Naval History Homepage and Site Search

 

 

SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS CORNWALL - County-type Heavy Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Cornwall (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

return to Contents List    
 

KENT-Class Cruiser ordered from HM Dockyard, Devonport on 2nd June 1924 and laid down on 9th October that year. The ship was launched on 11th March 1926 and was the 6th RN ship to bear this name, introduced in 1692 for a 3rd Rate. The last ship to bear the name was a Cruiser built in 1902 and sold in 1920. Build was completed on 10th May 1928 at a cost of 1,252,110. She was then deployed on the China Station with the 5th Cruiser Squadron until return to UK for a major refit in 1936. On completion she served in Home waters in the 2nd Cruiser Squadron and used for training of boy seamen. In March 1939 this ship recommissioned for further service on the China Station where she was deployed in September 1939. She had a well established relationship with the county whose name she carried and this has continued until the present with the 7th ship.

 

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

 

GRENADA 1779 - OFF MARTINIQUE 1780 - FALKLANDS 1914 - DARDANELLES 1915

 

H e r a l d i c D a t a

Badge: On a Field Black, fifteen bezants Gold

 

M o t t o

'One and all'

 

 

 

D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e

 

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search

 

 

1 9 3 9

 

September

 

Deployed as Flagship of 5th Cruiser Squadron, China Station with cruisers KENT, DORSETSHIRE and BIRMINGHAM.

 

6th - Carried out search with ships of Squadron for German shipping in Andaman Islands area.

 

27th - Arrived at Colombo after transferred to East Indies Station.

 

28th - Took passage to Calcutta.

 

October

 

2nd - Escorted convoy from Calcutta for part of passage to Singapore.

 

5th - Detached to join aircraft carrier EAGLE and cruiser DORSETSHIRE in Hunting Force I for interception patrol.

 

6th - Return passage to Colombo for docking.

 

11th - Sailed for patrol after docking.

 

November

 

3rd - Returned to Colombo from patrol.

 

10th - Sailed with DORSETSHIRE to join EAGLE and destroyers VENDETTA (RAN) and WATERHEN (RAN) in search for German pocket battleship GRAF SPEE in area south of Ceylon.

 

18th - Returned to Colombo.

 

25th - Took passage from Colombo to resume patrol.

 

December

 

8th - At Diego Suarez and attached to South Atlantic Station.

 

12th - At Durban.

 

14th - Sailed for patrol in Indian Ocean from Durban.

 

22nd - Took passage from Durban to Simonstown for interception patrol duties in South Atlantic.

 

26th - At Simonstown. (Note: For details of interception patrol duties see THE BLOCKADERS by P Kemp, ARMED MERCHANT CRUISERS by K Poolman and AXIS BLOCKADE RUNNERS by M Bryce.)

 

 

1 9 4 0

 

January

 

2nd - Sailed for patrol.

 

11th - Returned to Capetown.

 

25th - Sailed for patrol.

 

30th - Returned to Capetown. (Note: cruiser HOBART (RAN) and EAGLE were also deployed in South Atlantic for interception and trade defence.)

 

February

 

Transferred to Freetown. Patrol duty in continuation.

 

March

 

Passage to Freetown from patrol

 

4th - Arrived at Freetown.

 

April

 

Interception patrol and trade defence in continuation based at Freetown.

 

May

 

Passage to Simonstown on release from Patrol.

 

June

 

Patrol duties in continuation based at Simonstown.

 

24th - Took passage from Simonstown to UK for repair.

 

July

 

Under repair in Liverpool commercial shipyard.

 

August

 

Post repair trials

 

5th - Joined military convoy WS2 on departure from Liverpool as Ocean Escort during Atlantic passage.

 

25th - Arrived at Capetown.

 

31st - Deployed as Ocean Escort for WS2 during passage to Durban.

 

September

 

3rd - Detached from WS2 after relief by Armed Merchant cruiser KANIMBLA. Took passage to Freetown for support of landings by Free French troops at Dakar (Operation MENACE).

 

13th - Joined cruiser CUMBERLAND, sloops MILFORD and BRIDGEWATER in escort of military convoy on passage to Freetown from Gibraltar.

 

15th - Arrived at Freetown.

 

18th - Deployed with cruiser DELHI in search for Vichy French warship on passage from Dakar to Gabon, French Guinea.

 

19th - Intercepted cruiser PRIMAGUET and tanker TARN in Gulf of Guinea and persuaded them to return to Casablanca rather than being forced into a naval engagement. (Note: Tanker was intended to replenish Vichy French cruisers recently arrived in Dakar. See CUMBERLAND. PRIMAGUET remained in Vichy French control until being sunk by US ships in November 1942). Escorted Vichy French ships during passage to Casablanca.

 

October

 

West African deployment in continuation. Nominated for return to UK for escort of military convoy and took passage to UK.

 

November

 

2nd - Joined military convoy WS4 in Clyde as Ocean Escort during passage to Aden.

 

December

 

18th - Detached from WS4 on arrival at Aden. Resumed trade defence and patrol duties and took passage to Capetown.

 

 

1 9 4 1

 

January

 

Deployed for interception patrol and convoy defence based at Simonstown.

 

February

 

2nd - Taken in hand for refit and docking at Simonstown. AA Armament improved by addition of 20mm weapons.

 

22nd - Refit work completed

 

28th - Sailed to join military convoy WS6 as Ocean Escort during passage to Middle East from Freetown.

 

March

 

13th - Joined BIRMINGHAM and PHOEBE as relief in WS6 Ocean Escort for armed merchant cruiser CATHAY.

 

April

 

15th - Detached from WS6 on arrival at Aden. Resumed trade defence and convoy escort duties in Indian Ocean

 

May

 

At Mombasa

 

7th - During passage from Mombasa to Seychelles intercepted Distress Signal from tanker BRITISH PREMIER being attacked by German commerce raider PINGUIN in position 5o miles north.

 

8th - Ships aircraft reported sighting of mercantile identified as being Norwegian TAMERLANE. Intercepted ship and ordered her to stop enforced by two rounds. Vessel then opened fire which temporarily damaged steering gear. In subsequent exchange of fire PINGUIN sank after an explosion. Rescued 82 survivors of whom 22 were prisoners from captured ships. (For full details of problems related to identification of merchant ships see WAR AT SEA by SW Roskill and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO)). Passage to Durban

 

June

 

Under repair at Durban.

 

10th - Resumed trade defence duties on completion of repair.

 

July

 

11th - Joined specially formed military convoy WS9A2 at Durban as Ocean Escort during passage to Aden. Embarked passengers.

 

19th - Detached from WS9A2 on arrival at Aden and landed passengers.

 

20th - Trade defence and patrol in Indian Ocean resumed.

 

August to November

 

Indian Ocean deployment in continuation.

 

December

 

28th - Joined military convoy WS12ZA as Ocean Escort during passage to Bombay.

 

 

1 9 4 2

 

January

 

6th - Detached on arrival of WS12ZA at Bombay. Retained in Bombay for escort of convoys to and from Singapore.

 

February

 

Convoy defence and covering duties in Bay of Bengal. (Note: Evacuation convoys were on passage from Singapore and ports in Dutch East Indies. See WAR WITH JAPAN.)

 

March

 

1st - Sailed from Colombo with battleship ROYAL SOVEREIGN, destroyers EXPRESS, VAMPIRE (RAN), NIZAM, Armed Merchant cruiser MANOORA (RAN) and corvette HOLLYHOCK as escort for military convoy SU1 during passage to Fremantle. (Note: This convoy of 12 troopships was taking 11,000 ANZAC troops back to Australia from Middle East service after the Japanese threat to Australia and New Zealand).

 

14th - Detached from SU1 on arrival at Freetown and took passage to Ceylon to rejoin newly formed Eastern Fleet.

 

31st - Joined battleship WARSPITE, aircraft carriers FORMIDABLE and INDOMITABLE, cruisers ENTERPRISE, EMERALD and DORSETSHIRE screened by six destroyers as Force A in position south of Ceylon.

 

April

 

1st - Deployed with Force A in unsuccessful search for Japanese naval force reported on passage toward Ceylon.

 

3rd - Detached from Force A with DORSETSHIRE for escort of military convoy SU4 during passage in Indian Ocean.

 

4th - Recalled to join Force A again with DORSETSHIRE after Japanese warships had been sighted. (See WAR WITH JAPAN and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J.Winton).

 

5th - Sighted during return passage to Force A by aircraft from Japanese cruiser TONE. Came under heavy and sustained attacks by dive bombers from the aircraft carriers AKAGI, SORYU and HIRYU.  Deficient AA armament overwhelmed and careful manoeuvring by enemy aircraft gave ship little defence and she was quickly disabled. Sank within 15 minutes with heavy casualties including 190 killed or missing. (Casualty List - note on casualties)  (Note: Some 6 minutes later, DORSETSHIRE was sunk by similar attacks).

 

6th - 1,122 survivors from the two cruisers were rescued by ENTERPRISE and destroyers PALADIN and PANTHER.

 

P o s t W a r N o t e

 

This name was carried forward when the Type 22 Frigate HMS CORNWALL was launched by Yarrow shipbuilders in 1986 and became the 7th ship to bear this distinguished name.

 

 


 

Addenda

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS CORNWALL

by Don Kindell

 

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above

 

 

 

 

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

26/05/40

26/05/40

CM

18/06/40

18/06/40

20/06/40

20/06/40

BCS

23/06/40

23/06/40

24/06/40

24/06/40

BCS 1

05/07/40

05/07/40

06/07/40

06/07/40

BC A

16/07/40

16/07/40

05/08/40

05/08/40

WS 002

08/08/40

08/08/40

08/08/40

08/08/40

WS 002F

25/08/40

25/08/40

31/08/40

31/08/40

WS 002B

03/09/40

15/09/40

10/06/41

10/06/41

CM 012

17/06/41

17/06/41

12/08/41

12/08/41

CM 015

19/08/41

19/08/41

16/12/41

16/12/41

CM 024

23/12/41

23/12/41

23/01/42

23/01/42

AJ 001/1

01/02/42

01/02/42

03/02/42

03/02/42

JS 001

10/02/42

14/02/42

14/02/42

14/02/42

JS 002X

20/02/42

21/02/42

01/03/42

01/03/42

SU 001

15/03/42

15/03/42

 

 

 

 

 

(Note on Convoys)

 


 

MOVEMENTS OF HMS CORNWALL DECEMBER 1937 to JUNE 1938

from Mr G Ransome, Manchester

In researching my father's career, which included service on HMS Cornwall from 1 January 1938 to 6 May 1938, I am grateful  for the following information provided by Mr Ransome in response to a request published in "Navy News" in January 1994 (Gordon Smith):

  arrived

departed

Devonport

18.12.37 25.1. 38

Portsmouth

25.1.38 2.2.38

Gibraltar

6.2.38 8.2.38

Palma

8.2.38 11.2.38

St Tropez

16.2.38 2.3.38

Mentone

2.3.38 8.3.38

Marseilles

9.3.38 10.3.38

Gibraltar

12.3.38 14.3.38

Gibraltar

18.3.38 25.3.38

Devonport

29.3.38 10.5.38

Lamlash

11.5.38 26.5.38
Milford Haven 27.5.38 8.6.38

 

 

back to Contents List
or Naval-History.Net

revised 8/10/10
further editing and formatting is required


 

if any ads offend, please contact Naval-History.Net