Allied Warships

HMS Dauntless (D 45)

Light cruiser of the D class

HMS Dauntless during the war

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
PennantD 45 
Built byPalmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd (Jarrow-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
OrderedSep 1916 
Laid down3 Jan 1917 
Launched10 Apr 1918 
Commissioned26 Nov 1918 
End service 

HMS Dauntless was completed with a large hanger under her bridge, which she retained until 1920. In 1919 HMS Dauntless went to the Baltic, and was then employed on detached service in the West Indies, followed by the Atlantic Fleet 1st Light Cruiser Squadron for the following five years. After the Empire Cruise of 1923/24 she went to the Mediterranean for a few years with the 1st Cruiser Squadron. In May 1928 Dauntless was recommissioned and left the U.K. for the America and West Indies Station. In July the cruiser was badly damaged by grounding off Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The engine room and one boiler room being breached, not until all guns, torpedo tubes and much other equipment was removed could the ship be re-floated and towed off by the cruiser HMS Despatch, and tugs. During 1929 repairs were carried out to the damaged hull and Dauntless was reduced to reserve. In 1930 the cruiser was transferred back to the America and West Indies Station. During 1931-1933 Dauntless served with the South American Division. In 1934 Dauntless relieved the cruiser HMS Curlew in the Mediterranean and served with the 3rd Cruiser Squadron. In 1935 the cruiser left the squadron for U.K. to be paid off into reserve.

In 1939 HMS Dauntless was recommissioned to join the 9th Cruiser Squadron with the South Atlantic Command. In December, the squadron was transferred to the China Station. In March 1940 while in the Indian Ocean HMS Dauntless was a unit of the British Malaya Force tasked to keep watch on German merchant ships in the Dutch East Indies harbours, she operated mainly off Batavia. On 15 June 1941 HMS Dauntless collided with the cruiser HMS Emerald off Malacca and required repairing at Singapore. On August 15th the repairs were completed. In February 1942 HMS Dauntless arrived at Portsmouth for a refit. Following this refit in August she was transferred to the Eastern Fleet. In November the cruiser was docked in the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa. In January 1943 Dauntless was floated out of the dry dock. Her remaining service was in the capacity of a training ship. In February 1945 the old cruiser was reduced to reserve. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 13 February 1946. In April 1946 Dauntless was eventually broken up for scrap at T.W. Ward, Inverkeithing.


Commands listed for HMS Dauntless (D 45)

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1Capt. George Dunbar Moore, RAN30 Jun 193931 Jul 1941
2A/Capt. John Graham Hewitt, DSO, RN31 Jul 19414 Oct 1942
3Capt. Newton James Wallop William-Powlett, DSC, RN4 Oct 19421 Aug 1943
4Cdr. (retired) Nathaniel Greer Leeper, RN1 Aug 19431 Oct 1943
5Cdr. David Charles Kinloch, DSO, RN1 Oct 194331 Mar 1945
6Cdr. Philip Frederick Powlett, DSO, DSC, RN31 Mar 1945

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Notable events involving Dauntless include:

10 Jul 1940
HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Stronghold (Lt.Cdr. R. Alexander, RN), HMS Grasshopper (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Aldworth, RN), HMS Danae (Capt. A.C. Collinson, RN) and HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN). (1)

28 Sep 1942
HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, DSO, DSC, RN) carries out exercises off Diego Saurez with HMS Shapinsay (A/Skr.Lt. W.S. Flowers, RNR) and HMS Hildasay (T/Lt. H.C. Doman, RNVR). Later on the day exercises were carried out with HMS Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN), HMS Dauntless (A/Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) and HrMs Tjerk Hiddes (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Kruys, RNN).

After the exercises were completed Truant sets course for East London, South Africa. (2)


  1. ADM 173/16466
  2. ADM 199/1861

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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