Light cruiser HMS Chatham

The light cruiser HMS Chatham belonged to the same ship class, which consisted of three ships for the Royal Navy and three ships for the Australian Navy.


Launching and design:

The three light cruisers of the Chatham class were a subcategory of the Town class. In contrast to the predecessor ships of the Weymouth class, the waterline armor has now been reinforced, but the deck armor has been reduced slightly.

The main armament served eight 6-inch (152 -mm) single guns, which were provided with a shield and now far enough apart that a hit could not set several guns at the same time out of action.

The launching of the HMS Chatham took place on 3 January 1911, the commissioning on 9 November 1911.



HMS Chatham


HMS Chatham




History of HMS Chatham:

After the commissioning and the test drives the ship was first assigned to the second battle squadron.

In July 1913, the transfer was made to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron of Home Fleet and end of 1913 in the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean.




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, HMS Chatham was used to monitor the German ships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau deployed in the Mediterranean. The ship sailed from 2 to 6 August 1914 mainly from the Sicilian north coast. On August 4, the German freighter Golden Rock could be applied. In September, the Chatham moved to the Red Sea to intercept German merchant ships there.

After the protected cruiser HMS Pegasus was sunk in front of Zanzibar on 20 September 1914 by the German light cruiser SMS Königsberg, the British Navy Ministry ordered the laying of some modern British cruisers in this area to find and sink the German ship. This included the HMS Chatham.

Searching for the German ship, the Chatham crew was able to find a receipt for a coal shipment to the Königsberg on October 18, 1914 while searching the German merchant ship Präsident in the port of Lindi, thus finding their location. The ship reported the location immediately and drove itself in the direction of the Rufiji delta, where the German ship was. It was discovered on October 30, 1914. Since no intervention of the Chatham was possible because of the draft and the short range, the ship had to wait for more British warships.

In early 1915, the HMS Chatham had to Bombay in the yard to make urgent reparations and overhaul. Afterwards, the ship returned to the Rufiji Delta until it was ordered back to the Mediterranean in May.

From 19 February 1915, the landing at Gallipoli began. The Chatham should support from late May, the troops deployed there by their artillery. Until early January 1916, the ship remained there until the last troops had to be withdrawn again. Subsequently, the transfer to the United Kingdom in the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet.

In a patrol voyage on 26 May 1916, the ship sailed off the coast of Norfolk on a sea mine and was badly damaged. The reparation lasted until early August 1916, so that the ship could not be used for the Battle of the Skagerrak.

On 19 August 1916 was another thrust, but had to be canceled when it was reported that the light cruiser HMS Nottingham was sunk by a German submarine. On the way back of the sinking the squadron was also attacked by German submarines. Here, the light cruiser HMS Falmouth was also sunk. HMS Chatham was involved in the rescue of the survivors.

Until the end of the war, the ship had no further enemy contacts.




Use after the war:

After the war, HMS Chatham was decommissioned in 1919 and assigned to the Nore Reserve.

When the New Zealand government decided to build its own New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy, the HMS Canterbury and HMS Chatham were offered for sale by the British government. The New Zealand government chose the Chatham.

From the beginning of August 1920, the ship was overhauled and partially modernized and returned to service on 11 September 1920 for the New Zealand Division. On January 26, 1921, the ship reached Auckland. Following was a round trip to present the new navy of the population.

In May 1924, the HMS Chatham was replaced by the HMS Dunedin and returned to the service of the Royal Navy. It was allotted to the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron at East Indies Station.





In November 1925, HMS Chatham returned to the UK, where it was decommissioned in Devonport.

On July 13, 1926, the sale to the Ward company, who scrapped the ship in Pembroke dock.




Ship data:


HMS Chatham


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Light cruiser


(Subcategory Chatham-class)


Chatham Dockyard




January 3, 1911


November 9, 1911


Sold on July 13, 1926 and scrapped at Pembroke Dock


139,38 meters


15,25 meters


Max. 4,8 meters


Max. 6.000 tons


429 - 540 men


12 Yarrow steam boilers

4 Parsons steam turbines
on 4 waves


25.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

25,5 kn




8 × 6 "/ 50 BL Mk XI
(15,2 cm L / 50)

4 × 3 Pdr 1,85 "/ 50 QF
(4,7 cm L / 50)

4 machine guns

2 × Torpedo tubes 21 "(533 mm)


Deck 50-76 mm

Slopes 20 mm

Command tower 102 mm






You can find the right literature here:


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.

The well-publicized problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament, and armor, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full color. This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.

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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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