HMS Galatea (71)

HMS Galatea (71)

HMS "Galatea" (71) was an "Arethusa"-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was built by Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Greenock, Scotland), with the keel being laid down on the 2 June 1933. She was launched on the 9 August 1934, and commissioned 14 August 1935.


"Galatea" joined the Mediterranean Fleet on commissioning and acted as flagship, Rear Admiral (Destroyers). After the outbreak of war she was ordered home, and between February and March 1940 she took part in the operations to intercept Axis merchantmen attempting to break out of Vigo. In April 1940 she was involved in the Norwegian campaign, and in May joined the Nore Command as Flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

On 4 April 1940, the Polish destroyers "Burza", "Grom" and "Błyskawica" reached their new homebase Rosyth. In the afternoon they left the harbour with "Galatea", her sister ship "Arethusa" and three destroyers. They were ordered to conduct a patrol in the North Sea and were later ordered to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway.

On 1 September 1940 "Galatea" struck a mine. She remained with the Home Fleet (under refit, between October 1940 to January 1941) until May 1941, and was involved in hunting the "Bismarck" operations. In July 1941 she joined the Mediterranean Fleet via the Red Sea, and by November was based at Malta with Force "K", operating against the Axis supply convoys to North Africa.


On 14 December 1941 before midnight "Galatea" (Capt. E.W.B. Sim, R.N.) was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine "U-557" off Alexandria, Egypt. Captain Sim, 22 officers and 447 ratings were killed. Some 100 survivors were picked up by the destroyers HMS "Griffin" and HMS "Hotspur".

Ironically, "U-557" was accidentally sunk less than 48 hours later, by the Italian Torpedo Boat "Orione".


* [ HMS Galatea Memorial web page]
* [ HMS Galatea at]

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