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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS CERES  -  World War 1 C-type Light Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Ceres  (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List
 

CERES-Class cruiser built by John Brown of Clydebank, Glasgow and laid down on 11th July 1916. The ship was launched on 24th March 1917 as the 5th RN warship to bear this name first used in 1777. Build completion was on 2nd June 1917 and she served in Home Waters during WW1. In March 1942 the ship was adopted by the civil community of the Borough of Luton, Bedfordshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

GUADALOUPE 1794  - MARTINIQUE 1794 - SAN DOMINGO 1796 - NORMANDY 1944

 

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Green, five ears, two barley, three wheat, Gold

 

Motto

Tu ne cede malis:    'Do not yield to evilí

 

 

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

 

1 9 1 7

 

May                        Contractors trials

                                Commissioned for Grand Fleet service in 6th Light Cruiser Squadron

 

June

                2nd         Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                On completion of trials and storing took passage to join Squadron at Scapa Flow.

 

July                         Joined Squadron for operational service in Grand Fleet.

 

July                         Deployed with Grand Fleet in Squadron.

to

December

 

1 9 1 8

 

January                  Grand Fleet service in continuation.

to                            Nominated for service in Baltic for support of operations against Communist forces.

November

 

December              Deployed in Baltic

 

1 9 1 9

 

                                On release from service with Squadron in Baltic nominated for transfer to 3rd Light Cruiser

                                Squadron.

                                Returned to UK to prepare for foreign service in Mediterranean.

                                Joined Squadron in Mediterranean.

 

1 9 2 0    t o    1 9 2 2

 

                                Deployed with Squadron in Mediterranean included periods in Black Sea for support of

                                operations against Communist forces.

                                (Note: Return to UK to re-commission for further service in 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron

                                is to be confirmed.)

 

1 9 2 3    t o    1 9 2 6

 

                                Mediterranean service in continuation.

                                Damaged in collision with US destroyer USS FOX at entrance with Bosphorus (April 2nd)

 

1 9 2 7

 

                                Re-commissioned for further service in Mediterranean with 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron after

                                refit by HM Dockyard Chatham

                                (Note: This refit may have been consequent on collision and is to be confirmed.)

                                Rejoined Squadron in Mediterranean.

 

1 9 2 8

 

                                Towed damaged cruiser HMS CALEDON to Piraeus after collision in Aegean with Italian

                                mercantile (January)

                                Deployed as Temporary Flagship 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron.

 

1 9 2 9

 

                                Mediterranean service in continuation

                                Nominated for refit before reduction to Reserve status

                                Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Chatham (October).

 

1 9 3 0

 

                                Under refit

 

1 9 3 1

 

                                Nominated for Reserve service at Devonport

                                Passage to Devonport on completion of refit and post refit trials (March)

                                (Note: Cost of refit is recorded as £100,000.

                                Reduced to Reserve at Devonport.

 

1 9 3 2

 

                                Laid-up in Reserve at Devonport.

                                Nominated for service to replace HM Cruiser CASTOR in 3rd Cruiser Squadron

                                Mediterranean Fleet

                                Passage to Chatham to re-commission (April)

                                Re commissioned and took passage to join Squadron.

                                Deployed in Mediterranean pending relief by HM Cruiser DURBAN

                                Returned to UK to Pay-off at Chatham (October)

                                Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status

                                Laid-up in Nore Reserve.

 

1 9 3 3    t o    1 9 3 4

 

                                Laid-up at Chatham.

 

1 9 3 5

 

                                Transferred to Devonport Reserve and towed to Plymouth (May)

                                Laid-up at Devonport

 

1 9 3 6    t o    1 9 3 8

 

                                Laid-up at Devonport.

                                (Note: Nomination for service during Munich Crisis 1938 to be confirmed)

                                Conversion for use as an AA Cruiser was approved but not implement.)

 

1 9 3 9

 

January                  Laid-up at Devonport

to                            Nominated for attendance at Royal Review in September manned by Reservists from

June                        Royal Fleet Reserve and RNVR Division.)

 

July                         Brought forward for Review with reduced complement.

 

August                  Commissioned temporarily with Reservists for Royal Review at Weymouth by H M King

                                George VI.

                9th          Attended Royal Review as part of 20th Cruiser Squadron

                28th        War Station allocated

                                Stored and prepared for war service and additional complement joined.

                                Remained in commission.

 

 

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             Passage to Portland

                3rd          Deployed at Portland with Channel Force and worked-up for service.

                11th        Nominated for escort of troop convoys taking BEF to France and took passage to Plymouth.

                                (Note: Deployed as escort for five convoys with BEF personnel and equipment.)

 

October

                1st           Took passage from Plymouth to Gibraltar

                8th          Arrived at Gibraltar.

                10th        Sailed for Plymouth.

                13th        On arrival taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

                20th        Transferred to 11th Cruiser Squadron for interception of blockade runners.

                27th        On completion sailed to Scapa Flow to join Squadron for Northern Patrol duties.

                31st         Called at Sullom Voe

 

November

                2nd         Began first patrol.

                9th          Returned to Sullom Voe from patrol

                12th        Sailed for patrol

                23rd        Joined HM Cruisers SUFFOLK and CALYPSO to search for the German battleships

                                SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after the sinking of HM Armed Merchant Cruiser

                                RAWALPINDI.

                                (For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett and

                                Naval Staff History.)

                24th        Returned to Sullom Voe.

.               26th        Sailed for patrol with call in Clyde.

 

December

                16th        Returned to Scapa Flow to replenish and sailed on completion.

                25th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                28th        Sailed for patrol.

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

                11th        Left patrol for repair in Belfast

                13th        Taken in hand for repair.

 

February                Nominated for duty with 5th Cruiser Squadron on completion of repair.

                7th          Prepared for foreign service on China Station.

                16th        Passage to Malta.

                22nd       Arrived in Malta.

 

March                    Took passage from Malta for Singapore with HM Cruiser COLOMBO to join Squadron.

                27th        Sailed from Colombo.

                31st         Arrived at Singapore with HMS COLOMBO.

 

April                       Retained at Singapore with HMS COLOMBO for Indian Ocean patrol and trade defence

                                (Note: Commerce raiders were known to be active in this area.)

                29th        Passage to Ceylon

 

May                        Deployed on patrol, convoy defence and interception of commerce raiders in Indian Ocean

                                and Red Sea.

 

June

                8th          Squadron deployment in Indian Ocean in continuation when Italy commenced hostilities.

 

July                         Patrol and trade defence in continuation.

 

August                  Nominated for support of military operations in Somaliland.

                15th        Joined HM Cruisers HOBART, CALEDON and CARLISLE, HM Destroyers KANDAHAR and

                                KIMBERLEY with three sloops, three Auxiliaries and a hospital ship for evacuation of troops

                                and civilians from Berbera.

                                Over 7,000 persons were embarked and taken to Aden.

                17th        Bombarded Italian army column on Zeila-Bemera road.

 

September             Resumed Indian Ocean trade defence role when released.

                7th          Met military Convoy WS2a and escorted mv LLANGIBBY CASTLE into Mombasa.

October                  Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

 

November

                1st           Under repair at Durban (see Addenda).

                10th        On completion resumed Indian Ocean trade defence duties

 

December              Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Deployed in Indian Ocean and Red Sea on trade defence.

                29th        Deployed with HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE as relief for HM Cruiser HAWKINS as Ocean

                                Escort for military Convoy WS5A during passage from Durban to Aden.

                30th        Remained with WS5A as Ocean Escort when HMS SHROPSHIRE detached on relief by HM

                                Cruiser ENTERPRISE.

 

February

                1st           Remained with WS5A when HMS ENTERPRISE detached.

                4th          On relief as Ocean Escort for WS5A escorted ss NIEUW AMSTERDAM and ss ORBITA into

                                Mombasa.

                                Nominated for support of military operations in Somaliland and took passage to join RN ships

                                off Kismayu.

                                Blockaded Kismayu with HM Cruisers COLOMBO and SHROPSHIRE.

                10th        Joined Force T with HM Cruisers SHROPSHIRE, HAWKINS and CAPETOWN, HM Aircraft

                                Carrier HERMES and HM Destroyer KANDAHAR to support the military advance into

                                Italian Somaliland.

                14th        Intercepted German ship UCKERMARK which had broken out of Kismayu.

                                Enemy ship scuttled on approach. Resumed support operations.

                25th        Released to resume Squadron trade defence duties..

 

March                    Deployed on convoy escort between Aden, Mombasa and Trincomalee.

                21st         Under repair at Colombo

                28th        Resumed convoy defence duty on completion.

 

April                       Deployed on convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

to

June

 

July

                2nd         Under refit and repair at Simonstown.

 

August

                11th        On completion resumed convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

 

September             Convoy defence duty in continuation.

                22nd       Relieved HM Battleship REVENGE as Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS10X during

                                passage in Indian Ocean.

                27th        Detached from WS10X on arrival at Aden.

 

October

                13th        Relieved HM Battlecruiser REPULSE as Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS11 during

                                passage in Indian Ocean from Durban.

                19th        Detached from WS11 on arrival at Aden.

 

December

                21st         Met military Convoy WS12X off Durban and escorted ss ORIZABA into Mombasa.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Indian Ocean trade defence role in continuation.

                16th        Joined HM Battleship RAMILLIES in Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS14 during

                                passage from Durban to Bombay.

                19th        Detached from WS14 as escort for ships destined for Aden when convoy divided.

                20th        Detached from WS14 ships on arrival at Aden.

 

February

                17th        Joined HM Destroyer NORMAN and HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CHESHIRE and deployed

                                as Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS15 during passage from Durban to Aden.

                26th        Detached from WS15 with ships destined for Aden and deployed as Ocean Escort during

                                passage as re-designated Convoy WS15A

 

March

                1st           Detached from WS15Awith HM Cruiser COLOMBO on arrival at Aden.

                                Transferred to 5th Cruiser Squadron Eastern Fleet on formation.

                                Deployment for Trade defence and patrol in continuation.

 

April                       Transferred to Kilindini when Eastern Fleet ships withdrawn from Ceylon

                                (For details of naval activities in Indian Ocean see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) ).

 

May                        Based at Kilindini for convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

to

August

 

September             Under refit in HM Dockyard Simonstown.

                                (Note: Close range AA defence implemented by singe 20mm weapons.)

                                Twin Torpedo Tube Mountings were removed and four additional 20mm guns.).

 

 October                 Resumed convoy defence on completion

 

November              Deployed for convoy defence in Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: Deployment as part of Ocean Escort for WS24 to be confirmed.)

 

December              Indian Ocean convoy defence and patrol in continuation.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

to

February

 

March

                1st           Joined Ocean Escort for military Convoy WS26 off Durban

                                (Note: WS26 comprised ships destined for Aden and Bombay.)

                8th          Detached from WS26 during passage before ships for Aden left convoy.

 

April                       Indian Ocean deployment in continuation

                                Nominated for refit in Bombay.

                                Passage to Bombay.

 

May                        Under refit in Bombay.

                                (Note: Surface warning radar Type 271 may have been fitted during this refit.

                                For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)

June                        Resumed convoy defence duty in Indian Ocean.

 

July                         Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation.

to                            (Note: Radar Type 286 for air/surface warning is recorded as being fitted by this period.)

August

 

September             Withdrawn ran operational service in East Indies.

                                Took passage for UK

                27th        Sailed from Suez to Plymouth

 

October                  On arrival in Plymouth future deployment under consideration.

 

November              Use as an Accommodation Ship decided and complement reduced.

to

December

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Deployed at Devonport pending decision

 

February                Began use as an Accommodation Ship.

 

March                    Accommodation Ship deployment in continuation.

 

April                       Nominated or support of Normandy landings as Depot Ship at GOOSEBERRY 1 in US

                                Sector to the east of St Martin de Varreville (Operation NEPTUNE)

 

May                        Conversion for support duties in hand by HM Dockyard, Devonport..

                                (Note: Radar Type 290 fitted to replace Type 286.)

                                6in main armament and 2pdr Pom Pom weapons were removed and 20mm guns added.)

 

June

                8th          Passage to GOOSEBERRY 1.

                9th          Began duty as Depot Ship and also used as Control Ship for both northbound and

                                southbound sailings during Build -up Phase.

                                (For details of NEPTUNE see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and the Naval Staff

                                History LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June 1944 (HMSO).)

 

July                         Released from NEPTUNE

 

August                  Withdrawn from operational service and resumed duty as Accommodation Ship for

                                Plymouth Command.

 

September             Deployed as an Accommodation Ship.

                                Nominated for reduction to Reserve status

 

October                  Paid-off into Reserve.

 

November              Reducing to Reserve prior to laying up at Falmouth.

 

December              Deployment changed.

                                Transferred to Portsmouth for further use as accommodation ship in Fountain Lake.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployed as an Accommodation Ship at Portsmouth in continuation.

to

August

 

P o s t  W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS CERES continued to be used as an Accommodation Ship at Portsmouth until January 1946. The ship was placed on the Disposal List. and sold to BISCO on 4th April for demolition by Hughes Bolcow at Blyth. She arrived in tow at the breakerís yard on 12th July 1946.

 

 


 

Addenda

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS CERES

by Don Kindell

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

02/10/39

02/10/39

OG 001

08/10/39

08/10/39

23/06/40

23/06/40

BN 001

04/07/40

12/07/40

17/07/40

17/07/40

BN 002

29/07/40

05/08/40

06/08/40

06/08/40

BN 002A

09/08/40

12/08/40

30/08/40

07/09/40

WS 002A

08/09/40

14/09/40

27/09/40

27/09/40

CM 003

03/10/40

03/10/40

06/10/40

06/10/40

KD 001

11/10/40

11/10/40

15/10/40

15/10/40

CM 004

21/10/40

21/10/40

12/11/40

12/11/40

CM 006

27/11/40

27/11/40

12/01/41

20/01/41

SW 004B

25/01/41

25/01/41

21/04/41

21/04/41

CM 008

28/04/41

28/04/41

01/05/41

06/05/41

SW 006

11/05/41

16/05/41

24/05/41

24/05/41

CM 009

29/05/41

29/05/41

30/05/41

30/05/41

SW 007

07/06/41

12/06/41

09/06/41

09/06/41

SW 007A

14/06/41

14/06/41

24/08/41

24/08/41

BM 008

28/08/41

02/09/41

29/10/41

03/11/41

CM 018X

08/11/41

08/11/41

16/11/41

20/11/41

CM 022

24/11/41

24/11/41

30/11/41

07/12/41

CM 023

13/12/41

13/12/41

14/04/42

14/04/42

CM 027

28/04/42

28/04/42

19/12/42

19/12/42

CM 036B

26/12/42

28/12/42

30/03/43

30/03/43

MC 006

05/04/43

13/04/43

25/04/43

25/04/43

AK 007/2

03/05/43

03/05/43

06/07/43

06/07/43

PB 047

11/07/43

12/07/43

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 


 

POSSIBLE VISIT to SOUTH AFRICA in 1940/41

from Rory Lynsky, Durban, KwaZulu Natal, S.Africa.

 

 

"I came across in an old album of my parents dating back to WW2 in Durban. As you will know Durban was a major convoy port and it was a tradition for local families to host young RN sailors in their homes and take them out on the town and countryside. These pictures were taken in 1940/41 in Durban. There was an old hat ribbon with HMS Ceres in the album so I presume these chaps were from this vessel. The first two were taken by my parents while the third is from a postcard. The chap in his whites is Fred Thompson and written on the back of the third photo (the group) is Geoff Emmerson. 94 Engel Park, Mill Hill, London NW7. I'm not really trying to trace anyone, but again thought it might be of interest and spark some memories."

 

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