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MAURITIUS

MAURITIUS

HMS Mauritius on convoy escort duty, in July 1942

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This very fine image was taken in the Indian ocean, if this is taken whilst on convoy duties then it would be a WS series Aden / Durban, from the angle of this shot it is from an either a very low flying aircraft or the bridge of a larger ship. During her convoy duty period Mauritius formed part of a diversionary force which included the Battleship Warspite and the carriers Formidable and Illustrious - I suspect this image may have been taken from one of these carriers. The operation was a diversion during the invasion of the Andamans.

Mauritious was Built by Swan Hunter at their Wallsend yard being laid Down on the 31st. March 1938, launched on the 19th. July 1939. and commissioned on new years day 1941.
Following her WW2 service she was retained until 1952 when she decommissioned for the last time, she was given a brief refit and then placed in the reserve fleet until 1960 when she went onto the disposal list, sold to T.W. Wards of Inverkeithing in 1965 and scrapped
Mauritius was a member of the 8 strong Crown Colony class of cruisers which were somtimes called the Fiji class after the first of the class, also part of this group were the 3 ships of the Crown Colony II or Ceylon class which were broadly similar but only mounted three triple 6" turrets but a much heavier AA battery. The class were a modification of the earlier Southampton class they were smaller but a better balanced (and cheaper) ship.

L 555'06" B 62'00" Draft 21'02" Displacement 8,530 tons standard ; 10,450 tons full load rising to over 11,000 tons due to modifications and extra weaponry.
Quadruple props, Parsons s/r geared steam turbines, four Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 72,500 shp gave 31.5 knots, bunkers 1,700 tons oil, 10,200 miles at 12 knots
Armament: four triple Mk23 6" C50 guns, four twin 4" C45 QF Mk16 HAAA guns , two quadruple 2 pdr pompom, Four quadruple Vickers 0.5" machine guns and two sets triple 21" torpedo tubes for Mk9 torpedoes; a single athwartships (non trainable) D1A catapult and two Supermarine Walrus aircraft - these were the last cruisers to be fitted with aircraft.
Armour: Main belt - quite good exteiding to the upperdeck, 3.5" over the magazines and 3.25" over the machinery, deck 2", armoured bulkheads 2" fwds and 1.5" aft turret faces 2" sides and roof 1"
Crew : as designed 730 men but rising to a very cosy 920 during WW2
 

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A good historical picture showing off Dazzle paint scheme. Unlikely to have been taken from another ship unless up a mast - plus HMS Mauritius is turning under full rudder. Admiral Tryon tried a manoeuvre a bit like that and sadly HMS Victoria still lies on the sea bed. I guess the photographer was in an aicraft from one of the carriers. Many thanks for all the interesting detail.
 

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Tim Webb
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