1 9 3 1
8th Commissioned for Trials.
15th Sailed for Clyde to carry out Acceptance Trials
26th Took return passage to Plymouth on completion of trials.
27th Arrived at Devonport.
June Deployed at Devonport and prepared for service.
July Dockyard build work completed
27th Commissioned for service in 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet.
28th At Exmouth for visit by dignitaries of City of Exeter.
August Worked up with ships of Squadron for operational service.
On completion took passage to Portsmouth to remedy defects found during
work-up and modifications.
14th During passage to join Atlantic Fleet at Invergordon changes in Pay to naval
personnel were announced and resulted in mutiny of some Atlantic Fleet
15th Arrived at Invergordon to find Fleet in state of confusion and disarray.
(Note: No sign of disaffection on board, presumably because ship was newly
commissioned and ship’s company not closely involved with the
increasing disquiet due to the inept way in which the Fleet had been
poorly advised about the 10% reduction in pay structure caused by
the current financial depression. Army and RAF personnel pay had
not been reduced. This subject is well documented.)
17th Fleet discipline restored and ships took passage to Home ports.
Passage to Plymouth
October Deployed at Plymouth
1 9 3 2
January Took part in Home Fleet Spring Cruise with ships of Squadron.
to March After completion of exercise programme and visits to ports in West Indies
returned to Plymouth.
April Deployed for visits to UK Ports including Liverpool, Ilfracombe and St Ives.
July Attended Royal Review of Fleet by HM King George V
August After Leave period joined ships of Squadron for visit to Copenhagen as part of
to September British exhibition
(Note: Other ships in Squadron were HM Cruisers DORSETSHIRE, NORFOLK
October Deployed with Squadron for exercises.
1 9 3 3
January Squadron deployment included Spring Exercise programme with visits to
to March Spanish ports.
April Took part in further Squadron visits to Norway and Sweden,
August Taken in hand for refit at Devonport
September Under refit
10th Recommissioned for service in 8th Cruiser Squadron on America and West
Carried out shakedown prior to leaving Home waters.
13th Took passage from Plymouth to relieve HM Cruiser DURBAN at Gibraltar.
16th Arrived at Gibraltar.
28th Relieved HMS DURBAN in 8th Cruiser Squadron.
December Passage to join Squadron in Bermuda.
6th Arrived in West Indies.
1 9 3 4
Deployed with Squadron and served as part of South American Division
Carried out visits to ports in Brazil, Argentina and other countries.
(Note: Ships of Squadron also visited Falkland Islands and countries on
1 9 3 5
January Deployed for Squadron duties in South Atlantic.
August Transferred for detached service in Mediterranean and sailed to reinforce
1st Cruiser Squadron at Alexandria.
(Note: This was part of British response to counter threat by Italy to invade
5th Sailed from Port Stanley to join 1st Cruiser Squadron at Alexandria.
30th Joined HM Cruisers BERWICK, LONDON, SHROPSHIRE, SUSSEX and
AJAX at Alexandria.
October Took part in Mediterranean Fleet exercises and deployments in the eastern
to December Mediterranean
1 9 3 6
January Detached service with 1st Cruiser Squadron in continuation.
to June (Note: Mediterranean Fleet ships took part in combined exercises with
Home Fleet ships each Spring, usually in western Mediterranean and
July Released from detached service in Mediterranean to return to UK for refit and
14th Sailed from Alexandria.
27th Arrived at Devonport to refit and recommission.
August Under refit and Paid-off.
December Carried out harbour trials.
29th Recommissioned for service on West Indies Station
31st Took passage from Plymouth to rejoin Squadron.
1 9 3 7
7th Arrived at St Vincent.
10th Passage to Montevideo to resume duties with Division in South Atlantic.
February Deployed in South Atlantic.
May Took passage to Bermuda.
June Despatched to Trinidad with HM Cruiser AJAX to provide aid to civil power at
Trinidad following rioting. Royal Marines landed to protect oil installations.
July West Indies Squadron deployment in continuation.
1 9 3 8
West Indies Station deployment in continuation including exercises with RCN
and visits to Ports in USA.
Deployed on west coast South America.
1 9 3 9
January During west coast deployment despatched with HMS AJAX to assist after
an earthquake at Talcahuana, Chile. Landed parties to help with rescue and
to restore essential services.
February At Talcahuana
March Return passage to Bermuda.
April Deployed with Squadron for visits and exercises
to July Prepared for return passage to Pay-off at Devonport
August Passage to Plymouth
17th Arrived at Devonport and commenced Leave Period.
Ship remained in commission in view of the deteriorating political situation.
23rd Ship’s Company on leave recalled and prepared to return to duty in South
American Division of America and West Indies Squadron.
25th Took passage from Plymouth and escorted troopship ss DUNERA during
passage to Cape Verde.
(Note: Commander Harwood, in command of Squadron was embarked.)
Passage to Freetown after detaching from escort.
1st Sailed from Freetown for passage to Rio de Janeiro.
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
3rd Took-up war station in South American Division of America and West Indies
Squadron for deployment in South Atlantic for trade defence and the
interception of German shipping.
8th Patrolled in area of Rio de Janeiro with HM Cruiser AJAX.
9th Met HM Cruiser AJAX and made joint passage to Plate estuary.
(Note: HMS AJAX detached later and took passage to Falkland Islands.)
15th Escorted convoy from Plate estuary with HM Destroyer HOTSPUR.
20th Deployed on patrol off Rio de Janeiro after call at Montevideo.
(Note: HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND and HM Destroyer HAVOCK were also
deployed in South Atlantic for trade defence.)
5th Deployed as Hunting Force G on formation with HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND,
and AJAX in search for German Battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE in South
(Note: HM New Zealand Cruiser ACHILLES joined Force later and an RFA
tanker was deployed to ensure availability of oil fuel.)
27th Passage to Falklands from patrol
Flag transferred to HMS AJAX.
November Returned to Rio de Janeiro area in continuation.
22nd Passage to Falklands via Plate area for search.
(Note: Intended repair period in Simonstown cancelled.).
30th Arrived at Port Stanley for self refit.
9th Recalled to join HMS AJAX and HMS ACHILLES off Plate estuary in
anticipation of an early encounter with GRAF SPEE.
13th Took part in action against GRAF SPEE with HMS AJAX and HMS ACHILLES.
Seriously damaged by 11in shells with many casualties and outbreak of fire.
Continued to engage the enemy until power lost by flooding. Withdrawn from
action with heavy list and all guns unserviceable (photo above). Casualty List included 63
killed and 23 wounded.
(For full details see THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE by D. Pope, ENGAGE
THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and the Naval Staff History).
15th Passage to Port Stanley after relief by HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND.
20th Under temporary repair at Port Stanley.
1 9 4 0
21st Began passage to UK escorted for part of voyage by HM Cruisers
DORSETSHIRE and SHROPSHIRE until relieved by HM Cruisers
DEVONSHIRE and CUMBERLAND.
10th Escort joined by HM Battlecruiser RENOWN and HM Aircraft Carrier ARK
ROYAL with destroyer screen.
14th HM Destroyers VESPER and WHITSHED detached from screen to assist
survivors of ss SULTAN STAR after being sunk in SW Approaches.
15th Arrived at Plymouth for repair and modernisation including fit of aircraft
warning radar (Type 279) and improved AA armament.
23rd Ship's company marched through City of London for Guildhall luncheon.
March Under refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport
to (Note: Tripod type masts were fitted and aircraft catapult replaced.
December For details of development and use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by
1 9 4 1
January Under refit
March Refit work suspended due to possible damage to ship during intense air raids on
10th Recommissioned at Devonport
24th Passage to Scapa Flow and Dover Strait patrol.
26th Joined 1st Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet at Scapa Flow and worked up.
April Work-up in continuation
26th On completion deployed on Northern Patrol to intercept German commerce
May Transferred to East Indies Squadron.
22nd Escorted military convoy WS8B with HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers
COSSACK, MAORI, SIKH, ZULU and Polish destroyer ORP PIORUN during
passage via Cape of Good Hope to join East Indies Station. This convoy was
a vulnerable target in the event of successful break cut by BISMARCK and PRINZ
(Note: WS8B included eight troopships taking troops to middle East and HM
Aircraft Carrier ARGUS with aircraft for onward flight to Egypt from
26th Sole escort for convoy after destroyers detached to join search for German
Battleship BISMARCK (See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C
2nd HM Destroyers DUNCAN and BOREAS joined for Local Escort into Freetown.
3rd HM Corvette MARGUERITE joined Local Escort.
4th Detached from WS8B on arrival at Freetown.
6th Sailed from Freetown for Durban as Ocean Escort for WS8B with HM Destroyers
DUNCAN, BOREAS and HIGHLANDER as Local Escort for initial stage of
8th Local Escort detached.
20th Detached from WS8B on arrival at Durban.
27th Sailed from Durban as Ocean Escort for WS8B during passage to Aden.
(Note: Additional troopship NIEUW ZEELAND joined convoy which then
comprised five ships.)
4th Arrived at Aden and detached from WS8B.
Deployed for trade defence in Indian Ocean during return passage to Durban.
August Deployed on trade defence in continuation.
27th Escorted convoy to Durban from Aden.
2nd On arrival at Durban detached for investigation of future use of Addu Atoll
by Eastern Fleet. On completion took passage to Aden.
26th Passage to Colombo from Aden.
October Routine Docking period at Colombo.
On completion deployed in Bay of Bengal for convoy escort.
Escorted convoy from Calcutta to Rangoon
November Deployed on escort of convoys from Ceylon to Banka Strait.
December On passage to Singapore escorting last troop convoy before Japan declared war.
7th Detached to join Force Z at Singapore.
(Note: Unable to arrive before Force Z sailed and thus not deployed with HM
Battleship PRINCE OF WALES and HM Battlecruiser REPULSE when
sunk off eastern Malaya in air attacks. See HUNTING OF FORCE Z by
E. Hough and WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
1 9 4 2
January Escorted military convoy to Singapore.
7th Transferred to ABDA Command at Tangjong Priok for duty with Western
Striking Force made up of Australian, British, US and Dutch warships.
Deployed on escort of ships for passage through Sunda Strait into the Indian
Ocean from Singapore. (For details see OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray).
9th Joined HM Cruiser EMERALD with HM Cruiser DURBAN and HM Sloop
JUMNA (RIN) to reinforce Ocean Escort of military convoy DM1 during
passage from Addu Atoll to Singapore.
(Note: This was the first of three convoys from Durban carrying reinforcements
for the Singapore garrison.)
13th Detached with HMS EMERALD, HMIS JUMNA, HM Destroyers JUPITER,
ENCOUNTER and VAMPIRE (RAN) on arrival of DM1 at Singapore
Deployed with Western Striking Force.
27th Escorted inward Convoy BM11 to Singapore with HM Cruisers DRAGON and
29th Arrived at Singapore with BM11.
1st Escorted two US transports from Batavia to Sunda Straits with HM Australian
Destroyer VAMPIRE and HM Destroyer JUPITER.
3rd Escorted nine troopships through Sunda Straits on passage to Batavia and
Singapore with HM Cruiser DANAE, HM Australian Destroyer VAMPIRE, HM
Sloops YARRA (RAN), SUTLEJ (RIN) and Dutch cruiser JAVA. Joined search
for Japanese invasion craft by ABDA units in Macassar Strait and had to
withdraw in the face of heavy air attack.
5th Covered passage of Dutch cruiser JAVA and two transports during passage to
Palembang with reinforcements for defence of Sumatra, with HM Cruiser
HOBART (RAN), HM Destroyers JUPITER and ENCOUNTER.
Torpedo attack by Japanese submarine R34 failed.
7th Returned to Batavia.
13th Joined HOBART, Dutch cruisers JAVA and TROMP, HM Destroyer ELECTRA
and HM Sloop JUMNA (RIN) as escort for Singapore/Java convoys JS1 and SJ1
Under attack by Japanese submarine 156 which sank one ship.
Escort detached later to intercept Japanese convoy reported in Banka Strait on
passage to Palembang,
Under sustained air attack by and had to withdraw.
25th Transferred from Tanjong Priok to join Eastern Striking Force at Soerabaya
with HM Cruiser PERTH (RAN), HM destroyers JUPITER, ELECTRA and
26th Joined ESF at Tjilatjap and immediately sent to search for Japanese invasion
convoys. No contact made and subjected to heavy air attacks.
27th In action against Japanese cruisers HAGURO, NAKA, NACHI, JINTSU
escorted by 14 destroyers covering invasion ships with ESF ships. Hit by 8in
shell on the starboard side which exploded in Boiler. Speed reduced to 11 knots
and ordered to return to Soerabaya for repair escorted by Dutch destroyer WITTE
Further damage by enemy destroyer torpedoes prevented in determined counter
attack by HM Destroyers ELECTRA, JUPITER and ENCOUNTER.
HMS ELECTRA was sunk.
28th Ordered to take passage to Australia with HMS ENCOUNTER and US
Destroyer USS POPE.
Destination changed to Colombo because ship’s draught too great to allow
passage via Bali Channel and threat of air attacks from newly established
airfields. Damage to boilers restricted speed to 23 knots.)
Sighted by Japanese aircraft soon after leaving harbour.
1st Ambushed by Japanese cruisers HAGURO and NACHI escorted by four
destroyers which were engaged in a running fight.
Soon afterwards hit in boiler room and lost use of director control for main
Despite smoke screens laid by destroyers received more hits.
Fires broke out and all electrical power supplies failed.
Ship was abandoned after 3 hours in action.
Finally sunk by torpedo.
54 of the ship’s company were killed in this action and 651 were rescued by
Japanese ships and became POW. (Casualty List - note on casualties)
(For full details see BATTLE OF THE JAVA SEA by D. A. Thomas, NO
SURRENDER by W Johns, OPERATION PACIFIC by E. Gray and WAR
WITH JAPAN (HMSO)