HMS Euryalus (42)

HMS Euryalus (42)

HMS "Euryalus" was a "Dido"-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built at Chatham Dockyard UK), with the keel being laid down on 21 October 1937. She was launched on 6 June 1939, and commissioned 30 June 1941. "Euryalus" was the last cruiser that Chatham Dockyard built.


Mediterranean Service

During September to November 1941 "Euryalus" was a unit of the 15th Cruiser Squadron and acted as a close convoy escort for the route between Gibraltar and Malta. In December while in company with cruisers HMS "Sheffield", HMS "Kenya" and HMS "Edinburgh" she made a sortie against German and Italian supply traffic to North Africa and shelled Derna later that month, as a member of Force "B" under the command of Rear Admiral Philip Vian and in company with the cruisers HMS "Naiad" and HMS "Carlisle" and eight destroyers, set out to bring the oil tanker "Breconshire" from Alexandria to Malta.

On 17 December 1941 they joined up with Force "K". Italian air attacks were unsuccessful, and as a result of reports from Italian spotter aircraft, Admiral Lachino turned his Task Force towards the British ships and engaged shortly after dark. No results were achieved by either side because both Forces were trying to protect their respective convoys without realising the worthwhile targets on either side. On 18 December, Rear Admiral Vian returned to Alexandria, as the harbour boom gap opened to allow the returning ships entry, three Italian human torpedo teams, launched from the submarine Sciré entered the harbour and laid their explosive charges under the battleships HMS "Queen Elizabeth", HMS "Valiant" and the Norwegian tanker "Sagona". All ships came to rest on the bottom badly damaged. The destroyer HMS "Jervis" which was tied up alongside the tanker was also damaged.

In January 1942 "Euryalus" as a unit of Force "B" set out for Malta with the transport vessel Glengyle. On the 16th, they were used as a Force "B" supplying covering force for a Malta bound convoy. February, Force "B" set out from Alexandria to meet the cruiser HMS "Cleopatra" and the destroyer HMS "Kingston" which were coming from Malta. March, the German submarine "U-565" managed to sink the cruiser HMS "Naiad" which was Vians flagship, north of Sollum, all except 82 of her crew were rescued. On 21 January, "Euryalus" acted as covering force for a supply convoy to Malta, and on the 22nd the covering force was discovered by the Italians.

econd Battle of Sirte

The Italian battleship had come up in a strong refreshing wind and deteriorating visibility, and tried to get between the convoy and Malta. Rough seas and skilful operating by Admiral Vian in the use of smoke impeded the Italian gunnery to such an extent that only the destroyers HMS "Havock" and HMS "Kingston" were severely damaged by near hits but survived and fired their torpedoes. "Littorio" had been hit by the cruisers shellfire and one of the enemy cruisers was on fire aft, however none of the destroyers torpedoes hit, but "Littorio" turned away, the enemy had had enough and hauled away to the north east.

Malta Convoys

"Euryalus" received only slight splinter damage and the convoy eventually made it through to Malta, unfortunately it was attacked by German bombers and six vessels became a total loss. Only about one fifth of the 26,000 tons of cargo that left Egypt were unloaded. On the return trip to Alexandria Force B suffered heavy storm damage. During June two more convoys set out for Malta, Operation "Harpoon" from Gibraltar, and Operation Vigorous from Alexandria, "Euryalus" was employed as the covering force being a member of the 15th Cruiser Squadron which also comprised HMS "Cleopatra", HMS "Dido", HMS "Hermione", HMS "Arethusa" and HMS "Coventry". South of Crete "Hermione" was sunk by the German submarine "U-205". Of the six merchantmen in the "Harpoon" convoy two reached Malta with 15,000 tons of supplies. The "Vigorous" convoy never made it. Six hundred miles (1,100 km) from Malta, low on ammunition and fuel, Admiral Vian ordered the convoy about.On 19 July 1942, "Euryalus" and HMS "Dido" and four destroyers were responsible for the shelling of Mersa Matruh. In November, Operation Stone Age consisted of a convoy of four merchantmen escorted by HMS "Euryalus", HMS "Dido", HMS "Arethusa" and ten destroyers. They proceeded from Alexandria to Malta despite heavy German air attacks in which "Arethusa" was so badly hit, north of Derna on 18 November that she had to return to Alexandria. The four transports miraculously reached Malta, and the island was regarded as relieved.

In January 1943, during the night of 22-23rd Force "K", consisting of "Euryalus", "Cleopatra" and four destroyers, shelled the withdrawal routes of the German-Italian panzer forces near Zuara Libya, Tripoli was evacuated by the rearguards on 23 January 1943. They then shelled Zuara themselves. On 5 June, "Euryalus", HMS "Aurora", HMS "Newfoundland", HMS "Orion" and HMS "Penelope" with eight destroyers and three motor torpedo boats, bombarded the island of Pantelleria. After the shelling and bombing by Allied aircraft, a landing force comprising the 1st British division appeared off the island. During the night of the 10-11th the island fortress surrendered.

Invasion of Sicily

On 9 July 1943, HMS "Euryalus", HMS "Cleopatra", the battleships HMS "Nelson" and HMS "Rodney", and the aircraft carrier HMS "Indomitable" rendezvoused in the Gulf of Sirte where they waited to join a convoy consisting of sixty freighters, five tankers, and twenty nine landing craft which represented part of the invasion force, which was to arrive from Alexandria and Port Said. This would be the beginning of Operation Huskey, the Allied landings of Sicily. On the 14th, whilst patrolling the Ionian Sea with the battleships HMS "Nelson", HMS "Rodney" , HMS "Warspite" and HMS "Valiant" and eighteen destroyers, they were attacked by Italian torpedo bombers, "Euryalus" and HMS "Cleopatra" were narrowly missed, but two days later Indomitable was hit.

During August 1943, "HMS Euryalus", HMS "Dido" and HMS "Sirius" with four destroyers, shelled the bridge in the Gulf of Eufemia Calibria, in support of the 8th Army under Lt-General Clarke in the Bay of Solerno, in overall command of the operation was Admiral Andrew Cunningham (R.N.) in Malta. HMS "Euryalus", HMS "Scylla", HMS "Charybdis" the light aircraft carrier HMS "Unicorn", the escort carriers HMS "Battler", HMS "Attacker", HMS "Hunter", HMS "Stalker" and nine destroyers made up Task Force "88". In October 1943 HMS "Euryalus" finally returned to the United Kingdom for a long overdue refit at Clyde.

ervice in the Far East

In July 1944 "Euryalus", her refit completed, recommissioned into the Home Fleet. In October, "Euryalus" was now operating in Norwegian waters and was part of a force tasked to patrol the German shipping routes off Norway near Frohavet, carrier aircraft from this force performed an air mining operation. In December 1944, she sailed for the Far East.

In January 1945, "Euryalus" was now a member of the 5th Cruiser Squadron, and unit of Task Force "63" based at Trincomalee, she sailed with this task force for operations in the Pacific. The task force was made up of the following ships, battleship HMS "King George V", the carriers HMS "Indomitable", HMS "Illustrious" , HMS "Victorious", HMS "Indefatigable", the cruisers HMS "Argonaut", HMS "Black Prince" and nine destroyers. Later they were joined by the cruiser HMS "Ceylon" and the destroyer HMS "Wessex". On the 20th, this force met up with three supply tankers and the destroyer HMS "Urchin". On 23 January, the weather off the Sumatra coast prevented the carrier aircraft from being flown off. On the 24th, the aircraft took off from the four carriers south west of Sumatra, and successfully attacked north of Palembang. On 29 January, the aircraft made a raid on the oil refineries at Soengi-Gerong near Palembang. An attempted Japanese attack on the task force using twelve bombers, was intercepted by fighter cover and all twelve bombers were shot down by the fighters and the fleets' A/A weapons.

British Pacific Fleet

On 30 January 1945, after completion of refuelling the task force proceeded to Fremantle. On 4 February the task force arrived at Fremantle. In March they were operating in the Central Pacific area under Vice Admiral Rawlings, the fleet set out from Ulithi to participate in the preparation of the landings at Okinawa. Attacks on the Sakishima-Gunto group of islands of the Southern Ryukyus commenced on the 25th, this was in order to neutralise the airfields there. From the 28th, to the 30th, the Task Force was replenished from a Supply Group and on the 31st, attacks were resumed. 3 May–29 May, operations were resumed, the British Task Force set out again from Leyte. After replenishing on 3-4th it made a carrier raid on the Sakishima-Gunto group. "Euryalus", and the cruisers HMS "Swiftsure", HMCS "Uganda" , HMNZS "Gambia", HMS "Black Prince" and seven destroyers shelled the islands and airfields. The carrier HMS "Formidable" was hit by a Kamikaze, HMS "Indomitable" sustained slight damage.

On the 5th, new attacks were made on the fleet, and damage was inflicted on HMS "Victorious" and HMS "Formidable". The destroyer HMS "Quilliam" was severely damaged by collision. On the 20th, the New Zealand cruiser HMNZS "Achilles" joined the task force. On 16 July 1945, the British Task Force joined forces with United States Naval Forces the carriers carriers made heavy raids on the Tokyo - Yokohama area. On 2 August–3 August, sorties were made against North Honshū and Hokkaidō on the 9th, and from the 11-12 th, the task forces were replenished, and the British set out for Subic Bay to occupy Hong Kong.

Post War Service

On 17 February 1947 HMS "Euryalus" returned to Sheerness to be placed into reserve. She was refitted between 1947 to 1948. In January 1948, "Euryalus" was recommissioned, and joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean, where she was involved in the Palestinian patrols, and was responsible for the evacuation of the British High Commissioner from Haifa. In May 1950, she returned to Plymouth to pick up a new crew, and rejoined the 1st Cruiser Squadron. In April 1951, she sailed for the Persian Gulf, to relieve the cruiser HMS "Mauritius" of the East Indies Squadron, and make her presence known to the Iranians who were threatening to take over the Anglo Iranian oil wells. May, she arrived in Bahrain. In June she sailed back for Malta after being relieved by the Malta based destroyers HMS "Armada", HMS "Saintes", HMS "Vigo" and HMS "Gravelines".

In July 1951 she sailed once more for the Gulf, again making her way through the Suez Canal pausing only to pick up a platoon of Lancashire Fusiliers, this time arriving at Abadan on the 21st. In August 1952, HMS "Euryalus" was decommissioned, and later during the year she was recommissioned and again rejoined the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean. In April 1953, she was transferred to the South Atlantic 6th Cruiser Squadron stationed at Simonstown, South Africa and acted as Flagship, during this period she was docked in the Selborne dry dock. On 9 January 1954, she entered Selborne dry dock for commencement of her refit. In March she had her propellers changed and was undocked on the 9th. In September HMS "Euryalus" sailed for the United Kingdom, and arrived at Devonport on the 19th. In November 1954, she was decommissioned into the Reserve Fleet. On 18 July 1959 "Euryalus" arrived at Blyth to be scrapped by Hughes Bolckow.

The ship's badge can still be seen painted on the Selborne dry dock wall.


* [ WWII cruisers]
* [ HMS Euryalus at]

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