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HMS Birmingham

HMS Birmingham


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HMS Birmingham

HMS Birmingham was the name ship of the Birmingham class of light cruisers, sometimes known as part of the Town class. She took part in all three of the main naval battles of the First World War in the North Sea.

When the war broke out Birmingham was part of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. The Navy’s first crucial duty during the war was the protection of the troop ships carrying the BEF to France. On 9 August, during this early phase of the war, the Birmingham rammed and sank the German submarine U 15 . In the same month she also sank two German merchantmen.

On 16 December she was part of the Light Cruiser squadron that took part in attempts to intercept the German ships that had attacked the Yorkshire Coast. She was one of two cruisers to actually engage the German light cruisers, but was forced to break off the chase after received a poorly worded signal.

She was present at Dogger Bank and Heligoland Bight with the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, but didn’t play a major part in either battle. In February 1915 she was moved to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, as flagship. In that role she was attacked by U 32 during a cruiser sweep on the North Sea (19 June 1915), without taking any damage. During the August 1915 search for the German mine layer Meteor the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron was posted between the Firth of Forth and the Skagerrak.

The Birmingham was present at the battle of Jutland with the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron. There she took part in the night battle, clashing with the German 4th Scouting Group. Along with her sister ship Nottingham she avoided German fire, and escaped the battle without suffering any casualties. After the battle she stayed with the damaged cruiser Southampton while repairs were carried out, reaching Rosyth twelve hours behind the main battlecruiser fleet.

Birmingham took part in the fleet sortie of 19 August 1916 that saw the loss of her sister ship Nottingham. Some confusion can arise in August 1917. At this point the American cruiser USS Birmingham arrived at Gibraltar to help protect convoys, but in the Official History of the War the American ship is mis-indexed as her British namesake.

In October 1917 HMS Birmingham was one of the cruisers deployed in the North Sea in an attempt to catch German ships known to be at sea. In the event those ships attacked a Scandinavian convoy and then escaped back to Germany in safety.

After the war Birmingham served as flag ship of the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron from 1919-20, entered the Nore Reserve during 1920-22 then returned to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron on the Africa Station, still as flagship, in 1923. She spent most of the rest of her career on overseas duties before been sold off in 1931.

Displacement (loaded)

6,040t

Top Speed

25.5kts

Range

4,140 nautical miles at 16kts

Armour – deck

1 ½in over steering gear
3/4in over machinery
3/8in elsewhere

- belt

2in armour on 1in plate

- conning tower

4in

Length

457ft

Armaments

Nine 6in guns
Four 3pdr guns
Two 21in submerged torpedo tubes (beam)

Crew complement

480

Launched

7 May 1913

Completed

February 1914

Sold for break up

March 1931

Captains

A. A. M. Duff (1914, 1915, 1916)

Books on the First World War |Subject Index: First World War


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Birmingham, a two-screw ship, was built at Elswick, launched on 7 May 1913 and completed on 30 January 1914. She joined the 1st … Ещё Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914, visiting Kiel in June that year.
On 9 August 1914, she spotted the U-15, whose engines had failed as she lay stopped on the surface in heavy fog, off Fair Isle. The crew of Birmingham could hear hammering from inside the boat from attempted repairs, and so fired on her but missed. As the U-boat began to dive, she rammed her, cutting her in two. U-15 went down with all hands, the first U-boat loss to an enemy warship.[1] Birmingham also sank two German merchant ships that year and took part in the Battle of Heligoland on 28 August, and the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915.
In February, she joined the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, attacking a u-boat on 18 June 1915 without success.
She also took part in the Battle of Jutland as a member of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, during which she sustained damage caused by splintering during the night of the battle.
After the First World War, she was flagship to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919-1920, after which she was transferred to the Nore from 1920-1922. Considered (with two other two shaft 'Towns') for conversion to a minelayer, but the idea was not pursued. She was recommissioned in November 1923 to the Africa Station with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron as Flagship, relieving Lowestoft. She then continued to serve in foreign stations until being sold in 1931

Birmingham C19 initially joined the 5th Cruiser Squadron on the China Station in January 1938. On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, she left for Malta for a refit before joining the Home Fleet in March–April 1940.

HMS Birmingham D86 was a Type 42 destroyer laid down by Cammell Laird and Company, Limited, at Birkenhead on 28 March 1972, launched on 30 July 1973 by Lady Empson, wife of Sir Derek Empson and commissioned on 3 December 1976. She was named for the city of Birmingham, England.
"The Brum" spent much of her useful life as Fleet Contingency Ship and spent considerable time in the post-Falklands conflict patrol role. In 1984 she patrolled the Falklands and acted as a radar picket ship along with the frigates Broadsword and Ajax. In 1985 she took part in Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, calling at Gibraltar, Palma de Mallorca, Naples, & Messina. On completion of de-ammunitionin g at Rosyth and being sent for a successful refit at Rosyth dockyard, she returned to Portsmouth in 1988 for sea trials and re-acceptance to the fleet. Commanded by Roy Clare, now Director of the Maritime Museum in London, her first deployment post-refit was a tour to the Persian Gulf region, returning in March 1989.
Birmingham D86 paid off at Portsmouth on 10 December 1999. I she was sold for scrap and left Portsmouth under tow for Spain on 20 October 2000.


HMS Dolphin (shore establishment)

The seventeenth Royal Navy vessel to be named HMS Dolphin was the Royal Naval shore establishment sited at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport. Dolphin was the home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service from 1904 to 1999, and location of the Royal Navy Submarine School.

HMS Dolphin closed as a submarine base on 30 September 1998, although the last RN submarine permanently based at Gosport was HMS Ursula which had left 4 years earlier in 1994. The Royal Navy Submarine School (RNSMS) remained at Dolphin until 23 December 1999 when it closed prior to relocation to HMS Raleigh. The RNSMS staff marched into HMS Raleigh and were welcomed on board by Commodore Lockwood on 31 January 2000. The RNSMS is located in the Dolphin and Astute blocks at Raleigh, although the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT), a 30m deep tank of water used to instruct all RN submariners in pressurised escape, remains at the same site, now renamed Fort Blockhouse.

The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is still sited nearby on Haslar Jetty Road next to Fort Blockhouse and Royal Naval Hospital Haslar.


HMS Birmingham - History

Royal Navy Log Books of the World War 1 Era

HMS BIRMINGHAM &ndash June 1919 to June 1921, UK out, Africa Station, return to UK

Edited by Caro, Old Weather Transcriber and Forum Moderator

HMS Birmingham (Photo Ships, click images to enlarge)

2nd Class/Light cruiser, Birmingham-class

Pendant Nos. 45 (1914), 16 (1.18), 28 (4.18). Launched 7.5.13 Armstrong. 5,440 tons, 457(oa), 430(pp)x50x16ft. Turbine 25000shp, 25.5kts. Armament: 9-6in, 1-3in AA, 2-21in tt. Armour: 3in sides, 2in deck. Complement: 480. 1st LCS 1914-15, 2nd LCS 1915-18. Battle Honour (and link to despatches, casualties, awards) Heligoland 28 Aug 1914, Dogger Bank 25 Jan 1915, Jutland 31 May 1916. Sold 5.2.31 Ward, Pembroke Dock. (British Warships 1914-1919)

Joined 1st Light Cruiser Squadron in 1914 and visited Kiel in June. Sank two German merchantmen in August 1914 and on 9 August rammed and sank U 15 in the North Sea. Dogger Bank action in January, then joined 2nd LCS as flagship in February 1915. Attacked unsuccessfully by U-boat on 18 June 1915. Suffered splinter damage at Jutland in night action. Flagship 6th LCS 1919-20, then Nore Reserve 1920-22. Commissioned November 1923 as Flagship 6th LCS, Africa Station, relieving Lowestoft. After further service on foreign stations sold in 1931. (Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-21)

British Isles Bases - Selected Charts

British Naval Bases Worldwide - Selected Charts

1. Latitude/longitude, including for days in port, show representative decimal positions for each day, as calculated by the Old Weather project's analysis program. As such, they differ by varying amounts from the positions recorded, usually at noon, in the log pages. In addition, some latitudes/longitudes have been amended in edited logs for errors in the logs, for errors in identifying locations by the analysis program, or simply for greater accuracy. In all cases, refer to the log-page scans for the positions as originally recorded. Not all log pages contain this information and the ships' positions have therefore often been estimated.

2. Full account of any day is available by clicking on the link above that day. Groups of links refer to log book covers and introductory information some may be blank.

THE VOYAGES OF HMS BIRMINGHAM 1919-1921

(Maps prepared using Journey Plotter, developed by Maikel. The Plots can only be approximate. They are made by joining-up positions on successive days, and sometimes positions are not given. There will therefore be occasions when the ship appears to have travelled overland)


HMS Birmingham (1913)

For other ships of the same name, see HMS Birmingham.

HMS Birmingham was lead ship of the Birmingham group of three ships of the "Town" class of light cruisers built by the Royal Navy. Her sister ships were Lowestoft and Nottingham. The three ships were virtually identical to the third group of "Town" ships, but with an additional 6 in (150 mm) gun worked in on the forecastle. Also refer to references below.

HMS Birmingham Belted Light Cruiser 1913

Birmingham was built at Elswick , launched on 7 May 1913 and completed in January 1914. She joined the 1st light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914, visiting Kiel in June that year.

Original Vintage Postcard with German stamps

HMS Birmingham in Kiel Harbour , Germany , June 29 1914

On 9 August 1914, she spotted the German submarine U-15 , whose engines had failed as she lay stopped on the surface in heavy fog, off Fair Isle . The crew of Birmingham could hear hammering from inside the boat from attempted repairs and so fired on her but missed. As the U-boat began to dive, she rammed her, cutting her in two. U-15 went down with all hands, the first U-boat loss to an enemy warship. Birmingham also sank two German merchant ships that year and took part in the Battle of Heligoland on the 28 August, and the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915.

HMS Birmingham, Commanded by Captain Arthur Duff, Ramming the German Submarine U15 on August 9th, 1914

Having swept away the periscope and conning tower of the German submarine U15 with a salvo of six shots from the Birmingham ’s guns, Captain Arthur Duff ordered the cruisers engines to be set at full speed. With a turn of the helm she was brought round with her bows pointing straight at the disabled submarine. Then dashing forward at 25 miles per hour the 5,400 ton cruiser rode into U15, which rolled over and sank to the bottom of the sea with its crew of three officers and twenty men.

Original Vintage German Postcard: Unterseeboot (literally undersea boat) in Fahrt (under way)

Right – reverse of postcard. written and sent by crew member of U 15 to an address in Berlin

(U-boat U-15 rammed & sunk by HMS Birmingham 1915 at Fair Isle.)

Original and unique postcard published and produced by Oscar Parkes .

Parkes was the Editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships until 1935.The image shows HMS Birmingham of the Royal Navy as a German salvo falls close alongside at the Battle of Jutland / Skagerrak . The ship is named with action detail below the image. On the back Parkes ’ pencil notation. Below is Oscar Parkes Biog .

In February 1915, she joined the 2nd Light Cruiser squadron, attacking a U-boat on 18 June 1915 without success.

She also took part in the Battle of Jutland as a member of the Second Light Cruiser Squadron, during which she sustained damage caused by splintering during the night of the battle.

After the First World War, she was flagship to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919-1920, after which she was transferred to the Nore (mouth of the Thames estuary) from 1920-1922. She was recommissioned in November 1923 to the Africa Station with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron as Flagship, relieving Lowestoft . She then continued to serve in foreign stations until being sold in 1931. She arrived at the yards of Ward, of Pembroke Dock, Wales on 12 March that year to be broken up.


HMS Birmingham torpedoed

This story is a transcript of a short diary kept by my father during the voyage.I hope that anyone who was on Birmingham can relate it to their own experiences.

Extract from Diary of Leading Seaman Thomas Nevin (1912-1965) during passage of HMS Birmingham from Scapa Flow to Alexandria, November 1943. Script transcribed from written notes.

Captain cleared lower deck- told us we were bound for Greenock, thence to await orders- no leave- great disappointment amongst crew- who expected at least a few days, especially as we were going on a foreign commission.

11.10am Weighed and put to sea. Wonder when and under what circs we shall see Scapa again? Not sorry to leave the place but guess we shall pine for it after a few weeks out East. Sea on beam- and rough as far as Cape Wrath. Once in Minches calmed down.

Arrived Greenock 0800- morning cold but fine. Little doing in forenoon. Pm went ashore- first run since Devonport on September 19th. Place very dead- everything closed. Managed to get hold of a few Christmas cards. Leave expired 2300. Quite a few chaps adrift. Good luck to them.

An uneventful day.
Leave to Port Watch- another crowd adrift. Number of passengers aboard including Admiral Cowie- a queer old bloke. Age 73- repatriated from Italy. Dressed in Commando uniform- rumour says his ambition is to die in action. He’s welcome to it!! Ship under sailing orders.

The fateful day at last. Weighed 0245 and left the Clyde. Saw coast of Northern Island when on deck at 0800. Know that coast like the back of my hand now. Sea fairly calm- slight swell- but this ship exaggerates the smallest ripple.

1200. Captain spoke to Ships Coy. Over S.R.E. Told us we were convoying 43 000 troops and supplies for Algiers, Alexandria and Bombay. Pursuing westerly course 600 miles out to avoid enemy a/c. Speed of convoy 13 knots. About 40 U-boats.
Recognised Reina Del Pacifico, Duchess of Bedford, Dempo (Dutch- convoyed her in April ’42 from L’pool), Ranchi, Orion, Highland Princess, Monarch of Bermuda.

Bad start to trip- 2 0f escort had to turn back- owing to defects. Sea becoming rough- feel sorry for troops on transports. Some lads on board feeling pretty dicky.

Sea calm- circled convoy, had good look at ships. Escort Spey joined us. That makes 5 not including us. “Progress Chart” informs us we have to go further west to avoid U-boats- putting 600 miles on our journey. Course about 270.

Sea calm. Turned back @ 0915 to await further escort Jed- but she didn’t arrive- did only 215. Unidentified a/c reported. I wonder did she spot us? Maybe “one of ours” on patrol. Innoculated- arm sore.

Jed arrived early this morning- oiled 2 escorts after much difficulty. Arm still sore.

Convoy (slow) northbound east of us attacked by 15 U-boats. One escort hit and towed to Azores. Notice weather becoming warmer having turned south Now about lat. of Southern France but about 600 or more miles out. Sea very calm but sky overcast. Oiled two more escorts.

Evening.
Slight swell maybe caused by lightening of about 600 tons of oil.

Fine, heavy sea running, 150 miles west of Azores- Jed sighted unidentified 4-engined plane- maybe Fortress or maybe? Expect to reach Gib about Tuesday. All told a very quiet day.

Beam wind and sea.
Northbound convoy attacked by long range flying boats carrying ‘Chase-me-Charlies’- two hits out of 16 (Sunday). Attack continued this morning. Sea moderated towards nightfall.

Fine-calm sea- left convoy 1800 and proceeded alone to Gib. Speed 26 Knots.

Arrived Gib 0800- very fine weather. Leave pm- went ashore and walked around- visited church of Our Lady the Crowned- very nice but too dark. Walked to border at La Linea but too dark to see anything particular. Saw signs of much poverty- especially among people of La Linea who come into Gib every day. Prices in town exorbitantly high- most of stuff just cheap trash e.g. 2/11d silk stockings at 12/6d pair. Who said war doesn’t pay.

Still in harbour contrary to expectations. Dempo (one of convoy) arrived in am. And discharged passengers.
PM. Ship under sailing orders. Left 2200 at 26 knots- destination either Port Said or Alexandria. Apparently we are to proceed alone- for which many thanks. Have to pass dangerous area (a/c attack) during next 36 hours.

Weather fine- sea calm- little to report. Evening- convoy ahead attacked by a/c. One ship which had joined convoy later (apparently off Gib) sunk- 700 survivors. 8 a/c shot down.

Sea calm- fine- in sight of land- stbd side- all day.

Fine- calm- speed 24 knots. Prayers on qtr deck for ship’s coy. Letter from schoolgirl in Brum- must answer it.

1118 On Watch- down aft. Terrific bump- ship lifted. Thought we had hit a mine. Went up on deck to see what had gone in TX. Found explosion was forward. Hands on watch stand fast- off watch to emergency stations. Carried on- ship OK but speed reduced by half. Carried on watch- apparently we had been struck by submarine torpedo.

1230. Found my mess had been hit. Someone’s prayers have been answered. Four of my mess mates have been killed- and one radar operator, so far as we know. Lord have mercy on them. Quite a few casualties, some serious but many caused by gas from frig. and batteries. Five dead- about five blown overboard. Don’t know how many are down in messdecks. Everyone on ship shaken. Tried to scrounge something to eat- no mess left for us.

Escort of 2 destroyers and about 10 planes (one of which dropped depth charges). Stand by for further attack. Stand to at dusk. 5 buried at sea. About 7o’clock action stations again- suspected submarine following us.

Ordered to join slow convoy ahead. Present speed 10-14 knots. A nerve-wraking night- never knowing what to expect next minute. Slept in clothes with life belt blown up.

Stand to at dawn- convoy ahead. Still making 10 knots.
Damage mostly in W/T and Signalmen’s mess- about 14 still down there. Hopes of chaps overboard being picked up. 5 in one and two messes- thank God their death must have been quick.
PM Speed reduced- joined convoy- danger of forecastle giving way. Signalled for destroyer stand by to take us in tow- managed to keep going. Good escort now.
Dusk- stand to- mine sighted. Captain spoke on SRE. Death roll 27. To reach Alex 0800.

Alexandria at last. Ship down about 12 feet by head…reach harbour safely. Expect to do temporary repairs here and proceed elsewhere for permanent one. Hope it is UK. Claimed for lost kit. Tried to get out remaining bodies but no success.

Can’t those chaps out of my head. Jump at slightest sound. I suppose I am beginning to feel reaction now. Ship’s coy. generally pretty subdued, especially our mess. Incidentally nearly everyone on Sunday complained of headaches. Two bodies got out- Hillier or a sparker. Coffined and taken to morgue. Apparently damage more sever than first estimated.

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Tartalomjegyzék

A háború kitörésekor hazarendelték a Távol-Keletről hazaúton Máltán apróbb javításokat végeztek rajta és feltöltötték a készleteit. Hazatértekor, 1940 márciusában csatlakozott a 18. Cirkáló Századhoz, és főleg Norvégia partjainál őrjáratozott vagy üldözte el a német halászhajókat. 1940 áprilisában részt vett a Norvégia megszállását megakadályozni hivatott szövetséges hadműveletekben. Április közepén a Birmingham, a HMS Manchester és a HMS Cairo katonákat szállítottak Norvégiába májusban viszont - ismét a Manchesterrel - 1500 katonát evakuáltak Åndalsnesből. Ezután hazatért és szeptembertől decemberig ismét javításon esett át.

1941 januártól áprilisig katonahajókat kísért a Jóreménység fokán keresztül a Közel-Keletre. Májusban ismét hazai vizeken szolgált és részt vett mind a Bismarck, mind a Prinz Eugen üldözésében. A Birmingham ezután a WS-9A konvojt kísérte Dél-Afrikába, ahova július 4-én biztonságosan meg is érkeztek. Ezután Simonstown-ban szárazdokkba vonult, hogy különböző javításokat végezhessenek rajta ekkor kapta meg a Type 284 (főfegyverzetet irányító) és 291 (légvédelmi) radarokat, illetve újabb légvédelmi fegyvereket.

Mikor végeztek a javításokkal 1942 februárban, a Birmingham-et áthelyezték a Távol-Keleti Flottához. Júniusban azonban ismét áthelyezték, ezúttal a Földközi-tengerre, a 4. Cirkáló Századhoz. Részt vett a Gibraltárról és Alexandriából Máltára tartó konvojok fedezésében, a "Harpoon"- és "Vigorous"-hadműveletekben. Márciusban 15 db német Ju 87-es támadta meg, és bár találatot nem kapott, a mellette felrobbanó bombák több helyen károkat okoztak. Szeptemberben ismét visszatért az Indiai-óceánra, ahol Madagaszkár visszafoglalásánál segítette a partraszálló szövetséges erőket. Novemberben a Mahajanga nyugati partjánál partra szálló 10. Tengerészgyalogos Brigád konvoját kísérte az akció helyszínére a levegőből a HMS Illustrious anyahajó gépei segítettek.

1943 áprilisában a Birmingham ismét egy javításon esett át Plymouth-ban, mely egészen októberig tartott, majd visszatért a Földközi-tengerre. November 28-án az U-407 megtorpedózta Cyrenaica partjai mellett. Súlyosan megsérült, de sikerült elérnie Alexandriáig, ahol ideiglenes javításokat végeztek rajta. A teljes javítást Norfolkban végezték el, 1944 júniustól novemberig ekkor szerelték ki az "X" lövegét (a hátsó kettő közül a feljebb lévő), hogy légvédelmi fegyverzetét megerősíthessék. Hazatérte után a 10. Cirkáló Századhoz osztották Scapa Flow-ba.

1945 májusában, mikor a háború már a végéhez közeledett, a Birmingham, a HMS Dido és több romboló elindult a Balti-tenger felé, hogy felszabadítsák a kikötőket. Az aknamezővel védett Skagerrak-tengerszoroson átjutva május 9-én értek Koppenhágába, ahol a Prinz Eugen és a Nürnberg is harc nélkül megadta magát. Május 13-án a HMS Devonshire váltotta le.

1948-ban a Birminghem a Dél-Atlanti Parancsnoksághoz került, majd áthelyezték a 4. Cirkáló Századhoz a Távol-Keleti Flotta kötelékébe. 1950-től egy két évig tartó korszerűsítésen esett át, melynek keretében új radartornyot kapott, a 4"-es (100 mm) lövegek irányításához 2 db Mark 6-os radart, melyeket a volt hangár sarkaira helyeztek ezen felül átalakították a parancsnoki hidat és légkondicionálóval is felszerelték, aminek köszönhetően alkalmas lett szolgálatra a trópusi vidékeken is. Ekkor korszerűsítették utoljára, mert túl öregnek tartották egy nagyobb mérvű átalakításhoz.

A javítás befejezése után visszakerült a Távol-Keletre, az 5. Cirkáló Századhoz. Részt vett a Koreai háborúban, ahol 1051 db 6"-es (152 mm) töltényt lőtt el. A Birmingham, a Newcastle és két fregatt segítségével sikerült több ezer koreait kimentenie az amerikai katonáknak a sziget északnyugati részéről.

1955-ben áthelyezték az 1. Cirkáló Századhoz a Földközi-tengerre. 1956-ban rajta forgatták a "The Baby and the Battleship", azaz "A csecsemő és a hadihajó" című filmet. Még ugyanebben az évben ismét filmesek lepték el, méghozzá a "River Plate-i csata" forgatása miatt. A filmben látható egy 1931-ben festett full aktkép, a The Bane, melyet a Birminghami Szépművészeti Múzeum adott kölcsönbe a hajónak. Ez az 1957-es Cannes-i Filmfesztiválon hosszú ideig beszédtéma volt.

1957 júniusában egyike volt annak a hét hajónak, ami részt vett a Törökország Fekete-tengeri kikötőinél végzett hadgyakorlaton, mely ellen a Szovjetunió erősen tiltakozott. 1959 májusában összeütközött a HMS Delight rombolóval Máltánál két tengerész halt meg, miután füstmérgezést kaptak mikor a hajó víz alatti részének sérüléseit kutatták.

1959. december 3-án szerelt le Plymouth-ban. Ez volt az utolsó az osztályából, amely ekkor még szolgálatban volt. 1960 márciusában selejtlistára került, szeptember 7-én pedig megérkezett T. W. Ward bontótelepére Inverkeithing-be. A hajó egyik jelvénye még mindig látható annak a Simonstown-i szárazdokknak a falán, ahol 1941-ben javításon esett át.

Ez a szócikk részben vagy egészben a HMS Birmingham (C19) című angol Wikipédia-szócikk fordításán alapul. Az eredeti cikk szerkesztőit annak laptörténete sorolja fel. Ez a jelzés csupán a megfogalmazás eredetét jelzi, nem szolgál a cikkben szereplő információk forrásmegjelöléseként.


HMS Birmingham torpedoed

This story is a transcript of a short diary kept by my father during the voyage.I hope that anyone who was on Birmingham can relate it to their own experiences.

Extract from Diary of Leading Seaman Thomas Nevin (1912-1965) during passage of HMS Birmingham from Scapa Flow to Alexandria, November 1943. Script transcribed from written notes.

Captain cleared lower deck- told us we were bound for Greenock, thence to await orders- no leave- great disappointment amongst crew- who expected at least a few days, especially as we were going on a foreign commission.

11.10am Weighed and put to sea. Wonder when and under what circs we shall see Scapa again? Not sorry to leave the place but guess we shall pine for it after a few weeks out East. Sea on beam- and rough as far as Cape Wrath. Once in Minches calmed down.

Arrived Greenock 0800- morning cold but fine. Little doing in forenoon. Pm went ashore- first run since Devonport on September 19th. Place very dead- everything closed. Managed to get hold of a few Christmas cards. Leave expired 2300. Quite a few chaps adrift. Good luck to them.

An uneventful day.
Leave to Port Watch- another crowd adrift. Number of passengers aboard including Admiral Cowie- a queer old bloke. Age 73- repatriated from Italy. Dressed in Commando uniform- rumour says his ambition is to die in action. He’s welcome to it!! Ship under sailing orders.

The fateful day at last. Weighed 0245 and left the Clyde. Saw coast of Northern Island when on deck at 0800. Know that coast like the back of my hand now. Sea fairly calm- slight swell- but this ship exaggerates the smallest ripple.

1200. Captain spoke to Ships Coy. Over S.R.E. Told us we were convoying 43 000 troops and supplies for Algiers, Alexandria and Bombay. Pursuing westerly course 600 miles out to avoid enemy a/c. Speed of convoy 13 knots. About 40 U-boats.
Recognised Reina Del Pacifico, Duchess of Bedford, Dempo (Dutch- convoyed her in April ’42 from L’pool), Ranchi, Orion, Highland Princess, Monarch of Bermuda.

Bad start to trip- 2 0f escort had to turn back- owing to defects. Sea becoming rough- feel sorry for troops on transports. Some lads on board feeling pretty dicky.

Sea calm- circled convoy, had good look at ships. Escort Spey joined us. That makes 5 not including us. “Progress Chart” informs us we have to go further west to avoid U-boats- putting 600 miles on our journey. Course about 270.

Sea calm. Turned back @ 0915 to await further escort Jed- but she didn’t arrive- did only 215. Unidentified a/c reported. I wonder did she spot us? Maybe “one of ours” on patrol. Innoculated- arm sore.

Jed arrived early this morning- oiled 2 escorts after much difficulty. Arm still sore.

Convoy (slow) northbound east of us attacked by 15 U-boats. One escort hit and towed to Azores. Notice weather becoming warmer having turned south Now about lat. of Southern France but about 600 or more miles out. Sea very calm but sky overcast. Oiled two more escorts.

Evening.
Slight swell maybe caused by lightening of about 600 tons of oil.

Fine, heavy sea running, 150 miles west of Azores- Jed sighted unidentified 4-engined plane- maybe Fortress or maybe? Expect to reach Gib about Tuesday. All told a very quiet day.

Beam wind and sea.
Northbound convoy attacked by long range flying boats carrying ‘Chase-me-Charlies’- two hits out of 16 (Sunday). Attack continued this morning. Sea moderated towards nightfall.

Fine-calm sea- left convoy 1800 and proceeded alone to Gib. Speed 26 Knots.

Arrived Gib 0800- very fine weather. Leave pm- went ashore and walked around- visited church of Our Lady the Crowned- very nice but too dark. Walked to border at La Linea but too dark to see anything particular. Saw signs of much poverty- especially among people of La Linea who come into Gib every day. Prices in town exorbitantly high- most of stuff just cheap trash e.g. 2/11d silk stockings at 12/6d pair. Who said war doesn’t pay.

Still in harbour contrary to expectations. Dempo (one of convoy) arrived in am. And discharged passengers.
PM. Ship under sailing orders. Left 2200 at 26 knots- destination either Port Said or Alexandria. Apparently we are to proceed alone- for which many thanks. Have to pass dangerous area (a/c attack) during next 36 hours.

Weather fine- sea calm- little to report. Evening- convoy ahead attacked by a/c. One ship which had joined convoy later (apparently off Gib) sunk- 700 survivors. 8 a/c shot down.

Sea calm- fine- in sight of land- stbd side- all day.

Fine- calm- speed 24 knots. Prayers on qtr deck for ship’s coy. Letter from schoolgirl in Brum- must answer it.

1118 On Watch- down aft. Terrific bump- ship lifted. Thought we had hit a mine. Went up on deck to see what had gone in TX. Found explosion was forward. Hands on watch stand fast- off watch to emergency stations. Carried on- ship OK but speed reduced by half. Carried on watch- apparently we had been struck by submarine torpedo.

1230. Found my mess had been hit. Someone’s prayers have been answered. Four of my mess mates have been killed- and one radar operator, so far as we know. Lord have mercy on them. Quite a few casualties, some serious but many caused by gas from frig. and batteries. Five dead- about five blown overboard. Don’t know how many are down in messdecks. Everyone on ship shaken. Tried to scrounge something to eat- no mess left for us.

Escort of 2 destroyers and about 10 planes (one of which dropped depth charges). Stand by for further attack. Stand to at dusk. 5 buried at sea. About 7o’clock action stations again- suspected submarine following us.

Ordered to join slow convoy ahead. Present speed 10-14 knots. A nerve-wraking night- never knowing what to expect next minute. Slept in clothes with life belt blown up.

Stand to at dawn- convoy ahead. Still making 10 knots.
Damage mostly in W/T and Signalmen’s mess- about 14 still down there. Hopes of chaps overboard being picked up. 5 in one and two messes- thank God their death must have been quick.
PM Speed reduced- joined convoy- danger of forecastle giving way. Signalled for destroyer stand by to take us in tow- managed to keep going. Good escort now.
Dusk- stand to- mine sighted. Captain spoke on SRE. Death roll 27. To reach Alex 0800.

Alexandria at last. Ship down about 12 feet by head…reach harbour safely. Expect to do temporary repairs here and proceed elsewhere for permanent one. Hope it is UK. Claimed for lost kit. Tried to get out remaining bodies but no success.

Can’t those chaps out of my head. Jump at slightest sound. I suppose I am beginning to feel reaction now. Ship’s coy. generally pretty subdued, especially our mess. Incidentally nearly everyone on Sunday complained of headaches. Two bodies got out- Hillier or a sparker. Coffined and taken to morgue. Apparently damage more sever than first estimated.

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HMS Birmingham (1913)

A HMS Birmingham a Brit Királyi Haditengerészet egyik Town osztályú könnyűcirkálója volt. Ez a hajó volt a Birmingham-alosztály névadó hajója. Szintén a Birmingham-alosztályba tartozott még a Lowestoft, a Nottingham és az Adelaide könnyűcirkáló is. Ezek a hajók szinte teljesen megegyeztek a Chatham-alosztály hajóival, de eggyel több 152 mm-es ágyúval rendelkeztek, amely a hajó orrán foglalt helyet.

  • 9 db 152 mm-es ágyú
  • 1 db 76 mm-es légvédelmi ágyú
  • 4 db 47 mm-es ágyú
  • 2 db gépágyú
  • 2 db 533 mm-es torpedóvető cső

A HMS Birmingham az Armstrong Whitworth Elswick-i hajógyárában épült, ahonnan 1913. május 7-én bocsátották vízre, majd 1914 januárjában befejezték az építését. 1914-ben csatlakozott a Nagy Flotta 1. könnyűcirkáló rajához. 1914 júniusában a hajók látogatást tettek a németországi Kielben.

1914. augusztus 9-én, a Fair-sziget partjainál, a Birmingham észrevette a felszínen úszó német U-15 tengeralattjárót, amely a motorja meghibásodása miatt nem merült le. A brit hajó legénysége hallotta a tengeralattjáró belsejéből kiszűrődő zajokat, amik arra utaltak hogy a németek megpróbálják megjavítani az U-bootjukat, ezért a Birmingham lőni kezdte a német egységet. Ezt követően az U-15 merülni kezdett, de a brit könnyűcirkáló nekiment a németeknek és félbevágta a tengeralattjárót. Az U-15 teljes legénységével együtt süllyedt el. Ez volt az első U-boot, amit ellenséges hajó semmisített meg. Ugyanebben az évben, a Birmingham még két német kereskedőhajót is elsüllyesztett, valamint részt vett az augusztus 28-i helgolandi csatában. 1915 januárjában a doggerbanki csatánál szintén jelen volt a Birmingham.

1915 februárjában a könnyűcirkáló csatlakozott a 2. könnyűcirkáló rajhoz, amellyel június 18-án sikertelenül megtámadott egy ellenséges tengeralattjárót.

Szintén ezen raj tagjaként vett részt a jütlandi csatában, amely során meg is sérült.

A háború után, 1919 és 1920 közt a Birmingham lett a 6. könnyűcirkáló raj zászlóshajója. Ezt követően átkerült Nore-ba, ahol 1920 és 1922 közt tartózkodott. 1923-ban ismét használatba vették, és afrikai vizekre küldték. Itt a HMS Lowestoft-tól vette át a 6. könnyűcirkáló raj zászlóshajójának szerepét. Ezt követően még egészen eladásáig, 1931-ig szolgált külföldi állomáshelyeken. Pályafutása 1931. március 12-én ért véget, mikor megérkezett a Thos W Ward Pembroke Dock-i hajóbontójába.


Watch the video: Birmingham Soccer Team Visits HMS Birmingham At Portsmouth 1938 (June 2022).


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