|Ship Class||County-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder Name||Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, UK|
|Laid Down||9 Oct 1924|
|Launched||11 Mar 1926|
|Commissioned||8 May 1928|
|Sunk||5 Apr 1942|
|Displacement||9,750 tons standard; 13,450 tons full|
|Machinery||8 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, Brown Curtis geared turbines, 4 shafts|
|Bunkerage||3,400 tons oil|
|Power Output||80,000 SHP|
|Range||3,100nm at 31.5 knots, 11,300nm at 12 knots|
|Armament||4x2x203mm guns, 4x2x102mm AA guns, 2x8x37mm/40mm 2pdr 'pom-pom' AA guns, 2x4x12.7mm AA machine guns|
|Armor||1-4in magazine, 1.375in deck, 1in sides, 1in turrets, 1in bulkheads, 4.5in belt, 4in boiler room|
|Catapult||1 (removed in 1942)|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
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.
Last Major Revision: Oct 2008
Cornwall Operational Timeline
|8 May 1928||Cornwall was commissioned into service.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945