HMS Enterprise (D52)

HMS "Enterprise" (D52) was one of two "Emerald"-class light cruisers of the Royal Navy. She was built by John Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd., with the keel being laid down on 28 June 1918. She was launched on 23 December 1919, and commissioned 7 April 1926. She was the 14th ship to serve with the Royal Navy to carry the name Enterprise, a name which is still used in the Royal Navy today.



"Enterprise" served with the 4th Cruiser Squadron in the East Indies until 1934. After her return home she reduced to care and maintenance on 4 July 1934, followed by a major refit. She returned to the East Indies in January 1936, but was relieved by HMS "Manchester" at the end of 1937 and came home. In 1938 she was employed to take crews to the China Station, returning home to pay off on 30 September and she was reduced to the reserve fleet.

econd World War

Initial stages

At the start of World War II, in October 1939, she was recommissioned and joined Atlantic patrols with 4th Cruiser Squadron. She later joined the North America and West Indies Squadron. "Enterprise" was employed on Atlantic escort duties with the Halifax Escort Force during 1939 to 1940. In October 1939, she oversaw the transfer of ₤10 million in gold bullion to Canada.

In April 1940, she was transferred to the Home Fleet for the Norwegian Campaign. During April and May she supported the army ashore by bombardments in and around Narvik, Norway and, on 19 April, was unsuccessfully attacked by "U-65". After some repairs "Enterprise" joined the newly formed Force H in June 1940 and set sail for the Mediterranean Sea where, in July, she participated in negotiations with the French Navy regarding the future of the French fleet in the war. Following the unsatisfactory outcome of the negotiations, she participated in Operation Catapult at Mers-El-Kébir, sinking many French warships. She also participated in the delivery of aircraft to Malta in late July.

Outside Home Waters

Force H was then re-organised and "Enterprise" was sent to Cape Town after which she became the flagship for operations in South America, primarily involved in trade defence and interception duties. In December 1940, she was deployed with HMS "Cumberland" and "Newcastle" in an unsuccessful search for the German auxiliary cruiser Thor which had attacked and defeated HMS "Caernarvon Castle".

In early 1941, she was redeployed to the Indian Ocean where, accompanied by a sizeable fleet of Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships lead by HMS "Hermes", participated in a search for the German ship Admiral Scheer. After the search was abandoned, she took up convoy escort duty before being sent to Basra after a pro-German revolt by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani started the Anglo-Iraqi War. The war was won by the end of May, after which "Enterprise" was released back into convoy escort duty in the Indian Ocean.

In November, she was under refit and repair in Colombo, which was finished just in time for the start of the War with Japan in December 1941. She escorted troop ships to Singapore and Rangoon, Burma, and then joined the Eastern Fleet under Admiral Sir James Somerville, taking part in protection of trade for the next year. On 6 April 1942, together with HMS "Paladin" and HMS "Panther", she picked up some the 1,120 survivors of the cruisers HMS "Cornwall" and HMS "Dorsetshire", which had been sunk by the Japanese in their Easter Sunday Raid. The Easter Sunday Raid was part of the larger Japanese Indian Ocean raid, which threatened British Ceylon. HMS "Enterprise" participated in yet another fruitless search for enemy ships during this period, when it was believed the Japanese were preparing to strike and possibly invade the Indian Ocean island.

Home Waters

On 25 December 1942, she returned to Clyde for extensive refit and modernisation works, which were only completed in October 1943. Trials and tests continued throughout November.

In late December 1943, she was deployed with HMNZS "Gambia" and HMS "Glasgow" for Operation Stonewall. On 28 December, she engaged a force of eleven eleven German destroyers and torpedo boats, the tardy escort for their blockade runner "Alsterufer" (which had been sunk the previous day by air attack). HMS "Enterprise" sank the torpedo boat "T26" with a torpedo, while "T25" and "Z27" were also sunk. Four other German ships were damaged in the engagement.

From 3 February to 29 February 1944 "Enterprise" was docked at Devonport for refit, and from 27 March to 31 March she was fitted for missile jamming gear at Devonport.

The Invasion of Normandy

In May, HMS "Enterprise" was then assigned to Bombardment Force "A" serving with USS "Nevada", HMS "Hawkins", HMS "Black Prince", HMS "Erebus", USS "Tuscaloosa", HNLMS "Soemba" and USS "Quincy". Her sub-group was Assault Force "U" (for Utah Beach).

When the Normandy Landings started on 6 June 1944, Bombardment Force "A" bombarded St. Martin de Vassville. Twenty days later, she was also involved in the bombardment of Querqueville, silencing the German guns there. German shore batteries opened fire, but caused no significant damage to "Enterprise".

In July, she was deployed off the French coast in support of British operations, and on 17 July, she provided naval gunfire for two days in support for British attacks near Caen with HMS "Mauritius" and HMS "Roberts". In September, she was deployed in a similar capacity off the Dutch coast in support of the Second Army, however, she was not required to support the troops.

In October, after a considered transferral to the Royal Canadian Navy was not implemented, "Enterprise" was taken out of active service and placed in reserve at Rosyth.


Starting in May, HMS "Enterprise" helped return British troops from Asia and Africa. On 13 January 1946, she returned to the United Kingdom for the final time. She was handed over to BISCO for scrapping on 11 April 1946, arriving at JH Cashmore in Newport, Wales, on 21 April 1946 for breaking-up.

Armament Refits

Throughout her service, HMS "Enterprise" was refitted with a slightly differing array of weaponry. Below is a table of the new armament after her first refit:


Battle Honours

For her service in the Second World War, HMS Enterprise was awarded four battle honours:
* Atlantic (1939-40)
* Norway (1940)
* Biscay (1943)
* Normandy (1944)

In addition, the ship inherited a battle honour from the fourth-rate ship of the line HMS "Enterprize", which fought against Spain in the Seven Years War:
* Havana (1762)


* [ HMS Enterprise at]
* [ A History of Ships Named Enterprise]

ee also

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