Allied Warships

HMS Bonaventure (31)

Light cruiser of the Dido class


HMS Bonaventure in October 1940

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassDido 
Pennant31 
Built byScotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland) 
Ordered20 Mar 1937 
Laid down30 Aug 1937 
Launched19 Apr 1939 
Commissioned24 May 1940 
Lost31 Mar 1941 
Loss position33° 20'N, 26° 35'E

The British light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (31) lost on 31 Mar 1941 in position 33° 20'N, 26° 35'E.

History

HMS Bonaventure (Capt. Henry Jack Egerton, RN) was torpedoed and sunk, while escorting convoy GA-8 from Greece to Alexandria, by the Italian submarine Ambra about 100 nautical miles south-south-east of Crete in position 33º20'N, 26º35'E. There were 310 survivors.  

Commands listed for HMS Bonaventure (31)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Henry Jack Egerton, RN29 Mar 194031 Mar 1941

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Notable events involving Bonaventure include:


15 May 1940
At 0800 hours, HMS Bonaventure, was commissioned at Greenock with Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN in command. (1)

16 May 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted anchor and D/G trials off Greenock. (1)

22 May 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted gunnery, full power and steering trials in the Clyde area. (1)

24 May 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted full power and steering trials in the Clyde area.

HMS Bonaventure then went back to the shipyard to have some defects made good. Also there were some problems with the gun turrets. This was not surprising as HMS Bonaventure was the first of her class to be completed. (1)

25 May 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted trials and exercises in the Clyde area. (1)

5 Jul 1940
The British liner Monarch of Bermuda (22424 GRT, built 1931) and the Polish liners Batory (14387 GRT, built 1936) and Sobieski (11030 GRT, built 1939) departed the Clyde for Halifax Canada. They were escorted by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN).

These ships carried gold from the Bank of England for safekeeping in Canada.

They arrived at Halifax on 12 July 1940 except for the Batory whih had developed engine defects and was diverted to St. John's escorted by HMS Bonaventure which released her off the harbour and then continued her passage to Halifax. (2)

13 Jul 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) arrived at Halifax.

At Halifax some repairs were made to defects to her gun turrets. (2)

18 Jul 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) departed Halifax for Scapa Flow. (2)

25 Jul 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. (2)

29 Jul 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted working up practices at Scapa Flow. (2)

30 Jul 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted working up practices at Scapa Flow. (2)

3 Aug 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (3)

5 Aug 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (3)

7 Aug 1940
During the night of 7/8 August 1940, HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN), conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (3)

12 Aug 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (3)

13 Aug 1940
During the night of 13/14 August 1940, HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN), conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (3)

15 Aug 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) both departed Scapa Flow to patrol off the Faroer Islands to intercept German shipping. (4)

20 Aug 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) both returned to Scapa Flow from patrol. (4)

2 Sep 1940
During the night of 2/3 September 1940, HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN), conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (5)

6 Sep 1940

Operation 'DF', raid on enemy shipping in the Trondheim area.

On 6 September 1940 the following ships departed Scapa Flow for an anti-shipping raid in the Trondheim area;
Aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN), light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, DSO, RN), HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN).

The force proceeded to position 62.00'N, 01.00'E which was reached at 0500/7. HMS Furious then flew of aircraft attack shipping off the Norwegian coast. The aircraft were return to a shore base after the raid.

The raiding force returned to Scapa Flow around 2000/7. (4)

8 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (5)

9 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted exercises at Scapa Flow. (5)

13 Sep 1940
The battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN), battleship HMS Nelson (Capt. Sir G.J.A. Miles, RN) and the light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) shifted from Scapa Flow to Rosyth. They were escorted HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), and HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN). At sea they were joined by the light cruiser (AA cruiser) HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN). (4)

16 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) departed Rosyth to intercept a German convoy reported in the North Sea in position 55°20'N, 02°32'E.

This position was later reported to be erroneous and the force returned to Rosyth a few hours after sailing. (4)

23 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Rosyth. (4)

23 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Rosyth. (4)

30 Sep 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted special trials off Rosyth with aircraft. (4)

4 Oct 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Rosyth. During this exercises the aircraft towing the target crashed. HMS Bonaventure picked up the crew from the sea.

HMS Bonaventure, together with HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) then conducted anti-E boat gunnery exercises. (4)

8 Oct 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) served as targets during gunnery exercises off Rosyth for the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN). (4)

11 Oct 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) returned to Scapa Flow late in the morning for refuelling.

Late in the evening she departed again for the position where convoy HX 84 had been attacked by the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer to search for survivors to the limit of her endurance. (4)

16 Oct 1940
The newly constructed battleship HMS King George V (Capt. W.R. Patterson, CVO, RN) was ready to move from the Tyne to Rosyth. To provide escort for this valuable new ship the light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) as well as the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. C.A.N. Chatwin, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) departed Rosyth for the Tyne. The destroyers were to make a high speed run up the river to simulate a strong magnetic field to detonate any possible German magnetic mines. During this run HMS Ashanti and HMS Fame ran hard aground and were heavily damaged. The other ships arrived safely at Rosyth in the afternoon. (4)

19 Oct 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) conducted fighter direction trials off Rosyth. (4)

23 Oct 1940

Operations DN 2 and DNU

Anti shipping raids off the Norwegian coast.

The battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Isis (Cdr. C.S.B. Swinley, DSC, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Keppel (Lt. R.J. Hanson, RN), HMS Douglas (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G. Crossley, RN) and HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, RN) departed Scapa Flow for exercises in the Pentland Firth. Upon completion of these they took op a position off Obrestad to cover operations DN 2 and DNU.

Further cover was provided by the cruisers HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.J.L. Phillips, RN), HMS Southampton (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN) which proceeded to an area off Stadlandet.

For operation DN.2 the light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) went to sea from Rosyth.

The destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) had departed Sullom Voe on 22 October and were on patrol to the east of the Shetlands. They were ordered to intercept (operation DNU) a group of 20 'German' fishing vessels and a patrol vessel that were reported off Egersund.

These destroyers intercepted and sank the German weather ship WBS 5 / Adolf Vinnen (391 GRT, built 1929) west of Stadlandet in position 62°29'N, 04°23'E on 24 October 1940. This weather ship had been operating north of Iceland and was on the return trip back to Norway.

All ships arrived back at their bases on 24 October 1940. HMS Bonaventure had sustained some damage to her forecastle in the heavy weather conditions (4)

2 Nov 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) completed her repairs at Rosyth. (4)

4 Nov 1940
The battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the light cruisers HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) departed the Firth of Forth for full calibre gunnery exercises before these ships were to proceed to Scapa Flow. Due to enemy air activity the exercises were cancelled. Escort for these ships was provided by the destroyers HMS Cossack (Capt. P.L. Vian, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN). These were later joined by HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN) which had come from Scapa Flow. All ships arrived at Scapa Flow the next day with both light cruiser gone ahead of the battleships and destroyers. (4)

5 Nov 1940
After reports had reached the Admiralty that the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer had attacked convoy HX 84 and had sunk it's sole escort the armed merchant cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, the battlecruisers HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN), HMS Repulse (Capt. Sir W.G. Tennant, CB, MVO, RN), the light cruisers HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) and HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. C. Caslon, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St. J.A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN) and HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 2300/5 to proceed towards the last known position of the Admiral Scheer.

The next day, at 1100/6, HMS Repulse, HMS Bonaventure and the destroyers HMS Mashona, HMS Matabele and HMS Electra continued towards the last known position of the Admiral Scheer. The other ships were to take up a position to cover the approaches to the Atlantic ports on the west coast of France. (4)

11 Nov 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) returned to Scapa Flow late in the morning for refuelling.

Late in the evening she departed again for the position where convoy HX 84 had been attacked by the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer to search for survivors to the limit of her endurance. (4)

19 Nov 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) returned to Scapa Flow. (4)

23 Nov 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) shifted from Scapa Flow to Rosyth for alterations and repairs. (6)

3 Dec 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) is docked in No.1 dry dock at the Rosyth Naval Dockyard. (7)

13 Dec 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) was undocked. (7)

16 Dec 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) departed Rosyth for the Clyde. (4)

17 Dec 1940
En-route from Rosyth to the Clyde, HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN), conducted gunnery exercises in Pentland Firth. (4)

18 Dec 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) arrived at the Clyde. (4)

28 Dec 1940
HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) intercepts the German passenger/cargo ship Baden (8204 GRT) about 325 nautical miles north-east Ponta Delgada, Azores in position 43°00'N, 23°50'W. The German ship was en route from Tenerife to France. A capture was not possible due to the bad weather so Bonaventure had to sink the German ship with a torpedo.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/111585
  2. ADM 53/111586
  3. ADM 53/111587
  4. ADM 199/379
  5. ADM 53/111588
  6. ADM 53/111591
  7. ADM 53/111592

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


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