cruiser ordered in June 1916 in an Emergency
War Programme and built by HM Dockyard
Pembroke and laid
down in July of that year. The ship was laid
down on 13th July 1916 and launched on 5th
May 1917 as the fourth RN ship to carry this
name, introduced in 1809. After completion
on 18th February 1918 she served with the
Grand Fleet. HMS CURACOA was selected for
conversion to an Anti-Aircraft Cruiser in
1939 and gave distinguished service with the
Home Fleet during the Norwegian campaign in
1940. After a WARSHIP WEEK in March 1942 she
was adopted by the civil community of
Wolverhampton. She was sunk on 2nd
October 1942 under most tragic circumstances
as recorded below.
9 4 0
Commissioned for service and carried out
post refit trials.
First production aircraft warning radar
Type 279 fitted.
(For details of the development and use
of radar in the RN see RADAR AT SEA
by D Howse.)
work-up with ships of the Home Fleet
at Scapa Flow.
On completion of work-up joined Home
Deployed with Humber Force in 1st AA
Squadron for convoy defence in North
Sea and NW
After German invasion of Norway
nominated for landing on troops.
Embarked troops of 148th Infantry
Brigade with HM Cruisers GALATEA,
and sailed from Rosyth for Molde.
Deployed at Andalsnes for AA Guardship
After repelling heavy and sustained air
attacks on the area since arrival, hit
by bomb below
Bridge structure and sustained major
Withdrawn from Guardship duty and took
passage to UK for repair under own
steam, escorted by
HM Sloop FLAMINGO.
30 of shipís company were killed and
another 30 wounded
(For details see Naval Staff History
(HMSO, 2001) )
Arrived at HM Dockyard, Chatham.
Repair delayed by accumulation of higher
Under repair and refit.
Post refit trials.
Deployed in Nore Command for convoy
defence and AA Guardship duties.
Transferred to Rosyth for convoy escort
duty in North Sea and NW Approaches to supplement
AA defences against Focke-Wolfe KONDOR
Convoy defence duties in continuation
9 4 1
Convoy defence duties in continuation
Under repair in m Dockyard Rosyth.
Resumed AA defence duty for convoys in
NW Approaches and North
Joined HM Destroyers LIVELY and
LIGHTNING to assist return of French
after being damaged during patrol.
Escorted RUBIS to Dundee.
Deployed with Rosyth AA Defence Force in
continuation of convoys defence.
9 4 2
Convoy defence in continuation in North Sea and NW Approaches.
Under refit at Rosyth.
Surface warning radar Type 271 and fire
control radar Type 282 installed for
close range AA
On completion resumed AA defence duties
in Rosyth Defence Force.
Detached for duty with Home Fleet in
Deployed with HM Cruiser SIRIUS, HM
Destroyers CASTLETON and ST MARYS for
escort of 'dummy' convoy including HM
Auxiliary Minelayers AGAMEMNON,
MENESTHEUS and SOUTHERN PRINCE during
passage of Russian Convoy PQ17.
(Note: This was not successful as convoy
was never sighted by enemy aircraft
Home Fleet for AA defence in
Transferred to Western Approaches
Command and joined Irish Sea Escort
Force for convoy
defence in Irish
Sea and NW Approaches based at Belfast.
Deployed with HM Destroyers BULLDOG to
join HM Destroyers BRAMHAM, COWDRAY
SKATE and Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA as
escort for rms QUEEN MARY during final
stage of passage with troops to Clyde NW
Rammed and sunk by rms QUEEN MARY
in North Channel during passage to UK
Only 101 of her complement of 439
survived this disaster caused largely by
lack of judgement
changes by the liner to avoid submarine
List - note
(Note: HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR by C Blair
records that the liner was under threat
by U407 but was sighted visually. This
account suggests that in an attempt to
approach by U407, HMS CURACOA crossed
the zig-zag path of QUEEN MARY.
THE QUEEN MARY AND THE CRUISER by D
Thomas and P Holmes gives a more
comprehensive account of the disaster
and provides details of the subsequent