Allied Warships

HMS Bellona (63)

Light cruiser of the Bellona class


HMS Bellona as completed in 1943

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassBellona 
Pennant63 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered4 Sep 1939 
Laid down30 Nov 1939 
Launched29 Sep 1942 
Commissioned29 Oct 1943 
End service 
History

Loaned to the Royal New Zealand Navy on 17 April 1946.
Returned to the Royal Navy in April 1956.
In reserve during 1956-1957.
Scrapped by Ward, Briton Ferry, Wales starting on 5 February 1959.

 

Commands listed for HMS Bellona (63)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Charles Fred Wivell Norris, RN16 Aug 194320 Jan 1945
2Capt. Gerald Seymour Tuck, DSO, RN20 Jan 19451 Jul 1946

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Notable events involving Bellona include:


8 Nov 1943
HMS Spiteful (Lt.Cdr. F.H. Sherwood, DSC, RCNVR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN), HMS Hardy (Lt.Cdr. R. Horncastle, RN), HMS Kempenfelt (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Marjoribanks, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, DSC, RN) and HMS Termagent (Lt.Cdr. J.P. Scatchard, DSC, RN). (1)

24 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (2)

30 Nov 1943
HMS Taku (Lt. A.J.W. Pitt, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMIS Cauvery (A/Cdr. A.W. Beeton, RIN) and HMS Tuscan (Lt.Cdr. C.H.de B. Newby, RN). (2)

9 Dec 1943
HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Enterprise (Capt. H.T.W. Grant, DSO, RCN), HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN) and HMS Golden Thyme (T/Lt. J.S. Bowes, RNVR). (3)

15 Dec 1943
HMS Syrtis (Lt. M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) conducted practice attacks on HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (4)

17 Dec 1943
HMS Syrtis (Lt. M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN) serving as target. (4)

17 Dec 1943
HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN), HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN) and HMCS Haida (Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (5)

19 Apr 1944
Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN, transferred his flag from HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) to HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (6)

7 Jul 1944
HMS Shakespeare (Lt. D. Swanston, DSC and Bar, RN) conducted A/S exercises with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (7)

14 Jul 1944

Operation Mascot.

Object of the operation was to cripple the German battleship Tirpitz in the Kaa Fiord by bombing attacks.

Ships taking part in the operation were the battleship HMS Duke of York (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, CBE, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, CVO, DSO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Indefatigable (Capt. Q.D. Graham, CBE, DSO, RN), HMS Formidable (Capt. P. Ruck-Keene, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN), heavy cruisers HMS Devonshire (Capt. D.K. Bain, DSO, RN), HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN), light cruisers HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN), HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN), destroyers HMS Milne (Capt. M. Richmond, DSO, OBE, RN), HMS Marne (Lt.Cdr. P.A.R. Withers, DSO, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Musketeer (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN), HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMS Virago (Lt.Cdr. A.J.R. White, RN), HMS Volage (Cdr. L.G. Durlacher, OBE, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN), HMS Bulldog (Lt.Cdr. C.G. Walker, RN) and the frigates HMS Burges (Lt.Cdr. H. Hill, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Hoste (Lt. P.J.H. Hoare, RN) and HMS Inman (Lt.Cdr. P.S. Evans, RN).

On the 17th, 45 Barracuda bombers and 50 fighters took off from the carriers but they were detected early and on arriving in the target area thick smoke obscured the target and bombing was consequently ineffective. A destroyer was attacked and claimed to have been damaged by a single Barracuda and a tanker and gun positions were also attacked. Fighters also attacked secondary targets. According to German sources, besides Tirpitz the destroyers Z 29, Z 31, Z 33, Z 34 and Z 38 were present. Z 33 was damaged by own AA gunfire and Z 29 and Z 34 suffered some minor splinter damage.

A second strike was cancelled owing to thick fog.

One Corsair fighter made a forced landing.

The Force returned to Scapa Flow on the 19th.

On the 14th, before sailing, Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN, had transferred his flag from HMS Devonshire to HMS Formidable. On return to Scapa Flow the flag was transferred back. (8)

24 Oct 1944
The heavy cruisers HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow with destroyers, she was later joined by HMS Berwick (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (9)

27 Oct 1944
HMS Virulent (Lt. S.J. Fovargue, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Cowdray (Lt. D.J. Beckley, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN). (10)

1 Nov 1944
HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. D.K. Bain, DSO, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellasis, RN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (11)

8 Nov 1944

Operations Counterblast and Steak, first attempt, aborted.

Operation Counterblast.

The object of this operation was the destruction of shipping off the south west coast of Norway.

On 8 November 1944, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Myngs (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Verulam ( Lt.Cdr. M Thornton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN) departed Scapa Flow around 1800A/8.

Operation Steak.

This operation had two objectives;
1) To provide fighter cover for operation Counterblast.

2) To carry out an air attacks by fighter aircraft on shipping in the Vingvaagen anchorage or sweep off the Leads to the westward.

On 9 November 1944, the escort carrier HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Caesar (Capt. G.N. Brewer, DSO, RN), HMS Zephyr (Lt.Cdr. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) departed Scapa Flow around 0900A/9.

Weather conditions were found to be unsuitable and the operations were cancelled / postponed and both forces returned to Scapa Flow arriving late in the afternoon of the 9th. (12)

11 Nov 1944

Operations Counterblast and Steak, second, successful, attempt.

Operation Counterblast.

The object of this operation was the destruction of shipping off the south west coast of Norway.

Around 2100A/11, the heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Myngs (Capt. M.L. Power, CBE, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. W. Scott, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Verulam ( Lt.Cdr. M Thornton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN) departed Scapa Flow.

Operation Steak.

This operation had two objectives;
1) To provide fighter cover for operation Counterblast.

2) To carry out an air attacks by fighter aircraft on shipping in the Vingvaagen anchorage or sweep off the Leads to the westward.

Around 0800A/12, the escort carrier HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Caesar (Capt. G.N. Brewer, DSO, RN), HMS Zephyr (Lt.Cdr. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. H.G.D. De Chair, DSC with Bar, RN) and HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN) departed Scapa Flow.

During operations Counterblast / Steak the German convoy KS-357-ST was attacked near the Lister Fjord (south-east of Egersund). Out of four merchant vessels in the convoy the Greif (996 GRT, built 1923) and Cornouaille (former Belgian, 3303 GRT, built 1928) were sunk. From the six escorts five were sunk. These were minesweepers M 416, M 427, and the submarine chasers UJ 1221, UJ 1223 and UJ 1713. Also a German radar station was destroyed by the aircraft of HMS Pursuer.

All ships returned to Scapa Flow in the morning of November 16th except for HMS Euryalus which had parted company with her force at 1600A/15 and then set course for Rosyth where she also arrived in the morning of the 16th. At Rosyth she was then taken in hand by the dockyard. (12)

29 Dec 1944
HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (13)

6 Jan 1945
HrMs Zeehond (Lt.Cdr. Baron D.T. Mackay, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN). (14)

9 Jan 1945
During the afternoon and evening, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN), fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) and some destroyers (most likely HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN), HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Carron (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Wilkinson, DSC, RN)) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (15)

10 Jan 1945

Operations Spellbinder and Gratis

Operation Spellbinder was carried out in two parts, part I was an anti-shipping raid in the Egersund area and part II was a minelay near Utsira Island.

Operation Gratis was the laying of an air laid minefield in Karm Sund.

Around 2200A/10, ' Force 1 ', made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN) and HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) and ' Force 2 ', made up of the fast minelayer HMS Apollo (Capt. J.A. Grindle, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Carron (Lt.Cdr. J.V. Wilkinson, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operation Spellbinder.

They proceeded in company until 1100A/11 when they split up to the north of the Shetlands. ' Force 2 ' remained in that vicinity until 1508A/11 when course and speed were adjusted so as to arrive in the laying position at midnight. ' Force 1 ' set course for the Egersund area, aiming to arrive off the coast at about 2215A/11.

HMS Apollo, HMS Zealous and HMS Carron approached the Norwegian coast from the north-westward at 30 knots, in fine clear weather, making use of the beam of the enemy consol beacon situated in position 58°37'5"N, 05°37'8"E. Course was altered to 090° at 2336A/11 and Utsira light was seen shortly afterwards.

Starshell from ' Force 1 ', engaged 100 miles to the southward, was observed at 2343A/11. Five minutes later ' Force 2 ' reduced speed to 20 knots and HMS Zealous and HMS Carron proceeded ahead to make a smokescreen between the laying position and them mainland.

Between 2357A/11 and 0020A/12, HMS Apollo laid 156 mines in three lines as follows;
Line 1 of 52 mines - Between 59°15'00"N, 05°01'06"E and 59°15'00"N, 05°04'21"E.
Line 2 of 55 mines - Between 59°14'51"N, 05°06'06"E and 59°13'39"N, 05°00'00"E.
Line 3 of 49 mines - Between 59°13'15"N, 05°07'54"E and 59°12'51"N, 05°04'48"E.
The mines were laid at a depth of 30 feet and flooders were set to operate on 19 February 1945.

On completion of this unobserved lay ' Force 2 ' retired at high speed to the northward and then set course to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived around 1450A/12.

' Force 1 ' had picked up Utsira Island by radar at 1940A/11 and an hour later course was altered to close the convoy route south of Stavanger. The ships were positioned in line ahead.

At 2215A/11, ' Force 1 ' altered course to starboard to run down the coast, keeping 10 miles to seaward and parallel to the shipping route. At the same time they were picked up and held by enemy shore radar.

At 2312A/11, when opposite Egersund, radar contact was made with a convoy close inshore and apparently making for Egersund. Course was altered towards the target and fire was opened with starshell at 2341A/11. The appearance of a radar echo on the starboard bow, which was classified as a U-boat, somewhat complicated the movements of ' Force 1 '.

During the ensuing engagement the enemy shore batteries joined in, but although they registered several straddles and near misses they achieved no hits. Rear-Admiral McGrigor reported that out of eight ships which made up the convoy, including escorts, one, probably an escort, escaped into Egersund after being hit. Of the remaining seven, one large merchant vessel was sunk and another one was left blazing to the waterline. One small merchant vessel, or escort, was seen to turn turtle. One M-class minesweeper blew up after running itself ashore in flames. The other three ships were left on fire of which one was seen to blow up when ' Force 1 ' was retiring.

' Force 1 ' withdrew to the west at 0027A/12, altering to the northward when well clear of enemy radar. They made rendezvous with ' Force 3 ' at 0800A/12. At 0910A/12, a shadowing JU 88 was shot down by fighters from HMS Trumpeter. One of the fighters was damaged and had to ditch the pilot being recovered by HMS Zodiac. The Combat Air Patrol was kept busy during the forenoon investigating bogeys, but no enemy attack developed and at 1400A/12, ' Force 3 ' was detached for operation Gratis. ' Force 1 ' then headed for Scapa Flow, passing east of the Shetlands, and arrived at 2205A/12.

' Force 3 ', made up of the light cruiser HMS Dido (Capt. R.F. Elkins, OBE, RN), escort carriers Premier (A/Capt. R.J. Gardner, RN), HMS Trumpeter (Cdr. K.S. Colquhoun, RN) and the destroyers HMS Opportune (Cdr. R.E.D. Ryder, VC, RN), HMS Zest (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN), HMS Zodiac (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, DSC, RN) and HMS Cavendish (Cdr. R.H. Maurice, DSO, RN), had departed Scapa Flow at 1130A/11, to rendezvous with ' Force 1 ', and, having been detached on the 12th, proceeded west-about round the Shetlands and through Fair Isle Channel for the flying off position in 59°15'N, 01°10'E.

Two MTB's from Lerwick had been detailed to rendezvous with ' Force 3 ', to act as Air Sea Rescue craft in the event of a ditching to the east the flying off position. They made rendezvous at 0915A/13, just short of the flying off position. In view of the good weather conditions, flying off commenced immediately and by 0930A/13, the strike, made up of six Avengers from 846 Squadron and eight Wildcats from HMS Trumpeter and six Avengers from 856 Squadron and eight Wildcats from HMS Premier, was airborne. Departure was taken at 0938A/13 and a good landfall was made on Utsira Island. At about 1130A/13 the 12 Avengers laid their mines in the channel between Salhus light and a position 500 yards to the northward. Only light flack was encountered and all aircraft returned safely to the carriers being landed on by 1150A/13. ' Force 3 ' then returned to Scapa Flow arriving there at 2100A/13.

The German convoy attacked by ' Force 1 ' was made up of the transports Bahia Camarones (8551 GRT, built 1918), Charlotte (4404 GRT, built 1908) and Wesermarsch (1923 GRT, built 1943). They were escorted by the minesweepers M-456, M-436, M-306, M-273 and M-253. The submarine U-427 was also with the convoy and she fired torpedoes at ' Force 1 ' but all mised. The Bahia Camarones, Charlotte and M-273 were sunk.

13 Mar 1945
HMS Scotsman (Lt. A.H.B. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Bellona (Capt. G.S. Tuck, DSO, RN). (16)

6 Apr 1945

Operation Newmarket.

Air attacks on German submarine tenders at Kilbotn, Norway.

The escort carriers HMS Searcher (Capt. J.W. Grant, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Puncher (Capt. R.E.S. Bidwell, RCN), HMS Queen (A/Capt. K.J. D'Arcy, DSO, RN), HMS Trumpeter (A/Capt. K.S. Colquhoun, RN), light cruisers HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN), HMS Bellona (Capt. G.S. Tuck, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. E.M. Thorpe, DSO, RN), HMS Scorpion (Cdr. C.W. McMullen, DSC, RN), HMS Scourge (Lt.Cdr. C.G.H. Brown, DSC, RN), HMS Zambesi (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Palmer, RN), HMS Zealous (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Zest (Lt.Cdr. R.B.N. Hicks, DSO, RN) and HMS Carysfort (Lt.Cdr. L.St.G. Rich, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Scapa Flow on 6 April 1945 to conduct air strikes against German submarine tenders off Kilbotn, Norway.

The operation however had to be cancelled due to the weather conditions rendering flying impossible. The ships remained in the area for about three days but weather did not improve.

The ships returned to Scapa Flow on 12 April 1945. (17)

18 Apr 1945
HMS Trusty (Lt. W. St.G. Anderson, DSC, RNR) conducts exercises with HrMs Zeehond (Lt. S.H. de Boer, RNN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. G.S. Tuck, DSO, RN). (18)

12 Jul 1945
HMS Rodney (Capt. R.O. Fitzroy, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, CVO, DSO, RN, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet), HMS Bellona (Capt. G.S. Tuck, DSO, RN) and ORP Conrad (Capt. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) proceeded from Rosyth to Scapa Flow. (19)

20 Jul 1945
HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.W. Williams, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, CBE, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. C.P. Clarke, DSO, RN) and HMS Bellona (Capt. G.S. Tuck, DSO, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (20)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/18096
  2. ADM 173/18180
  3. ADM 173/18214
  4. ADM 173/18166
  5. ADM 53/118679
  6. ADM 53/118973 + ADM 53/119633 + ADM 199/1427
  7. ADM 173/18719
  8. ADM 53/118976 + ADM 53/119252 + ADM 53/119295 + ADM 53/119441 + ADM 53/119474 + ADM 53/119602 + ADM 53/119624 + ADM 53/119636 + ADM 199/1427
  9. ADM 53/118979 + ADM 53/1192002 + ADM 53/119639
  10. ADM 173/19410
  11. ADM 53/118980 + ADM 53/119256 + ADM 53/119417 + ADM 53/119640
  12. ADM 53/118980 + ADM 53/119417 + ADM 53/119640 + ADM 53/120290 + ADM 199/1426 + ADM 199/1427
  13. ADM 53/118981 + ADM 53/120183
  14. 2.12.03.7152 (Dutch Archives, The Hague)
  15. ADM 53/120967 + ADM 53/121918
  16. ADM 173/19580
  17. ADM 199/1440
  18. ADM 173/20040
  19. ADM 53/120973 + ADM 53/122160
  20. ADM 53/121008 + ADM ADM 53/120973 + ADM 53/121426

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


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