DIDO-Class cruiser ordered from Alexander Stephen's of
Govan, Glasgow under the 1937 Programme on
The ship was laid down on 6th October 1937
and launched on 18th May 1939 as the third RN ship to carry the name, previously used in 1893.
Her completion date
was 25th March 1941
and following a
WARSHIP WEEK National
Savings campaign in November 1941 she was
adopted by Smethwick
in the county of Staffordshire
a t t l e H o n o u r s
1900 - BISMARCK Action 1941
- MEDITERRANEAN 1941
- MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - DIEGO SUAREZ 1942
e r a l d i c D a t a
On a Field
a ducal coronet an oak tree fructed
transversely in the main stem by
a frame saw
D e t a i l s o f W a
S e r v i c e
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9 4 1
Commissioned and carried out Acceptance
of trials and storing took passage to Scapa Flow.
Began work-up with 15the Cruiser
Home Fleet for service.
15th Cruiser Squadron in NW Approaches
Provided Ocean Escort for ships of 1st
Minelaying Squadron during a
minelay in Northern Barrage.
(Operation SN9A). For details
see Naval Staff History - MINING.
Deployed with ships of 2nd Cruiser
Squadron, Home Fleet search for the
Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier VICTORIOUS
with HM Cruisers AURORA and KENYA when
air strikes on BISMARCK
(For details of the search
and sinking of BISMARCK see Naval Staff History and BATTLESHIP
Detached to refuel in Iceland.
In collision with merchant ship TEMBIEN.
Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS from Clyde carrying aircraft for delivery to Malta.
On passage aircraft from Carrier searched
for German supply ship
GOZENHEIM in Atlantic.
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli
Joined by destroyers from Force
H at Gibraltar for escort during passage
in Mediterranean for
(For details of all
Mediterranean activities between 1940 and
1943 see ENGAGE THE ENEMY
MORE CLOSELY, THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and The
Naval Staff History)
Diverted during return passage to UK to
join Force H search
for enemy raider
Escorted HMS VICTORIOUS for passage to
Gibraltar carrying aircraft for
Joined Force H
Covered HM Aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and
FURIOUS during aircraft
(Operation RAILWAY 1)
Provided cover to same ships for repeat
delivery RAILWAY 2 on 30/6).
Under repair at Gibraltar.
Escorted HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM
Battleship NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL
covering passage of Malta
personnel convoy as far as Skerki Channel
and transit of HM Supply Ship
BRECONSHIRE) from Malta
Transferred to Convoy Close Escort after
HM Cruiser MANCHESTER was
with convoy for rest of
Sailed from Malta to rejoin Force H at
troops from Transport LEINSTER which had
grounded and had not
Joined HM Cruisers MANXMAN and ARETHUSA as
Force X for
passage to Malta with
During return passage to Gibraltar rammed
and sank Italian submarine
Under repair to bow structure at
Escorted HMS NELSON and HMS ARK ROYAL for
air attacks on Tempio,
during a demonstration sweep
by Force H off Valencia as diversion for
by HM Minelaying Cruiser MANXMAN
NELSON during covering operations
for three aircraft deliveries to
Malta by HMS
ARK ROYAL and HMS FURIOUS
(Operations STATUS 1 , 2 and 3)
Resumed duties with Force H on completion.
Joined Force X with HM Cruisers KENYA,
EURYALUS for the
escort of a personnel and
stores convoy through Sicilian Narrows to
cover by HM
NELSON, PRINCE OF
WALES and RODNEY as Force A.
Provided AA cover for HMS ARK
ROYAL during passage.
intervention was prevented by the astute
use of covering force and the
Detached to carry out diversionary
bombardment of Pantellaria.
Deployed with Force H.
Escorted HMS ARK ROYAL covered by HMS
RENOWN for aircraft delivery to Malta.
H Deployment in continuation.
3rd (Note: Under
unsuccessful attack by U83
near Gibraltar during escort of HMS ARK
HMS ARGUS during
passage near Gibraltar.
U-BOAT WAR, Volume 1 by C Blair.)
Escorted H M Battleship MALAYA, HM
aircraft Carriers ARK ROYAL and ARGUS for
delivery to Malta (Operation PERPETUAL).
HMS ARK ROYAL torpedoed east of Gibraltar
by U81 and sank the following day.
December Deployment at
Gibraltar in continuation.
9 4 2
Routine docking and maintenance at
Took passage to UK with Admiral
Somerville embarked after his appointment
as Cin C designate
East Indies Station.
in Home waters and nominated for
escort of military convoy during return
Gibraltar for service in
Joined military convoy WS16 in Clyde with
HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft
EAGLE and FORMIDABLE as Ocean Escort
during Atlantic passage.
Destroyers ACTIVE, ANTHONY, BLANKNEY,
CROOME, DUNCAN, FIREDRAKE,
provided screen during passage.)
WS16 and took passage to
Gibraltar with HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and
service in Mediterranean.
HMS MALAYA, HMS ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for
aircraft delivery to Malta.
Escorted HMS MALAYA, HMS
ARGUS and HMS EAGLE for aircraft
(Operation PICKET I).
Repeat aircraft delivery with same ships
(Operation PICKET II).
with HMS MALAYA, HM Destroyers ACTIVE,
and DUNCAN, six corvettes
and six minesweepers for support of
planned landings in Madagascar as
as Force F.
from Freetown to Durban.
HMS RAMILLIES and HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS with screen of six Fleet
destroyers to meet
Convoy Y taking main
Diego Suarez assault force to assault area
(For full details see
Naval Staff History, RELUCTANT ENEMIES by
W Tute, ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and
OPERATION PACIFIC by E Gray).
out diversionary bombardment of
French positions south of Diego Suarez Bay
Bombarded shore batteries
commanding Orja Pass which ceased return
fire after 10 minutes.
10th On release
from IRONCLAD completion
transferred to Mediterranean Fleet.
This was necessary to replace ships sink
or damaged during operations in
defence of Crete.)
to Alexandria for service with 15th
Alexandria with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and
Nominated for support of passage to
of relief convoy MW11 with HM Battleship
CENTURION (Disguised as a KING GEORGE V
battleship,) HM Cruisers
DIDO, EURYALUS, ARETHUSA, and COVENTRY
nine HUNT Class Escort destroyers were
deployed as close escort for
to fight this convoy through to the
island (Operation VIGOROUS).
with these ships to join MW11
MW11 and under air attacks and
threat from Italian major warships.
(Note: Heavy expenditure
of AA ammunition)
Attack by Torpedo boats
after nightfall was driven off by escort
ordered by CinC at Alexandria to
reverse course and under attack by torpedo
(Note: HM Destroyer HASTY
was hit and had to be sunk by HM Destroyer
NEWCASTLE was also hit and sustained
Under heavy and sustained air
attacks during which several ships were
(Note: HM Escort
Destroyer AIREDALE and HM Destroyer NESTOR
(RAN) were later
sunk by other
ships in escort.
ordered by CinC to resume
westward passage and later rescinded
Later instruction to
resume west passage was ignored owing lack
of AA ammunition
return passage hit on starboard side
amidships by torpedo fired from U205
26.10E, south of Crete.
compartments flooded and ship took on a 22
degree list- before
for 21 minutes prior to sinking.
440 of ship’s company were
rescued by HM Escort Destroyers ALDENHAM,
List - note
mercantiles and escorts returned to
Alexandria when operation was abandoned
due to threat
of surface intervention by Italian fleet
and continuation of heavy air attacks.
details of this disastrous operation
during which ill-advised and unhelpful
deprived those at sea from making
appropriate decision based on actual
See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by
THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, MALTA
R Woodman and
the Naval Staff History.
was published on 30th July 1942.)
convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
convoy as escort