Allied Warships

HMNZS Leander (75)

Light cruiser of the Leander class

NavyThe Royal New Zealand Navy
TypeLight cruiser
Built byDevonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.) : Vickers Armstrong (Newcastle-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered18 Feb 1930 
Laid down1 Aug 1928 
Launched13 Jul 1929 
Commissioned23 Jul 1931 
End service8 May 1944 

The Royal Navy light-cruiser HMS Leander was loaned to the New Zealand Division from 30 April 1937 until 8 May 1944. At this time she was repairing and refitting at Boston in the USA. HMS Leander returned to service on 27 August 1945.

Decommissioned by the Royal Navy in February 1948.
Sold to be broken up for scrap on 15 December 1949.
Scrapped at Blyth on 15 January 1950.

Career notesReturned to the Royal Navy as HMS Leander

Commands listed for HMNZS Leander (75)

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1Capt. James William Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN14 Nov 19361 Jan 1940
2Capt. Henry Edward Horan, RN1 Jan 194028 Nov 1940
3Capt. Robert Hesketh Bevan, RN28 Nov 194026 Nov 1942
4Cdr. Stephen Wentworth Roskill, RN26 Nov 19425 Feb 1943
5Capt. Cecil Aubrey Lawson Mansergh, RN5 Feb 194330 Sep 1943
6Cdr. Stephen Wentworth Roskill, RN30 Sep 1943Feb 1944
7A/Cdr. Leslie Palmer Brindley, RNFeb 1944Dec 1944

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Notable events involving Leander include:

4 Jun 1940
At 1640 hours (zone -2), HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.J.L. Murray, DSO, OBE, RN) arrived at Port Sudan. Here Rear-Admiral Murray transferred his flag to HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN).

HMS Liverpool then departed Port Sudan for Alexandria at 2140 hours. She was to join the Mediterranean Fleet. (1)

27 Feb 1941
HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) sank the Italian armed merchant cruiser Ramb I (3667 GRT, Lt.Cdr. Bonezzi) west of the Maldives Islands in position 01°00'N, 68°30'E after a short gun duel. 103 men were captured.

23 Mar 1941
HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) intercepts and captures the Vichy-French merchant Charles L.D. (5267 GRT) in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius and Madagascar.

22 Jul 1941
Around 2100 hours, the Mediterranean Fleet, made up of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth (Capt. C.B. Barry, DSO, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. C.E. Morgan, DSO, RN), light cruisers HMS Naiad (Capt. M.H.A. Kelsey, DSC, RN), HMS Phoebe (Capt. G. Grantham, RN), HMS Neptune (Capt. R.C. O'Conor, RN), fast minelayers HMS Abdiel (Capt. E. Peydell-Bouverie, MVO, RN), HMS Latona (Capt. S.L. Bateson, RN) and the destroyers HMS Griffin (Cdr. J. Lee-Barber, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Havock (Lt. G.R.G. Watkins, RN), HMS Jackal (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, DSC, RN), HMS Kimberley (Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, DSO, RN), HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, RAN) departed Alexandria to proceed to a position to the west of Crete.

Earlier that day the light cruisers HMS Ajax (Capt. E.D.B. McCarthy, DSO, RN), HMNZS Leander (Capt. R.H. Bevan, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, DSO, RN) and HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, DSO, DSC, RN) had departed Haifa to rendez-vous with the fleet at 0600/23.

At daylight on 23 July the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (A/Cdr. W. Pope, RN) also joined the fleet.

After dark on 23 July the fleet turned eastwards. HMS Neptune, HMS Abdiel and HMS Kimberley were then detached with orders to proceed to Port Said where they arrived on 24 July.

On the 24th HMNZS Leander was also detached with orders to proceed to Port Said where she arrived on 25 July.

Also on the 24th HMS Latona, HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar and HMS Kandahar were detached to proceed towards Alexandria for escort duty.

The bulk of the fleet returned to Alexandria on 25 July. (2)

13 Jul 1943
During the Battle of Kula Gulf, HMNZS Leander (Capt. C.A.L. Mansergh, DSC, RN) is torpedoed by Japanese warships. Leander is severely damaged with an engine room, a boiler room and a 4-inch gun destroyed. After making temporary repairs Leander proceeded to Boston, USA for major restoration and a refit.


  1. ADM 53/112610 + ADM 199/383
  2. ADM 199/415

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

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