1 9 4 0
trials and commissioning. Second
aircraft carrier fitted with
aircraft warning radar
(For details of
development and use of radar by RN See RADAR AT SEA
by D Howse).
November Joined Home Fleet and worked up
24th Deployed in Force C at Freetown with HM Cruiser
NORFOLK for convoy
defence and interception of supply ships and commerce
December Searched for German battleship
SCHEER and other commerce raiders in Atlantic.
(See ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett).
1 9 4 1
January Transferred to Mediterranean
to replace HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS
which had been seriously damaged in air attacks.
(See THE BATTLE
FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by D MacIntyre).
Took passage to Alexandria via Cape of Good Hope.
February Deployed with East Indies Fleet
for support of military operations in Somaliland.
Air minelays carried out off Mogadishu (Operation BREACH).
March On release from BREACH
continued passage to Suez.
10th Joined Mediterranean Fleet after delay
due mines which had closed Suez Canal.
20th Deployed with HM Battleships BARHAM, VALIANT and WARSPITE, HM
YORK and destroyer screen to cover passage of Convoy
27th Joined HMS WARSPITE and HMS BARHAM to intercept Italian
28th Successful torpedo attacks on Italian cruisers resulted in
Battle of Matapan.
(See MATAPAN by
SW Pack and Naval Staff History).
29th Broke up air attacks on Fleet during
passage back to Alexandria.
April Deployed with Fleet to
cover passage of Convoy ME7.
21st Provided cover during Fleet bombardment of Tripoli escorted
by HM Cruisers
ORION, PERTH (RAN), AJAX and 4 Fleet destroyers (Force
illuminated shore targets (Operation MD2).
22nd Aircraft shot down two Ju88 when Fleet was attacked on return
10th Joined Fleet operation to cover transit of Convoy MW7 from
passage of military convoy from Sicilian Channel (Operation
20th Lack of fighter aircraft delayed sailing to assist in defence
26th Under sustained air attacks during passage to launch strikes
airfield. Major structural damage including X
Turret and Flight Deck
(For details of
naval activities in the Mediterranean see THE BATTLE FOR
THE MEDITERRANEAN and Naval Staff History.)
to USA via Cape of Good Hope for repair.
July Under repair
to Preparations for
installation of additional radars carried out.
RADAR AT SEA).
December Post refit
passage to UK with HM Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS.
12th In collision with
ILLUSTRIOUS whilst on passage (see Addendum).
1 9 4 2
January Returned to UK to prepare for
service with Eastern Fleet.
(Note : Radar Type 281 to replace Type 279 installed after
Two fire control
radars Type 265 fitted for anti-aircraft mountings).
Sea trials on radar equipments.
15th Passage to Indian Ocean as part of escort for military convoy
East via Cape of Good Hope.
(Note : CinC Designate, Eastern
Fleet, Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville
embarked to take up appointment).
2nd Sailed from Freetown.
10th Arrived at Capetown.
26th Joined Eastern Fleet.
(Note : This ship was in need of extensive training of air
group before she could
be an effective fighting unit).
31st Deployed with HMS
WARSPITE, HM Aircraft Carrier INDOMITABLE,
EMERALD and ENTERPRISE as Force A.
Searched for Japanese force reported on passage towards Ceylon.
propeller and withdrawn from search
repair at Bombay.
23rd On completion of repair took passage to rejoin Fleet at Mombasa.
(For details of
naval activities in Indian Ocean in 1942 see RELUCTANT ENEMIES
by W Tute,
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Barnett.
FLEET by J Winton, OPERATION PACIFIC by Edwin
Naval Staff History.
5th Deployed NE of Madagascar to provide cover against Japanese
air attacks during
the landings. (Operation IRONCLAD - See above references)).
shot down Japanese HK6 seaplane after detection by radar
during passage to refuel in Seychelles.
10th Based at Kilindini for convoy defence
and operational sweeps in Indian Ocean.
29th Took part in Fleet training with HM Battleship WARSPITE, HMS
GAMBIA during passage to Ceylon from Kilindini.
defence and interception duty with Eastern Fleet in Indian Ocean.
August Aircraft intercepted and
destroyed Japanese Flying Boat in Indian Ocean.
24th Transferred to Mediterranean to replace HMS INDOMITABLE and
passage to UK.
September Embarked SEAFIRE aircraft before
sailing to Mediterranean.
October Aircraft Direction facilities
provided to improve control of aircraft by use of
radio telephone based on radar information.
30th Sailed for Gibraltar to provide air cover during planned
landings in North Africa.
- See above references and Naval Staff History).
with HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS FURIOUS in Force H on arrival
8th Deployed 30 miles north of Algiers to
provide air cover during landings
13th Aircraft destroyed shore battery on Cape Matifu.
17th Aircraft of 820 Squadron sank U331 in position 37.05N 2.24E
(Note : Submarine had already been under attack by aircraft
of 500 Bomber Sqdn,
surrendered but this was not known by pilots of 820 Squadron.
December Deployed in western Mediterranean
in support of military operations and for
defence of military
1 9 4 3
January Convoy defence in western
Atlantic and Mediterranean including Convoy KMF3.
Mediterranean deployment in continuation.
March Based at Algiers in
continuation and for interception of enemy supply convoys.
5th Transferred to Alexandria for convoy
defence in Eastern Mediterranean.
May Convoy defence and
support of military operations.
July Carried out
diversionary operation north of Crete and covered passage of convoys
to Central Mediterranean for planned assault landings.
7th Sailed from Malta with HM Battleships VALIANT and WARSPITE
escorted by HM Cruisers
PENELOPE screened by six destroyers. Deployed in Tyrrhenian Sea to
provided cover for military convoys from Alexandria during
on passage in eastern
Mediterranean for assault landings.
8th Under air attacks
9th Joined HM Battleships NELSON, RODNEY and HM Fleet Aircraft
Cruisers AURORA and PENELOPE in Gulf of Sirte to
assault phase of Sicily invasion against interference from
Italian surface units.
HUSKY) - See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval
10th Provided air cover during landings and
15th Under attacks by Italian torpedo bombers during which HMS
hit and had to be withdrawn from operation (See RADAR AT
August Based in Malta and provided
air cover for ships deployed off Sicily.
September Support of military operations in
8th Joined covering force with HMS NELSON, HMS RODNEY, HMS
VALIANT and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS for air defence during landings at
- See above references).
had replaced HMS INDOMITABLE - See above)
October Deployed in support of
military operations off Italian coast.
Mediterranean operations and took passage to UK.
November Deployed with Home Fleet
2nd Provided Distant Cover for return
Convoy RA54 from Kola Inlet with HM
ANSON, HM Cruisers JAMAICA screened by HM Destroyers ONSLOW,
HAIDA (RCN), Norwegian STORD, US destroyers USS CAPPS and USS
December Home Fleet deployment in
1 9 4 4
January Passage to UK for refit.
to Aircraft warning
radar equipment modernised (Radar Types 281B and 79B fitted
order to provide efficient cover at all altitudes.
radar fitted (Type 277 - See RADAR AT SEA).
May Post refit trials
June On completion embarked
aircraft and prepared for operational service.
July Deployed with Home
Fleet based at Scapa Flow.
17th Launched unsuccessful air attacks on German battleship
TIRPITZ in Altenfjord
with HM Aircraft Carriers INDEFATIGABLE and FURIOUS covered
by HM Battleship
DUKE OF YORK. Target was obscured by smoke screen after
early warning of
MASCOT - See CONVOY ! by P Kemp).
Fleet deployment in continuation.
Prepared for air attacks on TIRPITZ (Operation GOODWOOD Series).
22nd Repeated air attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS FURIOUS, HMS
HM Escort Carrier NABOB. These were unsuccessful due to
24th Further air attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS FURIOUS and HMS
Two hits were
29th Unsuccessful air attacks on TIRPITZ with HMS INDEFATIGABLE.
(Note : The lack of significant success by Fleet Air Arm
attacks resulted in the
decision to use heavy bombers for this task).
record of Battle Honour NORWAY 1944 can be traced for either
Nominated for service with
British Pacific Fleet after refit.
October Taken in hand for refit at
Gibraltar with extensive machinery repair carried out.
1 9 4 5.
January Post refit
February Passage to join 5th US Fleet for
air operations in Pacific.
10th Arrived at Sydney.
Passage to Manus to join British Pacific Fleet.
4th Arrived Leyte for Joint RN/USN
flying operations in Task Force 57.
(Task Force 57 comprised :-
KING GEORGE V and Howe - Task Group 57.1.
Carriers INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS, ILLUSTRIOUS and
INDEFATIGABLE - Task Group 57.2.
SWIFTSURE, GAMBIA (RNZN), BLACK PRINCE and ARGONAUT
-Task Group 57-3
EURYALUS, HM Destroyers GRENVILLE, ULSTER, UNDINE,
UNDAUNTED, WHELP and WAGER, HM Australian
QUICKMATCH, QUIBERON, QUEENBOROUGH and
QUALITY - Task Group 57.8.
14th Joined HM Aircraft Carriers INDOMITABLE, VICTORIOUS,
INDEFATIGABLE in Task Group 57.2 as replacement for HMS
Took part in air
operations to neutralise Japanese airfields in Sakishima
Group during US landings in Okinawa.
ICEBERG I- For details see TASK FORCE 57 by Peter C Smith,
ENGAGE THE ENEMY
MORE CLOSELY, THE FORGOTTEN FLEET BY J Winton
and Naval Staff History).
'suicide' aerial attacks by BAKA piloted bombs.
20th Withdrew from operational area with
ships of Task Force 57.
23rd Arrived at Leyte
for R&R period.
1st Sailed for operational area with
ships of Task Force 57.
Cruisers EURYALUS and UGANDA (RCN) had joined Task Group 57.5
in place of HMS ARGONAUT.
Task Group 57.8
then comprised HM Destroyers GRENVILLE,
URCHIN, URANIA, UNDAUNTED, KEMPENFELT,
WESSEX and HM Australian Destroyers
QUIBERON, QUEENBOROUGH, QUICKMATCH and QUALITY.
4th Resumed flying operations off Sakishima
(Operation ICEBERG II - See above references).
cover and fall of shot spotting during bombardment of airfields by
KING GEORGE V and HOWE.
KAMIKAZE attacks aircraft crashed on flight deck.
abreast Island structure.
destroyed and Boiler Room damage reduced speed to 18 knots.
included 3 killed and 47 wounded).
of TF57 had been detached with HM Battleships KING GEORGE V
and HOWE to carry out bombardment of airfields at Miyagi and
weapons could have provided
additional protection to the three aircraft
carriers. (See THE
FORGOTTEN FLEET and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).)
approaching to land-on during the KAMIKAZE attack was
shot down by close range 20mm Oerlikon (See ALARM STARBOARD
5th Full power restored.
operations with US carriers and bombardments continued.
9th Sustained further damage after hit by KAMIKAZE aircraft
during renewed operations
in Sakishima Gunto
Group. One fatal casualty.
(For full details see A FORMIDABLE COMMISSION and above
18th Fire in hangar after CORSAIR aircraft accidentally fired guns
30 aircraft were
destroyed or made unusable in this conflagration.
19th Resumed air operations on Sakishima
Gunto despite shortage of aircraft.
22nd Detached before completion of operations and left operational
area for passage to
by HM Destroyers KEMPENFELT and WHIRLWIND.
June On completion of
temporary repair at Manus took passage to Sydney
Repair and R&R in Sydney.
July Redeployed with HM
Aircraft Carriers IMPLACABLE and VICTORIOUS as part of US
3rd Fleet in Task Force 37.
(Note : US Naval Command structure had been changed and
British Pacific Fleet
was redesignated as Task Force
KING GEORGE V (Flagship of Vice Admiral, British Pacific Fleet.
HM Aircraft Carriers FORMIDABLE (Flagship), VICTORIOUS and
(Note : HMS IMPLACABLE was delayed by defect from sailing
NEWFOUNDLAND (Flagship), BLACK PRINCE, EURYALUS,
UGANDA (RCN) and GAMBIA. HM
Destroyers GRENVILLE, UNDINE, URANIA,
UNDAUNTED, QUIBERON (RAN), QUICKMATCH (RAN),
(RAN), QUALITY (RAN), TROUBRIDGE, TENACIOUS,
TERMAGANT, TERPSICHORE AND TEAZER.
6th Sailed with HMS VICTORIOUS and HMS
IMPLACABLE for operational area.
16th Joined ships of Third Fleet for Joint RN/USN attacks in Tokyo
and Yokohama area.
17th Carried out first British attacks on Japanese mainland and
provided air cover for
ships of TF37.
25th Combat Air Patrol (CAP) destroyed 3 AICHI torpedo bombers
when Task Force 37
on passage to refuel. One other was damaged.
(Note : HMCS UGANDA withdrew from operations on relief by HM
This was a
result of recent Canadian Government regulation about service
of Canadian personnel in the Japanese campaign
(See CANADIAN MILITARY HISTORY Vol.4 No.2).
August Deployed with US Task Group 38
Units for Joint air operations.
9th Attacked airfields and shipping in North Honshu and
Hokkaido with HMS VICTORIOUS
HMS INDEFATIGABLE and HMS IMPLACABLE. Cover was provided by
major RN units of
attack on Onegawa a CORSAIR piloted by Lieut. Robert
RCNVR bombed and sank the Japanese frigate AMAKUSA despite
from other ships. For this feat of bravery which cost him
his life was awarded the VC
10th Air operations in continuation.
12th Returned to Manus with ships of British
Pacific Fleet to refuel.
(Note : Not transferred to Task Group Unit 38.5 with HMS
This was due to
the enforced withdrawal of TF37 ships because of a shortage of
fuel from British tankers - See above references and A