LONDON-Class cruiser ordered on 17th March 1926 from Hawthorn Leslie at Newcastle under the1926 Build Programme. She was laid down on 1st February 1927 and launched on 22nd February 1928 as the 4th RN ship to be given this name introduced in 1652 and last used for a 2nd Rate in 1802. The ship was completed on 19th March 1929. This cruiser was adopted by Investment Trusts, a Financial Company in the City of London after a successful WARSHIP WEEK Campaign for National Savings in March 1942. She had a long standing association with the County of Sussex since her build and also, since 1940, with Liverpool after being given the Freedom of the City.
1 9 3 9
September Took up War Station in Mediterranean.
4th Deployed with the 1st Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean on contraband
(Note: Other ships in Squadron were HMS DEVONSHIRE and SHROPSHIRE.)
Sailed from Alexandria for patrol.
October Transferred to East Indies Station for trade protection duty.
2nd Sailed from Alexandria for South Atlantic.
13th On arrival at Simonstown transferred to South Atlantic Command.
8th Deployed with HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE as Hunting Group H in search for the
German battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE in the South Atlantic.
Searched with Group H in conjunction with Hunting Group E
(Note: Force E comprised HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK ROYAL
and HM Cruiser NEPTUNE)
11th Transferred to River Plate area.
Redeployed in Indian Ocean off Durban to continue search.
2nd Intercepted German merchant ship WATUSSI with HMS RENOWN.
German scuttled and hulk sunk by HMS RENOWN.
Rescued crew and passengers from German ship.
Search continued with HM Cruiser SHROPSHIRE between St. Helena and Cape of Good Hope.
15th Called at Capetown to disembark prisoners.
27th Transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron in East Indies and took passage to Colombo.
1 9 4 0
6th Arrived at Colombo after call at Mauritius.
15th Deployed in Indian Ocean on interception and trade protection.
18th. Returned passage to Colombo
27th Passage to Trincomalee from Colombo with HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE and HM Australian
29th Returned to Colombo.
February Carried out search between Colombo and Aden.
8th At Aden.
Continued patrol during return passage to Colombo.
Escorted military convoy in Indian Ocean.
March In view of continuing crisis in Home waters transferred to UK for service with 1st Cruiser
Squadron in Home Fleet.
To be refitted at Liverpool commercial shipyard before joining Squadron.
(Note: For details of deployments for interception of commerce raiders see ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli Bamett).
1st Took passage from Colombo with calls at Aden and Malta.
10th At Malta
18th Under refit at Liverpool.
April Under refit
(Note: During the stay in Liverpool ship was given the Freedom of the City.)
May On completion of sea trials took passage to join Squadron at Scapa Flow.
Deployed with other ships of Squadron for interception of any attempt by German ships to break
out into Atlantic via NW Approaches.
June Deployed for escort of evacuation convoys from Norway with Home Fleet ships.
5th Joined HM Battle cruisers RENOWN and REPULSE accompanied by HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD
with screen of five Home Fleet destroyers in search for two unidentified ships reported as being
on passage into the Atlantic by HMS PRUNELLA (Q Ship)
See Naval Staff History of Norwegian Campaign (HMSO-2002)
7th Arrived in Iceland and returned to Scapa Flow after fruitless search.
July Continued deployment at Scapa Flow with Home Fleet.
16th Deployed in another search for enemy ships in North Sea with HM Cruisers SHROPSHIRE
and SOUTHAMPTON screened by 8 Fleet destroyers.
Operation was called off when enemy ships reversed course.
(Note: During the return passage to Scapa Flow HM Destroyer IMOGEN was sunk in a
collision with HM Cruiser GLASGOW in fog.
August Deployed with 1st Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow.
Propulsion machinery defect discovered.
September Under repair to turbine blades at Princes Dock, Glasgow.
17th Hit in Engine Room by 2501b bomb during air raid on Glasgow.
This caused a serious conflagration which threatened magazines.
Because of danger of explosion the local community was evacuated.
To assist in controlling the fire the dry dock was flooded without time to prevent water getting
into the ship.
The subsequent flooding of compartments made the her unstable and she capsized.
20th Damage assessment showed extensive structural repair would be required to make the ship
October After being re-floated towed to Stephens shipyard at Govan for rebuilding and repair.
(Note: This major incident was never publicly announced).
November Under repair.
1 9 4 1
1 9 4 2
January Under repair.
to (Note: During repair ship was fitted with radar equipment for surface and aircraft warning
July and for fire-control of secondary and AA armament.
For details of development and use of radar in RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.
Ten 20mm Oerlikon guns and two eight barrelled Pom-Pom mountings were installed
to improve close range defence against air attacks.)
9th On completion took passage to Scapa Flow to rejoin the Home Fleet after post refit trials and
4th Rejoined 1st Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow.
Worked up for service and deployed in NW Approaches for interception of any break-out
by commerce raiders to attack into Atlantic shipping
29th Carried out exercises with HM Battle ships KING GEORGE V, ANSON and HOWE.
31st Returned to Scapa Flow after exercises.
November Withdrawn from service for further refit work in Tyne shipyard.
(Note: Work included installation of fire control radar for main armament and replacement
of surface warning radar by an improved design sited on after superstructure to
December Under refit prior to deployment in Eastern Fleet.
1 9 4 3
January Rejoined 1st Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow for convoy defence and interception duties.
in Atlantic because of continuing threat by German capital ships.
February Transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron in Eastern Fleet and took to passage to Mombasa.
26th Intercepted German tanker HOHEN FRIEDBURG in position 500 miles SW of Cape
Came under torpedo attack by U264 which had been with the enemy ship but avoided a
salvo of four torpedoes.
See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.
(Note: No attempt was made to rescue survivors from German ship because of the known
threat of further submarine attack.)
11th Joined military convoy WS27 at Freetown as Ocean Escort during passage to Durban
26th Detached from WS26 on arrival at Durban
April Deployed on trade defence and interception in Indian Ocean.
to (Note: One source records escort of military convoy from Durban. This is to be confirmed)
June (Details of Indian Ocean trade defence see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY)
July Became Flagship of Eastern Fleet.
15th Carried out Squadron exercises with HM Cruisers NEWCASTLE, SUFFOLK and
FROBISHER off Mombasa.
19th Passage to Ceylon with CinC Eastern Fleet embarked for return to Colombo.
August Deployed as Flagship for CS4 and carried out patrol and interception duty in Indian Ocean
October Under refit at Durban.
to (Note: Work done included repair to turbine)
December Passage to Trincomalee to rejoin Eastern Fleet
Part of Eastern Fleet escort for HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH, VALIANT and
HM Aircraft Carriers ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN during passage in Indian Ocean from
Aden to reinforce. Eastern Fleet.
1 9 4 4
January Deployed on convoy defence and interception in Indian Ocean.
February Joined H M Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruiser GAMBIA, HM Destroyer
ROTHERHAM and HM Netherlands Destroyer TJERK HIDDES in search for enemy
blockade runners SW of Cocos Islands (Operation SLEUTH).
March Continued Indian Ocean deployment.
April Transferred to Home waters for refit.
May Passage to UK.
June Under refit at Chatham.
1 9 4 5
January Under refit.
to (Note: Extensive changes were made including removal of X Turret aft, the aircraft
February facilities and torpedo tubes. More modern radars were also installed including
barrage fire control. Siting of close range AA weapons was also improved.)
March Carried out post refit trials on completion of dockyard work
Nominated for service with 5th Cruiser Squadron in Eastern Fleet
April Passage to Scapa Flow.
25th Took passage to Mediterranean.
1st On arrival at Gibraltar diverted and sailed for Bermuda
4th Returned to Gibraltar
(Note: This unusual diversion requires further investigation. The ship may have been
recalled to resume work-up programme with ships of Mediterranean Fleet.)
Worked up in Mediterranean prior to Fleet duty in Indian Ocean.
June Completed work-up.
July Took passage to join Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee.
On arrival at Trincomalee deployed in Indian Ocean with Squadron.
19th Joined HM Battleship NELSON, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers EMPRESS and
AMEER screened by four Fleet destroyers as Force 63 to cover minesweeping
operations by the 4th Minesweeping Flotilla off Phuket Island and a series of air strikes
by the aircraft carriers on the Kra Isthmus. (Operation LIVERY}
24th HM Minesweeper SQUIRREL sunk by mine during clearance of minefields.
26th Under KAMIKAZE attacks during which two aircraft were destroyed..
Sustained slight structural damage above waterline by the wreckage of a Japanese aircraft.
HM Minesweeper VESTAL was sunk and HMS AMEER was damaged.
August Deployed with Eastern Fleet in preparation for Malayan landings (Operation ZIPPER).
(Note: This operation was delayed by US insistence and problems related to the return
to UK of long serving personnel under the PYTHON Scheme.
See Final Report of Supreme Commander, SEAC (HMSO) )
31st Sailed from Trincomalee and took passage to Singapore for re-occupation of Singapore
and as Flagship for Occupation Force. (Operation TIDERACE)
September Covered passage of assault convoys for landings at Port Swettenham and Port Dickson.
4th Arrived off Singapore with HM Landing Ship (Infantry) KEDAH and ships of 7th
The surrender of Japanese forces in Singapore by Lt-Gen Itagaki and Vice Admiral
Fukudone, UN was accepted on board.
12th Present at formal surrender of Japan to Supreme Commander, SEAC by General Itakagi
Retained at Singapore during landing of 3rd Commando Brigade.
(For details of fleet operations see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C.
Barnett and the Naval Staff History).
HMS SUSSEX remained with the Eastern Fleet after VJ Day and provided cover for the landings of the 5th Indian Division at Soerabaya, Java with HM Destroyers CARRON, CAESAR and CAVALIER in November 1945. Before return to UK on 6 March she supported military operations against insurgents in Java. Nominated for use as a troopship she returned to Chatham late in March 1946 and after essential changes to suit this role she carried personnel returning from the Far east until Paid-Off at Devonport prior to refit. On completion in April 1947 she re-commissioned for service in the 5th Cruiser Squadron, British Pacific Fleet. Before joining the Fleet in the Far East as Flagship for the Squadron she worked-up in Malta. At the end of 1948 she was relieved by HMS BELFAST and returned to Pay-off into Reserve at Portsmouth. She was de-equipped in February 1949 and placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO for demolition on 3rd January 1950 the ship arrived in tow at Dalmuir, Glasgow on 23rd February where she was broken-up by Arnott Young.