Allied Warships

HMS Norfolk (78)

Heavy cruiser of the Dorsetshire class


HMS Norfolk in May 1943

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassDorsetshire 
Pennant78 
Built byFairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered31 Jan 1927 
Laid down8 Jul 1927 
Launched12 Dec 1928 
Commissioned30 Apr 1930 
End service 
History

Sold to be broken up for scrap on 3 January 1950.
Arrived at Newport on 19 February 1950 for breaking up by Cashmore.

 

Commands listed for HMS Norfolk (78)

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CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Alexander Guy Berners Wilson, DSO, RN24 Aug 193912 Feb 1940
2Capt. Alfred Jerome Lucian Phillips, RN12 Feb 194020 Jan 1942
3Capt. Alfred Spalding Russell, RN20 Jan 194212 Mar 1942
4Capt. Edward Gerald Hyslop Bellars, RN12 Mar 194226 May 1943

5Capt. Donald Keppel Bain, RN1 Jul 194326 Feb 1944
6Cdr. Alan FitzRoy Campbell, OBE, RN26 Feb 194419 Apr 1944
7Capt. (retired) Neville Brevoort Carey Brock, RN19 Apr 19441 Sep 1944
8Capt. John Gerald Yerburgh Loveband, RN1 Sep 19441 Jun 1946

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Notable events involving Norfolk include:


23 Nov 1939
Sinking of the armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi;

Around midday on 21 November 1939 the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, escorted by the light cruisers K?ln and Leipzig and the destroyers Z 11 / Bernd von Arnim, Z 12 / Erich Giese and Z 20 / Karl Galster, departed Wilhelmshaven for a raid into the North Atlantic, this was to relieve the pressure of the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee operating in the South Atlantic. Late on the 21st the escorts left the battlecruisers.

Just after 1500 hours on 23 November the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Rawalpindi (Capt. E.C. Kennedy, (retired), RN) sighted the Scharnhorst. Rawalpindi was part of the British Northern Patrol and was stationed south-east of Iceland in the Iceland-Faroes gap. Captain Kennedy tried to outrun the German ship and reported to the Admiralty that he sighted the German pocket battleship Deutschland, still believed to be operating in the North Atlantic. Just after 1600 hours, Rawalpindi came within range of the Scharnhorst and was quickly reduced to a flaming wreck. During this engagement Scharnhorst was hit by a 6? shell from Rawalpindi causing only light damage. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau together picked up 27 survivors from Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi finally sank around 2000 hours.

The British light cruiser HMS Newcastle (Capt J. Figgins, RN), that was also part of the Northern Patrol, picked up Rawalpindi?s signal and closed the scene. She sighted the Gneisenau but the Germans managed to escape in the fog.

The Admiralty also thought the ship sighted by Rawalpindi and Newcastle was the Deutschland that was trying to return to Germany. In response to the sighting and destruction of the Rawalpindi the Admiralty took immediate action;
The battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. G.J.A. Miles, RN with Admiral Forbes aboard) HMS Rodney (Capt. F.H.G. Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN) and the heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire (Capt. J.M. Mansfield, DSC, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Faulknor (Capt. C.S. Daniel, RN), HMS Fame (Cdr. P.N. Walter, RN), HMS Firedrake (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Norris, RN), HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. G.T. Lambert, RN), HMS Forester (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Tancock, RN), HMS Fortune (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, RN) and HMS Fury (Cdr. G.F. Burghard, RN) departed the Clyde to patrol of Norway to cut off the way to Germany for the Deutschland.

The light cruisers HMS Southampton (Capt. F.W.H. Jeans, CVO, RN), HMS Edinburgh (Capt. F.C. Bradley, RN) and HMS Aurora (Capt. G.B. Middleton, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. G.H. Creswell, DSC, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. F.R. Parham, RN), HMS Bedouin (Cdr. J.A. McCoy, RN), HMS Kingston (Lt.Cdr. P. Somerville, RN) and HMS Isis (Cdr. J.C. Clouston, RN) departed Rosyth to patrol between the Orkney and Shetland islands.

Light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. E. de F. Renouf, CVO, RN) was sent from Loch Ewe to the last known position of the German ship(s).

On northern patrol, south of the Faroes were the light cruisers HMS Caledon (Capt. C.P. Clark, RN), HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) and HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN). These were joined by HMS Dunedin (Capt. C.E. Lambe, CVO, RN) and HMS Diomede (Capt. E.B.C. Dicken, RN).

Of the ships of the Denmark strait patrol, the heavy cruisers HMS Suffolk (Capt. J.W. Durnford, RN) and HMS Norfolk (Capt. A.G.B. Wilson, MVO, DSO, RN) were ordered to proceed to the Bill Bailey Bank (to the south-west of the Faroes)

The light cruiser HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Maori (Cdr. G.N. Brewer, RN) and HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford, RN) were already at sea patrolling north-east of the Shetlands were to be joined by the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, RN), HMS Imperial (Lt.Cdr. C.A.de W. Kitcat, RN), HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, RN) and HMS Imogen (Cdr. E.B.K. Stevens, RN) .

Despite the British effort to intercept the German ships, both German battlecruisers returned to Wilhelmshaven on the 27th.

16 Mar 1940
HMS Norfolk was damaged during German air attack on Scapa Flow. She was under repair until 14 June.

12 Jan 1945
The British heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN with Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN aboard) and the light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN) attack a German convoy of Egersund, Norway. Two German merchants, the Bahia Camarones (8551 GRT) and the Charlotte (4404 GRT) and the minelayer M 273 were sunk.


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