|Dad served from 28-03-44 to 01-10-45|
Battle Honours: Norway 1940-41, Malta Convoys 1941-42, Normandy 1944.
Arethusa Class Light CruisersSmaller light cruisers, suitable for acting as destroyer leaders.
Light AA armament was increased during WWII.
Displacement: 5,220 tons standard (5,270 Penelope and Aurora); 6,665 tons full load (6,715 Penelope and Aurora)
Dimensions: 480 pp, 506 oa x 51 x 14 feet
Propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons geared turbines, 4 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 64,000 shp. = 32.25 knots
Range: unknown; 1,325 tons fuel oil
Armament: 3 dual 6-inch / 50 Mk 23 ; 4 dual 4-inch / 45 QF Mk 16 HA (4 single 4-inch / 45 QF Mk 8 HA in Arethusa and Galatea, later replaced by 4 dual Mk 16); 2 quad 0.5-inch MG; 2 triple 21-inch TT.; 1 seaplane
Armour: 1 to 3 inch magazine box protection; 2.25 inch belt; 1 inch deck, turrets and bulkheads
HMS Arethusa   
Built by Chatham Dockyard. Laid Down 25th January 1933.
Launched 6th March 1934. Completed 23rd May 1935.
Paid off 1945. Target trials ship 1948.
Broken up by Cashmore, Newport, 1950.
HMS GalateaBuilt by Scotts, Greenock. Laid Down 2nd June 1933.
Launched 9th August 1934. Completed 4th August 1935.
Sunk 15th December 1941 by a torpedo from U-boat U557, off Alexandria (470 lost).
HMS Penelope[photo #1] [photo #2] [photo #3]
Built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Laid Down 30th May 1934.
Launched 15th October 1935. Completed 13th November 1936.
Sunk 18th February 1944 by a torpedo from U-boat U410, off Anzio (415 lost).
HMS Aurora (C12)[photo] [photo #2]
Built by Portsmouth Dockyard. Laid Down 23rd July 1935.
Launched 20th August 1936. Completed 12th November 1937.
Paid off April 1946. Transferred to China 1948.
In July 1940 the French Fleet was put out of action by the British Navy.The attack on Mers-el-Kebir in North Africa by V.Adm. Somerville's squadron, was codenamed Operation Catapult. After Admiral Gensoul rejected the British ultimatum to hand over the French Fleet, Force H opened fire on the hapless French ships lying at anchor. Battleship Bretagne was hit and quickly sunk with 977 of her crew, Dunkerque and Provence were badly damaged and suffered many casualties. Flottilla leader Mogador lost her stern and 42 of her crew. Battlecruiser Strasbourg, Dunkerque's sister, managed to escape to Toulon with five destroyers. In all the French lost 1147 sailors. The British squadron was composed of the following ships: HMS Ark Royal - carrier, HMS Hood - battlecruiser, HMS Resolution - battleship, HMS Valiant - battleship, HMS Arethusa - light cruiser, HMS Enterprise - light cruiser; HMS Active, Escort, Faulknor, Fearless, Forester, Foresight, Foxhound, Keppel, Vidette, Vortigen and Wrestler - destroyers.
D-Day - NormandyMy Dad was Captain of the Gun on one of the dual 4 inch HA guns during his time on Arethusa and encountered jarred nerves for the first time, due to the noise; on earlier ships he was usually inside B turret. Dad was on the Arethusa during D-Day and they shelled the area around Caen in front of SWORD beach. Here's a photo of (left to right) Arethusa, Danae and Mauritius on there way to the enemy coast 3 June 1944. On the 14th Arethusa went back to Portsmouth to collect King George VI and the local newspaper mentioned how he had nimbly boarded the small boat to take him ashore at Normandy. The truth soon got around the crew, however, describing his stumble and fall!
During the following week they had the misfortune to be bombed just off the stern by one of the few German planes in the area. This caused some damage to the propeller shaft and they went back to Greenock for repairs. Peter Edwards, the radio mechanic (who later became Governor of Manchester Prison), persuaded dad to go to church and it was here he met my mum. Dad says that the repairs obviously took too long!
Notes taken from Arethusa's "Log Book" June 1944:[P.R.O. ref. ADM 53 /118866]
Captain Smith. 2nd June: 1610 Rear Admiral Patterson addressed the ship. 1913 Left the Clyde. 6th June: 0455 Arrived Eastern Task Force Area (Bombarding Force D - Assault Convoy S6). 0550 Opened fire with 6" guns on Le Mont Battery. 0553 Engaged enemy destroyers. 0958 Enemy shells close. 1306 Fired on Houlegate battery. Expended 392 rounds of main ammunition by 1600. 2321 Anchored in 9 fathoms. 7th June: At Baie de la Seine (Ouistreham). 0620 Fired at target 045305 etc. 2115 Set course for Portsmouth. Rearmed, then back to Baie de la Seine. 13th June: Signal received thanking Arethusa for excellent and accurate shooting. 14th June: Returned to Portsmouth. 16th June: 0808 Left Portsmouth carrying HM The King, Sir Charles Portal, Admiral Cunningham and Admiral Ramsay on a day visit to the beach-head. Arrived JUNO 1240. Left 1700 with HM The King and Admirals. 2050 Arrived Portsmouth. 19th June: Off Baie de la Seine. 24th June: 0444 Bomb dropped 25 yards off port beam. 2130 Shells land close on starboard bow. 25th June: 0045 Mine exploded astern: "Emergency Stations". Internally damaged.