HMS Scylla (98)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Scylla.
HMS Scylla 1942 IWM FL 2932.jpg
Scylla at anchor on the Clyde, June 1942
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Dido-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Scylla
Builder: Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland)
Laid down: 19 April 1939
Launched: 24 July 1940
Commissioned: 12 June 1942
Out of service: Constructive Total Loss (Write Off) 23 June 1944
Fate: Scrapped, Arrived at Thomas W Ward Ltd, (Barrow-in-Furness, UK) 4 May 1950.
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,600 tons standard
6,850 tons full load
Length: 485 ft (148 m) pp
512 ft (156 m) oa
Beam: 50.5 ft (15.4 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Parsons geared turbines
Four shafts
Four Admiralty 3-drum boilers
62,000 shp (46 MW)
Speed: 32.25 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 2,414 km (1,500 miles) at 30 knots
6,824 km (4,240 miles) at 16 knots
1,100 tons fuel oil
Complement: 480
Original configuration:
  • 8 x 4.5 in (113 mm) dual guns,
  • 1 x 4.0 in (102 mm) gun,
  • 2 x 0.5 in MG quadruple guns,
  • 3 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns,
  • 2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple Torpedo Tubes.

1943-1945 configuration:

  • 8 x 4.5 in DP dual guns
  • 8 x 20 mm (0.8 in) single guns
  • 6 x 20 mm (0.8 in) twin power-operated guns
  • 2 x 2 pdr (37 mm/40 mm) pom-poms quad guns
  • 2 x 21 in (533 mm) triple torpedo tubes
Original configuration:
  • Belt: 3 inch,
  • Deck: 1 inch,
  • Magazines: 2 inch,
  • Bulkheads: 1 inch.
Notes: Pennant number 98

HMS Scylla was a Dido-class cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company (Greenock, Scotland) , with the keel being laid down on 19 April 1939. She was launched on 24 July 1940, and commissioned 12 June 1942.

One of two sisters (the other was, appropriately, Charybdis, see Scylla and Charybdis), Scylla was completed with four twin QF 4.5 in Mk.III in UD MK III mountings because of a shortage of 5¼ in (133 mm) mountings.

The forward superstructure was considerably modified to accommodate these and also to increase crew spaces. Known as the 'toothless terrors', they proved to be very good anti-aircraft ships, often leading to comparisons with their sisters armed with the heavier QF 5.25-inch (133 mm) guns guns.


A member of crew on the snow-covered deck whilst on patrol in the North Atlantic

Scylla served with the Home Fleet on Arctic convoy duties. She carried a signals intelligence team headed by F/O RE Gunn and on at least one trip to the Kola Peninsular she is reported as having collected Signals Intelligence (PRO HW 14/53 and 55). She sailed for Gibraltar on 28 October 1942. The following month she was at the French North Africa landings (Operation Torch) as part of Force "O" with the Eastern Task Force, but in December was sent into the Bay of Biscay as part of the effort to catch homecoming Axis blockade runners.

On 31st December 1942 she was directed to the German Blockade runner "Rhakotis" by a RAF Coastal Command Whitley from 502 sqn based at RAF St Eval, Cornwall. The aircraft piloted By F/O Arthur Hodgson had located the "Rhakotis" in appalling weather after several attack runs they had run out of ammunition. The crew then shadowed the target for over an hour, reporting its position enabling HMS Scylla to intercepted the "Rhakotis" some 200 miles north-west of Cape Finisterre in position 45°01′N 10°30′W / 45.01°N 10.50°W / 45.01; -10.50, when the Scylla opened fire the Germans scuttled the ship. F/O Hodgson was awarded the DFC for his part in the operation. In February she returned to the Home Fleet for Arctic convoys, but was back in the Bay of Biscay by June 1943 to cover anti-submarine operations.

In July 1943 she stopped the Arklow schooner Mary B Mitchell in the Bay of Biscay. Captain Dowds, formerly principal of the Irish Nautical College, was captain of the schooner. The officer in charge of the boarding party was a pupil of Dowds, 'class of 36'. There was a pleasant reunion, then Mary B resumed her voyage to Lisbon, and Scylla continued her search for blockade runners.[1]

In September 1943 she was part of the Support Carrier Force at the Salerno landings (Operation Avalanche), but came home to refit for duty as an Escort Carrier Flagship in October, which lasted until April 1944. She was present at the Normandy landings as Flagship of the Eastern Task Force.

On 23 June 1944 she was badly damaged by a mine and declared a Constructive Total Loss. Although towed to Portsmouth, she was not disposed of until 1950, after use as a target between 1948 to 1950. She arrived at Thomas W Ward Ltd, (Barrow-in-Furness, UK) 4 May 1950 for breaking up.

A model of Scylla at the Glasgow Museum of Transport.


  1. ^ Forde, Frank (2000). The Long Watch. Island Books. p. 17. ISBN 1-902602-42-0. 

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