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HMS Leander

Leander Class Light Cruiser

operating in the South Pacific, October 1942
operating in the South Pacific, October 1942
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Built by Devonport DY. Laid Down 8 September 1930.

Launched 24 September 1931. Completed 24 March 1933. Transferred to the New Zealand Division April 1937.

Paid off February 1948. Broken up at Blyth, 1950.

Leander joined the Home Fleet on completion, but in April 1937 was loaned to New Zealand. As a unit of the New Zealand Division she was deployed on trade protection duties in the South-west Pacific in September 1939, her main task being the escorting of ANZAC troop convoys from Australia and New Zealand across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and Suez. This task extended into 1941, when, in the course of escorting the convoy US9 in the Indian Ocean in February of that year, she intercepted and sank the Italian raider Ramb I off Bombay. On 4 March, in company with Canberra, she intercepted the blockade runners Ketty Brovig and Coburg south-east of the Seychelles. The insurrection in Iraq in April 1941 brought her to Basra where she lay in readiness but was not needed. InJune she was transferred into the Mediterranean to reinforce the Mediterranean fleet in its operations against Vichy-French Syria, and arrived off that coast on 13 June. She participated in the blockade of Beirut and, together with Naiad and destroyers, engaged the Vichy-French contre-torpilleur Guepard on 23 June. She did not remain in the Mediterranean, however, but returned to New Zealand to refit at the end of the year and then served in the south-west Pacific fron December. She was part of the ANZAC Force on its formation at Suva in the Fiji Islands on 12 February 1942, and saw action with that force in the Papua-New Guinea-New Hebrides area as well as in the Coral Sea. In May 1942 she landed the first Allied forces on Espirito Santo in the New Hebrides. During the Guadalcanal campaign she escorted convoys, and in January 1943 was transferred to the 3rd Fleet. After the loss of the USS Helena she was transferred from the New Hebrides to the Solomon Islands, where she joined CruDiv 9 as part of Task Force 36.1. On 12 July 1943 this force was deployed to intercept Japanese destroyers running the 'Tokyo Express' in the Kula Gulf. In a fierce night gun action known as the Battle of Kolombangara, Leander was hit by a torpedo and badly damaged. She underwent temporary repairs at Auckland until December 1943, then sailed to Boston, Massachusetts, where repairs extended from 3 January 1944 until 27 August 1945. Following this she returned to Britain. She was handed over to BISCO for disposal on 15 December 1949 and allocated to Hughes Bolkow, Blyth, where she arrived for breaking up on 15 January 1950.

Leander in the Panama Canal, July 1937. NH59834
Leander in the Panama Canal, July 1937. NH59834
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with what appears to be another Leander behind her
with what appears to be another Leander behind her
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entering Portsmouth harbour before the war
entering Portsmouth harbour before the war
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February 1942, Suva, with Chicago
February 1942, Suva, with Chicago
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1943 in the Solomons
1943 in the Solomons
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1946
1946
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