Dorsetshire file photo [6507]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassCounty-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderPortsmouth Naval Dockyard, Hampshire, England, UK
Laid Down21 Sep 1927
Launched29 Jan 1929
Commissioned30 Sep 1930
Sunk5 Apr 1942
Displacement10,035 tons standard; 13,420 tons full
Length610 feet
Beam66 feet
Draft16 feet
MachineryParsons geared or Brown Curtis steam turbines, 4 shafts, 8 boilers
Power Output80,000 shaft horsepower
Speed31 knots
Range12,000nm at 12 knots
Armament8x203mm guns, 8x102mm guns, 24x40mm 2pdr AA guns, 8x610mm torpedo tubes, various small AA guns
AircraftTwo Walrus aircraft of 700 Naval Air Squadron


ww2dbaseDorsetshire was commissioned in 1930, and immediately became the flagship of the Royal Navy 2nd Cruiser Squadron. In 1931, during the Invergordon Mutiny, the event was concluded before her crew joined in. Between 1933 and 1936, she served on the Africa Station. After a refit in 1936, she served on the China Station until the start of the European War.

ww2dbaseShortly the start of the European War, Dorsetshire was sent to the southern Atlantic Ocean in Dec 1939 in pursuit of German surface raider Admiral Graf Spee, although Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled while Dorsetshire was still en route. In Feb 1940, she intercepted the German supply ship Wakama, leading to Wakama's scuttling. On 25 May, she arrived at Plymouth, England, United Kingdom, remaining there until end of the month for re-supplying. In Jun and Jul, while operating operating out of the British naval base at Freetown in Western Africa, she monitored French naval activities in the region of Dakar, including escorting the French battleship Richelieu from Dakar to Casablanca. Between 4 and 20 Sep, she was dry-docked at Durban, South Africa. In Nov 1940, she bombarded Zante in Italian Somaliland in Nov. In Dec, she hunted for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer in the South Atlantic. On 18 Jan 1941, she captured the Vichy French freighter Mendoza.

ww2dbaseIn May 1941, Dorsetshire was among the warships sent to hunt for the German battleship Bismarck. On 27 May, she was sent to torpedo the German battleship, but by the time she arrived, Bismarck's crew were already scuttling the ship. Instead of attacking, Dorsetshire's mission became that of rescue; she pulled 110 of Bismarck's crew from the waters before having to exit the area due to possible German submarine threat.

ww2dbaseIn Sep 1941, Dorsetshire escorted convoy WS-10X which brought troops from the United Kingdom to South Africa. In Nov and Dec, she escorted a convoy of 10 transports for part of the way between Halifax, Canada to Bombay, India; en route, she sank the German raider Atlantic on 21 Nov and forced the crew of German supply ship Python to scuttle the ship on 1 Dec while Python refueled German submarines.

ww2dbaseIn 1942, Dorsetshire was assigned to the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. On 5 Apr, she and sister ship Cornwall were attacked by Japanese dive bombers 320 kilometers southwest of Ceylon during the great Japanese Navy raid into the Indian Ocean. After being hit by ten bombs, she sank at the stern at about 1350, followed by Cornwall about ten minutes later. 234 of Dorsetshire's crew were killed and about 500 survived. The survivors were picked up by cruiser Enterprise, destroyer Paladin, and destroy Panther on the next day.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2008

Heavy Cruiser Dorsetshire Interactive Map


HMS Hermes and HMS Dorsetshire escorting convoy US.3 with Australian and New Zealand troops on board, Atlantic Ocean, 9 Jun 1940Survivors of battleship Bismarck being pulled aboard HMS Dorsetshire, 27 May 1941British cruiser Dorsetshire at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom, 8 Aug 1941British cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall burning during the Indian Ocean Raid, 5 Apr 1942; photo taken from a Japanese aircraft

Dorsetshire Operational Timeline

30 Sep 1930 Dorsetshire was commissioned into service.
1 Dec 1941 British cruiser HMS Dorsetshire located German supply ship Python refueling submarines UA and U-68 in the South Atlantic 1,150 miles west of South Africa. Python was scuttled as her crew sighted Dorsetshire, but Dorsetshire backed off due to the threat of the two submarines. Two additional German submarines and four Italian submarines arrived to join UA and U-68 in rescuing Python's survivors.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Clive payne says:
7 Mar 2019 07:18:54 AM

My fathers name does not appear on survivor list
Known as wacker Payne

2. michael vivian says:
14 Oct 2020 07:48:29 AM

albert vivian was on the dorsetshire during the battle with the bismark, i canot find any onfo on him atall! can any one help?
3. Steven hewett says:
11 Apr 2021 11:48:24 PM

hi my father was also a survivor of hms Dorsetshire but can't find any record i have a telegram with the news of his survival his name is w h hewett he was a stoker thanks for any help
4. Carl Parsons says:
8 Oct 2021 10:19:53 AM

My Great Uncle Samual James Scobel Warrent Ordinace died
5. Anonymous says:
30 Jan 2022 05:46:41 PM

My uncle Eric Watkinson was on board at the sinking of the Bismark. I think he was on the torpedos
6. Rob says:
29 Apr 2023 01:48:15 PM

My great uncle Sid Maybury was on her at the sinking of the bismark , and when she herself was sunk by Japanese aircraft . I’d love to find out more about him . He told me some great stories

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More on Dorsetshire
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Denmark Strait
» Raids into the Indian Ocean

Heavy Cruiser Dorsetshire Photo Gallery
HMS Hermes and HMS Dorsetshire escorting convoy US.3 with Australian and New Zealand troops on board, Atlantic Ocean, 9 Jun 1940
See all 4 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Dorsetshire

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