KENT-Class Cruiser ordered from Vickers Armstrong at Barrow on 26th April 1924 and laid down on 18th October 1924. The ship was launched on 16th March 1926 as the 10th RN ship to carry the name, introduced for a 3rd Rate in 1695 and last used for an armoured cruiser in 1902 which was sold in 1921. Build completed on 23rd January 1928. This cruiser has a long association with the civil community of the County whose name she bears.
1 9 3 9
3rd On passage in Atlantic to Join South American Division of 8th Cruiser Squadron.
7th On arrival at Freetown was deployed on trade protection duty in Atlantic became
part of Hunting Group G for interception of blockade runners and commerce
raiders off east coast of South America.
11th Passage to Rio de Janeiro
Aircraft sighted German pocket battleship GRAF SPEE and tanker ALTMARK but enemy
ships escaped interception.
15th Carried out patrol off south of Ascension Island.
25th After meeting HM Cruiser NEPTUNE and HM Destroyers HUNTER and HYPERION
carried out joint search for blockade runners.
5th After refuelling at Freetown sent to join HM Cruisers EXETER, ACHILLES and AJAX
for continuation of interception patrols as Force G.
Failed to report 'raider’ signal from ss NEWTON BEACH sunk by German warship GRAF
SPEE and sighted by aircraft from German ship.
(Note: Ship was maintaining radio silence to prevent enemy interception of traffic.)
15th Resumed patrol between Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires
10th Passage to Capetown.
18th Deployed with Force G ships off coast of Brazil in search for GRAF SPEE.
22nd Passage to Plate estuary.
2nd Detached for patrol between Plate and Falklands.
5th In company with HMS AJAX intercepted German ship USSUKUMA which scuttled.
12th Under self-refit and boiler cleaning at Port Stanley.
13th Ordered to join EXETER, AJAX and ACHILLES off Plate estuary after GRAF SPEE had
sought refuge in Montevideo following her defeat in Battle of the River Plate.
14th Joined other ships in Plate estuary awaiting departure of GRAF SPEE.
17th At Montevideo after GRAF SPEE scuttled.
21st Passage to Port Stanley.
24th Refuelled and prepared for further interception duty in South Atlantic.
29th Sailed for patrol in Plate area.
1 9 4 0
8th Passage to Cape of Good Hope.
11th Under refit in HM Dockyard Simonstown.
13th Resumed interception patrol and trade defence in the South Atlantic.
1st Passage to Freetown.
4th Transferred to 6th Cruiser Squadron and continued interception and trade defence duties.
April South Atlantic trade defence in continuation.
31st Joined escort at Capetown for military convoy US3 taking ANZAC troops to UK.
2nd Passage to Freetown with US3.
7th Arrived Freetown.
8th Escort Joined by HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES
10th HMS HERMES detached.
12th Escort Joined by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE until 14th June when replaced by
ships from Home Fleet including HM Battleship HOOD and HM Aircraft Carrie ARGUS.
16th Detached from convoy on arrival in Clyde.
29th Joined escort at Greenock for Middle East convoy WS1 for passage to Capetown.
July After arrival of WS1 at Capetown carried out unsuccessful search for the German
commerce raider THOR reported in South Atlantic.
Joined Ocean Escort for military convoy WS1 during passage to Ceylon
21st HM Cruiser KENT joined Ocean Escort for WS1 in position 34.20S 33.00E.
(Note: WS1 comprised rms AQUITANIA, rms MAURETANIA and rms
QUEEN MARY taking troops to join 8th Army in EGYPT.
29th Detached from WS1 on arrival in Ceylon where troops were transferred
to smaller transports for onward passage.
(Note: As the two liners were not required to pass through the Red Sea they went to
Trincomalee after disembarkation.)
August Deployed on interception patrol and trade defence in South Atlantic.
13th Joined escort for military convoy on passage to Dakar with HM Cruiser CORNWALL.
14th Detached with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, AUSTRALIA and HM Aircraft Carrier ARK
ROYAL to establish patrol off Cape Verde for interception of three Vichy French
cruisers attempting to reach Dakar.
15th Operation cancelled when French ships entered Dakar.
Carried out surveillance.
16th Intercepted French mercantile POITIERS on passage to Ivory Coast.
18th Deployed in pursuit of French warships GLOIRE, GEORGES LEYGUES and
MONTCALM with HM Australian Cruiser AUSTRALIA
(Note: These ships sailed from Dakar without detection
French ships were later intercepted by HM Cruisers CORNWALL and DELHI
The cruiser GLOIRE was persuaded to go into Casablanca but the other ships went
back to Dakar. (For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W. Tute).)
21st Joined HMS ARK Royal, HM Battleships RESOLUTION and BARHAM, HM
Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, AUSTRALIA and Fleet destroyers in support of Free French
landing at Dakar and carried out defensive patrol offshore (Operation MENACE).
23rd Provided naval gunfire support and hit by 9.4in shell from shore battery.
Steam pipe fracture caused loss of electrical power and ship withdrawn from operation.
(Note: 4in Magazine was flooded as a precaution.)
29th Returned to Freetown when operation abandoned.
October Based at Freetown for Atlantic trade defence.
9th Relieved HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD as escort of military convoy to Middle East.
24th Joined Hunting Group in search for German battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER off Brazil.
9th Deployed with HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE in search for German commerce raider THOR.
18th Diverted with HMS ENTERPRISE to join HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE in renewed search
or ADMIRAL SCHEER. then reported between Rio de Janeiro and the Plate.
Later was also deployed to search for commerce raider PINGUIN.
1 9 4 1
January Deployed in South Atlantic for trade protection.
to Nominated for refit.
June Passage to UK.
26th Arrived at Sheerness
July Under refit at HM Dockyard Chatham.
to Radar equipment fitted for aircraft warning and fire control for forward main
September armament. Close range 20mm Oerlikon weapons fitted for Close Range AA defence,
October Carried out harbour trials
11th On completion of dockyard work carried out post refit trials.
November Joined 18th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.
December Home Fleet deployment for convoy defence and interception of commerce raiders in NW
1 9 4 2
January Nominated for Russian Convoy operation. and took passage to Murmansk
16th Embarked Foreign Secretary, Sir Stafford Cripps, for return passage to UK and
escorted return Convoy QP5 from Murmansk with HM Destroyers ICARUS and TARTAR.
19th Resumed Hone Fleet duties after arrival.
February Deployed with Home Fleet.
March Under repair at Chatham.
May Rejoined 18th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet
June Deployed on patrol and convoy defence in MM Approaches.
26th Part of Home Fleet cover with HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK, US Navy Battleship
USS WASHINGTON, HM Cruiser NIGERIA and screen of 14 RN/USN destroyers for
passage of Russian convoy PQ17.
4th After dispersal of PQ17 covered passage of returning convoy QP13.
(Note: For details of this ill fated operation and its repercussions see ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett, CONVOY! by P Kemp, RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by R Woodman, CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R A Ruegg, THE
CONVOY IS TO SCATTER by G Broome and Naval Staff History)
8th Returned to Scapa Flow with combined RN/USN covering force.
10th Covered passage of HM Battleship KING GEORGE V from Liverpool to Scapa Flow.
August Deployed with Home Fleet.
14th Joined HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD, SUFFOLK and LONDON to cover passage and landing
of Norwegian party at Spitzbergen (Operation GEARBOX)
(Note: This deployment also covered passage of Russian Convoy PQ18.).
18th Landed parties at Barentsberg with HMS SHEFFIELD and HM Destroyer ECLIPSE.
19th Passage to Hvalfjord, Iceland and provided cover for returning Convoy QP14.
23rd Passage to Greenock.
(Note: Details of warships and mercantiles involved in Russian Convoy operations are
provided in above references.)
October Deployed on patrol and trade defence in NW Approaches.
31st Sailed from Scapa Flow with HM Cruiser NORFOLK with screen of 5 destroyers.
Nominated for support of planned allied landings in North African (Operation TORCH.).
5th Deployed off Azores with HMS NORFOLK to cover US landings on Atlantic coast.
On release returned to Northern Patrol.
21st Provided distant cover with HM Battleship ANSON and HM Destroyers FORESTER,
ICARUS, IMPULSIVE , HM Escort Destroyers BLANKNEY and CHIDDINGFOLD.
for passage of Russian Convoy JW51B.
31st Returned to Iceland
1 9 4 3
January Deployed for Northern Patrol based in Iceland for interception of commerce raiders.
21st Provided additional cruiser cover with HMS BELFAST and HMS NORFOLK during passage of
Russian Convoy JU53 and returning RA53.
28th Experienced extreme weather conditions during which HMS SHEFFIELD had to return to
Scapa Flow after sustaining serious structural damage.
9th Returned to Iceland.
14th Deployed for Northern Patrol.
April Deployed in rotation with HM Cruiser BELFAST on Northern Patrol.
Nominated for refit
Passage to Sheerness
Taken in hand for refit
May Under refit by HM Dockyard Chatham during which additional 20mm weapons were fitted.
On completion took passage to Scapa Flow to resume Home Fleet duties.
31st Joined HM Cruiser BERMUDA to relieve garrison at Spitzbergen escorted by HM Destroyers
ECLIPSE and ATHABASKAN (RCN) covered by HM Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS, HM
Cruiser SCYLLA screened by HM Destroyers ECHO and MIDDLETON
(Operation GEARBOX II).
June Heavy weather on passage to Spitzbergen forced ships to shelter at Akureyri.
7th Sailed from Iceland to Spitzbergen,
10th Arrived at Spitzbergen for GEARBOX support operation.
Return passage to Scapa Flow.
July Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow.
Nominated for refit in commercial shipyard prior to foreign service.
August Passage to Tyne.
6th Commenced refit prior to transfer to Eastern Fleet.
(Note: Aircraft facilities removed.
Changes in radar equipment included
Surface warning Type 273
Fire-control Type 285 for forward 4in HA armament
Air warning radar Type 281 with an Interrogator outfit
Close range fire-control radar (Type 282)
20mm Oerlikon arrangements improved and additional mountings fitted.
September Under refit
November Carried out harbour trials
29th On completion of dockyard carried out post refit trials in North Sea.
December Worked-up at Scapa Flow for service with 4th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet
1 9 4 4
January Passage to Ceylon via Mediterranean with HM Cruiser LONDON.
February On passage from Alexandria with HMS LONDON.
March Prepared for service in 4th Cruiser Squadron on arrival at Trincomalee.
21st Carried out offensive sweep in Indian Ocean with HM Battleships QUEEN
ELIZABETH, VALIANT, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier
ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers LONDON, GAMBIA and CEYLON screened by
Fleet destroyers. (Operation DIPLOMAT).
27th Met US Task Group 58.5 (US Aircraft Carrier SARATOGA and 3 USN destroyers)
SW off Cocos Islands with ships of Eastern Fleet.
4th Joint RN/USN force returned to Trincomalee.
May Deployed in Indian Ocean.
June Transferred to 5th Cruiser Squadron in Eastern Fleet.
26th Deployed on petrol in Indian Ocean and called at Fremantle.
July Rejoined Eastern Fleet for offensive operation against targets in Sumatra with
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, HMS RENOWN, French battleship
battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers NIGERIA, KENYA, CEYLON and GAMBIA
screened by five Fleet destroyers (Operation CRIMSON).
25th Bombarded Japanese positions at Sabang..
August Deployed in Indian Ocean and prepared for future support of carrier operations.
8th Exercised with HM Battleship HOWE, HMS LONDON and HMS GAMBIA.
14th Provided cover with HMS HOWE and Eastern Fleet cruisers during air operations by
HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and INDOMITABLE carriers on Sigli, Northern
Sumatra (Operation LIGHT).
17th Bombarded airfields on Nicobar Islands with HM Cruisers LONDON, SUFFOLK
and Fleet destroyers as Task Group 63.2 (Operation MILLET).
(Note: This was a diversionary operation during the US assault on Leyte and
included attacks on Japanese positions)
19th Under unsuccessful attack by torpedo carrying aircraft.
November Deployed in Eastern Fleet with 5th Cruiser Squadron.
December Passage to South Africa for refit
1 9 4 5
January Under refit by HM Dockyard Simonstown.
3rd Carried out Post refit trials off Capetown.
On completion took passage to resume Fleet duties at Trincomalee
(Note: Ship would be joined renamed East Indies Fleet. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
8th Joined Task Group 63.2 with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, French Battleship RICHELIEU and
HMS LONDON screened by 5 Fleet destroyers to cover air reconnaissance flights by HM
Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS and KHEDIVE at Port Swettenham and Port Dickson,
Malaya. (Operation SUNFISH).
11th Bombarded targets at Sabang during offensive sweep against shipping in Indian Ocean as part
27th Joined Task Force 63 with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM
Escort Aircraft Carriers SHAH and EMPRESS with HM Cruisers SUFFOLK, CEYLON and
Dutch cruiser TROMP escorted by five Fleet destroyers for attacks on Nicobars.
(Note: This was a diversion during assault on Rangoon (Operation DRACULA).
29th Bombarded Car Nicobar and Port Blair.
1st Continued bombardments on airfields at Port Blair and Car Nicobar.
2nd Further bombardment of shore targets.
3rd Joined Task Force 68 with FS RICHELIEU, HMS SHAH, HMS EMPRESS, HMS CEYLON
and three Fleet destroyers for attacks on shipping off coast of Burma.
6th Rejoined East Indies Fleet to provide cover during air strikes on Andamans.
10th Deployed in TF61 with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, FS RICHELIEU, HMS Cruiser
ROYALIST, Dutch cruiser TROMP, HMS HUNTER, HMS KHEDIVE, HMS SHAH and
HMS EMPEROR of 21st Carrier Squadron.
Destroyer screen comprised HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VENUS, VERULAM, VIRAGO,
VIGILANT, NUBIAN and ROTHERHAM (Operation DUKEDOM)
(Note: For interception and sinking of Japanese ships evacuating forces from Burma).
11th Detached with FS RICHELIEU and destroyers to be in position 50 miles ahead of main body
of TF61 in 6 Degree Channel.
14th Detached to escort Carriers during air search for shipping off Diamond Point.
(Note: This ship was not involved in the later sinking of Japanese cruiser HAGURO which
was 50 miles away from the position I which she was intercepted by Fleet destroyers.)
For details of this and other Eastern Fleet Operations see OPERATION PACIFIC
by. E. Gray and THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR WITH JAPAN
June Deployed with Eastern Fleet and prepared for support of military operations in Malaya.
to (Operation ZIPPER).
15th Sailed with Eastern Fleet for Malayan assault (Operation ZIPPER).
(Note: The planned assault Landings were delayed due to pressure from the U S and indecision
in London for political considerations associated with return of service personnel from
the Far East in the PYTHON Scheme. For details see The Supreme Commander SEAC
Report to Joint Chiefs of Staff and above references).
16th Passage to Rangoon.
27th Deployed in Indian Ocean off Sumatra to assist in military operations after the Japanese
4th At Singapore.