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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS APHIS - Insect-class River Gunboat

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Aphis (Maritime Quest, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

INSECT-Class River Gunboat ordered from Ailsa Shipbuilders and launched on 15th September 1915 as the 1st RN ship to carry this name. Build was completed in November 1915. During 1917 she was deployed in support of military operations on the Danube, based at Bucharest. She remained there until 1919 when she took passage to join the China Squadron for service in the Yangtse Flotilla to provide aid for British flagged shipping and British nationals in an unstable environment. During WW2 in February 1942 after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign this ship was adopted by the civil communities of Warminster and Westbury in Wiltshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


MEDITERRANEAN  1940-45 - LIBYA  1940-42 - SICILY 1943 - ADRIATIC 1944 - SOUTH FRANCE 1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Gold, an Aphis green.


M o t t o

 Hostibus hostis:   'A Foe to our Foes’.



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



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September              Deployed with Yangste Flotilla.




January                   Yangste deployment in continuation.

to                             Nominated for service in Mediterranean



June                         Passage to Join Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.


July                          Prepared for bombardment support duties in eastern Mediterranean


August                     Deployed in eastern Mediterranean.




December                Deployed for bombardment duties in support of 8th Army advance.

                9th           Bombarded positions at Tobruk in support of ANZAC advance with HM Monitor

                                TERROR, HM River Gunboats LADYBIRD and GNAT.

               17th          Carried out Bombardment of harbour installations at Tobruk during which three

                                mercantiles were sunk


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HMS Aphis (Photo Ship)


January                    Bombardment duties in continuation.



               21st           Provided further gunfire support at Tobruk with HM Australian Destroyers

                                 STUART, VAMPIRE  and VOYAGER.


March                      Eastern Mediterranean deployment in continuation.


April                        Provided support for 8th Army withdrawal.

                 9th          Bombarded positions at Bomba and Gazala.


May                         Deployed in eastern Mediterranean.




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                                Deployed In eastern Mediterranean baaed at Alexandria.


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January                    Eastern Mediterranean support duties In continuation at Alexandria.

to                             Nominated for transfer to Malta after siege lifted.

March                      Passage to Malta.


April                        Deployed at Malta and nominated for support of planned operations.


May                         Prepared for bombardment support of attack on Pantalleria.

             31st             Deployed with HM Headquarters Ship LARGS and HM Destroyers PETARD and

                                 PALADIN. Covered landings 

                                 (Operation CORKSCREW - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C

                                 Barnett and Naval Staff History).



             13th            On release from CORKSCREW returned to Malta to prepare for support of the 

                                allied landings in Sicily.

                                 Passage to Malta


July                          Deployed in Malta.

                                 (Note:  In view of loss of this type of warship by air attack off North Africa this

                                             type was not deployed for bombardments off Sicily during landings     

                                             (Operation HUSKY)'


August                    Nominated for support of allied landings in Calabria.

             31st             Deployed with HM River Gunboat SCARAB. HM Monitors EREBUS,  ROBERTS

                                 and ABERCROMBIE to bombard positions on coast between Reggio Calabria and

                                 Passaro prior to landings by British XIII Corps

                                 (Operation BAYTOWN - See above references).



               2nd            Took part in preparatory bombardments before landings.

               3rd             Provided support bombardments during landings.

                                 Returned to Malta on release.


October                    Deployed at Malta.



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January                    Malta deployment in continuation

to                              Nominated far support of landings in South of France under US Command.



 July                          Joined Western Task Force and attached to Special Operations Group at Ajaccio


August                     Joined HM River Gunboat SCARAB, HMS ANTWERP, HMS STUART 

                                   PRINCE, four Motor Launches and 12 US Navy PT Boats to form eastern

                                   section of SOG.  (Notes:  HMS ANTWERP was deployed for Air Sea Rescue

                                   and HMS ULSTER PRINCE for Fighter Direction duties. The SOG was deployed

                                   to create diversion to suggest landings ware to be made between Genoa and the

                                    Spanish border. See INVASION OF THE SOUTH OF SOUTH FRANCE HMSO)

              14th              Sailed from Ajaccio with SOG except PT boats which joined later.

                                    Air cover was provided to prevent enemy air interference.

              15th               Carried cut bombardments with SOG between Antibes and Var River.

                                     (Note:  Simulation operation carried out to provide indication of large assault

                                                   force was a complete success.

                                                    Radio countermeasures were used to divert attention from the

                                                     bombardment ships.)

                                         Took part in second diversionary operation off La Ciotat and carried out shore

                                         bombardment of La Ciotat with HMS SCARAB and US Destroyer ENDICOTT

                                         After retirement from La Ciotat engaged corvette UJ6082 (Ex Italian navy) and

                                         UJ 6083 (Turkish yacht KEMID ALLAH) with HMS SCARAB and later USS

                                         ENDICOTT. Both ships ware sunk

                                         Returned to Assault area.

               18th                  Released from DRAGOON and resumed duty with Mediterranean Fleet.


September                      Deployed in Adriatic in support of shore operations, based at Ancona




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January                            Deployed in Malta.

to                                      Nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet



July                                   Took passage to join Fleet at British Forward Base in Manus, Admiralty Islands


August                             On passage.


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS APHIS did not join British Pacific Fleet until after VJ Day and later went to Singapore. Paid-off on arrival the ship was placed on the Disposal List in 1946. She was sold for demolition locally in May that year. 


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