Cruiser ordered from Vickers Armstrong at
Barrow on 26th April 1924 and laid down on
18th October 1924. The ship was launched on
16th March 1926 as the 10th RN ship to carry
the name, introduced for
a 3rd Rate in 1695 and last used for an
armoured cruiser in 1902 which was sold in
1921. Build completed on
23rd January 1928. This cruiser has a long
association with the civil community of the
County whose name she
9 3 9
On passage in Atlantic
to Join South American Division of 8th
On arrival at Freetown was deployed on
trade protection duty in Atlantic became
part of Hunting
Group G for interception of blockade
runners and commerce
east coast of South America.
Passage to Rio de Janeiro
Aircraft sighted German pocket battleship
GRAF SPEE and tanker ALTMARK but enemy
Carried out patrol off south of Ascension
After meeting HM Cruiser NEPTUNE and HM
Destroyers HUNTER and HYPERION
out joint search
for blockade runners.
After refuelling at Freetown sent to join
HM Cruisers EXETER, ACHILLES and AJAX
continuation of interception patrols as
Failed to report 'raider’ signal from ss
NEWTON BEACH sunk by German warship GRAF
SPEE and sighted by aircraft from German
(Note: Ship was maintaining radio silence
to prevent enemy interception of traffic.)
Resumed patrol between Rio de Janeiro and
Passage to Capetown.
Deployed with Force G ships off coast of
Brazil in search for GRAF SPEE.
Passage to Plate estuary.
Detached for patrol between Plate and Falklands.
In company with HMS AJAX intercepted
German ship USSUKUMA which scuttled.
Under self-refit and boiler cleaning at
Ordered to join EXETER, AJAX and ACHILLES
off Plate estuary after GRAF SPEE had
in Montevideo following her defeat in
Battle of the River Plate.
Joined other ships in Plate estuary
awaiting departure of GRAF SPEE.
At Montevideo after GRAF SPEE scuttled.
Passage to Port
Refuelled and prepared for further
interception duty in South Atlantic.
Sailed for patrol in Plate area.
9 4 0
Passage to Cape
of Good Hope.
Under refit in HM Dockyard Simonstown.
Resumed interception patrol and trade
defence in the South Atlantic.
Passage to Freetown.
Transferred to 6th Cruiser Squadron and
continued interception and trade defence
South Atlantic trade defence in
Joined escort at Capetown for military
convoy US3 taking ANZAC troops to UK.
Passage to Freetown
Escort Joined by HM Aircraft Carrier
HMS HERMES detached.
Escort Joined by HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE
until 14th June when replaced by
Home Fleet including HM Battleship HOOD
and HM Aircraft Carrie ARGUS.
Detached from convoy
on arrival in Clyde.
Joined escort at Greenock for Middle East
convoy WS1 for passage to Capetown.
After arrival of WS1 at Capetown carried
out unsuccessful search for the German
THOR reported in South Atlantic.
Joined Ocean Escort for military convoy WS1
during passage to Ceylon
HM Cruiser KENT joined Ocean Escort for WS1
in position 34.20S 33.00E.
(Note: WS1 comprised rms
MAURETANIA and rms
QUEEN MARY taking troops to join 8th Army in
Detached from WS1 on arrival in Ceylon where
troops were transferred
transports for onward passage.
(Note: As the two liners were not required
to pass through the Red Sea they went to
Deployed on interception patrol and trade
defence in South Atlantic.
Joined escort for military convoy on
passage to Dakar with HM Cruiser CORNWALL.
Detached with HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE,
AUSTRALIA and HM Aircraft Carrier ARK
ROYAL to establish patrol off Cape Verde
for interception of three Vichy French
attempting to reach Dakar.
Operation cancelled when French ships
on passage to Ivory Coast.
Deployed in pursuit of French warships
GLOIRE, GEORGES LEYGUES and
MONTCALM with HM Australian Cruiser
(Note: These ships sailed from Dakar
French ships were later intercepted by HM
Cruisers CORNWALL and DELHI
The cruiser GLOIRE was persuaded to go
into Casablanca but the other ships went
back to Dakar.
(For details see RELUCTANT ENEMIES by W. Tute).)
Joined HMS ARK Royal, HM Battleships
RESOLUTION and BARHAM, HM
AUSTRALIA and Fleet destroyers in support
of Free French
Dakar and carried out defensive patrol
offshore (Operation MENACE).
Provided naval gunfire support and hit by
9.4in shell from shore battery.
fracture caused loss of electrical power
and ship withdrawn from operation.
(Note: 4in Magazine was flooded as a
Returned to Freetown
when operation abandoned.
Based at Freetown for Atlantic trade
Relieved HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD as escort of
military convoy to Middle East.
Joined Hunting Group
in search for German battleship ADMIRAL
SCHEER off Brazil.
Deployed with HM
in search for German commerce raider
Diverted with HMS ENTERPRISE to join HM
Cruiser NEWCASTLE in renewed search
reported between Rio de Janeiro and the
Later was also deployed to search for
commerce raider PINGUIN.
9 4 1
Deployed in South Atlantic for trade
Nominated for refit.
Passage to UK.
Arrived at Sheerness
Under refit at HM Dockyard Chatham.
Radar equipment fitted for aircraft
warning and fire control for forward main
Close range 20mm Oerlikon weapons fitted
for Close Range AA defence,
Carried out harbour trials
On completion of dockyard work carried out
post refit trials.
Joined 18th Cruiser Squadron in Home Fleet
at Scapa Flow.
Home Fleet deployment for convoy defence
and interception of commerce raiders in NW
9 4 2
Nominated for Russian Convoy operation. and
took passage to Murmansk
Embarked Foreign Secretary, Sir Stafford
Cripps, for return passage to UK and
Convoy QP5 from Murmansk with HM
Destroyers ICARUS and TARTAR.
Resumed Hone Fleet duties after arrival.
Deployed with Home Fleet.
Under repair at Chatham.
Rejoined 18th Cruiser Squadron in Home
Deployed on patrol and convoy defence in
Part of Home Fleet cover with HM
Battleship DUKE OF YORK, US Navy
USS WASHINGTON, HM Cruiser NIGERIA and
screen of 14 RN/USN destroyers for
After dispersal of PQ17 covered passage of
returning convoy QP13.
(Note: For details of this ill fated
operation and its repercussions see ENGAGE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C. Barnett, CONVOY!
by P Kemp,
CONVOYS by R Woodman, CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by
R A Ruegg,
CONVOY IS TO SCATTER by G Broome and Naval
Returned to Scapa Flow with combined
RN/USN covering force.
Covered passage of HM Battleship KING
GEORGE V from Liverpool to Scapa Flow.
Deployed with Home Fleet.
Joined HM Cruisers SHEFFIELD, SUFFOLK and
LONDON to cover passage and landing
party at Spitzbergen
(Note: This deployment also covered
passage of Russian
Landed parties at Barentsberg
with HMS SHEFFIELD and HM Destroyer
Passage to Hvalfjord,
Iceland and provided cover for returning
Passage to Greenock.
(Note: Details of warships and mercantiles
involved in Russian Convoy operations are
Deployed on patrol and trade defence in NW
Sailed from Scapa
Flow with HM Cruiser NORFOLK with screen
of 5 destroyers.
Nominated for support
of planned allied landings in North
African (Operation TORCH.).
Deployed off Azores
with HMS NORFOLK to cover US landings on
On release returned to Northern Patrol.
Provided distant cover with HM Battleship
ANSON and HM Destroyers FORESTER,
ICARUS, IMPULSIVE ,
HM Escort Destroyers BLANKNEY and
for passage of
Russian Convoy JW51B.
Returned to Iceland
9 4 3
Deployed for Northern Patrol based in
Iceland for interception of commerce
Provided additional cruiser cover with HMS
BELFAST and HMS NORFOLK during passage of
Russian Convoy JU53
and returning RA53.
Experienced extreme weather conditions
during which HMS SHEFFIELD had to return
Flow after sustaining serious structural
Returned to Iceland.
Deployed for Northern Patrol.
Deployed in rotation with HM Cruiser
BELFAST on Northern Patrol.
Nominated for refit
Passage to Sheerness
Taken in hand for refit
Under refit by HM Dockyard Chatham during
which additional 20mm weapons were fitted.
On completion took passage to Scapa Flow
to resume Home Fleet duties.
Joined HM Cruiser BERMUDA to relieve
garrison at Spitzbergen
escorted by HM Destroyers
ECLIPSE and ATHABASKAN (RCN) covered by HM
Aircraft Carrier FURIOUS, HM
screened by HM Destroyers ECHO and
Heavy weather on passage to Spitzbergen
forced ships to shelter at Akureyri.
Sailed from Iceland to Spitzbergen,
Arrived at Spitzbergen
for GEARBOX support operation.
Return passage to Scapa Flow.
Home Fleet deployment at Scapa Flow.
Nominated for refit in commercial shipyard
prior to foreign
Passage to Tyne.
Commenced refit prior to transfer to
(Note: Aircraft facilities removed.
Changes in radar equipment included
Surface warning Type 273
Fire-control Type 285 for forward 4in HA
Air warning radar Type 281 with an
Close range fire-control radar (Type 282)
20mm Oerlikon arrangements improved and
additional mountings fitted.
Carried out harbour trials
On completion of dockyard carried out post
refit trials in North Sea.
Worked-up at Scapa Flow for service with
4th Cruiser Squadron, Eastern Fleet
9 4 4
Passage to Ceylon via Mediterranean with
HM Cruiser LONDON.
On passage from Alexandria with HMS
Prepared for service in 4th Cruiser
Squadron on arrival at Trincomalee.
Carried out offensive sweep in Indian
Ocean with HM Battleships QUEEN
HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft
ILLUSTRIOUS, HM Cruisers
LONDON, GAMBIA and CEYLON screened by
Met US Task Group 58.5 (US Aircraft
Carrier SARATOGA and 3 USN destroyers)
Islands with ships of Eastern Fleet.
Joint RN/USN force returned to
Transferred to 5th Cruiser Squadron in
Deployed on petrol in Indian Ocean and
called at Fremantle.
Rejoined Eastern Fleet for offensive
operation against targets in Sumatra with
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, HMS VALIANT, HMS
RENOWN, French battleship
RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers
NIGERIA, KENYA, CEYLON and GAMBIA
five Fleet destroyers (Operation CRIMSON).
Bombarded Japanese positions at Sabang..
Deployed in Indian Ocean and prepared for
future support of carrier operations.
Exercised with HM Battleship HOWE, HMS
LONDON and HMS GAMBIA.
Provided cover with HMS HOWE and Eastern
Fleet cruisers during air operations by
HM Aircraft Carriers VICTORIOUS and
INDOMITABLE carriers on Sigli,
Sumatra (Operation LIGHT).
Bombarded airfields on Nicobar
Islands with HM Cruisers LONDON, SUFFOLK
destroyers as Task Group 63.2 (Operation
(Note: This was a diversionary operation
during the US assault on Leyte
attacks on Japanese positions)
Under unsuccessful attack by torpedo
Deployed in Eastern Fleet with 5th Cruiser
Passage to South Africa for refit
9 4 5
Under refit by HM Dockyard Simonstown.
Carried out Post refit trials off
On completion took passage to resume Fleet
duties at Trincomalee
(Note: Ship would be joined renamed East
Indies Fleet. See WAR WITH JAPAN (HMSO).
Joined Task Group 63.2 with HMS QUEEN
ELIZABETH, French Battleship RICHELIEU and
HMS LONDON screened by 5 Fleet destroyers
to cover air reconnaissance flights by HM
Escort Aircraft Carriers
EMPRESS and KHEDIVE at Port Swettenham
and Port Dickson,
Bombarded targets at Sabang
during offensive sweep against shipping in
Joined Task Force 63 with HMS QUEEN
ELIZABETH, French battleship RICHELIEU, HM
Escort Aircraft Carriers SHAH and EMPRESS
with HM Cruisers
SUFFOLK, CEYLON and
Dutch cruiser TROMP
escorted by five Fleet destroyers
for attacks on Nicobars.
(Note: This was a diversion during assault
on Rangoon (Operation DRACULA).
Bombarded Car Nicobar
and Port Blair.
Continued bombardments on airfields at
Port Blair and Car Nicobar.
Further bombardment of shore targets.
Joined Task Force 68 with FS RICHELIEU,
HMS SHAH, HMS EMPRESS, HMS CEYLON
for attacks on shipping off coast of
Rejoined East Indies Fleet to provide
cover during air strikes on Andamans.
Deployed in TF61 with HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH,
FS RICHELIEU, HMS Cruiser
ROYALIST, Dutch cruiser TROMP, HMS HUNTER,
HMS KHEDIVE, HMS SHAH and
HMS EMPEROR of 21st
comprised HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ, VENUS,
VIGILANT, NUBIAN and
ROTHERHAM (Operation DUKEDOM)
(Note: For interception and sinking of
Japanese ships evacuating forces from
Detached with FS RICHELIEU and destroyers
to be in position 50 miles ahead of
of TF61 in 6
Detached to escort Carriers during air
search for shipping off Diamond Point.
(Note: This ship was not involved in the
later sinking of Japanese cruiser HAGURO
was 50 miles
away from the position I which she was
intercepted by Fleet destroyers.)
For details of this and other Eastern
Fleet Operations see OPERATION PACIFIC
by. E. Gray and
THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J Winton and WAR
Deployed with Eastern Fleet and prepared
for support of military operations in
Sailed with Eastern Fleet for Malayan
assault (Operation ZIPPER).
(Note: The planned assault Landings were
delayed due to pressure from the U S and
in London for
political considerations associated with
return of service personnel from
the Far East in
the PYTHON Scheme. For details see The
Supreme Commander SEAC
Report to Joint Chiefs of Staff and above
Passage to Rangoon.
Deployed in Indian Ocean off Sumatra to
assist in military operations after the