Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Website designer

Fiona Gatt

This website was designed by, a web designer, writer, editor and publisher for hire working from Central Victoria Australia, but with clients internationally.

Fiona enjoys the rewarding challenge of working with clients to see their ideas published, whether that be in print, in eBook format or as a website.

Fiona has worked on the Internet since before it was a routine part of every day existence.

Click here to view a portfolio of websites Fiona has been involved in over the past year.

Published work
Great Aunt Cecelia (Weekend Reads)
Top Ten Apps for Turning Your Android Device Into a Personal Assistant
Top Ten Crucial Ways to Secure Your Android Device
The Top Ten Free Android Apps for Weight Loss
Turn Your Android Phone or Tablet into a Multimedia Hub

Audio to be added Click here to play an audio clip of 'Pipe the Side Call Whistle'

Click here to here a recording of the All Hands Call Whistle - 'The Still'

Automatic hyperlink to connect as this image comes onto screen All Hands Call Whistle “The Still”

Monday, 11 November 2013

Giclee Print Care

So What Is A Giclée Print?

Giclée is a printing process with its name, pronounced “zhee – clay”, being derived from the French term meaning "spray of ink". The Giclée process gives one of the finest digital prints that can be created from an original work with the resulting Giclée Print itself being a work of fine art quality by using archival inks, high-resolution inkjet printing technology, techniques and specialist papers.
Properly executed a Giclée Print is practically indiscernible in colour and definition from the original work. The paper stock used by our printer is Crane Museo Silver Rag 300gsm Fine Art, 100% Cotton, Zero OBA, is Acid Free and Buffered, The prints are produced using 10 Colour Epson Ultra Chrome High Dynamic Range Ink. The printers using this process tend to be those who are constantly seeking to drive quality in their business to achieve the highest product standards in their industry. Our printer, Tony Knight, the most awarded in Australia for the quality of his work, is arguably Australia’s finest printer. Visit him at

With the use of this fine acid free archival paper stock our prints are of archival quality which when properly mounted and cared for under gallery conditions will retain their colour brilliance, freshness and stability for generations to come with a life expectancy of up to 100 years being quite reasonable.

Giclée Print Care

Giclée prints should be treated with exactly the same care as would be given to any piece of fine art. The printed surface should only be handled when wearing gloves as dirt and oils may damage the image, similarly when handling the paper, gloves avoid damage to the paper caused by fingerprints or smudges to the surface. Avoiding placing the framed Print in bright sunlight will substantially assist the colour preservation.

Framing A Giclée Print

Giclée Prints should be framed with a mat under glass with the use of only acid-free materials being critical, they should never be mounted flat to the glass without a mat as this will result in a dramatically reduced life. There are even a range of glass types which will contribute to a long life print. If it is to be used for archival purposes there are appropriate standards to guide the framer plus there are specialists framers experienced in this work who will certify their framing as “archival compliant”. If you are at all confused by this please contact us for more detailed advice.

Giclée Fine Art Limited Edition Prints are an Investment

That Fine Art has an intrinsic value is a fact that cannot be disputed. Fine Art Limited Edition Prints retain their value because only a limited number of them can ever be available to any market. As scarcity increases value, so a limited edition will increase in value when the final Print is sold, but, in many cases the Print price actually increases while the Edition is selling so the closer the Edition comes to selling out the higher the price becomes. It is not unusual for the final Print price to be several times that at which the first Prints were sold.

Certificates of Authenticity

In common with other providers of quality Limited Editions of Fine Art Prints, Ajax Prints will issue a uniquely numbered Certificate of Authenticity with each Ajax Print. This provides the Owner firstly with its guaranteed authenticity, a proof of ownership for insurance purposes and a record of the Print’s provenance for possible future sale.

Ajax Prints ®
Victoria Australia
ABN (Australian Business Number): 53 509 791 496

The Artist

The Artist, Wallace Trickett, in his Otaki studio
Photo courtesy of Wallace Trickett ©

From his studio near Wellington in New Zealand, Wallace Trickett has won recognition as a noted professional artist, not only in that country but also in Europe (particularly the UK), Australia, Asia and the USA.

For 25 years he was a cartoon artist to various New Zealand newspapers and magazines but retired from that in 2009 to devote more time to his painting. While he paints across all genres, his speciality and passion is transport of all types, particularly ships. His work from commissions is wide and varied, including a series of twenty-two for BP Oil (NZ), and another for Maersk Line, which has one of the largest fleets of ships in the world. The majority of the Maersk Line ships have at least one of his paintings in their interior decor. Wallace’s work has been published extensively and internationally in various books, magazines such as ‘Sea Breezes’ and trade journals plus illustrating several book covers including ‘Sailing the Seven Seas of History’.

His work is exhibited in several New Zealand galleries and there are occasional private exhibitions devoted entirely to his work. His transport montage mural at the Southward Car Museum is the largest such mural in the country. He was mentioned in the 2010 London Battle of Britain Ceremony for two paintings that were commissioned by the family of Air Marshal Sir Keith Park. They depicted the (English) Southern Railway’s locomotive which was named after Sir Keith. A New Zealander, Sir Keith had gained a reputation as a shrewd tactician with an astute grasp of strategic issues, most notably during his command of the RAF’s number 11 Fighters Group in the Battle of Britain. This locomotive had just been restored after being out of service for 45 years.

Inspired by five years as an Engineer Officer with Blue Star Line, Wallace is steadily working through portraying each of the extensive list of ships they have owned since the company was first registered on 28th July 1911. At last count he had completed 109 of them, which are now with various owners around the globe, including this author. His Naval works include the battleship HMS Rodney engaging the German battleship Bismark and HMS Achilles in action at the Battle of the River Plate. Achilles was a sister ship to Ajax manned by a New Zealand crew (Note 1).

1. At that time the Achilles was a member of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, manned
    mostly by a New Zealand crew. On 1 October 1941 by a British Order in Council the New Zealand
    Division of the Royal Navy became the Royal New Zealand Navy and thus changed the
    abbreviation HMS to HMNZS.

The Painting


Oils on Board by Wallace Trickett, 30” x 20”

0915 hrs, 21st May, 1941
In the Mediterranean on 21st May 1941, the day after German airborne forces invaded Crete, daylight found the Royal Navy’s Leander Class light cruiser H.M.S. Ajax deployed as part of their Force D to help defend the island from seaborne invasion. At 0825 the ship’s log reads ‘Hands to repel aircraft stations’ to confront an imminent attack by German Heinkel 111 bombers. At 0915 the log reads ‘Attacked by 10 Ju 87 dive bombers, several very near misses with bombs, damage to port shafts’. It is this precise moment which this painting has attempted to capture. Ajax is shown in the painting as working up to high speed commencing an evasive hard turn as her orders were ‘manoeuvre to avoid (air attack)’. This attack ceased at 0922, the whole action had lasted just seven minutes although it must have seemed like an eternity to Ajax’s crew. The Luftwaffe was relentless as a little later at 1050 a pair of Stukas attacked. Then in the afternoon there was another ferocious attack that lasted for 2½ hours followed by a further attack that evening.

The painting commissioned by Clive Sharplin and Wendy White is dedicated to the memory of their father, Robert (Bob) John Sharplin, Chief Mechanician First Class, Chatham Division, Royal Navy, on the 100th anniversary of his birth on June 4th 1911, to his shipmates and all who served in the cruiser H.M.S. Ajax and the Ajax which followed, a frigate, which was in commission from 1963 until 1985. Also to the Town of Ajax in Ontario, Canada, named by its community after this cruiser H.M.S. Ajax.

The painting image and this publication are copyright © Clive R Sharplin, 2011, with all rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of Ajax Town Council ©

A framed print of the Painting was hung in the Town Hall of Ajax, Ontario, Canada, in a small ceremony on 19th January 2012 immediately following the General Government Committee Meeting at which the Print had been presented to the Council. The individuals in the photo were the then Council Members of the Town of Ajax:- Left to right are: Colleen Jordan, Regional Councillor Wards 3 & 4; Joanne Dies, Councillor Ward 3; Marilyn Crawford, Councillor Ward 1; Mayor Steve Parish; (right side of photo) Renrick Ashby, Councillor Ward 2; Pat Brown, Councillor Ward 4; Shaun Collier, Regional Councillor Ward 1 & 2.

The sheer confrontational energy of the painting, with its evocative emotion of the Royal Navy displaying its fighting prowess and other qualities built up over centuries of service to the realm, makes this full colour print a wonderful and very special piece of naval memorabilia. It would be a valued gift for all those connected in any way with HMS Ajax, the Royal Navy or just for those interested in maritime history and militaria.

The full colour prints are available in two sizes to complement your home, study or office décor, photo library or galleries and museums. The print process, based upon an 80+ megapixel camera’s photographic image of the painting combined with the skills of arguably Australia’s finest printer, ensure absolute lifelike ‘true to painting’ definition and colour.

Ajax Limited Edition Fine Art Prints are printed using the Giclée process on specialist certified paper having a life expectancy of over 100 years under gallery conditions, giving maximum paper durability and stability to safeguard the freshness and colours of your Ajax Print for generations to come.

These prints are only available “unframed” for ease of shipment thus offering the owner a personal choice in framing. Each print has a border with the ship’s crest and motto at the top. In the lower border is the title with the date of the action and the artist’s name thus giving the owner a choice of leaving the border on or trimming it off. All Ajax Prints are despatched rolled in a strong cardboard tube; within Australia by registered post and for overseas deliveries by registered airmail. A leaflet fully describing the action depicted accompanies each print.
It is also available as a folded Greetings Card with blank interior.

Refer to the Order Page for details of these uniquely numbered Limited Edition Fine Art Prints, prices and worldwide delivery etc.

Jerry Kirk (Guest Speaker), Ken Jones (A&RPVA), Admiral “Tubby” Jones (Guest), Peter Danks (President A&RPVA)
Photo by Cliff Hoppe ©, courtesy of the HMS Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association Archive
A Print of the Painting was donated by Bob’s children, Clive Sharplin and Wendy White, to the HMS
Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association at their 2011 Annual General Meeting (pictured above).




Print available in two sizes:

Full size with borders 36” x 28” (91.4 x 71.1cms), Image size 30” x 20” (76.2 x 50.8cms)
Half size with borders 19” x 15” (48.3 x 38.1cms), Image size 15” x 10” (38.1 x 25.4cms)

Also available as a greeting card:

A single folded greeting card with plain interior in packs of 5, overall size 11.75” x 3.9” (30 x 10 cms)

Order Here

(None But Ajax Can Overcome Ajax)

Ajax Prints ®
Victoria Australia
ABN (Australian Business Number): 53 509 791 496

The Printer

Our Printer, Tony Knight, is one of Australia’s most awarded and highly regarded Printers and Photographers. With numerous national awards to his credit for Print and Photography, Tony has earned a prestigious reputation within the Australian printing industry where he was not only the proud recipient of many industry awards but won the “ ‘Best of the Best’ Judges Choice Award for Outstanding Excellence” at the 26th Australian National Print Awards; the ultimate Australian printing industry accolade.

Now located in a state of the art studio in Melbourne’s eastern fringe with a specialist business pioneering new creative photographic avenues Tony continues his craft of producing the highest quality Limited Edition Archival Art Giclée Prints to a selected clientele of which Ajax Prints is fortunate to be included.

With his ethos of strong client partnership and a commitment that is absolute Tony brings Australia’s finest printing skills to our Ajax Limited Edition Archival Prints such that it is not unreasonable to consider our Prints when framed and maintained under archival practice to have a life expectancy in the order of 100 years.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ranks & Ratings

Badges of Ranks, Ratings, Speciality Qualifications of Robert (Bob) John Sharplin

Petty Officer Sleeve (upper left) and Cap badge
Also worn by Stoker Petty Officer
The badges of rank – CPO (Chief Petty Officer) , PO (Petty Officer), LS (Leading Seaman), OS (Ordinary Seaman) etc. and good conduct stripes are worn on the left upper sleeve, and indicate just that - rank. The actual standard of training reached in that specialty is marked by the badge (with and without crowns and stars) worn on the right upper sleeve.

Chief Petty Officer – Sleeve buttons
(On each sleeve cuff) & Cap Badge
Also worn by Chief Mechanician.
➢ These were worn by Bob in his final rank.
In British naval practice, specialty and rating are generally unrelated. A man may have a high status in a specialty without advancing beyond a seaman's rating; or he may be a CPO but still not be highly qualified in his particular specialty. In such cases, advancement in rating would depend on leadership, education etc.

 Mechanician: [all with propeller with crown above, star below]:

Chief Mechanician
Mechanician, 1st Class
Mechanician, 2nd Class
Mechanician (O.S.)
Worn on right upper sleeve
➢ This was worn by Bob in his final rank
 Stoker: [three bladed propeller]
Chief Stoker [crown above]
Stoker Petty Officer [crown above]
Leading Stoker [star above]
Stoker, 1st Class [star above]
➢ Stoker, 2nd Class [Propeller only] Bob’s initial rating upon joining
Stoker, Fire Fighter (not in Pay lists)
Worn on right upper sleeve

Good Conduct Chevrons
Good Conduct Pay (for each badge)
Worn on left upper sleeve
➢ Bob wore the 3 chevrons shown on the left in his final rank

Bob’s Decorations: Medals & Clasps

The Atlantic Star
The Africa Star with France & Germany Bar
The 1939-1945 Star
The 1939-1945 Medal
Long Service & Good Conduct Medal

     Bob’s Medal has the France & Germany Clasp

     Bob’s Medal does not have the Clasp shown here.



The Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal was introduced on 24 August 1831. It is silver and circular in shape and is based on the pattern of that issued in 1848. The suspender on the medal was changed to the present narrower width in 1875. The obverse of the medal shows the effigy of the reigning monarch at the time of the award. The reverse shows the image of a three-masted man-of-war surrounded by a rope tied at the foot with a reef knot with the legend 'For Long service and Good Conduct' around the circumference. The ribbon is blue with white edges.

An Other Rank who completes 15 years of reckonable service from the date of attestation or age 17½, whichever is later, and who holds all three good conduct badges, shall be eligible to receive the medal. However, there are a number of offences which would normally preclude award of the medal. Awards are only made after a thorough check of a sailor's record of service.

The service number, rank and name of the recipient is normally engraved around the edge of the medal as is Bob's. Also up until the early 1980s the name of the ship or shore establishment the recipient was serving on when he or she received the medal was also given. Unfortunately this information is no longer impressed on the medal.


The Légion d’Honneur is the highest decoration that France can bestow and is normally restricted to French Citizens.

On 25th July 2014 the French Government informed the UK Ministry of Defence that it wished to recognise the "selfless acts of heroism and determination displayed" by all veterans of the Normandy landings and of the wider campaigns to liberate France in 1944, by awarding them with the  Légion  d’Honneur. Thus it was to be awarded to not only those troops who landed on French soil but also to those members of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force who were there in support, the only exception made was that it would not be awarded posthumously!

So Bob earned it by being in the Cruiser HMS Mauritius (Note 1) at the D-Day landings and the Battle for Normandy, but, like many thousands of others did not receive his recognition, simply because they had died prior to any application resulting from 25th July 2014 announcement. A poor decision  leaving one with the impression of a French Government being parsimonious in not only disregarding those thousands who had since died but completely denying recognition of those who actually gave their lives for France in the campaign!

One who also shared this theft of any recognition was Bob's elder brother Perce who was there on HMS Apollo (Note 2).

1. At the “D-Day” invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944 HMS Mauritius was part of Force D off  
    Sword Beach acting as a gun platform to "take out" German coastal heavily fortified gun 
    emplacements. She suffered some slight damage by gunfire from those German shore batteries.
    (For details of HMS Mauritius refer to "Ships & Shore Establishments Served In", Entry No. 15).

2. Perce Sharplin was a Chief Petty Officer Stoker on board HMS Apollo as part of "Operation
     Neptune" (Note 3) when on D-Day + 1 (7 June) she was assigned to carry the invasion forces most
    senior officers, Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight D Eisenhower, Naval Commander in
    Chief Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, General Bernard Law Montgomery and staff officers from 
    SHAEF to visit the assault areas. However she grounded damaging her propellers so the 
    passengers were transferred to HMS Undaunted, a U-class Destroyer, who returned them to
    Portsmouth. Apollo made her way back to Sheerness then on to the Tyne for repairs.
    (HMS Apollo, 8th of her name, was a 2,650 ton Abdiel class Fast Cruiser-Minelayer capable of 40 knots, built 1943,
     broken up 1962). 

3.  "Operation Neptune" was the cross-Channel crossing phase of "Operation Overlord", the Allied
     invasion of Europe. "Operation Neptune" placed all naval issues under the command of Admiral
     Sir Bertram Ramsey whose command skills had already been seen in 1940 with the part he played
     in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk. "Operation Neptune" required some 6,000 ships of all
     types and sizes.

4. In participating in these actions Mauritius, Apollo and Undaunted (9th of her name) all earned
    the Royal Navy 's "Normandy 1944" Battle Honour. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Service Record

Royal Navy Service Record of Robert (Bob) John Sharplin

Royal Navy Official Number: KX80024
Port Division: Chatham
Service Period: 8th July 1929 – 12th February 1953

Research by his son - Clive Sharplin.

Bob, believed to be mid 1941 to early 1942
Photo: Sharplin family archive

This Record is a compilation of Bob’s original Royal Navy documents which either accompanied or followed him throughout the whole of his 23½ years wherever he served. Incredibly they survived that ordeal and are now in the care of his family. They provided in sequence the name of every ship or shore establishment to which he was drafted with the relevant service dates, his educational and speciality (professional) qualifications attained, his progression through the ranks, decorations and awards made to him and the personal performance and conduct reports made by each of his Divisional and Commanding Officers.

The critical source documents were:

Admiralty Form S.-459         “Certificate of Service”
Admiralty Form S.-1243       “True Copy of Certificate of Service”
Admiralty Form S.-1246a     “Employment and Ability Record”
Admiralty Form S.-239         “Recommendations for Advancement Conduct Record Sheet”


08/07/1929     Volunteered at age 18 for 12 years service. Previous  
                       occupation given as “Butcher & Errand Boy”   
08/07/1941     Re-engaged to complete time for pension
1951               Service period automatically extended by 18 months due to
                       hostilities (Korean War)
12/02/1953     Retired on pension


                                    08/07/1929     Upon entry rated Stoker 2nd Class                 
11/05/1930     Rated Stoker 1st Class
11/06/1935     Rated Acting Leading Stoker
12/06/1935     Provisionally selected as “Mechanician Candidate”
12/06/1935     Rated Acting Stoker Petty Officer
11/03/1936     Qualified to take charge of Boiler Room whilst steaming
12/06/1936     Rated Stoker Petty Officer
11/11/1938     Rated qualified for Warrant Officer Rank in the Mechanician
                       (He subsequently declined to accept commissioned rank - See   
                             Note 1 )
30/01/1939     Rated Mechanician 2nd Class, Petty Officer
01/06/1940     Rated Mechanician 1st Class, Petty Officer
01/10/1944     Declared as “Is in all respects capable of taking charge of the
                       Machinery of a small ship”
25/01/1945     Rated Acting Chief Mechanician Petty Officer
09/02/1945     Passed “Good” by examination for Chief Mechanician
10/08/1945     Rated Chief Mechanician Petty Officer


3 Good Conduct Badges (Chevron Stripes)

1st awarded 08/07/1932
2nd awarded 08/07/1937
3rd awarded 08/07 1942

Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, 08/07/1944

  1. After WW2 and in retirement Bob was on record in saying that he believed that with the post-war value of hindsight this decision may well have saved his life. In making that statement he held the belief that so many of his contemporaries who had accepted a commission at around that same time were drafted as Senior Engineers into the smaller ships such as destroyers, frigates and corvettes had ultimately lost their lives as those vessels suffered horrendous losses in ships and men from enemy action.     


I am much indebted to and acknowledge the most valuable material confirmation, advice, expertise, guidance and information provided by these particular Authorities. Without them significant portions of my material would either not have been found, made available or my own research able to be confirmed.

The Admiralty

  1. ”Certificate of the Service of Robert John Sharplin in the Royal Navy” and other personal service records and papers.
  2. Various War Diaries and Operational Accounts.

The National Archive, Kew, England

The Cruiser HMS Ajax Ship’s Log

HMS Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association, England

Ongoing assistance and advice in regard to the Association's activities particularly President Peter Danks, archivist Malcolm Collis and Alf Larkin Association Member and Cruiser Ajax Crew Member at the time of The Battle for Crete.

Peter C Smith, England 

Noted published author of some 67 books of aeronautical, naval and military history including the Series “Luftwaffe at War”.

Adams, Robert - England 

Biographical assistance re his Father, Albert “Ajax” Adams, Naval Constructor and designer of HMS Ajax.

The Town of Ajax, Ontario, Canada    

The Mayor, Steve Parish, and his staff  who are unstinting in their access to the Town's Archives and assisting in everything related to the ships named "Ajax".  In particular their generous hosting of my and my Wife's visit to the town along with fellow members of The Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association in June 2014 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate. Also for  the dedication ceremony at that time of "Sharplin Drive" to the memory of my Father, Robert John Sharplin, in the presence of my Wife and myself and other Association Members, a truly moving experience.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

HMS Ajax - Daily War Diary

This extract from the Daily War Diary covers only the period during which Bob served in Ajax from March 19th 1940 to 8th August 1941.

1 9 4 0
February                Paid off and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Chatham.

March                     Under refit. 19th March, Bob Sharplin drafted to Ajax in Chatham Dockyard.
to                            Zarebas fitted to 4in Guns. Tripod masts fitted and aircraft warning radar Type 279
June                        installed.

July                         Post refit trials and recommissioning.
                                Nominated for service in Mediterranean.

August                   Worked-up for service and transferred to 7th Cruiser Squadron.
                                Nominated for escort of mercantiles carrying motor transport during passage to
                                (Note: This convoy was intended to pass through the Mediterranean as part of                    
                                Operation HATS but it was later decided to divert it via Cape of Good Hope.
                                The ships carrying personnel and tanks remained with the warships joining
                                the Mediterranean Fleet which went direct to Alexandria. For details see
                                Naval Staff History (2002).)
                21st         Sailed from UK as part of escort with HM Cruiser York during passage via Cape
                                Of Good Hope to Middle East.

                2nd          At Freetown.
                13th         At Durban
                                (Note: Italian offensive in western desert began.)
                26th         Escorted troopships Empress Of Japan, Orion and Oronsay from Aden to Suez.
                23rd         At Suez.
                30th         Joined HMS Sydney (RAN) in 7th Cruiser Squadron at Alexandria for deployment
                                in Eastern Mediterranean.

                3rd           Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships Malaya, Ramillies, HM Aircraft
                                Carrier Eagle, HM Cruiser Coventry with screen of eight destroyers to
                2nd          Took part in searched for Italian convoys taking supplies to Libya with Fleet units
                8th           Deployed with HM Battleships Warspite, Valiant, Malaya and Ramillies, HM
                                Aircraft Carriers Illustrious and Eagle, HM Cruisers York, Gloucester,
                                Liverpool, Sydney and Orion with screen of 16 Fleet destroyers to cover passage
                                of Malta convoy MF3 (Operation MB6)
                11th         Detached at Malta with HMS Orion for patrol SE of island.
                12th         Provided cover for Convoy MF4 to Alexandria with Fleet units and deployed with                      
                                ships of Squadron east of Fleet
                                In close range night action with HM Cruisers Orion, Sydney and York screened
                                by HM Destroyers Nubian and Mohawk against Italian convoy in Gulf of Otranto.
                                Two destroyers, Airone and Ariel were sunk and destroyer Artigliere damaged.
                                Hit by 7 shells resulting in 35 casualties including 13 killed.
                                (Note: Bridge structure and radar items damaged.
                                For details see ‘Engage The Enemy More Closely’ by Corelli Barnett
                                and Naval Staff History (HMSO 2002).
                                Artigliere was sunk later by HMS York when under tow after the action)
                14th         Under air attacks during which HMS Liverpool was hit by a torpedo and had to be
                                taken in tow by HMS Orion.
                16th         Arrived at Alexandria with Fleet units.
                29th         Embarked advance party of York and Lancaster Regiment for passage to Suda
                                Note: This was in response to Italian invasion of Greece and first phase of British support for
                                         the defence of Crete.
                1st           Arrived at Suda Bay, Crete from Alexandria with HM Cruisers Coventry and
                                Calcutta, HM Netlayer Protector, HM Minesweeper Fareham and for 
                                destroyers to set up forward base.
                                Under air attack and near missed.
                2nd          During return to Alexandria with HMS Coventry again under air attack and again
                                near missed.
                4th           Sailed from Alexandria for Suda Bay with HMAS Sydney having embarked
                                HQ 14th Armoured Brigade, AA Guns and troops for service in Crete (Operation 
                5th           After disembarking troops and equipment sailed from Suda Bay with HMS Orion
                                for visits to Piraeus and Candida.
                                (Note: The passage of reinforcements to Crete and of Aegean convoys were
                                covered by Fleet units including HM Battleships Barham, Valiant and HMS Eagle
                                with screen of eight destroyers (Operation MB8).
                 6th          Passage to join Fleet units covering the passage of Convoy MW3 to Malta.
                10th         Joined HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant, HMS Malaya, HMS Ramillies, HMS
                                Illustrious, HMS Gloucester, HMS York, HMS Orion and destroyer screen
                                deployed as Force A.
                                (Part of Operation COAT with ships of Force H to cover transit of convoys to and
                                from Malta, concurrent with reinforcement of Mediterranean Fleet by ships from
                11th         Detached from Force A with HMS Orion, HMS Sydney, HM Destroyers
                                Mohawk and Nubian to carry out offensive sweep in Straits of Otranto during J
                                (Note: Ships of Force A were deployed for cover of air attacks on Taranto by
                                HMS Illustrious which had detached with screen of cruisers and destroyers
                                (Operation JUDGEMENT).)
                12th         Intercepted Italian 4 ship convoy escorted by auxiliary cruiser Ramb III and
                                torpedo boat Fabrizi. All mercantiles were sunk but escorts escaped.
                                Rejoined Force A.
                                (Note: A second attack on Taranto was planned but cancelled in view of weather
                                forecast in target area.)
                13th         Detached from Force A with HMS Malaya, HMS Barham, and five destroyers.
                                took passage to Suda Bay to refuel before return to Alexandria to resume
                                Squadron duties.
                                For details of these operations see Naval Staff History.
                15th         Embarked troops at Alexandria with HM Cruisers Gloucester, York, Sydney and
                                Orion for passage to Piraeus.
                20th         Disembarked troops and took return passage to Alexandria.
                23rd         Deployed with HM Battleships Malaya, Ramillies, HM Aircraft Carrier Eagle,
                                HM Cruisers Berwick, Orion, Sydney, screened by destroyers as Force B to cover
                                passage of convoy to Crete and carry out air attacks on Tripoli from HMS Eagle.
                26th         Arrived at Malta with Force C when HMS Malaya, HMS Ramillies and HMS
                                Berwick detached to join Force D for passage to Gibraltar.
                28th         Deployed to cover passage of HM Cruisers Manchester and Southampton, four
                                Corvettes and four mercantiles during passage through Sicilian Narrows.
                                (Note: These ships had been involved in the action against an Italian Force on 27th 
                                and detached afterwards from ships of Force H.
                                Battle of Cape Spartivento, see Naval Staff History.)
                                On arrival off Malta detached from cover and took passage to Suda Bay with the                           
                                four corvettes.
                30th         Arrived at Suda Bay.

December               Deployed with HMS Orion and HMAS Sydney for defence of convoys in Aegean.
                                based at Suda Bay.
                16th         Returned to Suda Bay with Squadron to refuel and resumed cover for Aegean
                17th         Joined by HM Cruisers York and Gloucester of CS3 and took passage as Force B
                                to rejoin Mediterranean Fleet units providing Distant Cover for transit of Convoys
                                MW5A and B from Egypt to Malta, as well as of Convoy.ME5 from Malta to
                                (Note: Part of Operations MC2 and MC3. These also included air attacks on
                                Dodecanese, on Port Skala, Valona, bombardment of Valona and cover of transit
                                of HMS Malaya, four destroyers and two mercantiles to Gibraltar. All by Force A
                                ships which comprised HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant and HMS Illustrious screened
                                by 11 destroyers.
                18th         Detached with Cruisers HMS Orion and HMAS Sydney and HM Destroyers
                                Janus, Jervis and Juno as screen during offensive sweep in Otranto Strait.
                19th         Rejoined Force A to provide cover for transit of ships to Gibraltar after
                                unsuccessful search (Operation HIDE.)
                23rd         Remained with Force A to provide escort for passage of Convoy ME5A to
                24th         Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.

1 9 4 1

                6th           Sailed from Alexandria with HMS Orion, HMS York, HM Corvettes Gloxinia,
                                Peony, Hyacinth, Salvia and RFA Tanker Brambleleaf to Suda Bay.
                7th           Arrived at Suda Bay with two destroyers and four corvettes for defence of military
                                convoys to and from Greece.
                                (Note: Part of Mediterranean Fleet major operation designed to cover the
                                passage of military convoys to Greece and Malta concurrent with other Malta
                                supply convoys
                                (Operation EXCESS - See Naval Staff History and "Engage The Enemy More
                11th         Detached with HM Battleship Barham, HM Aircraft Carrier Eagle and destroyers
                                to carry out commando raid on Dodecanese but operation cancelled due to
                                (Note: Source other than the Naval Staff History records this Operation, MC6 was
                                to carry out air attacks on Dodecanese from HMS Illustrious but that
                                cancellation was due to withdrawal of the aircraft carrier because of damage
                                after air attacks on 10th.)
                12th         Joined HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant which had been deployed to cover passage
                                of to Alexandria for convoy ME6 after passage through Sicilian Narrows.
                                (Note Operation MC4 part of Operation EXCESS transit of military convoy in
                                Eastern Mediterranean, See Naval Staff History, Battle Summary No.18.)
                                These major Fleet units had been under sustained and heavy air attacks during
                                which HM Cruiser Southampton was sunk, HMS Illustrious and
                                HM Cruiser Gloucester seriously damaged.. See reference and Malta
                                Convoys by R Woodman.)
                16th         Arrived at Alexandria after completion of ME6 escort
                31st         Escorted convoy to Piraeus with HM Cruiser Coventry.

                2nd          Took passage from Piraeus after arrival of convoy.
                19th         Embarked troops and stores of Cheshire Regt. and Hampshire Regt. and sailed
                                From Alexandria with HMS Orion and HMS Gloucester also carrying troops for the
                                reinforcement of Malta Garrison. HM Destroyers Nubian and Mohawk were
                                deployed for escort during high speed passage.
                                (Operation MC8 which also included cover by Fleet units for this transit and that
                                of two mercantiles from Malta to Egypt.)
                21st         Disembarked troops in Malta and took return passage to Alexandria with HMS

                4th           Embarked troops at Suda bay for passage to Greece with HMAS Perth, HMS
                                Orion and HMS Gloucester screened by four destroyers.
                                (Operation LUSTRE – Military support of Greece by British personnel).
                6th           Deployed with same ships to cover passage of troop reinforcements to Greece.
                24th         Escort of convoy to Piraeus from Alexandria with HMAS Perth, HMS Orion and
                                HMS Gloucester.
                27th         On arrival ordered to be in position south of Crete off Gavdo Island by 0630 on
                                28th March to join Mediterranean Fleet units.
                28th         Ships became Force B of Mediterranean Fleet and took part in Battle of Matapan.
                                (Full details in "The Battle Of Matapan" by SW Pack, and Naval Staff History,
                                Battle Summary No 44.)
                29th         Detached with HMAS Cruiser Perth and Destroyers HMAS Stuart and HMS Griffin
                                for escort of LUSTRE convoys to Piraeus.

                6th          At Piraeus with Coventry during air raid when SS Clan Fraser,   
                               discharging 5,000 tons of ammunition into rail trucks alongside was hit and 
                               exploded. Ray Parkin in his autobiography ‘Ray Parkin’s Odyssey’ described it thus ‘the whole port
                               and almost everything in it became an inferno... HMS Ajax and HMS Calcutta, by some
                               miracle, got themselves clear of the harbour and out to our (HMAS Perth’s) anchorage’.                                
                10th         Covered passage of HM Destroyers Jervis, Janus, Nubian and Mohawk to
                                Malta for duty as striking force against Italian supply convoys.
                12th         Carried out offensive sweep off Ras-el-Tin with HMS Orion and HMAS Perth
                18th         Sailed from Alexandria with HM Battleships Warspite, Barham, Valiant,
                                HMS Illustrious, HM Cruisers Calcutta, Gloucester, Orion and
                                Phoebe screened by destroyers to provide cover for passage of HM Supply Ship
                                Breconshire to Malta from Egypt and Convoy ME7 from Malta (Operation MD2).
                19th         At Suda Bay with same ships and sailed after destroyers had refuelled as Force C
                                with HMS Formidable. HMS Orion and HMAS Perth, screened by HM
                                Destroyers Decoy, Defender, Greyhound and Ilex to provide air cover to
                                major warships designated Force B during bombardment of Tripoli (Operation
                21st         Deployed off shore during air operations in defence of Fleet units during
                                See Naval Staff History, Battle Summary No 19 for details of MD2 and MD3)
                24th         Assisted in evacuation of allied troops from Greece with HMS Orion, HMS
                                Phoebe and HMAS Perth (Operation DEMON).
                27th         Embarked 3,850 men from Rafina and Raftis with HM Destroyers Kingston and
                                Kimberley for passage to Suda Bay
                29th         Embarked further 1,700 men including Major-General Sir Bernard Freyburg VC,
                                the commander of the NZ Division and Rear Admiral HT Baillie-
                                Grornan at Monemvasia and took them to Suda Bay.
                                HM Destroyers Griffin, Isis and Hotspur also embarked troops, a  total of 4,320.
                                (Note: Evacuations were made under frequent air attacks, See Naval Staff

                6th           Covered passage to Malta of convoys MW7A and B with HMS Warspite, HMS
                                Barham, HMS Malaya, HMS Formidable, Cruisers HMS Orion and HMAS Perth   
                                screened by 19 destroyers and deployed as Force A (Operation MD4)
                                (Note: MD4 was a joint operation with Force H to provide cover for passage of
                                Military TIGER convoy carrying tanks from UK to Egypt for the 8th Army. It also
                                Provided cover for Convoys MA7A and B during passage to Malta and passage
                                of reinforcement warships to Alexandria, HM Battleship Queen Elizabeth and HM
                                Cruiser Fiji.
                7th           Detached with HM Destroyers Imperial, Havoc and Hotspur for bombardment
                                of the Benghazi area (Operation MD6)
                8th           Carried out bombardment.
                                During passage to rejoin Fleet engaged and sank Italian supply vessels
                               Tenace and Capitano Cecchi. See Naval Staff History.
                                Rejoined Force A.
                9th           Detached with HMS Orion, HMAS Perth, HMS Dido and ships of 5th Destroyer
                                Flotilla for escort of TIGER convoy.
                11th         Under air attacks which were repelled by aircraft from HMS Formidable.
                12th         Arrived at Alexandria with Fleet units.
                18th         Sailed from Alexandria with HMS Warspite, HMS Valiant and screen of 8
                                destroyers to relieve HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant on patrol north of
                19th         Deployed off Crete.
                20th         Joined HMS Orion, HMS Dido, HM Destroyers Kimberley, Janus, Hasty and
                                Hereward in Force D.
                21st         Under air attacks and sustained damage (to both port shafts) from near miss (It
                                is this event which is the subject of The Painting and this website)
                                Detached to join HMS Warspite and HMS Valiant escorted by Fleet destroyers for
                                cover of minelaying  by HM Minelaying Cruiser Abdiel off Cephalonia to block
                                entry to Corinth Canal (Operation MAT1 - See Naval Staff History (MINING)).
                                Carried out offensive sweep with HMS Dido and Orion escorted by HM
                                Destroyers Janus, Kimberley, Hasty and Hereward. Intercepted enemy convoy
                                north of Cannae. Under heavy air attacks during the operation.
                                Sank ten caiques and damaged Italian destroyer Lupo. See Naval Staff History.
                22nd        Returned to Alexandria to refuel and replenish ammunition.
                                Took passage back to Crete on completion.
                24th         Carried out unsuccessful search for invasion convoys North of Crete with HMS
                                Dido, HM Destroyers Hotspur, Isis and Imperial.
                27th         Refuelled and re-ammunitioned at Alexandria.
                28th         Sailed to assist in evacuation of allied troops from Crete.
                                Damaged in air attack on passage with HMS Dido, HMS Orion, HM Destroyers
                                Decoy, Jackal, Imperial, Hotspur, Kimberly and Hereward.
                                (Note: Withdrew but damage found to be less serious and took passage to
                                Heraklion to evacuate troops.
                29th         During return passage under sustained air attacks and sustained further damage
                                by near misses causing some flooding.
                                (Note: For full details of the disastrous operations off Greece and Crete see
                                "The Battle For The Mediterranean" by Donald MacIntyre, "Engage
                                The Enemy More Closely", "Naval Staff History" and "Military History,
                                Middle East Vol. 2")
                                During the evacuations and other operations since April the ship spent less than
                                10 nights in harbour).

June                        Deployed In support of military operations against Vichy French in Syria.
                                (Operation EXPORTER).
                7th           Sailed from Alexandria with HM Cruiser Phoebe, HM Destroyers Jackal,
                                Janus, Kandahar and Kimberley deployed as Force B for support of military
                                operations and to provide cover for commando attack north of Tyre from HM
                                Special Service Vessel Glengyle escorted by HM Cruiser Coventry.
                8th           Arrived off coast of Syria.
                                Operation abandoned due to weather.
                                Escorted convoy to Sidon with Force B and under torpedo attack by the Vichy
                               submarine Caiman which was believed damaged during 2 hour anti-submarine
                               attacks by destroyers.
                9th          Commando operation to capture bridge over Litani River successful.
                                On release from cover duty took passage with Force B and HM Destroyers Isis,
                                Hotspur, Janus and Jackal for patrol off Tyre.
                                Diverted to intercept Vichy destroyers reported shelling bridge in Litania River but
                                ships had left the area.
                                Took passage to Haifa leaving destroyers at the scene.
                                Returned with HMS Phoebe to assist destroyers which had been in action against
                                Vichy French destroyers Guepard and Valmy.
                                On arrival remained with HMS Janus which had been seriously damaged with
                                several casualties.
                                Took passage to Haifa with HMS Kandahar as escort for tow of HMS Janus by
                                HMS Kimberley.
                                (Note: Naval support to military operations and offensive operations against Vichy
                                warships continued with reliefs from Alexandria for cruisers and destroyers
                                deployed for DEMON which returned for replenishment.)

                4th           Bombarded Vichy positions near Beirut with HMS Naiad, HMS Kimberley, HMS
                                Havoc and HMS Hasty.
                                Repeated this support operation daily until 7th July.
                                When released from EXPORTER resumed Fleet duties at Alexandria.
                22nd        Deployed with HMS Valiant, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HM Cruisers Leander,
                                Phoebe, Neptune and HMAS Hobart, screened by seven destroyers for
                                diversionary Operation MD5 west of Crete during passage of Malta relief convoy
                                from Gibraltar.
                                (Operation SUBSTANCE).
                                (Note: Naval Staff History quotes operation identity as ME3.)
                25th         Returned to Alexandria with Fleet units.

August                   Under repair at Alexandria.
                                (Note: An accumulation of defects required attention.)
                              8th August 1941. Bob Sharplin drafted out of Ajax to the battleship HMS Warspite in Alexandria.

September             Resumed Fleet duties with CS7 and deployed for support of military operations.