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HMS Arethusa

Arethusa Class Light Cruiser

dressed overall - prewar
dressed overall - prewar
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Built by Chatham Dockyard. Laid Down 25th January 1933.

Launched 6th March 1934. Completed 23rd May 1935.

Torpedoed 18/11/42 Malta convoy - Charleston for repair 3/43 - 12/43.

Paid off 1945. Target trials ship 1948. Broken up by Troon, 1950.

The story of her torpedoing during Operation Stoneage is told here.

Arethusa went to the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean on completion, and was still there at the beginning of the war. However, early in 1940 she and her sister Penelope were recalled to the Home Fleet, where they formed the 2nd Cruiser Squadron with the remainder of the class. She participated in the Norwegian campaign in April 1940, but on 8 May she joined the Nore Command, where she supported the defending forces in Calais and later aided the evacuations from French Atlantic ports. On 28 June she was a component of the newly formed Force H at Gibraltar, with whom she participated in the action against Vichy French forces at Mers el Kebir in July 1940. With Force H she took part in convoy protection patrols in the Atlantic and operated in the Mediterranean. During the Bismarck sortie she was employed in lceland/Faroes waters, but by July she had returned to the Mediterranean, where she escorted Malta conveys and ran supply trips to the island herself. Towards the end of 1941 she returned to home waters and took part in the Lofoten raid in December, where she was damaged by nearmisses. After refit and repair at Chatham until April 1942, she returned to the Mediterranean in June, where she joined the 15th Cruiser Squadron, operating mostly in support of the resupply of Malta. While on one such operation (Stoneage), she was struck by a torpedo from an Italian aircraft on 18 November, but was towed into Alexandria with heavy casualties. Temporary repairs lasted until 7 February 1943, after which she proceeded to Chariestown, USA, for full repair. These were completed by 15 December, and the ship then returned to Britain, but she did not become fully operational again until early June 1944, when she immediately sailed for the Invasion of Normandy, forming part of Force D off Sword Beach. By January 1945 she was a part of the 15th Cruiser Squadron with the Mediterranean Fleet. After the war these ships were considered too small to be worth modernising, and Arethusa was used for trials and experiments in 1949 before being allocated to BISCO for disposal. She arrived at Cashmore's, Newport, for breaking up, on 9 May 1950.

1934
1934
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prewar
prewar
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an interesting pic - probably Enterprise in front with Arethusa behind, taken during the attack on the French fleet at Mers el Kebir
an interesting pic - probably Enterprise in front with Arethusa behind, taken during the attack on the French fleet at Mers el Kebir
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after refit, Chatham April 42
after refit, Chatham April 42
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1945
1945
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probably Arethusa, postwar at Simonstown stripped for trials
probably Arethusa, postwar at Simonstown stripped for trials
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postwar - in sorry condition
postwar - in sorry condition
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looking even sorrier with no guns
looking even sorrier with no guns
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