the 1st January 1941, PERTH sailed for Crete
and then proceed to Piraeus, Greece. On the 8th
she left to rendezvous
with the "EXCESS" convoy bound for Malta. PERTH met the convoy south ofPantelleria on the 10th and when they were
about 60 miles east of Malta came under heavy attack from German aircraft . The aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS was
severely damaged and suffered 123 killed.
11th PERTH was diverted to a position south of Sicily to
assist the cruisers GLOUCESTER and SOUTHAMPTON
been bombed . On arrival SOUTHAMPTON was found to be beyond
help so, after her crew was rescued,
she was sunk by torpedoes from HMS ORION.
An eyewitness to the sinking said the noise from the torpedoes striking
SOUTHAMPTON was horrendous . PERTH arrived at Grand Harbour, Malta on the 14th
and moored opposite the carrier
HMS ILLUSTRIOUS which was berthed at Parlatorio Wharf.
On the 16th January, Malta suffered an enormous air
raid. Two 1000lb bombs fell between HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and
PERTH and another fell into the sall gap between PERTH
and the wharf, lifting the stern of the 7000 ton ship
out of the water and forcing the bows underwater as far back as the anchor hawse pipes. The explosion bent the starboard propellor shafts a caused a split in the after oil tank seams. Leaks from oil and seawater flooded the shell room and magazine lobby of X Turret and Y Turret was partially blown off her roller bearings and was unable to train.
At the same time another bomb
hit the ammunition ship ESSEX which was moored
40 yards astern of PERTH. ESSEX caught fire and only quick action from some of PERTH's
crew prevented her from blowing up.
Bomb falls between PERTH and ILLUSTRIOUS
ILLUSTRIOUS under the floating crane which was positioned to deter low flying aircraft. The ship is down at the stern as the result of previous bomb damage
Profiles of German and Italian aircraft used in the Meditteranean in 1941 can be found on the
PERTH sailed that night to Alexandria for repairs
and the rest of the month was spent patrolling
off Crete and in the Aegean
sea with the Battlefleet.
On the 27th after patrolling the Libyan coast
to Derna, she proceeded in company with HMS Bonaventure to the island of Kastelorizo
south of Turkey to land troops. She then
patrolled off Crete and on the 1st March , came
under heavy air attack in the Aegean from Italian bombers.
The rest of March was spent convoying troops from Alexandria
An unfortunate incident occured on the night of 31st March when PO ERA Peter Murdoch was lost overboard.
PERTH was escorting a convoy at the time and was unable to turn back to search for the missing man.