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

HMS APOLLO - Abdiel-class Fast Cruiser Minelayer

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

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

Abdiel-class fast cruiser minelayer (second or Apollo group) ordered in 1940 from R & W Hawthorn Leslie at Hebbum on Tyne and laid down on 10th October 1941. The ship was launched on 5th April 1943 as the 8th RN ship to carry the name, first used for a Prize (APOLLO) taken in 1747. It has previously been used for a cruiser transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in 1938 and renamed HMAS HOBART. Build was completed on 12th February 1944. Due to her later completion this minelayer was not included in the adoptions of ships following WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaigns during 1941.and 1942. See Royal Navy Minelaying Operations.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ST VINCENT 1780 - CHINA 1842 - BLACK SEA 1854 - NORMANDY 1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a field Blue, a sun in splendour Gold.


M o t t o

Fortis et benignus:   'Strong and kindly, or merciful'




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 4


January                  Contractors trials



                12th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

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


March                    Worked-up at Scapa Flow with ships of Home Fleet.

                                On completion took passage to Plymouth for minelaying operations in support of planned

                                allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                                (For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see The Naval Staff Histories –

                                MINING and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO)

                11th        Embarked outfit of mines at Milford Haven.

                17th        Commenced series of minelaying operations in western approaches to assault areas in

                                HOSTILE Series. Part of Operation MAPLE Phase II.)

                                Returned to Milford Haven on completion of each and reloaded mines.

                17th        HOSTILE 28 off Ushant

                                (Note: Escorted by HM Destroyers HAIDA (RCN), ASHANTI and HURON (RCN).).

                21st         HOSTILE 29 - West off Ile Vierge after delay.

                                (Note: Escorted by HM Destroyers HAIDA (RCN) and ASHANTI.

                23rd        HOSTILE 30 - Off Ile Vierge

                                (Note: Escorted by HM Destroyers HAIDA (RCN), ASHANTI and

                               ATHABASKAN (RCN)).

                25th        HOSTILE 31 - NW of Ushant, unescorted.

                28th        Under repair at Milford Haven



                15th        On completion of repair resumed minelays (Operation MAPLE Phase III.).

                                HOSTILE 32 west of Ushant.

                                (Note: Cover provided by HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Destroyers TARTAR, HAIDA

                                (RCN) and HURON (RCN).

                                On arrival in minelay area had radar defect and when suspicious vessels sighted made

                                enemy report. Operation then abandoned but in subsequent confusion came under fire    

                               from HMS BELLONA.

                                Returned to Plymouth.

                17th        Completed HOSTILE 32 with same support and returned to Milford Haven.

                19th        Sailed from Milford Haven in continuation of MAPLE Phase HI.

                20th        HOSTILE 33 - North of Ushant.

                                (Note: Destroyer escort alone as HOSTILE 32 but owing to threat of submarine attacks

                                HMS BELLONA was withdrawn.

                24th        HOSTILE 34 off Ile Vierge

                                (Note: Destroyer escort as HOSTILE 33)

                25th        HOSTILE 35 - NW of Ushant.

                                (Note: Escorted by HMS TARTAR and HMCS HURON.)


 June                       Detached for NEPTUNE requirements.

                7th          Embarked Supreme Commander , General Eisenhower, with staff officers from SHAEF to

                                visit assault areas.

                                (Note: Including Admiral Commanding Naval Expeditionary Force, (Admiral Bertram   


                                Ship grounded and damaged propellers.

                                Passengers transferred to HM Destroyer UNDAUNTED.

                                Took passage to Sheerness for temporary repair.

                13th        Passage to Tyne for repair in commercial shipyard.

                15th        Taken in hand for permanent repair


July                         Under refit





                30th        Completed repair.


October                  Worked-up at Scapa Flow. On completion transferred to Western Approaches Command.

                25th        Deployed in SW Approaches to lay deep trap minefields as a countermeasure to U-Boat

                                activities in inshore waters.

                                Mines embarked at Milford Haven.

                                (Operations in CF Series).

                26th        Field A1.

                28th        Field A5.

                30th        Field A4.



                1st           Field A3.

                4th          Field A2.

                6th          Redeployed for Deep Field minelaying operations off Malin Head (Operations 03).

                                (For details of minelaying operations see The Naval Staff History MINING).

                8th          Fields CG1 and 032.



                12th        Under repair at Plymouth.

                17th        On completion of repair deployed to lay four deep fields on Labadie Bank in NW

                                Approaches (Operations CF continuation).

                18th        Field B1

                21st         Field B2

                23rd        Field B3

                25th        Field B4

                28th        Returned to SW Approaches to lay three deep A/S Fields off Trevose Head.

                                (Operations HW Series).

                29th        Field A1

                30th        Field A2


December              SW Approaches minelay in continuation.

                3rd          Field A3

                4th          Boiler cleaning at Plymouth.

                24th        On completion transferred to Home Fleet for minelaying duty off Norway.


1 9 4 5


January                  Deployed at Scapa Flow.

                10th        Formed Force 2 with HM Destroyers ZEALOUS and CARRON for minelay.

                                (Operation SPELLBINDER - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli

                                Barnett and Naval Staff History.).

                11th        Laid minefield off Utsira Island covered by smoke screen from destroyers.

                15th        Returned to Western Approaches for A/S minelaying in Irish Sea areas. (Operation

                               CH Series).

                16th        Carried out series of minelays off Coningbeg LV (Fields A - E)




February                Fields A - E in continuation.

                9th          Field T off Malin Head.

                20th        Field Z to north of Anglesey.

                21st         Damaged in collision with HM Corvette CLARKIA

                22nd       Under repair at Pembroke Dock.



                4th          On completion resumed minelaying duties in Operation CH Series.

                5th          Field Z in continuation.

                6th          Field G in Calf of Man

                7th          Field H to west of Anglesey.

                30th        Carried out Trial lay for Mark XXVII Mine prior to use in Deep A/S Fields.



                1st           Rejoined Home fleet for minelay in Kola Inlet.

                8th          Minelaying operation cancelled because of lack of agreement with USSR.

                                Redeployed in continuation of Operation CH with HM Minelaying Destroyers

                                OBEDIENT, OPPORTUNE and ORWELL for lay of Field T off Malin Head.

                11th        Resumed minelaying in Nymphe Bank, St. George's Channel without escort.

                                (Operation CH Field T).

                13th        Transferred to Home Fleet after Kola Inlet operation agreed with USSR..

                17th        Formed Force 5 for Kola Inlet minelay with HMS OPPORTUNE, HMS OBEDIENT

                                and HMS ORWELL.

                                (Operation TRAMMEL - See above references).

                20th        At Kola Inlet for refuelling before operation.

                22nd       After delay and embarkation of Russian Naval observers carried out minelay.

                                (Note: This was first minelay by ship of Acoustic Type of mine).

                23rd        Sailed with Force 5 for Scapa Flow.

                24th        Detached and proceeded independently to Milford Haven.


May                        Rejoined Home Fleet.

                                Nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet.

                12th        Passage to Oslo from Rosyth with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE and ARIADNE.

                                (Note: These ships were taking the Norwegian Government and Crown Prince back to

                                Norway after the end of hostilities in Europe).

                                On return prepared for service in British Pacific Fleet under US Navy overall command.


June                        Preparations in continuation including modification to suit future use.

                                Visited Southampton before final departure from Portsmouth.

                24th        Took passage to Mediterranean with call at Gibraltar.

                30th        Arrived in Malta.


July                         Exercised with Mediterranean Fleet ships.

                4th          Began passage to Indian Ocean via Suez Canal.

                9th          Took passage to Cocos Islands from Aden with call at Colombo.

                22nd       Took passage to Melbourne from Cocos with calls at Fremantle and Geelong.



                1st           Arrived at Melbourne.

                                (Note: Arrival was after end of participation of British Pacific Fleet in Task Force 37 of

                                American 3rd Fleet during operations off Japan and minelaying was not required.

                15th        At Melbourne on VJ Day.


 P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS APOLLO transferred to RN control after VJ Day. She was then deployed for repatriation work and carried British Prisoners of War to Shanghai for onward passage back to UK. In addition the ship embarked mail and stores to ships and establishments in the Pacific area including the Fleet Base at Manus, Shanghai, Japanese ports and Hong Kong. This type of deployment particularly suited this Class of ship because of their high speed and ample capacity for stowage of cargo. After a routine docking in Hong Kong she spent Xmas 1945 at Shanghai with other RN ships of the British Pacific Fleet and returned to Australia during January. For the next few months the ship was mainly used for taking mail, stores and some service personnel to RN ships and establishments in the Far East. Later in 1946 she returned to Chatham and was paid off into Reserve. In 1951 this ship was brought forward for service as part of the steps taken after the outbreak of war  in Korea. Following a refit she joined the Home Fleet and remained in full commission for 10 years, including a period as Flagship. HMS APOLLO was finally paid off in 1961 and returned to Reserve. She was put on the Disposal List the next year and sold for breaking-up by Hughes Bolcow at Sunderland where she arrived in November 1962. 


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