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HMS Penelope
( HMS 'Pepperpot' ) - Light Cruiser

Taken March 23rd 1942, Malta.

Based in Malta from 21st October 1941 along with her sister ship Aurora.
The ship name Penelope was no stranger to Malta as a predecessor sailed with Alexander Ball's blockading force against Napolean's garrison in 1799

12th October 1941 Left Scapa Flow & arrived Malta 21st October to become part of Force 'K'.
8th November

Left Malta with another cruiser (Aurora) & 2 (Lance & Lively) destroyers to intercept Italian convoy (codename Beta) comprising 6 destroyers & 7 merchant ships bound for Libya. Engaged the enemy ships on the 9th off Cape Spartivento resulting in the sinking of all merchant ships & the Italian destroyer Fulmine (which attacked & was sunk by Lance & Penelope).
The engagement became known as the 'Battle of theDuisburg Convoy' after the German merchant ship of the same name in the convoy. This was the largest merchantman in the convoy.
Italian close escort - Destroyers Euro, Oriani, Fulmine, Grecale, Maestrale, Libeccio.
Italian covering force - Cruisers Trieste, Trento. Destroyers Alpino, Bersagliere, Fucilere, Granatiere.
Axis merchant ships - SS Duisburg, SS San Marco (German), MV Maria, SS Sagitta, MV Rina Corrado, Conti di Misurata, Minatitlan (Italian). The last 2 ships above carrying aviation fuel.

23rd November Left Malta with Force 'K' to intercept Italian convoy. On the 24th the Force sank 2 merchant ships west of Crete.
1st December Force 'K' sank more ships - MV Adriatico (merchant), Alvise da Mosto (destroyer) & Iridio Mantovani (tanker).
19th December Struck a mine off Tripoli. Neptune & Kandahar were sunk by mines at this time. Penelope returned to Malta drydock.
5th January 1942 Left Malta with Force 'K' escorting Glengyle to Alexandria. Returned on the 27th escorting Breconshire.
26th March Holed in Grand Harbour forward & aft by bombs which near missed.
31st March Lying in French Creek. At 2000 hrs 40 bombers attacked the harbour. 3 x 2,000 pound bombs fell in the creek but the ship was undamaged.
April In Grand Harbour drydock. Repeatedly near missed during bombing raids. Suffered many bomb splinters through the hull which were filled with many wooden pegs. More holes than a pepperpot.
Almost 1,000 bombers concentrated attacks in the harbour at this time with ships as the main target. Over a period of 2 weeks she fired some 6,500 rounds from her 4" twin anti aircraft guns. Axis losses were 3 bombers destroyed & 5 listed as damaged.
8th April Left Malta for Gibraltar & arrived on the 10th.
10th May Left Gibraltar for the USA for repairs.
2nd December Arrived Scapa Flow from the USA where she remained in home waters until the middle of January 1943.
17th January 1943 Left the Clyde for Gibraltar arriving on the 22nd. She joined the 12th Cruiser Squadron for follow up work to Operation Torch (the allied landings in North Africa).
1st June Carried out a bombardment of the island of Pantelleria with Paladin & Petard. During enemy gunfire Penelope was hit once with little damage. A further bombardment followed on the 8th with Newfoundland & other ships.
10th June A force left Malta for Operation Corkscrew - the taking of Pantelleria. This island fell on the 11th.
11th June Penelope took part in the capture of another Italian island - Lampedusa which fell on the 12th.
10th July Penelope with Aurora & 2 destroyers carried out a bombardment of Catania as a diversion for Operation Husky. Moved to Taormina to bombard the railway station.
11th July As part of Force 'H' covered the northern area during the Sicilian landings. During July & August carried out bombardments during the campaign to take Sicily.
9th September Took part (in Force 'Q') in the Salerno landings in bombardment actions.
22nd January 1944 Took part in the landings at Anzio.
18th February 1944 Torpedoed in the after engine room on the en route to Anzio from Naples by the German submarine U 410. Another torpedo
16 minutes later struck in the after boiler room causing the ship to sink.
This was an unusual attack by U 410 as the ship was travelling at 26 knots. Some 415 men including the captain went down with the ship but
206 survived.

HMS 'Pepperpot'.

Penelope entering Grand Harbour, Malta.

References Wiki-Pedia. Duisburg Convoy.