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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS KENYA  -  Colony-class Light Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Kenya (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 

FIJI or Colony-Class cruiser ordered in December 1937 from Alexander Stephens of Govan Glasgow under the 1937 Estimates and laid down as Job No 566 on 18th June 1938. She was launched by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester on 18th August 1939 as the first RN ship to bear this name. Build was completed on 28th August 1940. After a  successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by the civil community of the city of Derby.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ATLANTIC 1941 - BISMARCK Action 1941 - MALTA CONVOYS 1941-42 - ARCTIC 1941-42 - NORWAY 1941 - SABANG 1944 - BURMA 1944-45 - KOREA 1950-51

H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field barry wavy of six White and Blue,

a lion rampant guardant Red.


M o t t o

Cosilio fide vigilancia:  'Prudence, loyalty and vigilance'


M a n n i n g   D i v i s i o n




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


August                  Contractors trials

                28th        Commissioned for service under the command of Captain M Denny, Royal Navy.

                                (Note: 300 of the Ship’s Company were from HM Cruiser EXETER)

                                This ship was fitted with Type 279 Radar Outfit to provided warning of the approach

                                of aircraft. Other radar outfits were fitted later for surface cover and for fire control. For

                                details of development and use see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse and later references.)


September             Storing and preparation for Acceptance Trials

                11th        Commenced Acceptance Trials after three days delay due to strike by shipyard workers

                                because they wanted extra pay for attendance during sea trials !)

                18th        Docked at Greenock for hull inspection before Full Power Trials.

                28th        Sailed for Scapa Flow from Greenock on completion of Acceptance Trials


October                  Deployed at Scapa Flow for work-up with ships of Home Fleet.

                7th          Joined ships of military convoy WS3 as part of escort during Atlantic passage to Freetown.

                19th        Detached from WS3 on arrival at Freetown.

                27th        Sailed from Freetown for Scapa Flow.



                17th        Joined 10th Cruiser Squadron on arrival at Scapa Flow after calls at Belfast and Greenock.

                21st         Carried out gunnery exercises with HM Battlecruiser HOOD and HM Cruiser AURORA.



                10th        Passage to Devonport from Scapa Flow for routine docking.

                25th        Sailed from Devonport with despatch following attacks on military convoy WS5A by German

                                cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER.

                                (Note: WS5A dispersed and had to be re-assembled,)

                26th        Sighted by German aircraft.

                                Ordered to provide assistance to ss EMPIRE TROOPER which had been seriously

                                damaged with casualties when hit by 11in gunfire from the German cruiser.

                                (Note: HM Cruiser BERWICK was also damaged by 11in gunfire.)

                28th        Joined HM Corvette CYCLAMEN escorting EMPIRE TROOPER to Punta Delgado, Azores.


1 9 4 1


January                  Passage from Punta Delgado to Gibraltar as escort for EMPIRE TROOPER with four corvettes.

                4th          Arrived at Gibraltar with EMPIRE TROOPER.

                5th          Sailed from Gibraltar to join escort for HMS BERWICK during passage to UK.

                6th          Joined HM Aircraft Carrier ARGUS, HM Destroyers FORESTER, FOXHOUND, FURY

                                and WISHART for escort of HMS BERWICK as relief for HM Destroyers FORESTER,

                                FOXHOUND and FURY which detached and took return passage to Gibraltar.

                7th          Detached from HMS ARGUS and HMS WISHART to take passage to join Convoy SL60

                                as escort to UK from Freetown

                13th        Detached from SL60 on arrival in Clyde and took passage to Plymouth.

                15th        Arrived at Plymouth.

                30th        Sailed from Plymouth to Greenock for Atlantic convoy escort.



                1st           Joined outward Convoy OB281 as Ocean Escort during passage in NW Approaches.

                5th          Detached from OB281 and took passage to Freetown.

                8th          Arrived at Freetown.

                10th        Sailed from Freetown as Ocean Escort for inward Convoy SL65.

                14th        Remained as Ocean Escort with HM Armed Merchant Cruiser BULOLO for SL63 after

                                it merged with Convoy SL63 Slow for joint passage to UK.

                20th        Detached from joint SL63 and took passage to Gibraltar.

                22nd       Arrived at Gibraltar.

                28th        Sailed from Gibraltar to join inward Convoy SL66 (Slow Section) as Ocean Escort

                                during passage in Atlantic.



                9th          Detached from SL66 and took passage to join Fast Section of SL 66

                10th        Sighted by German aircraft which was engaged unsuccessfully.

                                Carried out attack on Italian submarine which was sighted on surface and force to

                                submerge by by 6in fire. Joined SL66F.

                13th        Detached from SL66F and took passage to Plymouth.

                17th        Sailed from Plymouth and joined HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK    

                               ROYAL, in SW Approaches to provide cover for passage of inward Convoy SL67 on passage

                               to UK from Freetown.

                                (Note: This convoy was believed to be under threat of attack by German battleships

                                SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU which never materialised. See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR

                                by C Blair.)

                                It had been attacked by U105 and U124 on 8th and post war records show a loss of five ships.

                                See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair and ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM by A Hague.)

                19th        Detached from SL67 and took passage to join escort of Convoy HG56 inward bound from


                                (Note: Threat of attack by the German capital ship was still considered likely.)

                23rd        Joined HX56 and carried out exercises with HM Submarine OLYMPUS, part of escort.

                31st         Detached from HG76 on arrival in Clyde.



                6th          Sailed from Clyde to join ships covering convoys against surface attacks.

                15th        Detached from patrol duties and took passage to Scapa Flow.

                18th        Arrived at Scapa Flow and nominated for interception patrol in NW Approaches.

                24th        Deployed as Ocean Escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in

                               Northern Barrage

                                (Operation SN71 in Faeroes-Iceland Gap – See Naval Staff History (Mining)..)

                29th        Returned to Scapa Flow.



                8th          Joined ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron as escort during further Northern Barrage minelay.

                                (Operation SN9B)

                15th        Provided escort for ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron during another minelay in Northern

                                Barrage (Operation SN9B)

                22nd       Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Battleship KING GEORGE V, HM Carrier VICTORIOUS,

                                HM Cruisers AURORA GALATEA and HERMIONE screened by HM Destroyers INTREPID,

                                INGLEFIELD, PUNJABI, LANCE, ACTIVE and WINDSOR to intercept the German battleship

                                BISMARCK reported on passage to attack North Atlantic convoys.

                24th        Detached with HMS HERMIONE and HMS AURORA with screen of destroyers to escort

                                HMS VICTORIOUS during air operations after sinking of HM Battlecruiser HOOD.

                                (Note: For details of the search and destruction of BISMARCK see Naval Staff History

                                and BATTLESHIP BISMARCK by Mullenheim-Rechberg..)

                27th        Detached with HMS AURORA from Fleet units after sinking of BISMARCK and took passage

                                to Hvalfjord, Iceland to refuel

                30th        Sailed from Iceland with HMS AURORA to carry out search south of Greenland for German

                                supply ships.

                                (Note: Supply ship movements in support of BISMARCK had been decrypted by

                                GCHQ at Bletchley Park from ENIGMA messages,

                31st         Rescued survivors from British freighter MARCONI sunk by U-Boat on 26th.



                3rd          Intercepted and engaged with main armament German tanker BELCHEN which was in process

                                of refuelling U93. Enemy ship was set on fire and developed a list to starboard after which

                                she was hit by a torpedo from HMS AURORA.

                                (Note: HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR records that ship took scuttling action.

                                U 93 escaped and later rescued some survivors from BELCHEN.)

                16th        Provided cover for minelay in Northern Barrage by ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron.

                                (Operation SNN66)

                25th        During return from providing cover for further Northern Barrage minelay in Denmark Strait by

                                1st Minelaying Squadron, collided with HM Destroyer BRIGHTON of Close Escort and

                                damaged abreast B Turret on starboard side (Operation SN70B).

                                (Note: HMS BRIGHTON had to be towed to Iceland for temporary repair of her bow structure.

                                before return for permanent repair in UK.)


July                         Deployed at Rosyth pending repair.

                28th        Under repair by HM Dockyard, Rosyth during which period Radar Type 271 was fitted for

                                warning against surface ships and two 20 mm Oerlikon guns were added to improve defence

                                against close range air attacks. See above reference for radar details.)

                                (Note: This was fitted on platform abaft B turret and experience showed this site could be

                                damaged when the mounting was fired. As a result another site was chosen for later fits in

                                this Class of cruiser.)


August                  (Note: One source records that a 15in shell was found in an oil fuel tank and its removal whilst

                                in No 3 Dock at Rosyth presented a serious problem during removal.)

                                On completion resumed Home Fleet duties at Scapa Flow.



                4th          Deployed with HM Destroyer LIGHTNING as escort for HM Fast Minelayer MANXMAN  

                               during  minelay off Stadlandet, southern Norway.

                17th        Nominated for support of planned operation to reinforce garrison in Malta

                                Deployed as Flagship for Vice Admiral HM Burroughs in command of escort for the Operation

                                Embarked RAF ground crew personnel for passage to Gibraltar.

                19th        Passage to Gibraltar with HM Battleships NELSON, PRINCE OF WALES and RODNEY, HM

                                Cruisers EDINBURGH, EURYALUS and SHEFFIELD screened by destroyers

                                as escort for Malta relief convoy during passage to Gibraltar (Operation HALBERD).

                24th        Joined HM Cruisers EDINBURGH, EURYALUS, HERMIONE and SHEFFIELD with destroyer

                                screen as Force X to provide close escort for mercantiles during passage from Gibraltar to Malta

                                through Sicilian Narrows.

                                Cover for transit was provided by ships of Force H and

                                Under air and E-Boat attacks with threat from major Italian surface warships..

                                For details see Naval Staff History, MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman , THE BATTLE FOR

                                THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre and THE NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

                                by J Greene and A Massigani.

                27th        Passage through Narrows.

                28th        Took passage from Malta with ships of Force X to rejoin covering force west of Narrows.

                30th        Arrived at Gibraltar with HMS PRINCE OF WALES and HMS SHEFFIELD screened by six




                1st           Sailed from Gibraltar with HMS SHEFFIELD to carry out search for German supply ship

                                KOTA PINANG which was known to be on passage from Bordeaux for support of U-Boat


                3rd          Intercepted KOTA PINANG after air search operations and engaged with main

                                armament and then by torpedo. Enemy ship was set of fire and took on list before

                                sinking after a large explosion in position 43.26N 24.30W.

                4th          Rejoined by HMS SHEFFIELD and took passage to UK.

                8th          Under repair to weather damage at build yard.

                10th        On completion took passage from Greenock to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet duties.

                31st         Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers BEDOUIN and INTREPID for interception patrol

                                based in Iceland.


November              Deployed off Iceland.

                                (Note: Threat of an attack by major German warships on Atlantic or Russian convoys had

                                been perceived.)

                6th          Embarked Russian General Gromoff and staff officers at Seydisfjord for passage to Murmansk..

                9th          Escorted HM Auxiliary Minelayer MENESTHEUS of 1st Minelaying Squadron for minelay in

                                Northern Barrage (Operation SN 83B).

                                After escort of HMS MENESTHEUS back to Iceland took passage with the two destroyers to

                                join Russian Convoy PQ3 as escort in place of HM Trawlers MACBETH during passage to

                               North Russia.

                                (Note: One man was lost overboard during rough weather conditions.)

                14th        Joined PQ3 as escort with HMS BEDOUIN and HMS INTREPID.

                20th        Detached from PQ3 and took passage to Murmansk to disembark passengers.

                                For details of Russian Convoy operations including names of warships and mercantiles under

                                escort see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by D MacIntyre,

                                CONVOY ! by P Kemp and RUSSIAN CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

                21st         Carried out search for enemy shipping off NE coast of Norway with Russian destroyers

                                GROMKI and GREMYASHI, HMS BEDOUIN and HMS INTREPID.

                25th        Took part in bombardment of Vardo and Hornoy islands with other destroyers.

                27th        Embarked RAF personnel for return passage to UK.

                                (Note: These had been giving instruction on HURRICANE aircraft to Russian personnel

                                after training Soviet airmen.)

                28th        Took passage from Archangel to join HMS BEDOUIN, HMS INTREPID, HM Fleet

                                Minesweepers GOSSAMER as Ocean Escort for return Convoy QP4.



                3rd          Detached from QP4 and took passage to Rosyth.

                6th          Arrived at Rosyth and taken in hand for routine maintenance and installation of steam piping

                                to reduce effects of icing on upper deck equipment..

                                Radar Type 284 for main armament was fitted and Type 273 installed in place of Type 271.

                8th          Rating killed by fall into dry dock.

                15th        On completion took passage to resume Fleet duties and deployed for preparatory exercise prior

                                to providing gunfire support during planned commando raid on Lofoten islands by No 3 and

                                No 4 Commando

                24th        Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, OFFA, ORIBI and CHIDDINGFOLD

                                as escort for HM Landing Ships (Infantry) PRINCE CHARLES and PRINCE ALBERT to carry

                                out landings at Vaagso and Malloy with air support (Operation ARCHERY)

                                (Note: Military commander, Brigadier J C Haydon was embarked.)

                25th        Forced to shelter at Sullom Voe in Shetlands by adverse weather conditions which had caused

                                damage to HMS PRINCE CHARLES. Operation postponed by 24 hours.

                26th        Resumed passage covered against surface attack by ships of Home Fleet.

                27th        Royal Marines detachment embarked in Landing Craft (Personnel) specially carried on board

                                for this operation.

                                Provided naval gunfire support prior to landings by Commando units and Royal Marines.

                                Sustained damage from return fire from shore battery which was then permanently silenced.

                                Came under sporadic air attacks/

                                (Note: Norwegian troops and Royal Engineers also took part in the landings.)

                                For details see IN HARMS WAY by B Crabb and THE WATERY MAZE by B Fergusson.)

28th        Arrived at Scapa Flow with 343 Norwegian citizens who wished to join Norwegian forces in UK.


1 9 4 2



                1st           Under repair to action damage at Scapa Flow

                                On completion deployed for exercises based at Scapa Flow.

                                (Note: Despite stormy weather conditions ship was not damaged.)

                17th        Deployed with HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD and SUFFOLK in search for German battleship

                                TIRPITZ reported on passage in North Sea.

                                On release from search took passage to Hvalfjord, Iceland.

                21st         Returned to Scapa Flow with HMS NIGERIA after carrying out interception patrol in

                                NW Approaches.

                22nd       Took passage from Scapa Flow for BLACK patrol between Iceland and Faeroes.

                27th        Based in Iceland for interception patrols with HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD and TRINIDAD.

                                (Note: The three cruisers were deployed in turn.)


February                Iceland patrol duties in continuation

                                Nominated to provide cover for minelay off Norwegian coast (Operation EA) which was

                                subsequently cancelled.

                16th        Provided cover for HM Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON, MENESTHEUS and PORT

                                QUEBEC of 1st Minelaying Squadron during minelay in Northern Barrage between Iceland

                                and Faeroes. (Operation SN84)

                21st         Returned to Scapa Flow


March                    Passage to Iceland and joined HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK,

                                HM Destroyers FAULKNOR, ESKIMO, PUNJABI, FURY, ECHO and ECLIPSE.

                3rd          Sailed from Hvalfjord with same ships to provide cover for passage of Russian Convoy PQ12

                                to Murmansk and return Convoy QP8 from North Russia to UK.

                                See IN HARMS WAY by B Crabb.

                5th          Joined QP12 during passage from Reykjavik and sighted by KONDOR aircraft.

                6th          Detached and took passage to join Home Fleet ships

                                (Note: HM Battleship KING GORGE V. HMS VICTORIOUS and HM Cruiser BERWICK,

                                screened by HM Destroyers ONSLOW, ASHANTI, INTREPID, ICARUS, LOOKOUT

                                and BEDOUIN had sailed from Scapa Flow to join force from Iceland on 4th.)

                7th          TIRPITZ reported on passage and presumed threat to convoys,.

                8th          Remained with QP12

                12th        Detached from PQ12 on arrival at Kola Inlet.

                                (Note: Air attacks on TIRPITZ by HMS VICTORIOUS were unsuccessful. See references.

                                These were the only attacks made by the Fleet Air Arm

                                on the German ship whilst she was at sea.

                22nd       Sailed from Kola Inlet with ten tons of gold bullion and took passage to UK independently.

                                (Note: Intended deployment to cover outward Convoy QP9 not carried out.)

                29th        Arrived at Scapa Flow. Command change.


April                       Deployed at Scapa Flow for Fleet duties.

                18th        Provided cover for minelay by HM Auxiliary Minelayers SOUTHERN PRINCE, PORT

                                QUEBEC, AGAMEMNON and MENESTHEUS of 1st Minelaying Squadron in Northern

                                Barrage between Faeroes and Iceland. (Operation SN88).

                28th        Deployed with Home Fleet covering force to provide Distant Cover for Russian Convoy

                                QP15 and return Convoy QP11 during transit in Arctic Ocean.

                                (Note: Units deployed included HMS KING GEORGE V, US battleship USS WASHINGTON,

                                HM Cruiser KENT, US cruisers USS TUSCALOOSA and WICHITA screened by

                                Home Fleet destroyers and four US Navy destroyers. See references

                                for details.).



                2nd         Remained with Home Fleet covering force when HMS KING GEORGE V was involved in

                                collision with HM Destroyer PUNJABI which was sunk

.                               (Note: HMS KING GEORGE V was serious damaged and replaced by HMS DUKE OF YORK

                                and USS WASHINGTON

                                On release from covering duties resumed interception patrol duty..


June                        Nominated for support of planned Malta Relief Convoy (Operation HARPOON).

                4th          Deployed with HM Cruiser LIVERPOOL, HM Destroyers BEDOUIN, ESCAPADE, ICARUS,

                                ONSLOW, MARNE, MATCHLESS, BADSWORTH, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON and

                                and Polish KUJAWIAK as escort for Convoy WS19Z during passage to Gibraltar.

                11th        Joined HM Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carriers EAGLE and ARGUS, HM Cruisers

                                LIVERPOOL and CHARYBDIS, HM Destroyers ONSLOW, ESCAPADE, ICARUS,

                                WISHART, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER, VIDETTE, ANTELOPE to form Force W to

                                provide cover for re-designated Convoy GM4 during passage in western Mediterranean

                                to the Sicilian Narrows.

                                (Note: Force X comprising HM Cruiser CAIRO, nine destroyers and four Fleet Minesweepers

                                was also formed to escort GM4 during passage through Narrows to Malta.

                                For details of all Malta Relief convoys see MALTA CONVOYS by R Woodman,

                                THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre, THE NAVAL WAR

                                IN THE MEDITERRANEAN by J Greene and A Massignani and the Naval Staff History.)

                14th        Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which HMS LIVERPOOL was damaged by a

                                torpedo and had to return to Gibraltar under tow.

                15th        Detached with remaining ships of Force W when GM4 took passage into Malta.

                16th        Remained west of Narrows with HMS CHARYBDIS to await return of Force Z

                17th        Took passage to Gibraltar with Force W and ships of Force Z

                18th        Arrived at Gibraltar with HMS CHARYBDIS, HMS CAIRO, HM Destroyers BLANKNEY,

                                ITHURIEL, MARNE and MIDDLETON.

                                (Note: HMS BADSWORTH and HMS MATCHLESS has remained in Malta.

                                Polish ORP KUJAWIAK also in Force Z was mined and sunk on entry into Malta.)

                20th        Sailed from Gibraltar to resume Home Fleet duties hat Scapa Flow with survivors from

                                ORP KUJAWIAK embarked.

                24th        Arrived at Scapa Flow.



                1st           Escorted HM Battleship HOWE from Tyne to Rosyth on completion of build.

                                See KING GEORGE V CLASS BATTLESHIPS V Tarrant.

                                Deployed for interception patrol off Iceland.

                                Return passage to Scapa Flow for special duties in support of Malta Relief convoy

                                (Operation PEDESTAL - For details see above references

                29th        Took passage from Scapa Flow to Clyde to join escort for convoy.



                3rd          Deployed with HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY, HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS,

                                HM Cruisers NIGERIA, MANCHESTER*, HM Destroyers AMAZON, ASHANTI, ESKIMO,



                                and ZETLAND as escort for |Convoy WS21S during passage to Gibraltar.

                                (Note: * ships which joined later on passage.)

                10th        Joined HM Cruisers CAIRO, MANCHESTER and NIGERIA, HM Destroyers ASHANTI,


                                WILTON and BRAMHAM, on formation of Force X as Close escort for passage

                                through Sicilian Narrows after covering Force Z detached.

                                Deployed as Lead Ship for starboard column during initial stage of passage from

                                Gibraltar until taking station astern of aircraft carriers.

                11th        Under air and submarine attacks during which HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE was hit by

                                torpedoes fired by U93 and sank within eight minutes with loss of over 200 of her

                                ship’s company.

                12th        Air attacks continued with a series of submarine attacks.

                                Covering Force Z detached on arrival at entrance to Narrows.

                                In an attack by Italian submarine AXUM, HM Cruisers NIGERIA and CAIRO were hit

                                by this submarine.

                                (Note: HMS CAIRO had to be scuttled later but HMS NIGERIA had to withdraw from

                                the escort and return to Gibraltar. Both these ships were fitted with VHF radio

                                equipment for control of aircraft defence.

                                Ship took over control of convoy after these losses.

                                Hit forward by one of four torpedoes from Italian submarine ALAGI and sustained

                                damage to bow structure. Ship was able to continue defence of mercantiles.

                13th        HMS MANCHESTER hit during series of attacks by E-Boats and convoy under threat

                                of surface attack

                                (Note: HMS MANCHESTER was later scuttled but enemy cruiser squadron withdrew.

                                After daylight incessant air attacks resumed with loss of one mercantile.

                                Near miss to stern later found to have damaged a propeller.

                                Detached from escort on arrival of the three remaining mercantiles off Malta and

                                took return passage through Narrows to rejoin ships of Force Z with HM Cruiser

                                CHARYBDIS, HM Destroyers ASHANTI, FURY, ICARUS, INTREPID and


                                See above references for details of defence of PEDESTAL convoy.

                14th        Met HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS NELSON, HMS PHOEBE, HM SIRIUS, HM Destroyers

                                LAFOREY, LIGHTNING, LOOKOUT and QUENTIN off Bougie for onward passage.

                                Under air attacks and slightly damaged by near miss.

                15th        Arrived at Gibraltar.

                17th        Taken in hand for temporary repair to bow structure by HM Dockyard.

                20th        Took passage to Scapa Flow.

                25th        Arrived at Scapa Flow having lost temporary bow structure during passage.

                                Accorded well deserved welcome.

                30th        Passage to Tyne for repair in South Shields commercial shipyard.

                31st         Taken in hand for repair and refit.


August                  Under repair and refit

to December          Work undertaken included replacement of air warning Radar Type 279 by Type 281,

                                Type 281, Installation of fire-control Radars Type 282 and 285 for anti-aircraft

                                mountings and removal of aircraft facilities. Close range AA armament

                                increased by addition of six twin 20mm Oerlikon mountings.

                                (Note: The availability of radar had allowed this new policy which also

                                reduced fire risk presented by storage of petrol.)


1 9 4 3


January                  Nominated for service in Eastern Fleet.

                8th          Command change.

                12th        Passage to Rosyth to prepare for operational service.

                18th        Passage to Scapa Flow from Rosyth to commence work-up with

                                ships of Home Fleet.


February                Work-up at Scapa Flow in continuation.



                6th          Sailed from Rosyth on completion of work-up.

                8th          Arrived at Plymouth and kept at short notice for sea as

                                Plymouth Command duty cruiser.

                                (Note: Cruisers were being deployed in SW Approaches for attacks on

                                enemy shipping of French coast and to protect convoys from

                                attack by surface warships.

                12th        Joined escort for outward convoy and on release took passage

                                to Gibraltar

                18th        Arrived at Gibraltar

                22nd       Sailed from Gibraltar for Freetown to provide cover for military convoy

                                during Atlantic passage between Freetown and Cape of Good Hope.

                27th        Arrived at Freetown.

                30th        Deployed with HM Destroyers QUADRANT and REDOUBT as Ocean

                                Escort for Convoy WS28 during Atlantic passage.

                                (Note: This convoy was taking troops and equipment to Middle East



                11th        Detached from WS28 on arrival at Capetown and took passage to Simonstown.

                15th        Rejoined WS28 as Ocean Escort during passage in Indian Ocean.

                25th        Detached from WS28 and took passage to Kilindini and commenced

                                duty in Eastern Fleet.


May                        Deployed at Kilindini for routine maintenance.

                                (Note: Ship was repainted to suit deployment in Eastern Fleet)

                                On completion took passage to Durban as escort for southbound convoy.

                26th        Joined military convoy WS29 off Durban as Ocean Escort during passage to




                1st           Detached from WS29 on arrival at Kilindini.

                6th          Sailed from Kilindini to Diego Suarez for escort of troopship during

                                its passage back to Kilindini.

                10th        Arrived at Kilindini

                18th        Took passage from Kilindini to escort two troopships to Colombo.

                                On arrival at Colombo detached as escort and took passage to main

                                base of Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee, Ceylon.

                20th        Took passage to Colombo for routine docking.


July                         On completion returned to Trincomalee for Fleet duties.

                                Took part in exercises with ships of Eastern Fleet.



                4th          Sailed from Trincomalee to meet military convoy US20 bringing troops and

                                equipment for service in Middle East.

                9th          Took over escort of WS20 from Dutch cruiser TROMP.

                20th        Returned to Kilindini after refuelling at Addu Atoll.

                24th        Command change.


September             Deployed at Kilindini for interception and patrol duties in Indian Ocean.

                                (Note: Carried out exercises with HM Submarine OSIRIS and HM Cruiser

                                SUFFOLK, the latter having just completed refit in Durban.)


October                  Deployed as escort for convoy to Ceylon during passage from Kilindini.

                12th        Arrived at Colombo.

                                Resumed Fleet duties at Trincomalee including exercises in preparation

                                for planned operations in Indian Ocean.



                9th          Took passage to Bombay from Trincomalee to carry out demonstration

                                of naval gunfire support

                                On completion took passage to Kilindini for trade defence duties.

                                Carried out unsuccessful search for warship reported in Bay of Bengal.

                                (Note: Naval Staff History WAR IN JAPAN (HMSO) records that no

                                Japanese raider was active at this time.


December              Deployed at Kilindini

                4th          Took passage to Trincomalee with HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE.

                9th          Arrived at Trincomalee.

                13th        Fatal accident during recreational bathing in harbour.

                17th        Carried out Local Exercises with HMS NEWCASTLE until 24th.


1 9 4 4



                5th          Deployed with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, CEYLON and SUSSEX for Local


                9th          Took passage with HMS NEWCASTLE from Trincomalee to Madras for

                                Official Visit.

                10th        Recalled to Colombo to refuel for special operation.

                12th        Deployed with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE and SUFFOLK, HM Escort

                                Aircraft Carrier BATTLER, HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CANTON, HM

                                Destroyer NEPAL (RAN) and HM Frigate BANN to carry out search for a

                                blockade runner in the area SE of Mauritius (Operation THWART).

                23rd        Carried out search with HMAS NEPAL as Force 64 from Tombau Bay,

                                Mauritius to SE of the island. Aircraft from HMS BATTLER provided

                                reconnaissance support.

                30th        Operation cancelled due to adverse weather after fruitless search.



                                Sailed from Mauritius for Simonstown for refit.

                                On arrival taken in hand by HM Dockyard for refit which included

                                fit of two more twin 20mm Oerlikons to reinforce defence against

                                close range air attack.


March                    Refit in continuation.


April                       Carried out post refit harbour and sea trials.

                15th        Sailed from Simonstown and resumed trade defence duties.

                                During patrol carried out ship exercises to ensure future efficiency.

                24th        Arrived at Kilindini.

                25th        Sailed from Kilindini as escort for routine convoy during passage to



May                        Detached from convoy on arrival.

                4th          Docked at HM Dockyard, Bombay for routine docking/

                                (Note: As ship was only a few weeks from refit, there may have been

                                other reasons.)

                6th          Joined HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM

                                Battlecruiser RENOWN, French Battleship RICHELIEU, Dutch cruiser

                                TROMP HM Destroyers NAPIER (RAN), NEPAL (RAN), ROTHERHAM,

                                RACEHORSE, QUIBERON (RAN), QUALITY (RAN), and Dutch destroyer

                                VAN GALEN in Force 65.

                                Wearing Flag of Officer Commanding 4th Cruiser Squadron Force 65 deployed

                                to provide cover for air strikes by HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS and US

                                Aircraft Carrier USS SARATOGA on Sourabaya. (Operation TRANSOM)

                15th        Refuelled at Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia from tankers of Force 67.

                                Sailed from Exmouth Gulf with Force 65 on completion and took passage

                                to launching area to provide cover.

                17th        Provided cover during raid and began return passage to Ceylon.

                                (Note: The attacks inflicted significant damage.

                                For full details see WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO) and THE

                                FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton.)

                18th        USS SARATOGA detached to rejoin US Pacific Fleet.

                27th        Returned to Trincomalee with Eastern Fleet ships.

                                (Note: On return from TRANSOM ships had steamed some 7,000

                                miles and the fuel remaining in cruisers and larger ships

                                was below the level needed to carry out a Fleet operation.

                                Shortage of Fleet tankers in Ceylon resulted in three days

                                being needed to complete refuelling of Eastern Fleet ships.


June                        Carried out exercises in Palk Strait between mainland of India and

                                after visit to Colombo.

                                Returned to Trincomalee on completion and nominated for support of

                                planned air attacks on Andaman islands (Operation PEDAL)


                                and HMS CEYLON screened by HM Destroyers QUILLIAM, QUALITY,


                                and RAIDER as Force 60 to carry out attack on Port Blair.

                21st         On arrival at flying off position provided cover against surface attack

                                reinforce defence against air attacks.

                23rd        Arrived at Trincomalee after completion of PEDAL.

                                (Note: Despite damage to installations the Japanese seem to have

                                treated this attack as a diversion from other activities. The use

                                of only one aircraft carrier was somewhat questionable as in

                                the event of damage returning aircraft would have been at

                                significant risk.)

                27th        Carried out exercises in Palk Strait.


July                         Deployed at Trincomalee

                                (Note: HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE and VICTORIOUS joined

                                Eastern Fleet to add to capability of carrying out air operations

                                with more than one carrier. See above Note.)

                4th          Embarked 100 Indian troops at Colombo for passage to Addu Atoll.

                10th        Return passage with Indian dock workers for passage to Colombo.

                22nd       Sailed from Trincomalee with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT,

                                HMS RENOWN, FS RICHELIEU, HMS NIGERIA, HMS CEYLON, HMS

                                CUMBERLAND, HMS PHOEBE and Dutch cruiser TROMP screened by

                                HM Destroyers RELENTLESS, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE, RAIDER,

                                ROEBUCK, RAPID, QUILLIAM, QUALITY and QUICKMATCH to carry out

                                air strikes against airfields near Sabang together with a bombardment

                                on harbour and shore installations by surface warships.

                                (Operation CRIMSON - Force 62)

                24th        Remained with main force when aircraft carriers and three destroyers

                                detached to proceed to launching area.

                25th        Joined in naval bombardment of wireless station at Pulo We Island

                                and provided counter-fire against enemy shore batteries.

                26th        Return passage to Trincomalee with Force 62


August                  Deployed with HMS CEYLON screened by HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM,

                                REDOUBT, RAIDER, RAPID and ROCKET as escort for HM Battleship

                                HOWE for final stage of Indian Ocean passage into Colombo.

                                (Note: HMS HOWE was on passage to join British Pacific Fleet being

                                formed in Ceylon.)

                19th        Deployed in Force 64 with HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS INDOMITABLE, HMS

                                HOWE, HMS CEYLON, HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, REDOUBT, RAIDER,

                                RAPID and ROCKET to carry out air operations at Padang and at

                                Emmerhaven as a diversion during US operations in New Guinea.

                                (Operation BANQUET)).

                22nd       Replenished oil fuel from RFA tanker EASEDALE.

                24th        Provided cover against surface and air attacks during air operations.

                27th        Return passage to Trincomalee.

                27th        (Note: : During BANQUET it was discovered that HMS HOWE could not

                                satisfactorily maintain the speed of the Fleet when at 28 knots,

                                despite that required by specification. Her fuel capacity was

                                also suspect (See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)

                28th        At Colombo

                                (Note: This was the fourth anniversary of her commission.)


September             Deployed for Fleet and Squadron exercises.

                11th        On completion returned to Trincomalee.

                14th        Sailed from Trincomalee in Force 63 with HMS INDOMITABLE,

                                HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS HOWE and HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND screened

                                by HM Destroyers ROTHERHAM, REDOUBT, RAPID, ROCKET,

                                RELENTLESS and RACEHORSE.

                                (Operation LIGHT - air attacks on railway works at Sigli, Sumatra and air

                                reconnaissance flights.

                17th        Part A of LIGHT (Strikes on airfields and air reconnaissance) abandoned because

                                of weather conditions but Operation LIGHT B still to be executed.

                18th        Provided cover during air operations by carrier aircraft.

                20th        Returned to Trincomalee with Force 63

                                (Note: Various mistakes were identified including communications errors

                                and procedures for landing aircraft.

                25th        Deployed as escort to HM Submarine Depot Ship MAIDSTONE during

                                passage from Ceylon to Fremantle.

                                (Note: Reports of Japanese cruiser operating in area may have made it

                                necessary to provide suitable escort.)



                3rd          Arrived at Fremantle with HMS MAIDSTONE

                15th        Sailed from Fremantle as escort for troopship mv DUNNOTAR CASTLE during

                                passage in Indian Ocean.

                23rd        HM Destroyers PATHFINDER and PALADIN joined escort.

                25th        Detached from escort and took passage to Addu Atoll to refuel.

                26th        Diverted to proceed to Colombo for routine docking after refuelling.


November              Docked at Colombo.

                8th          Sailed for Trincomalee to resume Fleet duties.

                11th        Arrived at Trincomalee.

                                Deployed at Trincomalee for Fleet exercises and bombardment

                                demonstration prior to planned landing operations in Burma.

                22nd       Ship transferred to 5th Cruiser Squadron East Indies Fleet on formation of British

                                Pacific Fleet.


December              Deployed with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA and PHOEBE as Force 61 for

                                visit by CinC, Eastern Fleet to bases on coast of Burma to be used during

                                planned naval operations in support of military advance in Burma.

                19th        Passage to Calcutta for official visit by CinC Eastern Fleet,

                20th        At  Calcutta.

                26th        Sailed from Calcutta and took passage to Bombay.


1 9 4 5



                5th          Carried out landing exercises for Royal Marines near Bombay.

                                (Note: Four Landing Craft (Personnel) were embarked for this purpose.

                                On completion returned to Trincomalee

                11th        Deployed with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, NIGERIA, PHOEBE, HM

                                Destroyers PALADIN and RAPID for exercises in preparation for

                                planned operations off Burma in support of military advance.

                23rd        Joined HMS NEWCASTLE, HMS NIGERIA, PALADIN and RAPID as

                                Force 65 to provide support for landings by Royal Marines.

                26th        Provided naval gun fire support prior to landings by Royal Marines

                                on Cheduba Island (Operation SANKEY).

                28th        Passage to Ramree to supplement bombardment by ships of Force

                                64 in support of landings at Ramree Island (Operation MATADOR)

                29th        Returned to Cheduba after release from Ramree support.

                31st         Re-embarked Royal Marines and carried further support bombardment

                                before taking return passage to Trincomalee.



                22nd       Sailed from Trincomalee with HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS

                                and AMEER, HM Destroyers VOLAGE, VIRAGO and VIGILANT, HM Frigates

                                SPEY, SWALE and PLYM as Force 62 to carry out air reconnaissance

                                operations in Andaman Sea.

                22nd       (Operation STACEY – See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).

                                (Note: HMS SPEY detached with defects on 26th and was replaced by

                                HM Frigate TRENT which had been apart of Tanker Force 61.

                25th        Provided cover during air operations.

                                (Note: Reconnaissance flights were made on Kra Isthmus, Phuket Island,

                                Penang, Langkawi and Butong Islands, as well as Victoria Point in

                                Malaya and northern Sumatra.)



                1st           Under air attacks which were repelled by aircraft from carriers.

                                Took passage with Force 62 ships to Simalur Island for further

                                air reconnaissance flights.

                5th          Passage to Ceylon with Force 62 on completion of air operations.

                7th          Arrived at Trincomalee

                15th        Provided naval gunfire support during landings at Letpan.

                                (Operation TURRET).

                                On return nominated for release from Eastern Fleet and prepared for

                                passage to UK via Durban and Cape of Good Hope.

                28th        Sailed from Colombo.



                6th          Arrived at Durban.

                15th        After Upper 6in gun-mounting (X Turret) removed.

                                (Note: This was in preparation for installation of additional AA gun

                                armament in this Class of cruiser. Removal in South Africa may

                                have been arranged to ensure availability of spare mounting

                                for replacement following damage in another ship deployed

                                in Indian Ocean area.)

                23rd        Sailed for Capetown after embarking gold bullion for passage to UK.


May                        Passage to Sheerness with call at Freetown.

                13th        Arrived at Sheerness.

                                Passage to Chatham on completion of de-ammunitioning


June                        Paid-off into Dockyard control and prepared for long refit by HM

                                Dockyard, Chatham

                6th          Taken in hand


July                         Under refit

to December          (Note: Close Range AA armament improved by fit of 40mm Bofor

                                gun mountings in place of Oerlikon 20mm guns.)


S u m m a r y    o f     P o s t – War    S e r v i c e


1 9 4 6


Re-commissioned in April for service in the West Indies the ship worked-up in Malta before joining the 8th Cruiser Squadron in Bermuda during December.


1 9 4 7


Her first cruise between January and April included British Honduras, Cuba Dominica, Haiti before going to Puerto Rica and ports in Brazil. After return in April she took part in exercises based Acapulco in Mexico, California and Canada followed by Alaska. On her return passage she called in Portland, Oregon an San Francisco and the final visit was to Manzillo, Mexico. On arrival at Bermuda  in October she was ordered back to UK to pay off as part of the reductions in Fleet strength due to manning problems. She Paid-off into Reserve in November.


1 9 4 8


Deployed in Reserve at Chatham.


1 9 4 9


Brought forward to replace HM Cruiser LONDON in the Far East the ship was refitted before commissioning in July. After a brief work-up and docking at Portsmouth she sailed for Foreign service in October. Christmas was spent in Malta and she then continued her journey to join the 5th Cruiser Squadron.. At Suez the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin embarked for passage to Ceylon  where he was to open the Colombo Conference of Commonwealth ministers.


1 9 5 0


After arrival at Colombo the ship was sent to assist a disabled mercantile in the Indian Ocean and towed this vessel back to Colombo. She then embarked Buddhist relics which were taken to Rangoon  for an exhibition before resuming passage to Hong Kong where she arrived in February having called   at Singapore. Exercises at Subic Bay and later at Hong Kong were carried out in March when she went  to Singapore The invasion of South Korea precipitated major change RN deployments in the Far East and a planned visit to Japan was cancelled.


Joining the UN naval organisation she sailed from Hong Kong in July with HM Cruisers BELFAST and JAMAICA for operational service based at Sasebo, Japan. Her first patrol was undertaken later that month and she took part in support of landings at Inchon in September followed by patrols off  Korea in October. An R&R visit to the Commonwealth base at Sasebo in November brought needed respite and she returned to operation to provide cover for an evacuation by South Korean troops from the Chinnampo Peninsular.


1 9 5 1


During January she supported evacuation operations from Inchon before returning to Hong Kong. Further UN duties began in March when she was deployed for support bombardments and patrol in the Yellow Sea. Raiding parties were landed behind enemy lines to obtain information prior to the bombardments. Her second operational tour ended in June when she sailed for Hong Kong. She  resumed UN duties in July and carried out patrols with more bombardments including some at Wonsan on the east coast of Korea. The ship sailed for Hong Kong in August having carried out 19 patrols,  steamed 63,118 miles and fired 3,386 rounds of 6” ammunition as well as 2,242 rounds of 4”  ammunition during bombardments. She arrived at Singapore for refit. in September and on completion  in November was transferred to the East Indies Station in exchange for HM Cruiser MAURITIUS in  the 4th Cruiser Squadron.


1 9 5 2


A visit were paid to Calcutta, Pakistan in January before sailing to Mombasa, Kenya to escort ss GOTHIC taking HM King George VI for a Commonwealth Tour. This was cancelled on the death of HM the King and the ship returned to Trincomalee. During March the ship took part in a cruiser to the Nicobars and Port Blair in the Andamans followed by a visit to Madras before return to Trincomalee for a SEATO exercise including Commonwealth navies and HMS GAMBIA. After routine docking in Colombo a second cruise was carried out to ports in East Africa and the Seychelles. This was followed by Series of exercises with RN ships of the East Indies Station and  RIN warships. In October she went to Mombasa before taking passage to Malta where she arrived at the end of October. During service with the Mediterranean Fleet the ship was involved in exercises in the eastern Mediterranean and on 22nd December took part in rescue personnel from the French mercantile, ss CHAMPOLLION aground south of Beirut. On return to Port Said she was immediately sent to assist in salvage of another mercantile, ss BURICA which was towed to Port Said


1 9 5 3


Before sailing back to UK in February she continued service in the Mediterranean and returned to Malta after Fleet exercises. The ship arrived at Portsmouth on the 23rd February and was visited by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester before being Paid-0ff into Reserve and later laid-up at Rosyth.


1 9 5 4


Laid-up at Rosyth.


1 9 5 5


HMS KENYA re-commissioned for service on 15th August after a refit and sailed via the Azores to Bermuda in October as relief for HM Cruiser SWIFTSURE. She took part in exercises with US Navy ships based in Cuba during the next few weeks and returned to Bermuda in December. Parties from  the ship gave aid to the civil power in Hamilton after unrest.


1 9 5 6


In January she paid visits to ports on the east coast of the USA including Miami, Houston and New Orleans with return to Bermuda in April after calls in the Caribbean. Transferred to the South Atlantic Station she took passage via the Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe and Porto do Salvadorfollowed by Rio de Janeiro where she arrived on 12th May for a six day visit. Before arrival at Simons Town on 28th May she briefly called at Tristan da Cuhna. With CinC embarked the ship visited Lorenco Marques, Mozambique and then went to Diego Suarez for routine docking when the Admiral left the ship. The Admiral rejoined at Tulear, Madagascar and then went to Durban  before going to Mombasa for another visit to Kenya. She was nominated to relive HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM as Flagship, Mediterranean Fleet and took passage from Killindini on 20th July.  During passage from Aden she was ordered to remain in the Red Sea after the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian government and remained Aden to deal with any emergency requiring action by Great Britain. During August the ship visited Kameran Island  a British dependency in the Red Sea where there was an accident on board during a fireworks display with  three casualties one of whom died later. After return to Aden she was deployed in the Persian Gulf and took British troops of the Gloucester Regiment to reinforce detachments at Dubai and Bahrain.  In September she returned to Aden for stores and delivered these to the military at Dubai and Bahrain. Despite the planned landings at Suez the ship was ordered to return to UK on 16th October and took  passage to Portsmouth via Durban, Simons Town and Freetown. Instead of serving in the Mediterranean the ship was transferred to the Home Fleet on 19th November. Her refit at Portsmouth began after another visit by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.


1 9 5 7


First duty as Flagship of Flag Officer Flotillas was to take part in joint exercises by Home and Mediterranean Fleet ships at Gibraltar for which she sailed on 26th January, In March she visited  Lisbon and then returned to Portsmouth with HM Submarine Depot Ship MAIDSTONE. Recommissioned for General Service Home/Mediterranean she arrived in Malta as replacement for HM Cruiser JAMAICA early in May. The first Summer Cruise in which she took part included exercises in the eastern Mediterranean followed by visits to Istanbul and Samsun Turkey with more Fleet and NATO exercises before returning to Malta at the end of July. The ship went with other RN vessels to visit Augusta, Sicily and ports in the Adriatic during August and September. Later that month following a visit to Tripoli she had a refit in Malta which lasted for the rest of the year.


1 9 5 8


On completion of post refit trials the ship took passage with other Fleet units for exercises in the central Mediterranean  followed by a NATO exercise including US Navy warships. During March  after the NATO exercises she visited Naples and Livorno, Italy. This terminated the Mediterranean leg of the commission and she sailed for Portsmouth on 26th March,  arriving there a week later. Home Fleet service began on 13th April and comprised exercises in the North Sea with for an Official visit by CinC Home Fleet to Stockholm. Further exercises followed in the Baltic before returning to the North Sea to visit Hull. Her final phase of post war service included the NATO EXERCISE FRESHWIND and visits to Ullapool, Bournemouth and Torbay. With Paying-Off Pendant flying on arrival at Portsmouth on 24th July HMS KENYA was  paid-off for the last time in September and began the procedures for reverting to Reserve status.


1 9 5 9    t o    1 9 6 1


Placed on the Disposal List in February the ship remained at Portsmouth and was de-equipped by  removal of items likely to needed by others ships which could be re-furbished for future use.


1 9 6 2


Sold to BISCO for scrap the ship was allocated for demolition by Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane  and taken in tow to the  Clyde where she arrived on 27th October. Before entry to breakers yard the ship broke adrift and had to be boarded by tugs to prevent her going ashore. She was then anchored off Kilcreggan and taken alongside for demolition on 29th October.






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








WS 003B





SL 065





SL 067





HG 056










PQ 003





QP 003





PQ 012





QP 009





PQ 015





QP 011










MKF 010B





JM 001





US 020





KR 007








(Note on Convoys)



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