George Devereux Belben DSO, DSC, RN

Born  14 May 1897Bark Hart, Seldown, Poole
Died  18 Feb 1944(46)HMS Penelope


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Ranks

31 Jul 1914 Mid.
15 Jul 1916 A/S.Lt.
15 Jan 1917 S.Lt.
15 Feb 1918 Lt.
15 Feb 1926 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1931 Cdr. (1)
30 Jun 1939 Capt.

Decorations

23 Jul 1918 DSC
ca. 1918 AM
4 Apr 1944 DSO (posthumous) (1)
1 Aug 1944 Mentioned in Despatches (MID) (posthumous)

Warship Commands listed for George Devereux Belben, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Canton (F 97)Capt.Armed Merchant Cruiser26 Sep 193910 Feb 1941
HMS Penelope (97)Capt.Light cruiser10 Aug 194218 Feb 1944 (+)

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Light cruiser HMS Penelope (97)


5 Sep 1942
Having completed her repairs, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed the Brooklyn Navy Yard and proceeded to Gravesend Bay. (2)

9 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Bayonne after which she returned to Gravesend Bay. (2)

11 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted trials off New York after which she returned to Gravesend Bay. (2)

13 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) proceeded to Delaware Bay where she conducted some exercises. (2)

14 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Delaware Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. (2)

17 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (2)

18 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (2)

19 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. (2)

21 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Norfolk, Virginia for Bermuda. (2)

22 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Bermuda. (2)

23 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Bermuda for Portsmouth, UK. (2)

30 Sep 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Plymouth. (2)

1 Oct 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Plymouth to Portsmouth.

At the Portsmouth Dockyard she was taken in hand for the fitting of new equipment and other work that could not be undertaken in the USA. (3)

23 Oct 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked at Portsmouth. (3)

12 Nov 1942 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked. (4)

22 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Portsmouth. (4)

28 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted D/G trials off Portsmouth. (4)

30 Nov 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow. On departure she is escorted for a while by HMS Albrighton (Lt.Cdr. R.J. Hanson, DSO, DSC, RN). (4)

2 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow to commence a work-up period. (5)

10 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted independent exercises off Scapa Flow. She remained out during the night of 10/11 December. (5)

11 Dec 1942
Around 0900 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) joined HMS King George V (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of flying the flag of Admiral J.C. Tovey, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN, C-in-C Home Fleet), HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN), HMS Sheffield (Capt. A.W. Clarke, RN), HMS Onslow (Capt. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Kinloch, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) which were also out on exercises.

Around 1200 hours, HMS Penelope parted company with these ships and then joined HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) for exercises until returning to Scapa Flow in the evening. (5)

14 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (5)

17 Dec 1942
In the late afternoon HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow.

In the evening HMS Penelope conducted night encounter exercises with HMS Kent (Capt. A.E.M.B. Cunninghame-Graham, RN) and HMS Ajax (Capt. J.J. Weld, MVO, RN). (5)

18 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted independent exercises off Scapa Flow. After returning to Scapa Flow torpedo firing exercises were carried out. (5)

22 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted torpedo firing exercises at Scapa Flow. (5)

23 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. In the evening a night shadowing exercise was carried out. (5)

24 Dec 1942
In the afternoon, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted an oiling at sea exercise at Scapa flow with the RFA tanker Blue Ranger. This exercise was followed by an A/S exercise with a submarine. [This was most likely HrMs O 15 (Lt. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN).] (5)

28 Dec 1942
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (5)

1 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises at Scapa Flow. (6)

2 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. (6)

5 Jan 1943
HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN), HMS Glasgow (Capt. E.M. Evans-Lombe, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) all conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. (7)

7 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow, first with HMS Malaya (Capt. J.W.A. Waller, RN) and later with HMS Carlisle (Capt. H.F. Nalder, RN). (6)

8 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted an oiling at sea exercises during which she oiled the destroyer ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki). (6)

13 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery and radar exercises at Scapa Flow. (6)

14 Jan 1943
In the second half of the morning, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted radar calibration exercises off Scapa Flow.

The were followed by a rangefinding and inclination exercises with HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) which was being escorted by three destroyers, two of which might have been HMS Montrose (A/Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) and HMS Walpole (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, DSC, RN). Later in the afternoon HMS Howe had three other destroyers with her during an rangefinding and inclination exercise with HMS Belfast (Capt. F.R. Parham, RN). These destroyers were HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

And finally HMS Penelope conducted gunnery exercises for the 6" armamant. (6)

16 Jan 1943
In the morning HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted gunnery exercises off Scapa Flow. Upon completion of these she set course for the Clyde. (6)

17 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Greenock. She departed for Gibraltar later the same day. (6)

22 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (6)

27 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Gibraltar for Mers-el-Kebir. (6)

28 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Mers-el-Kebir. (6)

29 Jan 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Mers-el-Kebir. (6)

1 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted HA gunnery exercises off Mers-el-Kebir. (8)

2 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Mers-el-Kebir for Algiers. (8)

3 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Algiers. (8)

4 Feb 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived later the same day. (8)

13 Feb 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Bone for Algiers where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 40 minutes. (9)

22 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Algiers to Philippeville. (8)

25 Feb 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Philippeville to Bone. (8)

1 Mar 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Bone. (10)

5 Mar 1943
Around 1815/5, ' Force Q ', made up of the light cruisers HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) departed Bone for a sweep to the eastward.

They returned to Bone around 0900/6 not having sighted the enemy. (11)

9 Mar 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Bone to Algiers. (12)

24 Mar 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived later the same day.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around noon, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about 35 minutes. Following the exercises the destroyers joined HMS Penelope and HMS Sirius to proceed with them to Bone. (13)

7 Apr 1943
HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN) and ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP) departed Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these two forces conducted exercises for about an hour. (14)

19 Apr 1943
Around 1930/19, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Ashanti (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and RHS Adrias (Cdr. I. Toumbas), departed Algiers for Bone where they arrived around 0745/20. (15)

22 Apr 1943
Around 1415/22, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Eskimo (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Bone for a patrol to the south of Marittimo. No enemy ships were encountered. One Ju-52 transport plane was claimed to have been damaged and possibly destroyed by HMS Penelope. (16)

4 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Bone for Algiers.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1130 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for about half an hour. (17)

18 May 1943
HMS Aurora (Capt. W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) shifted from Algiers to Bone.

On the same day HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, DSO, RN) and HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN) proceeded in the opposite direction.

Around 1115 hours, while en-route, these cruisers conducted exercises with each other for nearly half an hour. (17)

31 May 1943
Around 0100 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bone for Malta where she arrived around 1800 hours. (18)

1 Jun 1943
Around 0800/1, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Malta to conduct a bombardment of Pantellaria. she was escorted by HMS Paladin (Lt.Cdr. L. St.G. Rich, DSO, RN) and HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

The bombardment was commenced at 1830/1. HMS Penelope was hit by a 5.9" shell from a coastal battery at 1838/1, no casualties were sustained. The bombardment ceased at 1840/1.

HMS Penelope, HMS Paladin and HMS Petard returned to Malta around 0600/2. (19)

7 Jun 1943
Around 2015/7, the light cruisers HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) departed Malta to bombard Pantellaria.

Around 0800/8, the light cruiser HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN, with General Eisenhower and Admiral Cunningham on board) departed Bone to join the other ships. At sea, around 0620/8, she was joined by the destroyer HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN).

The island was bombarded between approximately 1115/8 and 1215/8. HMS Aurora also bombarded the island (harbour area). She opened fire at 1126 and ceased fire after having fired 35 round of 6".

Following the bombardment HMS Newfoundland, HMS Penelope, HMS Orion and the destroyers returned to Malta arriving around 2230/8. HMS Euryalus proceeded to Bone where she arrived around /8. En-route to Bone HMS Euryalus, was attacked at 1405/8, near Cape Bon in position 36°59'N, 11°17'E, by seven FW 109's but she was not damaged despite being near-missed several times. HMS Euryalus arrived at Bone around 2100/8.

HMS Aurora, still escorted by HMS Troubridge, proceeded to Bizerta to land the General and the Admiral. She arrived there around 1700/8. A little over an hour later she departed Bizerta for Malta escorted by HMS Troubridge and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas). They arrived at Malta around 0715/9. (20)

11 Jun 1943

Operation Corkscrew.

Capture of Pantellaria and Lampedusa.

From Sfax, ' Convoy A ' sailed for the landings on Pantelleria. This convoy was made up the headquarters ship HMS Largs (Cdr. E.A. Divers, OBE, RNR, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.R. McGregor, RN), landing ships HMS Princess Beatrix (Cdr.(Retd.) T.B. Brunton, DSC, RN) and HMS Queen Emma (Capt.(Retd.) G.L.D. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN). They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Eggesford (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Austin, RN), HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Whaddon (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN).

From Sousse, departed ' Convoy B ' and ' Convoy C '.
' Convoy B ' was made up of the landing ship HMS Royal Ulsterman (Lt.Cdr. W.R.K. Clark, DSC, RD RNR), 20 LCI(L)'s and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Lamerton (Lt.Cdr. C.R. Purse, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Wheatland (Lt.Cdr. R.deL. Brooke, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN).
' Convoy C ' was made up of landing ship HMS Misoa (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Grace, DSC, RD, RNR), gunboat HMS Aphis ( Lt.Cdr. F.Y. Bethell, RN), and 21 LCI(L)'s, 4 LCF's and 2 ML's. They were escorted by the minesweepers HMS Clacton (A/Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) L.S. Shaw, RNR), HMS Polruan (Lt. C.D. Sampson, RNVR), HMS Rhyl (Cdr. L.J.S. Ede, DSO, RN), HMS Stornoway (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.R. Fraser, RNR) and the M/S trawlers HMS Hoy (T/Lt. G.H. McNair, MBE, RNVR), HMS Inchcolm (Skr. A.C. Whitcombe, RNR), HMS Mull (T/Lt. R.R. Simpson, RNR) and HMS Rysa (T/Lt. J.H. Cooper, RNVR).

From Malta departed the bombardment / cover force which was made up of the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Newfoundland (Capt. W.R. Slayter, DSC, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

Eight motor torpedo boats and / or motor gun boats were also set to patrol in the area.

All forces sailed on 10 June to be off Pantellaria on 11 June 1944.

A final bombardment was then carried out and also aircraft from North African air bases carried out attacks. The island surrendered shortly before noon without further fighting. Rear-Admiral McGregor transferred his flag to HMS Tartar. HMS Largs, landing ships, landing craft and escorts were then ordered to proceed to Sousse.

The cruisers and fleet destroyers then proceeded to Lampedusa. Bombandment of that island commenced at 2245/11 and continued throughout the 12th. Also air bombardments were carried out. The island surrendered in the evening.

Weather was to bad to land at Lampion Island but the island appeared to be uninhabited.

The surrender of Linosa Island was accepted by HMS Nubian.

The forces that were still at sea were then dispersed. (21)

13 Jun 1943
Around 0100/13, HMS Orion (Capt. G.C.P. Menzies, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. A.F. Pugsley, DSO, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas) arrived at Malta from Operation Corkscrew. (19)

18 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Malta. (22)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar where she was to be taken in hand for repairs. (22)

22 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (22)

24 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked in No.2 Dock at Gibraltar. (22)

29 Jun 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked. (22)

3 Jul 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Gibraltar for Bone. (23)

5 Jul 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Bone. (23)

6 Jul 1943
Around 1245/6, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bone to join the escort of convoy KMF 18B which was en-route to Sicily for operation Husky.

Both cruisers were part of the cover force for operation Husky.

They joined the convoy around 1500/6 and remained with it until 2200/7 after the convoy had passed through the Tunisian War Channel. (24)

8 Jul 1943
Around 0620/8, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), briefly joined up with ' Force H ' the main cover force for the landings before. They parted company around 1100/8 to fuel where they arrived around 1515/8.

After fuelling the departed again around 1800 hours to rejoin ' Force H ' which was cruising to the north of the Gulf of Sirte to provide cover for Operation Husky. (24)

9 Jul 1943
Around 0830/9, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN) and HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), again joined up with ' Force H ' the main cover force for Operation Husky. They were detached, together with the destroyers HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), around 1300/8 to patrol to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily. (25)

10 Jul 1943
Between 0115 and 0130/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) bombarded Catania, on the east coast of Sicily. Targets were allocated as follows; HMS Aurora the central railway station, HMS Penelope the power station and the destroyers the 'Bacino di Ponente' (this was probably a water basin).

Between 0220 and 0230/10, they bombarded Taormina which was further to the North. The railway station was the main target.

At 0630/10, they rejoined ' Force H ' which by now had come up from just north of the Gulf of Sirte to a position to the east of the south-east tip of Sicily.

At 1937/10, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached again to act independently from the main force. Now the destroyers HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) were with them. They were to patrol further north, to the south of the Straits of Messina.

Shortly after 2300/10, they were attacked by enemy aircraft but no damage was sustained. Enemy aircraft continued to be around during the night. (25)

11 Jul 1943
Around 0700/11, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) rejoined ' Force H ', the main cover force for operation Husky.

Around 0850/11, HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope were detached to fuel at Malta where they arrived around 1315/11.

They departed again around 1700/11 to rejoin ' Force H ' which they did around 2000/11. (25)

14 Jul 1943
In the aftenoon part of ' Force H, 1st Division ', of the cover force during the landings in Sicily (Operation Husky), arrived at Malta to fuel. These were the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN). (26)

15 Jul 1943
Early in the evening, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) departed Malta to resume their patrol off Sicily to provide cover for the ships participating in the landings. (26)

16 Jul 1943
Around 0020/16 ' Force H, 1st Division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. G. Grantham, CB, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C. Moody, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) was attacked by an Italian aircraft. The aircraft was difficult to identify and was first thought to be friendly but at 0028/16 HMS Indomitale was hit by a torpedo abreast the boiler room on her port side. Position of the attack was 36°22'N, 16°08'E.

Following the attack, HMS Indomitable, listed 12° to port. She lost speed and subsequently dropped out of line which at that point had been HMS Aurora, HMS Nelson, HMS Rodney, HMS Indomitable and HMS Penelope. On seeing her dropping astern Vice-Admiral Willis ordered ORP Piorun and HMS Echo to join her, later HMS Ilex was also ordered to stay with the carrier. Eventually HMS Indomatable rejoined the Division.

At 0730/16, rendezvous was effected with ' Force H, 2nd division ' which was made up of the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Formidable (Rear-Admiral. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN) and RHS Vasilissa Olga (Lt.Cdr. G. Blessas).

HMS Formidable then joined the 1st Division while the damaged HMS Indomitable joined the 2nd Division which then proceeded to Malta to refuel arrived there in the morning.

At 1530/16, HMS Formidable was detached to proceed to Malta escorted by the destroyer HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Lauderdale (Lt. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN) and HMS Oakley (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN). These three ships had joined the force shortly before HMS Formidable was detached. They apparently did not enter Malta but just escorted the carrier there. (27)

17 Jul 1943
Around 0930/17, ' Force H, 1st Division ', made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, KCB, DSO, RN), HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN), light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Tyrian (Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Queenborough (Cdr. E.P. Hinton, DSO and Bar, MVO, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN) returned to Malta. (27)

20 Jul 1943
Around 1330/20, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Troubridge (Capt. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN), HMS Quilliam (Capt. S.H. Carlill, DSO, RN), HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN) and ORP Piorun (Cdr. S.T. Dzienisiewicz) departed Malta for a bombardment of Crotone.

The bombardment was carried out shortly before 0200/21. Main targets were the harbour area and a chemical plant.

The force returned to Malta around 1600/21. (24)

28 Jul 1943
Around 1500/28, light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. V.A. Wight-Boycott, OBE, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN) and HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) departed Malta for a patrol to the south of the Straits of Messina after which they were to proceed to Augusta.

The force arrived at Augusta around 1000/29. (24)

31 Jul 1943
Around 1715/31, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, DSO, RN), HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Augusta.

They made rendezvous around 1950/31 with the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Inglefield (Cdr. C.F.H. Churchill, DSC, RN), HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN) and HMS Raider (Lt.Cdr. K.W. Michell, RN).

Course was then set towards Crotone.

At 0207/1, the bombardment commenced. After about 15 to 20 minutes fire was ceased. During the bombardment two small craft that were patrolling off the coast were sunk.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout returned to Augusta around 1200/1. One hour before HMS Faulknor, HMS Inglefield, HMS Loyal and HMS Raidar were detached to Malta where they arrived later the same day. (28)

3 Aug 1943
Around 0230/3, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Augusta for Malta where they arrived around 0730/3. (29)

5 Aug 1943
Around 0800/5, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Malta for Bizerta where they arrived around 1900/5. (29)

9 Aug 1943

Operation Annoyance.

Bombardment of Castellammare di Stabia, Naples, Italy and sweep towards Paola, Cosenza, Italy..

Around 1015/9, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Bizerta for operation Annoyance.

At 2100/9, HMS Dido, HMS Sirius, HMS Panther and HMS Pathfinder were detached for a sweep towards Paola while the other ships proceeded to the Gulf of Naples.

HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin bombarded Castellammare di Stabia from 0050/10 to 0115/10.

Around 0730/11, both groups made rendezvous and then proceeded to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1545/10. (30)

12 Aug 1943
Around 1015/12, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for sweep along the coast of Northern Calabria, Italy.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/13. (31)

13 Aug 1943
Around 1800/13, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for a bombardment of Vibo Valentia, Calabria, Italy.

The bombardment was commenced around 0125/14 for around 15 minutes. A large fire was started in the harbour area and apparently a coaster was sunk.

The force arrived at Palermo around 0800/14. (31)

16 Aug 1943
Around 0945/16, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep along the northern coast of Sicily towards the Italian mainland.

The force return to Palermo around 0815/17. They had sighted nothing. (32)

17 Aug 1943
Around 1745/17, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. R. Oliver-Bellesis, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep along the northern coast of Sicily towards the Italian mainland and a bombardment of Scalea, Cosenza, Italy.

The bombardment commenced around 0120/18 and was completed about 10 minutes later. Course was then set to proceed to Bizerta.

Around 1130/18, HMS Euryalus was detached to proceed to Malta where she arrived around 2000/18.

HMS Penelope, HMS Jervis and HMS Paladin arrived at Bizerta around 1530/18. (33)

22 Aug 1943
Around 1000 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Bizerta for Palermo where they arrived around 1830 hours.

At 1654 hours, the German submarine U-431, attacked the cruisers with four torpedoes but all missed. There is no mention of this attack in the logbooks of the cruisers so most likely the attack was not observed. (34)

24 Aug 1943
Around 1630/24, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for a sweep in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

They returned to Palermo around 0800/25. (34)

26 Aug 1943
Around 1030 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN) and HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey, DSC, MBE, RN) departed Palermo for Bizerta where they arrived around 1845 hours. (34)

1 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Bizerta around 0915 hours for Palermo where she arrived around 1745 hours. (35)

7 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) depated Palermo around 0645 hours for Bizerta where they arrived around 1500 hours. (36)

8 Sep 1943

Operation Slapstick.

Landing of troops at Taranto following the Italian armistice.

Around 1545/8, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN), USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) and the fast minelayer HMS Abdiel (Capt. D. Orr-Ewing, DSO, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto. These cruisers and the minelayer had troops on board as well as stores and vehicles.

Around 0630/9, they joined the battleships HMS Howe (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral A.J. Power, CB, CVO, RN) and HMS King George V (Capt. T.E. Halsey, DSO, RN) which had departed Malta around 2200/8 with the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. J.S. Crawford, DSO, RN), HMS Paladin (Lt. E.A.S. Bailey DSC, MBE, RN), HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) and HMS Wishart (Lt. J.A. Holdsworth, RN).

Around 1315/9, the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (Lt.Cdr. H.A. Stuart-Menteth, RN), HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN), HMS Hurworth (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and RHS Kanaris joined coming from Sousse (via Malta) from where they had sailed on the 8th. They had on board a port party for Taranto.

Around 1630/9, the minesweepers HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN), HMS Hebe (Lt.Cdr. G. Mowatt, RD, RNR), HMS Sharpshooter (Lt.Cdr. W.L. O'Mara, DSC, RN) and HMS BYMS 2012 (T/A/Skr.Lt. C.J. Watson, RNR) joined. These ships had also departed Malta on the 8th. Around the same time HMS King George V with HMS Panther, Pathfinder, HMS Penn and HMS Wishart parted company. These ships were to remain at sea.

In the evening all the other ships entered the harbour of Taranto where the troops, port party, stores and vehicles were disembarked.

Troops were then to be disembarked, however, on 10 September, shortly after midnight, HMS Abdiel was mined and sunk with heavy loss of life inside the harbour before she had been able to disembark her troops.

10 Sep 1943
Around 0700/10, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) and USS Boise (T/Rear-Admiral T.H. Thebaud, USN) departed Taranto after disembaring their troops, stores and vehicles.

Course was set to return to Bizerta where they arrived around 1100/11. (37)

11 Sep 1943
Around 1830/11, after having embarked reinforcements for Taranto, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Bizerta for Taranto where they arrived around 1700/12. Due to the danger of mines they did not enter the harbour but anchored off it. (38)

13 Sep 1943
Around 0545 hours, the light cruisers HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN) and HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) departed Taranto for Augusta where they arrived around 1600 hours.

HMS Aurora and HMS Penelope departed Augusta again around 2130 hours for the Salerno area for bombardment duties. (39)

14 Sep 1943
Shortly after 0800 hours, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), both anchored in the Gulf of Salerno.

Both cruisers patrolled of the beaches later in the day, HMS Aurora between 1305 and 1840 hours and HMS Penelope between 1425 and 1915 hours. During her patrol HMS Aurora conducted two bombardments of shore targets (troops and a battery) between 1640 and 1650 hours. She fired a total of 51 rounds. (40)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0632 and 1924 hours. One bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1702 and 1730 hours during which 20 rounds were fired. (41)

16 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0720 and 1944 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 0913-0940 hours and 1027-1100 hours. During these bombardments around 100 rounds were fired. (41)

17 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0756 and 1922 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1007-1100 hours and 1204-1320 hours. During these bombardments 139 rounds were fired. (41)

18 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0825 and 1925 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1245-1400 hours, 1540-1600 hours and 1750-1804 hours. (41)

19 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0658 and 2020 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 0950-1200 hours, 1615-1749 hours and 1835-1930 hours. (41)

20 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0739 and 1848 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1528 and 1715 hours. (41)

21 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0703 and 1330 hours. She was however not required for bombardment duties. (41)

22 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties from 1440 to 1720 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out, while she was at anchor, between 1755 and 1910 hours. (41)

23 Sep 1943
While still at anchor, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), conducted two bombardments while still at anchor. These were between 0330 and 0420 hours and 0550 and 0600 hours. She got underway at 0619 hours. She dropped her anchor at 1949 hours. Another bombardment was commenced at 2005 hours. Fire was ceased at 2320 hours. (41)

24 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties from 1448 to 1923 hours. A bombardment of a shore target was carried out between 1502 and 1540 hours. (41)

25 Sep 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) was underway in Salerno Bay for bombardment duties between 0952 and 1803 hours. Bombardments of shore targets were carried out between 1028-1123 hours and 1640-1750 hours. (41)

26 Sep 1943
Shortly after midnight, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), both departed the Gulf of Salerno for Malta where they arrived around 1400 hours. (42)

4 Oct 1943 (position 0.00, 0.00)
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, Aurora, Dido, Penelope and Sirius departed Malta. Also the destroyers Echo, Pathfinder and Tumult departed Malta.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

(43)

4 Oct 1943
On 4 October 1943, the four light cruisers of the 12th Cruiser Squadron, HMS Aurora (Commodore W.G. Agnew, CB, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) departed Malta. Also the destroyers HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. R.H.C. Wyld, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and 3 Bars, RN) and HMS Tumult (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Malta. These ships were temporary loaned to the Levant Station.

HMS Echo and HMS Tumult departed Malta around 0630/4, HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder departed Malta around 0830/4 and finally HMS Dido and HMS Sirius departed Malta around 1800/4 but appeared not to have proceeded in company.

At 1750/4, HMS Echo and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Pathfinder.

Around 1100/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult parted company with HMS Aurora, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo. The destroyers were to proceed to Tobruk to refuel.

Around 1245/5, HMS Penelope and HMS Echo parted company with HMS Aurora. HMS Penelope and HMS Echo were to proceed direct to Alexandria where they arrived around 2005/5.

Around 1830/5, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult joined HMS Aurora. Around 2100/5, HMS Dido joined HMS Aurora, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult and course was set for a patrol in the Aegean. However at 2103/5, HMS Aurora and HMS Dido collided forcing the cruisers to abandon the patrol. The destroyers were detached at 2130/5 and proceeded on patrol by themselves. HMS Aurora and HMS Dido arrived at Alexandria around 1500/6. HMS Pathfinder and HMS Tumult arrived around the same time. During their anti-shipping sweep they had sighted nothing. It was estimated that it would take a week for temporary repairs on HMS Aurora to be completed. HMS Dido needed full repairs and these were estimated to take seven weeks.

HMS Sirius arrived at Alexandria around 0700/6. (43)

6 Oct 1943
Around 1100/6, the light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Sirius (Capt. P.B.W. Brooking, DSO, RN, Senior Officer) and the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. A.K. Scott-Moncrieff, DSO, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Alexandria to proceed to the Aegean to attack enemy forces proceeding to Leros.

Around 2315/6 [source log of HMS Sirius, the log of HMS Penelope gives 0100/7], HMS Eclipse was detached to return to Alexandria due to defective steering. She arrived back at Alexandria around 1415/7.

The force arrived off Leros around 0530/7 but found no sign of a German invasion. At 0630/7 they picked up an enemy sighting from the submarine HMS Unruly (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN). At 0800/6, they intercepted the convoy sighted by HMS Unruly and completely destroyed it. The convoy had been made up of the transport Olympos (852 GRT, built 1904), the landing barges F 308, F 327, F 336, F 494 and F 532. They were escorted by UJ 2111. F 496 was no longer with them, she had been damaged earlier by HMS Unruly and was beached on Stampalia.

HMS Penelope, HMS Sirius, HMS Faulknor and HMS Fury then set course to return to Alexandria via the Scarpanto Strait. The force came under heavy German air attacks by Ju-87's and Ju-88's.

Around 1120/7, the force was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Rockwood (Lt. S.R. Le H. Lombard-Hobson, RN) and Miaoulis which came from Casteloriso.

Around 1215/7, during an attack by Ju-87 dive bombers HMS Penelope was hit aft by a bomb but it did not explode. There were also many near missed. Two officers and twenty-two ratings were killed and twenty-nine were wounded. HMS Penelope was able to continue at 22 knots.

At 1705/8, HMS Rockwood and RHS Miaoulis parted company.

HMS Sirius and HMS Faulknor arrived at Alexandria around 0050/8 followed by HMS Penelope and HMS Fury around 0200/8. (44)

9 Oct 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is docked in the floating dock at Alexandria. (45)

29 Oct 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) is undocked at Alexandria. (45)

6 Nov 1943
Around 0650/6, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Alexandria for trials and exercises. On completion of these she set course to proceed to a position about mid way between Alexandria and Rhodos so as to be in a position to proceed to the aid of light forces operating in the Aegean if called upon.

Around 0600/7, HMS Penelope was joined by the escort destroyers HMS Aldenham (A/Lt.Cdr. J.I. Jones, DSO, DSC, RNR) and Miaoulis. These ships parted company around 1700/7.

Around 0600/8, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyers HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN). These ships parted company around 0900/8.

Around 1200/9, HMS Penelope was joined by the destroyer HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Beaufort (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and Pindos.

They arrived in Episkopi Bay, Cyprus around 1545/9 where they fuelled. (46)

10 Nov 1943
Around 1100/10, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Faulknor (Capt. M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt. J.R.L. Moore, RN) and Pindos departed Episkopi Bay.

Around 1800/10, HMS Faulknor, HMS Beaufort and RHS Pindos parted company to proceed into the Aegean for operations.

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Alexandria where she arrived around 1530/11. (46)

15 Nov 1943
Around 1530/15, the light cruiser HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) departed Alexandria for the Limmasol. They had on board some troops, ammunition and stores.

They arrived at Limmasol around 0630/16. (46)

17 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Limmasol to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. T.F. Taylor, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Exmoor (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, RN) and ORP Krakowiak (Lt.Cdr. W. Maracewicz) which were coming through the Rhodes Channel from Mandelyah Gulf.

Rendezvous was effected around 0545/18 after which course was set for Paphos, Cyprus where they arrived around 1040/28. HMS Fury and ORP Krakowiak were then fuelled by HMS Penelope. HMS Penelope then embarked Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy, most likely from HMS Fury. (46)

18 Nov 1943
Around 2100/17, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Paphos to make rendezvous with the destroyer HMS Pathfinder (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Malins, DSC and Bar, RN) and escort destroyers HMS Haydon (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Watkin, RN) and HMS Tetcott (Lt. A.F. Harkness, DSC, OBE, RNR) which were en-route to the Aegean. HMS Penelope was to escort them part of the way.

Rendezvous was effected around 1410/18. Cdr. Orbay, Turkish Navy was then transferred to HMS Pathfinder.

HMS Pathfinder, HMS Haydon and HMS Tetcott parted company around 1730/18 and then went on their way.

HMS Penelope then set course to proceed to Limmasol arriving there around 0300/19. (46)

19 Nov 1943
After having arrived at Limmasol around 0300/19, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), oiled the destroyer HMS Petard (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN) and escort destroyer RHS Themistocles between 0835 and 1015 hours and the escort destroyer HMS Croome (Lt. H.D.M. Slater, RN) between 1015 and 1125 hours. At 1130/19,

HMS Penelope then departed Limmasol for Haifa arriving there around 1730/19. (46)

26 Nov 1943
Around 1545/27, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Haifa for Alexandria where she arrived around 0830/28. (46)

7 Dec 1943
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) conducted exercises off Alexandria. (47)

12 Dec 1943
Around 2350/12, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. H.P. Henderson, RN) and HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, DSO, RN) departed Malta for Bizerta where they arrived around 1045/13. (48)

18 Dec 1943
Around 0630 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Bizerta for Malta where she arrived around 1715 hours. (47)

24 Dec 1943
Around 2100/24, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN, now flying the flag of Rear-Admiral C.H.J. Harcourt, CBE, RN), departed Malta for Gibraltar where she arrived around 1200/26. Rear-Admiral Harcourt then struck his flag and left the ship. (47)

26 Dec 1943
Around 1945 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Gibraltar to patrol between the Portugese coast and the Azores to intercept German blockade breakers. (47)

30 Dec 1943
Around 1400 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), returned to Gibraltar from patrol. Her patrol had been cut short after the German blockade breaker Alsterufer (2729 GRT, built 1939) had been sunk by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay. (47)

31 Dec 1943
Around 0345 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Gibraltar to patrol in the North Atlantic to search for German blockade breakers.

She was however soon ordered to return to Gibraltar where she arrived on 1 January 1944.

[no more logbooks of HMS Penelope are available after December 1943.] (47)

5 Jan 1944
In the afternoon of the 5th, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), departed Gibraltar for Algiers where they arrived in the morning of the 6th.

9 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Algiers for Malta. (49)

10 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) arrived at Malta. (50)

15 Jan 1944
The light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. J. Terry, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN), USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN) and the destroyers HMS Teazer (Lt.Cdr. A.A.F. Talbot, DSO and Bar, RN), USS Niblack (T/Cdr. R.R. Conner, USN) and USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN) conducted exercises off Malta. (51)

18 Jan 1944
Around 1545/18, The light cruisers HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN) and the destroyers HMS Loyal (Lt.Cdr. H.E.F. Tweedie, DSC, RN), USS Niblack (T/Cdr. R.R. Conner, USN) and USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN) departed Malta for Naples. They arrived at Naples around 1015/19. (52)

21 Jan 1944
Around 1220/21, the Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) departed Naples in support of Operation Shingle, the landings at Anzio. En-route to the landing area they escorted a convoy (NAF 1).

They entered the 'fire support area' around 0130/22.

22 Jan 1944
Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) is still operating in their part of the landing area.

Several air attacks were carried out in the area by the Germans during the day.

At 1440 hours, HMS Penelope commenced a bombardment. [No further details available.]

Around 1730 hours, USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, USS Trippe and USS Edison proceeded to seaward.

At 2026 hours, they were informed that two enemy destroyers might attack during the night. These ships had been reported in the northern Tyrrhenian Sea and USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, USS Trippe and USS Edison proceeded northwards to intercept.

23 Jan 1944
Task Group 82.8, part of 'X-ray Force', made up of the light cruisers USS Brooklyn (Capt. R.W. Cary, Jr., USN), HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and the destroyers USS Trippe (T/Cdr. R.C. Williams, USN), USS Mayo (T/Cdr. F.S. Habecker, USN), USS Woolsey (T/Cdr. H.R. Wier, USN), USS Ludlow (T/Cdr. L.W. Creighton, USN) and USS Edison (T/Cdr. H.A. Pearce, USN) is still operating in the Anzio landings area.

USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, HMS Trippe and HMS Edison were outside the landing zone to try to intercept two German destroyers. At 0600 hours, the hunt for these destroyers was abandoned and they returned to the landing zone for fire support duties.

At 0858 hours, USS Brooklyn opened fire on a shore target having been requisted to do so. Fire was ceased at 0904 hours. A total of 27 rounds had been fired.

At 1743 hours, USS Brooklyn, HMS Penelope, HMS Trippe and HMS Edison again departed the landing zone to proceed to seawards.

24 Jan 1944
At 0407 hours HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) parted company with the other ships of her Task Group to proceed to Naples where she arrived later the same day.

27 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) and HMS Spartan (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) departed Naples to return to the landing zone off Anzio for AA and fire support duties. (49)

29 Jan 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Naples for the Formia area for bombardment duties.

[We have been unable to find out when HMS Penelope had returned to Naples after having sailed on 27 January 1944.] (49)

1 Feb 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) returned to Naples from bombardment duties in the Formia area. (49)

8 Feb 1944
HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN) departed Naples for bombardment duties in the Formia area.

[We have been unable to find out when she returned to Naples, but this must have been on either 11 or 12 February 1944.] (49)

13 Feb 1944
Around 1100 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area. (53)

15 Feb 1944
Around 1425 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), returned to Naples. (54)

17 Feb 1944
Around 0430 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area.

She returned to Naples around 2005 hours. (54)

18 Feb 1944
Around 0400 hours, HMS Penelope (Capt. G.D. Belben, DSC, AM, RN), departed Naples, presumably for bombardment duties in the Anzio area.

Between 0658 and 0716 hours, she was torpedoed and sunk, in position 40°55'N, 13°25'E, by the German submarine U-410. (55)

Media links


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Sources

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


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