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HMS Achilles - World Naval Ships Directory

HMS Achilles

Name : HMS Achilles
Laid Down : 11th June 1931
Launched : 1st September 1932
Completed : 6th October 1933
Type : Cruiser
Class : Leander
Builder : Cammell Laird
Country : UK
Sequence : This is the 5th ship with this name.
Pennants : 70
Fate : Launched 1st September 1932. Transferred to India 5th July 1948 as Dehli.
Later became : Delhi

HMS Achilles was a Leander class cruiser built by Cammell Laird. Laid down on 11th June 1931, Achilles was launched 1st September 1932 and completed 6th October 1933. She served with the New Zealand Navy from 1937 to 1943. HMS Achilles served in the South Atlantic 1939 taking a major role in the battle of the River Plate against the Graf Spee, firing a total of 1242 6-inch shells in the action, and receiving splinter damage from near misses. Loaned to the newly formed Royal New Zealand Navy (along with her sister ship HMS Leander) 1940 to 1943, she returned to the Home Fleet 1943-1944 and then to the Pacific Fleet in 1945. In 1948 she was sold to the Indian Navy and renamed Delhi, arriving there after refit in September 1948. Displacement: 7,030 tons Speed: 32.5kt Complement: 550 Armament: eight 6 inch guns in twin turrets, four 4 inch anti-aircraft guns in single mountings and twelve 0.5 inch machine guns in fours. Eight 21 inch torpedo tubes in quadruple mountings and 1 aircraft. Single 4 inch guns later replaced by four twin mountings.

Cammell Laird launched this Leander class light cruiser at Birkenhead on 1 September 1932 and she entered service in the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy on 10 October 1933. She served with the Royal Navy's New Zealand Division from March 31, 1937 up to the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, into which she transferred in September 1941, becoming HMNZS ACHILLES. Some 60 percent of her crew came from New Zealand.

On the outbreak of the Second World War, ACHILLES started patrolling the west coast of South America looking for German merchant ships, but by 22 October 1939 she had arrived at the Falkland Islands, where she joined the South American Division under Commodore Harwood, allocated to Force G with the cruisers EXETER and CUMBERLAND, later joined by HMS AJAX. In the early morning of 13 December ACHILLES, AJAX and EXETER detected smoke on the horizon, which turned out to be the pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE. During a fierce battle, ACHILLES took some damage: four of her crew died, and her captain, W. E. Parry was injured. Damaged, ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE broke off the engagement to head for the neutral harbour of Montevideo which she entered at 22:00 that night; ACHILLES and AJAX had pursued her all day.

Following the battle, ACHILLES returned to Auckland, New Zealand on 23 February 1940, where she refitted until June. After Japan entered the war, ACHILLES escorted troop convoys, then joined the ANZAC squadron in the south west Pacific. While operating off New Georgia with US forces, on 5 January 1943 a bomb hit her on X turret. Under repair at Portsmouth from April 1943 to May 1944, anti-aircraft guns replaced her X turret. After joining the Eastern Fleet, ACHILLES then became part of the British Pacific Fleet (Task Force 57) in May 1945 for final operations in the Pacific.

After the war, ACHILLES returned to the Royal Navy at Sheerness, Kent, England on 17 September 1946. She was then bought by the Indian Navy and recommissioned on 5 July 1948 as INS DELHI. In 1956, she played herself in the film The Battle of the River Plate. She remained in service until decommissioning for scrap at Bombay on 30 June 1978. As part of the scrapping her Y turret and director control tower were removed and given as a gift to the New Zealand government; they are now on display at the entrance of Devonport RNZN Base in Auckland.

HMS Achilles Photos for Sale
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HMS Achilles, 1934.


HMS Achilles, 1934.


HMS Achilles at Malta 1939.


HMS Achilles


HMS Achilles


HMS Achilles

Timeline Entries :


11th July 1931 - Laid down at Cammell Laird (Birkenhead)
1st September 1932 - Pennant Number 70
1st September 1932 - Launched
1st January 1933 - Commissioned
6th October 1933 - Completed
10th October 1933 - Commissioned at Chatham
26th October 1933 - Sailed Sheerness for Portsmouth
3rd November 1933 - Arrived Gibraltar
22nd November 1933 - Sailed Gibraltar for Portland
23rd November 1933 - Arrived Portand from Gobraltar
29th November 1933 - Sailed Portland for for the Nore
4th December 1933 - Sailed Portland for Chatham
5th December 1933 - Arrived Chatham
12th January 1934 - Sailed Sheerness for Arosa Bay
15th January 1934 - Arrived Arosa Bay
16th January 1934 - Arrived Arosa Bay
17th January 1934 - Sailed Arosa Bay
30th January 1934 - Arrived Monserrat
6th February 1934 - Sailed Monserrat for St. Lucia
6th February 1934 - Sailed Montserrat for St. Lucia
8th February 1934 - Arrived St. Lucia
16th February 1934 - Arrived Barbados
22nd February 1934 - 2nd Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet
22nd February 1934 - Sailed Barbados for St. Kitts
23rd February 1934 - Arrived St. Kitts from Barbados
26th February 1934 - Sailed St. Kitts for the Azores
8th March 1934 - Arrived the Azores
10th March 1934 - Sailed the Azores
23rd March 1934 - Sailed Gibraltar
9th May 1934 - Commenced Cruise of U.K. and Northern Europe
11th May 1934 - Arrived Milford Haven
21st May 1934 - Sailed Holyhead
22nd May 1934 - Arrived Portland
27th June 1934 - Sailed Gayle for Kiel
29th June 1934 - Arrived Keil
6th July 1934 - Sailed Keil
22nd July 1934 - Completed Cruise of U.K. and Northern Europe
20th October 1934 - Arrived Rosyth
2nd November 1934 - Arrived Portland
18th January 1935 - Arrived Arosa Bay
20th January 1935 - Sailed Arosa Bay for the West Indies
31st March 1936 - Commissioned for the New Zealand Division
22nd April 1936 - Arrived Portsmouth
26th August 1936 - Arrived and sailed Fanning Island
17th March 1937 - Arrived Auckland
24th March 1937 - Arrived Wellington
15th April 1937 - Arrived Auckland
8th July 1937 - Sailed Christmans Island for Fanning Island
13th July 1937 - Flagship of Rear-Admiral Hon. E.R. Drummonf
13th July 1937 - Capt. J.G. Glennie in Command
13th July 1937 - Arrived Honolulu
27th July 1937 - Sailed Honolulu
31st July 1937 - Arrived Fanning Island
4th August 1937 - Arrived Nukonona
7th August 1937 - Arrived Rotumah
9th August 1937 - Arrived Suva
18th August 1937 - Sailed Suva
18th August 1937 - Arrived Lautoka
23rd August 1937 - Sailed Lautoka
27th August 1937 - Arrived Auckland
18th November 1937 - Arrived Wellington
January 1938 - New Zealand Station
11th March 1938 - Arived Dunedin
15th March 1938 - Arrived Wellington
1st April 1938 - Arrived Wellington
19th April 1938 - Sailed Wellington for Auckland
31st December 1938 - Arrived Balboa
5th January 1939 - Arrived Jamaica
25th January 1939 - Capt. I.G. Glennie in Command
25th January 1939 - Arrived Portsmouth from the New Zealand Station
25th January 1939 - Arrived Portsmouth
21st February 1939 - Sailed Portsmouth for Portland
21st February 1939 - Capt. W.E. Parry in Command
28th February 1939 - Sailed Portland for Gibraltar
30th March 1939 - Sailed Ismailia
3rd April 1939 - Arrived Aden
5th April 1939 - Sailed Aden for Colombo
19th April 1939 - Arrived Singapore
22nd April 1939 - Sailed Sngapore for Auckland
8th May 1939 - Arrived Auckland
28th July 1939 - Arrived Pago Pago
31st July 1939 - Sailed Pago Pago for Suva
5th July 1948 - Sold to India

HMS Achilles Artwork Collection
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The Pursuit of the Graf Spee by Ivan Berryman.


The Pursuit of the Graf Spee by Ivan Berryman.

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Database Currently Holds : 6271 ships and 6288 crew!

Last edited : 14:17, October 20, 2014
By : kc


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