Allied Warships

HMS Aurania (F 28)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 28 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched6 Feb 1924 
Commissioned2 Oct 1939 
End service20 Oct 1942 

On 30 August 1939 the passenger ship Aurania of the Cunard White Star Ltd, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 2 October 1939.

Displacement: 13984 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15 knots

October 39 - April 40: Northern Patrol
May 40: Halifax Escort Force
June 40 - April 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
May 41 - October 41: North Atlantic Escort Force
November 41 - March 42: Plymouth Command

On 24 March 1942 sold to the Admiralty because of the damage sustaned in the attack by U-123, laid up for some time, converted to a repair ship finished in 1944 and commissioned as HMS Artifex

In January 1961 she was scrapped at La Spezia, Italy.


Hit by U-boat
Damaged on 21 Oct 1941 by U-123 (Hardegen).

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

Commands listed for HMS Aurania (F 28)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Capt. Harry William Cuthbert Hughes, DSO, RN28 Sep 193915 Jan 1940
2A/Capt. Ivan Walter Whitehorn, RN15 Jan 1940Mar 1942

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Notable events involving Aurania include:

3 Dec 1940

Convoy HX 93

This convoy departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3 December 1940 and arrived at Liverpool on 18 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Napier (British, 3559 GRT, built 1930), Bello (Norwegian (tanker), 6125 GRT, built 1930), Carras (Greek, 5234 GRT, built 1918), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Manchester Citizen (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Salabangka (Dutch, 6586 GRT, built 1920) and Scottish Star (British, 7224 GRT, built 1917).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN).

A/S escort in the local approaches was provided until /4 by the destroyer HMCS Assiniboine (Capt. L.W. Murray, RCN) and the auxiliary patrol vessels HMCS French (A/Skr. W. Philpott, RCNR) and HMCS Husky (T/Lt. H. Freeland, RCNR).

On 4 December the Bello was ordered to return to Halifax as she could not keep up with the convoy.

On 5 December convoy SHX 93, coming from Sydney, Nova Scotia which it had departed on 4 December, merged with convoy HX 93. Convoy SHX 93 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anthea (British, 5186 GRT, built 1924), Dux (Norwegian, 1590 GRT, built 1934), Eleni (Greek, 5655 GRT, built 1918), Rupert de Larrinaga (British, 5358 GRT, built 1930), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Welsh Trader (British, 4974 GRT, built 1938).

These ships had no escort.

On 7 December the convoy BHX 93, coming from Bermuda which it had departed on 1 December, merged with convoy HX 93. Convoy BHX 93 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adula (British (tanker), 8040 GRT, built 1937), Benedick (British (tanker), 6978 GRT, built 1928), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Donacilla (British (tanker), 8113 GRT, built 1939), Dunkeld (British, 4944 GRT, built 1937), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1937), La Paz (British, 6548 GRT, built 1920), Logician (British, 5993 GRT, built 1928), Lulworth Hill (British, 7628 GRT, built 1940), Lunula (British (tanker), 6363 GRT, built 1927), Mahronda (British, 7926 GRT, built 1925), Queen Victoria (British, 4937 GRT, built 1936), Tasmania (British, 6405 GRT, built 1935), Titus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930), Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919), Traveller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1922) and Tuscan Star (British, 11449 GRT, built 1930).

Convoy BHX had been escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Maloja (A/Capt. V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN). This ship parted company after the convoy had merged.

On 8 December 1940 the merchant vessel Anthea collided with the Dutch merchant vessel Maasdam (8812 GRT, built 1921) in position 48°44'N, 46°37'W and sank as a result of the colission. At that time the Anthea had straggled from the convoy in the bad visibility.

On 11 December the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) took over the escort of the convoy from HMS Ausonia. HMS Rodney was detached on the 13th after the destroyers HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) had arrived from Scapa Flow to escort her back to Scap Flow.

Also on the 13th the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) and corvettes HMS Heather (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, RN) and HMS Picotee ( Lt.Cdr. N.C.H. Scallan, RNR) joined on the 13th. HMS Achates and HMS Heather were detached on the 16th. The A/S trawlers HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. P.H. Potter, RNR) and HMS Norwich City (Ch.Skr. P. Newman, RNR) also joined later.

The bulk of the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 18 December.

7 Feb 1941

Convoy BHX 108.

This convoy departed Bermuda on 7 February 1941 and joined convoy HX 108 at sea on 12 February 1941.

On departure from Bermuda the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adula (British (tanker), 8040 GRT, built 1937), Aircrest (British, 5237 GRT, built 1940), Bianca (Norwegian (tanker), 5688 GRT, built 1926), British Progress (British (tanker), 4581 GRT, built 1927), Cape Clear (British, 5085 GRT, built 1939), Comedian (British, 5122 GRT, built 1929), Director (British, 5107 GRT, built 1926), Donacilla (British (tanker), 8113 GRT, built 1939), Emma Bakke (Norwegian, 4721 GRT, built 1929), Leikanger (Norwegian, 4003 GRT, built 1923), Losada (British, 6520 GRT, built 1921), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Misoa (British (tanker), 4800 GRT, built 1937), Putney Hill (British, 5215 GRT, built 1940), Queen Maud (British, 4976 GRT, built 1936), Rapana (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), Saintonge (British (tanker), 9386 GRT, built 1936), San Casimiro (British (tanker), 8046 GRT, built 1936), Sepia (British (tanker), 6214 GRT, built 1936), Twickenham (British, 4762 GRT, built 1940) and Yngaren (British, 5246 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Bermuda the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN).

The convoy merged with convoy HX 108 coming from Halifax on 12 February 1941.

6 Apr 1941

Convoy HX 119

This convoy departed Halifax on 6 April 1941 in two sections, convoy HX 119A and convoy HX 119B. They merged in the morning of April 13th.

Convoy HX 119A was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Argos Hill (British, 7178 GRT, built 1922), Bendoran (British, 5567 GRT, built 1910), Bra-Kar (Norwegian, 3778 GRT, built 1928), British Consul (British (tanker), 6940 GRT, built 1924), British Tenacity (British (tanker), 8439 GRT, built 1939), Brittany (British, 4772 GRT, built 1928), Ceronia (British (tanker), 4955 GRT, built 1929), Clan MacIlwraith (British, 4839 GRT, built 1924), Cliona (British (tanker), 8375 GRT, built 1931), Curacao (British, 8269 GRT, built 1930), Cymbula (British (tanker), 8082 GRT, built 1938), Davila (British (tanker), 8053 GRT, built 1938), Dolius (British, 5507 GRT, built 1924), Dromus (British (tanker), 8036 GRT, built 1938), Goolistan (British, 5851 GRT, built 1929), Induna (British, 5086 GRT, built 1925), Kentar (British, 5878 GRT, built 1920), Lista (British, 3671 GRT, built 1920), Lobos (British, 6479 GRT, built 1921), Mangkalihat (Dutch, 8457 GRT, built 1928), Mount Helmos (Greek, 6481 GRT, built 1923), Oscilla (Dutch (tanker), 6341 GRT, built 1939), Port Auckland (British, 8789 GRT, built 1922), Port Sydney (British, 9129 GRT, built 1914), Radmanso (Swedish, 4280 GRT, built 1914), Reaveley (British, 4998 GRT, built 1940), Robert Maersk (British, 2290 GRT, built 1937), San Eliseo (British (tanker), 8042 GRT, built 1939), Schuylkill (British (tanker), 8965 GRT, built 1928), Spondilus (British (tanker), 7402 GRT, built 1927), Toorak (British (tanker), 8627 GRT, built 1927), Trevalgan (British, 5299 GRT, built 1937), Tucurinca (British, 5412 GRT, built 1926) and West Totant (British, 5628 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 119A was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Chambly (T/A/Cdr. J.D. Prentice, RCN) and HMCS Orillia (T/Lt.Cdr. W.E.S. Briggs, RCNR). The corvettes were detached to return to Halifax the next day.

The convoy was joined by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) around 0900Q/8.

Around 1400P/11, HMS Revenge parted company with the convoy to return to Halifax.


Convoy HX 119B was made up of the following merchant vessels;
Alphacca (British, 5759 GRT, built 1928), Barberrys (British, 5170 GRT, built 1920), Braddock (British, 6619 GRT, built 1919), Edward Blyden (British, 5003 GRT, built 1930), Gard (Norwegian (tanker), 8259 GRT, built 1938), Glaiglas (British, 4312 GRT, built 1940), Hermiston (British, 4813 GRT, built 1939), Idefjord (Norwegian, 4287 GRT, built 1921), Kars (British (tanker), 8888 GRT, built 1939), Leerdam (Dutch, 8815 GRT, built 1921), Maasdam (Dutch, 8812 GRT, built 1921), Maihar (British, 7563 GRT, built 1917), Merchant Prince (British, 5229 GRT, built 1939), Mercier (Belgian, 7556 GRT, built 1915), Peder Bogen (British (tanker), 9741 GRT, built 1925), Rio Azul (British, 4088 GRT, built 1921), San Ernesto (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1939), Soekaboemi (Dutch, 7051 GRT, built 1923), Southgate (British, 4862 GRT, built 1926) and Tureby (British, 4372 GRT, built 1936).

On departure from Halifax convoy HX 119B was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Montclare (Capt.(Retd.) H.M. Spreckley, RN) and the corvettes HMCS Cobalt (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.B. Campbell, RCNR) and HMCS Collingwood (T/Lt. W. Woods, RCNR). The corvettes were detached to return to Halifax the next day.

Around 0900P/13, Convoy HX 119B merged with convoy HX 119A.


At 1215Z/14, the convoy was joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker CB, OBE, RN).

At 1210Z/15, the armed merchant cruisers HMS Aurania and HMS Montclare parted company with convoy HX 119 (now combined).

At 1815Z/15, the destroyers HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN) joined the convoy. Followed during the night of 15/16 April by the destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Cdr. H.N. Lay, OBE, RN) and HMCS Saguenay (Lt. P.E. Haddon, RCN).

At 2130Z/16, HMS Norfolk parted company with the convoy to proceed to Hvalfjord.

On the 17th, destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), sloop HMS Scarborough (Lt. A.P. Northey, DSC, RN) and corvettes HMS Auricula (T/Lt. W.W. White, RNR), HMS Campanula (Lt.Cdr. R.V.E. Case, DSC and Bar, RD, RNR), HMS Hibiscus (Lt. H. Roach, RNR), HMS Pimpernel (Lt. F.H. Thornton, RNR) and HMS Rhododendron (Lt.Cdr. W.N.M. Faichney, DSO, RNR) joined the convoy.

On the 18th, destroyer HMS Rockingham (Lt. A.H.T. Johns, RN) and corvette HMS Freesia (Lt.Cdr. T.P.G. Crick, RN) joined the convoy.

On the 19th, corvette HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR) joined the convoy

On the 20th, HMS Havelock, HMS Hurricane, HMS Restigouche and HMS Saguenay parted company with the convoy.

On the 21st, HMS Viscount and corvette HMS Freesia parted company with the convoy.

The convoy arrived in U.K. waters on 22 April.

11 Jun 1941

Convoy OB 334.

This convoy departed the U.K. on 11 June 1941.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alexia (British (tanker), 8016 GRT, built 1935), Armadale (British, 5066 GRT, built 1929), Athelprincess (British (tanker), 8882 GRT, built 1929), Barberrys (British, 5170 GRT, built 1920), Baron Carnegie (British, 3178 GRT, built 1925), Barrington Court (British, 4910 GRT, built 1924), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Bic Island (British, 4000 GRT, built 1917), British Colony (British (tanker), 6917 GRT, built 1927), British Commodore (British (tanker), 6865 GRT, built 1923), British Destiny (British (tanker), 8470 GRT, built 1937), British Faith (British, 6955 GRT, built 1928), Bulysses (British, 7519 GRT, built 1927), Bur (Norwegian, 4343 GRT, built 1917), Cairnesk (British, 5007 GRT, built 1926), Carelia (British (tanker), 8062 GRT, built 1938), Chr. Th. Boe (Norwegian (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1930), Clan Macilwraith (British, 4839 GRT, built 1924), Clan Macwhirter (British, 5941 GRT, built 1918), Comanchee (British (tanker), 6837 GRT, built 1936), El Aleto (British (tanker), 7203 GRT, built 1927), Empire Crossbill (British, 5463 GRT, built 1919), Empire Waterhen (British, 6004 GRT, built 1920), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Jade (British, 930 GRT, built 1938), Lodestone (British, 4877 GRT, built 1938), Luxor (British (tanker), 6554 GRT, built 1930), Mandalay (British, 5529 GRT, built 1911), Mendoza (British, 8233 GRT, built 1919), Modavia (British, 4858 GRT, built 1927), Morgenen (Norwegian (tanker), 7093 GRT, built 1930), Nova (Norwegian, 1382 GRT, built 1925), Petter (Norwegian (tanker), 9109 GRT, built 1935), President de Vogue (Norwegian (tanker), 9320 GRT, built 1935), Ramsay (British, 4855 GRT, built 1930), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Saganaga (British, 5454 GRT, built 1935), Sepia (British (tanker), 6214 GRT, built 1936), South Wales (British, 5619 GRT, built 1929), Stigstad (British, 5964 GRT, built 1927), Taron (British (tanker), 8054 GRT, built 1936), Temple Inn (British, 5218 GRT, built 1940), Tiba (Dutch, 5239 GRT, built 1938), Tower Field (British, 4241 GRT, built 1935), Trident (British, 4317 GRT, built 1917), Ulysses (British, 14647 GRT, built 1913), Vancouver (British (tanker), 5729 GRT, built 1928) and Vardefjell (Norwegian (tanker), GRT, built 1940).

The merchant vessel Baron Carnegie which had departed Avonmouth, was sunk on 11 June 1941 by German torpedo aircraft off St. David's Head in position 51°55'N, 05°34'W.

On leaving UK waters the convoy was escorted by escorted by the destroyer HMS Beagle (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), corvettes HMS Gladiolus (Lt.Cdr. H.M.C. Sanders, DSC, RNR), HMS Nigella (T/Lt. T.W. Coyne, RNR), HMS Orchis (T/Lt. H. Vernon, RNR), HMS Polyanthus (Lt. A. Hague, RNR), minesweepers HMS Seagull ( Cdr.(Retd.) R.H.V. Sivewright, RN), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. D. Lampen, RN) and the A/S trawlers HMS Ayrshire (T/Lt. L.J.A. Gradwell, RNVR), HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. W.G. Ogden, RNVR) and HMS St. Loman (T/Lt. R.C. Warwick, RNR). Catapult ship HMS Maplin (A/Cdr. J.O. Davies, RNR) was also with the convoy. HMS Beagle, HMS Gladiolus, HMS Orchis, HMS Nigella, HMS Polyanthus, HMS Seagull, HMS Sharpshooter, HMS Ayrshire, HMS Lady Madeleine, HMS St. Loman and HMS Maplin were detached on the 17th after having been relieved by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN), destroyers HMS Burnham (Cdr. J. Bostock, DSC, RN), HMS Churchill (Cdr.(Retd.) G.R. Cousins, RN) and the corvettes HMS Dianthus (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) C.E. Bridgman, RNR) and HMCS Spikenard (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Shadforth, RCNR). Destroyer HMS Chesterfield (Lt.Cdr. E. Gleave, RNR) was briefly (between 1720N/19 and 2120N/19) with the convoy on the 19th, she rejoined the convoy at 0755O/20, after having reported the position of the convoy by W/T.

Battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Bulolo (Capt.(Retd.) R.L. Hamer, RN) and HMS California (Capt. C.J. Pope, RAN) joined the convoy in the late afternoon / early evening of the 20th.

Around 1500P/24, HMS Revenge, HMS Bulolo and HMS California parted company with the convoy in position 45°29'N, 55°24'W to proceed directly to Halifax.

Around 1700P/24, HMS Burnham, HMS Chesterfield and HMS Churchill parted company with the convoy in position 45°29'N, 56°21'W to proceed to St. Johns.

Around 0400P/25, the convoy was dispersed although several ships had already been detached while en-route. HMS Aurania, HMS Dianthus and HMCS Spikenard continued on the Halifax with only three ships destined for there.

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