Allied Warships

HMS Penelope (97)

Light cruiser of the Arethusa class


Photo from Imperial War Museum (IWM), FL-4822

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassArethusa 
Pennant97 
Built byHarland & Wolff (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Ordered5 Feb 1934 
Laid down30 May 1934 
Launched15 Oct 1935 
Commissioned13 Nov 1936 
Lost18 Feb 1944 
Loss position40° 55'N, 13° 25'E
History

On 18 February 1944, HMS Penelope (Capt. George Devereux Belben, DSC, AM, RN) had left Naples around 0400 hours to proceed to the Anzio area for bombardment duty. She was torpedoed and in position 40°55'N, 13°25'E, by the German submarine U-410.

The first torpedo that hit her struck her in the after engine room at 0658 hours and was followed, 16 minutes later by a coup de grâce, which hit in the after boiler room, causing her immediate sinking.

The remarkable point of the attack by U-410 is that the cruiser was making 26 knots when hit. As far as can be ascertained, this is a unique case in the history of submarine attacks in all of WW II, no other ship running at such speed was ever successfully attacked.

415 members of the crew, including the Captain went down with the ship. There were 206 survivors.

 

Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 18 Feb 1944 by U-410 (Fenski).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Penelope

Commands listed for HMS Penelope (97)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Gerald Douglas Yates, RN17 Aug 193912 Sep 1940
2Lt.Cdr. (emergency) Alan Moir Harris, RN12 Sep 194021 Feb 1941
3Lt.Cdr. William Thomas Warren Curtis, RN21 Feb 194116 Apr 1941
4Capt. Angus Dacres Nicholl, RN16 Apr 194115 Jun 1942
5Cdr. John William Grant, DSO, RN15 Jun 194210 Aug 1942
6Capt. George Devereux Belben, DSC, RN10 Aug 194218 Feb 1944 (+)

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Notable events involving Penelope include:


The page for this light cruiser was last updated in October 2021.

28 Aug 1939
Having completed a refit at the Portsmouth Dockyard, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Portsmouth for Gibraltar. She was to join the Mediterranean Fleet. (1)

31 Aug 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) made a very short stop at Gibaltar. She then departed for Malta. (1)

2 Sep 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Malta. (2)

3 Sep 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Malta for Alexandria. (2)

5 Sep 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Alexandria. (2)

8 Sep 1939
During 8/9 September 1939, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), conducted independent exercises off Alexandria. These included night exercises. (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. (3)

14 Sep 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and HMS Coventry (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, OBE, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. These included night exercises. (4)

20 Sep 1939
HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Alexandria to patrol south of the Otranto Straits. Before proceeding on patrol they first carried out exercises. (5)

25 Sep 1939
HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Malta from patrol. (5)

26 Sep 1939
HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Malta to patrol off the Kithera Channel. (5)

30 Sep 1939
HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.R. Moore, CB, DSO, CVO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Alexandria from patrol. (5)

9 Oct 1939
HMS Otway (Cdr. H.R. Conway, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. This included a practice attack on HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN). (6)

9 Oct 1939
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), the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and the destroyers HMS Duncan (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN), HMS Daring (Cdr. S.A. Cooper, RN), HMS Dainty (Cdr. F.M. Walton, RN), HMS Grafton (Cdr. M.S. Thomas, RN), HMS Gallant (Lt.Cdr. C.P.F. Brown, RN), HMS Gipsy (Lt.Cdr. N.J. Crossley, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

During the exercises HMS Malaya, HMS Glorious, HMS Daring and HMS Bulldog split off. They were to proceed to the Indian Ocean (Socotra area). They arrived at Port Said later the same day. (3)

12 Oct 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) conducted independent exercises off Alexandria. (7)

19 Oct 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) conducted independent exercises off Alexandria. (7)

24 Oct 1939
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 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), HMS Dainty (Cdr. F.M. Walton, RN), HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Alexandria. HMS Warspite and the destroyers returned to harbour in the evening. The cruisers remained at sea for night exercises. (3)

25 Oct 1939
HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), 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), HMS Dainty (Cdr. F.M. Walton, RN), HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (8)

27 Oct 1939
HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) and HMS Diana (Lt.Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria.

8 Nov 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. At sea she joined HMS Galatea (Capt. E.G.H. Bellars, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) which was already out for exercises having departed the previous evening. (9)

11 Nov 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Alexandria for contraband patrol in the Aegean. (10)

23 Nov 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Malta from contraband patrol. (9)

25 Nov 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is docked at Malta. (9)

28 Nov 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is undocked. (9)

2 Dec 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Malta for a contraband patrol in the Aegean. (11)

2 Dec 1939
HMS Otway (Cdr. H.R. Conway, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. This included a practice attack on HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) which left Malta for patrol on this day. During the attack by HMS Otway, HMS Penelope carried out gunnery exercises herself. (12)

12 Dec 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Malta from patrol. (13)

16 Dec 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Malta from patrol. (13)

26 Dec 1939
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Malta for a contraband patrol in the Aegean. On deparure from Malta some gunnery exercises were carried out with the 4" guns. (11)

5 Jan 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Malta for the UK. HMS Penelope is to join the Home Fleet. (14)

7 Jan 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (14)

8 Jan 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Gibraltar for Portsmouth. (14)

11 Jan 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Portsmouth for a short refit before she was to be sent to the north to join the Home Fleet. (14)

1 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) shifted from the Portsmouth Dockyard to Spithead. (15)

3 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Spithead for Rosyth via the Irish Sea. (15)

4 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) anchored off the Isle of Man. She is unable to proceed further due to heavy fog. (15)

5 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) continued her passage to Rosyth. (15)

7 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) arrived at Rosyth. (15)

14 Feb 1940

Operation DT.

Interception of German merchant vessels off Norway.

The light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.H.C. Hallifax, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) departed Rosyth for operationed off the Norwegian coast. They were to intercept German merchant vessels in the vicinity off Kristiansand and then sweep northwards.

On departure from Rosyth, HMS Penelope fouled the boom and damaged her propellers. She was therefore unable to sail and the other ships departed without her.

On the 16th the ships on operation DT were ordered to pintecept the German supply vessel (tanker) Altmark which had British prisoners on board from ships which had been intercepted by the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

At 1424/16, HMS Arethusa sighted the Altmark and HMS Intrepid and HMS Ivanhoe were ordered to intercept the Altmark inside Norwegian territorial waters. This was however prevented by the Norwegian escort of the German ship which then entered the Josing Fiord.

HMS Cossack then also entered the fiord and negociations with the Norwegians started. Captain Vian demanded the release of the English prisoners. This was signalled to the Admiralty in Cossack's signal timed 1616/16. HMS Cossack was at that time in position 58°19'N, 06°20'E.

At 1632/16, HMS Cossack reported that the Altmark was being examined by a Norwegian 'gunboat' and that another 'gunboat' had a torpedo tube aimed at the Cossack. [The two 'gunboats' were in fact the old Norwegian torpedo boats Kjell and Skarv.]

At 1757/16, HMS Cossack reported to the Admiralty that the Commanding Officer of the Norwegian torpedo boat Kjell reported that the Altmark had been examined at Bergen on the 15th and that the ship was not armed and no British prisoners had been encountered on the ship. HMS Cossack had now retired from the fiord and was outside territorial waters and was awaiting instructions.

At 2007/16, HMS Cossack reported to the Admiralty that the German tanker Baldur (5805 GRT, built 1929) [actually this was not a tanker but a merchant vessel with a cargo of iron ore] had been intercepted by HMS Ivanhoe off the fiord and that the German merchant vessel was being scuttled by her own crew.

HMS Cossack entered the fiord around 2100/16. The Norwegians were told it was the British intention to board the Altmark and the Norwegians were invented to join them in doing so but they refused. At 2215/16, HMS Cossack went alongside the Altmark which grounded during the action. A boarding party of three officers and thirty ratings then boarded the German ship. A fight then erupted with the German crew and seven Germans were killed. The boarding party then found and released the English prisoners on board the Altmark. After they had boarded the Cossack she returned to sea to join the rest of the squadron.

The destroyers then proceeded to return to Rosyth where they arrived on the 17th. HMS Cossack had first landed the British prisoners from the Altmark at Leith.

HMS Aretusa proceeded to join the cover force for convoy HN 12. (16)

18 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is docked in No.1 dock at Rosyth for repairs. (15)

22 Feb 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is undocked. (15)

24 Feb 1940
HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol in the northern North Sea to provide cover during several convoy operations to and from Norway.

The cruisers returned to Rosyth on 4 March. (17)

13 Mar 1940
Around 1100/13, HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow and the Clyde.

Around 1945/13, HMS Aretusa and HMS Penelope parted company with the other ships and proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 2330/13.

HMS Aurora and HMS Galatea arrived in the Clyde around 1830/14. (18)

20 Mar 1940

Operation DU.

Anti-shipping raid into the Skagerrak and the Northern part of the Bight.

Around 2330/20, the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.C. Tovey, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, DSC, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Peters, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN) and HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Operation DU, an anti-shipping raid into the Skagerrak and the Northern part of Bight.

At 1000/21, the force was in position 59°28'N, 01°54'E and at 1800/21 in position 58°06'N, 05°15'E. During the afternoon the wind was strong from the south-east and the sea moderate to rough but by 2200/21 both had decreased and the visibility was maximum.

By 1930/21, two groups had been formed.
'Force B' was made up of the Galatea, Arethusa, Firedrake, Foxhound, Sikh and Somali. while 'Force C' was made up of the Aurora (SO), Penelope, Fame, Foresight, Mashona and Matabele.
Force C was stationed two miles astern of Force B and each force took up the night cruising formation that had been ordered. Force C had been ordered to act independently from 2000/21, when the whole force arrived in position 270°, Lister lighthouse, 12 miles, and was seen overtaking Force B at 2038/21 steering 143° steering for Thyborøn, Denmark.

Force B set course 143° at 17 knots for 26 miles to pass 16 miles off Lindesnes in order to avoid being sighted by any patrol or shipping close inshore.

At 2127/21, Force C was observed to the south-westward examining by searchlight a vessel showing its navigation lights.

At 2145/21, Force B altered course to 108° towards position 'T' which was 57°30'N, 08°23'E. The light of several steamers steering to the westwards were seen to the northward between 2230 and 2300/21. It was however Vice-Admiral Tovy's plan to proceed to position 'T' unobserved so no destroyers were detached to investigate them.

At 2223/21, HMS Arethusa intercepted a message from the German merchant vessel Heddernheim (4947 GRT, built 1921) and reported her bearing to be 034° first class. From the latest information (Admiralty's signal 1227/21), it seemed probable that this ship was the only large ship laden with iron ore which was south of Haugesund this night. It was possible she might steer for the Skaw. Vice-Admiral Tovey therefore changed the operations plan and altered course to 040° and increased speed to 20 knots at 2327/21 so as to intercept this merchant vessel off Oksøy about 0030/22.

Oskøy lighthouse was sighted at 0024/22 bearing 026° and at 0031/22 a ship, showing dimmed navigation lights was sighted but it proved to be the Danish merchant vessel Viborg (2028 GRT, built 1919). At 0044/22, course was altered to 245° to search westwards at 15 knots. It was not until 0059/22 that the Admiralty signal 2317/21 was received which stated that the Heddernheim had been stopped by the submarine HMS Ursula 8 miles east of the Skaw. No cause for the large error in the D/F bearing of HMS Arethusa has been found.

During the rest of the night Force B patrolled off Ryvingen and searched westwards along the coast. HMS Firedrake and HMS FoxhoundHMS Somali and HMS Sikh parted company at 0223/22 to search close inshore. They did not rejoin until daylight. At 0501/22, HMS Firedrake and HMS Foxhound were again detached to investigate ships and at 0545/22, HMS Firedrake reported that she sighted Force C bearing 135° returning to make rendezvous with Force B. They came back from the area of Hantsholm.

At daybreak the weather was overcast, wind was east force 4, visibility was good. Force B encountered a few merchant vessels which were examined.

At 0646/22, HMS Sikh and HMS Somali were sighted bearing 080°, 6 miles. Force C rejoined at 0658/22. At 0730/22, the combined force in the agreed rendezvous position and was steering 321°, speed 19 knots.

Both HMS Sikh and HMS Somali had sighted several merchant vessels. Some might have been German but they could not be closed in time and and could not be inspected as they were also in territorial waters.

At 0805/22, it was snowing heavily, and the visibility was reduced at times to two miles. Windwas east-south-east, force 2. The combined force was sweeping up the coast of Norway at 19 knots.

At 0915/22, HMS Galatea sighted a torpedo track but investigation left little doubt that it had not been a torpedo but a fish as a large school of black fish was seen.

At 0922/22, HMS Somali reported a German vessel ahead and was ordered to capture her but not to enter territorial waters. HMS Somali fired a gun to bring the ship to, but was not able to stop her before she reached territorial waters. When the ship was one mile off the shore, the crew were seen to take to the boats. It is not known whether they had scuttled their ship. At 0932/22, HMS Somali was ordered to rejoin the force. On her return HMS Somali reported that the German vessel was the Butt (800 GRT, built 1909), homeport Bremen.

At 0948/22, HMS Firedrake was detached to examine a merchant vessel making a lot of smoke. At 0955/22, HMS Firedrake reported that it was a Danish merchant vessel.

At 1020/22, HMS Somali reported two merchant vessels ahead. HMS Somali then proceeded ahead to investigate. She rejoined at 1048 and reported that both vessels were also Danish.

At noon, HMS Somali spoke two more Danish vessels. Weather was now overcast, wind south, force 2, visibility maximum.

At 1203/22, a small warship very close inshore was sighted by HMS Galatea. It was identified as a Norwegian torpedo boat.

At 1212/22, in position 197°, 8 miles, Utsire lighthouse, course was altered to 263° in ordered tht it should appear from shore that the force was returning to Scapa Flow.

At 1315/22, course was altered to 240° and to 162° at 1340/22 and speed was adjusted to pass trough the following positions, 58°25'N, 04°28'E at 1600/22 and 58°06'N, 05°15'E. During the afternoon the wind freshened from the south-eastward, to force 6, and the sea became rather rough.

Vice-Admiral Tovey's intentions for the night were that the two forces were to be stationed 15 miles apart to avoud sight one another during the night. Both forces were to move 30 miles westward at 0130/23 so that whatever delay had occurred owing to investigations and boardings, they would still be at least 15 miles apart.

At 1810/22, Force C was ordered to take station 15 miles 270° from HMS Galatea.

At 1915/22, Force B took up night cruising formation, HMS Somali and HMS Sikh on the port quarter, HMS Foxhound and HMS Firedrake on the starboard quarter.

At 2050/22, the sky was overcast, visibility good, wind south-east, force 5, sea rough but decreasing.

About 2200/22, when 5 miles south of Lindesnes, HMS Galatea sighted a merchant vessel which turned out to be Danish and HMS Foxhound sighted a Norwegian merchant vessel.

The sweep was continued troughout the night according to plan and without incident. The wind at 0200 was east-southeast force 4, sky clear, slight east-south-east swell, visibility good. Around 0500/3, the force ran into rather rough water.

At 0610/23, when south of the approach to Farsund, HMS Foxhound was detached to investigate a large merchant ship which was found out to be Swedish.

At 0713/23, Force B sighted Force C and at 0740/23 the whole force was in formation again. Course was set to 272°, speed 22 knots.

The weather deteriorated rapidly. There were heavy snow showers and a south-easterly gale blowing by 0900/23.

At 1143/23, HMS Aurora and all destroyers were detached to Scapa Flow. Visibility was then about 1.5 miles. The three remaining cruisers altered course and proceeded to Rosyth where they arrived around 0030/24.

HMS Aurora and the destroyers arrived at Scapa Flow around 1130/24. (19)

31 Mar 1940

Convoy HN 23B.

This convoy was formed near Bergen, Norway on 31 March 1940. It arrived at Methill on 4 April 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alida Gorthon (Swedish, 2373 GRT, built 1902), Becheville (British, 4228 GRT, built 1924), Belgia (Swedish, 2023 GRT, built 1930), Belgien (British, 1979 GRT, built 1922), Bifrost (Swedish, 1781 GRT, built 1923), Cathrine (Estonian, 1885 GRT, built 1904), Ceres (Finnish, 996 GRT, built 1889), Convallaria (Swedish, 1996 GRT, built 1921), Dago (Danish, 1757 GRT, built 1902), Eikhaug (Norwegian, 1436 GRT, built 1903), Embla (Swedish, 1040 GRT, built 1908), Falkvik (Swedish, 1216 GRT, built 1899), Fano (Danish, 1889 GRT, built 1922), Foss Beck (British, 4876 GRT, built 1930), Harmonic (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Hirondelle (British, 893 GRT, built 1925), Kejserinde Dagmar (Danish, 1597 GRT, built 1905), Knud (British, 1944 GRT, built 1900), Knut (British, 1274 GRT, built 1924), Lab (Norwegian, 1118 GRT, built 1912), Leola (Estonian, 499 GRT, built 1884), Leonardia (Swedish, 1583 GRT, built 1906), Majorca (British, 1126 GRT, built 1921), Maria Toft (Danish, 1911 GRT, built 1928), N.C. Monberg (Danish, 2301 GRT, built 1928), Ophir (Norwegian, 1005 GRT, built 1906), Parnu (Estonian, 1578 GRT, built 1909), Pollux (Estonian, 931 GRT, built 1890), Ringholn (Norwegian, 1298 GRT, built 1919), Royksund (Norwegian, 695 GRT, built 1919), Saimaa (Finnish, 2001 GRT, built 1922), Tordenskjold (Norwegian, 921 GRT, built 1906), Vega I (Swedish, 1073 GRT, built 1913) and Veronica (Swedish, 1316 GRT, built 1919).

Apparently not all these ships sailed though.

Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) and the submarine HMS Porpoise (Cdr. P.Q. Roberts, RN).

The AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) was also providing support for the convoy.

Distant cover was provided by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) and HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN) until 1 April 1940 when they were relieved by HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN). These cruisers had departed Rosyth earlier that day.

HMS Javelin, HMS Juno and HMS Eclipse parted company with the convoy shortly after dusk on 3 April and proceeded directly to Rosyth arriving there on the 4th.

The convoy and it's remaining escorts arrived of Methil on 4 April 1940 after which the destroyers went to Rosyth as did HMS Porpoise. HMS Penelope and HMS Sheffield arrived at Scapa Flow on 6 April 1940.

5 Apr 1940

Operation Wilfed.

Minelaying in Norwegian territorial waters and subsequent movements leading up to the First Battle of Narvik.

Three British forces were to lay mines in Norwegian territorial waters, these were;
' Force WB ': destroyers HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, RN). They were to simulate a minelay of Bud. This force departed Scapa Flow with HMS Renown at 1830/5 (see below).

' Force WS ': Auxiliary minelayer HMS Teviotbank (Cdr.(Retd.) R.D. King-Harman, DSC and Bar, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN). This force was to lay mines in the Stadlandet area between Aalesund and Bergen.

' Force WV ': Minelaying destroyers: HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN, with Capt. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN, Capt. D.10 onboard), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) escorted by destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H. Layman, RN) and HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN). This force was to lay mines in the entrance to the Vestfiord.

To cover ' Force WS ' it had been intended to sent out the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN) and the destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN), HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN) and the destroyers from ' Force WB '. As the Admiralty received information that all four Norwegian coast defence ships were at Narvik this was changed at the last moment and the Renown force was then ordered to cover ' Force WV ' instead. Renown and her escorting destroyers departed Scapa Flow around 1830/5.

' Force WS ' departed Scapa Flow around 1930/5. During the night the destroyers in company with HMS Renown had lost contact with her in the heavy weather. By dawn they were regaining contact when HMS Glowworm reported a man overboard at 0620/6. She was given permission shortly afterwards to search for her missing crewmember and doubled back.

' Force WV ' departed Sullom Voe around 0515/6. They were to rendezvous at sea with HMS Renown, her escorting destroyers and ' Force WB '. Rendezvous was effected at 0735/6.

HMS Hyperion and HMS Hero, were detached to refuel at Lerwick prior to their simulated minelay off Bud. They arrived at Sullom Voe around 1545/6.

When the Admiralty found out on the 7th that only HMS Greyhound was with HMS Renown the light cruiser HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN) were ordered to make rendezvous with HMS Renown off the Vestfiord.

In the evening of the 7th, HMS Renown signalled her intention to be in position 67°15'N, 10°40'E at 0500/8 to HMS Birmingham and HMS Glowworm. Due to the bad weather conditions HMS Birmingham and her escort failed to make the rendezvous in time.

Between 0430 and 0530/8 the' Force WS ' laid their minefield in Vestfiord. HMS Hardy, HMS Havock, HMS Hotspur and HMS Hunter then proceeded to make rendezvous with HMS Renown while HMS Esk, HMS Icarus, HMS Impulsive and HMS Ivanhoe patrolled near the minefield.

At 0759/8 HMS Glowworm, who was then in position 65°04'N, 06°04'E, and steering towards the rendezvous with HMS Renown, sighted the German destroyers Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim and Z 18 / Hans Ludemann. Immediately HMS Glowworm sent an enemy report and at then engaged Z 18 / Hans Ludemann.

At 0855/8, HMS Glowworm reported an unknown ship bearing 0°, steering 180° in position 65°06'N, 06°20'E. The German destroyers had called for assistance and drew HMS Glowworm towards the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper which then egaged the British destroyer. Mortally wounded by the enemy's gunfire, HMS Glowworm managed to ram the German cruiser, tearing away 130 feet of the cruiser's armour belt and wrenching the emey's starboard torpedo tubes from their mountings.

At 0904/8, HMS Glowworm sent her last signal before sinking in position 64°13'N, 06°28'E. After the war Lt.Cdr. Roope, Glowworm's Commanding Officer was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Immediately after the receipt of HMS Glowworm's enemy report, HMS Renown and HMS Greyhound, then in position 67°34'N, 10°00'E turned south steering for the reported position believing that the enemy force was heading for Vestfiord and expecting to meet them around 1330/8.

At 0915/8, the C-in-C Home Fleet, detached the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and the destroyers HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) from his force to go to the aid of HMS Glowworm.

At 1045/8 the Admiralty ordered all destroyers of ' Force WV ' including those patrolling the minefield to join HMS Renown and HMS Greyhound.

At 1330/8 HMS Renown and HMS Greyhound, not having encountered the enemy, reversed course and steered to the north-east to make rendezvous with the destroyers of ' Force WV '.

At 1715/8 near the Skomvaer Lighthouse, about seventy miles west of Bodø, HMS Renown and HMS Greyhound made rendezvous with HMS Hardy, HMS Havock, HMS Hotspur, HMS Hunter, HMS Esk, HMS Icarus, HMS Impusive and HMS Ivanhoe. They then again turned to the south but sailing with gale force winds from the north-west the ships had great difficulty to keep formation and stay in company.

At 2100/8 the ' Renown ' force reversed course on to 280° to prevent the enemy from entering Narvik. This was on ordered from the Admiralty. They now had to proceed into a full north-west gale.

At 0100/ 9, the ' Renown ' force changed course to 180°.

At 0337/9, when in position 67°22'N, 09°36'E, and now steering 130°, HMS Renown, still with the destroyers in company, sighted two unknown ships, bearing 070°, distance 10 miles. They were sighted dispite a snow storm. The ships were thought to be a German battlecruiser and a heavy cruiser but were in fact the German battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst.

At 0359/9, HMS Renown, having now positively identified the ships as German, turned on 305°, parallel to the German ships.

At 0405/9, HMS Renown fire with her main armament at a range a little over 18000 yards. Target was the Gneisenau. Renown's secondary armament, (4.5" DP) opened fire on the Scharnhorst. The destroyers also joined in with their 4.7" guns.

At 0416/8, HMS Renown received a 28cm shell hit on her foremast. Only HMS Hardy and HMS Hunter were able to keep up with HMS Renown in the gale conditions, but the other destroyers fell behind. Also at about this time HMS Renown sustained weather damage to her starboard anti torpedo bulge.

At 0417/8, HMS Renown hit Gneisenau's fire control system out of action so the German ship turned away on course 30°. The Scharnhorst then moven between her sister ship and HMS Renown to lay a smoke screen.

At 0419/9 HMS Renown scored a it on Gneisenau's 'A' turret. A further hit was also abtained. HMS Renown then shifted her main armament to the Scharnhorst but she was then hit herself in the stern. Damage was minor. The Germans then broke off the action and turned away to the north-east at best speed.

Renown tried to follew the German ships but could only do around 20 - 23 knots so as not to swamp 'A' turret in the bad weather. The German ships gradually managed to pull away.

At 0515/9, HMS Renown briefly reopened fire on the Scharnhorst as she came into range when the Germans also had to reduce speed temporarily.

At 0615/9, HMS Renown lost contact with the German ships. By now also no of her escorting destroyers was in touch with her. During the action 230 rounds of 15" and 1065 rounds of 4.5" had been fired.

At 0626/19, Vice-Admiral Whitworth ordered HMS Hardy to take all destroyers under her command and to patrol the entrance to Vestfiord.

At 0800/9, HMS Renown turned west. One hour later the Admiralty ordered HMS Renown and other units of the Home Fleet to concentrate off the Vestfiord.

Around 1400/9, HMS Renown made rendezvous with HMS Renown, HMS Penelope, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi, HMS Kimberley and HMS Hostile. HMS Penelope was then detached to patrol in the entrance to the Vestfiord while the remainder of the force moved to patrol 30 miles to the west of HMS Penelope. HMS Hostile however was apparently ordered to join the other 'H'-class destroyers under Capt. D 2 in HMS Hardy.

That leaves us with Forces ' WB ' and ' WS ', HMS Teviotbank with her destroyer escort of HMS Inglefield, HMS Ilex, HMS Imogen and HMS Isis was ordered, at 2251/7, to abort the minelay and proceed to Sullom Voe. The destroyers went ahead and arrived at 0830/9 followed by HMS Teviotbank at 1100/9. HMS Inglefield, HMS Ilex, HMS Imogen, HMS Isis, HMS Hyperion and HMS Hero departed Sullom Voe at 0300/10 to join Admiral Forbes force which they did around 1100/10.

7 Apr 1940
In the evening, ships from the Home Fleet; battleships HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN), Emile Bertin (Capt. R.M.J. Battet), with destroyers HMS Codrington (Capt. G.E. Creasy, MVO, RN), HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. M. Culme-Seymour, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. H.R. Graham, RN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) departed from Scapa Flow to patrol in Norwegian waters near position 61°00'N, 01°00'E.

8 Apr 1940
At 0915/8, the C-in-C Home Fleet, detached HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) to proceed at high best speed to go to the assistance of the destroyer HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN) which had reported being in action with enemy warships.

At 1956/8 HMS Repulse, HMS Penelope, HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo, HMS Punjabi and HMS Kimberley were ordered north to join the 'Renown' force off Vestfjord.

9 Apr 1940
At 1400/09 HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN) made rendez-vous, off Vestfiord, with the battlecruiser HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN). Her escorting destroyers were not with her at that moment, they had been unable to keep up with HMS Renown during the action with the German battlecruisers early in the morning and had been ordered to patrol the entance of the Vestfiord. The destroyers involved in this were the following; HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN), HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H. Layman, RN), HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN), HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN), HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) [the last four destroyers were in their minelaying configuartation].

HMS Penelope was then detached to patrol the entrance to Vestfiord to support the destroyers patrolling there and the remainder of the force moved to patrol about 30 nautical miles to the west of HMS Penelope.

In the evening the Admiralty ordered the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, HMS Hardy, HMS Havock, HMS Hostile, HMS Hotspur and HMS Hunter to proceed up the Vestfjord and attack ships at Narvik.

Also on this day HMS Impulsive was ordered to proceed to Scapa Flow to repair a serious defect.

10 Apr 1940

To cover the retreat from Narvik of the remaining destroyers from the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN) had proceeded up the Vestfiord.

In the evening the dispositions of the 'Renown' force was as follows;

Battlecruisers HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN) were patrolling unescorted to the west of the Vestfiord.

The destroyers HMS Bedouin and HMS Eskimo were patrolling south of Tjeldøya.

The destroyers HMS Punjabi and HMS Kimberley were patrolling north-east of Tranøy.

The light cruiser HMS Penelope was nearby patrolling off the Tranøy Lighthouse.

The destroyers HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall-A'Deane, RN) and HMS Havock (Cdr. R.E. Courage, RN) were conducting an A/S hunt off Røst.

The destroyers HMS Esk (Lt.Cdr. R.J.H. Couch, RN, with Capt. J.G. Bickford, DSC, RN, Capt. D.10 onboard), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN) and HMS Ivanhoe (Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN) were patrolling in the Vestjord.

The destroyers HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Cdr. H.F.H. Layman, RN) were anchored in the Skelfjord, Flakstadøya.

During the night of 10/11 April, the two remaining seaworthy German destroyers at Narvik, Z 9 / Wolfgang Zenker and Z 12 / Erich Giese tried to break out but off Tranøy they encountered British ships that were patrolling there (HMS Penelope, HMS Punjabi and HMS Kimberley). The German destroyers then returned to Narvik undetected.

11 Apr 1940
Around 0030/11, reports were received from Norwegian sources which indicated that a German tanker and possibly a warship were at Bodø. Therefore the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) and destroyers HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO, RN) and HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. R.G.K. Knowling, RN), which were patrolling off the Vestfjord were ordered to Bodø to attack the reported German ships.

At 1441/11, while still en-route to Bodø, HMS Penelope ran aground off Fleinvær near Bodø and was badly damaged. As of 1730/11, HMS Penelope was being towed HMS Eskimo. Course was set for Skelfiord. HMS Kimberley then continued on alone to Bodø.

At 1057/12, HMS Penelope anchored in the Skjelfiord, Lofoten Ilands. Here emergency repairs were undertaken before the ship was fit to return to the UK.

HMS Kimberley arrived at the Skjelfiord at 1645/12. At Bodø, she had found the German transport Alster (8514 GRT, built 1928) which had been captured that morning by destroyer HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN) in position 67°48'N, 13°15'E. The Alster had attempted to scuttle herself and had detonated one scuttling charge but damage was not serious. The Alster was taken to Skelfjord by HMS Kimberely.

17 Apr 1940
HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN) arrived in the Skjelfjord where the pumps for the damaged light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) were unloaded. (20)

10 May 1940
While still at Skjelfiord, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), is attacked by German aircraft. She sustained some further damage due to several near misses. Five of the crew were killed and sixteen wounded in the attacks. (21)

11 May 1940
Around 2330/10, a convoy of ships departed Skjelfiord for the UK. The convoy was made up of the damaged light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) that was being towed by the tug HMS Brigand, the damaged destroyer HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) that was being towed by the tug HMS Buccaneer, the transport Lochee (964 GRT, built 1937) and the tanker British Valour (6952 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from the Skjelfiord the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Campbell (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Aubrey, RN), HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and the A/S trawler HMS St. Loman (T/Lt. R.C. Warwick, RNR).

The convoy was assembled off the Skjelfiord shortly after midnight during the night of 10/11 May.

Around 1015/11, the AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and destroyer HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) joined the escort of the convoy.

Around 1040/11, enemy aircraft attacked the convoy but no damage was sustained. Shortly afterwards the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) also joined the escort of the convoy.

Around 1900/11, HMS Zulu obtained an A/S contact and attacked with depth charges.

Around 0815/12, HMS Witch obtained an A/S contact and attacked with depth charges.

Around 0900/12, HMS Coventry parted company with the convoy.

Around 1230/12, HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN) joined the convoy escort.

Around 1300/12, HMS Zulu obtained an A/S contact and attacked with depth charges followed by HMS Witch at 1320/12.

Around 2000/13, HMS Campbell parted company with the convoy to proceed to Sullum Voe to refuel. She arrived there around 0600/14.

Around 1600/14, HMS Campbell rejoined, having departed from Sullom Voe after refuelling there around 1030/14.

Around 2000/14, HMS Calcutta and HMS St. Loman parted company with the convoy.

Around 0430/15, HMS Witch arrived at Scapa Flow to refuel. [Unknown when she left the convoy]. She departed Scapa Flow around 0730/15 to rejoin the convoy. [Unkown when she rejoined the convoy.]

Around 0515/15, HMS Acasta (Cdr. C.E. Glasfurd, RN) joined the convoy escort. HMS Zulu was then detached.

Around 2230/15, HMS Penelope still being towed by HMS Brigand and the British Valour and escorted by HMS Acasta and HMS Escort parted company with the other ships to proceed ahead of them to the Clyde.

They arrived in the Clyde area around 2200/15. The other ships arrived in the Clyde area later during the night of 15/16 May. (22)

16 May 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is towed from Greenock to Govan where temporary repairs were to be undertaken at the Harland & Wolf shipyard. (21)

10 Jun 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is docked at Govan. (23)

2 Jul 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is undocked at Govan. (24)

5 Jul 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is towed from Govan to Greenock. (24)

19 Aug 1940
Around 2000/19, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN), departed Greenock for the Tyne. She is being escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Atherstone (Cdr. H.W.S. Browning, RN) and HMS Hambledon (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN).

HMS Penelope arrived at North Shields around 0730/22. (25)

26 Aug 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is taken up river by tugs to the Palmers Dockyard at Hebburn where full repairs are to be made. (26)

10 Sep 1940
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Yates, RN) is reduced to care & maintenance during her repair period at Hebburn. (27)

17 Jul 1941
Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) was towed up river from Hebburn to Newcastle. (28)

27 Jul 1941
Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) was towed from Newcastle to North Shields. (28)

9 Aug 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) shifted from the Tyne to Rosyth. She was escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Westminster (Lt.Cdr. A.A.C. Ouvry, RN) and HMS Cattistock (Lt. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN).

At Rosyth, HMS Penelope is immediately docked in No.1 dock. (29)

15 Aug 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) is undocked. She then conducted D.G. trials on the range in the Firth of Forth. (29)

17 Aug 1941
Around 0900 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), departed Rosyth for Scapa Flow where she arrived around 2015 hours. (29)

18 Aug 1941
In the late afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (29)

19 Aug 1941

Operation Gauntlet.

Evacuation of Spitsbergen and destruction of mining facilities.

Around 1530/19, the light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and the destroyers HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. I.T. Clark, RN) left Scapa Flow to make rendezvous off the Butt of Lewis with the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), destroyers HMS Anthony (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, DSO, RN) and the troopship Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922) which had departed the Clyde around 0200/19.

They made rendezvous around 2100/19, when HMS Argus with HMS Tartar, HMS Intrepid and HMS Escapade proceeded to Scapa Flow where they arrived at 0230/20. These ships took no part in the upcoming operation 'Gauntlet'.

The Empress of Canada, escorted by HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus (also known as 'Force A' set course for Hvalfiord, Iceland where they arrived at 0730/21.

After fuelling they sailed for Spitsbergen at 2200/21.

The RFA tanker Oligargh (6897 GRT, built 1918) escorted by the trawlers HMS Elm (T/Lt. E.W.C. Dempster, RNVR), HMS Hazel (T/Lt. R. Thorne, RNVR), HMS Van Oost (Skr. A. Bruce, RNR) and the whaler HMS Sealyham (T/Lt. C.E. Jefferson, RNR) had already departed for the upcoming operation around 2330/18.

They arrived off Barentsburg, Spitsbergen around 0800/24. On board the Empress of Canada were Canadian troops, engeneers, sappers, etc., etc. These were landed to demolish the mining equipment and to burn stocks of coal already mined. The soviet workforce was embarked on the Empress of Canada as was some of the equipment they want to take with them. The Oligargh and her escorts also arrived on the 24th.

Around 1800/26, HMS Aurora joined the captured Norwegian merchant vessels (colliers, which had been in German service) Ingerto (3089 GRT, 1920), Munin (1285 GRT, built 1899), Nandi (1999 GRT, built 1920) and their escort the whaler HMS Sealyham which were bound for Reykjavik, Iceland. HMS Aurora left the convoy at 0400/27 and returned to Spitsbergen around 0845/27. HMS Sealyham and the colliers arrived in Iceland on 1 September 1941.

Around 2330/26, the Empress of Canada departed Barentsburg for Archangelsk escorted by HMS Nigeria, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus. They arrived at Archangelsk around 1200/29. HMS Aurora remained behind at Spitsbergen.

The force departed Archangelsk to return to Spitsbergen around 1100/30. They arrived in the Isfiord around 2230/1. The Norwegians from Longyearbyen were then embarked on board the Empress of Canada as were the Canadian soldiers.

Empress of Canada, HMS Nigeria, HMS Aurora, HMS Anthony, HMS Antelope and HMS Icarus departed for the UK around 2200/3.

The RFA tanker Oligargh and the caputured icebreaker Isbjørn and the seal catchers Agnes, Polaris and Strømsnes Also departed Spitsbergen for Iceland [time of depature not known to us]. They were escorted by the trawlers HMS Elk, HMS Hazel and HMS Van Oost. On 10 September 1941 the Isbjørn, Agnes, Polaris and Strømsnes, escorted by HMS Elk arrived at Akureyi, Iceland. Later they went on to Reykjavik, arriving there on 14 September 1941. On the same day the Oligargh also arrived at Reykjavik escorted by HMS Hazel and HMS Van Oost.

Around 0001/5, HMS Kenya and HMS Aurora parted company to proceed on further operations but not before oiling from the Oligargh late in the morning / early in the afternoon of the same day.

Around 0715/6, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the Empress of Canada and her three escorting destroyers. HMS Penelope joined them around 1800/6.

Around 0615/7, HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN) joined company, having departed Scapa Flow around 2200/6, and HMS Antelope and HMS Anthony parted company and set course to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1000/7.

Around 0630/7, HMS Penelope also parted company and set course to return to Scapa Flow arriving there around 1030/7.

Empress of Canada now continued on to the Clyde escorted by HMS Icarus and HMS Lightning. They arrived in the Clyde around 2300/7. (30)

20 Aug 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. She also carried out a rangefinding and inclination exercise (RIX) with HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN). (29)

21 Aug 1941
In the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted HA gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. She also carried out a rangefinding and inclination exercise (RIX) with HMS Suffolk (Capt. R.M. Ellis, RN). (29)

28 Aug 1941
In the later half of the morning, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow.

In the early afternoon she carried out a rangefinding and inclination exercise (RIX) with HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN).

Later in the afternoon she aided HMS Puckeridge during one of the escort destroyers exercises.

HMS Penelope was then to have conducted HA gunnery exercises but as these were cancelled she returned to Scapa Flow instead. (29)

29 Aug 1941
In the last part of the morning and early part of the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted D/F (direction finding) trials at Scapa Flow.

These were followed by gunnery exercises.

And finally a range and inclination (RIX) exercise was carried out with HMS Kenya (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, RN).

In the evening HMS Penelope and HMS Kenya carried out night encounter exercises. (29)

1 Sep 1941
In the second half of the morning, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), conducted full power trials off Scapa Flow. (31)

2 Sep 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (31)

4 Sep 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow.

During the night of 4/5 September (night) torpedo firing exercises were carried out at Scapa Flow. (31)

7 Sep 1941
Around 0715/6, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join ships returning from Operation Gauntlet.

She returned to Scapa Flow around 1030/7.

[For more information on Operation Gauntlet see the event ' Operation Gauntlet ' for 19 August 1941.] (31)

7 Sep 1941
Around 2000/7, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Scapa Flow for the Clyde. (31)

8 Sep 1941
Around 1515/8, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived in the Clyde. (31)

9 Sep 1941
Around 0600/9, the new and uncompleted battleship Duke of York (Capt. C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) departed the Clyde for the Rosyth Dockyard for furthrer outfitting. She was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lightning (Cdr. R.G. Stewart, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSO, RN) and HMS Vivacious (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN).

HMS Penelope was detached around 1330/10 to proceed to Scapa Flow where she arrived around 2145/10.

Around 1600/10, when off the boom to the Firth of Forth, HMS Lightning and HMS Icarus were detached. HMS Lightning proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving there around 0530/11. She had been delayed as when she was on passage to Scapa Flow she collided with the fishing trawler Strathgeldie (192 GRT, built 1911) around 2230/10 in position 58°12'N, 02°21'W. She then escorted the badly damaged trawler to Wick. HMS Lightning had sustained some minor damage herself. HMS Icarus proceeded to Immingham to refit, arriving there at 1015/11.

Duke of York and HMS Vivacious arrived at Rosyth around 1700/10. (32)

12 Sep 1941
HrMs O 10 (Lt. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), HMS Ulster Queen (A/Capt. D.S. McGrath, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN) and HMS Castleton (Cdr.(Retd.) F.H.E. Skyrme, RN). (33)

13 Sep 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Capt. J.C. Leach, MVO, RN) conducted exercises to the west of Scapa Flow together with HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN).

During these exerices Prince of Wales was escorted by HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN) and HMS Vivacious (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN). (34)

14 Sep 1941
Around 2030/14, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Scapa Flow for Akureyri, Iceland. (31)

16 Sep 1941
Around 1130/16, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived at Akureyri.

She departed for Hvalfiord at 1900/16. (31)

17 Sep 1941
Around 1415/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived at Hvalfiord. (31)

23 Sep 1941
Around 0800 hours HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed the Hvalfiord to patrol in the Iceland - Faroes Channel. (35)

29 Sep 1941
Around 1000 hours HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived at Reykjavik from patrol. Later the same day she shifted to the Hvalfiord. (35)

4 Oct 1941
Around 1300/4, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN, flying the flag of A/Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN).

At the same time the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) also departed to proceed to the Seidisfiord where she arrived at 1700/5.

Around 0715/5, HMS King George V parted company with the other ships to proceed to Akureyi for a visit. She took the destroyers HMS Bedouin, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali with her. They arrived at Akureyi around 0945/5. They departed around 1745/5 to proceed to Seidisfiord where they arrived around 0830/6. A/Admiral Tovey then transferred his flag to HMS Aurora.

In the meantime HMS Victorious, HMS Penelope, HMS Ashanti, HMS Matabele and HMS Punjabi remained at sea for exercises. They arrived at Seidisfiord around 1330/6 minus HMS Victorious which did not had to refuel and remained at sea off the fiord. (36)

6 Oct 1941

Operation EJ.

Attack with carrier aircraft on enemy shipping in the Vestfiord area.

Around 1730/6, the battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. A.C. Stanford, DSC, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Somali (Capt. D.K. Bain, RN) departed the Seidisfiord. At sea they joined the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN). Around 2200/6 the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) also departed the Seidisfiord to overtake the other ships which she joined around 0500/7.

At dawn on the 8th, around 0400/8, HMS Victorious flew off two striking forces to attack enemy shipping in the Vestfiord area. Around 1100/8 another strike force was flown off for a second attack.

During the attacks two merchant ships are reported to have been damaged.

Following the attacks course was set to proceed to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 0945/10.

[No further details on this operation available to us for the moment.] (37)

12 Oct 1941
Around 0800/12, HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), departed Scapa Flow for Gibraltar where they arrived around 2200/18. (38)

16 Oct 1941

Operation Callboy.

Aircraft to be flown off to Malta and the transfer of ' Force K ' to Malta.

At 1100/16, ' Force H ' made up of the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. L.E.H. Maund, RN), light cruiser HMS Hermione (Capt. G.N. Oliver, RN) and the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. E.L. Berthon, DSC, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN), HMS Foresight (Cdr. J.S.C. Salter, RN) HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.C. Robinson, RN) departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards.

Some exercises were carried out during the afternoon and early evening.

At 0640/17, two Swordfish were flown off from HMS Ark Royal for A/S patrol. These patrols were maintained throughout the day. A section of fighers was kept ranged until 0850/17 when they were flown off. During daylight always one section of fighters was kept in the air.

At 0710/17 the fleet made an emergeny turn after HMS Legion had obtained an A/S contact. The contact turned out to be non-sub.

Another non-sub contact was obtained by HMS Cossack about an hour later and again the fleet made an emergency turn. Two whales were sighted shortly afterwards which were the source of the A/S contact.

During the forenoon two more Fulmars were flown off for exercises (heightfinding and plotting). Also trials were carried out with the close range weapons in all ships.

At 1120/17 an unidentified aircraft was detected by RDF. It passed about 12 miles ahead of the fleet, steering a southerly course. It was not sighted.

Half an hour later HMS Ark Royal reported severe interference with fighter R/T from RDF transmissions. The interference proved to be coming from HMS Hermione and she was stationed further away from HMS Ark Royal.

At noon on the 17th ' Force H ' was in position 38°01'N, 02°26'E.

At 1350/17, a low flying Cant. 506 enemy aircraft was seen by HMS Ark Royal. This aircraft had not been picked up on RDF. One section of fighters was vectored towards it. The enemy was shot down after a chase of about 20 miles.

Around an hour later the fighters were vectored against an aircraft first detected by RDF and subsequently sighted to the north-west of the fleet. It proved to be a four-engined flying boat with French markings.

As ' Force H ' was ahead of time for arrival at the flying off position course was reversed at 1600/17 for one hour.

At 0130/18, course was altered to 050° for flying off. The destroyers took station in a circular screen around HMS Rodney and HMS Ark Royal. 11 Albacores and 2 Swordfish aircraft wee flown off between 0135 and 0145/18. One Albacore had been unable to take off due to a defect. On completion of flying off, the fleet formed up again and set course to 270°.

At 0547/18 the fleet had to make an emergency turn when HMS Forester reported a contact but it was soon reported to be non-sub and the fleet resumed its mean course.

At daylight, 0650/18, a fighter patrol of two Fulmars was flown off by HMS Ark Royal. Also two Swordfish for A/S patrol were flown off.

Fighters were vectored towards an aircraft reported by RDF as 25 miles ahead of the fleet at 0825/18 but they did not intercept. The aircraft which was on a northerly course was probably French on passage from Algiers to Merseilles.

A signal reporting the arrival at Malta of 11 Albacores was received at 0849/18. Later a further signal announced that one Swordfish had arrived. No news of the second Swordfish was recieved. No reason is known why this second Swordfish failed to arrive at Malta.

An aircraft was sighted from HMS Sikh south-west of the fleet at 0958/18. Fighters were vectored towards and they soon sighted an Italian BR.20. After a chase of 45 miles to the south-east the enemy was shot down about 10 miles from Cape Bengut.

Later another aircraft was detected by HMS Hermione. It was seen to be a Cant.506 but the fighters failed to intercept it.

At noon ' Force H ' was in position 37°20'N, 02°49'E. At 1400/18 course was altered to 245° to pass south of Alboran Island.

At 1450/18, HMS Hermione sighted a floating mine in position 37°25'N, 01°46'E but failed to sink it. She was then stationed ahead of the fleet for execises.

A/S and fighter patrol were withdrawn at 1825/18 and then landed on HMS Ark Royal.

At 2323/18, HMS Forester obtained an A/S contact which was thought to be a submarine. A pattern of five depth charges was dropped. The fleet turned 90° to starboard on the first report but when contact was not regained after the depth charge attack the fleet resumed the mean course.

The fleet altered course to 280° at 0645/19 and a few minutes later an A/S patrol of 2 Swordfish aircraft were flown off. This patrol was maintained until 1315/19 when it was reduced to one aircraft.

During the day an exercises programme was carried out. At 1000/19 ' Force K ' was sighted by HMS Hermione and also by the aircraft from HMS Ark Royal.

Ten Swordfish aircraft landed on HMS Ark Royal at 1120/19. They had come from North Front aerordrome.

The fleet entered Gibraltar Bay at 1619/19 and then entered harbour.

Meanwhile the cruisers of ' Force K ', HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Gibraltar and joined up at 0800/19 some 40 miles from Europa Point with the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) which had been already out for exercises since 1715/18.

' Force K ' arrived at Malta umolested at 0915/21. (39)

25 Oct 1941
' Force K ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1745/25 to intercept three enemy destroyers that had been reported. ' Force K ' was unable to find these destroyers and returned to Malta around 0900/26.

[We have been unable to find information on these 'three enemy destroyers'.] (40)

1 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1700/1 to intercept a reported enemy convoy. Nothing was sighted an ' Force K ' returned to Malta aroud 0700/2. (41)

9 Nov 1941

Dustruction of the Beta-convoy.

Interception of the enemy Beta-convoy and destruction of all the transport ships in it as well as some of the escorts.

On 7 November 1941, an enemy convoy departed Napels for Tripoli / Benghazi. It was made up of the merchant vessels Duisburg (German, 7389 GRT, built 1928) Maria (Italian, 6339 GRT, built 1926), Minatitlan (Italian (tanker), 7599 GRT, built 1941), Sagitta (Italian, 5153 GRT, built 1919) and San Marco (German (former French), 3113 GRT, built 1931). Off Messina these ships were joined by two more merchant vessels the Conte di Misurata (Italian (tanker), 5014 GRT, built 1908) and Rina Corrado (Italian, 5180 GRT, built 1918).

The convoy was escorted by a close escort made up of the Italian destroyers Maestrale (SO), Euro, Fulmine, Grecale, Libeccio and Oriani.

A distant cover force for the convoy was made up of the Italian heavy cruisers Trento, Trieste and the destroyers Alpino, Bersagliere, Fuciliere and Granatiere.

To intercept this convoy ' Force K ' departed Malta around HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1745/8.

They encountered the convoy around 0040/9, assisted by radar, and twenty minutes later fire was opened. In the ensuing battle all the merchant vessels were sunk as was the destroyer Fulmine. The destroyers Maestrale, Grecale and Euro were damaged.

The action was over around 45 minutes after it started and ' Force K ' set course to return to Malta where it arrived around 1345/9. They had been able to elude the Italian distant cover force. (41)

16 Nov 1941

Operation Chieftan

Dummy convoy to Malta from Gibraltar to create a diversion for the enemy during army operations in Libya.

16 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

On 16 November a dummy convoy departed Gibraltar and proceeded eastwards, it was made up of the merchant vessels; Baron Newlands (British, 3386 GRT, built 1928), Blairatholl (British, 3319 GRT, built 1925), Cisneros (British, 1886 GRT, built 1926), Ottinge (British, 2818 GRT, built 1940) and Shuna (British, 1575 GRT, built 1937).

The RFA tanker Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941) was also part of the convoy.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. C.E.L. Sclater, RN), sloop HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), and the corvettes HMS Convolvulus (T/Lt. R.C. Connell, RNR), HMS Marigold (T/Lt. J. Renwick, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.H. Faichney, DSO, RNR).

HMS Wild Swan got an A/S contact and was detached to hunt it reinforced by the corvette HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, DSC, RNR) from Gibraltar.

The corvette Marigold detected and depth charged the German submarine U-433. The submarine surfaced and was sunk at 2155/6 on 16 November 1941 in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar, in position 36°13'N, 04°42'W.

17 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy turned back to the eastwards again on the 17th.

18 November 1941.

Western Mediterranean.

The dummy convoy arrived back at Gibraltar in the evening of the 18th.

Eastern Mediterranean.

Around 0730/18 the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN) and HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) departed Alexandria to be at sea to support several operations in the Mediterranean.

The fleet turned back towards Alexandria after dark.

On the 18th HMS Naiad and HMS Euryalus split off together with the destroyers HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling for a night bombardment of the Helfaya pass area upon which they also returned to Alexandria. They too arrived before noon on the 19th.

' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1845/18 to create a diversion during the night.

19 November 1941.

Eastern Mediterranean.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730/19.

The fleet arrived back in harbour before noon on the 19th followed shortly afterwards by HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Jackal and HMS Kipling. (42)

21 Nov 1941

Operations ME 7 and Landmark.

Diversionary attack on Tripoli to divert enemy air strenght away from the Bardia / Halfaya pass area during land operations.

The battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria for operation ME 7.

At noon, the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, RAN) joined the fleet at sea.

After dark HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Galatea were detached after dark to make false W/T reports further to the west. The fleet then turned back towards Alexandria.

The fleet arrived back at Alexandria at daybreak on the 22nd. The detached cruisers arrived back later the same day.

To simulate a fake landing attempt on the coast near Tripoli (Operation Landmark) a convoy made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939), Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938) and Sydney Star (12696 GRT, built 1936) departed Malta. It was escorted by the corvette HMS Gloxinia (Lt.Cdr. A.J.C. Pomeroy, RNVR) and cover was provided by ' Force K ', made up of HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). These ships all departed Malta around 1415/21. [Both destroyers had actually departed around 1235/21, presumably to conduct an A/S sweep before the other ships departed the harbour.]

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0600/22 followed around 2 hours later by the convoy. It does not appear the convoy had been sighted by the enemy. (42)

23 Nov 1941

Operations against enemy convoy's / Sinking of HMS Barham.

23 November 1941.

'Force K', made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 2330/23 to intercept reported enemy convoy's. They were to proceed to position 33°40'N, 21°14'E at first.

24 November 1941.

'Force B', made up of the light cuisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria arond 0500/24 to also operate directly against the enemy convoy's.

A cover force, made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN, Admiral Sir A.B. Cunningham, GCB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. G.C. Cooke, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.D. Pridham-Whippell, KCB, CVO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) departed Alexandria around 1700 hours. They were joined at sea by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, RN) and HMS Farndale (Cdr. S.H. Carlill, RN). Around 2245 hours these escort destroyers were relieved by the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN) and HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) which came from Alexandria but had not completed fuelling at the time the fleet sailed.

In the meantime the Italian submarine Luigi Settembrini had heard the HE of fast moving ships which was thought to be 'Force K'. This was reported shortly after 0500/24. Enemy convoy's were then ordered to proceed to the nearest ports.

At 1040/24, ' Force K ' was informed that an enemy convoy was in position 35°40'N, 22°22'E. Enemy course was 239° at 5 knots.

It appeared likely to Capt. Agnew, Senior Officer ' Force K ', that the emeny from the current position of ' Force K ' and its course would think his ships would be on passage from Malta to Alexandria. Therefore this course was held for as long as possible in order to mislead the enemy in order to avoid the possibility that the convoy would be turning back. Capt. Agnew also thought it wise to attack as late as possible in the day so that the convoy would be further away from Crete and that there would be less daylight left for the enemy to deliver dive-bombing attacks.

At 1310/24, ' Force K ' altered course to 029° and the ships were spread five miles apart in the order, from left to right, HMS Lively, HMS Penelope, HMS Lance and HMS Aurora. For the next three hours enemy aircraft, mostly He-111's, ere seen apparently ferrying between Greece and Benghasi. These were engaged whenever they provided a suitable target.

At 1524/24, HMS Lively and HMS Penelope sighted smoke bearing 005° and these reports were quickly followed by ' masts in sight '.

All the ships of ' Force K ' at once altered course to intercept. HMS Aurora and HMS Lance increasing to full speed.

During the approach a number of Ju-88's which had apparently been escorting the convoy, attacked with bombs in shallow dives. These attacks were ineffective.

HMS Penelope was now closing the convoy rapidly. HMS Lively was dropping back to clear Penelope's line of fire and to give her AA protection from an up-sun direction. The two enemy escorts were zig-zagging across the front of the merchant ships laying smoke and firing at HMS Penelope.

As ' Force K ' gradually closed, the enemy escorts made off to the northward, leaving the merchant ships to their fate.

Up to this point the merchant ships had been firing their guns, but when the destroyers left them they stopped engines and abandoned ship.

HMS Penelope then engaged the merchant ships which caught fire quickly and after about ten minutes blew up.

There were no casualties in ' Force K ' but HMS Penelope was holed above the waterline by splinters.

The action took place within 100 miles of Crete and there was over two hours of daylight remaining so at 1630/24 ' Force K ' retired to the westward at 23 knots.

As there was insufficient fuel remaining in the destroyers for upcoming operations Capt. Agnew decided to retire to Malta to refuel.

One of the enemy convoys, which was en-route from the Aegean to Benghazi, however did not receive the order to return and it was this convoy that was attacked by ' Force K '. Both transports in the convoy, the Maritza (German, 2910 GRT, built 1936) and Procida (German, 1842 GRT, built 1927), were sunk but the two escorts, the Italian torpedo boats Cassiopea and Lupo managed to escape although Cassiopea was damaged by splinters.

25 November 1941.

'Force K' returned to Malta around 0745/25.

'Force B' meanwhile had set course to conduct a sweep alongt the coast of Cyrenaica during the night of 25/26 November but they sighted nothing.

At 1629/25, the fleet (cover force) was attacked north-north-east of Sidi Barrani, Egypt in position 32°34'N, 26°24'E by the German uboat U-331 and HMS Barham was hit on the port side by three torpedoes. She quickly rolled over and then a magazine exploded. She quickly sank. The destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jackal and HMAS Nizam were left behind to pick up survivors while the fleet continued on to the westward.

26 November 1941.

The fleet (cover force) returned to Alexandria around 1000/26. The three detached destroyers returned at 1400/26. A total of 449 survivors had been picked up from HMS Barham.

'Force B' returned to Alexandria around 1800/26. (43)

25 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1800/25 to intercept an enemy convoy reported in the Ionian Sea to the east of Malta.

They returned around 1745/26 not having sighted the enemy convoy. (44)

28 Nov 1941
' Force K ', made up of light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), departed Malta around 1400/28. Enemy destroyers had been sighted at Navarino and it seemed likely these were going to proceed to Benghazi the coming night.

' Force K ' returned to Malta around 2030/29 not having sighted the enemy. (44)

30 Nov 1941
Around ' Force B ' made up of the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) and ' Force K ' made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyer HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) [HMS Lance remained at Malta] departed Malta at 0500/30 to intercept Italian forces that had been reported in the Ionian Sea.

Around 2330/30, ' Force K ' was detached with orders to intercept the Italian transport Adriatico (1976 GRT, built 1931) which was en-route, unescorted, from Reggio to Benghazi. She was intercepted and sunk around 0315/1 north-east of Benghazi in position 32°52'N, 20°30'E. HMS Lively picked up two officers and nineteen ratings from the steamer. The Italian destroyer Giovanni da Verazzano was sailed from Tripoli and rescued some more survivors.

Around 1800/1, ' Force K ' sighted the Italian tanker Iridio Mantovani (10540 GRT, built 1939) and its escorting destroyer Alvise da Mosto. Soon both ships were sunk with gunfire north-west of Tripoli in position 33°45'N, 12°30'E with HMS Lively picking up survivors. The tanker had already been damaged by air attack.

' Force B ' arrived back at Malta around 1815/1. ' Force K ' returned to Malta around 0730/2. Both force had not sighted any more of the enemy. (45)

9 Dec 1941
The light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Malta at 1830/9 to intercept a reported enemy convoy to the east of Malta. No contact was made and the ships returned to Malta around 0745/10. (46)

15 Dec 1941

Operation MF 1 and the resulting first Battle of Sirte.

Operation MF 1, passage of the British supply ship HMS Breconshire to Malta.

At 2200 hours on 15 December 1941 the British supply ship HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) departed Alexandria being escorted by HMS Naiad (Capt. M.A.H. Kelsey, DSC, RN flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN), HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN). This last destroyer was also to proceed to Malta for repairs to her bow that had been damaged in a collision at Alexandria on 4 December. HMS Breconshire was carrying oil fuel for Malta.

At 1100/16 the Allied destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN) departed Malta. They joined up with the convoy at daylight on the 17th. During the day the convoy was attacked by enemy high level and torpedo bombers

These were followed at 1800/16 by ‘Force K’; HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN).

At dark on the 16th HMS Carlisle, HMS Havock and HMS Kingston were detached to make a W/T diversion to the eastward at midnight of the night of 16/17 and then to proceed to Alexandria. They were later joined by HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN).

Enemy heavy forces were reported at sea at 2230/16 by the submarines HMS Unbeaten (Lt. Cdr. E.A. Woodward, RN) and HMS Utmost (Lt.Cdr. R.D. Cayley, DSO, RN) in the Gulf of Taranto area. Neither submarine was able to attack. The Italians were at sea to cover an imported Axis convoy to North Africa.

From Taranto had departed the transports Monginevro (5324 GRT, built 1940), Napoli (6142 GRT, built 1941) and Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT, built 1939). They had a close escort of the destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Antonio Da Noli, Nicoloso da Recco, Lanzerotto Malocello, Emanuelle Pessagno, Nicolò Zeno. From Naples the German transport Ankara (4768 GRT, built 1937) departed on the same day. She had a close escort made up of the destroyer Saetta and the torpedo-boat Pegaso.

Cover was provided by two groups of warships. One group was made up of the battleship Caio Dulio, the light cruisers Emanuele Filiberto Duca D’Aosta, Muzio Attendolo, Raimondo Montecuccoli and the destroyers Aviere, Ascari and Camicia Nera. The other, and larger group, was made up of the battleships Littorio, Andrea Doria, Guilio Cesare, heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trento and the destroyers Granatiere, Bersagliere, Fuciliere, Alpino, Corazziere, Carabiniere, Antoniotto Usodimare, Maestrale, Alfredo Oriani and Vincenzo Gioberti.

The enemy heavy forces were reported by reconnaissance aircraft at 0825/17 and again at 1525/17 when they were with their convoy and only about 60 nautical miles from the Allied convoy. Very few Allied aircraft were available for reconnaissance and shadowing was therefore not carried out at all. At 1745/17 the Allied convoy unexpectedly ran into the larger of the Italian cover forces. The Italian battleships opened fire but drew off to the northward when the Allied convoy escorts closed to attack. Contact was lost in the dark. When both forces made contact HMS Breconshire was detached with HMS Havock and HMS Decoy as escorts. They later made rendez-vous with ‘Force K’.

To reinforce the convoy HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O’Coner, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN) were sailed from Malta.

The original convoy escorts meanwhile retired to the eastward and then proceeded to the north of Benghazi to try to intercept the enemy convoy but as it was bound for Tripoli they made no contact. They therefore retired eastwards and arrived at Alexandria during the night of 18/19 December. HMS Kipling had been damaged by a near miss on the 17th. One rating had been killed during this attack.

HMS Breconshire and her escorts arrived safely at Malta in the afternoon of December 18th. (42)

19 Dec 1941
At 1800/18 'Force K'; light cruisers HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN), departed Malta to intercept an imported Italian convoy bound for Tripoli.

The convoy was made up of the transports Monginevro (5324 GRT, built 1940), Napoli (6142 GRT, built 1941) and Vettor Pisani (6339 GRT, built 1939). They were escorted by the destroyers Ugolino Vivaldi, Antonio Da Noli, Nicoloso da Recco, Lanzerotto Malocello, Emanuelle Pessagno and Nicolò Zeno.

While trying to intercept 'Force K' ran into an newly laid Italian minefield. HMS Penelope exploded a mine in her paravanes at 0108/19 and was lightly damaged. HMS Neptune hit a mine at 0111/19 followed by three more at 0112/19, 0125/19 and finally one more at 0400/19 following which she sank. Meanwhile HMS Aurora was also badly damaged by a mine which she hit at 0112/19.

While trying to tow the badly damaged HMS Neptune, HMS Kandahar hit a mine at 0304/19 and she too sank.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Lance, HMS Lively and HMS Havock returned to Malta at 1230/19.

HMS Aurora was patched up at Malta before returning home for repairs at Liverpool from April to June 1942. HMS Penelope was repaired at Malta until January 1942.

23 Dec 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) is docked in No.2 Dock at Malta. (47)

26 Dec 1941
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) is undocked from No.2 Dock at Malta. (47)

16 Jan 1942

Operation MF 3.

Two convoy’s (MW 8A and MW 8B) departed Alexandria on 16 January 1942 for Malta where they arrived on 19 January 1942.

Convoy MW 8A was made up of the transports Ajax (7540 GRT, built 1931) and Thermopylae (Norwegian, 6655 GRT, built 1930). Escort was provided by the light (AA) cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt. N.H.G. Austen, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN). This convoy departed Alexandria at 0830/16.

Convoy MW 8B was made up of the transports City of Calcutta (8063 GRT, built 1940) and Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938). Escort was provided by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. C.N. Lentaigne, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN). This convoy, which had a higher speed, 14 instead of 12 knots, then convoy MW 8A, departed Alexandria at 1530/16.

Both convoys were to converge later but they were delayed by heavy weather.

Cover for the convoy was provided by ‘Force B’ made up of the light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN). This force was due to sail at 2359/16. However when they left the harbour Alexandria was struck suddenly by very bad weather resulting in HMS Kingston and HMS Foxhound colliding with each other causing serious damage to both ships and they were unable to proceed. HMS Hotspur then fouled a propeller and was also unable to proceed. HMS Dido was delayed for a few hours and sailed only at 0545/17 while the remaining ships had departed at 0240/17.

HMS Gurkha, escorting convoy MW 8B, was torpedoed at 0740/17 by the German U-boat U-133 in position 31°50'N, 26°15'E. She was towed clear of the burning oil by HrMs Isaac Sweers which managed to rescue 240 survivors. Only 9 of the crew of the Gurkha lost their lives. While rescueing the crew of the Gurkha, HMS Maori screened them and hunted the attacker but she was unable to obtain contact. HMS Gurkha sank at 0917/17. HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Maori then rejoined convoy MW 8B at 1125 hours. HrMs Isaac Sweers was detached at 1540/17 to land the survivors at Tobruk where she arrived at 1745/17 and already left again at 1830/17. She rejoined the convoy the following day at 0200/18.

’Force K’, made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSO, DSC, RN), left Malta at 1900/17 to make rendez-vous with the convoy on the morning of the 18th.

Both convoy and ’Force B’ eventually joined up at 1100/18. ‘Force K’ made contact at 1315/18 and the convoy then proceeded westwards. There were a number of attacks by single German Ju-88 aircraft during the day but without damage to any of the ships.

Before ‘Force K ‘had joined the transport Thermopylae was detached at 1130/18 due to engine defects and was ordered to proceed to Benghazi escorted by HMS Carlisle, HMS Arrow and HMS Havock. She was later able to make 13 knots and was then ordered to return to Alexandria.

At 1930 hours on the 18th, air reconnaissance had not sighted any enemy warships so HMS Naiad, HMS Euryalus, HMS Dido, HMS Griffin, Kelvin, HMS Kipling, HMS Hero, HMS Hasty, HrMs Isaac Sweers and HMS Jaguar set course to return to Alexandria. HMS Maori joined ‘Force K’ vice HMS Jaguar and HMS Legion also proceeded to Malta as she was to dock there. At daylight on the 19th HMS Hero and HMS Hasty were detached to join the ships escorting the Thermopylae.

However at 0945/19 the Thermopylae was hit by two bombs in the engine room during a bombing attack by a single German JU-88 pressed right home. The ship caught fire and could not be saved. She was eventually scuttled at 1153/19 in position 33°02'N, 24°16'E by a torpedo from HMS Havock.

The remaining ships of the convoy arrived safely at Malta at 1530/19. Heavy enemy air attacks having been held off by effective fighter protection.

’Force B’ had also been attacked on the way back to Alexandria by single German JU-88’s. The only damage done was to HMS Naiad by a near-miss. In the afternoon of the 19th, HMS Kelvin was detached and ordered to proceed to Tobruk to pick up the survivors from HMS Gurkha and take them to Alexandria.

The first ships to return to Alexandria were the ones from ‘Force B’. They arrived around 0830/20. HMS Carlisle, HMS Arrow, HMS Havock, HMS Hasty and HMS Hero arrived shortly afterwards as did HMS Kelvin later on the day with the survivors of HMS Gurkha. (48)

23 Jan 1942
' Force K ', made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN) departed Malta around 1930/23 to attack a northbound enemy convoy. These were the Italian salvage vessel Raffio (291 GRT, built 1912) and the merchant vessel Sant' Antonio (1480 GRT, former Yugoslavian Anton, built 1919) which departed Tripoli without escort on the 23rd and arrived at Pantelleria on the 24th. ' Force K ' returned to Malta the next morning. (49)

24 Jan 1942

Operation MF 4.

The passage of HMS Breconshire from Alexandria to Malta from 24 to 27 January and the passage of convoy ME 9 from Malta to Alexandria from 25 to 28 January 1942.

In the morning on of 24 January 1942, HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939) departed Alexandria with stores for Malta. Escort was provided by ‘Force B’ which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Arrow (Cdr. A,M. McKillop, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt. N.H.G. Austen, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, RN), HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN) and HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN). HMS Kingston was to proceed to Malta for docking and repairs.

In the morning of 25 January 1942, convoy ME 9 departed Malta for Alexandria. This convoy was made up of the transports HMS Glengyle (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.H. Petrie, DSO and Bar, RN) (9919 GRT, built 1939) and Rowallan Castle (7801 GRT, built 1939). Escort was provided by ‘Force K’ which was made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) and HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN). 'Force K' had departed Malta around 1930/25.

On the 25th HMS Breconshire and ‘Force B’ were shadowed by enemy aircraft. They were attacked by eight German JU-88 bombers between 1445 and 1520 hours. No ships were seriously damaged. HrMs Isaac Sweers sustained six near misses causing the Asdic and Gyro compass to be out of action for a few hours. Two JU-88’s are thought to have been shot down during the attacks. The enemy aircraft are thought to have been damaged.

At noon on the 26h both forces made rendez-vous. ‘Force B’ then turned back with the ships of convoy ME 9 while ‘Force K’ took over HMS Breconshire. Also HMS Lance joined ‘Force B’ vice HMS Kingston.

’Force K’ was bombed during the afternoon and both ‘Force B’ and ‘Force K’ were attacked during the afternoon by enemy torpedo bombers. No ships were damaged although HrMs Isaac Sweers was missed by a few hundred yards by a torpedo down the starboard side.

’Force K’ and HMS Breconshire arrived at Malta around 1000/27.

’Force B’ and convoy ME 9 arrived at Alexandria around 1100/28. (48)

12 Feb 1942

Operation MF 5.

Passage convoy MW 9A and MW 9B from Alexandria to Malta and passage of convoy ME 10 from Malta to Alexandria / Port Said.

Timespan: 12 to 16 February 1942.

Convoy MW 9A made up of the transports Clan Campbell (British, 7255 GRT, built 1937) and Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937) departed Alexandria at 1600/12. Close escort was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN), destroyer HMS Lance (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN) and HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN).

Convoy MW 9B made up of the transport Rowallan Castle (British, 7801 GRT, built 1939) and Clan Chattan (British, 7262 GRT, built 1937) departed Alexandria at 1700/12. Close escort was provided by the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN) and HMS Southwold (Cdr. C.T. Jellicoe, DSC, RN).

A cover force (Force B) for these convoys departed Alexandria at 0200/13 and was made up of the light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, DSO, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt. N.H.G. Austen, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) and HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN).

At 1730/13, the transport Clan Campbell was damaged by bombing in position 32.22’N, 24.22’E and detached to Tobruk escorted by HMS Avon Vale and HMS Eridge. The escort destroyer were ordered to rejoin the convoy as soon as possible.

Convoy MB 9B was attacked from the air but no damage was sustained.

The cover force (Force B) was also attacked by enemy bombers at dusk but no damage was sustained by any of the ships.

After dark on 13 February, convoy ME 10, made up of the transports Ajax (British, 7540 GRT, built 1931), HMS Breconshire (British, GRT, built ), City of Calcutta (British, 8063 GRT, built 1940) and Clan Ferguson (British, 7347 GRT, built 1938) departed Malta for Alexandria / Port Said. Close cover was provided by Force K made up of the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSC, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Alliston, RN) which had departed Malta around 1945/13.

At 0700/14, convoy MW 9A, convoy MW 9B and Force B joined. They were shadowed throughout the day. High level and dive bombing attacks started at 1345 and continued until 1600 hours. The transport Clan Chatten was hit and badly damaged in position 35°01’N, 20°11’E. She was later scuttled by our own forces after all crew and passengers had been taken off.

Force K and convoy ME 10 was met at 1440/14 hours. HMS Lance then joined Force K while HMS Fortune and HMS Decoy from Force K, which had just completed repairs at Malta (she had undocked on 11 February), joined Force B. Force K then turned back to Malta escorting Rowallan Castle.

Both forces continued to be attacked by enemy aircraft and at 1515/14 Rowallan Castle was near missed in position 35°34’N, 19°40’E. Her engines were disabled and she was taken in tow by HMS Zulu but she could not make sufficient speed to reach Malta safely and the transport had to be sunk which was done at 1956/14.

HMS Penelope, HMS Lance and HMS Lively were ordered to continue to Malta where they arrived around 0800/15, while HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu and HMS Legion were ordered to join Force B.

Meanwhile two ships of the close escort of convoy ME 10, HMS Carlisle and HMS Eridge had sustained some minor damage in enemy air attacks in the afternoon of the 14th.

Force B and convoy ME 10 were bombed throughout the day on the 15th by single aircraft but no damage was done to any of the ships.

During the day, HMS Beaufort, HMS Dulverton, HMS Hurworth and HMS Southwold were detached to Tobruk. They left there at 1830/15 escorting the damaged transport Clan Campbell back to Alexandria.

Light cruisers HMS Naiad, HMS Dido, HMS Euryalus, destroyers HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Legion, HMS Hasty, HMS Havock, Griffin, HMS Decoy, HMS Arrow and the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale, HMS Eridge and HMS Heythrop arrived at Alexandria at 0130/16 with the transport HMS Breconshire.

The transports Ajax, City of Calcutta and Clan Ferguson continued on to Port Said escorted by the destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, HMS Kelvin, HMS Kipling and HMS Fortune. They arrived at Port Said P.M. on the 16th. HMS Kelvin, HMS Jaguar and HMS Fortune then immediately proceeded to Alexandria (arriving on February, 17th), while HMS Jervis and HMS Kipling remained at Port Said.

The damaged transport Clan Campbell and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort, HMS Dulverton, HMS Hurworth and HMS Southwold arrived at Alexandria P.M. on the 16th coming from Tobruk. (48)

9 Mar 1942
The light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. M.S. Slattery, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyer HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) departed Malta around 2000/9 to intercept an enemy convoy made up of the transport Luciano Manara (8103 GRT, built 1942) escorted by the destroyer Antoniotto Usodimare and the torpedo-boats Polluce and Centauro. Near Pantelleria the Luciano Manara was attacked by three Albacores and three Swordfish aircraft in which she sustained damage and had to be towed to Palermo.

The British ships failed to find the convoy and returned to Malta around 0900/10. (50)

19 Mar 1942
In the aftermath of the Battle of the Syrte, attempted towing the damaged Breconshire (9776 GRT) into port, but the freighter sank before reaching safe waters.

20 Mar 1942
In the period between 20-30 March 1942, Axis air attacks on Malta were extremely heavy. Ammunition expenditure by HMS Penelope during this period amounted to 6500 rounds of 102 mm (4") and over 75000 rounds of small calibre. She sustained so much splinter damage to earn the nickname 'HMS Pepperpot'.

20 Mar 1942

Operation MG 1 and the resulting second Battle of Sirte.

Operation MG 1, passage of convoy MW 10 to Malta.

At 0700/20 convoy MW 10 departed Alexandria for Malta. This convoy was made up of the transports HMS Breconshire (9776 GRT, built 1939), Clan Campbell (British, 7255 GRT, built 1937), Pampas (British, 5415 GRT, built 1941) and Talabot (British, 6798 GRT, built 1936). Close escort was provided by the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. D.M.L. Neame, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Lively (Lt.Cdr. W.F.E. Hussey, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. N.H.G. Austen, RN), HMS Havock (Lt.Cdr. G.R.G. Watkins, DSC, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO and Bar, RN).

Cover for this convoy was provided by Force B, made up of the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Alliston, DSO, RN), HMS Kingston (Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St.Clair Ford, DSO, RN). This cover force departed Alexandria at 1800/20.

At daylight on 21 March the convoy escort was reinfored by the escort destroyers HMS Avon Vale (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Dulverton (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN) and HMS Southwold (Cdr. C.T. Jellicoe, DSC, RN). These escort destroyers had departed Alexandria already on the 19th to proceed to Tobruk while conducting an A/S sweep and fuel there before joining the convoy. A sixth escort destroyer joined later as she had been delayed at Tobruk with a fouled propeller. This was HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and she sailed from Tobruk at 0945/21. Another escort destroyer, HMS Heythrop (Lt.Cdr R.S. Stafford, RN), was torpedoed at 1100/20 in position 32°22'N, 25°28'E by the German submarine U-652 while the escort destroyers were conducting their A/S sweep. The stricken ship was taken in tow towards Tobruk by HMS Eridge but she sank at 1600/20 in position 32°13'N, 25°33'E.

Shortly after the escort destroyers had joined the convoy escort, Force B made contact with the convoy. The fleet destroyers that had been escorting the convoy the joined that force.

After dark on March 21st, around 2015/21, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) and the destroyer HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) departed Malta and joined Force B in the morning of March 22nd.

At 0130/22, the submarine HMS P 36 (Lt. H.N. Edmonds, DSC, RN) reported enemy heavy ships leaving Taranto.

In the forenoon light enemy air attacks commenced on the convoy. These developed into heavy air attacks in the afternoon. A total of about 150 enemy aircraft were counted attacking. They concentrated mainly on the convoy but no ships were hit.

At 1430/22 Force B sighted four enemy cruisers to the north-east in position 33°53'N, 17°47'E. These were then driven off.

At 1640/22 Force B sighted a Littorio class battleship, two heavy cruisers and some destroyers to the northward. A delaying action was then fought by the cruisers and destroyers of Force B making full use of smoke while the convoy continued on to the westward. Destroyers pressed home a torpedo attack to 6000 yards and reported a hit on the battleship (this was not the case). The battleship was also hit by gunfire and was seen to be on fire aft. One enemy cruiser was seriously damaged and the other was also hit. HMS Cleopatra was hit on the bridge but only sustained minor damage. HMS Kingston was hit in an engine room and HMS Havock in a boiler room. Both destroyers had their speed reduced to 15 knots. HMS Lively was hit forward but was not seriously damaged.

At 1900/22 (dusk) the enemy, who had never got within range of the convoy, withdrew to the northward while the convoy was dispersed to Malta with the escorts proceeding with the individual ships. HMS Penelope, HMS Havock, HMS Kingston and HMS Legion were also detached to Malta. Force B set course to Alexandria.

The Italian ships encountered were the following; battleship Vittorio Veneto, heavy cruisers Bolzano, Trento, light cruiser Giovanni Delle Bande Nere and the destroyers Alpino, Bersagliere, Fuciliere, Lanciere, Ascari, Aviere, Geniere, Grecale, Alfredo Oriani and Scirocco.

From daylight on March 23rd the ships of the convoy were again subjected to heavy air attacks as they were approaching Malta. At 1040/23 Clan Campbell was bombed and sunk in position 35°33'N, 14°35'E. HMS Eridge rescued 113 men. Breconshire was hit in the engine room at 1030/23 wen about eight miles from Grand Harbour. She was disabled and attempts by HMS Penelope to take her in tow failed. She drifted towards the shore and came to anchor. Owning to the gale and heavy swell attempts to tow her had to be abandoned.

Pampas and Talabot arrived in harbour safely. HMS Legion was hit but reached Marsaxlokk Harbour and anchored in shallow water.

HMS Carlisle and the Hunt class escort destroyers remained at Malta to provide AA protection for Breconshire. HMS Avon Vale was damaged when she collided with Breconshire and by a near miss. She was unseaworthy. The damaged HMS Kingston and HMS Havock were able to reach Malta safely.

Force B, on their passage east, were delayed by heavy weather. Some of the destroyers sustaining weather damage. The force was bombed during the day but no ship sustained any damage due to the bombing.

An aircraft search for the Italian fleet failed to find any enemy ships.

Shortly after noon on the 24th HMS Cleopatra, HMS Dido, HMS Euryalus, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Hasty, HMS Hero, HMS Jervis, HMS Kelvin and HMS Kipling entered harbour at Alexandria. All ships had sustained some form of weather damage. HMS Lively arrived later due to flooding forward. HMS Zulu and HMS Lively were out of action for some weeks.

Meanwhile at Malta weather was still unsuitable to tow Breconshire into the harbour. HMS Southwold was mined while operating near her. She sank while under tow to the harbour. Breconshire was finally towed into the harbour in the morning of the 25th. (48)

23 Mar 1942
Around 1245/23, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), returned to Malta from operations. (51)

26 Mar 1942
Around 1645 hours, during a heavy air raid HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSC, RN) was hit and sunk while HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) was damaged fore and aft by near misses. (51)

28 Mar 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) is docked in No.4 Dock at Malta. (51)

4 Apr 1942
While in No.4 Dock at Malta, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), was near-missed several times during multiple air raids. (52)

5 Apr 1942
While still in No.4 Dock at Malta, HMS Penelope's (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) bridge was showered with rock fragments which had broken loose by exploding bombs. (52)

8 Apr 1942
While still in No.4 Dock at Malta, HMS Penelope's (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) is again near-missed by bombs during extreme heavy air raids.

HMS Penelope is undocked later this day and she departed Malta around 2130 hours to proceed to Gibraltar. HMS Penelope was in bad shape and under normal circumstances would by deemed unseaworthy. However staying at Malta was also not an option and would without a doubt lead to her destruction. (52)

9 Apr 1942
At 0230 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) had to switch to the after control position to steer the ship.

By 0350 hours, it had become difficult to steer the ship.

At 0900 hours, a shadowing aircraft was spotted. This would mean that not much good would be coming Penelope's way.

At 1050 hours, HMS Penelope was attacked by four torpedo bombers. They were driven off and obtained no hits.

At 1226 hours, three bombers dropped a total of 18 bombs. No hits were obtained.

At 1325 hours, six torpedo bombers attacked. This was a good concentrated attack. HMS Penelope had to make a full circle to evade the torpedoes, one of which missed the ships by 10 to 20 yards.

Another air attack followed 10 minutes later but again HMS Penelope escaped damage.

Between 1502 - 1510 hours, nine Ju-88's attacked with 2 to 3 bombs each. HMS Penelope received a near-miss on the starboard beam.

At 1846 hours a single Ju-88 attacked from astern. A large bomb exploded off the starboard bow. (52)

10 Apr 1942
At 1150 hours, the after steering position of HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) had to be evacuated due to flooding. Steering now had to be done by the main engines.

At 1630 hours, HMS Penelope arrived at Gibraltar and 15 minutes later she secured in No.2 Dock. De-ammunitioning commenced immediately. After this was completed temporary repairs were undertaken before she would be fit to put to sea again to go to the UK for full repairs.

Later it was decided to sent her to the USA for full repairs. (52)

9 May 1942
With her temporary repairs completed, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), is undocked. (53)

10 May 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Gibraltar for Bermuda. (53)

17 May 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived at Bermuda. (53)

18 May 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) departed Bermuda for New York. (53)

19 May 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN) arrived at New York. (53)

20 May 1942
After de-ammunitioning, HMS Penelope (Capt. A.D. Nicholl, RN), arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where she was taken in hand for full repairs. (53)

5 Sep 1942
Having completed her repairs, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed the Brooklyn Navy Yard and proceeded to Gravesend Bay. (54)

9 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Bayonne after which she returned to Gravesend Bay. (54)

11 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted trials off New York after which she returned to Gravesend Bay. (54)

13 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) proceeded to Delaware Bay where she conducted some exercises. (54)

14 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Delaware Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. (54)

17 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (54)

18 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (54)

19 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (54)

21 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Norfolk, Virginia for Bermuda. (54)

22 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Bermuda. (54)

23 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Bermuda for Portsmouth, UK. (54)

30 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Plymouth. (54)

1 Oct 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Plymouth to Portsmouth.

At the Portsmouth Dockyard she was taken in hand for the fitting of new equipment and other work that could not be undertaken in the USA. (55)

23 Oct 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked at Portsmouth. (55)

12 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked. (56)

22 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Portsmouth. (56)

28 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Portsmouth. (56)

30 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow. On departure she is escorted for a while by HMS Albrighton (Lt.Cdr. R.J. Hanson, DSO, DSC, RN). (56)

2 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow to commence a work-up period. (57)

10 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted independent exercises off Scapa Flow. She remained out during the night of 10/11 December. (57)

11 Dec 1942
Around 0900 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) joined HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) which were also out on exercises.

Around 1200 hours, HMS Penelope parted company with these ships and then joined HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) for exercises until returning to Scapa Flow in the evening. (57)

14 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (57)

17 Dec 1942
In the late afternoon HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the evening HMS Penelope conducted night encounter exercises with HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and HMS Ajax (Capt. J.J. Weld, MVO, RN). (57)

18 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted independent exercises off Scapa Flow. After returning to Scapa Flow torpedo firing exercises were carried out. (57)

22 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (57)

23 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. In the evening a night shadowing exercise was carried out. (57)

24 Dec 1942
In the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted an oiling at sea exercise at Scapa flow with the RFA tanker Blue Ranger. This exercise was followed by an A/S exercise with a submarine. [This was most likely HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN).] (57)

28 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (57)

1 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (58)

2 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (58)

5 Jan 1943
HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) all conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (59)

7 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow, first with HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) and later with HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN). (58)

8 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted an oiling at sea exercises during which she oiled the destroyer ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki). (58)

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. (60)

13 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery and radar exercises at Scapa Flow. (58)

14 Jan 1943
In the second half of the morning, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted radar calibration exercises off Scapa Flow.

The were followed by a rangefinding and inclination exercises with HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) which was being escorted by three destroyers, two of which might have been HMS Montrose (A/Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) and HMS Walpole (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, DSC, RN). Later in the afternoon HMS Howe had three other destroyers with her during an rangefinding and inclination exercise with HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN). These destroyers were HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

And finally HMS Penelope conducted gunnery exercises for the 6" armamant. (58)

16 Jan 1943
In the morning HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. Upon completion of these she set course for the Clyde. (58)

17 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Greenock. She departed for Gibraltar later the same day. (58)

22 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (58)

27 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir. (58)

28 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Mers-el-Kebir. (58)

29 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Mers-el-Kebir. (58)

1 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Mers-el-Kebir. (61)

2 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers. (61)

3 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Algiers. (61)

4 Feb 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived later the same day. (61)

13 Feb 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Bone for Algiers where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 40 minutes. (62)

22 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Algiers to Philippeville. (61)

25 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Philippeville to Bone. (61)

1 Mar 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Bone. (63)

5 Mar 1943
Around 1815/5, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Bone for a sweep to the eastward.

They returned to Bone around 0900/6 not having sighted the enemy. (64)

9 Mar 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Bone to Algiers. (65)

24 Mar 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 35 minutes. Following the exercises the destroyers joined HMS Penelope and HMS Sirius to proceed with them to Bone. (66)

7 Apr 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) departed Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about an hour. (67)

19 Apr 1943
Around 1930/19, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and RHS Adrias (Cdr. I. Toumbas), departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived around 0745/20. (68)

22 Apr 1943
Around 1415/22, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Bone for a patrol to the south of Marittimo. No enemy ships were encountered. One Ju-52 transport plane was claimed to have been damaged and possibly destroyed by HMS Penelope. (69)

4 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for about half an hour. (70)

18 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Algiers to Bone.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1115 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for nearly half an hour. (70)

31 May 1943
Around 0100 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bone for Malta where she arrived around 1800 hours. (71)

1 Jun 1943
Around 0800/1, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Malta to conduct a bombardment of Pantellaria. she was escorted by HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L. St.G. Rich, DSO, RN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

The bombardment was commenced at 1830/1. HMS Penelope was hit by a 5.9" shell from a coastal battery at 1838/1, no casualties were sustained. The bombardment ceased at 1840/1.

HMS Penelope, HMS Paladin and HMS Petard returned to Malta around 0600/2. (72)

7 Jun 1943
Around 2015/7, the light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Malta to bombard Pantellaria.

Around 0800/8, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, with General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham on board) departed Bone to join the other ships. At sea, around 0620/8, she was joined by the destroyer HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN).

The island was bombarded between approximately 1115/8 and 1215/8. HMS Aurora also bombarded the island (harbour area). She opened fire at 1126 and ceased fire after having fired 35 round of 6".

Following the bombardment HMS Newfoundland, HMS Penelope, HMS Orion and the destroyers returned to Malta arriving around 2230/8. HMS Euryalus proceeded to Bone where she arrived around /8. En-route to Bone HMS Euryalus, was attacked at 1405/8, near Cape Bon in position 36°59'N, 11°17'E, by seven FW 109's but she was not damaged despite being near-missed several times. HMS Euryalus arrived at Bone around 2100/8.

HMS Aurora, still escorted by HMS Troubridge, proceeded to Bizerta to land the General and the Admiral. She arrived there around 1700/8. A little over an hour later she departed Bizerta for Malta escorted by HMS Troubridge and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). They arrived at Malta around 0715/9. (73)

11 Jun 1943

Operation Corkscrew.

Capture of Pantellaria and Lampedusa.

From Sfax, ' Convoy A ' sailed for the landings on Pantelleria. This convoy was made up the headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGregor, RN), landing ships HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN) and HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN).

From Sousse, departed ' Convoy B ' and ' Convoy C '.
' Convoy B ' was made up of the landing ship HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR), 20 LCI(L)'s and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN).
' Convoy C ' was made up of landing ship HMS Misoa (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Grace, DSC, RD, RNR), gunboat HMS Aphis ( Lt.Cdr. F.Y. Bethell, RN), and 21 LCI(L)'s, 4 LCF's and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the minesweepers HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt. C.D. Sampson, RNVR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the M/S trawlers HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (T/Lt. R.R. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR).

From Malta departed the bombardment / cover force which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Eight motor torpedo boats and / or motor gun boats were also set to patrol in the area.

All forces sailed on 10 June to be off Pantellaria on 11 June 1944.

A final bombardment was then carried out and also aircraft from North African air bases carried out attacks. The island surrendered shortly before noon without further fighting. Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Tartar. HMS Largs, landing ships, landing craft and escorts were then ordered to proceed to Sousse.

The cruisers and fleet destroyers then proceeded to Lampedusa. Bombandment of that island commenced at 2245/11 and continued throughout the 12th. Also air bombardments were carried out. The island surrendered in the evening.

Weather was to bad to land at Lampion Island but the island appeared to be uninhabited.

The surrender of Linosa Island was accepted by HMS Nubian.

The forces that were still at sea were then dispersed. (74)

13 Jun 1943
Around 0100/13, HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) arrived at Malta from Operation Corkscrew. (72)

18 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (75)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar where she was to be taken in hand for repairs. (75)

22 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (75)

24 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked in No.2 Dock at Gibraltar. (75)

29 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked. (75)

3 Jul 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Gibraltar for Bone. (76)

5 Jul 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Bone. (76)

6 Jul 1943
Around 1245/6, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bone to join the escort of convoy KMF 18B which was en-route to Sicily for operation Husky.

Both cruisers were part of the cover force for operation Husky.

They joined the convoy around 1500/6 and remained with it until 2200/7 after the convoy had passed through the Tunisian War Channel. (77)

8 Jul 1943
Around 0620/8, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), briefly joined up with ' Force H ' the main cover force for the landings before. They parted company around 1100/8 to fuel where they arrived around 1515/8.

After fuelling the departed again around 1800 hours to rejoin ' Force H ' which was cruising to the north of the Gulf of Sirte to provide cover for Operation Husky. (77)

9 Jul 1943
Around 0830/9, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), again joined up with ' Force H ' the main cover force for Operation Husky. They were detached, together with the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), around 1300/8 to patrol to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily. (78)

10 Jul 1943
Between 0115 and 0130/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) bombarded Catania, on the east coast of Sicily. Targets were allocated as follows; HMS Aurora the central railway station, HMS Penelope the power station and the destroyers the 'Bacino di Ponente' (this was probably a water basin).

Between 0220 and 0230/10, they bombarded Taormina which was further to the North. The railway station was the main target.

At 0630/10, they rejoined ' Force H ' which by now had come up from just north of the Gulf of Sirte to a position to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily.

At 1937/10, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached again to act independently from the main force. Now the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) were with them. They were to patrol further north, to the south of the Straits of Messina.

Shortly after 2300/10, they were attacked by enemy aircraft but no damage was sustained. Enemy aircraft continued to be around during the night. (78)

11 Jul 1943
Around 0700/11, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) rejoined ' Force H ', the main cover force for operation Husky.

Around 0850/11, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached to fuel at Malta where they arrived around 1315/11.

They departed again around 1700/11 to rejoin ' Force H ' which they did around 2000/11. (78)

14 Jul 1943
In the aftenoon part of ' Force H, 1st Division ', of the cover force during the landings in Sicily (Operation Husky), arrived at Malta to fuel. These were the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN). (79)

15 Jul 1943
Early in the evening, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) departed Malta to resume their patrol off Sicily to provide cover for the ships participating in the landings. (79)

16 Jul 1943
Around 0020/16 ' Force H, 1st Division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) was attacked by an Italian aircraft. The aircraft was difficult to identify and was first thought to be friendly but at 0028/16 HMS Indomitale was hit by a torpedo abreast the boiler room on her port side. Position of the attack was 36°22'N, 16°08'E.

Following the attack, HMS Indomitable, listed 12° to port. She lost speed and subsequently dropped out of line which at that point had been HMS Aurora, HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable and HMS Penelope. On seeing her dropping astern Vice-Admiral Willis ordered ORP Piorun and HMS Echo to join her, later HMS Ilex was also ordered to stay with the carrier. Eventually HMS Indomatable rejoined the Division.

At 0730/16, rendezvous was effected with ' Force H, 2nd division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Rear-Admiral. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

HMS Formidable then joined the 1st Division while the damaged HMS Indomitable joined the 2nd Division which then proceeded to Malta to refuel arrived there in the morning.

At 1530/16, HMS Formidable was detached to proceed to Malta escorted by the destroyer HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN). These three ships had joined the force shortly before HMS Formidable was detached. They apparently did not enter Malta but just escorted the carrier there. (80)

17 Jul 1943
Around 0930/17, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) returned to Malta. (80)

20 Jul 1943
Around 1330/20, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) departed Malta for a bombardment of Crotone.

The bombardment was carried out shortly before 0200/21. Main targets were the harbour area and a chemical plant.

The force returned to Malta around 1600/21. (77)

28 Jul 1943
Around 1500/28, light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Malta for a patrol to the south of the Straits of Messina after which they were to proceed to Augusta.

The force arrived at Augusta around 1000/29. (77)

31 Jul 1943
Around 1715/31, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Augusta.

They made rendezvous around 1950/31 with the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

Course was then set towards Crotone.

At 0207/1, the bombardment commenced. After about 15 to 20 minutes fire was ceased. During the bombardment two small craft that were patrolling off the coast were sunk.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout returned to Augusta around 1200/1. One hour before HMS Faulknor, HMS Inglefield, HMS Loyal and HMS Raidar were detached to Malta where they arrived later the same day. (81)

3 Aug 1943
Around 0230/3, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Augusta for Malta where they arrived around 0730/3. (82)

5 Aug 1943
Around 0800/5, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Malta for Bizerta where they arrived around 1900/5. (82)

9 Aug 1943

Operation Annoyance.

Bombardment of Castellammare di Stabia, Naples, Italy and sweep towards Paola, Cosenza, Italy..

Around 1015/9, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Bizerta for operation Annoyance.

At 2100/9, HMS Dido, HMS Sirius, HMS Panther and HMS Pathfinder were detached for a sweep towards Paola while the other ships proceeded to the Gulf of Naples.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin bombarded Castellammare di Stabia from 0050/10 to 0115/10.

Around 0730/11, both groups made rendezvous and then proceeded to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1545/10. (83)

12 Aug 1943
Around 1015/12, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for sweep along the coast of Northern Calabria, Italy.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/13. (84)

13 Aug 1943
Around 1800/13, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for a bombardment of Vibo Valentia, Calabria, Italy.

The bombardment was commenced around 0125/14 for around 15 minutes. A large fire was started in the harbour area and apparently a coaster was sunk.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/14. (84)

16 Aug 1943
Around 0945/16, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep along the northern coast of Sicily towards the Italian mainland.

The force return to Palermo around 0815/17. They had sighted nothing. (85)

17 Aug 1943
Around 1745/17, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep along the northern coast of Sicily towards the Italian mainland and a bombardment of Scalea, Cosenza, Italy.

The bombardment commenced around 0120/18 and was completed about 10 minutes later. Course was then set to proceed to Bizerta.

Around 1130/18, HMS Euryalus was detached to proceed to Malta where she arrived around 2000/18.

HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin arrived at Bizerta around 1530/18. (86)

22 Aug 1943
Around 1000 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for Palermo where they arrived around 1830 hours.

At 1654 hours, the German submarine U-431, attacked the cruisers with four torpedoes but all missed. There is no mention of this attack in the logbooks of the cruisers so most likely the attack was not observed. (87)

24 Aug 1943
Around 1630/24, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

They returned to Palermo around 0800/25. (87)

26 Aug 1943
Around 1030 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for Bizerta where they arrived around 1845 hours. (87)

1 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Bizerta around 0915 hours for Palermo where she arrived around 1745 hours. (88)

7 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) depated Palermo around 0645 hours for Bizerta where they arrived around 1500 hours. (89)

8 Sep 1943

Operation Slapstick.

Landing of troops at Taranto following the Italian armistice.

Around 1545/8, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) and the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, DSO, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto. These cruisers and the minelayer had troops on board as well as stores and vehicles.

Around 0630/9, they joined the battleships HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) which had departed Malta around 2200/8 with the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN).

Around 1315/9, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Kanaris joined coming from Sousse (via Malta) from where they had sailed on the 8th. They had on board a port party for Taranto.

Around 1630/9, the minesweepers HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN), HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RNR), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, DSC, RN) and HMS BYMS 2012 (T/A/Skr.Lt. C.J. Watson, RNR) joined. These ships had also departed Malta on the 8th. Around the same time HMS King George V with HMS Panther, Pathfinder, HMS Penn and HMS Wishart parted company. These ships were to remain at sea.

In the evening all the other ships entered the harbour of Taranto where the troops, port party, stores and vehicles were disembarked.

Troops were then to be disembarked, however, on 10 September, shortly after midnight, HMS Abdiel was mined and sunk with heavy loss of life inside the harbour before she had been able to disembark her troops.

10 Sep 1943
Around 0700/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) departed Taranto after disembaring their troops, stores and vehicles.

Course was set to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1100/11. (90)

11 Sep 1943
Around 1830/11, after having embarked reinforcements for Taranto, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto where they arrived around 1700/12. Due to the danger of mines they did not enter the harbour but anchored off it. (91)

13 Sep 1943
Around 0545 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Taranto for Augusta where they arrived around 1600 hours.

HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope departed Augusta again around 2130 hours for the Salerno area for bombardment duties. (92)

14 Sep 1943
Shortly after 0800 hours, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), both anchored in the Gulf of Salerno.

Both cruisers patrolled of the beaches later in the day, HMS Aurora between 1305 and 1840 hours and HMS Penelope between 1425 and 1915 hours. During her patrol HMS Aurora conducted two bombardments of shore targets (troops and a battery) between 1640 and 1650 hours. She fired a total of 51 rounds. (93)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0632 and 1924 hours. One bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1702 and 1730 hours during which 20 rounds were fired. (94)

16 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0720 and 1944 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 0913-0940 hours and 1027-1100 hours. During these bombardments around 100 rounds were fired. (94)

17 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0756 and 1922 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1007-1100 hours and 1204-1320 hours. During these bombardments 139 rounds were fired. (94)

18 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0825 and 1925 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1245-1400 hours, 1540-1600 hours and 1750-1804 hours. (94)

19 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0658 and 2020 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 0950-1200 hours, 1615-1749 hours and 1835-1930 hours. (94)

20 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0739 and 1848 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1528 and 1715 hours. (94)

21 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0703 and 1330 hours. She was however not required for bombardment duties. (94)

22 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties from 1440 to 1720 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out, while she was at anchor, between 1755 and 1910 hours. (94)

23 Sep 1943
While still at anchor, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted two bombardments while still at anchor. These were between 0330 and 0420 hours and 0550 and 0600 hours. She got underway at 0619 hours. She dropped her anchor at 1949 hours. Another bombardment was commenced at 2005 hours. Fire was ceased at 2320 hours. (94)

24 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties from 1448 to 1923 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1502 and 1540 hours. (94)

25 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0952 and 1803 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1028-1123 hours and 1640-1750 hours. (94)

26 Sep 1943
Shortly after midnight, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), both departed the Gulf of Salerno for Malta where they arrived around 1400 hours. (95)

4 Oct 1943
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, Aurora, Dido, Penelope and Sirius departed Malta. Also the destroyers Echo, Pathfinder and Tumult departed Malta.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

(96)

4 Oct 1943
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Malta. Also the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) and HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Malta. These ships were temporary loaned to the Levant Station.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

Around 1100/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult parted company with HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo. The destroyers were to proceed to Tobruk to refuel.

Around 1245/5, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo parted company with HMS Aurora. HMS Penelope and HMS Echo were to proceed direct to Alexandria where they arrived around 2005/5.

Around 1830/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora. Around 2100/5, HMS Dido joined HMS Aurora, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult and course was set for a patrol in the Aegean. However at 2103/5, HMS Aurora and HMS Dido collided forcing the cruisers to abandon the patrol. The destroyers were detached at 2130/5 and proceeded on patrol by themselves. HMS Aurora and HMS Dido arrived at Alexandria around 1500/6. HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult arrived around the same time. During their anti-shipping sweep they had sighted nothing. It was estimated that it would take a week for temporary repairs on HMS Aurora to be completed. HMS Dido needed full repairs and these were estimated to take seven weeks.

HMS Sirius arrived at Alexandria around 0700/6. (96)

6 Oct 1943
Around 1100/6, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN, Senior Officer) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to proceed to the Aegean to attack enemy forces proceeding to Leros.

Around 2315/6 [source log of HMS Sirius, the log of HMS Penelope gives 0100/7], HMS Eclipse was detached to return to Alexandria due to defective steering. She arrived back at Alexandria around 1415/7.

The force arrived off Leros around 0530/7 but found no sign of a German invasion. At 0630/7 they picked up an enemy sighting from the submarine HMS Unruly (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN). At 0800/6, they intercepted the convoy sighted by HMS Unruly and completely destroyed it. The convoy had been made up of the transport Olympos (852 GRT, built 1904), the landing barges F 308, F 327, F 336, F 494 and F 532. They were escorted by UJ 2111. F 496 was no longer with them, she had been damaged earlier by HMS Unruly and was beached on Stampalia.

HMS Penelope, HMS Sirius, HMS Faulknor and HMS Fury then set course to return to Alexandria via the Scarpanto Strait. The force came under heavy German air attacks by Ju-87's and Ju-88's.

Around 1120/7, the force was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and Miaoulis which came from Casteloriso.

Around 1215/7, during an attack by Ju-87 dive bombers HMS Penelope was hit aft by a bomb but it did not explode. There were also many near missed. Two officers and twenty-two ratings were killed and twenty-nine were wounded. HMS Penelope was able to continue at 22 knots.

At 1705/8, HMS Rockwood and RHS Miaoulis parted company.

HMS Sirius and HMS Faulknor arrived at Alexandria around 0050/8 followed by HMS Penelope and HMS Fury around 0200/8. (97)

9 Oct 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked in the floating dock at Alexandria. (98)

29 Oct 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked at Alexandria. (98)

6 Nov 1943
Around 0650/6, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Alexandria for trials and exercises. On completion of these she set course to proceed to a position about mid way between Alexandria and Rhodos so as to be in a position to proceed to the aid of light forces operating in the Aegean if called upon.

Around 0600/7, HMS Penelope was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (A/Lt.Cdr. J.I. Jones, DSO, DSC, RNR) and Miaoulis. These ships parted company around 1700/7.

Around 0600/8, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). These ships parted company around 0900/8.

Around 1200/9, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyer HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and Pindos.

They arrived in Episkopi Bay, Cyprus around 1545/9 where they fuelled. (99)

10 Nov 1943
Around 1100/10, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and Pindos departed Episkopi Bay.

Around 1800/10, HMS Faulknor, HMS Beaufort and RHS Pindos parted company to proceed into the Aegean for operations.

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Alexandria where she arrived around 1530/11. (99)

15 Nov 1943
Around 1530/15, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) departed Alexandria for the Limmasol. They had on board some troops, ammunition and stores.

They arrived at Limmasol around 0630/16. (99)

17 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Limmasol to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz) which were coming through the Rhodes Channel from Mandelyah Gulf.

Rendezvous was effected around 0545/18 after which course was set for Paphos, Cyprus where they arrived around 1040/28. HMS Fury and ORP Krakowiak were then fuelled by HMS Penelope. HMS Penelope then embarked Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy, most likely from HMS Fury. (99)

18 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Paphos to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) which were en-route to the Aegean. HMS Penelope was to escort them part of the way.

Rendezvous was effected around 1410/18. Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy was then transferred to HMS Pathfinder.

HMS Pathfinder, HMS Haydon and HMS Tetcott parted company around 1730/18 and then went on their way.

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Limmasol arriving there around 0300/19. (99)

19 Nov 1943
After having arrived at Limmasol around 0300/19, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), oiled the destroyer HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and escort destroyer RHS Themistocles between 0835 and 1015 hours and the escort destroyer HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) between 1015 and 1125 hours. At 1130/19,

HMS Penelope then departed Limmasol for Haifa arriving there around 1730/19. (99)

26 Nov 1943
Around 1545/27, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Haifa for Alexandria where she arrived around 0830/28. (99)

7 Dec 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (100)

9 Dec 1943
Around 1600/9, the heavy cruiser HMS London (Capt. R.V. Symonds-Tayler, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis ( Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Hawkins, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Alexandria for Gibraltar or Malta.

Around 0915/10, the were joined by the escort destroyers HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR). These ships parted company around 1545/10.

Around 0400/11, HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) joined.

Around 0415/11, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn parted company to proceed to Malta where they arrived around 0700/11.

HMS London, HMS Fury and HMS Inglefield then continued on to Gibraltar where they arrived around 0430/13. (101)

12 Dec 1943
Around 2350/12, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Bizerta where they arrived around 1045/13. (102)

18 Dec 1943
Around 0630 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bizerta for Malta where she arrived around 1715 hours. (100)

24 Dec 1943
Around 2100/24, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN, now flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), departed Malta for Gibraltar where she arrived around 1200/26. Rear-Admiral Harcourt then struck his flag and left the ship. (100)

26 Dec 1943
Around 1945 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Gibraltar to patrol between the Portugese coast and the Azores to intercept German blockade breakers. (100)

30 Dec 1943
Around 1400 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), returned to Gibraltar from patrol. Her patrol had been cut short after the German blockade breaker Alsterufer (2729 GRT, built 1939) had been sunk by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay. (100)

31 Dec 1943
Around 0345 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Gibraltar to patrol in the North Atlantic to search for German blockade breakers.

She was however soon ordered to return to Gibraltar where she arrived on 1 January 1944.

[no more logbooks of HMS Penelope are available after December 1943.] (100)

5 Jan 1944
In the afternoon of the 5th, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), departed Gibraltar for Algiers where they arrived in the morning of the 6th.

9 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Algiers for Malta. (103)

10 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Malta. (104)

15 Jan 1944
The light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN), USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN) and the destroyers HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. A.A.F. Talbot, DSO and Bar, RN), USS Niblack (T/Cdr. R.R. Conner, USN) and USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN) conducted exercises off Malta. (105)

18 Jan 1944
Around 1545/18, The light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN) and the destroyers HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), USS Niblack (T/Cdr. R.R. Conner, USN) and USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN) departed Malta for Naples. They arrived at Naples around 1015/19. (106)

21 Jan 1944
Around 1220/21, the Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) departed Naples in support of Operation Shingle, the landings at Anzio. En-route to the landing area they escorted a convoy (NAF 1).

They entered the 'fire support area' around 0130/22.

22 Jan 1944
Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) is still operating in their part of the landing area.

Several air attacks were carried out in the area by the Germans during the day.

At 1440 hours, HMS Penelope commenced a bombardment. [No further details available.]

Around 1730 hours, USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, USS Trippe and USS Edison proceeded to seaward.

At 2026 hours, they were informed that two enemy destroyers might attack during the night. These ships had been reported in the northern Tyrrhenian Sea and USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, USS Trippe and USS Edison proceeded northwards to intercept.

23 Jan 1944
Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) is still operating in the Anzio landings area.

USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, HMS Trippe and HMS Edison were outside the landing zone to try to intercept two German destroyers. At 0600 hours, the hunt for these destroyers was abandoned and they returned to the landing zone for fire support duties.

At 0858 hours, USS Brooklyn opened fire on a shore target having been requisted to do so. Fire was ceased at 0904 hours. A total of 27 rounds had been fired.

At 1743 hours, USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, HMS Trippe and HMS Edison again departed the landing zone to proceed to seawards.

24 Jan 1944
At 0407 hours HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) parted company with the other ships of her Task Group to proceed to Naples where she arrived later the same day.

27 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) departed Naples to return to the landing zone off Anzio for AA and fire support duties. (103)

29 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Naples for the Formia area for bombardment duties.

[We have been unable to find out when HMS Penelope had returned to Naples after having sailed on 27 January 1944.] (103)

1 Feb 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) returned to Naples from bombardment duties in the Formia area. (103)

8 Feb 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Naples for bombardment duties in the Formia area.

[We have been unable to find out when she returned to Naples, but this must have been on either 11 or 12 February 1944.] (103)

13 Feb 1944
Around 1100 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area. (107)

15 Feb 1944
Around 1425 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), returned to Naples. (108)

17 Feb 1944
Around 0430 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area.

She returned to Naples around 2005 hours. (108)

18 Feb 1944
Around 0400 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area.

Between 0658 and 0716 hours, she was torpedoed and sunk, in position 40°55'N, 13°25'E, by the German submarine U-410. (109)

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  89. ADM 53/117379 + ADM 53/118343
  90. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/117379 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 53/118558 + logbook of USS Boise
  91. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/117379 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 53/118558
  92. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 199/641
  93. ADM 51/116993 + ADM 118343 + ADM 234/358
  94. ADM 53/118343 + ADM 234/358
  95. ADM 53/116993 + ADM 53/118343 + ADM 199/461
  96. ADM 53/116994 + ADM 53/117380 + ADM 53/118344 + ADM 53/118559 + ADM 199/774
  97. ADM 53/118344 + 118559 + ADM 199/774
  98. ADM 53/118344
  99. ADM 53/118345
  100. ADM 53/118346
  101. ADM 53/117845 + ADM 53/118346 + ADM 199/774
  102. ADM 53/118346 + ADM 199/642
  103. ADM 199/1430
  104. ADM 199/2565
  105. Logbook USS Brooklyn
  106. ADM 199/1430 + Logbook USS Brooklyn
  107. ADM 53/119271 + ADM 53/119858
  108. ADM 53/119858 + ADM 53/120734
  109. ADM 53/119271 + ADM 53/119858 + ADM 53/120734

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


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