Light cruiser HMS Caledon

The light cruiser HMS Caledon belonged to the cruisers of the C-Class and formed the type ship of the Caledon subcategory.


Launching and design:

The construction of the C-class cruiser was begun in 1913. The plan included 28 light cruisers, divided into seven subcategories. The HMS Caledon thereby formed the type ship of the Caledon class.

The first subgroups formed the Caroline, Calliope, Cambrian and Centaur classes, followed by the Caledon class. These were improved models of the previous Centaur class, which is why they were also dubbed as Improved Centaur.

At the form especially the bow was changed, since in the predecessor models this was quite deep, could be washed over by water and thus the front weapons partly could not be used any more. Although now the bug was set a little higher, but a significant improvement did not result.

The main armament served five 6-inch guns, with four stood on the fore ship between bridge and chimney and the last on the lower quarterdeck section. The torpedo armament was strengthened and now consisted of eight tubes in four sets of twins on deck.

The launch of the HMS Caledon took place on 25 November 1916, the commissioning on 6 March 1917.



HMS Caledon after conversion to the air defense cruiser




Use in the war:

After the commissioning and the test drives the HMS Caledon was assigned to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron. With this squadron, the ship also participated on 17 November 1917 at the second naval battle near Heligoland. The German minesweepers, who wanted to recover the British mines, were driven out by the Caledon and the HMS Calypso at the beginning of the fight. The further battle led the larger warships on both sides, as their range was well above those of light cruisers. The HMS Caledon received however a hit of the German SMS Kaiser, whereby five crew members died.

After the subsequent reparation work, the ship carried out security tasks until the end of the war.

After the German Empire capitulated, one of the provisions was to intern the German High Seas Fleet to Scapa Flow in the UK. The HMS Caledon belonged to the British warships, which accompanied the German ships on the way there.




Use after the war:

After the First World War, the HMS Caledon became the flagship of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron and was relocated to the Baltic Sea in 1919 to replace together with other warships the British ships operating there to protect the Baltic States from the Russian Civil War.

In the first half of 1922, the Caldon had to be used to Ireland to block supply lines of the insurgents. In the second half it ran into the eastern Mediterranean to protect British interests in the war between Turkey and Greece.

At the beginning of 1923, Lithuanian volunteers occupied the Memelland under French League of Nations administration, but the Caledon was sent to the region but did not intervene.

On 17 August 1926, the ship was put out of service for the first time and overhauled until 5 September 1927 and partially modernized. Subsequently, it was put back into service and assigned to the 3rd Kreuzergeschwader and ordered to the Mediterranean. There it came in January 1928 to a collision with the Italian cargo ship Antares, whereupon the Caledon went first to Malta and then to Devonport to be repaired.

Until June 1939, the ship was predominantly in the Mediterranean, at times in the United Kingdom for reparation work or conversion work.



Bug of HMS Caledon after the collision in the Mediterranean




Use in the Second World War:

When World War II broke out, the HMS Caledon was assigned to the 7th Cruiser Squadron and monitored parts of the North Sea, so that no German ships came through to Germany. Also merchant ships were stopped and searched for goods for Germany, which were then confiscated. This action was part of the British naval blockade against Germany to hit both the military and the civilian population.

After on 23 November 1939, the British auxiliary cruiser Rawalpindi was sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the Caledon participated in the search for the two ships. Due to bad weather and some resulting damage, the search had to be stopped and repaired.

After the ship was repaired, it was assigned to the 7th Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean to fight after the entry into the war of Italy against France and Great Britain, against the Italian Navy. It was sunk on 12 June 1940, the sister ship HMS Calypso by an Italian submarine, the Caledon was involved in the recovery of the survivors.

Until mid-1942, the HMS Caledon remained in the eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea and participated in the protection of British convoys or in the fighting against Italian ships. When the British troops had to evacuate Berbera from 14 to 19 August 1940, the ship took in soldiers, civilians and wounded.

In July 1942, the HMS Caledon was ordered back to Britain. There, the ship, as well as the other remaining cruisers of the C-Class in air defense cruiser to be rebuilt. The conversion began on September 14, 1942 and was completed on December 7, 1943.

After working in the position of an air defense cruiser, the ship moved back to the Mediterranean, where Alexandria was used from March 1944 as a base. The Caledon should protect the Allied convoys against attacks by the German Air Force.

In August 1944, the HMS Caledon secured together with the, also to the air defense cruiser converted HMS Colombo, two American, two British escort and six US destroyers the landing of the Allies in southern France.

In preparation for the Battle of Athens in Greece, the Caledon was relocated to the Aegean Sea in October 1944. As of December, not only were attacks on the German Wehrmacht carried out, but also positions of the communist resistance movement of Greece (E.L.A.S.) were fired on. When Greece was considered freed in February, the Caledon was withdrawn and arrived in March 1945 in Great Britain in Falmouth.





After arriving at Falmouth, the ship was decommissioned as the end of the war loomed and the ship was no longer needed.

In January 1948, it was finally sold and scrapped in Dover.




Ship data:


HMS Caledon


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Light cruiser

From December 1943:
Antiaircraft cruiser


(Subgroup Caledon-Class)


Cammell Laird, Birkenhead




November 25, 1916


March 6, 1917


Sold in January 1948 and scrapped in Dover


137,2 meters


13,03 meters


Max. 5 meters


Max. 4.950 tons


400–437 men


6 Yarrow boiler

2 Parsons geared turbines


40.000 PS (29.420 kW)

Maximum speed:  

29 kn (54 km/h)




5 × 152 mm Mk.XII rapid-fire gun

2 × 76 mm L/45 Mk.I anti-aircraft gun

4 × 47 mm Hotchkiss salute gun

4 × 2 torpedo tubes ∅ 533 mm


from December 1943 as anti-aircraft cruiser:

3 × 2 102 mm Mk XVI

2 × 2 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun Mk.III L/56

6 × 2 20 mm Oerlikon machine guns


Side armor: 38-76 mm

Deck: 25 mm

Shields: 25 mm

Bulkheads: 25 mm

Command bridge: 76 mm






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British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One Hardcover – November 15, 2012

This new edition of a classic work on British battleships is the most sought after book on the subject. Containing many new photographs from the author's exhaustive collection this superb reference book presents the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. Beginning with Dreadnought, all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

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The British Battleship: 1906-1946

The British Battleship: 1906-1946 Hardcover – October 15, 2015

Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

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British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

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British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

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