Allied Warships

HMS Sussex (96)

Heavy cruiser of the London class


HMS Sussex during the war, most likely around 1943. (Photograph taken by Arthur Eric Jones (offsite link)

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassLondon 
Pennant96 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered17 Mar 1926 
Laid down1 Feb 1927 
Launched22 Feb 1928 
Commissioned19 Mar 1929 
End service2 Feb 1949 
HistoryDecommissioned on 2 February 1949. Sold on 3 January 1950. Broken up by Arnott Young at Dalmuir arriving there on 23 Febuary 1950.  

Commands listed for HMS Sussex (96)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Alexander Robert Hammick, RN16 Dec 19385 Jun 1940
2Capt. Richard Victor Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN5 Jun 194013 Nov 1940
3Capt. (retired) Claude Lindesay Bate, DSO, RN13 Nov 1940early 1941
4Lt.Cdr. (retired) Walter Stuart Smithies, RNearly 19417 Jul 1942
5Capt. William York La Roche Beverley, RN7 Jul 194229 Nov 1943
6Cdr. Michael Everard, RN29 Nov 194323 Jun 1944
7Capt.(Retd.) Loben Edward Harold Maund, RN23 Jun 19443 Sep 1944
8Cdr. Denys Acland Lawford, RN3 Sep 19441 Dec 1944
9Capt. Antony Fane de Salis, DSO, RN1 Dec 194421 Jul 1946

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Notable events involving Sussex include:


The page for this heavy cruiser was last updated in September 2021.

4 Sep 1939
The heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. D. de Pass, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) departed Alexandria to make rendez-vous off Cape Matapan with HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. C.F. Tower, MVO, RN), HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN) and take over the patrol in that area. (1)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. D. de Pass, RN) and HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) are ordered to dicontinue their patrol off Crete. The destroyers are ordered to join convoy 'Green 1'. HMS Sussex is to return to Alexandria. (1)

8 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Alexandria from patrol. (2)

11 Sep 1939
Several ships from the Mediterranean Fleet conducted gunnery exercises off Alexandria; these were the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral A.B. Cunningham, KCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral G. Layton, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.H.D. Cunningham, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and four destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Flotilla; HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Cresswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. R.F. Jolly, RN) and HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN).

On completion of these exercises these ships set course to take up a position to the west of Crete to provide cover for convoys passing from west to east through the Mediterranean. HMS Penelope returned to Alexandria though.

HMS Barham and HMS Penelope however returned to Alexandria after the exercises had been completed while the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), and her attendant destroyer HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN), which had been conducting flying exercises off Alexandria, joined the other ships.

HMS Devonshire and HMS Sussex were detached for patrol as was HMS Arethusa later although HMS Arethusa rejoined on the 15th having patrolled the Kithera Channel. The patrol for HMS Sussex was apparently later cancelled and she proceeded to Malta for a docking.

The Fleet returned to Alexandria on 16 September. (1)

13 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Malta where she was immediately docked. She had sustained some damage after having hit a submerged wreck. (2)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) is undocked. She then almost immediately left Malta for Alexandria. (2)

16 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (2)

29 Sep 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Alexandria. (2)

1 Oct 1939

1 October 1939, an enemy raider reported in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
The chase of the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee

Movements of the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee 21 August 1939 – 13 December 1939.

Before the Second World War had started, on 21 August 1939, the German ‘pocked battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee departed Wilhelmshaven bound for the South Atlantic. On 1 September the Admiral Graf Spee was off the Canary Islands where she made rendes-vous with the supply ship Altmark and supplies were transferred.

On 11 September another rendes-vous was made with the Altmark in the South Atlantic. The Admiral Graf Spee had launched her Arado floatplane to scout in the area as supplies were transferred. The aircraft spotted the British heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.H.G. Fallowfield, RN). The German ships then immediately parted company and cleared the area at high speed. Two days later, on the 13th, the ships again met and fueling was completed. The Admiral Graf Spee was still under orders to remain unseen.

On 20 September 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee and Altmark met again to fuel. On the 26th the Admiral Graf Spee was ordered to start raiding the British trade lanes. She then proceeded towards the Pernambuco area.

On 30 September 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee found her first victim, the British merchant vessel Clement (5050 GRT, built 1934) that was en-route from New York, U.S.A. to Bahia, Brasil. She then sank the ship in position 09°05’S, 34°05’W. The Admiral Graf Spee then proceeded eastwards and found three more victims between 5 and 10 October. On the 5th she captured the British merchant Newton Beech (4644 GRT, built 1925) in position 09°35’S, 06°30’W. This ship was en-route from Capetown to the U.K. via Freetown. On the 7th she sank the British merchant Ashlea (4222 GRT, built 1929) in position 09°52’S, 03°28’W. This ship was en-route from Durban to Falmouth. The crew of the Ashlea was transferred to the Newton Beech. The next day both crew were transferred to the Admiral Graf Spee and the Newton Beech was scuttled. On 10 October the Admiral Graf Spee captured the British merchant Huntsman (8196 GRT, built 1921) in position 08°30’S, 05°15’W. This ship was en-route from Calcutta to the U.K. On 15 October 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee met the Altmark again to receive supplies and fuel. On the 17th the crew of the Huntsman was transferred to the Altmark and the ship was scuttled in approximate position 16°S, 17°W. The next day the crews of the Newton Beech and Ashlea were also transferred to the Altmark and the German ships then parted company.

On 22 October 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee sank her next victim, the British merchant Trevanion (5299 GRT, built 1937) which was en-route from Port Pirie (Australia) to Swansea. This ship was sunk in position 19°40’S, 04°02’E. On 28 October 1939, near Tristan da Cunha, the Admiral Graf Spee once more refuelled from the Altmark. The Admiral Graf Spee then set course for the Indian Ocean.

On 15 November 1939 she sank the small British tanker Africa Shell (706 GRT, built 1939) in position 24°45’S, 35°00’E. This ship was in ballast and en-route from Quelimane (Portugese East Africa now called Mozambique) to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo, also in Portugese East Africa / Mozambique). Next day the Admiral Graf Spee stopped the Dutch merchant Mapia (7188 GRT, built 1923) but had to let her go as she was a neutral ship. The Admiral Graf Spee then set course to return to the South Atlantic where she met once more with the Altmark on 27 November 1939 and the next day she fuelled from her about 300 miles from Tristan da Cunha.

On 2 December 1939, the Admiral Graf Spee sank her largest victim, the British merchant Doric Star (10086 GRT, built 1921),in position 19°15’S, 05°05’E. This ship was en-route from Auckland, New Zealand to the U.K. The next morning the Admiral Graf Spee sank the British merchant Tairoa (7983 GRT, built 1920) in position 19°40’S, 04°02’E. This ship was en-route from Brisbane, Australia to London. On 6 December 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee refuelled once more from the Altmark. She then set course to the River Plate area where the British merchant traffic was the thickest. She was to sink more ships there and disrupt British shipping movements in that area before returning to Germany.

On 7 December 1939 the Admiral Graf Spee sank what was to be her last victim, the British merchant Streonshalh (3895 GRT, built 1928) in position 25°01’S, 27°50’W. This ship was en-route from Montevideo to Freetown and then onwards to the U.K.

Then in the morning of 13 December 1939, her smoke was sighted by three cruisers from the South America Division. More on this in the article ‘The Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939’.

British Dispositions in the South Atlantic / South America area

Shortly before the outbreak of the war the South America Division of the America and West Indies Station was transferred to the newly formed South Atlantic Station. The South America Division at that moment consisted of the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, RN, flying the flag of Commodore H.H. Harwood, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, RN). In late August 1939 HMS Exeter was at Devonport with her crew on foreign leave when she was recalled to South American waters. On 25 August 1939 she sailed from Devonport. HMS Exeter arrived at Freetown on 1 September 1939. Commodore Harwood then met the Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic Station, Vice-Admiral G. D’Oyly Lyon, CB, RN. Later the same day HMS Exeter sailed for Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile four destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Division, Mediterranean Fleet, the HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H. Layman, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN) and HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN) had left Gibraltar on 31 August 1939 for Freetown.

HMS Ajax was already on station off the coast of South America. Shortly after noon on 3 September she intercepted the German merchant vessel Olinda (4576 GRT, built 1927) in position 34°58’S, 53°32’W. This ship was en-route from Montivideo to Germany. As HMS Ajax had no prize crew available the ship was sunk by gunfire a few hours later. In the afternoon of the next day, the 4th, HMS Ajax intercepted another German ship, the Carl Fritzen (6594 GRT, built 1920) in position 33°22’S, 48°50’W. This ship was en-route from Rotterdam to Buenos Aires. This ship was also sunk with gunfire.

On 5 September two of the destroyers from the 4th Destroyer Division, HMS Hotspur and HMS Havock departed Freetown to join the South America Division. They were ordered to examine Trinidade Island on the way. On 8 September 1939 the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.H.G. Fallowfield, RN) departed Freetown to join the South America Division as well. This cruiser came from the Home Fleet and had arrived at Freetown on the 7th.

On 7 September 1939, HMS Exeter entered Rio de Janeiro where Commodore Harwood had a meeting with the Brazilian Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs and H.M. Ambassadors to Brazil and Argentine. HMS Exeter departed Rio de Janeiro the next day. Later that day Commodore Harwood was informed by the Admiralty that the German merchant ships General Artigas (11343 GRT, built 1923), Gloria (5896 GRT, built 1917) and Monte Pascoal (13870 GRT, built 1931) were assembling off the Patagonian coast. He decided to move both HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax south, and ordered the Ajax to meet him at 0800/9. They actually made rendezvous at 0700 hours. The Commodore considered it possible that the German merchant ships might embark German reservists and raid the Falkland Islands therefore he decided to sent HMS Ajax there. HMS Exeter proceeded to the Plate area to cover that important area.

On the evening of the 10th, Commodore Harwood was informed that the transportation of German reservists by the three German merchant ships was very unlikely but as it appeared probable that the German ships were converting themselves into armed raiders the Commodore decided to start short distance convoys from the Santos-Rio and Plate areas. He therefore ordered HMS Cumberland to refuel at Rio de Janeiro on her arrival there and to organize and run ‘out’ convoys in that area with HMS Havock as A/S escort. The convoys were to leave at dawn and be protected against submarines and surface raiders until dusk. The ships were then to be dispersed so that they would be far apart by dawn the next day. At the same time the Commodore ordered HMS Hotspur to join him in the Plate area after refuelling at Rio de Janeiro, so that similar convoys could be started from Montevideo. If one of the German ‘pocket battleships’ was to arrive of South America, HMS Cumberland was to abandon the convoy sheme and join HMS Exeter in the Plate area. Also on the 10th, Commodore Harwood was informed by the Admiralty that the German merchant Montevideo (6075 GRT, built 1936) was leaving Rio Grande do Sul for Florianopolis but decided not to intercept her as this would divert HMS Exeter 500 nautical miles from the Plate area.

On the night of 12 September 1939 the Commodore was informed by the British Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that a concentration of German reservists was taking place in southern Argentina with the Falklands as a possible objective. He therefore ordered HMS Ajax to remain in the Falklands till the situation cleared, and the Commodore then proceeded south of the Plate area to be closer to the Falklands himself and yet remain in easy reach of the Plate area. During the next few days HMS Exeter intercepted several British and neutral vessels.

In view of a report that the German merchant vessels Porto Alegré (6105 GRT, built 1936) and Monte Olivia (13750 GRT, built 1925) were leaving Santos on 15 September 1939 Commodore Harwood decided to start the short distance convoys from Montevideo as soon as possible. HMS Cumberland had meanwhile arranged a twelve-hour convoy system from Santos. Ships from Rio de Janeiro for Freetown would sail at dawn on odd numbered days, and ships for the south on even numbered days with HMS Havock as anti-submarine escort and HMS Cumberland in distant support. HMS Cumberland left Rio de Janeiro on 16 September and during the next eight days sighted 15 British and neutral ships while on patrol.

On 17 September 1939, HMS Hotspur joined HMS Exeter in the Plate area. HMS Exeter then made a visit to Montevideo and resumed her patrol off the Plate area on the 20th. Fuelling was done from the oiler RFA Olwen (6470 GRT, built 1917, Master B. Tunnard) in the mouth of the River Plate. Soon after leaving Montevideo on 20 September Commodore Harwood learned from the British Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that the local German authorities were endeavoring to inform German ships at sea that the British merchant Lafonia (1872 GRT, built 1911) was on her way to the Falklands with British reservists for the Falkland Islands defence force. It was also reported that on 17 September an unknown warship had passed Punta Arenas eastwards. In view of these reports and of other pointing out that German merchant ships in southern waters were being outfitted as armed raiders the Commodore ordered HMS Hotsput to escort the Laofona to Port Stanley. As the volume of trade in the Plate area was greater than in the Rio de Janeiro – Santos area, HMS Havock was ordered to proceed southwards to the Plate area.

The first local convoy outward from Montevideo sailed on 22 September 1939. It consisted of the British merchant ships Sussex (11062 GRT, built 1937), Roxby (4252 GRT, built 1923), El Ciervo (5841 GRT, built 1923) in addition to the earlier mentioned Lafonia, and was escorted by HMS Hotspur. HMS Exeter met this convoy during the forenoon and covered it throughout the day. At dusk the merchant ships were dispersed on prearranged courses while HMS Exeter remained within supporting distance and HMS Hotspur escorted the Lafonia to Port Stanley.

On 24 September 1939, Vice-Admiral Lyon (C-in-C, South Atlantic) and Commodore Harwood learned from the Naval Attaché, Buenos Aires, that ‘according to a reliable source’ arrangements had been made for a number of German ships and a submarine to meet near Ascension on 28 September 1939. HMS Cumberland was ordered to proceed there and HMS Ajax was ordered to leave the Falklands and take up her place in the Rio de Janeiro area. HMS Neptune (Capt. J.A.V. Morse, DSO, RN) was also ordered to proceed to the area off Ascension with the destroyers HMS Hyperion and HMS Hunter which departed Freetown on the 25th. No German ships were however encountered off Ascension and all ships then proceeded to Freetown where they arrived on 2 October 1939 with HMS Cumberland low on fuel.

While HMS Cumberland left the station to search for the German ships, HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax were sweeping of the Plate and Rio de Janeiro – Santos area respectively. On 27 September 1939, HMS Havock escorted a convoy made up of the British merchants Miguel de Larrinaga (5231 GRT, built 1924), Pilar de Larringa (7352 GRT, built 1918) and Sarthe (5271 GRT, built 1920) out of the Plate area. The next day another convoy, made up of the British merchants Adellen (7984 GRT, built 1930), Cressdene (4270 GRT, built 1936), Holmbury (4566 GRT, built 1925), Lord Byron (4118 GRT, built 1934), Ramillies (4553 GRT, built 1927) and Waynegate (4260 GRT, built 1931) left the Plate area escorted by HMS Havock and with cover from HMS Exeter.

At daylight on 29 September 1939 HMS Ajax was off Rio de Janeiro ready to escort ships sailing northward. She sighted none until the early afternoon when she met the Almeda Star (12848 GRT, built 1926) and a few hours later the tanker San Ubaldo (5999 GRT, built 1921). That night several neutral steamers were sighted off Rio de Janeiro and the next day the British La Pampa (4149 GRT, built 1938) was met and escorted during daylight on her way to Santos. So far on the work of the South American Division during September 1939. The ships assigned to Commodore Harwood had been busy patrolling and escorting ships near the focal areas.

A surface raider reported, 1 October 1939.

When a report that the British merchant Clement had been sunk on 30 September 1939 by a surface raider off Pernambuco was received by the Admiralty in the afternoon of October 1st, the C-in-C, South Atlantic was informed that he should retain the 4th Destroyer Division and that his command would be reinforced by the cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, DSO, RN), HMS Capetown (Capt. T.H. Back, RN), HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and HMS Enterprise (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN). Also the battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. C.H. Knox-Little, RN), HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) were to proceed to either Jamaica or Freetown. These dispositions however never materialised being superseded on 5 October 1939 by a more general policy (the institution of hunting groups) which cancelled them.

The institution of hunting groups, 5 October 1939.

On 5 October 1939 the Admiralty formed five hunting groups in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean of sufficient strength to destroy any ‘pocket battleship’ or Hipper-class cruiser. These were;
Force F; area: North America and West Indies.
HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN),
HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN),
Force G; area: S.E. coast of South America.
HMS Cumberland,
HMS Exeter
Force H; area: Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN),
HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN),
Force I; area: Ceylon.
HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hamill, RN),
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.S.C. Martin, RN),
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN),
Force K; area: Pernambuco, Brazil.
HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN),
HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN),
Force L; area: Brest, France.
Dunkerque (Capt. J.L. Nagadelle, replaced by Capt. M.J.M. Seguin on 16 October),
Bearn (Capt. M.M.A. Lafargue, replaced by Capt. Y.E. Aubert on 7 October),
Georges Leygues (Capt. R.L. Perot),
Gloire (Capt. F.H.R. de Belot),
Montcalm (Capt. P.J. Ronarc’h),
Force M; area: Dakar, Senegal.
Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury),
Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu),
and Force N; area: West Indies.
Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin),
HMS Hermes
.

The institution of the hunting groups were not the only measures taken. The battleships HMS Resolution, HMS Revenge and the light cruisers HMS Emerald and HMS Enterprise were ordered to proceed to Halifax, Nova Scotia to escort homeward bound convoys. Light cruiser HMS Effingham was to join them later. The battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, DSO, RN) left Gibraltar on 5 October for the same duty but was recalled the next day when the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN) and the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) were ordered to leave the Mediterranean and proceed to the Indian Ocean where they formed an addition hunting group, Force J which was to operate in the Socotra area off the entrance to the Gulf of Aden.

Now back to the South Atlantic, on 9 October 1939 the C-in-C, South Atlantic had informed the Admiralty and Commodore Harwood that he intended to co-ordinate the movements of ‘Force G’, ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’. As this would entail long periods of wireless silence in ‘Force G’ he proposed that Commodore Harwood should transfer his flag to HMS Ajax, leaving Capt. Fallowfield of HMS Cumberland in command of Force G. The Admiralty approved of this. Commodore Harwood stated that it was his intention to transfer his flag from HMS Exeter to HMS Ajax in the River Plate area on 27 October. He also stated that the endurance of HMS Exeter was only half the endurance of HMS Cumberland and that this would prove problematic when they were to operate together and he proposed that the Exeter would be relieved by another 10000 ton cruiser but for the moment no suitable cruiser was available to relieve her.

On 12 October 1939 the first of the hunting forces arrived on their station when HMS Renown and HMS Ark Royal reached Freetown that morning coming from the U.K. They were soon followed by three more destroyers of the H-class coming from the Mediterranean; HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN). On 13 October 1939 the cruisers HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire arrived at Simonstown from the Mediterranean and one day later HMS Hermes arrived at Dakar from Plymouth.

The South America Division during the first half of October 1939.

When the news of an enemy raider in the South Atlantic reached the C-in-C at Freetown on 1 October 1939 he immediately suspended sailings from Pernambuco and Natal and he ordered HMS Havock and HMS Hotspur to escort British ships clear of the area. But next morning he cancelled these dispositions and ordered Commodore Harwood to concentrate HMS Exeter, HMS Ajax and the two destroyers off Rio de Janeiro. By this time, however, the raider was far away from the South American coast. On 3 October 1939 the Commodore signalled the C-in-C that he intened to concentrate the Exeter and Ajax off Rio and have the Hotspur to cover the Rio – Santos area and keep the Havock off the Plate but upon receiving the orders from the C-in-C to concentrate he ordered to destroyers to join the cruisers after fuelling but not later then 0800 hours on 4 October. Reports that the enemy raider was not a ‘pocket battleship’ however kept coming in and the Commodore decided that he could not leave the heavy traffic in the Plate area without some form of protection and he ordered HMS Havock to return there but when a report coming in from Bahia, Brazil confirmed that the Clement had been sunk by the ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Scheer the Commodore once more ordered HMS Havock to join him. In the end HMS Ajax joined HMS Exeter at 1700/3, HMS Hotspur at 0500/4 and finally HMS Havock at 1300/4.

The Commodore was also informed by the Admiralty that the New Zealand cruiser HMNZS Achilles (Capt. W.E. Parry, RN) would join his station coming from the west coast of South America. HMS Cumberland left Freetown at 1900/3 to join the Commodore in the Rio de Janeiro area as well.

Commodore Harwood’s policy against enemy raiders and a new raider report coming on on 5 October 1939.

Commodore Harwood had decided to keep his forces concentrated and as no new raider reports had come in to patrol the Rio de Janeiro area in accordance with the C-in-C, South Atlantic’s order. If he met a ‘pocket battleship’ he intended to shadow it until dusk. He would then close and attack in the dark hours. If, on the other hand, he made contact at night, his destroyers would at once close the enemy’s beam and attack her with torpedoes.

On 5 October 1939, the British merchant Martand (7967 GRT, built 1939) informed HMS Cumberland that a German armed raider had attacked an unknown ship, this unknown ship was in fact the Newton Beech that was attacked about 900 nautical miles away. This information was not acted upon by the Commanding Officer of the Cumberland. The Captain of the Cumberland assumed the raider report would have been intercepted by other ships and passed on to the C-in-C, South Atlantic. He considered it was important to keep radio silence and decided against breaking it. The Admiralty however later was of the opinion that the report should have been passed on to the Commander-in-Chief.

By 5 October 1939, the Exeter, Ajax, Havock and Hotspur were concentrated in the Rio de Janeiro area ready to engage the raider if she came south from the Pernambuco area. HMNZS Achilles was on her way round Cape Horn.

When HMS Ajax visited Rio de Janeiro on 7 October 1939, Commodore Harwood directed her to suggest to the Consular Shipping Advisers there, and at Santos, that, owning to the small volume of shipping leaving these ports, the local convoy systems, which had been instituted on 22 September against armed merchant raiders, should be suspended, and Allied merchant ships be routed independently.

The Commodore intended to meet HMS Cumberland at 1700/8, but at 1600/7 he received a message from the Consular Shipping Adviser at Rio de Janeiro in which he desired an escort for a 13 knot convoy that was to sail at 0430/8 and that had received much local publicity. The Commodore thought that this publicity might draw the enemy raider to the area and he therefore took his entire force back towards Rio de Janeiro and sent HMS Hotspur ahead to make contact with the convoy, while keeping his other ships in support. The convoy consisted of the British merchants Highland Chieftain (14131 GRT, built 1929), Nariva (8723 GRT, built 1920) and the French merchant Alsina (8404 GRT, built 1922).

Meanwhile the Commodore had directed HMS Cumberland to meet him at dawn on October 9th. When the convoy was dispersed at 1800/8 the Exeter and Ajax steered to meet her while the Havock was detached to fuel at Rio de Janeiro. At 2200/8 HMS Ajax was detached. HMS Cumberland made rendezvous with HMS Exeter at 0500/9. They were ordered by the C-in-C, South Atlantic to make a sweep northwards but this could not be carried out as HMS Exeter was short of fuel. The Commodore therefore decided to make a sweep southwards towards the Plate area where HMS Exeter could refuel. He also decided to keep HMS Hotspur with the two cruisers as long as possible.

On 12 October 1939, Rio Grande do Sul reported that the German merchant Rio Grande (6062 GRT, built 1939) was about to sail. The Commodore at once ordered HMS Cumberland to proceed there and intercept. She arrived off Rio Grande do Sul at 1600/13 but on finding it all quiet in the harbour she shaped course for the Plate area at nightfall. Meanwhile the Commodore had ordered HMS Hotspur to fuel at Montevideo when HMS Havock left that port early on the 14th.

about this time RFA Olwen informed the Commodore the the German merchant Bahia Laura (8611 GRT, built 1918) was leaving Montevideo at 1000 next morning and might protest if HMS Havock sailed the same day. Instead, therefore, of entering Montevideo HMS Hotspur at once fueled from the Olwen and then remained out on patrol. The Bahia Laura however, showed no signs of leaving and at 0800/14, HMS Havock put to sea. At 1200 hours HMS Hotspur entered Montevideo. Later that day HMS Exeter and HMS Cumberland fueled from the Olwen in San Borombon Bay at the southern entrance to the Plate estuary. At 1430 hours they were joined by HMS Havock. Commodore Harwood then ordered her to patrol off Montevideo to watch the Bahia Laura. When HMS Exeter finished fueling she immediately put to sea. HMS Cumberland rejoined him next morning at 0700 hours. HMS Havock was then ordered to join the cruisers. On 16 October the commodore learned that the Bahia Laura had sailed at 1015 hours the previous day. By the time the signal reached him the German ship was far out at sea well past his patrol line. But as the whole area was enveloped in dense fog the Commodore decided against trying to catch her.

The South America Division during the second half of October 1939.

Meanwhile Commodore Harwood had informed the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic on 13 October that as HMS Exeter required certain minor repairs he proposed to proceed to the Falklands on the17th and then return to the Plate area on the 27th. The Commander-in-Chief replied that he preferred that HMS Exeter would stay in the Plate area till the Commodore would transfer his Broad Pendant to HMS Ajax on the 27th. As HMNZS Achilles was due in the Plate area on this day also, she and HMS Cumberland could then operate as ‘Force G’ during the Exeter’s absence. This would mean that there would be no cruiser in the Rio de Janeiro area until HMS Exeter would return from her repairs at the Falklands. The Commodore therefore ordered HMS Havock to sail on 21 October for a four day patrol in the Rio – Santos Area, where HMS Hotspur, which could remain at sea until 2 November, would relieve her. From that date until the relief of HMNZS Achilles there would be no warship in this area. The Commodore therefore asked the Commander-in-Chief to allow ‘Force G’ to operate in that area from 2 to 10 November. When HMS Hotspur joined the Exeter and Cumberland from Montevideo on 17 October the Commodore ordered her to patrol off Rio Grande do Sul to intercept the German ships Rio Grande and Montevideo if they would come out, and sent HMS Havock to patrol inshore with orders to anchor the night clear of the shipping route.

This proved to be the last duty of these two destroyers with the South America Division. On 20 October the Admiralty ordered their transfer to the West Indies. Three days later the Commodore sent them into Buenos Aires to refuel, and as the distance to Trinidad, 4000 miles, was at the limit of their endurance, also obtained permission to refuel them at Pernambuco. They both left Buenos Aires on the 25th and, bidding the Commodore farewell, proceeded northwards. They sailed from Pernambuco on 1 November but on the 3rd HMS Havock was diverted to Freetown with engine trouble. The two remaining destroyers of the 4th Division, HMS Hyperion and HMS Hunter, had left Freetown with convoy SL 6 on 23 October. Off Daker their escort duty was taken over by the French light cruiser Duguay-Trouin (Capt. J.M.C. Trolley de Prevaux). The destroyers then fueled at Dakar on the 27th and sailed for Trinidad early on the 28th.

Meanwhile HMS Cumberland had entered Montevideo at 0800/26. At 0900/26 HMNZS Achilles joined HMS Exeter in the Plate area and after fueling from RFA Olwen sailed to meet HMS Cumberland off Lobos the next day and then patrol with her as ‘Force G’ in the Rio – Santos area. The Olwen was now nearly out of fuel and filled up HMS Ajax ,which had arrived from the Rio area on the 26th, with her remaining fuel minus 500 tons for her passage to Trinidad. In the morning of 27 October, Commodore Harwood transferred his Broad Pendant to HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter then parted company to proceed to the Falklands for repairs.

Meanwhile the newly formed ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ were busy on the other side of the South Atlantic. ‘Force H’, made up of HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire had reached the Cape on 13 October. As HMS Cumberland had not passed on the report of the Martland, no news on the raider had reached the Admiralty or the Commander-in-Chief since October 1st. On 14 October ‘Force H’ sailed to search for her along the Cape – Freetown route as far as the latitude of St. Helena. That day ’Force K’ (HMS Ark Royal and HMS Renown) left Freetown with HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero (Cdr. C.F. Tower, MVO, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) to search westwards towards St. Paul Rocks, the direction of their sweep being determined by the complete lack of any further raider information.

Finally a raider report on 22 October 1939, Sweeps by ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’.

The three weeks old ‘mystery’ of the raiders whereabouts was partially solved on 22 October when the British merchant vessel Llanstephan Castle (11293 GRT, built 1914) intercepted a message from an unknown ship ‘Gunned in 16°S, 04°03’E’ at 1400 G.M.T. There was however no immediate confirmation of her report and the Commander-in-Chief ordered ‘Force H’ to sail after dark on the 27th to sail for the latitude of St. Helena. At noon on 31 October this Force was in 15°S, 02°51’E, the north-eastern limit of it’s patrol, when a Walrus aircraft failed to return to HMS Sussex from a reconnaissance flight. It was never found, though the two cruisers spend over three days searching for it. Being short of fuel they then returned to the Cape by the same route they had used outwards.

Sweep by ‘Force K’, 28 October – 6 November 1939.

To cover the northern end of the route from St. Helena onward, HMS Neptune and the destroyers HMS Hardy, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero and HMS Hereward had left Freetown on 28 October. HMS Neptune was to sweep independently from position 03°20’S, 01°10’W and then through 14°30’S, 16°50’W back to Freetown. On 30 October a report from Dakar stated that the German merchant Togo (5042 GRT, built 1938) had left the Congo on 26 October, that the German merchant Pionier (3254 GRT, built 1934) had sailed from Fernando Po (now called Bioko Island) on 28 October and that five German ships had left Lobito (Angola) the same day. When the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers, received this information her detached HMS Hardy and HMS Hasty to sweep north-westward for the Pioneer, while ‘Force K’ and the remaining two destroyers searched for her to the south-westward. Both searches were unsuccessful. Meanwhile a message from Lobito had stated that the five German ships that were stated to have left the harbour were still there. On 5 November the German merchant vessel Uhenfels (7603 GRT, built 1931), that had left Laurenco Marques (now called Maputo, Mozambique) on 16 October was sighted by an aircraft from HMS Ark Royal. Only energetic action from HMS Hereward saved her from being scuttled in position 06°02’N, 17°25’W. She was brought into Freetown on 7 November by HMS Herward, a few hours behind ‘Force K’.

’Force H’ and ‘Force G’, first half of November 1939.

The first half of November was relatively quiet on both sides of the South Atlantic At the start of the month ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ were still on the shipping lane between Sierra Leone and the Cape. On 3 November 1939 the Admiralty informed the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic that all German capital ships and cruisers were apparently in home waters. It appeared therefore that the pocket battleship, which was still thought to be the Admiral Scheer, had returned home and that the raider reported by the Llangstephan Castle on 22 October was nothing but an armed merchantman. Here was a good opportunity for resting the hunting groups and on 4 November the Admiralty issued orders that ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’ should exchange areas. This exchange would not only give ‘Force G’ an opportunity of resting and refitting at the Cape, but would also provide Commodore Harwood with the hunting group of long endurance that he desired.

The Commander-in-Chief had planned that ‘Force H’ which had returned to the Cape on 7 November would then sweep towards Durban, arriving there on 16 November. However on the 11th they were ordered to sail for patrol in the Atlantic and on the evening of the 17th, while west of St. Helena, exchange patrol areas with ‘Force G’. The exchange of areas however did not take place as ‘Force G’ was delayed due to HMS Exeter being damaged while casting off from the oiler in heavy seas. Before the exchange now could take place it was cancelled.

South America Division, first half of November 1939.

After hoisting Commodore Harwood’s Broad on 27 October the HMS Ajax had swept the Plate focal area. When the Commodore received the signal of the Commander-in-Chief on the 5th regarding the changeover over patrol areas between ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’, he ordered HMS Cumberland to proceed to the Plate at 20 knots to refuel. About this time a message reached him from Buenos Aires that the Argentinian Foreign Minister had drawn attention to cases of fueling in the Plate by HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax. Although the Argentinian Government had no apparent intention of raising the issue he decided to cut down the fuellings in the inshore waters of the Plate as much as possible. He therefore cancelled the fuelling of HMS Exeter, due to take place on 7 November from the oiler RFA Olynthus (6888 GRT, built 1918, Master L.N. Hill), which had relieved RFA Olwen. He ordered HMS Cumberland to fuel at Buenos Aires on 9 November. HMS Exeter which had arrived at the Falklands on 31 October for repairs, sailed again on 4 November to meet up with HMS Cumberland off the Plate on 10 November, but the Commodore ordered her to enter Mar del Plata for a 24-hour visit on the 9th. As this gave her some time at hand, he ordered her to cover the Plate while HMS Ajax visited Buenos Aires from 6 to 8 November during which the Commodore discussed the question of fuelling his ships in the River Plate Estuary with the Argentine naval authorities. During his visit to Buenos Aires, the Commodore discussed the matter of fuelling his ships of English Bank with the Argentinian Minister of Marine and his Chief of Naval Staff they both suggested that he should use San Borombon Bay which was most acceptable. He had in fact been using it for some time.

When HMS Ajax left Buenos Aires on 8 November she patrolled the Plate area. HMS Exeter arrived at Mar del Plata the next day but fuel could not be obtained there. She was ordered to fuel from RFA Olynthus in San Borombon Bay on the 10th and then meet up with HMS Cumberland off Lobos Island at 0600/11. On the 10th HMS Ajax also fueled from RFA Olynthus as did HMS Exeter after her while HMS Ajax was at anchor close by. However weather quickly deteriorated and the Olynthus was forced to cast off, damaging the Exeter in doing so. Besides that she was still 600 tons short of fuel. As she could not reach the Cape without a full supply the sailing of ‘Force G’ to exchange areas with ‘Force H’ was delayed. The Exeter finally finished fuelling on the 13th and sailed with HMS Cumberland for Simonstown. Before the exchange of areas could be effected, however, a raider was reported in the Indian Ocean and the order was cancelled.

Another raider report, 16 November 1939.

On 16 November 1939 the Naval Officer-in-Charge, Simonstown, reported that the small British tanker Africa Shell ( GRT, built ) had been sunk off Lourenco Marques the previous day by a raider identified as a pocket battleship. After the usual conflicting reports from eye-widnesses during the next few days, however, it was doubtful how many raiders there were or whether they were pocket battleships or heavy cruisers.

The presence of an enemy heavy ship in the Mozambique Channel called for new dispositions. When the raider report reached the Admiralty on 17 November they immediately cancelled the exchange of areas between ‘Force G’ an ‘Force H’. ‘Force H’ was ordered to return to the Cape and ‘Force G’ was ordered to return to the east coast of South America. They also ordered the dispatch of ‘Force K’ towards the Cape with instructions to go on to Diego Saurez in Madagascar. That morning a report reached the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic that the German merchant vessels Windhuk (16662 GRT, built 1937) and Adolph Woermann (8577 GRT, built 1922) had left Lobito. He at once ordered ‘Force H’, which was at that moment west of St. Helena in the approximate latitute of Lobito to spend three days searching for them.

Next day, 18 November 1939, ‘Force K’ left Freetown together with HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero and HMS Hostile to sweep west of St. Helena through position 16°30’S, 10°W and thence on to Diego Saurez. The destroyers parted company at 2300/18 to search for the German ships. On 20 November 1939, the Commander-in-Chief ordered ‘Force H’ to return to the Cape of nothing of the German merchant vessels had been sighted. HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire did so on 23 November.

The Adolph Woermann had not escaped. Early on 21 November 1939, the British merchant Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938) reported her in position 12°24’S, 03°31’W. At 1127/21, ‘Force K’ (HMS Ark Royal and HMS Renown) was in position 05°55’S, 12°26’W, altered course to close, and HMS Neptune, which was still with them, went ahead at high speed. Shortly after 0800/22 she made contact with the Adolf Woermann in position 10°37’S, 05°11’W and went alongside. Despite efforts to save her the German vessel was scuttled and when HMS Neptune returned to Freetown on 25 November 1939 she had 162 German survivors on board.

’Force H’ and ‘Force K’, second half of November 1939.

As the search for the Adolf Woermann had taken ‘Force K’ nearly 200 miles to the eastward, the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers decided to proceed to the Cape by the route east of St. Helena to save fuel. In hindsight this might have saved Altmark for being intercepted as she was waiting for the Admiral Graf Spee in the area ‘Force K’ would have otherwise passed through. On 23 November 1939, the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic, ordered ‘Force H’ to sail from the Cape the next day and patrol the ‘diverse routes’ as far as 33°E until 28 November.

At the northern end of the South Atlantic station HMS Neptune, HMS Hardy, HMS Hero, HMS Hostile, HMS Hasty and the submarine HMS Clyde (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN) had established a patrol between 22 and 25 November 1939 to intercept escaping German merchant ships or raiders. No ships were however sighted and they were recalled to Freetown on 30 November.

In the meantime the Admiralty had ordered, ‘Force H’ and ‘Force K’ to conducted a combined patrol on the meridian of 20°E. The two forces met early on 1 December. The plan, according to the Commander-in-Chief, appeared to be a good one in theory but was found unsuitable in practice that on account of local weather conditions. These permitted flying off aircraft from HMS Ark Royal only once in five or six days, so that the patrol could not be extended far enough to the south to intercept a raider bent on evasion. In fact, only once, on 2 December weather was suitable for flying off aircraft.

South America Division, second half of November 1939.

After HMS Cumberland and HMS Exeter (‘Force G’) had sailed from San Borombon Bay for Simonstown on 13 November 1939, HMS Ajax patrolled the Plate area and escorted the French Massilia ( GRT, built ) that was bound for Europe from Buenos Aeres with French reservists. After parting from the Massilia she closed Rio Grande do Sul and ascertained that the German merchant vessels Rio Grande and Montevideo were still there. For the next two days she patrolled the normal peace time shipping routes.

When the Admiralty cancelled the exchange of ereas between ‘Force G’ and ‘Force H’ on 17 November, Commodore Harwood sent ‘Force G’ to cover Rio de Janeiro. He ordered HMNZS Achilles to fuel off the Olynthus in the Plate area on 22 November and then relieve ‘Force G’ in the Rio area as HMS Exeter would need to refuel in the Plate area again on 26 November. HMS Cumberland was to remain with the Exeter to keep ‘Force G’ together so she could refuel from the Olynthus as well. They were then to patrol the Plate area so that HMS Ajax could visit the Falklands.

On 18 November the Commodore was informed that the German merchant Ussukuma ( GRT, built ) might sail from Bahia Blanca for Montevideo at any time. He at once ordered the Olynthus to watch for her between Manos and Cape San Antonio and took the Ajax south to the same vicinity.

On 22 November 1939 HMNZS Achilles heard the German merchant Lahn (8498 GRT, built 1927) calling Cerrito by wireless, and when HMS Ajax arrived half an hour later a search was carried out. It was insuccessful for both cruisers but both the Lahn and another German merchant the Tacoma (8268 GRT, built 1930) reached Montevideo safely during the forenoon.

HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles then both fuelled from the Olynthus at San Borombon Bay during the next afternoon. The Achilles the sailed for the Rio de Janeiro area. She had orders to move up to Pernambuco and show herself off Cabadello and Bahia as a number of German ships in Pernambuco were reported ready to sail to Cabadello to load cotton for Germany. She was to return at once to the Rio area if any raiders were reported in the South Atlantic.

HMS Ajax left the Plate area on 25 November 1939 and sent up a seaplane to reconnoitre Bahia Blanca. The Ussukuma showed no signs of sailing so HMS Ajax proceeded to the Falklands, arriving there on the 27th. By this time HMS Cumberland and HMS Exeter were in urgent need of refits after long periods at sea, and Commodore Harwood ordered the Exeter to proceed to the Falklands forthwith. She arrived at Port Stanley on 29 November 1939 and her defects were immediately taken in hand as far as local resources permitted.

8 December 1939 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of the Falklands, and thinking the enemy might attempt to avenge the defeat, the Commodore ordered HMS Cumberland to patrol off the Falklands as of 7 December for two days after which she too was to enter Port Stanley for rest and refit.

French Forces at Dakar in November 1939.

During November them most important event at Dakar, where the French were maintaining a number of more or less regular patrols, was the reorganisation of ‘Force X’. On 1 November 1939 the large destroyer L’Audacieux (Cdr. L.M. Clatin) sailed from Dakar to the westward to 26°W and thence south-west to search for the German merchant Togo. She returned to Dakar on 4 November having sighted nothing. That day the French light cruiser Duguay-Trouin sailed to sweep round the Cape Verde Islands and then on to St. Paul Rocks. She returned to Dakar on 10 November. The old ‘Force X’, the Strasbourg (Capt. J.F.E. Bouxin), Algerie (Capt. L.H.M. Nouvel de la Fleche) and Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury) sailed on 7 November to sweep west of the Cape Verde Islands. It returned to Dakar on 13 November 1939. Meanwhile French submarines based at Casablanca were maintaining a continuous patrol round the Canary Islands between 25°N and 30°N.

On 18 November a new ‘Force X’ was formed, now made up of the Dupleix and her sister ship Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu) and the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes. On 21 November the Strasbourg, Algerie and the destroyers Le Terrible (Cdr. A.E.R. Bonneau) and Le Fantasque (Capt. P.A.B. Still) left Dakar to return to France. The next day the new ‘Force X’ sailed with the destroyers Milan (Cdr. M.A.H. Favier) and Cassard (Cdr. R.A.A. Braxmeyer) to cruiser towards 08°N, 30°W. That day L’Audacieux departed Dakar with a convoy for Casablanca.

On 25 November, the Duguay-Trouin sailed to patrol the parallel of 19°N, between 25° and 30°W. Two days later the British submarine HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) docked at Dakar. On the 30th the Dupleix and Foch returned from patrol being followed the next day by HMS Hermes and her escorts Milan and Cassard.

Dispositions of South Atlantic Forces at the beginning of December 1939.

At the beginning of December 1939, HMS Ark Royal, still flying the flag of Vice-Admiral Aircraft Carriers, and HMS Renown (‘Force K’), were patrolling the meridian of 20°E, south of the Cape together with HMS Sussex and HMS Shropshire (‘Force H’) to intercept the raider reported in the Mozambique Channel on 15 November 1939.

In the north the light cruiser HMS Neptune with the destroyers HMS Hardy, HMS Hero, HMS Hostile and HMS Hasty and the submarine HMS Clyde were returning to Freetown after patrolling between there and Cape San Roque for escaping German merchant ships or raiders. The French cruiers Dupleix and Foch and the British carrier HMS Hermes (‘Force X’) and their two escorting destroyers Milan and Cassard were approaching Dakar. The French cruiser Duguay-Trouin was patrolling the parallel of 19°N, between 25° and 30°W. The British submarine Severn was refitting at Dakar. Across the South Atlantic, Commodore Harwood, in HMS Ajax was at Port Stanley as was HMS Exeter. HMS Cumberland was patrolling of the Plate area and HMNZS Achilles was off Rio de Janeiro.

Forces ‘H’ and ‘K’, 1 – 13 December 1939.

No further reports have been received of the raider which had sunk the Africa Shell off Laurenco Marques on 15 November and it seemed clear that she had either gone further into the Indian Ocean or doubled back into the South Atlantic by going well south of the Cape. On 2 December 1939 the Admiralty ordered ‘Force K’ and ‘Force H’ to their patrol line south of the Cape after refueling, and the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic at once ordered them to proceed for the Cape ports to fuel. That day a reconnaissance aircraft of the South African Air Force reported a suspicious ship south of Cape Point at noon. HMS Sussex intercepted her but her crew set her on fire. She proved to be the German merchant Watussi (9521 GRT, built 1928). She was eventually be HMS Renown. Her survivors were taken on board HMS Sussex and were landed at Simonstown.

No news of the missing raider had been coming in since 16 November but then the mistery shrouding her whereabouts was again partially solved. At 1530/2 a raidar signal ‘R.R.R., 19°15’S, 05°05’E, gunned battleship) reached the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic. It came from the British merchant Doric Star. As this signal placed the raider in the South Atlantic he immediately ordered to abandon the patrol south of the Cape and ordered ‘Force H’ to cover the trade routes between the Cape and the latitude of St. Helena at 20 knots on completion of fuelling. As it was too late for ‘Force K’ to reach the Freetown-Pernambuco area in time to intercept the rainder if she was to proceed to the North Atlantic he proposed the Admiralty that ‘Force K’, after fuelling should sweep direct from the Cape to position 20°S, 15°W. This was changed at the request of the Vice-Admiral, Aircraft Carriers to place his force in a more central position for proceeding to Freetown, to the Falklands or to Rio de Janeiro. At 1030/3 a report reached the Commander-in-Chief that the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer had been in 21°20’S, 03°10’E at 0500 hours, clearly indicating that the raider was moving westwards, clear of the Cape-Sierra Leone trade route. ‘Force H’ left Simonstown at 1700 that afternoon and ‘Force K’ sailed from Capetown at 0915/4.

The Commander-in-Chief estimated that if the enemy was proceeding northwards to the North Atlantic she would cross the Freetown-Pernambuco line between 9 and 10 December. He therefore arranged that ‘Force X’ should take HMS Neptune and her destroyers under her orders and patrol the parallel of 3°N between 31° and 38°W from 10 to 13 December. ‘Force K’ would meet HMS Neptune and the destroyers on the 14th and then return with them to Freetown to refuel. The destroyers of the 3rd Division of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (HMS Hardy, HMS Hostile and HMS Hero) left Freetown on 6 December with the oiler RFA Cherryleaf (5896 GRT, built 1917). They had orders to meet the Dupleix, Foch, HMS Hermes and their escorting destroyers Milan and Cassard and HMS Neptune in position 03°N, 31°W on 10 December. On 7 December ‘Force X’ left Dakar for the rendez-vous. That day the submarine HMS Clyde left Freetown to patrol between 03°N, 23°W and 03°N, 28°W and thence to 05°15’N, 23°W between 9 (PM) and 13 (AM) December.

On the evening of 8 December 1939 the German merchant ship Adolf Leonhardt (2989 GRT, built 1925) sailed from Lobito for South America. ‘Force H’ which was by then between St. Helena and the west coast of Africa, was at once ordered to intercept her. The Walrus from HMS Shropshire made contact at 0952 hours next morning and alighted alongside in position 13°S, 11°44’E. At 1250 hours HMS Shropshire arrived at that position but the German ship was scuttled by her crew and could not be saved. ‘Force H’ then returned to the Cape to refuel where they arrived on 14 December.

At 0800/11 the submarine HMS Severn left Freetown for Port Stanley. She was to protect the whaling industry in South Georgio and was to intercept hostile raiders or supply ships. The cruiser HMS Dorsetshire, which arrived at Simonstown from Colombo on the 9th to finally relieve HMS Exeter in the South America Division left Simonstown on 13 December for Port Stanley. She was to call at Tristan da Cunha on the way. On that day, 13 December 1939, was fought the action between the British South America Division and the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, known as the Battle of the River Plate.

The South America Division, 1 to 13 December 1939.

At the beginning of December 1939, HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter were at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. HMS Cumberland was off the River Plate and HMNZS Achilles was patrolling the Rio de Janeiro area. On 2 December HMS Ajax left Port Stanley for the Plate area. That evening the Commodore learned that the Doric Star had been sunk by a raider to the south-east of St. Helena. Two days later the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic informed him that HMS Dorsetshire would arrive at Port Stanley on 23 December to relieve HMS Exeter which was then to proceed to Simonstown for a much needed refit.

Early on 5 December the British Naval Attaché at Buenos Aires reported that the German merchant Ussukuma had left Bahia Blanca at 1900 hours the previous evening. The Commodore immediately ordered HMS Cumberland which was on the way south to the Falkland Islands to search for her. Meanwhile HMS Ajax turned south and closed the Argentinian coast in case the Ussukuma, which was known to be short of fuel, should attempt to reach Montevideo inside territorial waters. At 1910/5, HMS Ajax sighted her smoke to the north-north-east but the Germans managed to scuttle their ship and despite the efforts to save her she sank during the night. At 0615/6, HMS Cumberland came up and embarked the German survivors and made off for the Falklands. HMS Ajax then refuelled at San Borombon Bay from the Olynthus.

About the same time the Brazilian authorities asked that HMNZS Achilles should not refuel in any Brazilian port at an interval less then three months. The Commodore, therefore, ordered her to return south and refuel at Montevideo on 8 December. HMNZS Achilles then joined HMS Ajax at 1000/10 in position 35°11’S, 51°13’W, 230 miles west of English Bank. At 0600/12 they were joined by HMS Exeter in position 36°54’S, 53°39’W.

Ever since the beginning of the war Commodore Harwood’s cruisers had worked off the east coast of South America either single or in pairs. The concentration of these three cruisers off the River Plate on 12 December 1939 was, however, no mere matter of chance.

Concentration of British Force in the River Plate area, 12 December 1939.

When a pocket battleship was located in position 19°15’S, 05°05’E on 2 December by the sinking of the Doris Star, her position was over 3000 miles from any of the South America focal areas. The Commodore however recognised that her next objective might be the valuable shipping off the east coast of South America. He estimated that at a cruising speed of 15 knots the enemy could reach the Rio area on 12 December the Plate area on 13 December and the Falklands on 14 December. As the Plate area was by far the most important of these three focal areas he decided to concentrate all his available ships off the Plate on 12 December.

The three cruisers then proceeded together towards position 32°N, 47°W. That evening the Commodore informed the Captains of his cruisers that it was intention that if they met a pocket battleship to attack immediately, by day or by night. By they they would act as two units, the light cruisers were to operate together and HMS Exeter was to operate diverged to permit flank marking. By night the ships were to remain in company in open order.

At 0614/13 HMS Ajax sighted smoke bearing 324° in position 34°28’S, 49°05’W and Commodore Harwood then ordered HMS Exeter to investigate it.

What then followed can be read in the article ‘The battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939’ which can be found on the pages of HMS Ajax, HMS Exeter and HMNZS Achilles. (3)

2 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Alexandria with orders to proceed to the Indian Ocean.

They arrived at Port Said later the same day. (4)

3 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) passed the Suez Canal southbound and then departed Suez for Aden. (4)

6 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) arrived at Aden. After fuelling they departed later the same day for Simonstown. (5)

13 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) arrived at Simonstown. (6)

14 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Simonstown for patrol in the South Atlantic. (7)

22 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) returned to South Africa after patrol in the South Atlantic. HMS Sussex went to Simonstown to fuel while HMS Shropshire fuelled at Capetown. (7)

27 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively to patrol in the South Atlantic on a sweep towards St. Helena. (7)

31 Oct 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) were still on patrol in the South Atlantic when the Walrus aircraft of HMS Sussex failed to return to the ship. A serch was commenced by the cruisers for over three day but the aircraft and its crew were not found. (7)

7 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively to patrol in the South Atlantic on a sweep towards St. Helena. (7)

11 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively to patrol in the South Atlantic on a sweep towards St. Helena. (7)

23 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) returned to South Africa after patrol in the South Atlantic. HMS Sussex went to Simonstown to fuel while HMS Shropshire fuelled at Capetown. (8)

24 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Simonstown and Capetown respectively. They were to proceed to the eastwards to patrol in the Indian Ocean. (8)

27 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) are ordered to return to South Africa to fuel after which they were to proceed on patrol in the South Atlantic. (8)

29 Nov 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) arrived at Capetown and Simonstown respectively to fuel. Both departed again later the same day for patrol off South Africa. (8)

1 Dec 1939
Around 0630 hours, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) (Force 'H') made rendezvous with HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN) and HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) (Force 'K'). (9)

2 Dec 1939
The German passenger/cargo ship Watussi (9552 GRT, built 1928) is intercepted in the South Atlantic about 50 nautical miles south of Cape Agulhas, South-Africa in position 35°32'S, 18°27'E by the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN). However, before the German ship can be captured she is scuttled by her own crew (set on fire). HMS Sussex picked up 198 crew and passenger. The German ships had been spotted by a South African aircraft earlier in the day.

To hasten the sinking of the German ship she was sunk by gunfire from the British battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN). (10)

3 Dec 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) arrived at Simonstown from patrol. After fuelling they departed again later the same day for a patrol in the South Atlantic. (8)

14 Dec 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) arrived at Capetown from patrol. (8)

15 Dec 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN) departed Capetown for the Plate area. (8)

16 Dec 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Simonstown, her passage to the Plate area had been cancelled. (11)

27 Dec 1939
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Simonstown for Colombo via Mauritius. (11)

1 Jan 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Mauritius to fuel. She departed for Colombo later the same day. (12)

6 Jan 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Colombo. (12)

6 Jan 1940

Convoy US 1.

Troop convoy from New Zealand and Australia to Suez.

The convoy departed Wellington, New Zealand on 6 January 1940 and on departure was made up out of the following troopships: Empress of Canada (British, 21517 GRT, built 1922), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935), Rangitata (British, 16737 GRT, built 1929) and Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932).

On departure from Wellington the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. W.R. Patterson, RN) and the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN).

Two more troopships joined the convoy in New Zealand waters, these were: Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937) and Sobieski (Polish, 11030 GRT, built 1939).

The convoy then set course for Australia.

On 9 January the troopships: Orcades (British, 23456 GRT, built 1937), Orford (British, 19941 GRT, built 1928), Otranto (British, 20026 GRT, built 1925) and Strathnaver (British, 22283 GRT, built 1931) departed Sydney to join the convoy which they did the next day. They were being escorted by the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. R.R. Stewart, RN).

HMNZS Leander was then detached while HMAS Sydney (Capt. J.A. Collins, RAN) joined the convoy on the 11th but already left again the day after.

On the 12th the troopship Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930) joined the convoy coming from Melbourne.

On 18 January the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (Cdr. H.A. Showers, RAN) briefly joined the convoy escort but she parted company again later the same day.

On 20 January, near Fremantle the heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) and Suffren (Capt. R.J.M. Dillard) joined the convoy after which the Australian cruisers parted company and proceeded to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Colombo on 30 January and entered the harbour as did HMS Ramillies. HMS Kent and Suffren kept patrolling off the harbour until the convoy set sail again on 1 February but now escorted by the battleship HMS Ramillies the aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN). HMS Ramillies and HMS Sussex had sailed with the convoy from Colombo, the other two escorts came from Trincomalee. HMS Kent and Suffren then entered Colombo. At Colombo the convoy had been joined by the French troopship Athos II (French, 15276 GRT, built 1927).

On 6 February 1940 the destroyer HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) joined the convoy coming from Colombo. On joinig the convoy she was oiled by HMS Sussex.

Early on the 7th, HMAS Hobart proceeded ahead to Aden with three of the troopships.

At dawn of the 8th the convoy arrived off Aden and three more of the troop transports entered the harbour. The remainder proceeded towards the Red Sea now escorted by HMS Sussex and HMAS Hobart. Aircraft from HMS Eagle patrolled in the area while HMS Ramillies fuelled in the outer anchorage.

The transports that had entered Aden left there on 9 February escorted by HMS Sussex as this cruiser had turned back when off the Perim Strait. HMS Sussex and HMS Westcott now escorted these ships until they met HMAS Hobart which had now dispersed the first group of transports in 22°30'N.

HMS Sussex then turned back to proceed to Aden leaving the transports of the second group to HMAS Hobart which then escorted the transports to 22°30'N when they were dispersed. HMS Westcott went on to Suez with the Rangitata. HMAS Hobart then also set sourse to return to Aden. (13)

15 Jan 1940
The aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo to patrol off Ceylon. (14)

18 Jan 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) returned to Colombo from patrol. (14)

25 Jan 1940
The aircaft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and the light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) departed Colombo for Trincomalee. (14)

26 Jan 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) arrived at Trincomalee. (14)

28 Jan 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (14)

29 Jan 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Colombo. (14)

1 Feb 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Colombo for convoyescort duty.

[See the event convoy US 1 for 6 January 1940 for more information on this convoy. (15)

12 Feb 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Aden after convoy escort duty. (15)

18 Feb 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) departed Aden for Colombo. (15)

25 Feb 1940
HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Colombo. (15)

1 Mar 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) departed Colombo to proceed to the U.K. First leg of the trip was to Suez. Rear-Admiral Murray had struck his flag earlier in the day. (16)

8 Mar 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Suez. After fuelling she transited the Suez Canal northbound and immediately set course for Malta. (17)

10 Mar 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Malta. (17)

12 Mar 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) departed Malta for Liverpool where she was to refit before joining the Home Fleet. (17)

17 Mar 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Liverpool where she was taken in hand for refit. (17)

23 May 1940
With her refit completed, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), shifted from Liverpool to Greenock. (18)

24 May 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) departed Greenock for Scapa Flow. (18)

25 May 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (18)

28 May 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow during which she was escorted by the destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN). (18)

29 May 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (19)

31 May 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) all conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (20)

4 Jun 1940
During the morning HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN).

HMS Valiant returned to Scapa Flow early in the afternoon. HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN) then came out for gunnery exercises. The destroyers then joined the cruiser to escort her.

All ships returned to Scapa Flow later on the same day. (21)

5 Jun 1940
At 2130/5 the battlecruisers HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) and the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN) departed Scapa Flow after two unidentified warships were spotted in position 64°45'N, 00°24'W proceeding towards the Iceland - Faroes passage.

Around 0200/8 the force was split up; HMS Renown escortedby HMS Zulu and HMS Kipling were ordered to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 0500/9.

HMS Repulse, HMS Sussex, HMS Newcastle, HMS Maori, HMS Forester and HMS Foxhound remained on patrol.

Around 1030/9, they were ordered to proceed eastwards to join up with other warships and to provide cover for convoys of ships that had been involved in evacuating the Narvik/Hartadt/Tromso area.

Around 1345/9, HMS Maori, HMS Forester and HMS Foxhound parted company.

At 0100/10, HMS Maori, HMS Forester and HMS Foxhound arrived at Sullom Voe to fuel. They departed again at 0800 hours to rejoin but HMS Foxhound had to return soon after with defects.

At 0900/10, HMS Repulse and the cruisers joined up with the 'HMS Valiant' group that was escorting the evacuation convoys. (22)

7 Jun 1940

Evacuation of the 'Narvik / Harstad / Tromso area'.

1st Evacuation convoy from Harstad.

The merchant vessels Acrity (403 GRT, built 1934), Blackheath (4637 GRT, built 1936), Conch (8376 GRT (tanker), built 1931), Coxwold (1124 GRT, built 1938), Cromarty Firth (538 GRT, built 1937), Harmattan (4558 GRT, built 1930), Oligarch (6897 GRT (tanker), built 1918) and Theseus (6527 GRT, built 1908).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Arrow (Cdr. H.W. Williams, RN) and sloop HMS Stork (Cdr. A.C. Behague, RN). The destroyers HMS Veteran (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN) and HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) also briefly escorted the convoy but they were soon detached.

Later the destroyer HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Tait, RN) joined the escort as did the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN).

The convoy arrived at Scapa Flow around 0500/14. It had been attacked by German aircraft on the 9th but no damage was sustained.

10 Jun 1940
In the morning, HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN), joined an evacuation convoy from Narvik to Scapa Flow. They arrived at Scapa Flow with the convoy on the 14th.

[See the event ' 1st evacuation convoy ' for 7 June 1940 for more info on this convoy.] (23)

16 Jun 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) departed Scapa Flow to patrol in the Iceland area. (24)

19 Jun 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow from patrol. (24)

21 Jun 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 0955 hours to make rendez-vous with the 18th Cruiser Squadron. (24)

21 Jun 1940
At 0206 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), received a report that HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) had sighted and attacked 'large enemy warships' off Fro Havet.

At 0336 hours, HMS Severn increased speed to 20 knots to proceed on the surface to Utsire as fast as possible as ordered by Vice-Admiral Submarines in his signal timed 0323/21. Severn was forced three times to dive for enemy aircraft but it was believed she was not sighted.

At 1132 hours, in position 58°54'N, 03°45'E, HMS Severn sighted the conning tower of a submarine bearing 100°, course north, range about 5 nautical miles. Severn dived and closed at full speed. The conning tower was only sighted once more from submerged at a range of about 3 nautical miles. An aircraft was seen 5 minutes later and this had probably forced the other submarine to dive. As Severn's position was roughly along the track of the enemy (aircraft report of 1120/21) decided to remain dived and proceeded towards Utsire. This was a wise dicision for later that afternoon the German submarine U-99 was detected on the surface by an Arado seaplane from the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and bombed in error. Severn heard six distant explosions between 1528 and 1540 hours. U-99 reported being attacked at 1623 hours (German time was one hour later). It was the Scharnhorst that Severn was after but she never sighted her. The submarine sighted by Severn at 1132 hours must have been U-99.

In the evening, at 1901 hours, HMS Severn sighted a County and a Town class cruiser about 5 nautical miles to the westward. Their gun turrets were on a northerly bearing and the smoke of gunfire was seen. When the cruisers had closed to 3 miles, Severn surfaced and identified herself to the cruisers which were HMS Sussex (Capt A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN). Lt.Cdr. Taylor then asked where the enemy was but he was told that the cruisers were engaging enemy aircraft and not a surface vessel. Severn then dived again at 1922 hours and proceeded towards Haugesund. (25)

21 Jun 1940
Heavy cruiser HMS York (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) departed Rosyth escorted by the destroyer HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN) to rendez-vous with the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) at sea (These two cruisers had departed Scapa Flow early in the morning) and then to join the battlecruisers HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN) and HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) which had departed Scapa Flow at 1220/21.

The German battlecruiser Scharnhorst had been sighted leaving Trondheim southwards escorted by four destroyers and four torpedo-boats. The Germans however retreated inside the fjords and the British ships were recalled. (26)

22 Jun 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) returned to Scapa Flow from patrol. (24)

24 Jun 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) conducted exercises in the Pentland Firth. (27)

2 Jul 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for a patrol in the North Atlantic. (28)

7 Jul 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) arrived in the Clyde from patrol. (28)

9 Jul 1940
At 0030/9 the troopships Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917) and Ulster Prince (British, 3791 GRT, built 1930) departed the Clyde for Iceland. They are escorted by the heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire. (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Echo (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN) and HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN).

They arrived at Reykavik at 2030/11.

Ulster Prince, escorted by HMS Echo departed Reykavik at 1430/12th for Akreyri arriving the following day. They proceeded on to Seidisfjord later on the 13th. They departed Seidisfjord on the 15th and returned to Reykavik.

Both heavy cruisers arrived at Scapa Flow after the operation on the 14th.

At 1030/16 both troopships and the destroyers departed Reykavik to return to the Clyde where they arrived at 0500/18. (28)

16 Jul 1940
Around 1030 hours, a British force made up of the heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. H. Hickling, RN), HMS Southampton (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Scapa Flow to conduct a raid against German shipping off the west coast of Denmark.

The force proceeded towards the Danish west coast until shortly before 1600/16 but then reversed course due to negative air reconnaissance reports.

HMS Shorpshire was detached to the Clyde, where she was to refit, around 2315/16.

Shortly before midnight, while in the Pentland Firth and in thick fog, HMS Glasgow collided with HMS Imogen. The destroyer had to be abandoned. Seventeen ratings were killed but HMS Glasgow was able to pick up the remaining crew of which eleven were wounded, one of which later died from his wounds. HMS Glasgow sustained damage to her bow. HMS Imogen was not seen to sink but she was lost out of sight in the heavy fog.

The damaged HMS Glasgow proceeded to Scapa Flow with HMS Southampton arriving around 0945/17.

HMS Sussex arrived at Scapa Flow around 1100/17.

The destroyers remained out during the day searching for the hulk of HMS Imogen but it was not sighted. They arrived at Scapa Flow around 1800/17.

25 Jul 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow.

27 Jul 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (28)

28 Jul 1940
HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN) arrived at Greenock with damage to her turbines. She was then taken in hand for repairs. (28)

31 Jul 1940
In the morning, HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), conducted engine trials in the Clyde area. (29)

2 Aug 1940
In the evening, HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), shifted from Greenock to Glasgow where she was to undergo turbine repairs. (30)

23 Aug 1940
In the afternoon, HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), is taken to the King George V dock by tugs.

Later she was moved to Yorkhill Quay, just across the river of the Govan docks. (30)

18 Sep 1940
When nearing completion of her turbine repairs, HMS Sussex (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), is hit by a 250lb bomb during an air raid. The bomb exploded near the fuel oil tanks and the aft part of the ship catched fire and started to threathen the magazines. After 24 hours the ship was still on fire and she had to be sunk while still along the wall to extinguish the fires.

Later she was salvaged and was partially rebuilt. She was out of action for almost two years. During repairs she had been paid-off into dockyard control.

6 Aug 1942
At 0900 hours HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) is recommissioned following repairs to the September 1940 bomb and fire damage. (31)

11 Aug 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) shifted from Glasgow to Greenock. (31)

15 Aug 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted trials in the Clyde area. (31)

20 Aug 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted trials in the Clyde area. (31)

22 Aug 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted full power trials in the Clyde area. (31)

27 Aug 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery trials in the Clyde area. (31)

3 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises in the Clyde area upon completion of which she set course for Scapa Flow. (32)

4 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow to commence a working-up programme. (32)

9 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (33)

10 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (33)

15 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (33)

17 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) and HMS Despatch (Capt. W.R.C. Leggatt, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (33)

18 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) returned to Scapa Flow after exercises. (32)

19 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted an oiling at sea exercise at Scapa Flow with the destroyer HMS Porcupine (Cdr. G.S. Stewart, RAN). (32)

24 Sep 1942
During 24/25 September 1942, HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), HMS Bermuda (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) and HMS Argonaut (Capt. E.W.L. Longley-Cook, RN), conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These included night exercises. (32)

29 Sep 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (32)

1 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (34)

7 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted torpedo firing and gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (34)

9 Oct 1942
HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. They appreared to have been escorted by destroyers. (35)

10 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (34)

12 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (34)

20 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (34)

23 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow.

Followed by exercises with HMS Renown (Capt. C.S. Daniel, CBE, DSO, RN) and HMS Cumberland (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN). (34)

24 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (34)

25 Oct 1942
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) shifted from Scapa Flow to North Shields (Tyne) for some repairs to her boilers and main armament at the Palmers Shipyard. (34)

4 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery trials off Newcastle upon completion of which she set course for Scapa Flow. (36)

5 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (36)

7 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovery trials at Scapa Flow. These were followed by gunnery trials. (36)

8 Jan 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

11 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

13 Jan 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

14 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Uganda (Capt. W.G. Andrewes, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

15 Jan 1943
HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

16 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted speed trials on the measured miles at Scapa Flow. (36)

19 Jan 1943
HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN), HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) HMS Berwick (Capt. G.H. Faulkner, DSC, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) all conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

20 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted paravane streaming exercises off Scapa Flow. The exercises however had to be cancelled soon after they had started due to the bad weather conditions. (36)

22 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

23 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Uganda (Capt. W.G. Andrewes, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

25 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted aircraft launching and recovery trials at Scapa Flow. These were followed by gunnery exercises. Also aircraft made practice attacks on the ships. (36)

27 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted D/F calibration trials at Scapa Flow. (36)

29 Jan 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (36)

1 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (37)

3 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow with her own aircraft. (37)

4 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow with aircraft. Later on the same day gunnery exercises were carried out. (37)

8 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted damage control exercises at Scapa Flow. (37)

20 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Greenock. (37)

21 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Greenock. (37)

22 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Greenock for Freetown. En-route she was to patrol in the Azores - Bay of Biscay area to intercept Axis blockade breakers. (38)

26 Feb 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), aided by code-breaking and air patrols, intercepted the German tanker Hohenfriedburg (7892 GRT, built 1931, former Norwegian Herborg) north-east of the Azores in position 41°45'N, 20°58'W. The ship was scuttled when challenged. HMS Sussex also fired her main armamant on the German ship.

Duing the action HMS Sussex was missed by a spread of four torpedoes from U-264 which was accompanying the supply ship.

Transferred to the Eastern Fleet until the end of the war, covered the reoccupation of the Netherlands East Indies before returning home.

4 Mar 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Freetown. (39)

6 Mar 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Freetown for anti-blockade breaker patrol in the Mid-Atlantic. (40)

10 Mar 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) returned to Freetown from patrol. (40)

11 Mar 1943

Convoy WS 27.

Part of the convoy that proceeded from Freetown to South Africa.

This convoy departed Freetown on 11 March 1941 for South Africa.

The composition of the convoy on departure from Freetown was as follows; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Antenor (British, 11174 GRT, built 1925), Bergensfjord (Norwegian, 11015 GRT, built 1913), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), Leopoldville (Belgian, 11509 GRT, built 1929), Orbita (British, 15495 GRT, built 1915), Strathaird (British, 22281 GRT, built 1932) and Strathmore (British, 23428 GRT, built 1935).

On departure from Freetown the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), destroyers HMS Quail (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Jenks, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and the corvettes HMS Crocus (T/Lt.Cdr. J.F. Holm, RNZNR) and HMS Petunia (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR).

At 0001/12, HMS Quail was detached to pick up the US transport James Parker (10021 GRT, built 1939). She rejoined with the American ship at 1300/12.

At 0200/14, James Parker parted company with the convoy to proceed to Takoradi. She was being escorted by HMS Quail.

At 0530/14, HMS Crocus and HMS Petunia parted company with the convoy.

At 1730/14, the transports Duchess of Richmond (British, 22022 GRT, built 1928), Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) and Sibajak (Dutch, 12226 GRT, built 1927) joined the convoy coming from Lagos. They were being escorted by the corvettes HMS Armeria (Lt. M. Todd, RNR) and HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR) which also joined the convoy escort.

At 1245/15, HMS Quail rejoined.

Between 0700 and 0935/16, HMS Queensborough fuelled from HMS Sussex.

Between 1615 and 1745/16, HMS Quail fuelled from HMS Sussex.

At 1900/16, HMS Raider was detached to fuel at Porte Noire.

At 1815/18, HMS Armeria and HMS Bellwort were detached. Shortly afterwards HMS Raider rejoined the convoy.

On 23 March the following transports arrived at Capetown; Almanzora, Bergensfjord, Duchess of Richmond, Leopoldville, Orbita, Ruys and Sibajak, as did HMS Sussex, HMS Quail, HMS Queenborough and HMS Raidar of the escort.

When the destroyers detached three other destroyers joined the Durban section of the convoy, these were HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN) and HMS Racehorse (Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN). HMS Sussex joined from Capetown later in the day.

The Durban section of the convoy, made up of Antenor, Capetown Castle, Chistiaan Huygens, Strathaird and Strathmore, arrived there on 26 March 1943.

18 Apr 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) is docked at Durban. (41)

22 Apr 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) is undocked. (41)

25 Apr 1943

Convoy CM 41.

This convoy departed Durban on 25 April for Bombay where it arrived on 11 May 1943.

The convoy was made up of the transports / troopships: Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Christiaan Huygens (Dutch, 16287 GRT, built 1927), City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922) and Dunera (British, 11162 GRT, built 1937).

On departure from Durban the convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

Between 0656 and 0800/1, HMAS Napier fuelled from HMS Sussex.

At 1440/1, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranpura (Capt.(Retd.) H.T.M. Pawsey, RN) took over from HMS Sussex.

The destroyers parted company with the convoy on 2 May.

The convoy arrived at Bombay on 11 May 1943. (42)

2 May 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Kilindini from convoy escort duty. (43)

4 May 1943
From 4 May to 7 May 1943 ships from the Eastern Fleet conducted exercises off Kilindini.

In the morning of the 4th the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and light cruiser HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.W. Davis, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) departed Kilindini.

They were followed in the afternoon by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), light cruisers HMS Capetown (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

All ships returned to the harbour in the morning of May 7th minus HMS Mauritius which returned in the afternoon. (44)

11 May 1943
During 11 and 12 May 1943, the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Dauntless (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN). These included night exercises. (45)

17 May 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Kilindini to join HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.W. Davis, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) which was already out for exercises.

HMS Sussex parted company with HMS Mauritius 0600/18 after which HMS Sussex set course for Mauritius [the island]. (46)

21 May 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Port Louis, Mauritius. She departed again later the same day for landing exercises off Mauritius. (46)

22 May 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) returned to Port Louis, Mauritius after completing the landing exercises. (46)

24 May 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Mauritius for the Mid Ocean Meeting Point where she was to make rendezvous with convoy US 19. (46)

29 May 1943
Around 1630 hours, near position 25°19'S, 91°00'E, the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNN), turned over the escort of convoy US 19, made up of the troopships Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939), to the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN). (47)

2 Jun 1943
Around 1500 hours, the armed merchant cruiser HMS Canton ( A/Cdr.(Retd.) R.J.E. Daintree, RN) took over the escort of the troop transport Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939). These two ships now set course for Aden. HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) then continued on to Colombo with the other troopship. (48)

4 Jun 1943
The troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and her escort, the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), arrived at Colombo. (48)

5 Jun 1943
The troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and her escort, the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN), departed Colombo for the Socotra area. (48)

9 Jun 1943
At 0700 hours, the troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) was released by her escort, the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) north-east of Socotra in approximate position 14°15'N, 56°00'E.

The troopship continued on unescorted to Aden. HMS Sussex set course for Kilindini. (48)

13 Jun 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived Kilindini. (48)

18 Jun 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini upon completion of which she set course to proceed to Addu Atoll. (48)

23 Jun 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Addu Atoll. (48)

24 Jun 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Addu Atoll to rendez-vous with HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) which was escorting the troopships Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and Dominion Monarch (British, 27155 GRT, built 1939).

At 1600 hours the ships met and one hour later they split up again. HMS Sussex took Nieuw Amsterdam with her towards Fremantle while HMS Kenya proceeded with the Dominion Monarch towards Colombo. (48)

28 Jun 1943
Around 1400 hours, in position 24°31'S, 90°44'E, the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Capt. J.B. de Meester, RNN), made rendes-vous with the troopship Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938) and her escort the British heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN). HrMs Tromp then took over the escort from HMS Sussex which then set course towards Mauritius. (47)

3 Jul 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Port Louis, Mauritius. (49)

4 Jul 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Port Louis, Mauritius for Kilindini. (49)

7 Jul 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (49)

20 Jul 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) departed Kilindini for a few days of exercises. (50)

22 Jul 1943
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), HMS Suffolk (Capt. R. Shelley, CBE, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and HMS Frobisher (Capt. J.F.W. Mudford, RN) returned to Kilindini from exercises. (50)

24 Jul 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) departed Kilindini for Colombo. (49)

30 Jul 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) arrived at Colombo. (49)

5 Aug 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) departed Colombo for Bombay. (51)

7 Aug 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) arrived at Bombay. (51)

20 Aug 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) departed Bombay for Kilindini. (51)

25 Aug 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN, flying the flag of Adm. J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (51)

31 Aug 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Kilindini for Durban. (51)

5 Sep 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived at Durban where she was to be taken in hand for repairs and a short refit. (52)

11 Sep 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) is docked at Durban. (53)

2 Oct 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) is undocked. (54)

31 Oct 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) departed Durban for Kilindini. (54)

1 Nov 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) developed engine trouble and therefore turned round to return to Durban. (55)

2 Nov 1943
HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) arrived back at Durban. (55)

30 Nov 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) is docked at Durban. (56)

1 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) is undocked. (57)

2 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Durban for Kilindini. (58)

6 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Kilindini. (58)

8 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) and HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) conducted exercises off Kilindini. (57)

9 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Kilindini. (57)

13 Dec 1943
The battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) departed Kilindini for a few days of exercises. (59)

16 Dec 1943
The battleship HMS Ramillies (Capt. G.B. Middleton, CBE, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.J. Wylie, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Green, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) returned to Kilindini after a few days of exercises.

Upon returning to harbour HMS Emerald and the destroyers carried out A/S exercises with HMS Osiris (T/Lt. M.H. Atkinson, RNR). (59)

21 Dec 1943
During 21/22 December 1943, HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) conducted exercises off Kilindini together with (at least) HMAS Nizam (Cdr. C.H. Brooks, RAN) and HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, DSC, RAN).

These included night exercises. (57)

27 Dec 1943
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Kilindini for Colombo. (57)

2 Jan 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Colombo. (60)

5 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Trincomalee or Colombo for several days of exercises. (61)

7 Jan 1944
HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.D. Read, CB, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. C.L. Robertson, RN), HMS Ceylon (Capt. G.B. Amery-Parkes, RN) and HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Trincomalee after exercises. (61)

10 Jan 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. (60)

18 Jan 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Fremantle. (60)

23 Jan 1944
The troop transport Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923) departed Fremantle for Bombay. She was escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN). (60)

4 Feb 1944
Around noon, HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN), turned over the escort of the troop transport Mooltan (British, 20952 GRT, built 1923) to HMS Redoubt (Lt.Cdr. N.E.G. Ropner, DSO, RN) which then continued on with the troopship towards Bombay while HMS Sussex set course to proceed to Colombo. (60)

6 Feb 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Colombo after escort duty. (60)

12 Feb 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Ceylon to make rendezvous with the troopship Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) coming from Bombay. (62)

14 Feb 1944
Around noon, HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN), took over the escort of the troop transport Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) from HMS Quality (Lt.Cdr. G.L. Farnfield, DSO, RN). (62)

22 Feb 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) and the troopship Ruys (Dutch, 14155 GRT, built 1937) arrived at Fremantle. (62)

22 Feb 1944

Operation Sleuth.

Operation to intercept suspected German blockade runners to the south-west of Cocos Island.

On 22 August 1944 the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. R.L.B. Cunliffe, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, CB, RN), light cruiser HMNZS Gambia (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. F.S.W. de Winton, RN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. G.A. Cox, RNN) departed Trincomalee to proceed to an area to the south-west of Cocos Island to search for suspected German blockade runners.

On 25 February 1944 the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Fremantle to join these ships. She joined in the afternoon of 28 February 1944. HMNZS Gambia then proceeded to Fremantle arriving there on 2 March 1944.

HMS Illustrious, HMS Rotherham and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes arrived back at Trincomalee on 3 March 1944. HMS Sussex returned to Fremantle on 9 March 1944.

No enemy ships had been encountered. (63)

19 Mar 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Fremantle to make rendezvous with the US troop transport USS Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932). (64)

20 Mar 1944
Shortly after noon, HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN), mae rendezvous with the US troop transport USS Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932). They then set course for Bombay. (64)

27 Mar 1944
At 0830 hours HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) and the US troopship USS Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) made rendez-vous with the destroyers HMAS Quickmatch (Lt.Cdr. O.H. Becher, DSC, RAN) and HMS Relentless (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN) which then took over the escort of the troopship to Bombay. HMS Sussex then set course for Colombo. (64)

29 Mar 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Colombo from escort duties. (64)

31 Mar 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Colombo for Bombay. (64)

2 Apr 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Bombay. (65)

4 Apr 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) is docked at Bombay. (65)

25 Apr 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) is undocked. (65)

27 Apr 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Bombay. (65)

28 Apr 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Bombay for Trincomalee. (65)

1 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (66)

5 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Trincomalee for Colombo. (66)

6 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Colombo. Before entering harbour HA gunnery exercises were carried out. (66)

8 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Colombo for Aden. She is to return to the UK for refit and modernisation. (66)

13 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Aden. She departed for Suez later the same day. (66)

16 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Suez. She immediately transferred the Suez Canal northbound and arrived at Port Said later the same day. (66)

17 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) shifted from Port Said to Alexandria. (66)

18 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Alexandria for Algiers. (66)

21 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Algiers. (66)

22 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Algiers for Scapa Flow. (66)

26 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (66)

27 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Rosyth. (66)

28 May 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Rosyth. (66)

6 Jun 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) departed Rosyth for Sheerness. (67)

7 Jun 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) arrived at Sheerness. (67)

9 Jun 1944
HMS Sussex (A/Capt. M. Everard, RN) was towed from Sheerness to the Chatham Dockyard where she was taken in hand for refit and modernisation. (67)

28 Mar 1945
With her refit completed, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), departed the Chatham Dockyard. At sea, near Sheerness, she conducted trials. (68)

29 Mar 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted D/G trials off Sheerness. (68)

5 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Sheerness for Scapa Flow. (68)

6 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow to commence a work-up period. (68)

12 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises and trials at Scapa Flow. (69)

14 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises and trials at Scapa Flow. (69)

21 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises and trials at Scapa Flow. (69)

24 Apr 1945
HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN) and HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN) conducted exercises and trials at Scapa Flow. (69)

25 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Malta via Gibraltar. (69)

30 Apr 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (69)

1 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Gibraltar for Bermuda. Her destination had been changed. (70)

2 May 1945
In the early evening, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), is ordered to return to Gibraltar. (70)

4 May 1945
In the morning, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), briefly stopped off Europa Point, Gibraltar to pick up correspondence. She then immediately departed again to proceed to Malta. (70)

6 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) arrived at Malta to complete her work-up programme before joining the Eastern Fleet. (70)

7 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted trials and exercises off Malta. (70)

16 May 1945
HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. W.D. Shaw, RN) all conducted exercises off Malta. (71)

17 May 1945
In the evening HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (70)

18 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (70)

28 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Malta.

In the evening exercises were carried out with HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN). (70)

29 May 1945
In the evening, HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), went to sea for a night encounter exercise with HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN). (70)

30 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Malta for a few days of exercises. (70)

31 May 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) returned to Malta upon completion of two days of exercises. (70)

2 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. First with HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and later with HMS Anson (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN). (72)

4 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. First with HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and later night exercises were carried out with HMS Anson (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and HMS Meteor. (72)

5 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) retuned to Malta upon completion of the night exercises. She departed again early in the afternoon for several days of exercises. This time with HMS Anson (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN). Again night exercises were carried out for which HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN) also joined. (72)

8 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) returned to Malta upon completion of several days of exercises. (73)

14 Jun 1945
HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN), HMS Anson (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria. (72)

16 Jun 1945
HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN), HMS Anson (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (72)

18 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Alexandria. (72)

19 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted bombardment exercises off Alexandria. (72)

24 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) and HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN) departed Alexandria for Port Said. (72)

25 Jun 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) and HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN) arrived at Port Said. Both transited the Suez Canal southbound and arrived at Suez. (72)

25 Jun 1945
HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) and HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN) departed Suez for Colombo. (72)

7 Jul 1945
HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN), HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) and HMS Cleopatra (Capt. B.I. Robertshaw, CBE, RN) arrived at Colombo. (74)

13 Jul 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) departed Colombia for Trincomalee. (74)

14 Jul 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) arrived at Trincomalee. (74)

17 Jul 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee. (74)

19 Jul 1945

Operation Livery.

Sweeping of mines off Phuket; bombardment and air strikes directed against appropriate targets.

'Force 63' departed Trincomalee on 19 July 1945. It was made up of the following warships; battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. C. Caslon, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Vice Admiral H.C.T. Walker, CB, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Ameer (Cdr. P.D.H.R. Pelly, DSO, RN), HMS Empress (Capt. J.R.S. Brown, RN), destroyers HMS Rotherham (Capt. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Racehorse (Cdr. J.J. Casement, DSC, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Cartwright, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. H.R. Hewlett, RN) and the minesweepers HMS Pincher (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.B. Blake, RNVR), HMS Plucky (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G. Wallis, RNVR), HMS Squirrel (Lt. M. Buist, RN), HMS Rifleman (Lt. C.L. Carroll, DSC, RNR), HMS Vestal (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Porter, DSC, RN), HMIS Punjab(Lt. A.V. Baker, RIN) and HMS Deccan as attached danlayers.

The force passed through Sombrero Channel during the night of 22/23 July 1945 and arrived off Phuket in the morning of 24 July.

The area which had been given first priority was cleared of mines of as a result of operations carried out of 24th, 25th, and 26th July. A total of 24 mines were swept.

During the minesweeping operations HMS Squirrel was mined and damaged forward. Two and a half hours after hitting the mine she took a heavy list and therefore had to be sunk by our own forces. Seven ratings were lost with the ship.

In strikes against targets on the Kraa Isthumus, our aircraft achieved commendable results. Three small ships were destroyed and eleven others strafed in the Singora area, while fifteen locomotives were put out of action and rolling stock strafed on the railway system between Bandon and Dhungsong. A camp at Huatsei was bombed. One Sungei Patani airfield six grounded aircraft were destroyed, three left burning and two others hit. In all these operations only one Hellcat fighter was lost.

On 26 July 1945 attacks by enemy suicide aircraft were launched against units of 'Force 63'. One of these aircraft was shot down in flames by HMS Ameer and two were shot down by HMS Sussex. HMS Vestal was hit by a suicide aircraft, caught fire and had to be sunk by our own forces. Fifteen ratings were lost with the ship. Another enemy suicide aircraft bounced on the water and hit the side of HMS Sussex which sustained some hull damage above the waterline, but remained fully operational.

'Force 63' left the area of operation p.m. on 26 July and returned to Trincomalee where it arrived on 30 July. (75)

15 Aug 1945
HMS Sussex (Capt. A.F. de Salis, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Trincomalee.

With the war now over HMS Sussex remained in the Far East until March 1946 when she returned home.] (76)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/389
  2. ADM 53/110729
  3. ADM 186/794
  4. ADM 53/110730 + ADM 199/389
  5. ADM 53/110730 + ADM 199/382
  6. ADM 53/110730
  7. ADM 53/110607 + ADM 53/110730 + ADM 199/444
  8. ADM 53/110608 + ADM 53/110731 + ADM 199/444
  9. ADM 53/110731
  10. ADM 199/444
  11. ADM 53/110732 + ADM 199/444
  12. ADM 53/113286
  13. ADM 199/382
  14. ADM 53/113286 + ADM 199/382
  15. ADM 53/113288 + ADM 199/382
  16. ADM 53/113289 + ADM 199/382
  17. ADM 53/113289
  18. ADM 53/113290
  19. ADM 53.113290
  20. ADM 53.113290 + ADM 199/376
  21. ADM 199/361 + ADM 199/376
  22. ADM 199/376
  23. ADM 53/113291
  24. ADM 53/113291 + ADM 199/361
  25. ADM 199/1878
  26. ADM 53/112665 + ADM 199/361
  27. ADM 53/112885 + ADM 53/113290
  28. ADM 53/113292 + ADM 199/361
  29. ADM 53/113292
  30. ADM 53/113293
  31. ADM 53/116681
  32. ADM 53/116682
  33. ADM 53/11682
  34. ADM 53/116683
  35. ADM 53/116070 + ADM 53/116683
  36. ADM 53/118599
  37. ADM 53/118600
  38. ADM 53/118600 + ADM 199/1440
  39. ADM 53/118601
  40. ADM 53/118601 + ADM 199/635
  41. ADM 53/118602
  42. ADM 53/118602 + ADM 53/118603 + ADM 199/643
  43. ADM 53/118603 + ADM 199/643
  44. ADM 53/117120 + ADM 53/117565 + ADM 53/117705 + ADM 53/117898 + ADM 53/118464 + ADM 53/118603
  45. ADM 53/11705 + ADM 53/118603
  46. ADM 53/118603
  47. File 2.12.03.6852 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  48. ADM 53/118604 + ADM 199/643
  49. ADM 53/118605 + ADM 199/643
  50. ADM 53/117543 + ADM 53/118266 + ADM 53/118584 + ADM 53/118605
  51. ADM 53/118606 + ADM 199/643
  52. ADM 53/118607 + ADM 199/643
  53. ADM 53/118607
  54. ADM 53/118608
  55. ADM 53/118609 + ADM 199/643
  56. ADM 53/118609
  57. ADM 53/118610
  58. ADM 53/118610 + ADM 199/643
  59. ADM 53/117448 + ADM 53/118407 + ADM 53/118610
  60. ADM 53/120587
  61. ADM 53/119110 + ADM 53/119642 + ADM 53/120136 + ADM 53/120587
  62. ADM 53/120588
  63. ADM 199/1388
  64. ADM 53/120589
  65. ADM 53/120590
  66. ADM 53/120591
  67. ADM 53/120592
  68. ADM 53/122333
  69. ADM 53/122334
  70. ADM 53/122335
  71. ADM 53/121885 + ADM 53/122335
  72. ADM 53/122336
  73. ADM 53122336
  74. ADM 53/122337
  75. ADM 199/1457
  76. ADM 53/122338

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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