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Great Britain's Flag

Great Britain's Ceres class cruisers

Photos

HMS Cardiff:
HMS Cardiff
©IWM, A-15992
HMS Cardiff:
HMS Cardiff
©IWM, FL-7510
HMS Cardiff:
HMS Cardiff
©IWM, Q-65725
HMS Cardiff:
HMS Cardiff
©IWM, SP-1668
HMS Ceres:
HMS Ceres
©IWM, Q-73427
HMS Coventry:
HMS Coventry
©IWM, FL-5186
HMS Calypso:
HMS Coventry
©IWM, SP-49
HMS Curacoa in 1941:
HMS Curacoa in 1941
©IWM, A-5807
HMS Curacoa in 1941:
HMS Curacoa in 1941
©IWM, A-6112
HMS Curacoa:
HMS Curacoa
©IWM, A-5808
HMS Curacoa:
HMS Curacoa
©IWM, Q-75353
HMS Curlew in 1918:
HMS Curlew in 1918
©IWM, Q-18679
HMS Curlew:
HMS Curlew
©IWM, Q-75354

Design

Originally to be part of the Caledon class of light cruisers there were significant changes to the design so they became the Ceres class. There were two ships of the Ceres class authorized for construction in October 1915. The other three were authorized in 1916. Orders were placed in March to April 1916.

The HMS Coventry and HMS Curacoa were completed without control towers.

Treaty Restrictions and Conversion

The 1930 London Naval Treaty stipulated that the British would have to retire several cruisers so it was decided to convert the Ceres class to anti-aircraft cruisers. In 1934 initial design work began.

HMS Coventry and HMS Curlew were the first to be converted and would serve as prototypes for the conversion of the rest of the ships.

Ships

HMS Cardiff

  • Original name: Caprice.
  • Manufacturer: Fairfield
  • July 1916, July 22, 1916: Laid down.
  • October 4, 1916: Name changed to Cardiff.
  • April 12, 1917: Launched.
  • June 25, 1917, July 1917: Completed.
  • 1917 - 1919: Member of Grand Fleet. Flagship of 6th Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 1918: Led German High Seas Fleet to Scapa Flow for surrender.
  • 1919: Fought against Bolshevik forces in Baltic.
  • 1919 - 1929: Flagship of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.
  • 1923 - 1924: Two 2 pdr guns added.
  • 1929 - 1931: Refit.
  • 1931 - May 1933: Flagship of 6th Cruiser Squadron at Africa Station.
  • July 1933 - July 1938: Put into reserve.
  • July 1938: Member of 5th Cruiser Squadron in China.
  • 1939: Home Fleet.
  • April 19, 1939: Left Hong Kong to be put into reserve.
  • September 1939 - 1940: Member of 12th Cruiser Squadron with the Northern Patrol.
  • 1940, 1940 - 1945: Training ship.
  • April 1942: Six 20 mm guns added.
  • 1945: Placed in reserve.

HMS Ceres

  • Manufacturer: Clydebank, John Brown
  • April 26, 1916, July 11, 1916: Laid down.
  • March 24, 1917: Launched.
  • June 1917, June 1, 1917: Completed.
  • 1917 - 1919: Member of 6th Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • 1919 - 1927: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.
  • 1920: Black Sea.
  • 1921 - 1922: Two 2 pdr guns added.
  • 1929 - 1931: Refit.
  • 1931 - May 1932: Put in reserve.
  • May - November 27, 1932: Went to Mediterranean.
  • November 27, 1932 - September 1939: Put in reserve.
  • 1939: Home Fleet.
  • September 1939: Member of the Channel Force.
  • November 1939: Member of 11th Cruiser Squadron, Northern Patrol.
  • 1940: Mediterranean Fleet.
  • 1940 - 1942: East Indies.
  • April 1940: Singapore.
  • 1940 - 1941: Eastern Africa campaign.
  • August 1940: Evacuation of Berbera, British Somaliland.
  • February 1941: Blockade of Kismayu, Italian Somaliland.
  • 1941 - October 1943: In East Indies with Eastern Fleet.
  • 1942: Six 20 mm guns added.
  • 1942 - 1943: Eastern Fleet.
  • April - May 1944: All 3" and one 2 pdr was replaced by eight 20 mm guns.
  • June 1944: Supported Normandy landings.
  • 1944 - 1945, Late 1944 - 1945: Accommodation ship in Portsmouth.

HMS Coventry

  • Original name: Corsair.
  • Manufacturer: Swan Hunter
  • August 1916, August 4, 1916: Laid down.
  • July 6, 1917: Launched.
  • February 1918, February 21, 1918: Completed.
  • 1918: Two 2 pdr guns added.
  • 1918 - 1919: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • 1920 - 1924: Flagship of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • 1924 - 1928: Mediterranean.
  • 1928 - 1930: Refit.
  • 1930 - October 1, 1936: Mediterranean.
  • 1935 - 1936: Conversion into anti-aircraft cruiser. All original armament replaced by ten 4" Mk V and two 2 pdr Mk VI 8 barrel guns.
  • October 1, 1936: Put in reserve.
  • 1939 - 1940: Home Fleet.
  • April - May 1940: Norway campaign.
  • August 1940: Member of Force H.
  • 1940 - 1942: Mediterranean Fleet.
  • 1940: Escorted Malta convoys.
  • December 13, 1940: Torpedoed by Italian sub Neghelli.
  • 1941: Escorted troop convoys to Greece and their later evacuation.
  • 1941 - September 1942: Escorted Malta convoys.
  • May 1942: Five 20 mm guns added.
  • September 14, 1942: Heavily damaged when hit by aircraft during Tobruk raid. Scuttled by HMS Zulu.

HMS Curacoa

  • Manufacturer: Pembroke Day
  • July 1916: Laid down.
  • May 5, 1917: Launched.
  • February 1918, February 18, 1918: Completed.
  • 1918: Two 2 pdr guns added.
  • 1918 - April 1919: Flagship of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron. Flagship 1st Light Cruiser Squadron with Atlantic Fleet.
  • April 1919: Baltic.
  • May 13, 1919: Hit mine.
  • 1919 - 1928: Flagship of 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet.
  • September 4, 1929 - 1932: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.
  • December 18, 1933: Member of gunnery school.
  • 1939 - 1940, Summer 1939 - April 1940: Conversion into anti-aircraft cruiser. All original armament replaced by five 4" Mk V, four 4" twin mounts, one 2 pdr Mk VII quad mount, two 2 pdr Mk VI 8 barrel guns, and two 0.5" machine gun quad mounts.
  • 1940 - 1942: Home Fleet.
  • April 24, 1940: Damaged by aircraft during Norwegian campaign.
  • 1942: Five 20 mm guns added.
  • October 2, 1942: Sunk when rammed by liner Queen Mary.

HMS Curlew

  • Manufacturer: Armstrong, Vickers
  • August 1916, August 21, 1916: Laid down.
  • July 5, 1917: Launched.
  • December 1917, December 14, 1917: Completed.
  • 1918: Two 2 pdr guns added.
  • 1918 - 1919: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • 1919 - April 27, 1920: MEmber of 1st Light Cruiser Squadron in Atlantic Fleet.
  • April 27, 1920: Member of 5th Light Cruiser Squadron.
  • November 24, 1922: Member of 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in West Indies.
  • 1927: Placed in reserve.
  • November 1929 - August 1933: Member of 3rd Cruiser Squadron.
  • August 1933 - October 1936: Member of 1st Cruiser Squadron.
  • October 1936: Placed in reserve.
  • 1935 - 1936: Conversion into anti-aircraft cruiser. All original armament replaced by ten 4" Mk V and two 2 pdr Mk VI 8 barrel guns.
  • 1939 - 1940: Home Fleet.
  • September 1939: In dock yard.
  • May 26, 1940: Sunk by aircraft from KG100 off Skaanland during Norwegian campaign.

 

Specifications

  Ceres class
Crew 334, 400, 400 - 437
Crew - Flagship 437
Displacement 4,190 tons, 4,200 tons
Displacement - Loaded 5,276 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 450', 451' 6"
137.6 m
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425'
129.54 m
Length - Water Line  
Beam 43' 6"
13.28 m
Draft / Height 14' 1", 14' 3"
4.34 m
Draft / Height - Maximum 16' 3"
Performance  
Speed 28 knots, 29 knots, 29.5 knots
Range at 10 knots 5,900 nautical miles
Armament 6": 5
6" L/50: 5
6" BL Mk XII: 5
Anti-Aircraft 3": 2
3" QF Mk I: 2
3 pdr: 4
2 pdr: 2
2 pdr pompom: 2
Torpedo Tubes 21": 2 each in 4 mounts
Armor  
Belt - Aft 2", 2" - 2.5"
Belt - Forward 1.25" - 2.25", 1.5", 1.5" - 2.25"
Belt - Main 2.25" - 3", 3"
Control Tower 3"
Deck 1"
Engines  
Boilers Yarrow: 6
Shafts 2
Turbines Brown-Curtis geared
Geared
HP 30,000, 40,000
Oil 935 tons
  Ceres class after AA Conversion
Crew  
Crew - Flagship  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range at 12 knots 3,250 nautical miles
Armament 2 pdr: 1
20 mm: 4
Anti-Aircraft  
Saluting  
Torpedo Tubes  
Armor  
Belt - Aft  
Belt - Forward  
Belt - Main  
Control Tower  
Deck  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil 920 tons
  HMS Calcutta
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length 451' 7"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425' 1.5"
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Cardiff
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded 5,290 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425' 1"
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Ceres
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded 5,302 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Coventry
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded 4,240 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament 4": 10
4" Mk V: 10
2 pdr twin mounts: 8
2 pdr 8 barrel: 1
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Curacoa
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded 5,320 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament 4" twin mounts: 4
4" Mk XIX twin mounts: 4
4" QF Mk XVI twin mounts: 4
2 pdr: 4
2 pdr pompoms: 3
0.5" quad mount machine guns: 2
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  
  HMS Curlew
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded 5,230 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 449' 11"
Length - Between Perpendiculars 425'
Length - Water Line  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Draft / Height - Maximum  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament 4": 10
4" Mk V: 10
2 pdr twin mounts: 8
2 pdr 8 barrel: 1
Anti-Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  

Sources:

  1. Cruisers of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1995
  2. British Cruisers of World War Two, Alan Raven, John Roberts, 1980
  3. Warships of World War II, H. T. Lenton and J. J. Colledge, 1964
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  5. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
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