Cornwall file photo [6554]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassCounty-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderDevonport Dockyard, Plymouth, UK
Laid Down9 Oct 1924
Launched11 Mar 1926
Commissioned8 May 1928
Sunk5 Apr 1942
Displacement9,750 tons standard; 13,450 tons full
Length630 feet
Beam68 feet
Draft16 feet
Machinery8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, Brown Curtis geared turbines, 4 shafts
Bunkerage3,400 tons oil
Power Output80,000 shaft horsepower
Speed31 knots
Range3,100nm at 31.5 knots, 11,300nm at 12 knots
Armament4x2x203mm guns, 4x2x102mm AA guns, 2x8x37mm/40mm 2pdr 'pom-pom' AA guns, 2x4x12.7mm AA machine guns
Armor1-4in magazine, 1.375in deck, 1in sides, 1in turrets, 1in bulkheads, 4.5in belt, 4in boiler room
Catapult1 (removed in 1942)


ww2dbaseHMS Cornwall was a heavy cruiser of the Kent-subclass of the County-class. Upon completion, she joined the China Station and remained there until 1936. For a bulk of 1937, she was docked for refitting. In 1938, she joined the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the British Royal Navy. In 1939, she joined China Station again with the 5th Cruiser Squadron.

ww2dbaseWhen the European War began in Sep 1939, under the command of Captain Charles Ford Hammill, Cornwall was transferred to the Indian Ocean and joined Force I at Ceylon. On 5 Oct, she was involved in the search for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. Between 8 and 14 Feb 1940, she was docked at the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa. In Sep, together with HMS Delhi, she intercepted Vichy-French light cruiser Primauguet and tanker Tarn, forcing them to return to Casablanca, Morocco. On 20 Nov 1940, Captain Percival Clive Wickham Manwaring took over command of the ship. In Jan 1941, she returned to the Selborne dry dock for refitting.

ww2dbaseIn May 1941, Cornwall was on patrol in the Indian Ocean of Seychelles when she engaged and sank the ship; unfortunately, without the knowledge of Cornwall's crew, Pinguin sank along with 200 Allied prisoners of war in addition to 232 Germans lost (60 German crewmembers and 22 Allied prisoners were rescued). She returned to Durban, South Africa to repair her stern, which was damaged during the battle against Pinguin; the repairs lasted until 10 Jun.

ww2dbaseOn 25 Nov 1941, Cornwall intercepted the Vichy-French merchant vessel Surcouf in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Somalia. Surcouf was originally en route to Djibouti with food, but was forced to sail to Djibouti instead.

ww2dbaseBetween Jan and Mar 1942, Cornwall escorted convoys between Ceylon and the Sunda Strait in the Dutch East Indies. In Mar 1942, she was sent to Colombo, Ceylon in preparation for a possible Japanese attack into the Indian Ocean. In early Apr, Cornwall and sister ship Dorsetshire were sent to rendezvous with carrier Hermes and escort her to Trincomalee, Ceylon. The ships were detected by a spotter plane from Japanese cruiser Tone in the early morning of 5 Apr. Shortly after, Japanese carrier aircraft attacked. Cornwall was hit by nine 250- and 550-pound bombs and suffered six near misses, becoming dead in the water within minutes. She sank about 12 minutes after the first hit, and Dorsetshire suffered the same fate. 192 of Cornwall's men were lost.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2008


British cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall burning during the Indian Ocean Raid, 5 Apr 1942; photo taken from a Japanese aircraft

Cornwall Operational Timeline

8 May 1928 Cornwall was commissioned into service.
13 Sep 1940 HMS Cumberland joined escort for military convoy on passage to Dakar with HM Cruiser Cornwall.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
25 Jan 2010 08:29:56 AM

my great uncle was on the cornwall i now have his medals has anyone heard of harold lovell who was a foward gunner? if not dont worry
2. Anonymous says:
30 Jan 2011 12:02:52 PM

My uncle Jackie Davies served on the cornwall. If anyone has any photos or info I would be very interested.
3. Neil Allam says:
17 Jul 2011 08:39:04 AM

My late Dad Ronald Allam was on the Cornwall when it was sunk can you give me anything about him I have heard he also wsed the name Aubrey
4. Anonymous says:
19 Jan 2012 01:07:48 AM

My late dad William Gardiner was on the Cornwall. He served many years on there until it was sunk....
5. Anonymous says:
3 Mar 2012 11:32:46 AM

my dad was on the cornwall, he was a stoker 1st class and had his lungs scalded, he stayed in south africa and was looked after at a hospital there. he took part in plays, tray making ect, i have photos of this but no idea if all these men are from the same ship, if you recognize this then maybe i have a photo of your relative. dad dies shortly after the war, his name was Edward Robert Barnett
6. Anonymous. says:
26 Jan 2013 09:45:17 PM

My Uncle was on the Cornwall. He survived and is still alive. He lives near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa.Let me know if you would like me to ask him anything.
7. david cotterill, says:
31 May 2013 03:15:31 AM

my father albert percy cotterill,was on the cornwall when it was sunk by the *** .any info ,on him would be helpful.thank you.
8. Anonymous says:
16 Oct 2013 06:28:13 AM

My late grandfathers brother which would be my great uncle James Wilson was a leading stoker on the Cornwall he went down with the ship , I was wondering if anyone knew my great uncle James or has any pictures . I am currently following our family tree with my daughter and we wanted to find as much information and pictures as we can on relatives .
9. Anonymous says:
14 Aug 2014 02:59:00 PM

My great, great auntie's son died when HMS Cornwall was sunk in 1942. He was called William Kevan Mantle and at 17 years old, was a Boy 1st class. If anyone has any information at all or photos with him in them, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.
Thank you.
10. Veronica Parker says:
11 Nov 2014 01:16:29 AM

My father Frank Parker was a Petty Officer on the Cornwall . I have looked through the crew list and he is not on them. He was a ship right. Can anyone help me find his name he was born in Leicester England in 1916
11. William mc cord says:
12 May 2015 10:57:43 AM

My late father in law David mc Dowell was also on the Cornwall when she was sunk I also can not find his name on the crew list.he did survive any one with information or photos .Thank you
12. Anonymous says:
19 May 2015 09:21:50 AM

My Grandmothers Brother was James Wilson who died on board the HMS Cornwall .....
13. chris thomas says:
9 Oct 2015 05:13:28 AM

My Father served on HMS Cornwall. Robert george Thomas (lofty) can anyone help. I think he was a petty officer and gunner.
14. M Baldwin says:
8 Nov 2015 01:47:12 AM

my grandfather was a cook on HMS Cornwall - Albert Parke - would love to hear anyone's stories of him if there are any.
15. Chris Thomas says:
16 Nov 2015 07:58:38 AM

My father Robert George Thomas served on HMS Cornwall and HMS Hector his froiends name was Sam Baguely, can anyone help please.
16. chris thomas says:
19 Nov 2015 06:34:57 AM

Sam Baguely was a friend of my father Robert george Thomas they both served on the Cornwall and also HMS Hector. Does this ring any bells ?? tx
17. chris thomas says:
22 Feb 2016 02:35:07 AM

If he is still alive could you ask him if he remembers robert george thomas Po, john tappenden and sam baguley. Thanks.

Anonymous. says:
26 Jan 2013 09:45:17 PM

My Uncle was on the Cornwall. He survived and is still alive. He lives near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa.Let me know if you would like me to ask him anything.
18. Anonymous says:
27 Feb 2016 06:27:43 AM

My dad, Frederick w Hardy, was on this ship, now passed on, anyone know this lovely man?
19. Steve Adlem says:
23 Dec 2016 12:52:10 PM

My father, Jack Adlem served with the Royal Marines from 1936 until after the war. He was a gunner aboard HMS Cornwall on the 5th April 1942. He died in 1996.

I would like to hear from anyone with more information regarding the ship and its crew.
20. Tom Steanson says:
7 Sep 2017 12:00:54 PM

My uncle Tommy Steanson was a survivor from the Cornwall. He was picked up by a US navy ship after 4 days. Can't find him listed in the crew list?
21. Daryll Stroud says:
12 Nov 2017 09:58:47 AM

My Father in Law Fred Hancock served as a stoker on HMS Cornwall. He survived the sinking in April 1942, but sadly passed away in 1985. We would like to hear from anyone who knew or served with him.
22. Usher says:
9 Feb 2018 10:14:07 AM

My cousin George usher was lost on this ship I have 1 photo of him & 1with 4 others I have always wondered if they survived
23. david wilson says:
9 Feb 2018 12:11:27 PM

My father's brother was on this ship he was a stoker on it ,and was lost on it
24. Louise Woodman says:
11 Mar 2018 05:28:04 PM

My great great aunt's son was a boy 1st class on HMS Cornwall and died when it was sunk. His name was William Kevan Mantle. I would love to hear from anyone who has any information about him or any photos.
25. Jayne Macmillan says:
10 Jun 2018 01:48:36 PM

Hello I am Jayne Macmillan's son and me and my grandparents Edward Young and Maureen Young(William Kevan mantle's cousin). Until today we had no idea what had actually happened to him or what ship he died on. My Grandparents who I assume you know have a photograph of Kevin at training with his fellow crew. If this is what you have been looking for please email My mum as we can take a picture of the image and send it to you.
26. Tracey Deakin (Manwaring) says:
13 Jun 2018 12:33:58 PM

My 5th cousin 3x removed was Captain Percival Clive Wickham Manwaring. Captain of HMS Cornwall.
27. Rob Stuart says:
25 Jul 2018 04:58:08 AM

In comment 20 Tom Steanson says that his uncle Tommy Steanson was a survivor from the Cornwall and was picked up by a US navy ship after 4 days. In fact, the survivors were picked up after about 30 hours, not four days, and Cornwall's survivors were picked up by the British cruiser HMS Enterprise and not by a US ship. (The confusion probably arises from the fact that the USN also had a ship called Enterprise but it was an aircraft carrier and it was thousands of mile away.)
28. Rob Stuart says:
25 Jul 2018 05:10:05 AM

Your data has Dorsetshire having two octople 2-pounder pom poms but in his book "Treaty Cruisers" Leo Marriot says that she received two quadruple 2-pounder pom poms in 1937. Is he wrong, or were her quad pom poms later replaced with octople mounts?

29. mina mcdowell says:
5 Nov 2018 10:30:13 AM

many thanks for the photos we received this morning from rab am so grateful as its coming up to remembrance sunday
30. Anthony Dowson says:
11 Nov 2018 07:22:47 PM

My sons were asking about the wars and we spoke about my Grandad. Apparently, he served in WW2 and was on 2 ships that were sunk. His name was Ronnie (Ronald) Wood. There were pictures of the Cornwall amongst his photos and number of photos of various crew. Happy to share the pictures if you drop me an email. Can anyone send the link to the crew list to see if he was on there?
31. Anonymous says:
9 Mar 2020 05:32:18 PM

I am trying to find a photograph of the captain of H. M. S Cornwall, Captain Percival Clive Wickham Manwaring. I would be grateful for any help. He was my 6th cousin twice removed.
32. Sarah Jones says:
21 Mar 2020 02:44:34 PM

To the above poster - I am Percival Clive Wickham Manwaring’s first cousin twice removed. Have not found any photos either but may be able to help with other pieces of information if you’re interested.
33. Hilary Nott says:
9 Jul 2020 08:17:59 AM

My father was a survivor on this ship but he is not on the survivors list.He was a Chief Signal Officer.Thomas Edwin White. Does anyone know why this is Thanx
34. Linda Marie Martin-Smith says:
1 Aug 2021 11:21:38 AM

My Grandfather was a survivor on HMS Cornwall. Bertie G Anscomb.
35. Laksiri Mendis says:
29 Jan 2024 02:17:26 AM

I need a good photograph of Capt. Manwaring. Please email to

See whether you can get it from his children or grandchildren

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Heavy Cruiser Cornwall Photo Gallery
British cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall burning during the Indian Ocean Raid, 5 Apr 1942; photo taken from a Japanese aircraft

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