Naval History Homepage - and Site Search

 

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2002

HMS SURPRISE (K 346) - Despatch Vessel, ex-Bay-class Frigate

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Surprise (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List 

 

BAY Class Anti-Aircraft Frigate initially ordered from Smiths Dock Co Ltd at Middlesbrough on 25th January 1943 for build as a LOCH Class Anti-submarine Frigate to be named LOCH CARRON. This was changed in 1944 for completion as a BAY Class AA Frigate. Laid down on 21st April 1944 as Job No J4788 she was launched as GERRANS BAY on 14th March 1945. However, after the end of hostilities in 1945, it was announced that the ship would be completed for use as a Despatch Vessel by the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and renamed HMS SURPRISE. Fourteen RN ships had previously borne the name (SURPRIZE or SURPRISE) since it was introduced in 1745 for a 6th Rate, built at Beaulieu. It was last used  for the steel yacht RAZSVET seized from Russia in 1918 and commissioned for use as a Despatch Vessel in 1918 Renamed SURPRISE in 1920 the ship was sold to a private owner in 1923 and retained the name. When hired for use as an Auxiliary Patrol Yacht in December 1939 she once again became HMS SURPRISE. On 28th February 1942 she was lost after catching fire and capsizing at Lagos, Nigeria. Build completion of this ship as a Despatch Vessel was on 7th September 1946.

 

B a t t l e† H o n o u r s

DOGGER BANK 1781 - HERMIONE Action (?) - CHINA 1856-60 - BELGIAN COAST 1917 - ATLANTIC 1941-42† - NORTH SEA 1942

H e r a l d i c†† Da t a

Badge: On a Field White, An ancient galley, Black.

 

M o t t o

Sola Nobilitas Virtus: 'Valour is the only true nobility'

 

 

D e t a i l s†† o f†† 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 6

 

August                  Contractors trials

 

September

                9th          Carried out Acceptance Trials

                                Commissioned for service as CinC Mediterranean Despatch Vessel

                                Commanding Officer Commander N Lanyon, DSC RN

                                Took passage to Malta.

 

October                  Deployed with ships of the Mediterranean Fleet for exercise and visits.

to November         Visits were paid to Rhodes, Salonika and Argostoli

 

December              Under refit in Malta

 

1 9 4 7

 

January                  On completion resumed service and paid visit to Kavalla, Greece.

                                Commander NEG Roper, DSC RN appointed in command.

 

February                Returned to Malta

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Spring Cruise Programme

to April                  Visits included Gibraltar, Algiers and Bizerta.

 

May                        Visited Benghazi

 

June                        Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 1st Summer Cruiser Exercise and Visits Programme.

to July                    Visits included Nauphlia, Greece and Vatika Bay.

 

August                  Deployed in Malta

 

September             Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Cruise Exercise and Visits Programme

to October             Visits included Gibraltar, Tangiers, French Riviera, Aranci Bay and Mitylene.

 

November              Deployed in Malta.

 

December              Carried out Visit to Trieste, Italy

                                (Note: Ships of the Mediterranean Fleet were deployed as Guardship at Trieste.)

 

1 9 4 8

 

January                  Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta

to February

 

March                    Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean before taking part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring

to April                  Cruise and exercise Programme, including visits to Algiers, Gibraltar and Tangiers

 

May                        Deployed at Malta.

                                Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 1st Summer Cruiser Exercise and Visits Programme

 

June                        Visits during Cruise included Nauphlia and Argostoli

                                Returned to Malta.

 

July                         Deployed in Malta.

to August

 

September             Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Cruise Exercise and Visits Programme.

to October             Visits included Bizerta, Naples, Aranci Bay, French Riviera and Messina.

 

November              Under Routine Docking and repair of essential defects by HM Dockyard, Malta.

 

December              Deployed in Malta.

 

1 9 4 9

 

January                  Deployed in Northern Adriatic including visit to Trieste.

 

February                Deployed in Malta.

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise and Exercise Programme.

to April                  Visits were paid to Oran, Tangiers, Algiers, Phillipville, Genoa, Cannes and Marseilles

                                Commander A H C Gordon-Lennox appointed in command.

 

May                        Returned to Malta and under repair.

                                Sailed with Mediterranean Fleet for exercises in Eastern Mediterranean.

 

June                        Took part in 1st Mediterranean Fleet Summer Cruise Exercise and Visits Programme.

                                Places visited included Navarin for Fleet Regatta, and Patras

 

July                         Returned to Malta.

 

August                  Carried out Flag visit to Izmir, Trieste and Venice.

 

September             Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Cruiser exercise and Visits Programme.

                                Visits paid to Aranci Bay and French Riviera

 

October                  Returned to Malta

to November         Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Malta.

 

December              Deployed in Malta after refit.

 

1 9 5 0

 

January                  Carried out Flag Visit in Red Sea including Port Sudan, Jeddah and Aqaba

                                (Note: Mediterranean Fleet maintained a Guardship at Aqaba.)

 

February                Deployed at Malta for Self Maintenance

 

March                    Took part in Joint Home and Mediterranean Fleet exercises in western

                                Mediterranean with calls at Palma Bay , Majorca and Anzio, Italy                             

 

April                       Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise Exercise and visits Programme.

                                Visits paid to Pantellaria, Algiers, Mers-el-Kebir, Gibraltar, Tangier, Toulon and Cannes

 

May                        Returned to Malta.

                                Involved in collision with ss REGINALD KERR and docked for repair.

 

June                        Carried out Flag visits to Alexandria, Beirut, Famagusta and Athens.

 

July                         Joined ships of Mediterranean Fleet for Fleet Regatta at Marmarice, Turkey.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

August                  Carried out visits to Tripoli and Taranto.

 

September             Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Cruiser exercises and made

                                Flag visits to Tangiers, Gibraltar, French Riviera and St Florent, Corsica.

 

October                  Returned to Malta.

                                Commander IG Steel, MVO RN appointed in command.

 

November              Deployed at Malta

 

December              Carried out visit to Athens and returned to Malta.

 

1 9 5 1

 

January                  Under refit by HM Dockyard Malta

 

February                On completion took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise Programme.

                                Visited Gibraltar and joined Combined Home Mediterranean Fleet Exercises.

 

 March                   Passage from Gibraltar for visit to Algiers.

 

April                       Returned to Malta from Algiers.

                                Visited Tripoli and returned to Malta before passage to Jeddah for Flag visit.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

May                        Routine docking in Malta.

                                Visited Athens, Taranto, Taormina and Capri.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

June                        Visits paid to Trieste, Taranto, Corinth Canal, Spetia, Milos and Marmarice.

 

July                         Passage to Malta from Marmarice.

                                Deployed in Malta

 

August                  Passage to Larnaka and Port Said.

                                (Note: Visit to Port Said was for CinC to discuss with military GOC the intended

                                abrogation by Egypt of the Treaty between Britain and Egypt.

 

September             Passage from Port Said to Cyprus and returned to Malta.

                                Flag visit to Istanbul with call at Thasos.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

October                  Took part in NATO Exercise SYMPHONIE DEUX

                                Visited Golfe Juan, Cannes, Hyres, Villefranche and Cannes with Flag Officer (Destroyers)

 

November              Under repair at Syracuse.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

December              Under repair in Malta by HM Dockyard.

 

1 9 5 2

 

January                  Passage to Gibraltar.

                                Under refit by HM Dockyard at Gibraltar

 

February                Passage to Malta.

 

March                    Visited Naples

                                Took part in Fleet Exercises.

 

April                       Returned to Malta.

                                Visited Athens on completion of Self-Maintenance

                                (Note: Visit for unveiling by King of the Hellenes of British and Commonwealth

                                war Memorial on ANZAC Day. HM King visited ship during the stay.)

                                Returned to Malta

 

May                        Visited Gibraltar

                                Return passage to Malta.

 

June                        Paid Flag visit to Adriatic and took part in Mediterranean Summer Cruise Exercise

to July                    Programme with calls at Taranto, Venice, Trieste, Navarin (Regatta), Athens,

                                Istanbul, Port Said, Tel Aviv and Haifa

 

August                  Passage to Malta with call at Beirut.

                                Self Maintenance Period in Malta,

                                Commander RAM Henley, LVO, DSC RN appointed in Command.

 

September             Flag visit to Toulon

                                Visited Villefranche, Naples, Aranci Bay,

 

October                  Passage to Algiers before return to Malta.

                                Deployed at Malta and prepared for return passage to UK.

                                Sailed from Malta to Portsmouth with call at Gibraltar.

 

November              Passage from Gibraltar to Portsmouth for refit and conversion.

 

December              Under conversion by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth for use as Royal Yacht during

                                Review of the Fleet by HM Queen Elizabeth II at Spithead in June 1953.

                                Taken in hand for refit and conversion by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth.

 

1 9 5 3

 

January                  Under conversion

to March                For details see Appendix.

 

April                       Post Refit trials in Channel.

                                Deployed at Portsmouth

 

May                        Deployed at Portland to prepare for Royal Review service and to carry out calibrations.

 

June                        Passage to Solent

                15th        Took part in Coronation Review by HM Queen Elizabeth II

                                (Note: All Members of shipís company were awarded Coronation Medal)

                20th        On release took passage to resume service in Malta.

                                (Note: Royal Crest fitted in front of Bridge structure was retained as a permanent

                                feature to commemorate service in place of Royal Yacht at the Review.)

 

July                         Deployed at Malta and took part in Mediterranean Fleet Cruise Programme

                                Visits included Ponti Melos, Vatika Bay, Athens, Istanbul, Iraklion and Suda Bay

                                (Note: During visit to Istanbul President of Turkey was embarked and taken to

                                Yalova in Sea of Marmora.)

                                Returned to Malta.

 

August                  Deployed for Flag visits:

                                Villefranche, Castellomare, Gozo, Heralion and Athens.

                                (Note: Sir Anthony Eden was embarked at Villefranche for cruise at invitation of CinC.)

                                Commander RAM Hennessey, KCVO, DSC RN appointed in Command

 

September             Returned to Malta for self maintenance.

                                Passage to Navarin to take part in Fleet Regatta.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

October                  Visited Cyprus

 

November              Deployed for Flag visit to Massawa and Aqaba with HM Cruiser GLASGOW.

                                (Note: During visit to Aqaba King Hussein of Jordan embarked and later transferred

                                by Jackstay to HMS GLASGOW.)

                                Return passage to Malta

 

December              Routine Docking and essential defects by HM Dockyard.

 

1 9 5 4

 

January                  Under repair.

to February

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise Exercise and Visits programme.

                                Visits paid to Toulon and Naples.

April                       Return passage to Malta

to May                   Under self maintenance

                                Commander GC Leslie, OBE RN appointed in Command.)

 

June                        Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 1st Summer Cruise Programme and Exercises.

and July                 Visits included Port Empidicle, Palermo, Lipari Is., Leghorn, Corsica,

                                Bizerta and Lampedusa. Returned to Malta

 

August                  Deployed in Malta

                                Took part in 2nd Mediterranean Fleet Summer Cruise Exercise and Visits Programme

                                Flag visit to Benghazi and visited Tripoli and Port Kinsala

 

September             Flag visits to Palma Bay, Split, Yugoslavia, Sibensk, Korcola Is and Dubrovnik

to October             with calls at Calvi Corsica,

 

November              Returned to Malta.

                                Deployed in Malta

 

December              Visited Naples and Catania.

 

1 9 5 5

 

January                  Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta.

to February

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise and Exercise Programme.

to April                  Visited Naples, Villefranche, Tangier, Gibraltar for joint exercises with

                                Home Fleet and Algiers on return passage to Malta

 

May                        Self Maintenance in Malta.

 

June                        Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 1st Summer Cruise and Exercise Programme

                                Visited Istanbul, Alexandria, Larnaka and Marmarice for Regatta.

                                Return passage to Malta

 

July                         Deployed in Malta

 

August                  Flag visit to Lampedusa,

                                Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Cruise and Exercise Programme.

                                Visited Venice.

 

September             Visited Tremiti and Taranto on return passage to Malta.

 

October                  Visited Cyprus.

                                Commander CBH Wake Walker RN appointed in Command

 

November              Under refit by HM Dockyard Malta.

to December

 

1 9 5 6

 

January                  Under refit

 

February                Deployed in Malta

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise and Exercise Programme.

                                Visited Toulon, Leghorn and Civitavecchia

 

April                       Return passage to Malta.

                                Deployed in Malta.

 

May                        Flag Visits to Istanbul, Cyprus and Libya.

 

June                        Deployed in Malta

to July

 

August                  Routine docking and essential defects in Malta.

                                Visited Cyprus.

 

September             Deployed in Malta.

 

October                  Flag visit to Naples.

 

November              Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta

to December

 

1 9 5 7

 

January                  Flag visit to Naples.

 

February                Deployed in Malta.

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruise and Exercise Programme.

                                Deployed at Gibraltar for joint exercises with Home Fleet.

                                Visited Toulon, Civitavecchia and Algiers with CinC.

                                Returned to Malta.

 

April                       Commander MS Oliphant appointed in Command.

                                Routine docking and essential repair in Malta

 

May                        Deployed for exercises off Malta.

to June                   Made Flag Visit to Izmir and Istanbul with call at Tobruk on return passage

                                to Malta.

 

July                         Deployed in Malta

 

August                  Visited Venice, and Split

                                Returned to Malta

 

September             Visited Naples

 

October                  Visited Barcelona

 

November              Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta

to December

 

1 9 5 8

 

January                  Deployed in Malta

 

February                Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruiser Exercise and Visits Programme.

to March                Visited made to Algiers, Civitavecchia with CinC, Izmir and Cyprus.

 

April                       Deployed in Malta

 

May                        Visited Toulon and Tripoli

                                Routine Docking and essential repairs in Malta

 

June                        Visited Izmir and Suda Bay

 

July                         Visited Cyprus

 

August                  Deployed in Malta.

 

September             Flag Visit to Algiers and Porto Empedocle Sicily.

                                Commander DNA Cox appointed in Command.

 

October                  Flag Visit to Barcelona and Port Mahon,

                                Returned to Malta.

 

November              Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta.

to December          (Note: Court martial in Malta during November for three ratings.)

 

1 9 5 9

 

January                  Under refit

to February

 

March                    Deployed in Malta

 

April                       Visited Naples

                                (Note: Archbishop of Malta was embarked for passage to visit Rome.)

 

May                        Deployed in Malta

                                Passage to Minorca for Flag Visit.

 

June                        Visited Port Mahon, Calvi and Nice

                                Took Part in Exercises SARDEX and WHITEBAIT.)

                                First Lord of the Admiralty visited ship on 16th

 

July                         Flag Visit to Istanbul and Athens. with calls at Itea and Ithica

                                Returned to Malta.

 

August                  Visited Augusta an d carried out Self Maintenance in Malta on return.

 

September             Flag visit to Sicily and Split.

 

October                  Visited Barcelona, Toulon and Gibraltar

 

November              Visited Tobruk

 

December              Under refit by HM Dockyard Malta.

                                (Note: Replacement by TRIBAL Class Frigate under consideration.)

 

1 9 6 0

 

January                  Under refit.

 

February                On completion of post refit trials resumed duties in Malta.

 

March                    Deployed in Malta

 

April                       Passage to Cyprus

                                Commander WS Scott appointed in Command

 

May                        Deployed in Cyprus

                                Return passage to Malta

                                Flag Visit to Tobruk

                                (Note: King Idris visited ship with full ceremonial)

 

June                        Passage from Tobruk to Haifa with call in Cyprus.

                                Return passage to Malta with call at Suda Bay, Crete.

 

July                         Deployed in Malta

                                Passage to Naples to collect Cardinal Louis Muench for visit to

                                Malta and escorted by three Coastal Minesweepers.

 

August                  Deployed in Malta and attended ceremonies in St Pauls Bay to mark the

                                anniversary of the Shipwreck of St Paul.

                                Took part in Mediterranean Fleet 2nd Summer Exercise and Visits programme.

                                Flag visit to Izmir.

 

September             Visits to Marmarice and Milos

                                Return passage to Malta.

 

October                  Passage to Cagliari for Flag visit

                                Passage from Cagliari to Ajaccio for Flag visit.

                                Passage to Malta.

                                Passage from Ajaccio to Taranto for Flag visit.

                                Returned to Malta and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.

 

November              Under refit.

to December

 

1 9 6 1

 

Special Note          Revised future policy to retain ship in use as Flag Frigate as long

                                as possible without Long Refit. Armament to be placed in state of

                                preservation and complement reduced to 80.

                                All subsequent visits were for CinC and not for exercises by ship.

 

January                  Under refit

to February

 

March                    Resumed Flag Frigate deployment on completion of post refit trials

 

April                       Took part in Exercise MEDFLEET INVICTA

                                Visited Tripoli and returned to Malta.

                                Passage to Cagliari to attend at Royal Visit to Mediterranean

                                (Note: Waited on HM Yacht BRITANNIA at Cagliari.

                                HM Queen Elizabeth II on board at Cagliari prior to visit to Italy.

                                Admiral Charles Lambe knighted on board.)

                                Assisted in clearance of wire from port propeller of BRITANNIA

                                At Catania.

 

May                        Visited Patros and Athens.

                                Returned to Malta

                                Escorted HMY BRITANNIA from Venice with HRH The Duke of Gloucester

                                embarked for visit to Athens to open Common War Graves Memorial.

 

June                        Flag Visit to Barcelona and Monaco

                                Returned to Malta

                                (Note: Prior to departure for passage to Genoa with CinC Admiral Sir Charles Lambe

                                was taken by whaler manned by crew of five Admirals to join ship in Grand

                                Harbour from Custom House, Valetta.)

                                Passage to Genoa for change of command of Mediterranean Fleet.

                                Admiral Holland-Martin embarked for return passage to Malta.

 

July                         Passage from Malta to Naples for Flag Visit.

                                Passage from Naples to Algiers for Flag visit.

                                Return passage to Malta

 

August                  Deployed at Malta for self maintenance

 

September             Visited Messina and returned to Malta.

                                Visited Suda Bay, Nauphlia,

 

October                  Visited Athens and Sciathas

                                Return passage to Malta.

 

November              Visited Cyprus

                                On return to Malta taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.

 

December              Under refit

 

1 9 6 2

 

January                  Under refit

to February

 

March                    Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Exercises and visits Programme.

                                Visited Toulon.

 

April                       Visited Villefranche, La Spezia, Civitavecchia and Naples.

                                Return passage to Malta.

                                Passage to Tunis

 

May                        Return passage from Tunis to Malta.

                                Passage from Malta for visit to Gibraltar.

 

June                        Deployed at Gibraltar

                                Called at Palma during return passage to Malta.

                                Deployed at Malta for self maintenance.

                                On completion took passage to Naples.

                                Commander PA Bence-Trower RN appointed in Command.

 

July                         Visited Naples

                                Return passage to Malta

                                Visited Corfu, Venice and Taranto.

                                Return passage to Malta

 

August                  Deployed at Malta

 

September             Passage to Syracuse for visit.

                                Return passage to Malta.

 

October                  Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean with visits to Haifa, Limasol and Beirut.

 

November             Passage to Rhodes and returned to Malta.

                                Visited Homs, Libya

                                Deployed to attend Exercise SPANEX in western Mediterranean.

                                Visited Cartagena

 

December              Return passage to Malta on release from SPANEX

                                Deployed at Malta for self maintenance

 

1 9 6 3

 

January                  Routine Docking and essential defects in HM Dockyard, Malta

 

February                Took part in Mediterranean Fleet Spring Cruiser Exercise and Visits Programme.

                                Visits paid to Gibraltar and Malaga

 

March                    Return passage to Malta.

 

April                       Passage to Leghorn followed by visits to Naples and Palermo.

                                Return passage to Malta.

                                Under self maintenance in Malta.

 

May                        Visited Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli.

                                Returned to Malta

                                Took passage to Toulon for visit.

                                On completion visited St Raphael

 

June                        Continued visits programme at Monaco, Elba and Lipari

                                Return passage to Malta.

 

July                         Visited Dubrovnik, Venice and Ancona.

                                Return passage to Malta

 

August                  Visited Piraeus, Greek islands and Rhodes

                                Return passage to Malta

 

September             Visited Argostoli and attended Fleet exercises

                                Returned to Malta

 

October                  Attended NATO Exercise TRIPLEX WEST.

                                Visited Izmir and Istanbul.

                                Return passage to Malta with call at Itea.

 

November              Under refit by HM Dockyard, Malta

to December

 

 1 9 6 4

 

January                  Visited Naples

 

February                Return passage to Malta for self maintenance.

                                Attended NATO Exercise EARLY BIRD

 

March                    On completion of EARLY BIRD took passage to Naples.

                                Return passage to Malta

 

April                       Carried out visits programme to Barcelona, Ibiza, Gibraltar and Toulon

                                Return passage to Malta

 

May                        Carried out visits programme to Itea, Athens, Istanbul, Izmir and Skiathos

                                Returned to Malta

 

June                        Visited Argostoli (for Fleet Regatta)

                                Returned to Malta

                                Commander J H N Cox RN appointed in Command.

 

July                         Visited Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli.

 

August                  Returned to Malta

                                Passage to Favigana, Sicily and later visit to Augusta.

                                Called at Gozo during return passage to Malta.

 

September             Carried out final visits to La Spezia, Civitavechia, Naples, Lipari and Messina

to October             Returned to Malta.

 

November              Passage to Gibraltar for final visit.

                                Called at Tangiers on return passage to Malta.

                                Final Visit to Monaco and returned to Malta

                                Prepared for paying-off on return to UK

 

December

                5th           Sailed from Malta to UK

                9th           Called at Gibraltar during passage

                12th         Arrived at Portsmouth.

 

1 9 6 5

 

January                  Paid-off and commenced de-storing.

 

F i n a l     P h a s e

 

HMS SURPRISE was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO for breaking-up by P & W McLellan and Boíness where she arrived in tow from Portsmouth for demolition on 29th June 1965. No other warship has since been deployed for use by the CinC Mediterranean as a Flag Frigate.

 

 

A p p e n d i x     1

 

C o m ma n d e r s  -  i n  -  C h i e f    M e d i t e r r a n e a n    F l e e t

 

 

Date of                   Name and Rank

Appointment

 

14/ 2/48                  Admiral Sir Algernon Willis

15/10/49                 Admiral Sir Arthur J Power

15/10/50                 Admiral Sir John H Eldelston

15/5/52                   Admiral of the Fleet The Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

10/2/54                   Admiral Sir Guy Grantham

11/1/57                   Admiral Sir Ralph AB Edwards

10/11/57                 Admiral Sir Charles E Lambe

3/2/59                     Admiral Sir Alex N C Bingley

30/6/61                   Admiral Sir Derek Holland-Martin

2/2/64                     Admiral Sir John G Hamilton

 

 

 

A p p e n d i x †† 2

 

N o t e s    o n    u s e    o f    H M S   S u r p r i s e   a s   a   F l a g    F r i g a t e  

 

In January 1961 the category of Despatch Vessel was replace by Flag Frigate. No change in the type of warship used was made at that time

 

The original conversion involved removal of the after twin 4in mounting and its replacement by accommodation. This was needed for use of CinCís staff for offices and sleeping quarters when the Flag Officer was embarked.

 

Because HM Royal Yacht BRITANNIA was under construction at the time of the Coronation Review in June 1953 a substitute vessel was required. HMS SURPRISE was selected and returned to Portsmouth for further changes by HM Dockyard. The twin 4in mounting in B position was replaced by a special viewing position to be used by her Majesty during the ceremonial on 15th June 1953.

 

In the Chronology the term Flag Visit is used when the CinC, or in some cases another Flag Officer from the Mediterranean Fleet was embarked for an official visit to places in the Mediterranean area or for formal visits to ships of the Fleet during exercises.

 

Although principally employed for the use as a yacht by the CinC and his family, HMS SURPRISE did take part in Fleet exercises in its operation role as an Anti-aircraft Frigate. The ship was also deployed for support of the civil power or as Guardship.

 

This ship spent the whole of her service in the Mediterranean except for the period under conversion prior to use at the Coronation Review.

 

back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 29/5/11
further editing and formatting is required


 

if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net