Improved BIRMINGHAM or Hawkins-class cruiser built by HM
Dockyard, Chatham and laid down on 3rd June 1916. The first HAWKINS fought the Armada.
This cruiser was completed on 19th July 1919, went to the China Station
until 1928 and paid off for major repair. In 1929 this ship
re-commissioned for service in the Atlantic Fleet and after refit was re commissioned again
for duty in the East Indies. On return to UK in 1935 she paid off into
Reserve. During 1939 she
was taken in hand for
modernisation by HM Dockyard Portsmouth that was completed on 23rd December 1939. After a successful
WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 she was adopted by
the civil community of the Borough of Stockport then in the County of Cheshire.
B a t t
l e H o n o u r
ARMADA 1588 - NORMANDY 1944
H e r a
l d i c D a t a
On a Field Blue, a demi-Moor Proper, bound and decorated gold,
arising out of wavelets black and silver.
M o t t
Nil desperandum: 'Never despair'
D e t a i l s o f W a r
S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 3 9
September Under refit and re-arming at Portsmouth (See General
to Nominated for trade defence
in South Atlantic.
November Harbour trials
December Post refit sea trials
23rd On completion of trials and storing too
passage to work-up at Portland.
1 9 4 0
January Worked-up at Portland
9th Took passage from Portland to join Squadron for trade
defence and interception
commerce raiders and blockade runners.
14th At Freetown
17th Took passage from Freeetown for duties
February Under refit at Port Stanley.
completion deployed on patrol in Plate area.
March Patrol and interception in South Atlantic and West Indies in continuation.
5th Sailed from Montevideo for patrol and took passage on
completion to Port Stanley
15th Sailed from Port Stanley to resume Plate area patrol
April South Atlantic patrols in
July Carried out search for German
commerce raider in West Indies area.
Patrol and trade defence
September Passage to Durban for refit.
October Under refit.
November Post Refit trials.
19th On completion resumed duties in South
December Deployed in South Atlantic.
4th Joined HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE as relief for HM Cruiser CUMBERLAND in Ocean Escort
military convoy WS5B during passage from Freetown to Durban.
8th Detached to refuel.
10th Rejoined WS5B.
12th Detached on arrival of WS5B at Durban.
passage to Freetown for escort of
January At Freetown.
8th Provided Ocean
Escort for Convoy WS5A with HM Cruiser NORFOLK from Freetown.
9th Detached with HM Aircraft Carrier
Took independent passage to Simonstown with HMS
Transferred to East Indies Squadron for convoy defence and interception
duties in Indian
21st Escorted ss ANSELM and ss CITY OF CANTERBURY from WS5A
22nd Detached on arrival
of ships in Capetown.
27th Escorted ss
ANSELM from Capetown for passage to Durban
. 29th Detached on arrival
at Durban and joined
ships of WS5A for passage to Aden.
Relieved as Ocean Escort for WS5A by HM Cruisers CERES and SHROPSHIRE.
1st Took passage from Mombasa to support
military operations in Italian Somaliland.
Covered HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE which was diverted during passage
in the Indian
Ocean to join Mediterranean Fleet to carry cut air attacks at Mogadishu.
10th Joined HM Aircraft Carrier HERMES, HM
Cruisers CAPETOWN, CERES, and
SHROPSHIRE, and HM Destroyer KANDAHAR in Force T on formation for
operations and landings by Indian troops in Somaliland.
11th Intercepted 8 Italian and 2 German ships
attempting to leave Mogadishu following
sighting by aircraft from HMS HERMES. Five
Italian ships scuttled en approach.
17th Detached to join Hunting Group V in
search for German battleship ADMIRAL SCHEER
reported in Indian Ocean.
21st Detached to join HM Australian Cruiser
AUSTRALIA as escort for military convoy
WS5B off Mombasa on passage in
22nd Relieved by HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE and rejoined search for ADMIRAL
SCHEER after a
sighting report by an aircraft from HM Cruiser
. 26th Search abandoned and resumed convoy
3rd Arrived at Aden
12th Rejoined Hunting Group V for Patrol and
interception duty in Indian Ocean.
Detached for convoy defence between Durban and Capetown.
Joined HM Cruisers CORNWALL and LEANDER in search for commerce raider in
On release took passage to Simonstown.
18th Sailed to Capetown
for escort of military convoy.
20th Joined military convoy WS7 ships as escort
for passage to Durban.
28th Detached from WS7 when relieved by HM
Cruisers COLOMBO and GLASGOW in position
03 32N. 51.12E
May Trade defence and interception
duty in continuation.
24th Joined military convoy WS8A during
passage from Freetown and relieved HM Cruiser
MAURITIUS as Ocean
Escort for passage in Indian Ocean.
31st Sailed from Durban with WS8A.
2nd Detached from WS8A for repair.
4th Under repair at Durban.
July On completion took passage to
join military convoy W59A.
2nd Relieved HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM as Ocean Escort for WS9A for
passage to Durban.
8th Sailed from Durban as Ocean
Escort for ships of WS9A during passage to Aden.
21st Detached from
WS9A on arrival at
August Indian Ocean trade defence in continuation.
2nd Joined military convoy WS10 as Ocean
escort from Capetown to Durban.
8th Detached on
arrival of WS10 at
9th Escorted ss
ARONDA from Durban to join military convoy WS10B
for onward passage
On arrival deployed as Ocean Escort for WS10B.
15th Detached from
WS10B in position 03.32N 51.12E on relief by HM Cruiser EMERALD.
Resumed trade defence duty in Indian Ocean.
October Indian Ocean deployment in
Withdrawn from service for refit and took passage to UK.
December Taken in hand for refit at Portsmouth on arrival.
20mm Oerlikon guns and
2pdr Pom Poms fitted.
Aircraft warning radar
fitted on both masts with new tripod mainmast.
Surface warning radar
Type 271 fitted.
Fire control radar Type
285 installed for 4in AA mountings.
(For details of the
development and use of radar in the RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Hawse).
1 9 4 2
January Under refit.
to Nominated for service with
5th Cruiser Squadron. Post refit trials
April Harbour trials
May Post refit sea trails and storing
29th On completion took passage to Scapa Flow.
June Worked up with ships of Home Fleet for operational service.
29th Deployed in NW Approaches based on Clyde
26th Joined HM Battleship DUKE OF YORK with four destroyers as escort
for passage to
Returned to Clyde when
August Passage from Clyde to Freetown.
7th Arrived at Freetown.
15th Joined military convoy WS21 as Ocean
Escort during passage from Freetown with HM
Destroyers CATTERICK and PETARD.
27th Detached on arrival
of WS21 at Capetown.
30th Rejoined WS21 on departure from Capetown
as Ocean Escort for passage in Indian Ocean.
5th Arrived at Durban with WS21
10th Remained with ships of WS21 when Aden
11th Detached from WS21
Bombay Section on relief by HM Cruiser ENTERPRISE.
Escorted ss VOLENDAM during passage to Mombasa from WS21.
13th Joined Squadron at Kilindini for
deployment in Eastern Fleet for convoy defence
and patrol in Indian Ocean and Red Sea.
11th Joined military convoy WS22B as Ocean
Escort for Bombay Section.
17th Detached from WS22B
on arrival at
November Indian Ocean deployment in
11th Joined military convoy WS23 escorted by H M
Armed Merchant Cruiser CARTHAGE as relief for
HM Cruiser DAUNTLESS during passage from Durban.
16th Detached from WS23 as
escort for ss EMPRESS OF RUSSIA for passage to Mombasa.
18th Detached from
mercantile on arrival at
December Indian Ocean duties in
1 9 4 3
Transferred to 4th Cruiser Squadron.
29th Joined Squadron at Bombay.
February Eastern Fleet trade defence and
interception duties in continuation.
9th Joined military convoy
WS26 during passage in Indian Ocean as the relief for HM Cruiser
11th Detached from WS26 with
Bombay Section redesignated WS26B as escort for passage to Bombay.
17th Detached from WS26B on
arrival at Bombay
April Deployed for Squadron duties in Indian Ocean.
to Passage to Simonstown for
June Under refit at Simonstown.
Post refit trials before resuming Indian Ocean duties.
passage to Ceylon.
August Indian Ocean Squadron duties in
28th Joined military convoy
WS32 with H M Destroyers NORMAN, QUIBERON and RAPID
for escort during passage to Bombay.
3rd Detached from WS32 on
relief by HM Cruiser EMERALD.
Embarked CinC Eastern Fleet for passage to Ceylon on transfer
Convoy defence and interception duty in Indian Ocean.
December Under refit and repair at Simonstown.
1 9 4 4
January Post refit
trials and passage to Kilindini to resume duties. Arrived at Kilindini
11th Sailed from Kilindini with Convoy KR8 as
escort during passage to Colombo with HM Destroyers
PALADIN and PETARD.
Local Escort was provided by HM Corvette HONESTY, HM Cutters SENNEN and
This convoy comprised the
troopships ss KHEDIVE ISMAIL, VARSOVA, EKMA, ELLENGA
and CITY OF PARIS
12th Convoy attacked by Japanese submarine 127
in 1 1/2 Degree Channel, Maldives.
Troopship KHEDIVE ISMAIL was
torpedoed and sunk with heavy loss of life.
Remained with convoy because of lack of A/S
(Note: I27 was later sunk by the destroyers. See FIGHTING DESTROYER by G Cornell and
PASSAGE TO DESTINY by B J Crabb.)
13th Arrived at Addu
Atoll with the four troopships
Embarked survivors of KHEEDIVE ISMAIL from HMS PETARD and resumed the
1st Arrived at Colombo with KR8.
Withdrawn from Eastern Fleet duties for service in
19th In collision with Greek
destroyer KANARIS in Red Sea during passage to UK.
29th Arrived Clyde for repair.
31st Taken in hand for
repair in commercial shipyard.
20th On completion joined 1st
Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet.
Detached for support duty with Force
U in Western Task Force during Normandy
landings. (Operation NEPTUNE).
Allocated to Bombarding Force A with US battleship USS NEVADA, US cruisers USS
QUINCY and USS TUSCALOOSA, HM
Monitor EREBUS and HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE
Carried out preparation exercises in NW Approaches for NEPTUNE bombardment duty.
25th Assembled with Bombarding
Force A at Belfast.
4th Operation delayed by 24
hours during passage with Bombardment Force ships.
5th Joined USS BAYFIELD
(Flagship of Force U) and Dutch Gunboat SOEMBA off Isle of
Wight for passage through
6th Provided naval
gunfire support during assault on UTAH Beach.
(Note: Bombardment targets allocated were
Maisy and St. Martin de Varreville batteries.
12th Deployed at GOOSEBERRY 4, north of Courselles with Commodore Depot Ships embarked.
Provided support and accommodation for crews of small
Available for bombardment duty if required.
20th After release from NEPTUNE took passage to rejoin Home
31st At Rosyth and withdrawn from operational
Nominated for service in Training Squadron at Rosyth.
August Passage to Clyde for refit.
September Under refit and conversion prior to
relieving HM Cruiser DAUNTLESS.
1 9 4 5
January Under refit
to Future deployment under
May Training requirement cancelled and ship
to reduce to Reserve status.
June Reducing to Reserve in Clyde.
P o s t W a r
N o t e s
HMS HAWKINS was later laid up at Falmouth in Category C Reserve and
placed on the Disposal List. She was
first used for target trials and sold
to BISCO for demolition by Arnott Young on 26th August 1947. The ship was towed to Dalmuir
on the Clyde and arrived at the breaker's
yard during December that year.
S p e c i a l N o t e
Details of escorts for WS Series convoys
was provided by Donald Kindell, Ohio USA from an unpublished
source. This is gratefully acknowledged.
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
Date convoy sailed
Joined convoy as escort
Date convoy arrived
(Note on Convoys)