Class cruiser ordered from by Armstrong’s at
Newcastle in June 1917 and laid down on 18th
October 1917. She was launched on 9th July
1918 and build was completed on 21st August
1919. After 1927 HMS CALCUTTA was placed in
Reserve and used for training of Boy Seamen.
She was selected for conversion to an AA
Cruiser at Chatham in 1938 and on completion
the next year joined the Home Fleet. This
ship was the only AA cruiser not fitted with
9 1 9
Commissioned for Trials
Took passage to Portsmouth
for trials and completion.
Passage to Greenock
for Acceptance Trials in Clyde area.
Formal Build completion date and
commenced Acceptance Trials.
Passage to Portsmouth
for full commissioning and completion
Commissioned for service as Flagship of
8th Light Cruiser Squadron on North
Deployed at Portsmouth preparing for foreign
Took passage to Bermuda
with call at Devonport.
Arrived at Bermuda.
Sustained damage whilst alongside jetty
at Bermuda in hurricane conditions
Deployed as Flagship 18th Light Cruiser
(Note: Visits were paid to ports in Caribbean
and North America with Squadron
9 2 0 t
o 1 9 2 5
Deployment as Flagship on North America
and West Indies Station based at Bermuda
9 2 6
Bermuda deployment in continuation
Sustained serious structural damage at
Bermuda caused by ship rolling against
jetty during hurricane weather
Under repair to allow ship to return
On completion took passage to Chatham
Commission termination and Paid-off.
company transferred to HM Cruiser
Placed in Nore Command Reserve Fleet.
9 2 7
Laid-up in Medway awaiting dockyard
(Note: Ship may have been used for
training of new entries and other
9 2 8
Laid-up in Reserve at Chatham
Taken in hand for repair by HM
Nominated for service as Flagship of 6th
Cruiser Squadron on South Africa
On completion prepared for Foreign
Service at Chatham
Commissioned for service in place of HM
Cruiser BIRMINGHAM based at Simonstown.
Passage to Simonstown.
Deployed as Flagship for CS6 and carried
out visits and exercise programme with
ships of Squadron.
Ships of Squadron visited ports in South Atlantic and Indian
9 2 9 t
o 1 9 3 0
Station Squadron deployment in
9 3 1
Nominated for refit on return to UK.
Prepared for return passage
Passage to Chatham to Pay-off
Taken in hand for refit prior to
reduction to reserve status.
Commenced Reserve service at Chatham.
Laid-up at Chatham.
9 3 2
service in continuation.
9 3 3
Chatham Reserve service in continuation
Nominated for use as overflow Boys
Training Ship pending availability of
HM Cruiser DRAGON for this duty.
Re-commissioned for use as Boys Training
Ship at Chatham
Training Ship service at Chatham in
9 3 4 t
o 1 9 3 6
service at Chatham
9 3 7
Training Ship service at Chatham in
Nominated for conversion to
9 3 8
Training Ship service at Chatham in
Conversion delayed and remained in use
at Training Ship
Deployed as SORF for Nore Command after
relief in Training role by HM Cruiser
Deployed as RNVR Drill Ship for Humber
Division as relied for HM Cruiser
Taken in hand for conversion to AA
cruiser by HM Dockyard Chatham
work undertaken was not as extensive as
in the earlier changes made
Cruisers COVENTRY and CURLEW in order to
for dockyard work. This was an important
factor in view of
likelihood of hostilities with Germany.)
9 3 9
Carried out post conversion trials in
Nore Command area.
Re-commissioned and nominated for
service with Home Fleet
War Station nominated.
Passage to Scapa
Flow for service as AA Guardship.
possibility of all trials not being
complete is to be investigated
as the time
available to complete working-up must
have been limited.)
e t a i l
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9 3 9
Deployed with Home Fleet as AA ship at
Sailed from Scapa Flow
may have been part of a working-up
Returned to Scapa Flow to resume AA Guardship
Detached for duty with 7th Cruiser
Squadron for Northern Patrol to intercept
returning to Germany and for Contraband
Transferred to Humber Force for AA defence
of East Coast convoys based at Grimsby.
Deployed for convoy AA defence in North
Sea and NW Approaches.
Coastal convoy defence in continuation.
9 4 0
Coastal convoy defence in North Sea and leave period.
Transferred to Home Fleet for AA defence
duties and convoy escort.
Escorted damaged destroyer HMS IMPERIAL
after collision with merchant
Home Fleet deployment for AA defence in
Provided AA defence for inward Norwegian
Escorted outward Norwegian Convoy ON25
with HM Destroyers JAVELIN, GRENADE
passage from Clyde
in NW Approaches.
Convoy recalled after German invasion
and detached to rejoin Home Fleet
Deployed with Home Fleet for AA defence
Searched with HM Cruiser EFFINGHAM, HM
Cruiser YORK and HM Destroyer
warships reported off Alesund
on passage to Trondheim.
Arrived at Andalsnes to provide AA
Admiral Vivian was embarked as Flag
Officer AA cruisers and later became
Senior Naval Officer
Covered landing of French troops from
transport VILLE D'ALGER at Namsos
HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM,
HM Destroyer MAORI. HM Sloop AUCKLAND,
BISON and FOUDROYANT.
Landings could not be completed because
of snow storm.
Transferred to Namsos
for AA defence
Transferred to Andalsnes and deployed
as AA Guardship
duty in Romsdalfjord.
Provided AA defence during evacuation
of allied troops from Andalsnes and
Embarked last 720 troops from SICKLE
FORCE for return to UK.
Diverted with HM Destroyer ZULU to
intercept ship taking 300 German troops
to cut off British troops.
Interception failed and British had left
NORD NORGE and destroyed petrol stores
before leaving to assist with the
Mo and Mosjoin.
On completion joined HM Cruiser
PENELOPE, HM Sloop IBIS,
HM Destroyer WITCH
Destroyer Leader CAMPBELL to supplement
AA defence during passage to UK.
(For details of naval activities during
military operations in Norway
see ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by Corelli
Barnett, NARVIK by Donald Macintyre, THE
DOOMED EXPEDITION by
and Naval Staff History).
Deployed at Scapa
service in Mediterranean
with three Sloops.
Transferred to Nore Command for
evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk
Evacuated 534 troops from beaches and
took passage to Sheerness to disembark
Returned to beaches and embarked 1,200
troops for return to Sheerness.
Deployed to provide AA defence in Nore
Channel and Nore Command deployment in
(For details see ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE
CLOSELY and Naval Staff History
(HMSO – 2002).
of DYNAMO deployed in English
Channel to provide AA defence and to
evacuation of allied forces and
civilians from France.
Assisted with evacuation from La Verdone
Deployed off French coast to intercept
enemy ships off Gironde
estuary with H M
Embarked troops and other personnel at
St Jean de Luz and took passage to
Joined in Gironde
Estuary by HM Canadian Destroyers FRASER
craft reported in area.
In collision at
speed with HMCS FRASER whilst
manoeuvring off Bayonne.
Destroyer’s bows broke away and sank.
150 survivors were rescued but 66 men
After part of HMCS FRASER sunk with
Took passage to Devonport with part
of the bridge
structure of HMCS FRASER still on
HM Destroyer HIGHLANDER provided escort.
(For details of allied evacuation
operations see Naval Staff Histories).
Arrived at Plymouth
and disembarked passengers.
Repair arranged at Tyne commercial shipyard
Took passage to Tyne from Plymouth.
Under repair in Tyne
Rejoined Home Fleet
Detached as AA Guardship
during minelay by ships of 1st
Minelaying Squadron in
SW Approaches (Operation SN31).
On completion deployed for AA defence.
Prepared for service with Mediterranean
Fleet at Alexandria
to augment AA defence.
Notified of departure for Mediterranean with ships on passage to join Fleet at Alexandria,
Passage to Gibraltar
with HM Battleship VALIANT, HM Aircraft
ILLUSTRIOUS and HM Cruiser COVENTRY covered by HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD
destroyers of the
Flotilla as escort for Middle
East military convoy.
Joined ships of Force H for exercised
with Force H ships.
Part of Force F with HMS VALIANT, HMS
ILLUSTRIOUS and HMS COVENTRY
RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carrier ARK
and destroyers of Force H to join
Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria.
Disembarked passengers in Malta.
Detached with HMS COVENTRY to escort
Convoy AS3 during passage in Aegean
Under air attacks.
Arrived at Alexandria
for Mediterranean Fleet duties.
Deployed as Close Escort for Convoy AN3
during passage from in Alexandria
Cover was provided by HM Cruisers KENT,
LIVERPOOL and GLASGOW
Convoy under unsuccessful air attacks
Deployed as escort for Convoy AN5 with
two destroyers during passage in Aegean
was concurrent with Operation MB5
passage of military convoy to
See Naval Staff History (HMSO 2002.)
Deployed as Close Escort for Malta
Convoy MF5 with HMS COVENTRY and four
during passage from Alexandria covered
by Mediterranean Fleet units.
(Operation MB6 .See
Arrived and Malta and sailed as escort
for eastbound Convoy MF4 with same ships
passage to Alexandria.
Cover was provided by Mediterranean
Italian attack by
torpedo boats repelled by Fleet units
which sank three enemy ships.)
Fleet units under air attacks
Remained with ME4 when HM Cruisers
COVENTRY and AJAX were detached with
destroyers to join Convoy AS4 as escort
during passage to Alexandria from
Fleet units under further air attacks
during which HM Cruiser LIVERPOOL was
AS4 and escort merged with ME4.
Arrived at Alexandria.
For full details see
Deployed with two destroyers as escort
for Convoy AN5 during passage to Greece
Fleet units (Operation MAQ2)
Deployed with HMS COVENTRY,
and five destroyers as escort for Convoy
initial stage of passage to Malta.
Detached from MW3 and escorted Convoy
AN6 to Suda
Arrived at Suda
Bay with AN6 and returned to Alexandria.
Operation MB8 was part of a Fleet
operation in conjunction with the attack
Italian Fleet at Taranto
by Force H (Operation JUDGEMENT).
Deployed in Eastern Mediterranean for AA defence.
9 4 1
Joined Force C with HM Cruiser CALCUTTA,
HM Destroyers DIAMOND and
DEFENDER as close escort for Malta
supply convoy (MW5 1/2) covered by
Mediterranean Fleet as part of joint
operation for passage of military convoy
to Piraeus and Alexandria (Operation
Under sustained and heavy air attacks by
newly arrived German Stuka
Deployed in eastern Mediterranean for AA
Provided AA defence for military convoys
from Alexandria to Piraeus
AA cruisers HMS
COVENTRY and HMS CARLISLE (Operation
Assisted defence of convoy off Piraeus
with HMS COVENTRY.
When refuelling with HMS COVENTRY at Suda
Bay, HM Cruiser YORK was
Explosive Motor Boats.
Undamaged at Piraeus
during air attack on port when ss
CLAN FRASER was bombed
and blew up.
Escorted Malta supply convoy(ME1)
including supply ship HMS BRECONSHIRE to
Battleships WARSPITE and BARHAM, HM
FORMIDABLE and HM
screened by destroyers.
Deployed for AA defence of
Mediterranean Fleet during bombardment
Convoy AG13 with HMS PHOEBE, HM
Destroyers STUART (RAN) and
Bay for evacuation of allied troops from
Based at Suda
Bay with HM Cruisers ORION, AJAX,
evacuation of allied troops.
Deployed with HM Destroyers STUART
(RAN), VOYAGER (RAN), HM Corvettes
escort three ships in Convoy AG13 to
evacuate troops from
Took passage to Suda
Bay to disembark passengers.
Joined HMS ORION, HMS PHOEBE and HM
Destroyer DEFENDER off Nauphlia
STUART (RAN) and HMS GRIFFIN off to
Returned to Suda
Escorted Convoy GA14
taking troops to Alexandria.
Covered two convoys to Malta
with HM Cruisers DIDO, PHOEBE, COVENTRY and
Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet ships
to meet military convoy bringing tanks
Army in Egypt
Air attacks repelled by aircraft from
Deployed north of Crete as Force C with
HMS NAIAD, HMS PERTH and 4 destroyers
intercept invasion convoys.
Sighted one ship
which was sunk by destroyers.
Subjected to sustained air attacks.
Under heavy attack by Italian high level
bombers during which HM Destroyer JUNO
Deployed with HMS NAIAD, HMS PERTH
(RAN), HMS CARLISLE, HM Destroyers
and NUBIAN off Heraklion
for patrol and interception.
heavy air attacks.
Assisted with evacuation of allied
troops from Sphakia.
Under air attack during passage to Alexandria
and twice hit.
Sailed as Force D with HMS PHOEBE, HMS
PERTH, HMS CALCUTTA,
HMS COVENTRY, HMS
JERVIS, HMS JANUS and HMS HASTY.
Continued evacuation at Spahkia
and took passage to Alexandria
On passage with HMS COVENTRY from Alexandria
to provide additional AA protection
PHOEBE and other ships returning with
more troops from Sphakia.
attack by two Ju88.
Hit by two
bombs and sank in a few minutes.
255 of ship's company were rescued by
of Mediterranean operations in 1940 -
1941 by Force H at Gibraltar and
Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria see BATTLE
FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN by
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY, MALTA
by R Woodman
and Naval Staff Histories)