The fifth Euryalus was a Dido Class light cruiser, pennant number C42.
Launched at HM Dockyard Chatham, on 6 June 1939, Euryalus commissioned on 26 June 1941 as a light cruiser with 10 recently designed 5.25-in guns mounted in five turrets, a number of light AA guns and six anti-surface 21-in torpedo tubes. The 5.25-in dual purpose anti-aircraft and anti-surface guns showed a shift in cruiser design to counter the growing threat from the air.
After working up at Scapa Flow, Euryalus joined Force H temporarily in September to help escort a convoy from Gibraltar to Malta. She then transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet via Capetown, arriving at Alexandria on 1 November 1941 to join the 15th Cruiser Squadron. When the 8th Army began its advance in Libya on 18 November 1941, Euryalus and sister ship Naiad bombarded enemy positions in the Halfaya area that night in support.
In January and February 1942, Euryalus and other warships escorted no less than four fast small convoys to Malta and back. In mid-March, Euryalus, with three other light cruisers and eleven destroyers, escorted another convoy to Malta. This was intercepted by a strong Italian force - the battleship Littorio, two heavy and three light cruisers and seven destroyers. There followed the brilliant action of the second Battle of Sirte on 22 March 1942, led by Rear-Admiral Vian (CS15) and fictionalised by C S Forester in 'The Ship'. The enemy force was driven off without damaging the convoy.
Further convoys followed; these escort duties (known ironically as 'Club Runs' were highly stressful work as the convoys and escorts were under near continuous daylight air attack and frequent submarine attack, as well as facing the surface threat; sadly nearly all the merchant ships and their vital cargoes were lost, mainly to air attack in Malta. Between convoys, Euryalus and her sisters bombarded enemy coastal positions in North Africa and Rhodes.
Meanwhile the 8th Army had been driven back into Egypt by the German Afrika Korps, leading to even heavier air attacks against Malta convoys. Euryalus had commissioned with some of the first naval radars, Type 279 and 281; these early devices provided welcome early warning of air attack, but little more. With the fitting of improved voice radios in 1942 however, Euryalus was able to control supporting fighters and join in co-ordinated fleet air defence.
When the 8th Army began their great advance from El Alamein in October 1942, the situation in the Mediterranean improved. In November, a large convoy reached Malta on 19 November 1942; Euryalus led the convoy in to raise the siege.
The cruisers Euryalus, Cleopatra and Dido and four destroyers then formed Force K, based in Malta, attacking enemy shipping bound for Libya and bombarding Pantellaria prior to its surrender. In June 1943, Euryalus joined the 12th Cruiser Squadron and participated in the invasion of Sicily.
On 27 August 1943, Euryalus hoisted the flag of Rear-Admiral Vian, in command of Force V, consisting of five escort carriers and three cruisers. Force V provided co-ordinated air cover for the assault on Salerno on 9 September 1943. By 12 September 1943, an airfield had been established ashore and the force withdrew. A powerful German counter-offensive was mounted on 14 September 1943 and Euryalus, Cleopatra and Dido were ordered to Tripoli, to embark troops and transport them at high speed to Salerno, arriving on the afternoon of 16 September 1943.
Italy having now dropped out of the war, Euryalus took Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, to Taranto on 23 September 1943 for a meeting onboard with the Italian Minister of Marine to settle the surrender of the Italian Fleet.
Euryalus left Bizerta on 29 September 1943, for the United Kingdom and arrived in the Clyde on 6 October 1943 to begin a major refit at John Brown's Dockyard, She had steamed 80,271 miles in her first commission, and had been very lucky in the Mediterranean coming through some of the bitterest fighting with no more than some minor 15-in shrapnel damage from Littorio. Much of this luck had been made by the skill of her captain, Captain EW Bush, DSO**, DSC, who successfully manoeuvred the ship away from all enemy bombs.
During her refit, Q turret (third from the bows) was removed, partly to improve her sea-keeping, and replaced with a short range AA mounting. The ship was partly tropicalised and improved aircraft detection and control radar systems were fitted. Euryalus was recommissioned on 28 June 1944 and after working up at Scapa Flow, she joined the Home Fleet. In October 1944, she formed part of the force providing cover for two carrier-based operations against German-occupied Norway. In November, she went to Rosyth to prepare for service in the East.
On 15 December 1944, Euryalus went to Liverpool and left the next day with two destroyers, escorting SS Rimutaka which had on board the then Duke of Gloucester (and his family, which included Prince Richard, now HRH the Duke of Gloucester and Patron of the HMS Euryalus Association) to take up his appointment as Governor-General of Australia. The Royal Australian Navy took over the escort duties at Colombo, Euryalus joining the 4th Cruiser Squadron in the East Indies Fleet.
En route to Australia to join the British Pacific Fleet (BPF), on 24 January 1945, Euryalus took part in a carrier-launched air strike on the oil refineries at Pladjoe and Palembang in Sumatra.
Leaving Sydney on 28 February 1945, with the battleship King George V and other units of the BPF, she arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islands. Leaving on 8 March 1945, the fleet sailed for Ulithi, Caroline Islands, to join the huge US Fleet and take part in the assault on the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. For the next 32 days Euryalus remained at sea, escorting British fleet carriers engaged in preliminary strikes on Formosa (now Taiwan) and adjoining islands, and subject to kamikaze attacks. The task assigned to the BPF in the assault on Okinawa was to neutralise the Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Gunto islands at the southern end of the Ryukyus. The fleet returned to Leyte in the Philippines to replenish on 23 April 1945, and sailed again on 1 May 1945, for the final operation which resulted in the capture of Okinawa, returning to Manus on 30 May 1945. During this period, Euryalus bombarded Miyako in the Sakishima group. She briefly visited Brisbane in June.
On 6 July 1945, the BPF, commanded by Vice-Admiral Rawlings, joined USN operations against the mainland of Japan, but the British and American Fleets temporarily withdrew from the operational area for the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. After the surrender of Japan on 14 August 1945, a British squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Harcourt, was ordered to proceed to Hong Kong, to reoccupy the colony. Preceded by RAN minesweepers, Swiftsure and Euryalus entered Hong Kong harbour at noon on 30 August 1945, and parties were sent ashore to secure the dockyard and the Prisoner of War Camps.
Now peacetime and initially based in Sydney, late 1945 and all of 1946 saw Euryalus visiting many ports including Tonga, Shanghai, Manila, and in New Zealand and Japan, showing the flag to re-establish British influence in the West Pacific. She finally departed Hong Kong on 7 January 1947, arriving at Rosyth on 22 March 1947 to decommission, having steamed 136,767 miles. The longest period at sea was in July and August 1945, when the ship was operating off Japan and steamed 16,850 miles non-stop for 44 days, then a RN record, using the new technique of refuelling at sea.
After a refit and further modernisation at Rosyth, Euryalus recommissioned on 20 February 1948, and joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet on 14 May 1948; she soon became involved in the civil wars in Greece and Palestine. On 14 May 1948, General Sir Alan Cunningham, the last High Commissioner in Palestine, left the territory from Haifa in Euryalus, to end the British Mandate. The ship returned to Britain in May 1950, recommissioned at Plymouth and left again for the Mediterranean on 30 May 1950. Euryalus was at Aqaba, where the Lancashire Fusiliers were based, on 25 April 1951 and, with them, commemorated the thirty-sixth Anniversary of the Gallipoli Landings. Later at a time of unrest in Iran, after the nationalisation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Euryalus was sent to the Persian Gulf from 5 May 1951 to 7 June 1951. She left the Mediterranean again in July 1951, pausing in the in the Canal Zone to embark 42 Lancashire Fusiliers as integrated members of the ship's company, to become Abadan guard ship until September 1951.In August 1952. Euryalus returned to Plymouth and again recommissioned for the Mediterranean. She refitted in Malta from November to March 1953, and then sailed for the South Atlantic to relieve Bermuda as the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, based in Simonstown. She was in Capetown for the Coronation celebrations in June 1953 and then visited many ports on the east and west coasts of Africa and Madagascar. This included a refit in Simonstown from January to March 1954. Some members of her ship's company discovered a hitherto unknown but well stocked fishing bank near town, which was named after the ship. On 27 July 1954, Euryalus finally left the South Atlantic and arrived in Plymouth on 19 August to pay off and reduce to reserve. Approval to scrap was given in October 1958.
|List of Commanding Officers:|
|31 March 1941- August 1943||Captain Eric Bush|
|15 August 1943 - November 45||Captain R Oliver-Bellasis|
|November 1945 - February 1947||Captain RS. Warne|
|23 January 1948||Captain C.C. Hardy|
|June 1949||Captain C.R.L.Parry|
|22 May 1950||Captain P.W. Burnett|
|March 1951||Captain P.L. Collard|
|8 August 1952||Captain G.H. Peters (also Flag Captain to Admiral Sir Peveril William-Powlett)|
|The fifth Euryalus was a light cruiser built at HM Dockyard Chatham.|
|Laid down:||21 October 1937 HM Dockyard Chatham|
|Launched:||6 June 1939|
|Completed:||30 June 1941|
by Hawthorn Leslie & Co
Parsons single reduction geared turbines
4 shafts 64,000 SHP
4 Admiralty 3 drum boilers 400 psi
10 x 5.25ins (third forward turret removed in 1943 refit)
16 light anti-aircraft guns on build; these were augmented and replaced by more modern weapons during the ship's life
6 x 21in torpedo tubes
|Armour:||1 - 2in on turrets, 2in on sides|