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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 MAURITIUS  -  Colony-type Light Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

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

FIJI or Colony-Class cruiser ordered from Swan Hunter, Newcastle on Tyne under 1937 Build Programme in December 1937. The ship was laid down on 13th March 1938 and launched on 19th July 1939 as the first Royal Navy warship to carry the name. She was completed on 14th December 1940. Following a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 she was adopted by the city of Kingston-upon-Hull, then in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s 

ATLANTIC 1941 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - MEDITERRANEAN 1943-44 - ANZIO 1944  - NORMANDY 1944 - BISCAY 1944 - NORWAY 1945

H e r a l d i c   D a t a
Badge:  On a Field White, in chief and base a bar wavy Blue,
a key erect ward downwards red, surmounting the bar in
chief and two branches of sugar cane in saltire proper.

 

 

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 4 0

 

December              Contractors trials

                14th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

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

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

                7th          Worked-up at Scapa Flow for service with 10th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.

                                Nominated escort of military convoy.

                18th        Joined military convoy WS6B as Ocean Escort during passage to Freetown from Clyde.

 

March

                5th          Detached from WS6B on arrival at Freetown.

                                Deployed at Freetown for Atlantic convoy defence.

                                Part of escort for Convoys SL68 and SL69.

 

April                       Escorted Convoy SL70 to UK.

                                After arrival transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron in East Indies Squadron

                                Prepared for foreign service and took passage.

 

May                        Joined military convoy WS8A during passage in Atlantic as Ocean Escort in place

                                of HM Battlecruiser REPULSE and HM Cruiser NAIAD.

                9th          WS8A arrived at Freetown.

                14th        Deployed as Ocean Escort for WS8A for passage from Freetown to Cape of Good Hope.

                24th        Relieved as Ocean Escort for WS8A by HM Cruiser HAWKINS and took passage to

                                join Squadron at Colombo.

                                Deployed for Indian Ocean trade defence and Patrol.

 

June                        Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

                20th        Arrived Colombo and relieved HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE in Squadron.

                                Escorted Convoy OM11 to Aden.

 

July                         Deployed in Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal for convoy defence and patrol duty.

 

August

                1st           Escorted mv CAPETOWN CASTLE and ss EMPRESS OF JAPAN during passage

                                from Colombo to Singapore as military convoy WS9AX

                3rd          After relief by HM Cruiser DURBAN detached from WS9AX and resumed Squadron

                                duties for trade defence and interception patrol.

 

September             Deployed with HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES, HM Cruisers ENTERPRISE and

                                HAWKINS for interception of Vichy French convoy during passage in Indian Ocean to

                                Madagascar from Saigon.

                                (Note: Two RAF CATALINA aircraft were also used., but search was unsuccessful

                                after one aircraft was missing. For details see WAR WITH JAPAN Volume 1

                                (HMSO).)

 

 October                 Squadron duties for trade defence in continuation.

                31st         Deployed as escort for military convoy WS11X from Colombo to Singapore.

 

November

 

                6th          Detached from WS11AX on arrival at Singapore.

                                Taken in hand for refit.

 

December

                10th        Refit work suspended after Japanese invasion of Malaya.

                11th        Passage to UK via Cape after embarking some of the survivors from HM Battleship

                                PRINCE OF WALES and HM Battlecruiser REPULSE.

 

1 9 4 2

 

January                  Passage to UK.

 

February                Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Devonport to complete refit

 

March                    Under refit.

                                (Note: Fire control radar for HA and LA armament fitted.

                                20mm AA armament increased.

 

April                       On completion took passage to Scapa Flow to work-up with Home Fleet

                                Nominated for further service in Ceylon with 4th Cruiser Squadron.

 

May                        On completion prepared for foreign service.

                11th        Joined military convoy WS19 with HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CARNARVON

                                CASTLE, HM Destroyers BELVOIR and HURSLEY during passage from Clyde to

                                Freetown for duty as Ocean Escort.

                22nd       Detached from WS19 on arrival at Freetown.

                26th        Rejoined WS19 on its departure from Freetown as Ocean Escort during passage to Cape

                                of Good Hope with HMS HURSLEY and HM Sloop MILFORD.

 

June

                5th          Detached from WS19 with ships of Ocean Escort on arrival at Capetown.

                6th          Deployed for Squadron duties in Indian Ocean.

                18th        Joined WS19 as Ocean Escort duties during passage from Durban to Bombay in place

                                of HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE.

                26th        Detached from WS19 when relieved by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE as Ocean Escort.

                                Resumed Squadron duties in Indian Ocean.

 

July

                7th          Escorted military convoy WS19L from Durban for part of passage to Aden.

                14th        Detached from WS19L on relief by HMS DEVONSHIRE and took passage to Kilindini

                21st         Joined HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and

                                FORMIDABLE, HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, HM Destroyers NORMAN, NIZAM,

                                INCONSTANT and Dutch VAN GALEN in Force A for Fleet diversionary operation in

                                Bay of Bengal. (OPERATION STAB - See WAR WITH JAPAN Vol II (HMSO).)

                23rd        HM Destroyer NAPIER (RAN) joined Force A during passage to Seychelles.

                28th        Arrived at Colombo after refuelling with Force A in Seychelles.

                30th        Sailed with Force A from Colombo to provide cover for diversionary convoys.

                                See Reference.

 

August

                1st           Force A sighted by Japanese seaplane.

                2nd         Japanese aircraft shot down by MARTLET fighter from HMS FORMIDABLE.

                                Operation terminated and Force A returned to Trincomalee.

                                Passage to Kilindini to resume Squadron duties in Indian Ocean.

                26th        Sailed from Kilindini to intercept Vichy French ss AMIRAL PIERRE known to be on

                                passage from Madagascar to Reunion, a French possession in Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: Did not take part in support of British landings to occupy whole island

                                of Madagascar (Operation STREAM - See above Reference.)

                29th        Began interception patrol.

 

September

                2nd         Refuelled at Mauritius and returned to patrol area.

                4th          Ceased interception patrol and took passage to join military convoy US16 during

                                passage from Fremantle to Aden as Ocean Escort.

 

October                  Detached from US16 and returned to Kilindini

                21st         Nominated with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE AND ENTERPRISE to carry out search

                                for a Japanese mercantile reported in use as a supply ship for submarines or commerce

                                raiders deployed in Indian Ocean for attacks on shipping.

                                (Operation DEMCAT - See above Reference.)

                27th        Carried out search operation with assistance from RAF aircraft.

                30th        Naval search operations abandoned and returned to Kilindini.

 

November              Deployed at Kilindini for trade defence.

                16th        Joined HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CARTHAGE and HM Cruiser HAWKINS to

                                supplement Ocean Escort for military convoy WS23 during Indian Ocean passage.

                17th        Remained with Bombay Section of WS23 when convoy split and detached as Ocean

                                Escort for ships on passage to Bombay as Convoy WS23B.

                24th        Detached from WS23B on arrival at Bombay.

                                Embarked CinC East Indies for passage to Kilindini from Ceylon after a meeting in

                                London with Prime Minister.

 

December

                12th        Relieved HM Cruiser FROBISHER as Ocean Escort for military convoy WS24B during

                                passage from Durban to Bombay.

                                (Note Convoy comprised troopships mv. STIRLING CASTLE and mv ATHLONE

                                CASTLE.

                17th        Detached from WS24B on arrival at Bombay.

                                Resumed Indian Ocean Squadron duties.

 

1 9 4 3

 

January                  Indian Ocean convoy defence in continuation

 

February

                10th        Joined Force A1 with HM Battleships RESOLUTION, REVENGE and WARSPITE to

                                cover passage of convoy including rms QUEEN MARY, rms AQUITANIA, ILE DE

                                FRANCE, NIEUW AMSTERDAM, and mv QUEEN OF BERMUDA.

                                (Note: This convoy was taking ANZAC troops back to Australia from Middle East

                                (Operation PAMPHLET).

                15th        Detached from PAMPHLET.

 

March                    Indian Ocean trade defence and interception patrol in continuation.

to

April

 

May                        Nominated for service with Mediterranean Fleet in support of planned operations.

                19th        Transferred to 15th Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.

 

June                        Passage to Alexandria via Red Sea.

                                Damaged by grounding in Suez Canal during transit.

                                Under repair at Alexandria.

                                (Note: Additional 20mm AA mountings fitted to improve defence against close range

                                attacks.)

 

July                         Joined Squadron at Alexandria on completion.

                7th          Sailed from Alexandria with HM Cruisers NEWFOUNDLAND, UGANDA and ORION

                                screened by six destroyers for support during Sicily landings (Operation HUSKY).

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

                                Naval Staff History).

                9th          Joined HM Cruisers CARLISLE, COLOMBO and DELHI in Support Force East.

                                Sustained damage to Keel after grounding at Malta.

                10th        Provided naval gunfire support during landings SW of Syracuse.

                11th        Provided naval gunfire support during German counter-attack on beachead.

                12th        Embarked Rear Admiral Troubridge (Flag Officer Force A) from damaged destroyer

                                HMS ESKIMO to transfer to HM Destroyer EXMOOR.

                14th        Bombarded shore battery at Lentinmi in Catania Bay.

                23rd        Under air attacks at Augusta.

                                Flag transferred from HM Cruiser NEWFOUNDLAND which had been damaged..

 

August

                6th          Joined Force K in Malta with HM Cruisers ORION and UGANDA.

                12th        Bombarded Riposto on Italian coast with HM Destroyers NUBIAN and TARTAR.

                                Carried out offensive sweep along coast near Crotone with HMS UGANDA.

 

September

                2nd         Bombarded Calabrian coastal targets prior to allied landings on the mainland of Italy

                                with HM Battleships VALIANT and WARSPITE, HM Cruiser ORION, HM Monitors

                                ABERCROMBIE, ROBERTS, Fleet destroyers and River Gunboats.

                                (Operation BAYTOWN - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).

                3rd          Joined HMS ORION and provided naval gunfire support during landings with HM

                                Monitors EREBUS, ROBERTS and ABERCROMBIE.

                7th          Escorted convoy to Salerno with HMS UGANDA, HMS ORION, and Fleet destroyers.

                9th          Joined Northern Attack Force (TF85) to support landings at Salerno.

                                (Operation AVALANCHE - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).

                10th        Provided continuous naval gunfire support for British military operations on the

                                bridgehead..

                                Under air attacks including FX1400 and Glider Bombs.

                17th        Relieved from naval gunfire support by HM Cruiser SIRIUS.

 

October                  Deployed in central Mediterranean.

                5th          Passage to Taranto from Salerno for exercises.

 

November              Military support and convoy escort in continuation.

 

December              Detached for duty at Gibraltar for Atlantic convoy defence and interception patrol.

                24th        Deployed with HM Cruiser GAMBIA in search for German blockade runner in Bay of

                                Biscay (Operation STONEWALL).

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  On completion of STONEWALL called in Plymouth before return to Gibraltar.

                15th        Escorted HM Battleship KING GEORGE V with 3 destroyers from Gibraltar to Scapa Flow..

                                Returned to Mediterranean on completion.

                30th        Deployed at Naples for naval gunfire support of military operations at Anzio.

                                (Operation SHINGLE - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History).

 

February                Deployed in rotation with another cruiser for support duty,

                                (Note: Thus was shared with HMS DIDO, HMS DELHI, HMS PHOEBE, HMS ORION, HMS

                                PENELOPE (before loss), US cruisers USS BROOKLYN and USS PHILADELPHIA).

 

March

                3rd          Released from SHINGLE support duty.

                15th        Bombarded targets along west coast of Italy in support of military operations.

                                Deployed in Western Mediterranean for convoy escort duty.

 

April                       Transferred to Home Fleet and took passage to UK.

                                Nominated for support of planned allied landings in Normandy as Flagship Bombarding Force D.

 

May                        Under refit at Chatham.

                                (Note: Aircraft facilities removed.

                                Surface warning radar, Type 273) fitted and aircraft warning radar Type 279

                                replaced by Type 281. For details of development and use of radar see RADAR

                                AT SEA by D Howse).

                26th        Invasion training in Clyde with Force D ships.

                                (Note: Other ships in Force D were HM Battleships WARSPITE, RAMILLIES, HM Cruisers

                                ARETHUSA, DANAE and Polish cruiser ORP DRAGON.)

 

June

                2nd         Passage from Clyde in Convoy S6 with Force D escorted by HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ and

                                SWIFT, Norwegian STORD and SVENNER, HM Frigates ROWLEY and HOLMES.

                5th          Met HM Monitor ROBERTS for Channel crossing with Force D to support landings

                                on SWORD Beach (Operation NEPTUNE - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY

                                and Naval Staff History).

                6th          Bombarded Houlgate and Merville Battery during assault on SWORD Beach.

                8th          On completion of Bombardment Phase joined Eastern Naval Task Force to continue support role.

                13th        Slightly damaged by shore fire.

 

July

                4th          Provided naval gunfire support for military operations.

                11th        Bombarded enemy positions near Caen with HMS ROBERTS.

                17th        Bombarded German positions at Caen to support military operation.                        

                18th        Repeated Caen support bombardment.

 

August

                5th          Deployed in Bay of Biscay to intercept craft evacuating troops.

                14th        During patrol off Les Sables with HM Destroyer URSA and HM Destroyer IROQUOIS (RCN)

                                as Force 27 engaged German convoy and damaged Torpedo Boat T24 and two ships under

                                escort.

                                Later engage coastal steamer which grounded.

                15th        Force 27 engaged 2 minesweepers with 2 merchant ships off Ile de Yeux and sank a

                                minesweeper.

                22nd       Under shore/fire during patrol with Force 27 near Gironde.

                25th        Engaged escorted convoy with HMS URSA and HMCS IROQUOIS in Audieme Bay.

                                German patrol boats V702, V717, V720, V729 and V730 were sunk and ships set on fire.

                28th        Requirement ceased when Germans reported by French resistance to be leaving the Brittany area.

                                Returned to Devonport.

 

September

                1st           Under repair in Devonport.

 

October                  Transferred to 10th Cruiser Squadron for Hone Fleet operations.

                16th        Escorted HMS KING GEORGE V from Plymouth to Scapa Flow.

                26th        Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier IMPLACABLE with 6 Fleet destroyers for air strikes against

                                targets in Norway. During these two ferry barges were damaged near Bodo,

                                patrol vessel V5722 and depot ship KARL MAYER at Rorvik, M433 minesweeper and two

                                steamers at Kristiansund.

                                Submarine U1060 was also damaged in North Sea and was later sunk by bomber aircraft.

                                (Operation ATHLETIC)

 

November              Deployed with 10th Cruiser Squadron for Home Fleet operations off Norway.

                                (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY).

 

December              Deployed with Home Fleet units to intercept German destroyers and Alesund without success.

 

1 9 4 5

 

January

                28th        During deployment with HM Cruiser DIADEM engaged two German destroyers found to

                                be attempting passage into Baltic Sea from Bergen.

                                Damaged Z31.

                                Received one hit from return fire.

                                (Note: Enemy ships later reached Kiel).

 

February                Home Fleet deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for refit.

                25th        Began refit at commercial shipyard in Birkenhead

 

March                    Under refit

to                            (Note: Work included fit of Low Angle Fire control radar Type 275 to replaced Type 284.

August                  and Warning radars Types 293 and 277 with IFF in place of Type 273.

                                Air warning radar Type 960 replaced Type 281. See RADAR AT SEA).

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS MAURITIUS was retained in operational service on completion of refit in March 1946. She was deployed as a  Cruiser Squadron Flagship in Home Waters and in the Mediterranean until 1947. After a period in Reserve the ship re-commissioned in 1950 as Flagship in the East Indies and took in operations in the Persia Gulf after the unrest at Abadan. Paid off in 1952 she went into refit for several months before being placed in Reserve. This expense was subjected to some criticism by a Parliamentary Select Committee. After seven years in the Reserve she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO for breaking up at Inverkeithing by T W Ward. She arrived in tow at the breakerís

yard on 27th March 1965.

 

Acknowledgement

 

Details of escorts for WS series of military convoys was provided by Donald Kindell of Ohio, USA from an unpublished source. This is gratefully acknowledged.

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS MAURITIUS

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

 

 

 

 

 

12/03/41

12/03/41

SL 068

15/03/41

21/03/41

23/03/41

23/03/41

SL 069

05/04/41

unknown

09/04/41

10/04/41

SL 071

23/04/41

04/05/41

07/06/41

07/06/41

CM 011

19/06/41

19/06/41

23/08/42

11/09/42

US 016

21/09/42

02/10/42

03/12/42

03/12/42

BA 034

unknown

unknown

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

 

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