Effingham file photo

HMS Effingham

CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassHawkins-class Heavy Cruiser
Hull NumberD98
BuilderPortsmouth Dockyard, England, United Kingdom
Laid Down6 Apr 1917
Launched8 Jun 1921
Commissioned2 Jul 1925
Sunk18 May 1940
Displacement9750 tons standard; 12190 tons full
Length605 feet
Beam65 feet
Draft20 feet
MachineryTen Yarrow-type oil-fired water-tube boilers, Brown-Curtis geared steam turbines, Four shafts
Bunkerage2,186 tons oil
Power Output56000 SHP
Speed29 knots
Range5,400nm at 14 knots
Crew800
Armament9x6in guns, 3x4x0.5in machine guns, 4x21in torpedo tubes
Armor1.5-3in main belt, 1.5-2in upper belt, 1.5in upper deck, 1-1.5in main deck, 1-2in gun shields

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

HMS Effingham was the last of the Hawkins-class cruisers having been commissioned in Jul 1925 after much delay. In the late 1920s, she was the flagship of the Far Eastern Squadron at East Indies Station, and then she was placed in reserve in 1932. In the mid-1930s, as war seemed likely in Europe, she was reactivated for modernization, which took place between Sep 1936 and Jun 1938 at Devonport, Devon, England. Her boilers were reduced from 12 to 10, and the remaining boilers were retubed; this reduced her power to 56,000 shaft horsepower and lowered her top speed to 29 knots. Instead of two funnels, she had only one after the modernization, and in the space previously occupied by the after funnel she received a catapult and a space for a Walrus aircraft (which would never be equipped). Her previous primary armament of seven 7.5-inch guns was changed to nine 6-inch guns, and she had an array of anti-aircraft weapons added. The torpedo tubes below the water line were removed, but her four above-water torpedo tubes remained in place. She was recommissioned into service in 1939 just in time for the European War. In the opening chapters of WW2, as the flagship of the Northern Patrol Force, she patrolled the North Atlantic. Between Jan and Mar 1940, she was put into Portsmouth for retubing; during this time she also received a new catapult and additional anti-aircraft weapons. After escorting a convoy transporting gold to Canada, she was dispatched to Norway, where she provided gunfire support for ground troops at Narvik.

At 0400 hours, HMS Effingham departed Harstad, Norway with 1,020 troops, 10 Bren Gun Carriers, and 130 tons of supplies on board for Bodø, Norway, which was roughly 80 miles or 130 kilometers to the south. She was under the command of Captain J. M. Howson, and the group she belonged to was under the overall command of Rear-Admiral G. Vivian in HMS Coventry. En route, at 1948 hours, she hit the southern edge of the Faksen Shoal and slowly settled on even keel. Captain Howson attempted to beach the ship to save the lives of the over 1,000 passengers on board; although Rear-Admiral Vivian countermanned the order, fearing that beaching the ship would lead to German capture, steering power was lost shortly after, rendering Howson unable to follow his superior's order. The ship drifted in the mild wind, and an attempt to tow was made. Ultimately, she was grounded several miles off Bodø. All of the passenger and crew were rescued by other ships in the group. As a German aircraft appeared on the horizon (which was chased off by two Skua aircraft from HMS Ark Royal), Vivian feared that the Germans would react soon, thus HMS Effingham was torpedoed and sunk in 30 feet of water by destroyer HMS Matabele at 0800 hours on 18 May. Three days later, the British Admiralty released an official statement noting that the sinking was caused by a collision with an uncharted rock, which was untrue, and as a result of this statement Rear Admiral Vivian, who led the group into the shoal area at a high speed, became blameless for the sinking. In Oct 1943, she was photographed by an American aircraft from USS Ranger.

The wreck of HMS Effingham remained off the coast of Bodø undisturbed, uninterested by Germans. She was salvaged by Høvding Skipsopphugging after 1945.

Sources:
Richard Wright, "The Stranding, Grounding and Destruction of HMS Effingham, 1940", Warship 2011
Wikipedia

HMS Effingham Operational Timeline

6 Apr 1917 HMS Effingham was laid down at Portsmouth Dockyard, England, United Kingdom.
8 Jun 1921 HMS Effingham was launched.
2 Jul 1925 HMS Effingham was commissioned into service.
17 May 1940 HMS Effingham departed Harstad, Norway with 1,020 troops, 10 Bren Gun Carriers, and 130 tons of supplies on board for Bodø, Norway. En route, she hit the southern edge of the Faksen Shoal off Bodø, Norway and was seriously damaged.
18 May 1940 HMS Effingham was scuttled by torpedo after suffering serious damage incurred on the previous day after striking the Faksen Shoal off Norway.
21 May 1940 An official British Admiralty communiqué noted that "[t]he Secretary of the Admiralty regrets to announce that as the result of damage sustained through striking an uncharted rock off the Norwegian coast, HMS Effingham (Captain JM Howson, RN), has become a total loss".
27 Jul 1940 A Board of Enquiry was held regarding the sinking of HMS Effingham two months prior.

Photographs

HMS Effingham at anchor in Norway, 16 May 1940




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Alan says:
    14 Oct 2011 06:49:37 AM

    HMS Effingham was transporting the South Wales Borderers, their equipment and Bren-gun carriers, when she ran aground on the Faksen shoal whilst hurrying round Harstad to Bodo on the 17/18th May 1940. The troops were successfully transferred to other ships and all returned to Harstad. The Tribal Class destroyer HMS Matabele (which torpedoed the Effingham)needed substantial repairs as she too had ran aground on the shoal but had managed to get herself off, whilst the bigger Cruiser had become stuck fast. During the repairs at Falmouth Matabele’s ‘X’ mounting was replaced with twin 4-in AA. The work being completed by mid-August 1940.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Start of the Battle of the Atlantic
» Invasion of Denmark and Norway

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Heavy Cruiser HMS Effingham (D98) Photo Gallery
HMS Effingham at anchor in Norway, 16 May 1940




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