Allied Warships

HMS Curlew (D 42)

Light cruiser of the Ceres class


HMS Curlew before her reconstruction to Anti-Aircraft cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassCeres 
PennantD 42 
Built byVickers (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
OrderedApr 1916 
Laid down21 Aug 1916 
Launched5 Jul 1917 
Commissioned14 Dec 1917 
Lost26 May 1940 
Loss position67° 32'N, 16° 37'E
History

HMS Curlew was rearmed as Anti-Aircraft cruiser before the war.

HMS Curlew (Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN) was sunk in Lavangsfjord, Ofotfjord near Narvik, northern Norway in position 67º32'N, 16º37'E by German bombers.  

Commands listed for HMS Curlew (D 42)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, RN23 Aug 193926 May 1940

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Notable events involving Curlew include:


17 Apr 1940
Troopship Chrobry departed Lillesjona for Namsos to land more troops and stores together with the troops that had been put on board the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Matabele (Cdr. G.K. Whitmy-Smith, RN) and HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN). The newly arrived AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) went in with the Chrobry and the five destroyers while HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN) remained at sea while the other AA cruiser, HMS Cairo (Capt. P.V. McLaughlin, RN), was sent north to Skjel Fjord to fuel. The Empress of Australia was ordered to return to the U.K. escorted by HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and the destroyers HMS Vanoc (Lt.Cdr. J.G.W. Deneys, RN) and HMS Whirlwind (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Rodgers, RN). HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) was also initially have to been part of this escort but she had run aground while on A/S patrol off Lillesjona around 0130 hours and had been damaged. She was detached soon after departure for the Tyne where she was to undergo repairs. Shortly before Highlander was detached she forced a German submarine to dive which enabled the convoy to pass unharmed.

At 0200/18 unloading of the Chrobry was halted and she went out to sea again with 170 tons of stores still onboard. She had to clear the area before daylight and the expected air attacks. She was to return the next night. Chrobry indeed succeeded in landing her remaining stores in the evening of the 18th. She then took on board a cargo of timber and set course for the U.K. escorted by HMS Sikh and HMS Mashona. HMS Matabele and HMS Curlew meanwhile had gone back to the U.K. for fuel. HMS Manchester was also on her way back home but was ordered to return to assist a French convoy that was next to land troops at Namsos. HMS Manchester could not be back in time to assist in the landings but course and speed were adjusted so as to meet the convoy at sea and escort it on the return passage. HMS Manchester joined the convoy in the evening of the 20th and remained with it until off the Shetlands the next day after which she was detached and set course for Scapa Flow. HMS Cairo had meanwhile also returned after fueling at Skjel Fjord and assisted the French during the landings. Cairo then returned to the U.K. bolstering the escort of the French convoy. (1)

23 Apr 1940
Around 1230/23, the aircraft carriers, HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral L.V. Wells, CB, DSO, RN) and HMS Glorious (Capt. G. D’Oyly-Hughes, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations of central Norway. They were escorted by the heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN), AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fearless (Cdr. K.L. Harkness, RN), HMS Fury (Cdr. E.W.B. Sim, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, RN) and HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN).

In the evening HMS Glorious flew off eighteen Gladiators to Norway which were to be used in the air defense of the Aandalsnes and Molde area.

On the 24th air operations were carried out flew missions over Aandalsnes. All aircraft returned safely to the aircraft carriers. Two Skuas crashed landed near the carriers on their return. Their crews were rescued by destroyers.

The carrier force then proceeded to an area between Namsos and Trondheim and at 0300/25 the carriers flew off aircraft to attack the Vaernes airfield and other enemy military targets in the Trondheim area. Both aircraft lost four aircraft, some of the crews were picked up by destroyers.

At 0725/26 the destroyer screen parted company to proceed to Sullom Voe to refuel. They arrived at Sullom Voe at 2130/26 and departed again to rejoin the force at 0400/27. They had been relieved at 0700/26 by a group of destroyers coming from the Narvik area, these were; HMS Grenade (Cdr. R.C. Boyle, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Escort (Lt.Cdr. J. Bostock, RN), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Wright, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN).

During flying operations on the 26th two aircraft were lost.

During flying operations on the 27th also two aircraft were lost.

At 2100/27, HMS Glorious parted company with the force and proceeded to Scapa Flow escorted by the destoyers HMS Hasty, HMS Grenade, HMS Fury, HMS Fortune, HMS Escort and HMS Encounter. They arrived at Scapa Flow at 1800/28.

On the 28th, aircraft from HMS Ark Royal carried out another air raid on the Trondheim area. One aircraft was lost. During this raid the force was now made up of HMS Ark Royal, HMS Berwick, HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) (joined around 1200/28), HMS Curlew (parted company around 1600/28), HMS Fearless, HMS Hereward, HMS Hyperion and HMS Juno.

At 2100/29, HMS Sheffield parted company.

At 0630/30, HMS Glorious departed Scapa Flow to rejoin HMS Ark Royal at sea. Shortly after departure replacement aircraft were flown on. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Beagle, HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN), HMS Acheron (Lt.Cdr. R.W.F. Northcott, RN) and HMS Volunteer. HMS Volunteer however developed defects and was soon detached to Sullom Voe arriving there at 2230/30. Defects proved to be of such nature that she had to return to Scapa Flow for repairs. HMS Glorious and her remaining escorting destroyers joined the Ark Royal group around 1030/1.

At 0400/30 HMS Juno was detached from the screen of HMS Ark Royal and proceeded to Sullum Voe with defects. At Sullom Voe ammunition was transferred to HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) which then proceeded to take her place in the destroyer screen of HMS Ark Royal. HMS Juno then proceeded to Scapa Flow for repairs arriving there at 1800/1.

Around 1100/30, the battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Fury HMS Fortune HMS Escort and HMS Encounter joined coming from Scapa Flow which they had departed at 2100/29.

Around 1820/1, the force came under heavy German air attack but no damage was done.

At 2000/1, Capt. Holland assumed command of HMS Ark Royal from Capt. Power while the ship was at sea.

At 2100/1, HMS Hyperion and HMS Beagle were detached to Sullom Voe. HMS Hereward had already been detached around 1900/1. HMS Hereward arrived at Sullom Voe at 1240/2 followed aby HMS Hyperion at 2215/2. HMS Beagle proceeded to Scapa Flow arriving there at 0630/3.

HMS Ark Royal, HMS Glorious, HMS Valiant, HMS Berwick, HMS Acheron, HMS Antelope, HMS Encounter, HMS Escort, HMS Fearless, HMS Fortune, HMS Fury and HMS Kimberley arrived at Scapa Flow around 1030/3. (2)

4 May 1940
The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (Capt. C.S. Holland, RN), AA cruiser, AA cruiser HMS Curlew (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN), HMS Mashona (Cdr. W.H. Selby, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. L.P. Skipwith, RN) and HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN) departed Scapa Flow for operations off Norway.

At 0640/7, HMS Encounter and HMS Jaguar were detached to fuel at Harstad. They returned at 2000/7 at which time HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar were detached to fuel at Harstad.

HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar rejoined at 1054/8. Later that day, at 1737/8, HMS Inglefield and HMS Mashona were sent to Harstad to fuel.

At 0902/9, HMS Inglefield and HMS Mashona rejoined. At 1315/9, HMS Jaguar was detached to Harstad. At 2253/9, HMS Encounter was detached to Harstad.

At 0225/10, HMS Jaguar rejoined followed by HMS Encounter at 1703/10 at which time HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar were detached for Harstad.

At 1355/11, HMS Sikh and HMS Tartar rejoined and HMS Mashona and HMS Jaguar were detached with orders to proceed to Scapa Flow.

At 1304/13, HMS Curlew and HMS Inglefield were detached to fuel at Harstad.

At 0830/14, HMS Inglefield rejoined. At 1338/14, the destroyers HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) joined. At the same time HMS Inglefield and HMS Sikh were detached with orders to proceed to Scapa Flow while HMS Encounter was detached to Harstad. At 1350/14, HMS Curlew rejoined but she left again at 2057/14.

At 0615/15, HMS Encounter rejoined. HMS Tartar parted company on the 15th, also to fuel at Harstad (no time given).

At 0703/16, HMS Westcott parted company to proceed to Harstad. At 1044/16, HMS Tartar rejoined. At 1800/16, HMS Volunteer was detached to fuel at Harstad.

At 2100/17, HMS Volunteer rejoined from Harstad.

At 0200/18, the destroyer HMS Brazen (Lt.Cdr. Sir M. Culme-Seymour, RN) joined. At 1445/18, the destroyer HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. R.T. White, RN) joined. At 1800/18, HMS Encounter was detached to oil. HMS Tartar was detached on this day (no time given).

At 1612/19, HMS Encounter rejoined. At 1900/19, HMS Volunteer parted company to oil at Harstad.

At 1830/20, HMS Volunteer rejoined and HMS Brazen was detached to oil at Harstad.

At 1928/21, HMS Brazen rejoined.

Around 2345/22, HMS Volunteer and HMS Encounter lost touch in thick fog. They only rejoined at 1523/23, after the fog had cleared.

At 0455/24, HMS Antelope was detached followed by HMS Brazen at 1518/24. HMS Ark Royal, HMS Volunteer and HMS Encounter arrived at Scapa Flow around 1915/24.

Sources

  1. ADM 53/112663 + ADM 186/798
  2. ADM 199/376 (+ ADM 53/111432 and ADM 53/111433)

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


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