6th April 1940 - In company with the cruisers SOUTHAMPTON and CALCUTTA, provided close support for a 43 ship convoy (ON25) on passage to Norway assisted by the destroyers ECLIPSE, GRENADE, JAVELIN and JUNO, with JANUS and JUPITER joining the convoy on the 10th.
8th April 1940 - Convoy operation cancelled due to increased German naval activity in the North Sea and the German invasion of Norway. The convoy returned to Scapa Flow. Meanwhile MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON, together with the cruisers GLASGOW and SHEFFIELD and 7 destroyers were ordered to attack enemy shipping in Bergen. This operation too was cancelled and the force was detailed to return. In a subsequent air attack the destroyer GURKHA was sunk. MANCHESTER subsequently reported running over a submerged U-Boat, and the ship returned to Scapa Flow to refuel and re-ammunition.
12th April 1940 - MANCHESTER flying the flag of Vice Admiral Layton, together with the cruisers BIRMINGHAM and CAIRO, the repair ship VINDICTIVE and the destroyers, ACASTA, ARDENT and CODRINGTON sailed from Scapa Flow to join the escort of a military convoy consisting of the troopships, EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA, REINO DEL PACIFICO, MONARCH OF BERMUDA, BATORY and CHOBRY carrying the 146th Infantry Brigade to Norway.
13th April 1940 - Captain Herbert Packer, Royal Navy assumed command of HMS MANCHESTER from Captain Henry Bousfield.
14th April 1940 - MANCHESTER, together with BIRMINGHAM and CAIRO and the destroyers HIGHLANDER, VANOC and WHIRLWIND were detached to escort EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA and CHOBRY to Namsos. The destination was subsequently changed to Lillesjona because of perceived air threat and poor harbour facilities at Namsos.
15th April 1940 - Troops disembarked into destroyers for landing ashore.
19th April 1940 - Passage to Rosyth.
21st April 1940 - Embarked troops of 15th Infantry Brigade.
22nd April 1940 - MANCHESTER, together with the cruisers BIRMINGHAM and YORK and the destroyers ACHERON, ARROW and GRIFFIN sailed form Rosyth bound for Norway.
24th / 25th April 1940 - Troops landed at Molde.
26th April 1940 - The force was re-deployed to cover destroyer operations off Trondheim. Later that day they encountered the German trawlers JULIUS PICKENPACK and SCHLESWIG. The latter was sunk by gunfire and the other was captured by the GRIFFIN.
28th April 1940 - Passage to Scapa Flow to replenish prior to further duties off Norway.
1st May 1940 - The evacuation of troops from southern Norway commenced. In company with the cruisers BIRMINGHAM and CALCUTTA, MANCHESTER and the two other cruisers evacuated 1,500 troops from Aldalsnes, and escorted by the five destroyers DELIGHT, DIANA, INGLEFIELD, MASHONA and SOMALI who had ferried the troops out to the cruisers; sailed for Scapa Flow.
10th May 1940 - MANCHESTER, together with the cruiser SHEFFIELD were detailed to provide cover for the tow of HMS KELLY, Lord Louis Mountbatten's destroyer, which had been torpedoed by e-boats in the North Sea. Once KELLY was safely in the Tyne estuary the cruisers detached to Rosyth.
Between 12th & 26th May 1940 - MANCHESTER, SHEFFIELD and BIRMINGHAM, transferred to the Nore Command for support in evacuation and anti invasion operations.
27th May 1940 - The three cruisers sailed from Rosyth to join the Humber Force.
10th June 1940 - The three cruisers sailed from the Humber to Rosyth.
21st June 1940 - The 18th cruiser squadron, with MANCHESTER as flagship, together with SHEFFIELD, BIRMINGHAM, YORK and the destroyer GALLANT sailed from Rosyth to rendezvous with SUSSEX and NEWCASTLE after news was received that a squadron of German ships, including the battleship SCHARNHORST had sailed from Trondhiem en-route to Germany. This operation was subsequently cancelled when it was confirmed that the German ships were safe in a German port. The 18th Cruiser squadron returned to Rosyth.
Information regarding the ships programme from July to September 1940 is somewhat fragmented.
1st July 1940 - MANCHESTER sailed from Rosyth bound for Sheerness. She was employed on anti-invasion duties in this area, and also underwent a short re-fit in Portsmouth.
29th August 1940 - Patrolling the Pentland Skerries area in company with BIRMINGHAM.
31st August 1940 - Sailed from Rosyth with BIRMINGHAM and 3 destroyers, bound for the Humber and anti-invasion duties and North Sea patrols.
4th October 1940 - Arrived back at Scapa Flow.
9th October 1940 - In company with the battleship REVENGE and the 5th Destroyer squadron, took part in the bombardment of the French port of Cherbourg.
16th October 1940 - Whilst on passage from Rosyth to the Humber estuary, MANCHESTER detonated a mine but no damage was reported.
5th November 1940 - Sailed from Humber for a short refit in Rosyth during which radar type 286 was fitted.
15th November 1940 - Sailed from Rosyth bound for Scapa Flow, joined up with the cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and the destroyers, JAGUAR and KELVIN and proceeded to Gibraltar escorting the merchantmen, "CLAN FORBES", "CLAN FRASER" and "NEW ZEALAND STAR", final destination - Malta.
21st November 1940 - At Gibraltar with Force H.
25th November 1940 - Force "F" as the "Operation Collar" convoy became known, under the command of Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville, sailed from Gibraltar. It consisted of the Battleship RENOWN, Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL, the cruisers, MANCHESTER, DESPATCH, SHEFFIELD and SOUTHAMPTON and the destroyers HOTSPUR, FIREDATE, FAULKNER, FORRESTER, FURY, WISHART, DUNCAN, ENCOUNTER, JAGUAR and KELVIN and the courvettes GLOXINIA, HYACINTH, PEONY and SALVIA, plus the three merchantmen. MANCHESTER and SOUTHAMPTON also had troops embarked for the Malta Garrison. Force "F" was later joined by the battleship RAMILLIES and the cruiser BERWICK.
27th November 1940 - Force "F" took part in an engagement at long range with 2 Italian battleships, six cruisers and accompanying escorts. This engagement became known as the Battle of Spartivento. The BERWICK and an Italian destroyer were damaged before the Italian force withdrew. It should be noted that Vice Admiral Somerville's decision not to pursue the enemy but safeguard the convoy resulted in a Board of Enquiry. He was acquitted.
28th November 1940 - The convoy reached Malta and the troops were disembarked. MANCHESTER immediately sailed for Alexandria arriving the next day.
About this time, Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland joined MANCHESTER as Flag Officer 18th Cruiser Squadron. His tenure lasted until January 1941. He was later lost in the sinking of HMS HOOD in May 1941.
2nd December 1940 - Sailed from Alexandria to Gibraltar.
8th December 1940 - Sailed from Gibraltar bound for Plymouth in company with the destroyer JERSEY.
11th December 1940 - Arrived Plymouth.
13th December 1940 - At Scapa Flow.
26th December 1940 - Sailed from Scapa Flow with a contingent of circa 700 troops bound for the Malta Garrison. Mission accomplished, MANCHESTER returned to Scapa Flow.
15th January 1941 - MANCHESTER arrived at Palmers of Hebburn on the Tyne for a short refit. Changes in armament included the removal of 2 quadruple .5" machine guns, and the installation of one single Bofors MkIII and 5 single 20mm guns were fitted. Air Warning Radar Type 279 also fitted.
31st March 1941 - MANCHESTER sailed from Hebburn for post refit sea trials and on completion took passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin the Home Fleet.
18th April 1941 - MANCHESTER arrived at Scapa Flow.
Early May 1941 - MANCHESTER deployed on Northern Patrol with cruisers BIRMINGHAM and ARETHUSA.
6th May 1941 - MANCHESTER provided cover for ships of the 1st Minelaying Squadron during operations in Northern Barrage.
7th May 1941 - A force comprising MANCHESTER, BIRMINGHAM and EDINBURGH screened by four destroyers including NESTOR and SOMALI were diverted to intercept the German weather ship MUNCHEN inside the Arctic Circle. As the force approached, MUNCHEN's Captain ordered that he ship be scuttled and the ENIGMA signal coding machine etc., be thrown overboard. However, before MUNCHEN sank, vital parts of ENIGMA including code books were recovered intact by a boarding party from HMS SOMALI and subsequently returned to the UK by HMS NESTOR.
10th May 1941 - Force returned to Scapa Flow.
18th May 1941 - MANCHESTER sailed from Scapa Flow en-route to Icelandic waters.
21st May 1941 - MANCHESTER and her sister ship BIRMINGHAM detailed to establish a patrol line between Iceland and the Faroe Islands to intercept any possible breakout of the German battleship BISMARCK into the Atlantic.
23rd May 1941 - The cruiser ARETHUSA joins MANCHESTER and BIRMINGHAM on the patrol line.
24th May 1941 - Following the loss of HMS HOOD, MANCHESTER patrolled north east of Iceland should BISMARCK attempt to return to Germany via the Denmark Strait.
3rd June 1941 - On completion of the BISMARCK operation, MANCHESTER returned to Scapa Flow. Captain Harold Drew DSC assumed command.
9th June 1841 - MANCHESTER sailed from Scapa Flow en-route to Icelandic waters.
11th June 1941 - MANCHESTER commenced patrolling the Denmark Strait.
2nd July 1941 - MANCHESTER detailed to proceed to the River Clyde to re-inforce the escort of a Malta bound convoy (date of arrival not known).
11th July 1941 - MANCHESTER, in company with the battleship NELSON, the cruisers ARETHUSA and EDINBURGH and a full screen of destroyers sailed from the Clyde bound for Gibraltar in preparation for Operation Substance.
14th July 1941 - The force arrived at Gibraltar.
The Operation Substance merchantman comprised of the troop carrying LEINSTER, MELBOURNE STAR, SYDNEY STAR, CITY OF PRETORIA, PORT CHALMERS, DURHAM and DEUCALION.
21st July 1941 - MANCHESTER, in company with NELSON, the battlecruiser RENOWN, the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL and the cruisers ARETHUSA, EDINBURGH, MANXMAN and HERMIONE and accompanying destroyers, escorted the merchantmen out of Gibraltar en-route to Malta. LEINSTER ran aground and returned to Gibraltar.