Allied Warships

HMS Shropshire (83)

Heavy cruiser of the London class


HMS Shropshire in 1942

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassLondon 
Pennant83 
Built byWilliam Beardmore & Co. (Dalmuir, Scotland) 
Ordered17 Mar 1926 
Laid down24 Feb 1927 
Launched5 Jul 1928 
Commissioned12 Sep 1929 
End service 
History

On 8 September 1942 her transfer to the Royal Australian Navy was announced, as a replacement for HMAS Canberra. She was recalled from the South Atlantic and paid off at Chatham Dockyard in December 1942 to refit for Australian service.

Commissioned on completion of her refit by the Royal Australian Navy on 25 June 1943. Decommissioned to reserve on 10 November 1949. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 16 July 1954. Broken up by Arnott Young at Dalmuir and Troon arriving on 20 January 1955.

 
Career notesBecame the Australian heavy cruiser Shropshire

Commands listed for HMS Shropshire (83)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Arthur William La Touche Bisset, RN16 Oct 193714 Mar 1940
2Capt. John Hereward Edelsten, RN14 Mar 1940Mar 1941
3Cdr. James Parrington Gornall, RNMar 194118 Apr 1941
4Capt. Jack Tuthill Borrett, OBE, RN18 Apr 194123 Dec 1942

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Notable events involving Shropshire include:


9 Dec 1939
The German merchant Adolf Leonhardt (2990 GRT) was intercepted in the South Atlantic off the coast of Angola in position 13°00'S, 11°30'E by HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN). However, before the German ship could be captured she was scuttled by her own crew.

3 Jan 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) joined forces with HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN). (1)

5 Jan 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) made rendez-vous in the Plate area with HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir H. Harwood, KCB, OBE, RN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN). HMNZS Achilles then took over as flagship of the South America division as HMS Ajax was to return to the U.K. to refit soon. (1)

6 Jan 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) arrived at Samborombón Bay in the River Plate area where they fuelled from RFA Olwen (Master B. Tunnard). After fuelling was completed they went out to sea again to resume their patrol in the South Atlantic (towards the Rio the Janeiro area). (1)

9 Jan 1940
In the early evening, HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN), made rendez-vous with HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN). They then coninued their patrol in the 'Rio de Janeiro area'. (1)

12 Jan 1940
After gunnery exercises, in the early evening, HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, CB, RN) parted company with HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN). HMS Ajax set course to proceed to Freetown and eventually the U.K. where she was to refit. HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Shropshire continued their patrol. (1)

18 Jan 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) arrived at Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. (1)

21 Jan 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) departed Port Stanley with the damaged heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, CB, RN) which they were to escort to a rendez-vous position where other RN ships would take over the escort of HMS Exeter during her passage back to the U.K. for extensive repairs for the damage she had sustained during the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939. (1)

29 Jan 1940
Around noon HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) turned over the damaged heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, CB, RN) to ships of 'Force K' (HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN) and HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN) in approximate position 17.21S, 24.56'W.

HMS Dorstershire and HMS Shropshire then proceeded on patrol in the South Atlantic still in company with each other. (1)

3 Feb 1940
Around 0800 hours (zone +2), HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN), made rendez-vous in position 29.23'S, 41.49'W with HMS Hawkins (Capt. E. Rotherham, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir H. Harwood, KCB, OBE, RN). They then proceeded to patrol and exercise in company with each other.

HMS Hawkins had relieved HMNZS Achilles (Capt. W.E. Parry, CB, RN) as flagship of the South America Division by now as the Achilles was to return to New Zealand to refit. (2)

8 Feb 1940
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) and HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.la T. Bisset, RN) parted company. HMS Dorsetshire then proceeded to Buenos Aires and HMS Shropshire proceeded to Montivideo for official port visits. Both ships also refuelled. (2)

14 Jun 1940
Convoy US 3, made up of the troopships (liners) Andes (25689 GRT, built 1939), Aquitania (44786 GRT, built 1914), Empress of Britain (42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922), Mauretania (35739 GRT, built 1939) and Queen Mary (81235 GRT, built 1936) with troop from New Zealand and Australia on board and escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. the Hon. G.H.E. Russell, RN) and HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was joined around 0800 hours by HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), which came from Gibraltar, and joined around 1000 hours by the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN), HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN) which came from the U.K. Shortly afterwards HMS Dorsetshire left the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar.

Later that day, around 1500 hours, the convoy was joined by the destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, RN) and around 1600 hours by two more destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112031
  2. ADM 53/112032
  3. ADM 53/112036 + ADM 53/111885 + ADM 53/112448

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


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