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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS CARDIFF  - World War 1 C-type Light Cruiser
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Cardiff (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

CERES-Class Cruiser ordered in the 1916 from Fairfield’s of Govan in April 1916 under an Emergency War Build Programme and laid down on 22nd July 1916. The ship was launched on 12 April 1917 as the second RN warship to carry the name which was introduced for a Dutch 34 gun ship FORTUNE captured in 1652 and sold in 1682. Build was completed on 2nd June 1917. In January 1942 after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign she was adopted by the civil community of Cardiff.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a Field Green, a Castle Gold on three wavelets Red and Gold.


M o t t o

Acris in cardine rerum:  ‘Keen in Emergency’



S u m m a r y   o f   P r e - War   S e r v i c e


1 9 1 7


June                        Build completion.

to                            Accepted into service and commissioned for duty in Grand Fleet with 6th Light Cruiser

October                  Squadron

                                Deployed in North Sea and NW Approaches based at Scapa Flow with Squadron



                17th        Took part in action against German warships in Heligoland Bight


December              Deployed with Squadron at Scapa Flow.


1 9 1 8


January                  Squadron duties in Grand Fleet in continuation





                21st         Lead German High Seas Fleet to Scapa Flow for surrender.


December              Nominated for service in Baltic in support of military operations against Bolshevik forces.


1 9 1 9


                                Deployed with Squadron in Baltic

                                Nominated for service as Flagship, 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean


1 9 2 0    t o    1 9 2 7


                                Mediterranean Fleet service as Flagship of Squadron in continuation.

                                (Note: Commissions lasted 2 years 6 months and ship returned to UK

                                to re-commission. Refits were carried out at Malta and in UK.

                                During this period the Mediterranean Fleet was involved in protection

                                of British interests during unrest in Greece and Turkey.)


 1 9 2 8


January                  Mediterranean service in continuation.




March                    Passage to Chatham to refit.



                3rd          Paid off at Chatham for refit.


May                        On completion transferred to Portsmouth Depot for manning.

                29th        Re-commissioned for further service with 3rd Cruiser Squadron in Mediterranean.


June                        Passage to Malta to join Squadron.

                                Deployed with Squadron in Mediterranean.


July                         Squadron deployment in continuation.




1 9 2 9


January                  Squadron deployment in Mediterranean in continuation

to                            Nominated for Long Refit at Devonport.



August                  Relieved in Squadron by HM Cruiser CURACOA

                                Passage to Devonport.



                5th          Paid off into Dockyard control for refit.


October                  Under refit




1 9 3 0


                                Under refit.


1 9 3 1


January                  Post refit trials


February                Nominated for service as Flagship of 6th Cruiser Squadron on African Station.

to                            Manning Division transferred to Chatham.

March                    Passage to Chatham.



                1st           Commissioned at Chatham as Flagship, 6th Cruiser Squadron.

                                Prepared for foreign service.


May                        Passage to South Africa after work-up in Home waters.



June                        Flagship deployment in South Africa based at Simonstown.

to                            Deployed for visits and exercises in South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.



1 9 3 2


                                African Station deployment In continuation.


1 9 3 3


January                  African Station deployment in continuation.

to                            Nominated for transfer to Reserve Fleet.



May                        Relieved in 6th Cruiser Squadron by HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE.


June                        Passage to Chatham to Pay-Off.


July                         Reduced to Reserve status.

                14th        Re-commissioned as Flagship Reserve Fleet, Nore Command.


August                  Deployed at Chatham for training and administration of ships in Reserve.




1 9 3 4


                                Deployment at Chatham as Flagship, Reserve Fleet for training duties.


1 9 3 5


January                  Chatham Reserve Fleet deployment In continuation.

to                            Nominated for attendance at Silver Jubilee Review of the Fleet by H M King George V

May                        at Spithead


June                        Prepared for passage to Portsmouth.


July                         Passage to Portsmouth.

                16th        Attended Review.


August                  Return passage to Chatham.


September             Chatham Reserve Fleet Flagship duty in continuation.




1 9 3 6


                                Chatham deployment in continuation.


1 9 3 7


January                  Chatham deployment in continuation.

to                            Nominated for detached service in 9th Cruiser Squadron to attend the Coronation

March                    Review of the Fleet by H M King George VI at Spithead.


 April                      Prepared for passage to Portsmouth.


May                        Passage to Portsmouth.

                20th        Attended Review with ships of 3rd Cruiser Squadron.


June                        Returned to Chatham.


July                         Resumed Reserve Fleet duties at Chatham




1 9 3 8


January                  Deployed at Chatham as Flagship Reserve Fleet.

to                            Nominated for operational Service 111 5th Cruiser Squadron, China Station.

June                        Prepared for re-commissioning.


July                         Re-commissioned at Chatham for service in 5th Cruiser Squadron.

                                Deployed in Home waters to prepare for foreign service.


August                  Took passage from Chatham for Singapore to join Squadron.


September             Passage to Singapore and joined Squadron on arrival.


October                  Deployed with Squadron on China Station for visits and exercises.

to                            Nominated for conversion to AA cruiser.



1 9 3 9


January                  Deployed with Squadron on China Station.

to                            Refit arranged at Devonport.



April                       Prepared for return to UK.

                29th        Sailed from Hong Kong to Pay-Off.


May                        Passage to Devonport.


June                        Paid-off into Reserve at Devonport.

                                (Note: Planned conversion for use as an AA cruiser was cancelled.)


July                         At Devonport in Reserve.

                                Nominated for attendance at Review of Reserve Fleet by H M King George VI

                                Commissioned with Reservists at Devonport.


August                  Passage to Portland for Review.

                9th          Attended Review in Weymouth Bay.

                                Retained in commission in view of political situation.

                15th        Prepared for war service at Devonport.

                                (Note: Ship ammunition and stored for operational service and war complement

                                joined ship.

                                War Station with 12th Cruiser Squadron nominated.)

                                Passage to Scapa Flow for Northern Patrol duty with Squadron to intercept German

                                ships attesting to return to Germany and to enforce blockade.

                                (For details see ARMED MERCHANT CRUISERS by K. Poolman and Naval Staff




D e t a i l s    o f    W a r    S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



September             Deployed for patrol in NW Approaches based at Scapa Flow

                6th          Sailed for first patrol.

                13th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                15th        Sailed for second patrol returning on 22nd.

                22nd       Returned to Scapa Flow.



                6th          Sailed for third patrol.

                13th        Returned from patrol.

                                (Note: Transferred to 11th Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet during patrol.)

                14th        Sailed for fourth patrol.

                19th        Returned to Sullom Voe,

                25th        Sailed from Sullom Voe for fifth patrol.

                29th        Intercepted Norwegian freighter TARE JARL which had been reported

                                as having been in contact with German submarine, but was allowed to proceed.



                3rd          Returned to Sullom Voe.

                6th          Sailed for sixth patrol from Sullom Voe.

                11th        Returned to Sullom Voe.

                14th        Passage to Loch Ewe (Port A) from Sullom Voe.

                17th        Sailed for seventh patrol.

                                Intercepted Norwegian freighter CARMELFJELL and put a boarding party on board.

                                (Note: This ship was stopped on 29th November by a German submarine but was

                                again allowed to proceed.)

                20th        Returned to Port A.

                23rd        Joined HM Cruisers CALEDON and COLOMBO for patrol off North Rona to intercept.

                                German battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU after loss of the Armed Merchant

                                Cruiser HMS RAWALPINDI.

                26th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                27th        Sailed for eighth patrol



                1st           Returned to Scapa Flow and took passage to Port A

                9th          Sailed for ninth patrol.

                15th        Returned to Scapa Flow.

                                Withdrawn from Northern Patrol.

                                (Note: This class of cruiser had been found unsuitable for service in the Atlantic.

.                               See above reference.)

                17th        Took passage from Scapa Flow to Plymouth for repair.

                19th        Arrived in Clyde.

                20th        Continued passage to Plymouth.

                23rd        Arrived at HM Dockyard, Devonport for repair of weather damage.


1 9 4 0


January                  Rejoined Home Fleet for service in 2nd Cruiser Squadron.

                                (Note: Early intended deployment in West Indies for interception patrol with 8th Cruiser

                                Squadron was cancelled.)


February                Deployed on convoy defence and patrol in Home waters.


March                    Transferred to Portsmouth Command in continuation.




June                        Deployed in Nore Command area in support of the evacuation of British and allied

                                troops and civilians from French ports. (Operation CYCLE)

                12th        Provided support at St. Valery during withdrawal troops evacuation of personnel.

                                (Note: Naval gunfire support was not required.)

                                For details of naval operations in Channel area in this period see ENGAGE

                                THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY and Naval Staff History)


July                         Deployed at Sheerness for anti-invasion patrol in North Sea and Channel.


August                  Patrol duty in North Sea.

                25th        Deployed in Humber area from Scapa Flow with HM Cruiser GALATEA to intercept

                                enemy craft during Invasion scare.


September             Returned to Scapa Flow for patrol duty in NW Approaches and North Sea.


October                  Withdrawn from operational service.

                                Prepared for service as Gunnery Training ship by HM Dockyard Portsmouth

                                (Note: 20mm AA guns fitted.)


November              Took passage to Clyde for gunnery training based at Greenock.

to                            Carried out training in use of close range AA weapons in Clyde area.



1 9 4 1


January                  Under repair in Clyde shipyard.




March                    On completion resumed gunnery training duties In Western Approaches Command.




1 9 4 2


January                  Training duties in continuation




September             Routine docking in Clyde commercial shipyard


October                  Resumed training duties.




1 9 4 3


January                  Training duties in continuation


February                Taken in hand for fit of Type 290 radar outfit to provide warning of approach of aircraft

                                and ships.

                                (Note: This radar was an interim RN design to replace a modified RAF outfit

                                used in destroyers and other escorts before the introduction of the centimetric

                                Type 271. Type 291 was not very successful and withdrawn when Type 291

                                became available In 1943. For details of the development and use of radar in the

                                RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)


March                    Resumed Gunnery training in Western Approaches Command.




July                         Under refit for replacement of Type 290 Radar and fit of Type 271


August                  Resumed training duties




1 9 4 4


January                  Gunnery Training duties in continuation.

to                            (Note: During this period ship was used for Air Ministry bombing trials and exercises)



1 9 4 5


January                  Trials deployment in continuation




May                        After VE Day ceased deployment as training ship.

                                Taken in hand for refit in Clyde commercial shipyard


June                        Nominated for reduction to Reserve and refit work suspended





                3rd          Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status.


P o s t    W a r    N o t e s


HMS CARDIFF was Laid-up in the Gareloch and placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreakers later in 1946. She was towed to the breakers at Troon on 18th March that year.


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