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History of  Royal Navy cruisers (heavy cruisers, light cruisers). Royal Navy cruiser website dedicated to the Capetown Class. HMS Cairo, HMS Calcutta, HMS Capetown, HMS Carlisle, HMS Colombo including crew and families of ex-crew members notice board for the Capetown Class cruisers.

The Capetown Class cruisers had a trawler bow fitted and so differed from the Ceres class. HMS Cairo served with the Home Fleet from 1939-42 moving to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1942 where she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine, Axum, near Bizerta. HMS Calcutta served with the Home Fleet from 1939-40 and the Mediterranean Fleet from 1940-41 when she was bombed by German and Italian Aircraft Carriers north of Alexandria. HMS Capetown served with the Mediterranean fleet from 1939-40 and the East Indies from 1941-42, moving to the Eastern fleet from 1942-43. Capetown then became an accommodation ship in the reserve fleet in 1944-45. HMS Carlisle and HMS Colombo both served in the home fleet in 1939, with Carlisle moving to the Red Sea in 1940-42 and the Mediterranean from 1942-43. HMS Carlisle then served as a base ship from 1943-45. She was badly damaged beyond repair after an air raid attack in late 1944 . HMS Colombo served in the East Indies 1940-41, then the Eastern fleet in 1942 being converted to an anti-aircraft ship in 1943 after which she served in the Mediterranean fleet until the end of the war.

Displacement: 4,290 tons    Speed: 29kt    Complement: 400 increasing to 437 as a Flagship.

Armament: Eight 4 inch anti-aircraft guns and four 2pdr anti-aircraft guns.   Eight 0.5 inch machine guns.

HMS Cairo 19th November 1918 Sunk on 12th August 1942.
HMS Calcutta 9th July 1918 Sunk on 1st June 1941.
HMS Capetown 28th June 1919 Broken up 1946.
HMS Carlisle 9th July 1918 Constructive loss 9th October 1943 and broken up 1948.
HMS Colombo 18th December 1918 Broken up 1948.
HMS Cairo

HMS Cairo.  Built by Cammel Laird and laid down on the 28th November 1917. Completed October 1919. she was immediately sent to the China Station to become the Flagship  in June and July 1917. She then joined the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron in the eats Indies. In may 1922 a explosion in a gun turret injured two crew members.  She served as a AA cruiser during world war two and was sunk  in the Mediterranean north of Bizerta on the 12th August 1942, torpedoed by the Italian submarine Axum.

HMS Cairo, 1933.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1176

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1176

HMS Cairo, 1933.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1177

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1177

HMS Cairo, 1933.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1178

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1178

HMS Cairo, 1933.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1179

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1179

HMS Cairo, 1935.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1181

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1181

HMS Cairo, 1933.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1180

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1180

HMS Cairo, 1919.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1173

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1173

Unidentified cruiser which is almost certainly HMS Cairo c.1936 - 1937. sent in by Bill Nuttall

HMS Cairo 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC313

HMS Cairo, taken from a 1937 calendar and sent in by Bill Nuttall.

 

 

HMS Cairo  in dry dock at Malta 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC314

HMS Cairo, late 1930's

Original 10" x 8" photograph published by Wright & Logan 1960's/ 70's.  One copy only.  Price 20 plus 5 post.  Click here to order. Order Code BIG13

HMS Cairo.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC747

HMS Calcutta

HMS Calcutta (photograph shows her at Bermuda).  Built by Vickers and laid down on the 18th October 1917 and launched on the 9th July 1918. completed August 1919. In August 1919  she became Flagship to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in the North American and west Indies Station. and again in June 1921, September 1923 and May 1926.   Served during world war two as a AA cruiser and during the evacuation of Crete she was sunk by air attack on the 1st of June 1941.

HMS Calcutta, 1920.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1183

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1183

HMS Calcutta  at Bermuda 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC315

HMS Calcutta at Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA. c.1925.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC312

HMS Capetown

HMS Capetown Built by Cammell Laired and Laid down on the 23rd February 1918. Launched on the 18th June 1919.Towed to Pembroke Dockyard to be completed and joined the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron of the North American and West Indies Station from April 1922.

HMS Capetown.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC759

HMS Carlisle

HMS Carlisle  was to be Named HMS Cawnpore. Built at Fairfield's and laid down on the 2nd October 1917 and Launched 9th July 1918 Completed on Armistice Day and joined Harwich Force. When commissioned in march 1919 she joined the 5th Cruiser Squadron in the China Sea and again between  January 1921 and February 1923.  Constructive total lost 9th October 1945 and scrapped at Alexandria 1949.

HMS Carlisle, 1918.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1184

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HMS Carlisle, 1918.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1185

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HMS Carlisle, 1922.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1186

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HMS Carlisle 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC316

HMS Carlisle at Saigon c.1934. 

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC317

HMS Carlisle Stokers - Winners Minotaur Cup, 1923 - 24.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC754

The following message regards the five pictures below the text. (1 - 5)

I find your website most interesting, especially as it contains pictures and references to the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle, a ship often overlooked in many references writing about WWII naval actions in the Mediterranean.  My father in law, Chief Engine Room Artificer J H Pooley (Jack), served on the Carlisle as ERA Jun 1940 - Jul 1941 in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.  He often talked about the 'bashing' the ship took during operations off Crete and during the frequent trips between Alexandria and Malta on convoy escort.  Although invariably in the thick of the bombing, the Carlisle appears not to have made too many headlines, probably because she had to stay close to the convoy and defend it against air attack, whilst the more dashing job of seeing off the Italian and German battle cruisers was left to others. 

Although Jack served for a short while on HMS Resource, he rejoined the ship, this time as a Chief, in Jul 1942 in time to participate in the refit at Devenport, and he remained with Carlisle until May 1944, even after she became a constructive loss when hit by 4 bombs on her stern at Scarpanto 9 Oct 1943 and had to be towed back to Alexandria.  Jack remained with the Carlisle when it was used as a base ship, and he was responsible for repairs to ships arriving damaged. He told me that on one occasion, he did a job which took him 19 hours continuous non stop welding to re-attach a ship's propeller, all done with very primitive electro welding equipment. Unfortunately, despite all the effort, the ship was sunk by enemy action the first day back at sea.

In going through some of his old photographs, I noticed a couple of interesting action shots.  One appears to be of Carlisle damaged at the stern and low in the water (1).  Another photo shows a cargo ship on fire with crew evacuating in the boats (2).  Finally, I have a picture of some of his colleagues (3), presumably from the same period, assembled on the deck of what appears to be the Carlisle;  Jack Pooley is standing in the rear, second from right as they face you.  (Picture (4)  is of Jack Pooley himself)

Also in his photos is a picture of German paratroopers (5)  taken prior to the invasion of Crete  on 21 May 41.  His story was that he and others were ashore early on the morning in question when the airborne assault started. and whilst beating their way back to the ship, they came up behind a German paratrooper taking photographs of the action.  They jumped the soldier and frog marched him back to the ship.  The camera was impounded and when they eventually developed the film, it included pictures of the lads lined up in front of their aircraft just before take off, and shots of the air activity over Suda Bay.  I have seen similar photos of the air scene in other publications, but never one of the troops pre take off.

Previous to the Carlisle, Jack served as ERA on HMS Apollo 1936-38 when it was in the West Indies.  The ship was later transferred to the Australian Navy and became HMAS Hobart.  I have several photos of the crew and the sites visited, together with a book " HMS APOLLO "  1936-1938, Printed by Flood and Son, Ltd., The Borough Press, Lowestoft, which describes the various cruises and the activities of the crew by name during the Summer Cruise 1936, and the Spring and Summer Cruises 1937,  Many names are included in the publication.

I hope the above is of interest.

Alan Davies

** Many thanks for these photos and info**

(1)

(2)

(4)

(3)

(5)

HMS Colombo

HMS COLUMBO.  Built by Fairfield and laid down on the 8th of December 1917, Launched on the 18th December 1918.  Served with the 5th Light Cruiser Squadron in the China sea Between July 1919 and march 1922. The to the west Indies to join the 4th Cruiser squadron. Scrapped at Newport May 1948.

HMS Colombo, Maple Bay, British Columbia, Canada, 30th June 1929.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC838

HMS Colombo, fitting out, 1918.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1187

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1187

HMS Colombo, May 1937.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1188

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1188

HMS Colombo.

Original Wright & Logan Postcard 1937 approx.  Price 16.  Click here to order.   Order Code  PHC320

HMS Colombo.

Original Valentines Postcard 1937 approx.  Price 16.  Click here to order.   Order Code  PHC701

 

HMS Colombo  

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC318

Possibly HMS Colombo in 1917 in Canadian waters.

A reproduction of this original photo / photo-postcard size 10" x 7" approx available.  Order photograph here  Walker Archive. Order Code  PHC319

 

HMS Colombo and HMS Cairo, 1922.

A large image size 10" x 7" approx, is available.  Reproduced from the original negative / photo under license from MPL, the copyright holder.  A signed numbered certificate is supplied. Price 25.   Order photograph here   Order Code  XMP1174

Original republished MPL Photograph (Postcard Size).  Price 5 Click here to order.  Order Code  MP1174

 

Our message board system has now been upgraded to a discussion forum at worldnavalships.com.  Any messages on this page are now archive messages kept here to service those who left the messages originally.   Click Here to go to the new Forum

Naval Historians, Crew & Family Noticeboard

MESSAGES

HMS COLUMBO.

ALBERT ROSS.. My Uncle served on HMS Columbo in the 40's. Has anybody got details of crew members serving on this ship during the 40's. I would love to hear from any ex crew or families.  Mike Sampson at  mike@sampsonm.freeserve.co.uk 

HMS CALCUTTA 

WILLIAM EDWARD SAMPSON CPO Stoker C/J 103536 DSM. My Grandfather won his DSM on the retreat from Norway on HMS Calcutta. Tragically he was killed on the 1st June 1941. when Calcutta was attacked and sunk by JU88's of 11/LG1. Therefore I would be very pleased if any other people who served on HMS Calcutta. could help me with information to help me research the events/ Please contact Steve Smith at  Threeangels123@btinternaet.com 

HMS CAPETOWN

JOHN LEGGATE. My Uncle served on HMS Capetown, during the period 1939 to 1945. He may have only been on board for a short period as he also serve don HMS Rodney and HMS Newcastle. I would love to hear from anybody who may of known him or has any information, please contact s.leggate@onmail.co.uk 

SMEDLEY.... My Dad joined the navy as a reservist in 1939 at 19yrs old. Was assigned to Capetown after it's refit and was on sea trials when war broke. They we in Gibraltar. Capetown was Captained by Jimmy James a 4 ring skipper. My Dad was leading telegraphist. LDGTELEG EJSmedley d-wrx216.
While on the Capetown they sank ships in Bardia and were part of a 9 hour bombardment.(where he believes he started to lose his hearing) He had to have a headset on all the time, NO EAR PLUGS.
After she was torpedoed by Italian submarine mtb mas-213( he says was lucky shot, coming out of the sun), she was towed to Port Sudan for repairs. A sailor named John Ogden was the radio operator on the ship that towed them. Who my Dad met again here in Toronto. He came to install an air conditioner in our home back in the 1960s.
The HMS Shropshire took off a piece of Capetowns bow while Shropshire was swinging away from the harbour wall in Port Sudan.
Dad was sent to Iraq while Capetown was being repaired. He was sent to Magill radio station.
That was the end of his service on Capetown.
I have more information if you think anyone would be interested.
Dad then served on HMS Patroller. Escort carrier.
By the way my Dad has always spoke highly of his time on Capetown. Many shipmates were sent on to other ships to lose their lives. He was one of the lucky ones.   (Steve Smedley)

BOB PEARSON..  (Reply to above message)..  Dear Steve, my name is Michael Pearson, and my late father also served on the Capetown from July 40 to Nov 41.  The part of the ships story about going to Mombassa for repair is very interesting, my father did mention being in Mombassa during the war, but not why.  If you do have any more of the ships history I would be very grateful to hear about it; my father spoke very little of his war years and now after he has gone I feel the need to discover more about his life and experiences.  Contact Here 

 

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Everything we obtain for this site is shown on the site, we do not have any more photos, crew lists or further information on any of the ships.

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