Operation Cleaver

'Cleaver' was a British mineclearing operation in the Skagerrak and Kattegat between Norway and Sweden in the north and Denmark in the south to allow the shipborne return of the Danish government-in-exile to Copenhagen and the take the surrender of German warships in Danish waters (6/9 May 1945).

The ships directly involved in the repatriation of the Danish government were the light cruiser Birmingham, the light anti-aircraft cruiser Dido and the destroyers Zealous, Zephyr, Zest and Zodiac, which left British waters on 6 May, passed through the German minefields off the Skagerrak and reached Copenhagen on 9 May.

Cover for the operation was provided by Vice Admiral R. R. McGrigor’s task force comprising the escort carriers Queen, Searcher and Trumpeter, the heavy cruiser Norfolk and the destroyers Carysfort, Obedient, Opportune, Orwell and Zambezi.

Once it had reached Copenhagen, the British naval force accepted the surrender of the German heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and light cruiser Nürnberg.