This beautiful ship

the cruiser HMS AURORA fought throughout WW2.

This is her war record as recorded in Admiralty papers now held by the National Archives Key


and these are her Battle Honours

Note that Bismarck is included and yet in the war record above, the nearest Aurora got to the destruction of Bismarck was 100 miles. The rule for receiving a Battle Honour is that as long as the ship is under the control of the officer in charge of the Battle irrespective of the distance yet to travel to engage, the Honour is bestowed and displayed in the ship.  The same goes for an aircraft carrier who aircraft engage in battle at considerable distance from the parent carrier, the honour is given to the squadron involved and also to the carrier.

In 1948, this ship plus the destroyer Mendip were lent to China, and the Chinese crew came to the UK to train in HMS Mercury {and other establishments of course} and also for sea training in ships of the Home Fleet. Finally, when all was ready the Chinese crew sailed the ships out of Portsmouth harbour bound for Qingdao the major naval base in Northern China {held by the Japanese during the war}. At that time the Republic of China was ruled by the National Chinese Party {General Chiang Kai-Shek} and it was to that Government that the ships were loaned. However, shortly after arriving home, civil war erupted and the Chinese Communist Party {Mao Tse-Tung} attacked the Republic's authority and organisation, which created two Chinas, the Republic of China and the Peoples Republic of China, with the latter controlling all of the Chinese mainland and the former having only Formosa, now called Taiwan, as their territory. Within weeks, the crew of Aurora deserted the Government of the Republic of China and swore allegiance to the Communists fully intending to use the guns of the Aurora to destroy the legitimate Government. On the 20th March 1949 the deserted Nationalist got their revenge and bombed the Aurora which sank with a great loss of life. Quite naturally, the Aurora incident caused great embarrassment for the UK Government.

What a sad end to one of our magisterial ships.