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HMS Penelope - World Naval Ships Directory

HMS Penelope

Name : HMS Penelope
Laid Down : 30th May 1934
Launched : 15th October 1935
Completed : 13th November 1936
Type : Cruiser
Class : Arethusa
Builder : Harland and Wolff
Country : UK
Pennants : 97
Fate : Sunk 18th February 1944

Harland & Wolff launched this Arethusa class light cruiser on 15 October 1935 and she entered service in the Royal Navy on 13 November 1936. At the outbreak of World War II she was with the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean, having arrived at Malta on 2 September 1939. In January 1940 PENELOPE moved to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in the Home Fleet on convoy escort duties, and in April and May 1940, she took part in the Norwegian operations. On 11 April PENELOPE ran aground near Bodø, Norway, while hunting German merchant ships; her crew made temporary repairs before she returned home under tow a month later. After completion of repairs and trials in August 1941, she returned to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow, employed in patrolling the Iceland - Faeroes passage to intercept enemy surface ships.

PENELOPE and her sister AURORA were then formed the core of Force "K" based at Malta, arriving on 21 October. On 9 November, both cruisers and their escorting destroyers intercepted an Italian convoy of six destroyers and seven merchant ships sailing for Libya and in the ensuing battle off Cape Spartivento, they sank one enemy destroyer (FULMINE) and all of the merchant ships. On 24 November, Force "K" intercepted another enemy convoy, sinking two more merchant ships west of Crete. Force "K" received the Prime Minister's congratulations on their fine work. On 1 December 1941, Force "K" scored further successes with the sinking of two Italian merchant ships and a destroyer. In early 1942 she took escorted convoys to and from Malta, during one of which she had to tow the damaged supply ship BRECONSHIRE to Malta.

On 26 March in Malta, enemy bombs near-missed PENELOPE, causing holes forward and aft. She docked drydock for repair where shrapnel holes were plugged with wood. There were so many holes that she received the nickname “HMS Pepperpot” and sailed for Gibraltar on 8 April, leaving after temporary repair in May for full repairs in New York. After repair, PENELOPE arrived at Scapa Flow on 2 December and remained in home waters until the middle of January 1943. She then joined the 12th Cruiser Squadron with the Western Mediterranean Fleet. In June 1943, PENELOPE took part in the assault on the Italian island of Pantelleria, which resulted in the final surrender of the island on 11 June 1943. In July 1943 she was part of the naval force for the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky.

Then, in September 1943, she was part of the force for Operation Avalanche, the allied landings at Salerno, Italy. In January 1944, she took part in Operation Shingle, the amphibious assault on Anzio, Italy. On 18 February 1944, PENELOPE was leaving the Anzio area at 26 knots to return to Naples when the German submarine U-410 torpedoed and sank her. 415 of the crew, including the captain, went down with the ship. There were 206 survivors.

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Database Currently Holds : 6274 ships and 6289 crew!

Last edited : 11:56, July 25, 2011
By : tjstoneman




HMS Penelope.


HMS Penelope, fitting out, 1936.


HMS Penelope, fitting out, 1936.


HMS Penelope, 1936.

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