Allied Warships

HMS Cheshire (F 18)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 18 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched20 Apr 1927 
Commissioned30 Oct 1939 
End service9 Jun 1943 

On 29 August 1939 the passenger ship Cheshire of the Bibby Brothers & Co, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 30 October 1939.

Displacement: 10552 BRT
Armament: 6x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 15.5 knots

November 39 - April 40: South Atlantic Station
May 40: North Atlantic Escort Force
June 40 - October 40: Northern and Western Patrol
November 40 - April 41: Northern and Western Patrol
May 41 - November 41: Freetown Escort Force
December 41 - April 43: South Atlantic Station
May 43 - June 43: Nore Command

On 9 June 1943 returned and used as troopship by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), later as repatriation ship. On 5 October 1948 returned to owner.


Hit by U-boat
Damaged on 14 Oct 1940 by U-137 (Wohlfarth).
Damaged on 18 Aug 1942 by U-214 (Reeder).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the HMS Cheshire

Commands listed for HMS Cheshire (F 18)

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

1Capt. (retired) Mountague Robert Bernard, RN30 Aug 1939late 1940

2Capt. (retired) James Millar Begg, RN10 Mar 1941Apr 1942
3A/Cdr. John Martin Ashley, RNApr 1942May 1942
4A/Capt. Humfrey Greenwood Hopper, RNMay 194210 Nov 1942
5A/Capt. (retired) Robert Douglas King-Harman, DSO, DSC, RN10 Nov 1942Jun 1943

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Notable events involving Cheshire include:

13 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Portsmouth. She was part of the ocean escort of convoy SL 16F together with Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cheshire (Capt. (Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN).

Besides the escort the convoy was made up of 12 British merchant ships; Adda (7816 GRT, built 1922), Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Baronesa (8663 GRT, built 1918), City of Nagpur (10146 GRT, built 1922), Cordillera (6865 GRT, built 1920), Cumberland (10939 GRT, built 1919), Mahia (10014 GRT, built 1917), Mary Slessor (5027 GRT, built 1930), Orari (10350 GRT, built 1931), Port Sydney (9129 GRT, built 1914), Raranga (10043 GRT, built 1916) and Scientist (6198 GRT, built 1938).

The destroyers departed the convoy on the 20th and then proceeded to Gibraltar. On the 24th the destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, RN) and sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN) took over the escort from the HMS Cheshire and HMS Severn which then proceeded to Plymouth and Portsmouth respectively where they both arrived on the 26th. (1)

14 Oct 1940
At 21.28 hours on 14 October 1940 HMS Cheshire (Capt. M.R. Bernard (retired), RN) was struck by one torpedo from German U-boat U-137 northwest of Ireland. She reached Liverpool but had to be laid up for repairs for six months.

18 Aug 1942
At 18.52 hours on 18 August 1942 German U-boat U-214 fired four torpedoes at the convoy SL-118 from between the columns and claimed the sinking of four ships totalling 20,000 grt. In fact, one torpedo damaged HMS Cheshire (A/Capt. H.G. Hopper, RN) another sank the Hatarana and two torpedoes sank the Balingkar.


  1. ADM 199/2572

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

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