|Ship Class||Danae-class Light Cruiser|
|Laid Down||24 Jan 1917|
|Launched||29 Dec 1917|
|Commissioned||16 Aug 1918|
|Decommissioned||16 Jul 1944|
|Sunk||20 Jul 1944|
|Displacement||4850 tons standard|
|Armament||5x152mm, 1x102mm, 8x40mm 2pdr pom-pom AA, 12x20mm AA, depth charge launcher|
|Commssioned by Polish Navy||15 Jan 1943|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseDragon was commissioned in Aug 1918 with six 6-inch guns as primary weapons. She served in the Russian Civil War as a part of a task force aiding the Latvian Army against the Red forces in Oct and Nov of 1919. On 27 Nov 1923, she left Devonport, Britain with the Special Service Squadron for a world cruise as a show of British naval power; she visited British possessions in Africa, India, South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South America. In 1928, she was placed in reserve. As tension built up in Europe in the 1930s, she was modernized and reactivated for service. At the start of WW2, she patrolled the Shetland Islands area against German submarines as a part of the 7th Cruiser Task Force. In Nov 1939, she joined in the pursuit of German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. On 16 Sep 1940, she captured the Vichy-French destroyer Touareg, and 8 days later participated in Operation Menace against Vichy-French forces at Dakar in western Africa, sinking the French submarine Persee and bombarding the port. In Dec 1939, she hunted for the German raider Admiral Scheer. Between Jan and Nov 1941, she escorted convoys in the Atlantic Ocean. In Jan 1942 and May 1942, she operated in Ceylon and Madagascar, respectively. In Jun 1942, she took a long six-month journey back to Liverpool, Britain for refurbishment.
ww2dbaseOn 15 Jan 1943, Dragon was transferred to the Polish Navy. The Polish Navy recommissioned her with the same name, though in the Polish language "dragon" had a different meaning, dragoon. She was modernized in the Camell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead, Britain with new electric plant, radar, and armament. Between Aug 1943 and early 1944, she moved to Scapa Flow, and from there she escorted convoys with her new Polish crew, including one to Murmansk. After training for amphibious operations, she bombarded German shore installations at Colleville-sur-Orne and Trouville off Sword Beach during the Normandy invasion at the distance of 4-km; a near miss by a German 105-mm shore battery gun wounded three sailors. During the evening of 6 Jun, she moved off Juno Beach and supported the ground troops with her guns. On the following day, she shelled German positions in and near Caen, France. On 8 Jun, a communication system failure prevented her from continuing bombardment operations for most of the day. Late that night, after repairs of communication systems, she resumed the bombardment against the German 21st Panzer Division near Varaville, France. On 9 Jun, she exchanged shells with a shore battery at Houlugatte, France. After refitting, she returned off the Normandy coast and bombarded Caen, Gouneville, Lebisey, and Varaville between 12 and 17 Jun. On 18 Jun, she escorted battleship Nelson to Portsmouth, England, Britain. On 7 Jul 1944, she returned to the Normandy coast for the final bombardment of Caen, but was struck by a German manned torpedo at 0540 in the morning of 8 Jul before the bombardment began. The explosion started a fire in the third magazine, which had to be flooded, causing her to list to the port side, which was corrected by turning all her turrets to starboard.
ww2dbaseThe damage sustained off Normandy was extensive but repairable, but due to her age, it was decided that the ship was to be abandoned. She was abandoned on 10 Jul, disarmed on 15 Jul, decommissioned on 16 Jul, and towed to the Mulberry harbor near Courseulles on 20 Jul, where she was scuttled to form part of the breakwater.
Last Major Revision: Aug 2007
HMS Dragon Operational Timeline
|16 Aug 1918||Dragon was commissioned into service.|
|16 Jul 1944||Dragon was decommissioned from service.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943