HMS Diadem
HMS Diadem

the diary of signalman John Emrys Williams

John Wright

Bob Bevan-Jones wrote in October 2013 with some fascinating information
about what became of HMS Diadem after the War.

Bob's father-in-law was called John Wright. He served on Diadem 1943-45, and was a
member of the Diadem Association. He sadly passed away at the start of
October 2013,
says Bob, at the ripe age of 92. He had always kept
himself fit; and indeed was playing golf just a fortnight before he
passed away. Bob continued:

"At the funeral, I had a conversation about Diadem with my nephew. I
told him I understood Diadem had been sold to the Pakistan Navy after
WWII; and that on your website (www.aberth.com/diadem) a question had
been posted asking if anyone knew about Diadem's final fate. He
immediately started pressing buttons on his Smartphone (oh, the
miracles of modern technology!) and within a few hours, a friend of his
had returned the answer, which I attach at the bottom of this e-mail.

"I have since done some Google research of my own, and find that all of
this information can be found on the "Harpoon Databases" website here:
http://www.harpoondatabases.com/encyclopedia/Entry1866.aspx

"There is also an interesting article about the ill-fated "Operation
Dwarka" to be found on Wikipedia, here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Dwarka

"Curiously, the Pakistan Navy's website refers to "Operation Dwarka" as
successful (!), but spends little time on the 1965 war - see here:
http://www.paknavy.gov.pk/chron_history.html

"Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Indian Navy website has extensive material
on the 1965 war:
http://indiannavy.nic.in/book/1965-indo-pakistan-war

"I hope you find this material intriguing. It is good to know that
Diadem lived to fight on (albeit under a different name and other
colours) after WWII; and that she did not meet with an ignominious end."

Regards,
Robert Bevan-Jones

======================================================================

In 1956 her sale to Pakistan was agreed, and after a refit she was
handed over to the Pakistan Navy on 5 July 1957, being renamed Babur.
She was later renamed Jahangir, and converted into a cadets' training
ship in 1961.

Notes: This Bellona-class light cruiser was intended for escort duties
and centered around the Mk.1QF gun, which the RN felt could out-gun any
prospective German destroyer yet still be effective in the AA role. HMS
Diadem was placed into mothballs immediately after WWII, in 1956 she
was reactivated for transfer to Pakistan. The reactivation was minimal
and did little to modernize the ship.

After the 1965 war, the ship was relegated to a training role. The
boilers were in bad repair and the cruiser was limited to 18kts. The
ship was later renamed PNS Jahangir and after 1982, the engines were
permanently deactivated and the cruiser was downgraded to “floating AA
battery”.

Combat usage

1965 war: PNS Babur was the flagship for “Operation Somnath” which was
a seaborne bombardment of Dwarka, India. Tactically, the goal was the
destruction of an Indian radar post and the Dwarka railroad station.
However the larger strategic goal was to lure the Indian navy into an
open-ocean battle on Pakistani terms, and also to present the Pakistani
navy as a viable threat that would require additional Indian assets to
counter.

At 23:55 local time on 7 September 1965, Babur and six escorts closed
to near point-blank range of Dwarka and began the bombardment. Babur
fired roughly fifty 133mm rounds. The bombardment lasted until 00:15 on
8 September. Because the operation was at night, Babur could not
optically range-find and the shelling was done by firing from
precalculated positions.

The bombardment accomplished nothing. Twenty of Babur’s fifty rounds
were duds. The Indian army recovered some of the unexploded shells and
found them marked “ROYAL INDIAN NAVY”, the pre-partition unit of the
Royal Navy which meant the ammo dated back to WWII. The radar station
was undamaged. Most of the 133mm rounds landed in an empty field. The
only structure hit was a minor outbuilding of the railroad depot. There
were no Indian casualties. It appears that the Pakistani navy had bad
tide tables for the area and the precalculated firing points were too
close. From a strategic view, the operation was also a failure. The
Indian navy was not lured out by the bombardment and the whole incident
was overshadowed by the sinking of the submarine PNS Ghazi by the
Indian navy on the other coast of India.

1971 war: Early in this war, the Indian “Operation Trident” attack on
Karachi sank several warships and destroyed much of the Pakistani
navy’s fuel stockpile. The cruiser took no part in the conflict.
Decommissioned 1984 Scrapped 1985

I think this image is from before the sale and so probably in WW2

^top

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