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

HMNZS LEANDER  - Leander-class Light Cruiser  
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

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LEANDER-Class cruiser ordered under the 1930 programme from HM Dockyard Devonport on 18th February 1930. The ship was laid down on 8th September that year and launched on 24th September 1931 She was the 5th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in 1780 for a 4th Rate and last used for a cruiser in 1882 which was sold in 1920. Build was completed on 28th March 1933 and she commissioned for service in the 2nd Cruiser Squadron Home Fleet. Although nominated for transfer to the New Zealand Division in 1936 the ship did not go to New Zealand until the next year due to the outbreak of the Spanish civil war. After attending the Coronation Review in 1937 HMS LEANDER took passage to New Zealand via the Panama Canal and was serving in the Pacific in September 1939.


B a t t l e H o n o u r s


TENERIFE 1797 - NILE 1798 - ALGIERS 1816 - BLACK SEA 1854-55 - KULA GULF 1943


H e r a l d i c D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue. an arm in armour holding a lance proper, between

two lotus flowers Silver, over wavelets gold and green.

(Note: In a Circular frame).


M o t t o

Qui Patitur Vincit:  'Who suffers conquers



D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 3 9




Deployed with New Zealand Division.


3rd - On passage to Fanning Island in mid Pacific (Part of Gilbert and Ellis Group, south of Hawaii) with 35 troops to protect cable installation.


13th - Landed troops with stores and returned to Auckland.


25th - Sailed to Auckland Islands and Campbell Islands in Southern Ocean to investigate the likelihood of their use by Germany for bases.




1st - Called at Wellington during return passage to Auckland.




Deployed for further visit to Auckland and Campbell Islands.




On return remained at short notice for sea in Auckland.


24th - Transferred to Wellington and remained at short notice. Nominated for escort of military convoy.



1 9 4 0




5th - Escorted troopships DUNERA II and SOBIESKI to join Convoy US1


6th - Joined HM Battleship RAMILLIES as escort for US1 during passage to Australia with NZ Army contingent. (Note: mv CANBERRA and other troops ships were in US1)


11th - On relief by HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and SYDNEY took return passage to Auckland




Deployed at Auckland.


6th - At Waitanga for anniversaries marking New Zealand foundation.


23rd - At Auckland when HMNZS ACHILLES arrived on return from River Plate victory.




Deployed in New Zealand waters.




Nominated for escort of military convoy.


24th - At Wellington waiting for departure of military convoy




2nd - Escorted troopships AQUITANIA, EMPRESS OF BRITAIN and EMPRESS OF JAPAN during passage to Australia as Convoy US2 taking second batch of troops of 1st NZ Army Division for active service. (Note: HM Australian Cruisers AUSTRALIA and CANBERRA also escorted US2).


5th - Convoy US2 joined by rms QUEEN MARY, MAURITANIA and another liner. (Note: HM Australian Cruiser PERTH also part of escort of redesignated convoy now identified as US3.)


Detached on arrival at Sydney.


12th - Rejoined Convoy US3 to escort troopships in Indian Ocean from Australia after call at Fremantle.


15th - Convoy destination of Ceylon changed. Diverted to Cape of Good Hope in case Italy entered war


16th - Re-deployed and transferred to Mediterranean Fleet. Detached from US3 and took passage to Colombo. Arrived at Colombo.


21st - Passage to Alexandria with call at Aden.


26th - Arrived at Alexandria and joined HM Cruisers GLOUCESTER, ORION, NEPTUNE and SYDNEY in 7th Cruiser Squadron.


31st - Transferred to East Indies Squadron.




1st - Took Passage to Port Sudan to join Red Sea Force.


8th - During Red Sea Patrol intercepted Italian liner UMBRIA which was being shadowed by HM Sloop GRIMSBY.


11th - Took off crew of UMBRIA which scuttled at Port Sudan.


12th - Passage to Aden and patrol.


16th - Searched with aircraft for Italian submarine off Aden. (Note: This submarine GALILEO GALILEI was later captured by HM Trawler MOONSTONE and taken as Prize to Aden).


27th - Deployed with HM Destroyers KANDAHAR and KINGSTON in search for submarine reported aground in Red Sea. Located Italian TORRICELLI which was engaged and sunk by gunfire.


Under air attack on return passage during which two aircraft were destroyed.


July to August


Red Sea Force deployment in continuation. Escorted convoys from Men to Port Sudan area and Suez convoys to Bombay into the Indian Ocean south of Men, with HM Australian Cruiser HOBART, HM Australian Sloops YARRA and PARRAMATTA.




Red Sea Force deployment in continuation.


6th - Under air attack during escort of Convoy BN5 with HM Sloop AUCKLAND. Two aircraft destroyed.


20th - Stood by merchant ship damaged during attacks on Convoy BN5 with HMS AUCKLAND. One aircraft destroyed.


24th - Under air attack in Red Sea. Deployed as escort for Convoy BN6 44 ships).




Escorted Convoy BN7 (32 ships) with HMS KIMBERLEY, HMS AUCKLAND, HMAS YARRA and HM Indian Sloop INDUS.


20th - Under air attack without damage.


21st - In action against Italian destroyers LEONE, NULLO, PANTERA and SAURO in defence of Red Sea convoy. Enemy ships escaped under cover of smoke screen. (Note: Italian NULLO was later intercepted by HMS KIMBERLEY and sunk by torpedoes when under fire from shore batteries off Horni Island. HMS KIMBERLEY hit in boiler room and disabled.)


22nd - Towed HMS KIMBERLEY back to convoy and transferred tow to HM Destroyer KINGSTON.


29th - Ship's aircraft used to bomb Italian positions at Mogadishu.




Red Sea convoy defence in continuation. Escorted Convoys BN8 and BN9.


26th - Relieved in Red Sea Force by HM Australian Cruiser HOBART. Transferred to Indian Ocean for support of military operations in Somaliland.


28th - Deployed in Indian Ocean.


29th - Aircraft launched for attack on factory at Banda Abula, Italian Somaliland. After recovery bombarded shore targets firing 98 rounds of 6in.




Deployed for trade defence in Indian Ocean. Passage to Bombay for routine docking.


27th - On completion prepared for trade defence duties.


28th - Joined escort of Indian Ocean convoy to Aden.



1 9 4 1




Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.


14th - Deployed on interception patrol in Indian Ocean during passage to Colombo.


21st - Joined 4th Cruiser Squadron at Colombo.


24th - Deployed in search for ss MANADOR after distress call from position 150 miles west of Seychelles.


30th - Returned to Colombo without success having refuelled at Addu Atoll.


31st - Resumed Indian Ocean patrol.




9th - Returned to Colombo after patrol.


10th - Joined escort of military Convoy US9 as relief for HM Australian Cruiser CANBERRA in position 150 miles south of Ceylon. (Note: Convoy included troopship AQUITANIA, MAURITANIA and NIEUW AMSTERDAM).


22nd - Deployed in search for German warship ADMIRAL SCHEER off Maldives.


25th - Escorted coastal convoy from Colombo to Bombay.


27th - Resumed interception patrol and sighted unknown vessel off Maldives. Ship proved to be Italian raider RAMB I that opened fire when at 3,000 yards range and shots fell short. Engaged enemy ships which was hit and then scuttled. Rescued survivors and took passage to Addu Atoll.


28th - Landed prisoners and resumed patrol




2nd - Joined HMAS CANBERRA for joint search.


4th - Detached from HMAS CANBERRA but rejoined to assist in rescue of survivors from two German supply ships intercepted by CANBERRA. On completion continued Joint search. (Note: German Supply COBURG and KETTY BROVIK (captured Norwegian tanker) scuttled on approach.).


8th - At Mauritius with HMAS CANBERRA to refuel.


10th - Sailed from Mauritius with HMAS CANBERRA to meet HM Armed Merchant Cruiser CITY OF DURBAN for a combined search in area 400 miles SE of Madagascar for commerce raiders and supply ships.


20th - Detached to refuel in Mauritius.


21st - Resumed search between Mauritius and Madagascar.


23rd - Intercepted Vichy French merchant ship CHARLES LD (5267grt) and boarded. Scuttling charges thrown overboard and ship taken to Mauritius by naval party.


27th - Located tanker TROCAS reported missing and escorted her to Mauritius.


29th - Passage to Colombo.




2nd - Arrived at Colombo.


11th - Escorted convoy from Madras to Singapore


12th - Relieved by HM Cruiser CERES and returned to Colombo.


14th - Deployed for support of military operations in Persian Gulf.


Escorted convoy BM7 to Basra.


18th - Joined HM Cruiser EMERALD on arrival in Persian Gulf.


19th - Covered landings at Shatt el Arab.


22nd - When released from support duties took passage to Colombo to Join Hunting Group V. (Note: Group comprised HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE, HM Cruisers CORNWALL and HAWKINS to search for raiders operating in Indian Ocean).


29th - Took part in search for German raider PINGUIN south of Maldives.




3rd - Arrived at Colombo.


6th - Escorted military Convoy US10B in Indian Ocean. (Convoy included troopships AQUITANIA, ILE DE FRANCE and MAURITANIA).


7th - Detached for interception patrol duty.


14th - Returned to Colombo Nominated for service in Mediterranean.


23rd - Took passage to Aden


29th - At Aden.




 1st. Took passage to Alexandria to join 7th Cruiser Squadron. (Note: This deployment was made necessary because of heavy losses sustained during operations off Crete. See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and Naval Staff History (HMSO-2002).)


4th - On arrival 2 pdr pom-pom fitted (Ex HM Cruiser LIVERPOOL).


13th - Relieved HM Cruiser AJAX in support duty of military operations in Syria. (Operation EXPORTER) Deployed with HM Cruiser PHOEBE, HM Destroyers JACKAL, JANUS, KANDAHAR and KIMBERLEY. Bombarded shore targets in Sidon.


14th - Repeated bombardment of shore targets. Carried out search to north near Beirut with HM Cruiser COVENTRY and destroyers. Intercepted two Vichy French GUEPARD Class destroyers which withdrew at high speed. Under fire, liable to overtake and withdrew.


15th - Resumed patrol with HMS PHOEBE, HMS COVENTRY and destroyers. Provided further gunfire support to military advance.


22nd - Deployed with HM Cruiser NAIAD, HM Destroyers JAGUAR and KINGSTON in search close inshore north of Beirut. Engaged Vichy French destroyers GUEPARD and VALNY which withdrew. Sustained slight damage from unexploded 6in shell.


25th - Repeated offensive sweep north of Beirut with HM Destroyers DECOY, HAVOCK and NORMAN


26th - HM Cruisers PERTH and CARLISLE joined as reliefs. Took passage with COVENTRY to Alexandria.




Deployed for transfer of Army and RAF personnel to reinforce garrison in Cyprus. (Operation GUILLOTINE). Took passage to Haifa.


19th - Embarked Army and RAF personnel at Haifa for passage to Cyprus with HMS KINGSTON.


20th - Embarked troops at Port Said for passage to Cyprus.


21st - Passage to Haifa from Cyprus. (Note: Other ships deployed on GUILLOTINE included HM Cruiser NEPTUNE, destroyers of 14th Flotilla, HM Sloops PARAMATTA (RAN) and FLAMINGO.)


22nd - Deployed with HMS AJAX, HM Destroyers JAGUAR, JERVIS, KANDAHAR and KINGSTON for patrol south of Crete as part of Mediterranean Fleet operation.


24th - Detached with HMS JAGUAR to embark troops for Cyprus at Port Said.


26th - After disembarking passengers returned to Port Said.


31st - Took passage to Colombo for return to New Zealand after embarking RNZVR personnel. (Note: Signal from Admiralty to NZ Navy Board was sent in appreciation of the very significant contribution made by this cruiser during service with the fleet in the Mediterranean at a very crucial stage).




Docked in Colombo for routine inspections. On completion took passage to Fremantle.


Escorted ss CERAMIC from Fremantle to Sydney.


 28th - On arrival in Sydney rejoined New Zealand Division.




5th - Escorted troopship AQUITANIA to Wellington Passage to Auckland.


8th - Arrived at Auckland.


12th - Taken in hand for refit in HM Dockyard Auckland. (Note: Aircraft facilities removed and additional close range AA armament fitted.)




Under refit.


1st - Royal New Zealand Navy formed and ship became HMNZS LEANDER.



W a r   S e r v i c e a s  H MNZS   L E A N D E R




Carried out Post refit trials.


8th - On completion deployed for escort of ships on passage between New Zealand and Equator. Two successive trips were made before redeployment.




Escorted two military convoys to Suva.



1 9 4 2




10th - Deployed on escort and cover of military convoys to Suva with HMAS AUSTRALIA and PERTH, and HMNZS ACHILLES.


19th - Returned to Sydney with HMAS AUSTRALIA and PERTH.


29th - Passage to Melbourne with HMAS AUSTRALIA, PERTH, ADELAIDE and USN ships.


31st - Nominated to join ANZAC Squadron with HMAS AUSTRALIA for joint operations in South West Pacific with US Navy.




3rd - Relieved HMNZS ACHILLES in escort of convoy to Brisbane.


On arrival took passage to Suva.


12th - Joined ANZAC Squadron at Suva with HMAS AUSTRALIA, HMNZS ACHILLES, HM Australian Armed Merchant Cruiser MONOWAI, US cruiser USS CHICAGO and two US Navy destroyers.


14th - Deployed on patrol between Fiji and New Caledonia.


18th - Deployed with all Squadron to join Task Force 11 for assault on Rabaul.


20th - Under intense Japanese air attacks which seriously reduced fuel and ammunition supply. Returned to Suva to re-arm and refuel.




3rd - Escorted Convoy PW3034 to Brisbane from Suva with HMNZS ACHILLES and US cruiser USS PORTLAND.


17th - On return from Brisbane took passage with HMNZS ACHILLES as escort for ss WESTRALIA to Etape, New Hebrides with stores and personnel to build airstrip.


18th - Remained at Etape with ss WESTRALIA during unloading of stores and personnel.


Sailed for Noumea on completion.


28th - Deployed with Squadron as escort for military convoy to Suva.




1st - Joined Convoy BT 201 during passage from Panama and escorted it to Brisbane.


8th - Arrived at Brisbane.


10th - Took independent passage to Noumea.


28th - Joined Task Group 12.2 with USS LAMSON, HMNZS ACHILLES, US Destroyers USS HELM and USS HENLEY.


Escorted Convoy PW2059 off Pago Pago for passage to Vila.




5th - Carried out night patrols in New Hebrides.


19th - Re-deployed for support of planned assault operations.


28th - Landed troops troops from Vila at Espiritu Santo to occupy island.




1st - Sailed from Vila with US destroyers to join SW Pacific Force at Suva.


4th - Joined Convoy PW2076 and escorted some ships to Suva.


11th - Deployed for escort of convoys from Auckland and Fiji.




Pacific convoy escort in continuation.




Transferred to Pago Pago and escorted convoy from San Francisco to Noumea.




Transferred to Task Force 64 based at Espiritu Santo. Passage to join Task Force.


12th - Joined Task Force on arrival.


14th - Deployed on escort duty with convoy to Tonga.


18th - Carried out patrol off Guadalcanal anchorage off Lung Point with TF64 ships.


Escorted empty merchant ships from Guadalcanal to Espiritu Santo.




Task Force 64 convoy escort and support in continuation.


10th - Joined convoy south of Fiji and escorted to Auckland.




Passage from Auckland to Noumea.




6th - At Auckland.


16th - Passage from Noumea to Espiritu Santo to join TG16.6.


19th - Withdrawn from operational service for repair of cracked plating of fuel tank.


Took passage to Auckland. On arrival, taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Auckland.



1 9 4 3


January to February


Under repair




Post refit trials and prepared for operational service. Took passage to Espiritu Santo to rejoin US Task Force.


April to May


Deployed on escort duty between Pearl Harbour, Bora Bora and Noumea




Nominated for transfer to Task Force 18.


17th - Passage to Espiritu Santu.


Joined Task Force at Espiritu Santo.




Task Force deployment in continuation.


7th - Replaced US cruiser USS HELENA after she had been lost in Battle of Kula Gulf.


11th - Rejoined TF18 off Savo Island and deployed on patrol off Guadalcanal for the interception of Japanese troopships attempting to reinforce garrison on Munda, New Georgia.


12th - Refuelled at Tulagi and joined USS HONOLULU, USS ST. LOUIS and destroyers for continuation of interception patrol off Guadalcanal.


13th - During deployment in Guadalcanal area took part in Battle of Kolambangara in Gulf . Casualties: 3 killed; 24 Missing and 8 injured.


14th - Arrived at Tulagi.


15th - Under temporary repair off Tulagi with combined US/RAN force. Engaged Japanese cruiser JINTSU and destroyers HAMAKAZE, KIYONAMI, MIKAZUKI, YUGURE and YUKIKAZE. (Note: Although JINTSU was sunk, the torpedoes fired failed to hit any destroyer.) Hit by 24in LONG LANCE torpedo on port side amidships causing extensive damage and wrecking No 1 Boiler Room. Considerable flooding and fuel supply contaminated by sea water. Good damage control enabled steam to be maintained from No 3 Boiler Room and ship was able to return to base. (Note: Hole in A Boiler Room measured 3m x 6m.)


21st - Passage to New Zealand via Espiritu Santu.


29th - Arrived at Auckland for further repair.


August to October


Permanent repair arranged in US Navy Dockyard, Boston, Mass. Under repair to allow passage.




23rd - Took passage via Panama for refit and repair.




14th - Panama Canal transit.


23rd - Arrived at Boston for repair and refit



1 9 4 4


January to December


Under repair.  (Note: Reverted to RN control in May)


X Turret was removed and replaced by Quadruple Pom-Pom mounting. Some preparatory work to fit new radar and change secondary armament was done.



S e r v i c e a s  H MS  L E A N D E R  


1 9 4 5


January to June


Under repair and refit




Carried out Port Refit trials




Prepared for return passage to UK on completion of trials.



P o s t W a r N o t e s


HMS LEANDER sailed from Boston on 27/8/45 and after call at Montreal to embark gold reserves took  passage to UK. She arrived at Rosyth in September and refit work was continued in a Tyneside shipyard during 1946. Further work was undertaken at Portsmouth before she was re-commissioned in September 1946 for service in 1st Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet. The ship escaped with no damage when, in company with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS, HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ and VOLAGE, the ships entered an Albania minefield off Corfu. Fleet service in the Mediterranean ended in December 1947 when she returned to pay off at Chatham and reduce to Reserve status. Placed on the Disposal List she was sold to BISCO for demolition by Hughes Bolcow in December 1949. Before being towed to the breakers yard the ship was used as a trials target and arrived at the Blyth in January 1950.







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








BN 001





BN 002





BS 002





BN 003





BS 003





BN 004





BS 004





BN 005





BS 005





BN 006





BS 006





BN 007





BS 007





BN 008





BS 008





BN 009





BS 009





BN 012





BS 012





BM 006





BT 203/1








(Note on Convoys)



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