA to give naval gunfire

                                support.

                                Engaged four Vichy French destroyers off Oran with main armament.

                                Destroyers TORNADE, TRAMONTANE and TYPHON were sunk with

                                EPERVIER beached after sustained serious damage,

                                For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W Tute and Naval Staff History.

                10th        Bombarded forts at Du Santon and Cap Canastel with HM Battleship

                                RODNEY and HM Cruiser JAMAICA in support of final attack at Oran.

                11th        Embarked Commodore T. Troubridge for tour of X and Y Beaches.

                26th        Embarked Admiral Cunningham and staff at Gibraltar for passage to Algiers.

                                (Note: Admiral Cunningham was Commander of Naval Force for

                                TORCH and was transferring to Algiers to re-establish his headquarters.)

                27th        Selected for service at Bone with HM Cruisers ARGONAUT and SIRIUS

                                with HM Destroyers QUENTIN and QUIBERON as Force Q for interception

                                of enemy shipping on passage in Central Mediterranean

 

December

                1st           Took passage to Bone with ships of Force Q.

                                Deployed as Flagship, Force Q.

                2nd         Carried out surface gun attack on convoy of four ships north of Cape Bon

                                with ships of Force Q.

                                The four mercantiles were sunk and the Italian destroyer FOLGORE one of

                                the escorts.

                                Two of the others escorts, destroyer DE RECCO and Torpedo boat

                                PROCIONE were damaged.

                                See above references.

                                Under air attacks during return passage to Bone during which HMS QUENTIN

                                was sunk.

                10th        After HM Cruiser DIDO joined Force Q deployed with HMS ARGONAUT

                                for interception patrols off North African coast.

                                (Note: HMS SIRIUS and HMS DIDO were also deployed as a pair to share

                                this deployment. Patrols were carried out from Algiers and Bone and

                                included defence of allied convoys.)

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Force Q deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: HM Cruiser PENELOPE joined Force Q to replace HMS

                                ARGONAUT which had been seriously damaged in an air attack

                                on 18th December.))

                23rd        Bombarded Zuara, Libya with other ships in support of military operations.

 

February                Deployed with Force Q for interception patrol and convoy defence.

 

March

                12th        Under attack by E-Boats during interception patrol north of Bizerta.

                                (Note: HM Destroyer LIGHTING was sunk in these attacks.)

 

April                       Force Q deployment in continuation.

                                (Note: During this period extensive deployments were made to prevent

                                evacuation of enemy personnel from North Africa after the defeat of

                                the Afrika Corps.

 

May                        Transferred to 12th Cruiser Squadron with HM Cruisers, PENELOPE,

                                SIRIUS and DELHI.

                31st         Took part in preparatory exercises for planned British attack on Pantelleria

                                with HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, PENELOPE, ORION,

                                EURYALUS and Fleet destroyers (Operation CORKSCREW).

 

June

                8th          Carried out Dress Rehearsal for CORKSCREW by mock attack with same

                                cruisers and HM Destroyers NUBIAN, TARTAR, LAFOREY,

                                LOOKOUT, TROUBRIDGE,  JERVIS and WHADDON.

                10th        Embarked General Eisenhower for passage to witness final stage of

                                rehearsal.

                11th        Provided cover for assault on Pantellaria with same ships except HMS

                                EURYALUS.

                19th        Embarked HM King George at Tripoli for passage to Malta escorted by

                                HM Destroyers LOOKOUT, JERVIS, NUBIAN and ESKIMO.

                                Returned to Tripoli with His Majesty on completion of visit

                26th        Passage to Alexandria from Malta for defence of military convoys during

                                transit in eastern Mediterranean from Egypt to take part in planned allied

                                landings in Sicily

                                (Operation HUSKY - For details see Naval Staff History.)

 

July                         Returned to Bone

                5th          Sailed from Bone to join military convoy KMS16 during passage to Beach

                                Head in Sicilian Narrows from Gibraltar.

                7th          Detached from KMS16 to rejoin main force covering force.

                                (Note: Ships in covering force included HM Battleships VALIANT,

                                WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE, HMS

                                PENELOPE with destroyer screen)

                9th          Detached from covering force with HMS PENELOPE and two destroyers

                                to carry out bombardment of Catania and Taormina.

                                (Operation ARSENAL.)

                                Rejoined covering force in Gulf of Sirte on completion

.               10th        Deployed with covering force during landings with HM Battleships

                                NELSON, RODNEY, WARSPITE and VALIANT and deployed in

                                Ionian Sea.

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support for military operations.

                                Release from duty with covering force

                21st         Carried out bombardment at Crotone.

 

August                  Based at Bizerta with HM Cruisers PENELOPE, SIRIUS and DIDO for

                                support requirements associated with military operations in Italy

                11th        Bombarded Scaleta, south of Naples with HMS EURYALUS,

                                HM Destroyers JERVIS and PALADIN.

                                During passage to Palermo sank several Siebel Ferries used for traffic

                                between Sicily and Italian mainland.

                26th        Deployed at Tunis.

 

September             Joined HM Cruisers PENELOPE, DIDO, SIRIUS, ABDIEL and

                                US cruiser USS BOISE at Bizerta.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings at Salerno.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE - See Naval Staff History , BRITISH

                                INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser and ENGAGE THE ENEMY

                                MORE CLOSELY.)

                8th          Embarked troops of 1st Airborne Division troops for occupation of

                                Taranto. (Operation SLAPSTICK).

                                Took passage covered by HM Battleships KING GEORGE V and

                                HOWE screened by four HUNT Class Escort Destroyers.

                9th          During passage passed ships of Italian Fleet units going to Malta for surrender

                10th        Disembarked troops arid took passage to join Fleet units deployed for

                                support of allied landings at Salerno.

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support during counter-attack in beachhead area

                                at Salerno with HM Monitor EREBUS, HM Cruisers MAURITIUS,

                                ORION, US cruisers BOISE and PHILADELPHIA, HM Destroyers

                                LOYAL, LOOKOUT, TARTAR, NUBIAN, BRECON, QUANTOCK

                                and EGGESFORD.

                                Under heavy air attacks by glider and radio controlled bombs.

                13th        Remained at Salerno after withdrawal of HMS UGANDA, USS

                                PHILADELPHIA and USS SAVANNAH because of damage in air

                                attacks.

 

October

                1st           Returned to Malta on release from AVALANCHE fire support and patrol.

                4th          Sailed from Malta with HM Cruisers PENELOPE for passage to Aegean

                                for support of defence of Cos,

                                Met HM Destroyers TUMULT and PATHFINDER south of Crete and

                                carried out offensive sweep in Kaso Channel.

                                No craft sighted but came under spasmodic air attacks.

                                Involved in collision south of Cos Channel with HMS DIDO and

                                sustained damage above waterline

                                (Note: Italian forces had been replaced by German units after capitulation.

                                For details of the disastrous operations in defence of Aegean

                                islands see FIGHTING DESTROYER by GC Connell and

                                WAR IN THE AEGEAN by P Smith and E Walker.

                                HMS SIRIUS and HMS DIDO were also deployed with Fleet

                                destroyers ,from Malta and Taranto.)

                                Passage to Alexandria for repair.

                6th          Arrived at Alexandria.

                                (Note: HMS DIDO did not resume service in Aegean.)

                15th        Resumed operational service on completion of repair.

                16th        Deployed with HM Destroyers JERVIS, PENN, HURSLEY and Greek

                                MIAOULIS to take stores to Leros

                17th        Landed stores overnight and withdrew through Kaso Straits under air attacks.

                                (Note: HUNT Class destroyers carried out patrol and in action against

                                two E-Boats and a Sloop of Kalymos, See above reference.)

                                Met HM Cruiser SIRIUS and carried out joint bombardment of Cos harbour.

                                Under air attacks.

                18th        Took passage to Alexandria after carrying out patrol south of Scarpanto.

                                Bombarded Rhodes with Greek destroyer MIAOULIS and

                                under air attack in Scarpanto Straits.

                27th        Relieved HMS PHOEBE with HM Destroyers PATHFINDER,

                                EXMOOR and BLENCATHRA.

                                Carried out offensive sweep with air cover from Beaufighters of 227

                                and 252 Squadrons.

                28th        Returned to Alexandria with same destroyers.

                29th        After refuelling sailed with HM Destroyers ECHO, ROCKWOOD and

                                Polish ORP KRAKOWIAK.

                                Under air attacks SE of Casteloriso without damage.

                30th        Met HM Destroyers PETARD, BELVOIR and BEAUFORT during their passage

                                with personnel and vehicles for military units at Leros.

                                During passage to Turkish waters for transfer of troops and despite availability of

                                air cover came under heavy and sustained attacks by Ju87 and Ju88 aircraft, hit by

                                500 Kg bomb abaft the after funnel.

                                Extensive damage to after structure including armament with fires caused by

                                detonation of ammunition. 47 personnel killed and 30 wounded.

                                See above reference for details.

                31st         Withdrawn from operational service and under escort for passage to

                                Alexandria by HMS BELVOIR.

                                (Note: HM Cruiser PHOEBE was then the only one of the cruisers sent to the Aegean

                                that was available in the eastern Mediterranean.)

 

November              Taken in hand for temporary repair at Alexandria.

                                Permanent repair arranged at Taranto.

                                Took passage to Taranto.

 

December              Transferred to 15th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.

                                Taken in hand for repair at Taranto.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Under repair and refit

to                            (Note: Additional close range weapons fitted)

March

 

April                       Carried out post refit trials

                10th        Rejoined Squadron and prepared for operational service.

                                Passage to Alexandria.

 

May

                                Deployed with Squadron in eastern Mediterranean

                27th        Sustaining weather damage during deployment with HM Destroyer

                                KIMBERLEY and three Free French destroyers.

                30th        Transferred to Malta with Squadron for service in Central Mediterranean.

 

June                        Deployed in Central Mediterranean.

 

July                         Passage to Algiers

                                Embarked WRNS personnel of AFHQ for passage to set up new headquarters in Italy

                                Passengers disembarked at Naples.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in South France.

                                For details of preliminary movements and landings see

                                INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF FRANCE (HMSO) (Operation DRAGOON).

                29th        At Algiers prior to joining Task Force 84 (Support Force ALPHA)

                                under US Navy overall command.

 

August                  Passage to Malta to join other RN ships nominated for DRAGOON

                                Took part in exercises in preparation for DRAGOON.

                                (Note: Task Group 84 ships included HM Cruisers AJAX, BLACK

                                HM Destroyers TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE, US Navy Cruiser USS

                                QUINCY, US Navy Destroyers USS LIVERMORE, EBERLE, ERICSSON

                                and Free French battleship GLOIRE.

                11th        Sailed from Malta with ships of TF84.

                13th        Met HM Battleship RAMILLIES which was on passage in

                                Mediterranean from UK to join TF84.

                15th        Arrived off Assault area and took part in naval gunfire support

                to            in ALPHA area, SITKA Area and against batteries defending

                24th        the port of Toulon. For full details see above reference.

                                (Note: Effect of fire support given by ships was highly commended

                                by the US Navy Commander.)

                25th        Released from DRAGOON and resumed service in Mediterranean Fleet.

 

September             Deployed with British Aegean Force for blockade and occupation

                                of islands occupied by German forces

                                Carried out interception patrols against shipping, bombardments

                                and supported covert landings.

                                (Note: Other ships involved were seven Escort Aircraft Carriers,

                                HM Cruisers ORION, ROYALIST, BLACK PRINCE,

                                ARGONAUT and COLOMBO with ships of 24th

                                Destroyers Flotilla and HUNT Class Escort Destroyers

                                of the RN and Greek Navies.

                                Nominated for support of allied re-occupation of Greece (Operation MANNA)

 

October

                5th          Deployed with HM Destroyer CATTERICK for support of

                                re-occupation of the island of Levitha.

                15th        Covered reoccupation of Piraeus with HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE,

                                AJAX, ORION, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers STALKER,

                                ATTACKER and EMPEROR AS PART OF Force 120

                                (Operation MANNA).

                                (Note: Troops, vehicles and stores had been embarked in Alexandria for passage).

                                For details of MANNA see Military Staff History, Mediterranean (HMSO)

                25th        Carried out bombardment of Milos with HM Destroyers TETCOTT and TYRIAN.

 

November              Deployment in support of military operations in Greece

                                (Note: Civil war broke out in Greek and allied military operations

                                in support of civil authorities were given naval

                                co-operation as required.)

 

December              Eastern Mediterranean deployment in continuation

                4th          Carried out bombardment of shipping at Rhodes to prevent shipping being

                                used to assist in evacuation of German Forces from Aegean islands.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployed for support in Eastern Mediterranean with ships of Squadron.

                                Nominated for transfer to support of operations in western

                                Mediterranean based at Naples.

 

February                Passage to Naples.

to                            Deployed for interception of shipping supporting enemy forces

April                       and naval gunfire support of military ashore.

 

May

                6th          At Genoa

                                Nominated for service in Malta with Mediterranean Fleet

                                (Note: Mediterranean Fleet units were deployed for support of occupation forces

                                at Trieste, for interception of ships carrying illegal immigrants to Palestine

                                and for work-up exercises for ships on passage to join the Eastern Fleet

                                and the British Pacific Fleet.

 

June                        Mediterranean Fleet deployment in continuation.

 

July                         Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Malta.

 

August                  Under refit

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS AURORA remained in the Mediterranean on completion of refit in October 1945. She was then deployed for  duties with cruisers of the Mediterranean Fleet for visits, exercises and patrol.. In November 1945 it was announced that the ship was to be sold to China.. She took passage from Trieste to pay off at Portsmouth on 17th April 1946. Before transfer this cruiser was refitted and renamed CHUNGKING when handed over to the Nationalist  in 1948. After the ship defected to the new Communist government and her name changed to TCHOUNKING she was sunk during an air attack on Yaku harbour in March 1949. Salvaged in 1951 this cruiser re-commissioned with a new name HSUANG HO but this was later again changed to PEI CHING. By 1958 she had become a harbour hulk and given the name KUANG CHOU. It is recorded that she was broken-up in 1960.

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS AURORA

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

 

 

 

 

 

26/10/39

26/10/39

NARVIK 1

31/10/39

31/10/39

12/11/39

12/11/39

ON 002/1

15/11/39

15/11/39

23/02/40

24/02/40

ON 015/1

27/02/40

27/02/40

24/03/40

24/03/40

ON 022/1

27/03/40

27/03/40

17/02/41

25/02/41

TC 009

27/02/41

27/02/41

12/08/41

16/08/41

DERVISH

18/08/41

31/08/41

20/12/42

21/12/42

KMF 005A

22/12/42

22/12/42

24/06/43

06/07/43

KMS 018B

09/07/43

10/07/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 

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