Cumberland file photo [4501]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassCounty-class Heavy Cruiser
Laid Down18 Oct 1924
Launched16 Mar 1926
Commissioned23 Feb 1928
Decommissioned1 Jun 1946
Displacement10,000 tons standard
Length630 feet
Beam68 feet
Draft16 feet
MachineryParsons geared or Brown Curtis steam turbines, 4 shafts, 8 boilers
Power Output80,000 SHP
Speed31 knots
Range10,400nm at 11 knots
Armament8x8in guns, 8x4in AA guns, 16x 2pdr pom-pom guns
Armor3-5in sides, 4in deck, 1.5-2in gunhouses
Final Decommission1959


ww2dbaseCumberland was a County-class heavy cruiser of the Kent-subclass. For the most of the 1930s, she served off China with the 5th Cruiser Squadron. At the start of the European War, she was sent to Force G off South America. In late 1939, she had to self-refit in the Falkland Islands, which led to the remainder of Force G, Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles, to face German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee on their own at the Battle of the River Plate on 13 Dec 1939; after receiving the message of the engagement, she reached the River Plate at 2200 on 14 Dec, after Admiral Graf Spee had already reached shelter at Montevideo. In 1941, Cumberland served off North Africa. In Oct 1941, she joined the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Home Fleet, escorting convoys to Russia until Jan 1944. In mid-1944, she was transferred to the Indian Ocean as a part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron of the Eastern Fleet. After the war, she returned to Britain on 12 Nov 1945. After several runs as a troop transport, she was placed in reserve between Jun 1946 and 1949. After refitting at His Majesty's Dockyard at Devonport, England, Britain, he was reactivated in 1951 as a trials cruiser to test new equipment. In 1956, partially disarmed, she portrayed herself in the film The Battle of the River Plate. In Jan 1959, as the oldest active ship in the Royal Navy, she was decommissioned. She was broken up by A. J. Cashmore beginning on 3 Nov 1959 at Newport, Wales, Britain.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2007

Heavy Cruiser Cumberland Interactive Map

Cumberland Operational Timeline

23 Feb 1928 Cumberland was commissioned into service.
18 Jul 1940 HMS Cumberland departed Simonstown, near Cape Town, South Africa in search for the German armed merchant cruiser Thor, suspected to be off the Brazilian coast.
15 Jun 1943 HMS Cumberland arrived at Thurso, Scotland, United Kingdom.
1 Jun 1946 Cumberland was decommissioned from service.


HMS Cumberland (left), HMS Obdurate (second from left), HMS Belfast (third from left), and HMS Faulknor (right) in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia, 27-28 Feb 1943Cumberland in Grand Harbour, Malta, 8 Jan 1946

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Sheila Reap says:
2 May 2010 05:45:48 AM

I am finding the information on the HMS Cumberland interesting. I do believe my father was on that ship. Is there anyway I can find out? yours sincerely.
2. Fay Kennedy says:
6 Sep 2010 01:25:59 AM

My father was a stoker on the Cumberland during WW2. He is 87years of age and I would like to have a photograph of the cruiser and a book on it to give him as a present. Can you help?
3. Cec Lowry says:
1 Nov 2010 05:40:46 AM

My uncle was on the Cumberland during the 30's and 40's. I am only now trying to find out more. I have an original postcard of the ship from that time. If anyone would like a copy, let me have an e mail address.
4. Roger Key says:
12 Dec 2010 10:19:11 AM

My father Robert william Key was on HMS Cumberland at the Battle of the River Plate
5. Wendy Cumner says:
7 Jul 2012 12:13:45 AM

My father Leonard Carter was also on HMS Cumberland at the Battle of the River Plate. He is now 90 years of age but still remembers much about his time onboard and many of his ship mates.
6. Carol Logan says:
3 Jan 2013 02:03:47 AM

My Father was on the Cumberland, Horace Underwood also at the battle of the River Plate
7. Anonymous says:
19 Apr 2013 02:42:53 AM

My late husband served on hms Belfast, Cumberland and Resolution as well as Duchess and Encounter. I know he participated on arctic convoy opperations and would very much like to know which of these ships it was likely to be. He worked in the gun turret and his name was William Harry Finch. He joined the navy in 1932 as a boy at HMS Gangees,Shotly, and left in 1957. Can you help please? yours Eileen Finch
8. David M Sergeant says:
9 May 2013 11:12:11 AM

My father was on the HMS Cumberland . He was a signalman . He went to Simonstown and it was as a result of his going there that made him want go and settle in South Africa I see mention HMS Belfast is that the one that is in London ?? When we lived in Port Elizabeth SA My father had some photos of the Graff Spey going down and when the film Battle of the River Plate .was shown and they were displayed outside the cinema. My father told me stories but I cant remember all as I am now 70 yrs old now Thanks David Sergeant
9. Tara Tough says:
25 May 2013 11:24:35 AM

My grandfather, William Tough was a stoker on the HMS Cumberland & the HMS Tarantula. I have pictures he took from his time serving on these ships(30's, 40's). Pictures of each boat on the water. Picture of a trophy cup won by the HMS Cumberland in 1931 (Yokohama Bowl at Wei-Hai-Wei). Picture of the crew of the HMS Tarantula(not sure what year).
10. John Bowles says:
31 May 2013 06:19:09 PM

My grandfather John Bowles joined in 1942 and served on HMS Cumberland he spent 14 years in the navy and was a leading signalman. He died on 27th May 2013 aged 86 RIP I also have information on Peter Bowles and Sidney Bowles both also served in the navy during the war
11. brian wilde says:
4 Jun 2013 11:58:11 AM

My father Arthur Wilde was a RM Bandsman on the Cumberland from 1939-1943. I knew that he was at the battle of the river plate.But he never ever mentioned that he was on the Cumberland for the arctic convoys.
12. Michael McDonnell says:
30 Jul 2013 10:38:23 PM

I am trying to write the story of the late husband of my elder sister to give to her on her 90th birthday on 6 August 2013 I do have some details about the time of his service on the Cumberland but would really like to have any personal details and b ackground about the time of his service from June 1939 to October 1943 when he was on the Cumberland . His name was Chief Ordnace Articifer John Frederick Terence MOSS born in Middlesborough. Any information grealy appreciated.
13. Pam Richardson says:
11 Sep 2013 08:00:12 AM

We believe our uncle Arthur Potts was on board but have very little information. We think he was a stoker.
14. Faye Holloway says:
19 Sep 2013 01:28:51 PM

My grandad Sidney Holloway was a Stoker on the HMS Cumberland. He was awarded the Burma Star.
15. Faye Holloway says:
20 Sep 2013 12:25:44 PM

I found out today that my grandad was actually an Engine Room Artificer onboard the HMS Cumberland. His funeral was today and he had a lovely Burma Star send off.
16. Christine Butler says:
8 Oct 2013 06:32:18 AM

My father, Leonard Harry Farrow,now deceased, was on the Cumberland during 1942 , he was a Chief Petty Officer would love any information.
17. Tara Tough says:
6 Nov 2013 05:27:24 PM

I now have my grandfather's service records. William Tough was a Stoker 1st Class on the HMS Cumberland from Feb 1930-Jan 1933(5th Cruiser Squadron, China Station). Was on the rowing team that won the Yokohama Bowl at Wei-Hai-Wei 1931. (I have a pic of trophy). Also I have a picture of the gravesite of a fellow shipmate of my grandfather which reads: "In Memory Of James Platt Stoker 1st Class HMS Cumberland Died at Wei Hai Wei 10th July 1930 Aged 27 years. Erected By His Shipmates" If anyone knows this person?
18. Jane Rose says:
26 May 2014 10:49:59 AM

My Dad was on the Cumberland, he was a chief stoker, i have an old photo of him in uniform and a photo of the ship.
19. Jane Rose says:
20 Jun 2014 12:50:25 AM

I didn't put my dad's name above its John Colwell. If anyone finds any information I would be grateful. I know he was also on the Cumberland battle ready at the river Plait. I only have a photo of him in his uniform when he was on the Pembroke I think training and one of the Cumberland ship. He has sadly passed away now, but I would love to find out if anyone else knew him. Thanks
20. Anonymous says:
4 Aug 2014 02:37:52 AM

I have a large painting of H.M.S. Cumberland, dated 1928. I also recently acquired an album of photographs taken by a crew member (most likely and officer) in China during 1933 and 1934, including some gruesome ones of executions. I am putting together a collection of items relating to H.M.S. Cumberland
21. Geoff Blake says:
11 Aug 2014 08:33:52 PM

My father Nelson Blake served on the Cumberland in 1942 when it was on Arctic Convoy duty. He had fond memories of the ship and I have many mementos including a piece of the timber railing. Geoff Blake
22. Hugh Bennett says:
13 Sep 2014 04:30:40 AM

Was there a Will or William Smith on the ship HMS Cumberland during 1944
23. William J Ford says:
14 Sep 2014 02:42:06 AM

This was rather interesting as my father William Ford was a Royal Marine stationed on HMS Cumberland from the 13th September 1946 until the 18th November 1946 when he was transferred back to Plymouth Division. He had spent most of his ship board life on HMS Duke of York in the Pacific, where he was in the British Escort party when the Japanese signed the declaration of surrender on USS Ulysses. I hadn't realised that this must have been a wind down time for him and I would be interested if anyone has any ideas as to where the ship actually was between his time on board her. To the lady - Sheila Reap - wanting to know whether her father was on board this ship, she only needs to look at her fathers Certificate of Service record. It's all listed on there.
24. Anonymous says:
8 Dec 2014 12:14:29 AM

My work colleague's father was stationed on HMS Cumberland throughtout WW2. I have been informed that his photo collection is very extensive and was given to the Ottowa war museum. I would suggest this might be a point of reference to follow up with research and enquiries. The surname is Bloch-Hansen.
25. nichola caddick says:
23 Dec 2014 02:39:06 PM

My grandfather and his brother were on the HMS CUMBERLAND I know 1941 42 his brother was killed i am looking for a picture for my gtandchildren as he has passed away now, he wasCADDICK JOHN 21. AB.C/JX279891cant find help anywhere : Please help
26. Stan Slogrove says:
1 Feb 2015 06:03:45 AM

My father, CPO Lawrence Charles Slogrove, RNVR (SA Division) served in HMS CUMBERLAND as a Chief Gunner's Mate, captain of Y turret if I remember correctly. South Atlantic and Russian convoys.
27. Darren Bradshaw says:
14 Jun 2015 03:20:42 AM

My late father was on the Cumberland through ww2. He did not like to talk about it much. But said bits and pieces. His name was Alfred Bradshaw and was sometimes called Cecil.
28. Michael Adkins says:
8 Aug 2015 04:47:56 AM

My grandfather Les Ashworth was a Royal Marine stationed on HMS Cumberland during WWII. He was on board during Cumberland's escort runs for shipping sailing to Norway and Russia etc. Our family shares his photo albums from his time aboard.
29. Louise Coates says:
20 Sep 2015 07:36:27 AM

Have a photo of my Grandfather in navy uniform wearing H.M.S. Cumberland tallyband in his cap, he was a gunner in the Navy in WWII. His name was Wilfrid John Buffham.
30. Charlotte says:
10 Dec 2015 12:44:17 PM

Hi everyone, am hoping these posts are still read, it's been a while! My Grandad served on H.M.S Cumberland and I was lucky enough to obtain some information from him before he passed away at 90 odd :-( I also have pictures at Wei-Hai-Wei and all the crew etc if anyone is interested? My Grandad's name is Percival Frank Rich (sometimes referred to as Percy or Frank). Thanks all, any information you could possible share would be greatly appreciated.
31. Anonymous says:
29 Dec 2015 10:13:36 AM

my dad was on the ship peter mclone ww22 does any one remember him he served on two more ships but carnt remember where will i find on what ship he also served on
32. rod tait says:
22 May 2016 06:53:31 PM

my father was on the Cumberland in ww2.he was first gunner so I am told.Would like a crew list to see his name on it.Many thanks.
33. Len Nie says:
12 Jun 2016 11:43:46 AM

Have just found a photograph album of my Dad's time on HMS Cumberland. Some pics of Graf Spee and time spent at Wei Hei Wei. The album is dated 1937 - 1939. there are some pics of shipmates but no names except 'Tankey'. Fascinating insight into his time aboard.
34. Charlotte says:
10 Dec 2016 04:50:33 PM

Len Nie, do you have an email address? I would be really interested in seeing some of your pictures and maybe connect my Grandad to them as i strongly believe he was on board the ship at the same time. Perhaps I have some pictures you haven't seen? Thank you, hope to hear back.
35. Tracey says:
17 Dec 2016 03:22:44 AM

My granddad served on the Cumberland to the end of the war. He was a stoker name of William Humphreys and he was definitely on the artic convoys. I think he joined in 1942.
36. d o'neil says:
27 Jan 2017 02:01:44 AM

my father joined hms cumberland 1928 he was seaman ernest o'neil he recorded his trip to china in his manual ofseamship vol11
37. Barbara says:
21 Apr 2017 05:02:13 AM

My father, Stanley Holden served on the Cumberland during WW2. I am trying to find his service records but I am having difficulty. He may have lied about his age to join up!!! As I've said he is Stanley Holden and his actual date of birth is 24 Feb 1926. He was born in Salford but lived on The Wirral in New Brighton when he joined the RN. if anyone can help or knew my father I would really like to hear from you. Thank you.
38. chris says:
9 Sep 2017 01:38:58 PM

i am looking for information regarding my grandfather who served on the hms Cumberland during the 2nd world war. his name was john rennie from Airdrie in Scotland. he was also known as Jackie. its my mums 70th birthday soon and would love to be able to give her something memorable as she was a daddy's girl growing up
39. Ron Cummins says:
8 Nov 2017 05:35:44 PM

My father was on HMS Cumberland during her trip in to the Indian Ocean. i have photographs of him in Capetown, Ceylon and India. Two of the photographs identify two friends as Bill and Danny.
40. Chris Godfrey says:
16 Nov 2017 10:28:16 AM

My grandfather Arthur Edward Stanley Martin was on the Cumberland when they chased the Graf Spee (battle of river plate). I have pictures of the ship being scuttled by members of the crew. He was CPO and worked on the guns but was sought after for his ability to splice metal hausers. Born 1902, died 1981
41. James hanlon says:
25 Nov 2017 07:22:27 PM

Looking for info on my grandads warship hms Cumberland and have loads of pictures of him and crew from 1938 onwards if anyone would need any pics.i have loads of pictures maybe your family on them call 07502393877 James thanks
42. neal ajcobs says:
28 Feb 2018 02:46:35 PM

My father, Sub-Lieutenant Philip Jacobs served on the Cumberland during the war. I remember photos he had when I was a kid. I don't have them any more. Would love to see what others have. Thanks.
43. Phil Jones says:
23 Mar 2018 03:51:24 PM

Bought a few boxes of tools at auction today, North Norfolk, and amongst them were two diaries belonging to Harry.... who I'm guessing was a ship's carpenter during the war - he references taking Sir Stafford Cripps back from Russia. A Doncaster man, I'd love to know his surname at least.
44. Sam Watson says:
4 Apr 2018 04:07:48 AM

The HMS Cumberland Association may be able to help in any research questions and activities of the ship during her 31 years in the Royal Navy.

Sam Watson
45. Jeffrey Sweeting says:
10 Apr 2018 09:47:58 AM

Herbert William Sweeting served on Cumberland during 2nd world war. I am his son and am trying to find our more info about this.
46. Michael Slade says:
1 Jul 2018 08:18:38 AM

My father in law served on HMS Cumberland
Robert Lionel Webb CJX132708 was Chief Yeoman of Signals CPO
Was awarded the DSM but have no idea why. Any information would be much appreciated
47. raymond barnes says:
10 Sep 2018 08:52:15 AM

Dose anybody remember cgm barnes on russian convoy s
48. Kay-jay Courtney says:
12 Nov 2018 05:15:12 AM

My grandad was a first stoker on hms Cumberland during ww2 this was his 3rd and final ship he was on in world war 2 before he returned home.
His name was Walter Albert want from Brotton north Yorkshire.
Anyone with similar story or additional information I would be grateful to share your knowledge.
Thank you
49. John Taylor says:
22 Nov 2018 12:55:55 PM

My father was also a stoker on HMS Cumberland durin WWII. He was on board when as part of Force G which Included Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles was involved in the Battlr of the River Plate in 1939. The presence of these vessels bought about the scuppering of the German pocket Battleship Graf Spee.
50. Alan Dyer says:
4 Dec 2018 06:50:50 AM

My uncle, Sidney Staines, was also a stoker who served on board for the duration and was on duty for the run from the Falklands to River Plate. He also escorted my father's troop ship to West Africa before they knew each other and ended up marrying sisters.
51. Michael McDonnell says:
30 Jan 2019 02:59:26 PM

My late brother in law John Frederick Terrence Moss served on the Cumberland from July 1939 to July 1943. He was a Chief Ordnance Artificer. I still have the Argentine notes he collected after the battle of the River Plate

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More on Cumberland
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of the River Plate
» Arctic Convoys

Heavy Cruiser Cumberland Photo Gallery
HMS Cumberland (left), HMS Obdurate (second from left), HMS Belfast (third from left), and HMS Faulknor (right) in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia, 27-28 Feb 1943
See all 2 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Cumberland

Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal