HMS Black Prince

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THE HISTORY OF THE H.M.S. BLACK PRINCE

H.M.S. Black Prince was one of five improved " Dido " Class Cruisers commissioned for service in the Royal Navy during World War 2.H.M.S.Black Prince, was built by Harland and Wolf Ltd. in Belfast, and was launched in August 1942,and commissioned for service on the 21st October 1943.

H.M.S. Black Prince had a displacement of just over 6,000 tons, and carried a main armament of eight 5.25 inch dual purpose guns mounted in twin turrets fore and aft. H.M.S. Black Prince also carried six 21 inch torpedo tubes which were assembled in two groups of three. They were situated port and starboard side amidships.

H.M.S. Black Prince's secondary armament was designed for multi-purpose use in both defence and attack, along with the specific capability against air attack.H.M.S. Black Prince, was also fitted with the most advanced operational and control systems available at the time, including the latest design in air and surface radar technology. Under the command of her first Commanding Officer, Captain Dennis Marescaux Lees ( D.S.O. ),and with a cruising speed marked at 20 knots, and a top speed registered at over 34 knots, the H.M.S. Black Prince was a welcome addition to the ships of the Home Fleet stationed in Scappa Flow. 

HMS Black Prince, 1953.

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HMS Black Prince photographed in 1943

HMS Black Prince photographed in 1944

OPERATIONAL RECORD

Under the Command of Chief in Command ( C in C ) Home Fleet ( North Atlantic ) during the period October 1943 to April1944. 

The operational bases used were: Belfast, Scapa Flow, Lam Lash, Loch Ewe, Greenock and Plymouth, H.M.S. Black Prince's main activities were: Intensive practice in maneuver exercises with the Home Fleet, before joining Cruiser Squadron. Christmas was spent in Scapa Flow H.M.S. Black Prince was then involved with more extensive exercises and sea patrols with Cruiser Squadron in the Atlantic and North Sea .With Admiral Glennie on board, H.M.S. Black Prince was flagship for escort duties with Convoy JW 57 to sail to Vaenga Bay in Russia. At the time, this was the largest convoy ever assembled. Under the Command of C in C Home Fleet ( Western Approaches ) during the period April 1944 to August 1944.

The operational bases used were: Plymouth, Greenock, Belfast and Bangor.

H.M.S. Black Prince's main activities were: 

Attached to force 26 ( A Channel Raiding Party ) and with the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, carried out a programme of night sweeps along the French Coast, searching for enemy shipping, and keeping the Channel clear of enemy activities for the period leading up to D-Day. Detached to the American Fleet for exercises of Greenock, and in the Irish Sea H.M.S. Black Prince was preparing for D-Day. 

D-Day ,6th June 1944,and with the American Fleet ( Task Force 129-assembled earlier in Bangor Bay ) H.M.S. Black Prince was off the Cherbourg Peninsula for the landing of "UTAH" and "OMAHA" beaches in Normandy H.M.S. Black Prince was involved with the D-Day invasion for nine days and fired over 1,300 shells. 

Under the Command of C in C ( Mediterranean ), during the period of August 1944 to November 1944. The operational bases used were: Malta, Propriano in Corsica, Sorrento Bay and Naples in Italy, and Alexandria in Egypt. 

H.M.S. Black Prince's main activities were: 

H.M.S. Black Prince arrived in Malta 4th August 1944 for briefing in forthcoming operations, H.M.S. Black Prince was attached to Allied Task Force for the Invasion of Southern France.

With Southern France invaded, Allied troops landed through the Port of Toulon, with the French battleship "Lorraine" in attendance.

In single operations, a series of raids and bombardments were carried out against enemy held islands in the Eastern Aegean. Also sweeps were made against enemy shipping and other targets in the area of Scarpanto, to the entrance of Gulf Of Salonika. H.M.S. Black Prince, along with H.M.S. Stalker an Escort Aircraft Carrier, and two destroyers,  H.M.S. Black Prince out a series of air strikes and bombardments against the German occupied island of Syros, and the air-strip at Meleme on the island of Crete.

H.M.S.BLACK PRINCE arriving at North Shields on  completion of the bombardment at Cherbourg Peninsular, Normandy.D-Day,6th June 1944.

With other allied units including ships from Greece itself H.M.S. Black Prince, formed a Task Force for the Invasion Of Greece. With the invasion carried out for the landings in this operation H.M.S. Black Prince embarked in Alexandria. 800 troops of the King's Royal Rifle Regiment who took part in the operation. The landings were made through the Port of Piracus for the capture of Athens. 

Ferried 800 Indian Army troops and their equipment from Haifa to Searpanto for liberation and occupational duties.

With H.M.S Arogant. detached to Trincomalee in Ceylon for formation of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF). 

The crew of HMS Black Prince

Under the command of C. in C. British Fleet. during the period November 1944 to March 1946.

The operational bases used were : Trincomalee and Colombo in Ceylon, Sydney in Australia, Manus in the Admiralty Islands, Ulithi in the Caroline Islands, Leyete in the Phillipine Islands, Hong Kong and Shanghai, 

Black Prince's main activites were :-

Attached to the 4th, Cruiser Squadron in Trincomalee for the initial formation of the British Pacific Fleet. ( BPF ) 

Black Prince photographed in Auckland while in service with the Royal New Zealand Navy from 1946-1961.

Extensive Exercises carried out by all ships in the Indian Ocean to adopt to American system of naval manouvers and communications. Initial formation of BPF completed and with the newly formed BPF's first operation against the Japanese the BPF (now designated as task force 67) carried out a series of three air strikes against the Japanese held oil fields in Northern Sumatra. 

When completed, the fleet, though not yet at full strength, sailed for Sydney Australia and an eventual link up with the American Fleet at Uli Thi. By early March the full compliment of ships required to form Fast Carrier Task Force (Insisted by the Americans) had been achieved and was now placed at the disposal of the Commander of the American 5th Fleet, Admiral Raymond Spruance. The BPF was then to be known as Task Force 57. From this period onwards H.M.S. Black Prince with Task Force 57 took part of every operation against the Japanese held islands of Truk, Sakishima Gunta, Okinawa and the home land of Japan itself. However, on the 6th of August 1945 she was dispatched to Sydney via Guam and Manus to have a replacement gun fitted. Only to arrive in Sydney two days after all the VJ day celebrations had finished, without any time for her own celebrations. H.M.S  Black Prince was quickly turned round and dispatched to help out with the liberation of Hong Kong. H.M.S. Black Prince's final operation for the BPF, covered a 9 week period over Christmas in 1945 in the port of Shanghai, protecting the interest of British and Allied personnel who had been caught up in the war between Communist and Nationalist China. H.M.S. Black Prince during her career visited many other ports and carried out numerous other duties including those of a more humanitarian nature than those described above.

She was a highly efficient ship and a happy one. H.M.S. Black Prince also had the good fortune to sail nearly 200,000 miles without any major defects and sustained no major damage in her operational commitments. After such a vigorous and successful campaign with the Royal Navy, H.M.S  Black Prince was transferred to the control of the Royal New Zealand Navy in May 1946 where she replaced H.M.N.Z.S. Gambia, where she remained in service until she was finally decommissioned in May 1962 and sold to a scrap metal dealer in Osaka Japan.

Arthur Troutt, and Hayden Pyne, bought this plaque for the British Ex-Serviceman's Club, in Sydney Australia. The British Ex-Serviceman's Club folded, and Arthur and Hayden thought it would be a great idea to have the plaque at the Garrison Church in Sydney, Australia. The crew from the H.M.S. Black Prince went to the Garrison Church for services when the H.M.S. Black Prince came to Australia in 1946, which is an appropriate place for this plaque. Mrs. Mona Duguid, who takes care of the British memorabilia at the Garrison Church's museum, arranged the honours to be placed on the plaque. Mona's grandfather, Mr George Hope, served on the original H.M.S. Black Prince in the 1860's.,which was lost at the Battle Of Jutland, during World War One, in 1916.

The above text and photographs of HMS Black Prince has been donated to our website by Arthur Trout. We would like to thank him for his contribution. More details of the ship and her company can be seen on Arthur's website www.hmsblackprince.org.uk

HMS Black Prince was built by Harland and Wolff, launched 27th August 1942 and completed 20th November 1943. Served in the Home Fleet 1943-44, moving to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1944 and then to the Pacific Fleet in 1945. She transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1948, finally sold for scrapping in March 1962 and scrapped in Japan in August 1962.

Photo of Noel Wright standing on the Fx of HMNZS Black Prince. He served 20 years with the New Zealand Navy during 1940 to 1960. Photograph supplied by Ross Lee