Allied Warships

HMS Colombo (D 89)

Light cruiser of the Carlisle class


HMS Colombo in June 1943

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassCarlisle 
PennantD 89 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
OrderedJul 1917 
Laid down8 Dec 1917 
Launched18 Dec 1918 
Commissioned18 Jun 1919 
End service 
History

Converted to Anti-Aircraft cruiser between June 1942 and March 1943.
Armament was modified to;
6 4" AA guns (3x2)
4 40mm AA (2x2)
14 20mm AA (6x2, 2x1)

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 22 January 1948.
Scrapped by Cashmore, Newport arriving on 13 May 1948.

 

Commands listed for HMS Colombo (D 89)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Richard James Rodney Scott, RN31 Jul 19398 Feb 1940
2Capt. Charles Alfred Evelyn Stanfield, RN8 Feb 194028 Aug 1941
3Capt. Cecil Charles Acland Allen, RN28 Aug 194122 Apr 1942
4Capt. William Power Carne, RN22 Apr 194211 Jun 1942

5Capt. Derrick Henry Hall-Thompson, RN20 Feb 194312 Jan 1944
6Capt. Herbert Wyndham Williams, RN12 Jan 19441 Mar 1944
7Capt. Christopher Theodore Jellicoe, DSO, DSC, RN1 Mar 194416 Dec 1944
8A/Capt. Kenneth Mark Lefebre Robinson, RN16 Dec 1944mid 1945
9A/Capt. George Lee-Morris, RNVR1 Jul 1945late 1945

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Notable events involving Colombo include:


17 Nov 1939
The German merchant Henning Oldendorff (3986 GRT) is captured south-east of Iceland in position 63°00'N, 10°45'W by the British light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN).

23 Nov 1939

Sinking of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi

Around midday on 21 November 1939 the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, escorted by the light cruisers Köln and Leipzig and the destroyers Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim, Z 12 / Erich Giese and Z 20 / Karl Galster, departed Wilhelmshaven for a raid into the North Atlantic, this was to relieve the pressure of the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee operating in the South Atlantic. Late on the 21st the escorts left the battlecruisers.

Just after 1500 hours on 23 November the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Kennedy, RN) sighted the Scharnhorst. Rawalpindi was part of the British Northern Patrol and was stationed south-east of Iceland in the Iceland-Faroe gap. Captain Kennedy at first tried to outrun the German ship, to report to the Admiralty that he sighted the German pocket battleship Deutschland, still believed to be operating in the North Atlantic, and to buy time so that other ships of the Northern patrol could come to his assistance. Just after 1600 hours, Rawalpindi came within range of the Scharnhorst and was quickly reduced to a flaming wreck. During this engagement Scharnhorst was hit by a 6in shell from Rawalpindi causing only light damage. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau together picked up 27 survivors from the Rawalpindi which finally sank around 2000 hours.

The British light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt J. Figgins, RN), that was also part of the Northern Patrol, picked up Rawalpindi's signal and closed the scene. She sighted the Gneisenau but the Germans managed to escape in the fog.

The Admiralty also thought the ship sighted by Rawalpindi and Newcastle was the Deutschland that was trying to return to Germany. In response to the sighting and destruction of the Rawalpindi the Admiralty took immediate action;
The battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN, flying the flag of Admiral J.M. Forbes, KCB, DSO, RN) HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) departed the Clyde to patrol of Norway to cut off the way to Germany for the Deutschland.

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Orkney and Shetland islands.

Light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) was sent from Loch Ewe to the last known position of the German ship(s).

On northern patrol, south of the Faroes were the light cruisers HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clark, RN), HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN). These were joined by HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN) and HMS Diomede (Capt. E.B.C. Dicken, RN).

Of the ships of the Denmark strait patrol, the heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, MVO, DSO, RN) were ordered to proceed to the Bill Bailey Bank (to the south-west of the Faroe Islands).

The light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) were already at sea patrolling north-east of the Shetlands were to be joined by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN).

The light cruisers HMS Calypso (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN) and HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) were stationed off Kelso Light to act as a night attack striking force. The destroyers HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Ashanti (Cdr. W.G. Davis, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN) and HMS Punjabi (Cdr. J.T. Lean, RN) had just departed Belfast on escort duties. They were ordered to join Admiral Forbes. The ships they were escorting were ordered to return to Belfast.

The destroyers HMS Tartar (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Holland-Martin, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN) and HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN) departed Scapa Flow with orders to locate and shadow the German ships. HMS Tartar however had to return to Scapa Flow the next day due to a damaged rudder. The other two destroyers were ordered to join HMS Aurora which was to form a strike group of destroyers.

Despite the British effort to intercept the German ships, both German battlecruisers returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 27th.

10 Dec 1939

Convoy TC 1.

This convoy of troopships departed Halifax at 0510 hours on 10 December 1939 for the Clyde where it arrived on 17 December 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following troopships / liners; Aquitania (British, 44786 GRT, built 1914, carrying 2638 troops), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928, carrying 1312 troops), Empress of Australia (British, 21833 GRT, built 1914, carrying 1235 troops), Empress of Britain (British, 42348 GRT, built 1931, carrying 1303 troops) and Monarch of Bermuda (British, 22424 GRT, built 1931, carrying 961 troops),

Close escort was provided on leaving Halifax by the battleship HMS Resolution (Capt. O. Bevir, RN) and the Canadian destroyers HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.N. Creery, RCN), HMCS Ottawa (Capt. G.C. Jones, RCN), HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. W.B.L. Holms, RCN) and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN). These Canadian destroyers remained with the convoy until 12 December 1939 when they set course to return to Halifax.

Cover for the convoy was provided by the battlecruiser HMS Repulse (Capt. E.J. Spooner, DSO, RN), aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. de Villiers, RN) and HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicholson, RN). At dusk on the 10th both destroyers were detached to join the local escort. They returned to Halifax with the Canadian destroyers.

Early on the 15th, HMS Emerald was detached, HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) had joined the cover force in the afternoon of the 14th to take her place.

When the convoy approached the British isles, the destroyers HMS Eskimo (Cdr. St.J.A. Micklethwait, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), HMS Somali (Capt. R.S.G. Nicholson, DSC, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Khartoum (Cdr. D.T. Dowler, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) departed the Clyde on the 12th to sweep ahead of the convoy. HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN) was also to have sailed but was unable to join. HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) was sailed in her place and later joined the other destroyers at sea.

After German warships had been reported in the North Sea, and concerned for the safety of convoy TC.1, Admiral Forbes, departed the Clyde on the 13th to provide additional cover with the battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMS Barham (Capt. H.T.C. Walker, RN), battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. I.G. Glennie, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.J. Whitworth, CB, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, RN), HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN), HMS Imperial, HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) and HMS Foxhound (Lt.Cdr. P.H. Hadow, RN). The destroyers HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN) and HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN) sailed from Loch Ewe and later joined this force at sea. Three cruisers from the Northern Patrol were ordered to patrol in position 53°55’N, 25°00’W to provide cover for the convoy. These were the heavy cruisers HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN), HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN).

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Shetlands and the Faroes.

The destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN) departed Rosyth and proceeded north at high speed to try to cut of the enemy warhips if they were to enter the Atlantic.

The light cruisers HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN), HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN), HMS Delhi (Capt L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO, RN), HMS Diomede (Capt. E.B.C. Dicken, RN) which were on the Northern Patrol were to concentrate near the Faroes where they were joined by HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN) and HMS Dragon (Capt. R.G. Bowes-Lyon, MVO, RN) which were on passage to their patrol stations.

Nothing happened and the convoy arrived safely in the Clyde on 17 December 1939. (1)

19 Sep 1940

Convoy BN 5A.

This convoy departed Bombay on 19 September 1940 for Suez where it arrived on 29 September 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Empress of Japan (British, 26032 GRT, built 1930), Orion (British, 23371 GRT, built 1935) and Ormonde (British, 14982 GRT, built 1917).

On departure escort was provided by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.A.E. Stanfield, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. F.E. Getting, RAN).

The Ormonde was not ready to depart on the 19th and she departed one day later with orders to overtake the convoy. Until she made rendez-vous with the convoy she was escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Antenor (Capt.(Retd.) D.I. McGillewie, RN).

The convoy arrived off Aden on 25 September and HMS Kanimbla was relieved as escort by the light cruiser HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D. McCarthy, RN), AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN).

Light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) had also been with the convoy (briefly) but parted company on 26 September 1940.

On 27 September the southbound convoy SW 1 was sighted and the destroyers HMS Kandahar, HMS Kimberley and sloop HMS Flamingo joined that convoy as escorts. The convoy then continued northwards escorted by HMS Ajax and HMS Coventry.

Çonvoy BN 5A arived at Suez safely on 29 September 1940. (2)

23 Dec 1941
In the morning, the US troop transport Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) was detached to meet with the Britsh light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) and then to proceed to Aden. The cruiser however failed to show up on the rendez-vous and the Mount Vernon then proceeded to Mombasa.

HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) and the remaining four ships of convoy WS 12X continued on towards Bombay. (3)

24 Dec 1941

Convoy WS 12Z.

[Part from Durban to their final destinations.]

This convoy departed Durban on 24 December 1941 and was split into three sections near Mombasa on 2 January 1942.

On departure from Durban the convoy was made up of the following troopships / transports; Abbekerk (Dutch, 7906 GRT, built 1939), Adrastus (British, 7905 GRT, built 1923), Aorangi (British, 17491 GRT, built 1924), Aronda (British, 8328 GRT, built 1941), Capetown Castle (British, 27002 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (British, 7516 GRT, built 1930), Duchess of Bedford (British, 20123 GRT, built 1928), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929), Empire Star (British, 13479 GRT, built 1935), Empress of Asia (British, 16909 GRT, built 1913), Indrapoera (Dutch, 10825 GRT, built 1925), Narkunda (British, 16632 GRT, built 1920), Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch, 36287 GRT, built 1938), Orduna (British, 15507 GRT, built 1914) and Sussex (British, 11062 GRT, built 1937).

The convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) until it was split up on 30 / 31 December 1941 into convoy's WS 12ZA, WS 12ZB and DM 1. HMS Royal Sovereign then proceeded to Port Victoria, Seychelles where she arrived on 2 January 1942.

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Convoy WS 12ZA was formed on 31 December 1941 and was made up of troopships / transports; Aronda, Eastern Prince, Nieuw Amsterdam and Orduna. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. C.C.A. Allen, RN) which had brought out the US troop transport USS Oziraba (6937 GRT, built 1918) from Mombasa.

Convoy WS 12ZA was dispersed off Aden on 4 January 1942.

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Convoy WS 12ZB was formed on 31 December 1941 and was made up of troopships / transports; Adrastus, Capetown Castle, Deucalion, Duchess of Bedford, Empire Star, Empress of Asia, Empress of Japan, Indrapoera and USS Oziraba. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. P.C.W. Manwaring, RN).

Convoy WS 12ZA arrived at Bombay on 6 January 1942.

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Convoy DM 1 split off from convoy WS 12Z on 30 January 1942 and was made up of troopships / transports; Abbekerk, Aorangi, USS Mount Vernon, Narkunda and Sussex. They were escorted by the light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) which had brought out the US troop transport Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932) from Mombasa.

Convoy DM 1 arrived at Addu Atoll (Port T) on 4 January 1942. It departed from there, with a strengthened escort, for Singapore on 5 January 1942.

Convoy DM 1 arrived at Singapore on 13 January 1942. (4)

12 May 1943
HMS Syrtis (Lt. M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises in the Clyde area during which HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) served as the target. (5)

Sources

  1. ADM 199/367 + ADM 199/393
  2. ADM 199/383
  3. ADM 53/114140
  4. ADM 199/408
  5. ADM 173/18159

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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