Allied Warships

HMS Anson (79)

Battleship of the King George V class


HMS Anson during the war.

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeBattleship
ClassKing George V 
Pennant79 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.): Wallsend 
Ordered28 Apr 1937 
Laid down20 Jul 1937 
Launched24 Feb 1940 
Commissioned22 Jun 1942 
End serviceAug 1950 
History

Anson served as Vice-Admiral Sir Henry Moore`s flagship during Operation Tungsten in April 1944. One of the many air attacks against Germany's only remaining battleship Tirpitz, in Altenfjord, Northern Norway.

With the end of the war in Europe in sight HMS Anson joined the British Pacific Fleet until July 1946 returning home to become the Training Squadron Flagship from 1948 until 1949. Anson was paid-off into Reserve in August 1950.

Sold to Shipbreaking Industries in 1957, arrived at Faslane for scrapping on 17 December 1957.

 

Commands listed for HMS Anson (79)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Harold Richard George Kinahan, RN10 Feb 194229 Jul 1943
2Capt. Edward Desmond Bewley McCarthy, DSO, RN29 Jul 1943mid 1944
3Cdr. Alexander Robert Kennedy, RNmid 19449 Nov 1944
4Capt. Alexander Cumming Gordon Madden, RN9 Nov 194419 Jan 1946
5Capt. Frederick Secker Bell, RN19 Jan 1946

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Notable events involving Anson include:


18 Jun 1942
HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN)) and the destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN) departed Scapa Flow to rendez-vous with new battleships HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) that is to proceed from Rosyth to Scapa Flow for working up exercises. (1)

19 Jun 1942
HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. J.W.M. Eaton, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN) and HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Ewing, RN) returned to Scapa Flow escorting HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) after taking over the escort duties from the destroyers Verdun (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Donald, DSC, RN) and HMS Vanity (Lt.Cdr. W.B.R. Morrison, RN). (1)

5 Aug 1942
HMS Upright (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) carried out exercises with HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN). (2)

6 Aug 1942
HMS Upright (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Collett, DSC, RN) carried out exercises off Scapa Flow with HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) and her destroyer screen which was made up of HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Windsor (Lt.Cdr. D.H.F. Hetherington, DSC, RN), HMS Walpole (Lt. A.S. Pomeroy, RN) and HMS Panther (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Jocelyn, RN). (2)

2 Sep 1942
HMS H 34 (Lt. J.P.H. Oakley, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Scapa Flow. These exercises included a practice attack on the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) and her screen of six destroyers; HMS Onslow (Capt H.T. Armstrong, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Opportune (Cdr. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN) and HMS Echo (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN). (3)

10 Dec 1942
HMS P 49 (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN) conducted attack exercises off Scapa Flow during which HMS Anson (Capt. H.R.G. Kinahan, CBE, RN) served as target. The battleship was escorted by HMS Inglefield (Cdr. A.G. West, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN) and HMS Eclipse (Lt.Cdr. E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN). (4)

7 Mar 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN) conducts attack exercises with HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN). (5)

21 Apr 1944

Operations Planet, Ridge and Veritas.

On 21 April 1944, two forces departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway, these were divided in two groups;

Force 7 was made up of the battleship HMS Anson (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO and Bar, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H.R. Moore, KCB, DSO, CVO, RN), aircraft carriers HMS Victorious (Capt. M.M. Denny, CB, CBE, RN), HMS Furious (Capt. G.T. Philip, DSO, DSC, RN), heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Kempenfelt (Capt. M.L. Power, OBE, RN), HMS Venus (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson DSO, RN), HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN), HMCS Algonquin (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Piers, DSC, RCN), HMCS Sioux (A/Lt.Cdr. E.E.G. Boak, RCN), HMS Swift (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, RN) and HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. R.M.W. MacFarlan, RN).

Force 8 was made up of the light cruisers HMS Royalist (Capt. M.H. Evelegh, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.W.la T. Bisset, RN), HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN), escort carriers HMS Emperor (A/Capt. T.J.N. Hilken, DSO, RN), HMS Pursuer (A/Capt. H.R. Graham, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Searcher (Capt. G.O.C. Davies, RN), HMS Striker (Capt. W.P. Carne, RN) and the destroyers HMS Serapis (Capt. P.G.L. Serapis, DSC, RN), HMS Ursa (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, DSC, RN), HMS Undaunted (Lt.Cdr. A.A. Mackenzie, RD, RNR), HMS Wakeful (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Pound, DSC, RN), HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN), ORP Piorun (Cdr. T. Gorazdowski) and HMS Javelin (Lt.Cdr. P.B.N. Lewis, DSC, RN).

Operation Planet

The target date for this operation was 24 April 1944. When the forces arrived in the operations area on 23 April the weather forecasts were unsuitable and they reversed course for 24 hours but the weather to following day was equally bad. Both forces proceeded to the flying off position but there was no improvement in the weather so Vice-Admiral Moore decided to cancel the operation. Both forces then proceeded as for Operation Ridge.

In the meantime the destroyers HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin had been detached to fuel at the Faroes where they arrived on the 24th. After fuelling they were instructed to wait there for further orders.

Operation Ridge.

Operation Ridge was originally intended to be carried out in two parts; 'Ridge Able' was to be an attack on shipping in the Bodo area by Force 7 and 'Ridge Baker' was to be an attack on shipping in the Rorvik area by Force 8.

In the event it was decided that both forces were to carry out 'Ridge Able' in two stikes, one attacking Bodo harbour and the other sweeping the leads to the southward.

The two forces arrived at the flying off position at dawn on 26 April 1944. Weather conditions were not ideal and were worse inshore and in the end both strikes attacked the same target - an escorted convoy of 4 or 5 merchant ships in approximate position 67.06'N, 13.57'E at about 0600 hours. The convoy was southbound, presumebly having left Bodo about one hour previously. Four merchant ships and one escort vessel were claimed to have been hit with bombs. The largest merchant ship was reported beached and burning. Two other were also seen to be on fire.

[The convoy attacked was en-route from Narvik to Germany with iron oreand was made up of four merchant vessels; Eugenio C. (4094 GRT, built 1928), Itauri (6838 GRT, built 1923), Leena (1079 GRT, built 1905) and Lotte Leonhardt (4167 GRT, built 1937). It was being escorted by the patrol vessels V 5905 / Varanger and V 5906 / Nordpol. The Eugenio C., Itauri and Lotte Leonhardt were sunk while the V 5905 was damaged.]

Besides the attack on the convoy two Barracudas and several fighters attacked Bodo harbour in spite of the weather. One hit was claimed on a large merchant ship. Two other Barracudas attacked a derelict merchant vessel that was ashore. They obtained at least one hit.

One Barracuda, two Corsairs, one Hellcat and one Wildcat were lost during the attacks. Another Hellcat crashed while landing on HMS Emperor.

At 0730/26, HMS Victorious, HMS Kent and two destroyers (HMS Venus and HMS Vigilant) parted company to conduct operation 'Veritas' (see below). The remainder of Forces 7 and 8 set course to return to Scapa Flow where they arrived on the 28th. HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin also returned with them having joined Force 8 on the 27th having departed the Faroes on the 26th.

Operation Veritas.

On leaving Force 7, the 'Victorious'-Force proceeed to the flying off position (69°31'N, 12°50'E). Reconnaissance flights were to be carried out for a possible future amphibious assault on Narvik. The flying off position was reached at 1620/26 and six Corsairs with long range fuel tanks were launched for the operation.

The aircraft returned to HMS Victorious almost two hours later. One Corsair had machine gunned a tanker on the way back starting a small fire amidships. All aircraft landed safely despite the difficult conditions due to the weather. (6)

Media links


British Battleships, 1919-1945, Revised Edition

R. A. Burt


amazon.com
($ 66.67)

amazon.co.uk
(£ 65.75)


British battleships 1939-45 (2)

Konstam, Angus


amazon.com
($ 16.54)

amazon.co.uk
(£ 9.99)


King George V Class Battleships

Tarrant, V. E.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/116227 + ADM 199/427
  2. ADM 173/17714
  3. ADM 173/17241
  4. ADM 173/17422
  5. ADM 173/19123
  6. ADM 199/1427

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


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