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HMS Exeter - World Naval Ships Directory

HMS Exeter

Name : HMS Exeter
Laid Down : 1st August 1928
Launched : 18th July 1929
Completed : 27th July 1931
Type : Cruiser
Class : York
Builder : Devonport
Country : UK
Pennants : 68
Fate : Sunk 1st March 1942

His Majestyís Dockyard Devonport launched this heavy cruiser on 18 July 1929 and she entered service in the Royal Navy on 27 July 1931 as part of the Atlantic Fleetís 2nd Cruiser Squadron. In 1934 she moved to the America and West Indies Squadron, remaining there until 1939, except for a temporary deployment to the Mediterranean Fleet during the Abyssinian Crisis of 1935-1936.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, she formed part of the South American Division. Together with the light cruisers AJAX and ACHILLES she engaged the German pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE in the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939, which resulted in the scuttling of the ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE several days later. ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE hit EXETER with seven 11 inch shells; several near misses caused significant splinter damage. EXETER lost sixty one of her crew killed and a further twenty three wounded. All three 8 inch turrets were put out of action and her speed reduced to 18 knots, forcing her to withdraw from battle.

EXETER made for Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands for emergency repairs which took until January 1940, then returned to Devonport for full repairs which were completed in March 1941. That she survived such damage from direct hits with large calibre shells shows the strength of her design and construction, as well as the damage control capability of her crew. During these repairs, her anti-aircraft armament was increased and radar was fitted, requiring the pole masts to be replaced by tripods. On returning to the fleet in 1941, she escorted Atlantic convoys, including the escort of convoy WS-8B to the Middle East during the BISMARCK episode. After this, she went on to the Far East.

When Japan entered the war EXETER formed part of the Allied Striking Force intended to defend the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) from Japanese invasion. At the end of February 1942 she took part in the Battle of the Java Sea when she received a shell hit in the boiler room and was returned to Surabaya in Java. When she attempted to reach the Sunda Strait, the Japanese cruisers NACHI and HAGURO and destroyers intercepted her on the morning of 1 March 1942 and badly damaged her with gunfire and a torpedo. She took on water and began listing to starboard. By noon she sank with the loss of 62 lives; the remainder of her crew became prisoners of war, many of them subsequently died in captivity.

HMS Exeter Photos for Sale
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HMS Exeter, 1931.


HMS Exeter.


HMS Exeter photograph taken at Liverpool June 1932


HMS Exeter

Timeline Entries :


1st August 1928 - Laid down at Devonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): Parsons
18th July 1929 - Launched
18th July 1929 - Pennant 68
18th July 1929 - Pennant Number 68
18th July 1929 - Launched
23rd July 1931 - Commissioned
5th January 1932 - Sailed for Spring Cruise
7th January 1932 - Sailed Plymouth for Fayal
12th January 1932 - Arrived Fayal
14th January 1932 - Sailed Fayal
16th February 1932 - Arrived Barbados
13th March 1932 - Arrived UK
1st October 1932 - 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet
1st October 1932 - Capt. H. G. C. Franklin in Command
28th January 1933 - Arrived Gibraltar
23rd February 1933 - Arrived Falkland Islands
10th March 1933 - Arrived Palma
15th March 1933 - Sailed Palma for Gibraltar
14th June 1933 - Arrived Bergen
14th June 1933 - Capt. H.G.C. Franklin in Command
19th June 1933 - Sailed Bergen
22nd June 1933 - Arrived Karlskrona
19th July 1933 - Sailed Antwerp for Plymouth
30th October 1933 - Com. A.E. Evans Assumed Command
13th November 1933 - Sailed Plymouth for the America and West Indies Station
21st November 1933 - Arrived Gibraltar
25th November 1933 - At Gibraltar for the turnover from HMS Durban
25th November 1933 - At Gibraltar
7th December 1933 - Sailed Gibraltar for South America
7th December 1933 - Sailed Gibraltar for South America
21st December 1933 - Sailed St. Vincent (C.V.I.) for Montevideo
2nd January 1934 - Arrived Montevideo
5th January 1934 - Arrived Punta del Este
29th January 1934 - Sailed Punta del Este for Montevideo
31st January 1934 - Arrived Montevideo
7th February 1934 - Sailed Montevideo for Buenos Aires
8th February 1934 - Arrived Buenos Aires
14th February 1934 - Sailed Buenos Aires
15th February 1934 - Arrived Mar del Plata
20th February 1934 - Sailed Mar del Plata for the Falkland Islands
23rd February 1934 - Arrived Port Stanley
3rd March 1934 - Sailed Falkland Islands for Megallenes
3rd March 1934 - Sailed Port Stanley
5th March 1934 - Arrived Punta Arenas
21st March 1934 - Arrived Valparaiso
5th April 1934 - Arrived Iquique
9th April 1934 - Sailed Iquique for Callao
11th April 1934 - Arrived Callao
19th April 1934 - Sailed Callao for Kingston, Jamaica
30th April 1934 - Sailed Kingston, Jamaica for Bermuda
4th May 1934 - Arrived Bermuda
25th July 1934 - Arrived Pernambuco
9th September 1934 - Sailed Rio de Janeiro
9th November 1934 - Arrived Mar del Plata
1st December 1934 - Arrived Port Stephen
2nd December 1934 - Sailed Port Stephen for Magallanes
5th December 1934 - Arrived Magellanes
7th December 1934 - Arrived Portsmouth
12th December 1934 - Arrived Puerto Montt
19th December 1934 - Sailed Puerto Montt for Valparaiso
21st December 1934 - Flagship of Comm. A.E. Evans
21st December 1934 - Arrived Valparaiso
9th January 1935 - Sailed Sna Jouan, Peru
11th January 1935 - Sailed Valparaiso
11th January 1935 - Sailed Valparaiso
11th January 1935 - Flagship of Commodore A.E. Evans
15th January 1935 - Arrived Callao
1st February 1935 - Sailed Callao
2nd February 1935 - Arrived San Juan, Peru
11th February 1935 - Arrived Antofagasta
18th February 1935 - Sailed Antafagasta
19th February 1935 - Arrived Iquique
25th February 1935 - Sailed Iquique
26th February 1935 - Arrived Mollendo
28th February 1935 - Sailed Mollendo for Panama Canal and Bermuda
14th March 1935 - Arrived Bermuda
30th July 1935 - Sailed Lobitos for Huacho
31st July 1935 - Arrived Huacho
6th August 1935 - Arrived Callao
8th August 1935 - Sailed Callao
15th August 1935 - Arrived Iquique
28th August 1935 - Sailed Falmland Islands
14th September 1935 - Arrived Falkland Islands
17th June 1936 - Arrived Alexandria
26th July 1936 - Arrived Plymouth
22nd October 1936 - At Plymouth
27th March 1937 - Sailed Tortola
9th May 1937 - Arrived Nassau
9th May 1937 - Com. H.H. Harwood in Command
13th May 1937 - Sailed Nassau
27th June 1937 - Arrived Trinidad
9th July 1937 - Arrived Balboa
20th July 1937 - Arrived San Diego
22nd July 1937 - Sailed San Diego for Esquimalt
21st October 1937 - Arrived Puerto Monu
January 1938 - 8th Cruiser Squadron, America/West Indies Station
14th January 1938 - Arrived Punta del Este
29th January 1938 - Sailed Punta del Este
3rd March 1938 - Arrived Trinidad
9th March 1938 - Arrived St. Kitts
28th March 1938 - Arrived Bermuda
27th June 1938 - Flagship of Comm. H.H. Harwood
27th June 1938 - Sailed Bermuda
2nd July 1938 - Sailed Bermuda
7th July 1938 - Arrived Trinidad
8th July 1938 - Sailed Trinidad
14th July 1938 - Arrived Pernambuco
18th July 1938 - Sailed Pernambuco
22nd July 1938 - Arrived Rio de Janeiro
2nd August 1938 - Sailed Rio de Janeiro
5th August 1938 - Arrived Rio Grande oo Sul
11th August 1938 - Sailed Rio Grande oo Sul
12th August 1938 - Arrived Punta Del Este
16th August 1938 - Sailed Punta Del Este
17th August 1938 - Arrived Montevideo
30th August 1938 - Sailed Montevideo
1st September 1938 - Arrived Ingeneiro White
8th September 1938 - Sailed Ingeneiro White
11th September 1938 - Arrived Montevideo
16th September 1938 - Sailed Montevideo
17th September 1938 - Arrived Punta
21st September 1938 - Arrived Buenos Aires
25th September 1938 - Sailed Punta
5th October 1938 - Sailed Buenos Airies
10th October 1938 - Arrived Falkland Islands
6th November 1938 - Sailed Falkland Islands
8th November 1938 - Arrived Magallanes
8th December 1938 - Arrived Punta Arenas
12th December 1938 - Sailed Magallanes
17th December 1938 - Arrived Castro
19th December 1938 - Sailed Castro
19th December 1938 - Arrived Puerto Montt
29th December 1938 - Sailed Puerto Montt
30th December 1938 - Arrived Puerto Corral
30th December 1938 - Arrived Puerto Corral
2nd January 1939 - Sailed Puerto Corral
3rd January 1939 - Arrived Talcahuano
9th January 1939 - Sailed Talcahuano
9th January 1939 - Sailed Talcahuano for Antofagasta
12th January 1939 - Arrived Antofagasta
12th January 1939 - Arrived Antofagasta
18th January 1939 - Sailed Antofagasta
18th January 1939 - Sailed Antofagasta
18th January 1939 - Flagship of Commodore H.H. Harwood
19th January 1939 - Arrived Coquimbo
19th January 1939 - Arrived Coquimbo
19th January 1939 - Sailed Antofagasta for Coquimbo
19th January 1939 - Arrived Coquimbo
23rd January 1939 - Sailed Coquimbo
23rd January 1939 - Sailed Coquimbo for Valparaiso
23rd January 1939 - Sailed Coquimbo
24th January 1939 - Arrived Valparaiso
24th January 1939 - Arrived Valparaiso
24th January 1939 - Arrived Valparaiso
24th January 1939 - Arrived Valparaiso
25th January 1939 - Sailed Valparaiso
3rd February 1939 - Sailed Valparaiso
3rd February 1939 - Sailed Valparaiso
3rd February 1939 - Sailed Valparaiso
8th February 1939 - Arrived Huacho
9th February 1939 - Sailed Huacho
10th February 1939 - Arrived Chimbote
12th February 1939 - Sailed Chimbote
13th February 1939 - Arrived Talara
17th February 1939 - Sailed Talara
18th February 1939 - Arrived Salinas
21st February 1939 - Sailed Salinas
24th February 1939 - Arrived Balbao
26th February 1939 - Arrived Colon
26th February 1939 - Sailed Balbao
27th February 1939 - Arrived Colon
28th February 1939 - Sailed Colon
3rd March 1939 - Arrived Jamaica
7th March 1939 - Sailed Jamaica
11th March 1939 - Arrived Bermuda
7th June 1939 - Arrived Baltimore
8th August 1939 - Sailed Bermuda for Plymouth
8th August 1939 - Flagship of Commodore H.R.G. HARWOOD
17th August 1939 - Arrived Plymouth
17th August 1939 - Arrived Plymouth
25th August 1939 - Sailed Devonport for the South America Station
25th August 1939 - Sailed Devonport for South America via Freetown
25th August 1939 - Capt. Frederick Secker Bell, RN Assumed Command
26th August 1939 - Escorted British liner Dunera
28th August 1939 - Detached from escort to proceed to Rio de Janiero, via Cape Verde Islands
1st September 1939 - Sailed Freetown for Cape Verde Islands
1st September 1939 - Arrived Freetown from Plymouth
2nd September 1939 - South American Division, Port Stanley in the Falklands
2nd October 1939 - Operating as a Hunter Force
26th October 1939 - Rendezvoused with Achilles off Lobito Island
27th October 1939 - Left patrol on the South American east coast
30th October 1939 - Arrived in the Falkland Island after leaving her patrol on the South American east coast
10th November 1939 - Sailed Mar del Plata to repair at Capetown, but was recalled for patrol in the Rio area
12th November 1939 - Bumped and damaged while alongside a tanker near Montevide
22nd November 1939 - Sailed Rio de Janiero for the Rio de la Plata
23rd November 1939 - Force G. Along the east coast of South America
26th November 1939 - Left area for the Falklands
30th November 1939 - Arrived Falklands
1st December 1939 - In the South Atlantic
7th December 1939 - On patrol in the Falkland Island area
9th December 1939 - Arrived Falkland Islands. Left late that morning to Rio de la Plata
12th December 1939 - Took up patrol in the Plate estuary
12th December 1939 - Off the Uruguay coast near Rio de la Plata
13th December 1939 - Encountered German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee off Rio de la Plata
16th December 1939 - Arrived Falkland Islands. Badly damaged by Graf Spee
21st January 1940 - Sailed Port Stanley after emergency repairs
3rd February 1940 - Arrived Freetown
6th February 1940 - Sailed Freetown
10th February 1940 - En route from the South Atlantic to England
15th February 1940 - Arrived Plymouth for repairs
May 1940 - Capt. Frederick Secker Bell, RN Relinquished Command
12th December 1940 - Capt. Walter Napier Thomason Beckett, DSC, RN Assumed Command
10th March 1941 - Capt. Walter Napier Thomason Beckett, DSC, RN Relinquished Command
10th March 1941 - Completed repairs at Plymouth
11th March 1941 - Capt. Oliver Loudon Gordon, RN Assumed Command
1st March 1942 - Capt. Oliver Loudon Gordon, RN Ceased Command
1st March 1942 - Sunk

HMS Exeter Artwork Collection
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The Battle of the River Plate by Randall Wilson.

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Database Currently Holds : 6271 ships and 6288 crew!

Last edited : 12:54, July 20, 2011
By : tjstoneman

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