Allied Warships

HMS Aurania (F 28)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 28 
Built bySwan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. (Wallsend-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Laid down 
Launched6 Feb 1924 
Commissioned2 Oct 1939 
End service20 Oct 1942 

On 30 August 1939 the passenger ship Aurania of the Cunard White Star Ltd, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 2 October 1939.

Displacement: 13984 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15 knots

October 39 - April 40: Northern Patrol
May 40: Halifax Escort Force
June 40 - April 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
May 41 - October 41: North Atlantic Escort Force
November 41 - March 42: Plymouth Command

On 24 March 1942 sold to the Admiralty because of the damage sustaned in the attack by U-123, laid up for some time, converted to a repair ship finished in 1944 and commissioned as HMS Artifex

In January 1961 she was scrapped at La Spezia, Italy.


Hit by U-boat
Damaged on 21 Oct 1941 by U-123 (Hardegen).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Aurania

Commands listed for HMS Aurania (F 28)

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1Capt. Harry William Cuthbert Hughes, DSO, RN28 Sep 193915 Jan 1940
2A/Capt. Ivan Walter Whitehorn, RN15 Jan 1940Mar 1942

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Notable events involving Aurania include:

3 Dec 1940

Convoy HX 93

This convoy departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3 December 1940 and arrived at Liverpool on 18 December 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Napier (British, 3559 GRT, built 1930), Bello (Norwegian (tanker), 6125 GRT, built 1930), Carras (Greek, 5234 GRT, built 1918), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Lancastrian Prince (British, 1914 GRT, built 1940), Manchester Citizen (British, 5343 GRT, built 1925), Salabangka (Dutch, 6586 GRT, built 1920) and Scottish Star (British, 7224 GRT, built 1917).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN).

A/S escort in the local approaches was provided until /4 by the destroyer HMCS Assiniboine (Capt. L.W. Murray, RCN) and the auxiliary patrol vessels HMCS French (A/Skr. W. Philpott, RCNR) and HMCS Husky (T/Lt. H. Freeland, RCNR).

On 4 December the Bello was ordered to return to Halifax as she could not keep up with the convoy.

On 5 December the convoy SHX 93, coming from Sydney, Nova Scotia which it had departed on 4 December, mergex with convoy HX 93. Convoy SHX 93 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Anthea (British, 5186 GRT, built 1924), Dux (Norwegian, 1590 GRT, built 1934), Eleni (Greek, 5655 GRT, built 1918), Rupert de Larrinaga (British, 5358 GRT, built 1930), Wanstead (British, 5486 GRT, built 1928) and Welsh Trader (British, 4974 GRT, built 1938).

These ships had no escort.

On 7 December the convoy BHX 93, coming from Bermuda which it had departed on 1 December, merged with convoy HX 93. Convoy BHX 93 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adula (British (tanker), 8040 GRT, built 1937), Benedick (British (tanker), 6978 GRT, built 1928), Derrymore (British, 4799 GRT, built 1938), Donacilla (British (tanker), 8113 GRT, built 1939), Dunkeld (British, 4944 GRT, built 1937), Elona (British (tanker), 6192 GRT, built 1937), La Paz (British, 6548 GRT, built 1920), Logician (British, 5993 GRT, built 1928), Lulworth Hill (British, 7628 GRT, built 1940), Lunula (British (tanker), 6363 GRT, built 1927), Mahronda (British, 7926 GRT, built 1925), Queen Victoria (British, 4937 GRT, built 1936), Tasmania (British, 6405 GRT, built 1935), Titus (Dutch, 1712 GRT, built 1930), Tosari (Dutch, 7029 GRT, built 1919), Traveller (British, 3963 GRT, built 1922) and Tuscan Star (British, 11449 GRT, built 1930).

Convoy BHX had been escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Maloja (A/Capt. V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN). This ship parted company after the convoy had merged.

On 8 December 1940 the merchant vessel Anthea collided with the Dutch merchant vessel Maasdam (8812 GRT, built 1921) in position 48°44'N, 46°37'W and sank as a result of the colission. At that time the Anthea had straggled from the convoy in the bad visibility.

On 11 December the battleship HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) took over the escort of the convoy from HMS Ausonia. HMS Rodney was detached on the 13th after the destroyers HMS Matabele (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, DSO, RN), HMS Electra (Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Escapade (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN) and HMS Brilliant (Lt.Cdr. F.C. Brodrick, RN) had arrived from Scapa Flow to escort her back to Scap Flow.

Also on the 13th the destroyers HMS Achates (Lt.Cdr. Viscount Jocelyn, RN), HMS Active (A/Cdr. E.C.L. Turner, RN), HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, DSO, RN) and corvettes HMS Heather (Cdr.(Retd.) J.G.C. Gibson, RN) and HMS Picotee ( Lt.Cdr. N.C.H. Scallan, RNR) joined on the 13th. HMS Achates and HMS Heather were detached on the 16th. The A/S trawlers HMS Lady Madeleine (T/Lt. P.H. Potter, RNR) and HMS Norwich City (Ch.Skr. P. Newman, RNR) also joined later.

The bulk of the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 18 December.

7 Feb 1941

Convoy BHX 108.

This convoy departed Bermuda on 7 February 1941 and joined convoy HX 108 at sea on 12 February 1941.

On departure from Bermuda the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Adula (British (tanker), 8040 GRT, built 1937), Aircrest (British, 5237 GRT, built 1940), Bianca (Norwegian (tanker), 5688 GRT, built 1926), British Progress (British (tanker), 4581 GRT, built 1927), Cape Clear (British, 5085 GRT, built 1939), Comedian (British, 5122 GRT, built 1929), Director (British, 5107 GRT, built 1926), Donacilla (British (tanker), 8113 GRT, built 1939), Emma Bakke (Norwegian, 4721 GRT, built 1929), Leikanger (Norwegian, 4003 GRT, built 1923), Losada (British, 6520 GRT, built 1921), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Misoa (British (tanker), 4800 GRT, built 1937), Putney Hill (British, 5215 GRT, built 1940), Queen Maud (British, 4976 GRT, built 1936), Rapana (British (tanker), 8017 GRT, built 1935), Saintonge (British (tanker), 9386 GRT, built 1936), San Casimiro (British (tanker), 8046 GRT, built 1936), Sepia (British (tanker), 6214 GRT, built 1936), Twickenham (British, 4762 GRT, built 1940) and Yngaren (British, 5246 GRT, built 1921).

On departure from Bermuda the convoy was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Aurania (A/Capt. I.W. Whitehorn, RN).

The convoy merged with convoy HX 108 coming from Halifax on 12 February 1941.

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