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

HMS Curacoa (Ships Pictures, click to enlarge)

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CERES-Class cruiser ordered in June 1916 in an Emergency War Programme and built by HM Dockyard Pembroke and laid down in July of that year. The ship was laid down on 13th July 1916 and launched on 5th May 1917 as the fourth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1809. After completion on 18th February 1918 she served with the Grand Fleet. HMS CURACOA was selected for conversion to an Anti-Aircraft Cruiser in 1939 and gave distinguished service with the Home Fleet during the Norwegian campaign in 1940. After a WARSHIP WEEK in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of Wolverhampton.  She was sunk on 2nd October 1942 under most tragic circumstances as recorded below.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

BLACK SEA  1851-55 - NEW ZEALAND 1864 - NORWAY  1940 - ATLANTIC 1940 - NORTH SEA  1940-42 - ARCTIC 1942

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Black, a Stork's head White, in his beak a snake Green.

 

M o t t o

Certamine summo :    'In the midst of battle'

 

 

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           Under conversion in HM Dockyard Chatham for use as an AA cruiser.

to

December

 

1 9 4 0

 

January                  Commissioned for service and carried out post refit trials.

                26th        Conversion completed.

                                First production aircraft warning radar Type 279 fitted.

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

                30th        Started work-up with ships of the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

 

February                On completion of work-up joined Home Fleet.

 

March                    Deployed with Humber Force in 1st AA Squadron for convoy defence in North Sea and NW

                                Approaches.

 

April

                8th          After German invasion of Norway nominated for landing on troops.

                17th        Embarked troops of 148th Infantry Brigade with HM Cruisers GALATEA, ARETHUSA and

                                CARLISLE and sailed from Rosyth for Molde. (Operation SICKLE)

                22nd       Deployed at Andalsnes for AA Guardship duties.

                24th        After repelling heavy and sustained air attacks on the area since arrival, hit by bomb below

                                Bridge structure and sustained major damage.

                                Withdrawn from Guardship duty and took passage to UK for repair under own steam, escorted by

                                HM Sloop FLAMINGO.

                                30 of shipís company were killed and another 30 wounded

                                (For details see Naval Staff History (HMSO, 2001) )

May

                2nd         Arrived at HM Dockyard, Chatham.

 

June                        Repair delayed by accumulation of higher priority work..

 

July                         Under repair and refit.

 

August                  Post refit trials.

 

September             Deployed in Nore Command for convoy defence and AA Guardship duties.

to

October

 

November

                4th          Transferred to Rosyth for convoy escort duty in North Sea and NW Approaches to supplement

                                AA defences against Focke-Wolfe KONDOR aircraft.

 

December              Convoy defence duties in continuation

 

1 9 4 1

 

January                  Convoy defence duties in continuation

to

March

 

April                       Under repair in m Dockyard Rosyth.

to

June

 

July                         Resumed AA defence duty for convoys in NW Approaches and North Sea

 

August                  Joined HM Destroyers LIVELY and LIGHTNING to assist return of French submarine RUBIS

                                from Norway after being damaged during patrol. Escorted RUBIS to Dundee.

 

September             Deployed with Rosyth AA Defence Force in continuation of convoys defence.

to

December

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Convoy defence in continuation in North Sea and NW Approaches.

to

April

 

May                        Under refit at Rosyth.

                                Surface warning radar Type 271 and fire control radar Type 282 installed for close range AA

                                armament.

 

June                        On completion resumed AA defence duties in Rosyth Defence Force.

                20th        Detached for duty with Home Fleet in diversion operation.

                                Deployed with HM Cruiser SIRIUS, HM Destroyers CASTLETON and ST MARYS for

                                escort of 'dummy' convoy including HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON,

                                MENESTHEUS and SOUTHERN PRINCE during passage of Russian Convoy PQ17.

                                (Operation ES).

                                (Note: This was not successful as convoy was never sighted by enemy aircraft

 

 

July                         Home Fleet for AA defence in continuation..

to

August

 

September             Transferred to Western Approaches Command and joined Irish Sea Escort Force for convoy

                                defence in Irish Sea and NW Approaches based at Belfast.

 

October

                1st           Deployed with HM Destroyers BULLDOG to join HM Destroyers BRAMHAM, COWDRAY

                                SKATE and Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA as escort for rms QUEEN MARY during final

                                stage of passage with troops to Clyde NW Approaches.

                2nd         Rammed and sunk by rms QUEEN MARY in North Channel during passage to UK with

                                troops.

                                Only 101 of her complement of 439 survived this disaster caused largely by lack of judgement

                                of course changes by the liner to avoid submarine attack. (Casualty List - note on casualties)

                                (Note: HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair records that the liner was under threat of attack

                                by U407 but was sighted visually. This account suggests that in an attempt to prevent

                                approach by U407, HMS CURACOA crossed the zig-zag path of QUEEN MARY.

                                THE QUEEN MARY AND THE CRUISER by D Thomas and P Holmes gives a more

                                comprehensive account of the disaster and provides details of the subsequent Boards of

                                Inquiry.)

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS CURACOA

by Don Kindell

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

26/09/40

26/09/40

OA 220

27/09/40

28/09/40

10/09/40

30/09/40

SL 047

01/10/40

28/09/40

30/09/40

01/10/40

OA 222

unknown

03/10/40

04/10/40

19/10/40

HX 078

20/10/40

20/10/40

03/10/40

25/10/40

SL 050

26/10/40

26/10/40

30/12/40

01/01/41

WN 062

01/01/41

02/01/41

01/01/41

04/01/41

WN 063

04/01/41

05/01/41

04/01/41

06/01/41

WN 064

07/01/41

07/01/41

05/01/41

08/01/41

WN 065

08/01/41

07/01/41

08/01/41

10/01/41

WN 066

10/01/41

11/01/41

13/01/41

16/01/41

WN 069

16/01/41

17/01/41

23/01/41

25/01/41

WN 073

25/01/41

26/01/41

24/01/41

26/01/41

WN 074

26/01/41

27/01/41

29/01/41

01/02/41

WN 077

01/02/41

03/02/41

31/01/41

02/02/41

WN 078

02/02/41

03/02/41

04/02/41

06/02/41

WN 080

06/02/41

07/02/41

28/12/40

09/02/41

WN 061

09/02/41

01/01/41

08/02/41

10/02/41

WN 082

10/02/41

11/02/41

11/02/41

12/02/41

EN 070/1

12/02/41

14/02/41

10/02/41

13/02/41

WN 083

13/02/41

14/02/41

13/02/41

13/02/41

EN 071/1

13/02/41

17/02/41

26/02/41

01/03/41

WN 091

01/03/41

02/03/41

01/03/41

01/03/41

EN 079/1

01/03/41

05/03/41

05/03/41

05/03/41

EN 081/1

05/03/41

09/03/41

06/03/41

09/03/41

WN 095

09/03/41

10/03/41

13/03/41

13/03/41

EN 085/1

14/03/41

17/03/41

14/03/41

17/03/41

WN 099

18/03/41

18/03/41

18/03/41

18/03/41

EN 087/1

18/03/41

22/03/41

18/03/41

21/03/41

WN 101

21/03/41

22/03/41

21/03/41

21/03/41

EN 089/1

22/03/41

25/03/41

20/03/41

22/03/41

WN 102

23/03/41

23/03/41

23/03/41

23/03/41

EN 090/1

24/03/41

27/03/41

22/03/41

25/03/41

WN 103

25/03/41

26/03/41

25/03/41

25/03/41

EN 091/1

26/03/41

29/03/41

24/03/41

26/03/41

WN 104

26/03/41

27/03/41

26/03/41

29/03/41

WN 105

29/03/41

30/03/41

29/03/41

29/03/41

EN 093/1

30/03/41

02/04/41

30/03/41

02/04/41

WN 107

02/04/41

04/04/41

03/04/41

05/04/41

WN 109

06/04/41

07/04/41

06/04/41

06/04/41

EN 095/1

07/04/41

10/04/41

07/04/41

09/04/41

WN 111

10/04/41

10/04/41

28/06/41

30/06/41

EC 039

01/07/41

04/07/41

05/07/41

08/07/41

EC 042

08/07/41

11/07/41

07/07/41

08/07/41

WN 150

10/07/41

10/07/41

08/07/41

10/07/41

EC 043

11/07/41

14/07/41

12/07/41

14/07/41

WN 152

15/07/41

15/07/41

13/07/41

15/07/41

EC 045

16/07/41

18/07/41

20/07/41

22/07/41

WN 155

22/07/41

23/07/41

20/07/41

22/07/41

EC 048

23/07/41

25/07/41

20/12/40

26/07/41

WN 057

26/07/41

24/12/40

25/07/41

26/07/41

EC 050

27/07/41

28/07/41

24/12/40

30/07/41

WN 059

31/07/41

28/12/40

29/07/41

31/07/41

EC 052

01/08/41

03/08/41

31/07/41

02/08/41

WN 160

02/08/41

03/08/41

31/07/41

02/08/41

EC 053

03/08/41

05/08/41

04/08/41

06/08/41

EC 055

07/08/41

09/08/41

06/08/41

08/08/41

WN 163

09/08/41

09/08/41

16/08/41

17/08/41

WN 168

18/08/41

19/08/41

16/08/41

18/08/41

EC 061

19/08/41

22/08/41

19/08/41

21/08/41

WN 170

22/08/41

22/08/41

13/09/41

unknown

WN 180

unknown

16/09/41

29/09/41

unknown

WN 187

unknown

02/10/41

02/12/41

02/12/41

EN 014

04/12/41

05/12/41

02/12/41

unknown

WN 213

unknown

05/12/41

18/12/41

unknown

WN 220

unknown

21/12/41

04/12/41

04/12/41

EN 015

05/12/41

07/12/41

09/03/42

11/03/42

WN 256

12/03/42

13/03/42

02/08/42

06/08/42

AT 019

07/08/42

07/08/42

10/08/42

10/08/42

TA 019

11/08/42

16/08/42

30/08/42

04/09/42

AT 021

05/09/42

05/09/42

08/09/42

08/09/42

TA 021

09/09/42

14/09/42

05/09/42

10/09/42

AT 022

11/09/42

11/09/42

14/09/42

14/09/42

TA 022

15/09/42

19/09/42

27/09/42

01/10/42

AT 024

02/10/42

02/10/42

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 

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