SOUTHAMPTON-Class cruiser ordered in March
1935 from Fairfield SB at Govan, Glasgow in the 1935 Estimates and laid down on
17th February 1936. This ship was launched on 24th March 1937 by Mrs. Montague
Norman, wife of the Governor of the Bank of England. She was the 8th Royal Navy
ship to carry this name, introduced for a 5th Rate in 1756. It has been
previously borne by a 1909 cruiser sold in 1921. Build was completed on 2nd
November 1938. She was not adopted by a civil community in UK after a
successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during 1941 and early 1942 as
the ship was not in commission.
B a t
t l e H o n o u r s
HELIGOLAND 1914 - MEDITERRANEAN 1940
- CALABRIA 1940 - ARCTIC 1942
- MALTA CONVOYS 1942
H e r a l d i c D a t a
Badge: On a Field Silver, a Cormorant Black,
beaked and legged Red,
holding in its beak a branch of seaweed called lavergreen.
M o t
Deus nobis haec
'God gave us this ease'
D e t a i l s
o f W a r S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 3 9
East Indies Station in 5th Cruiser Squadron.
6th Deployed to meet
HM Depot Ship LUCIA in
10th Based at
interception of German raiders and blockade runners.
October Trade defence duties in continuation.
China Station in continuation.
Hong Kong with calls
10th Arrived at
14th Deployed in Chinese waters on trade
defence and interception duty.
1 9 4 0
defence and interception duty off
Japan in continuation.
21st Intercepted and
boarded Japanese liner ASSAMA MARU off coast of
21 German seamen who were survivors from merchant ship COLOMBUS.
which had scuttled off the east coast of US when challenged
as a blockade runner.
28th Taken in hand for
completion resumed trade defence and interception duty.
to East Indies Station for duty with HM Australian Cruiser HOBART in
Red Sea Force.
Supported military operations in
May Red Sea Force duty in continuation.
13th Joined HM Battleship RAMILLIES, HM
KENT and HOBART (RAN), French
SUFFREN, HM Destroyers DECOY, DEFENDER and HM Sloop
as escort to military
convoy US2 during passage in
This convoy was taking ANZAC troops to
17th Detached for call
7th Cruiser Squadron, Mediterranean Fleet.
with HM Battleship WARSPITE and
MALAYA, HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE,
of Squadron and destroyers to attack Italian convoy to
North Africa reported on
passage south of
12th Bombarded positions at Tobruk with HM
GLOUCESTER and four
Engaged enemy minesweepers whilst under fire from shore batteries.
minesweeper GIOVANNI BERTA.
27th Deployed with HM Cruisers
GLOUCESTER, NEPTUNE, ORION and
SYDNEY to meet HM Cruisers CALEDON
and CAPETOWN to cover passage of
with Cruisers of Squadron to intercept Italian convoy escorted by three
In action off Zante against Italian
Sank Italian destroyer ESPERO taking supplies to Tobruk. Two
aft by 4.7in shell causing minor damage.
Mediterranean Fleet was mainly deployed for cover of Convoys MF1 and
Malta (Operation MA3)
operation was later abandoned after high expenditure of ammunition
against air attacks)
7th Deployed with HM Battleships WARSPITE,
MALAYA, ROYAL SOVEREIGN,
EAGLE, HM Cruisers NEPTUNE,
screened by HM Destroyers DAINTY, DEFENDER, HASTY, HOSTILE,
JUNO, VAMPIRE (RAN) and
as Force A to provide Distant Cover for passage of Convoys
MF1 and MS1 in a repeat of
Operation MA3 (Operation MA5).
8th Under air attack
from high level bombers during which HMS GLOUCESTER was damaged.
9th Took part in brief action against
Italian force including two battleships and 12 cruisers which
then withdrew at high speed (Battle of Calabria).
For details of naval activities in
Mediterranean see THE BATTLE FOR THE
MEDITERRANEAN by D
MacIntyre and Naval Staff History).
11th Under air attacks.
13th Sustained damage in air attacks.
21st Deployed with HM Cruiser CAPETOWN, HM
Destroyers STUART (RAN), DAINTY,
and DIAMOND as
escort for convoy to Aegean ports and return convoy to
29th Hit by bomb on Bridge front which failed
to explode after passing through B Gun
was one fatal casualty.
30th Transferred to 3rd Cruiser Squadron.
August Under repair.
30th Deployed with HMS WARSPITE, HMS MALAYA,
HMS EAGLE, HMS
GLOUCESTER, HMS ORION and HMAS SYDNEY screened by Fleet
destroyers including HM Destroyers DECOY, ILEX, IMPERIAL,
VAMPIRE (RAN), VENDETTA (RAN) and Polish ORP GARLAND.
distant escort of Convoy MS2 to
Malta (Operation MB3).
2nd Deployed with Mediterranean Fleet ships
as for MB3 to meet HM Battleship VALIANT,
Aircraft Carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers
off Pantellaria to reinforce
Mediterranean Fleet (Operation HATS).
4th Fleet carried out air operations
5th Returned to
Alexandria with Fleet
22nd Escorted HMS ILLUSTRIOUS on passage to
join Fleet in eastern
with HM Cruisers
KENT, HM Destroyers MOHAWK and
NUBIAN to a convoy to
28th Embarked troops with HMS GLOUCESTER for
Malta covered by HMAS
8th Deployed with HM Aircraft Carriers
EAGLE and ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Battleships
MALAYA, RAMILLIES and WARSPITE, HM
to provide Distant Cover for passage of
Malta and also return Convoy ME4
of empty ships to
(Operations MF3 and MB6.
Screen included HM Destroyers DAINTY, DECOY, JANUS, JERVIS,
STUART, VAMPIRE and Polish
11th Covered air attacks by HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and HMS EAGLE on
airfields at Leros.
12th Under attack by Italian torpedo boats one of which,
ARTIGLIERE, was sunk by HMS
14th Provided cover for further air attacks
by carriers on Leros.
air operations on Leros hit forward by aircraft torpedo which caused fire
in petrol stowage and damaged A turret.
damage sustained to bow structure.
in tow by HMS ORION screened by HM Destroyers DAINTY, DECOY, DIAMOND
and VAMPIRE (RAN).
15th Bow structure broke away during stern
16th Arrived at
Alexandria and taken
in hand for temporary repair.
November Under repair.
1 9 4 1
work in continuation at
to Permanent repair arranged in
for ocean passage.
April Passage to
May Passage across Pacific.
June Passage from
16th Arrived at
Island and taken
in hand for repair.
Post refit trials.
20th Took passage to
5th Arrived in
in hand for completion of radar installations and other work not completed
1 9 4 2
January Under refit.
Type 273 for surface warning, Radar Type 281 for aircraft warning
Type 284 (main armament) and Type 285 (4in AA armament)
Type 282 for close range armament may also have been included.)
Post refit trials including radar acceptance.
6th Sailed to work-up at
Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships on
with Home Fleet in continuation.
Joined 18th Cruiser Squadron for convoy defence and interception duties in NW Approaches.
Deployed with HM Cruisers
KENT for patrol east of Jan
during Home Fleet operations in defence of passage of Convoy PQ12 in transit to
Kola Inlet and under threat from German battleship TIRPITZ.
These ships were also available for refuelling of Home Fleet destroyers
Home Fleet operation, See ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman).
12th Escorted returning
Convoy QP10 with HM Destroyers PUNJABI, ORIBI.
ECLIPSE covered by Home Fleet major units.
details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R
CONVOYS by R Woodman, RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield
CONVOY ! by P
18th Detached from QP10
and resumed Squadron duties in Home Fleet.
13th Part of Home Fleet covering force for
return passage of the damaged cruiser HMS
TRINIDAD with HM Battleship DUKE OF
YORK, HM Aircraft Carrier
NORFOLK until HMS TRINIDAD was
See above references.
Came under air attacks on return passage.
23rd Provided cruiser cover for passage of
Russian Convoy PQ16 and return convoy QP12
with HM Cruisers
NORFOLK screened by HM Destroyers
ICARUS, MARNE, ONSLOW and
28th Detached from
covering duties and resumed Home Fleet duties with Squadron.
5th Joined escort for Convoy WS19S with HM
Cruiser KENYA screened by HM Destroyers
MARNE, MATCHLESS, ONSLOW, HM Escort
Destroyers BADSWORTH, BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON and Polish ORP KUJAWIAK.
11th Joined Force W as escort for HM
Battleship MALAYA, HM Aircraft
and ARGUS with HM Cruisers KENYA and CHARYBDIS to cover
convoy. (Operation HARPOON).
details see THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN and Naval Staff History).
13th Refuelled escorts during passage.
14th Under air attack
by Savoia aircraft.
on starboard side in engine room by torpedo.
flooding caused 7 degree list and steering gear jammed.
reduced to 4 knots and training gear for X and Y-turrets jammed.
Taken in tow by HM Destroyer ANTELOPE escorted by HM Destroyer
HM Corvettes JONQUIL and SPIREA joined escort from
16th Under air attacks
during passage to
further damage and flooding by near misses.
17th Taken in hand for
temporary repair at
work in continuation.
for ocean passage.
5th Took passage to
in hand for repair by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.
October Under repair.
1 9 4
work in continuation.
to X-turret removed and additional AA
be placed in Care and Maintenance at Rosyth on Completion..
Fit was up-dated and following changes made:
Air warning radar replaced by single mast Type 281B.
warning radar replaced by Type 293 and associated Heightfinder
Main armament Fire Control radar replaced by Type 274.