Allied Warships

HMS Alaunia (F 17)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 17 
Built byJohn Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd. (Clydebank, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched7 Feb 1925 
CommissionedOct 1939 
End service8 Dec 1944 
History

On 25 August 1939 the passenger ship Alaunia of the Cunard White Star Ltd., Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 27 September 1939.

Displacement: 14030 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15 knots

Career:
October 39 - April 40: Halifax Escort Force
May 40 - March 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
April 41 - October 41: North Atlantic Escort Force
November 41 - February 42: East Indies Station
March 42 - March 44: Eastern Fleet (Indian Ocean)
April 44: Plymouth Command

On 8 December 1944 sold to the Admiralty, converted to a repair ship until August 1945 and stationed at Devonport. In September 1957 sold for scrap at Blyth.

 

Commands listed for HMS Alaunia (F 17)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. (retired) Hugh Joseph Woodward, DSO, RN30 Aug 19391 Oct 1941
2Capt. (retired) Edward Neville Kershaw, RN1 Oct 1941Early 1943
3Capt. Robert Henry Campbell Crawford, OBE, RNREarly 1943Early 1944
4A/Cdr. (retired) Alan Charles Graham Jolley, RNEarly 1944Ca. mid 44

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Notable events involving Alaunia include:


24 Apr 1942
Force A, made up of; battleship HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral D.W. Boyd, CBE, DSC, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN), HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C.A. Annesley, DSO, RN), AA cruiser HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Cdr. E.J. van Holte, RNN) and the destroyers HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.D. Pugsley, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN) and HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN). The armed merchant cruiser HMS Alaunia (Capt.(Retd.) E.N. Kershaw, RN) also sailed with 'Force A'. She had on board many staff personnel that she was to take to Kilindini where the HQ of the Eastern Fleet was going to be based for the moment.

Aircraft of the carriers had to be flown on during the day but bad weather conditions prevented this and it had to be postponed. HMS Alaunia was therefore sent ahead escorted by HMS Emerald. They rejoined 'Force A' on 27 April.

At 1830/26 HMS Indomitable escorted by HMS Paladin and HMS Panther were detached to fuel in the Seychelles and then proceed on other duties. (1)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/426

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


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