Built using money raised by the sale of war bonds in the Granite City, HMS Scylla was known as Aberdeen’s warship and served on Arctic convoy duty as well as playing a vital D-Day role
An Aberdeen ship played a key role in the Normandy landing.
HMS Scylla was built using cash raised by war bonds bought by Aberdeen residents.
Around £3.5 million – the equivalent of more than £150m in today’s money – was raised to build the ship in Greenock.
Despite its Central Belt roots, the Scylla was always considered to be “Aberdeen’s warship”.
Deployed with an Arctic convoy in September 1942 after being commissioned earlier that year, the “Toothless Tiger” as it had become known defied its moniker by sinking two German U-Boats and downing six Nazi planes.
However, the most glorious days for the Dido-class cruiser remained ahead of it.
On June 6 1944, the boat was flagship for the Eastern Task Force for the landings, under Rear-Admiral Sir Philip Vian.
Just days after the invasion, Allied generals and senior officers met aboard the Scylla to discuss the success of the invasion, which had by now made its way inland.
In attendance at the meeting, Air Marshal Arthur Tedder, Admiral Bertram Ramsay and Commodore Cyril Douglas-Pennant joined Rear-Admiral Vian.
However, the triumph of the ship was to be short-lived as she hit a mine on June 23, marking the end of her military career.
She was dismantled back in the UK in 1950.
During a short but glittering service career, many luminaries visited the ship, including King George VI and the Queen Mother when the Scylla escorted the pair in a convoy to the US.
Meanwhile, Winston Churchill actually spent the journey on board the Scylla.
Jim Inglis, a curator at Aberdeen Maritime Museum said HMS Scylla cost some £2.75 million to build and, with £3.5m raised in Aberdeen, she became the city’s warship.
“HMS Scylla was originally designed as a light cruiser and meant to be armed with 5¼-inch guns , and later converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser and rearmed with high-angle 4½-inch guns and assigned to the 10th cruiser squadron and commissioned in May 1942.
“September 1942 saw it on the Arctic convoy duty where the “Toothless Tiger” proved to be anything but, downing six attacking aircraft on the voyage along with two U-Boats.
“By 1942 it was again in action in November covering the Allied landings at Algiers.
“February 1943 saw it in action against the Rhakotis, a Hamburg-registered blockade runner which was carrying essential war supplies to Germany from the Far East.
“Later that year it was again doing the run to Russia where it was the Flagship of Rear-Admiral RA Burnett before going on to prepare for convoy duty for the Allied landings in Sicily.
“On June 6 1944 it was the flagship of the Naval Commander of the Eastern Task Force for the D-Day landings, Rear-Admiral Sir Philip Vian.
“On 23 June the Scylla struck a mine and was badly damaged and its flag was transferred to HMS Hilary.
“This marked the end of its active naval career, although it was extensively repaired and was finally scrapped in 1950.
“Although it had a relatively short period of active service, it had quite a history packed into eight years.”
Artefacts from the Scylla now sit in the Bruce Room at Aberdeen Town House.