The ship was launched as the Aberdeen & Commonwealth Line steamer Jervis Bay, named after the Australian bay of that name (the line named all its ships after bays).

JERVIS BAY 1922 - sunk in action Nov 5, 1940

She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in August 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War, and armed with seven 1898-vintage 6 in (150 mm) guns and two 3 in (76 mm) guns of 1894 design. After her acquisition and commissioning, Jervis Bay was initially assigned to the South Atlantic station before becoming a convoy escort in May 1940.

She was the sole escort for 37 merchant ships in Convoy HX-84 from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Britain, when the convoy encountered Admiral Scheer. The Captain of Jervis BayEdward Fegen, ordered the convoy to scatter; and set a course towards the German warship to draw its fire, with guns firing more as a distraction than in the hope of doing damage. Jervis Bay was hopelessly outgunned and outranged by the 28 cm (11 inch) guns of the German ship. Fegen and his crew fought on until their ship was set ablaze and sunk 755 nautical miles (1,398 km) south-southwest of Reykjavík. Captain Fegen went down with his ship. Nevertheless, although Admiral Scheer went on to sink five merchant ships out of the convoy, Jervis Bay‍ ’​s sacrifice bought enough time for the convoy to scatter and the remaining ships escaped. Sixty-eight survivors of Jervis Bay‍ ’​s crew of 254 were picked up by the neutral Swedish ship Stureholm (three later died of their injuries).

Captain Fegen was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross as a result of this action.


The ephemera displayed below is a menu from Sunday, 10 January 1937 and a summary of arrival dates on the voyage which left Brisbane on 24 November 1936 to Southampton.