Allied Warships

HMS Falmouth (L 34 / U 34)

Sloop of the Falmouth class


Crew of the HMS Falmouth, late 30's

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSloop
ClassFalmouth 
PennantL 34 / U 34 
Built by Devonport Dockyard (Plymouth, U.K.): Hawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered16 Mar 1931 
Laid down31 Aug 1931 
Launched19 Apr 1932 
Commissioned27 Oct 1932 
End service 
History

In March 1940 HMS Falmouth was a unit of the Far Eastern Fleet, and based at Singapore. She was responsible for carrying out patrols in the Tjilatjap area. On 24 June, while in the Persian Gulf, she succeeded in sinking the Italian submarine Galvani.

In April 1941 Falmouth was involved in the escorting of troop convoys from Karachi to Basra. On August 25th, Falmouth in company with the sloops, HMS Shoreham and the Australian HMAS Yarra, were involved in operation "Countenance", this was the entry into Iran by British forces from the south. Commodore Cosmo Graham was placed in command of the naval operations, and in response to his request for additional forces the CinC East Indies, Vice Admiral Arbuthnot offered him the Australian armed merchant cruiser HMAS Kanimbla. Surprise was essential for the speedy success of the undertaking. Falmouth was responsible for transporting two platoons and company headquarters of the 3/10th Baluch Regiment which dealt with the Iranian naval base of Khorramshahr. The operation was a complete success.

From January 19-February 2nd 1944 Falmouth was docked in the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa. On February 2nd, she was undocked.

In January 1952, Falmouth became the RNVR ship Calliope. In April 1968, Calliope was broken up for scrap by Hughes Bolckow of Blyth.

Her badge can be seen displayed on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall with the inscription "Fail Not".

 

Commands listed for HMS Falmouth (L 34 / U 34)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Cecil Campbell Hardy, RN31 Aug 193712 May 1941
2Cdr. Ughtred Henry Ramsden James, RN12 May 1941Mid 1943
3Lt.Cdr. Edward Arthur Woodhead, RD, RNRMid 194322 Feb 1945
4Lt.Cdr. Norris Edwin Cutler, RN22 Feb 194527 Sep 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Falmouth include:


13 Mar 1940
HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong with HMS Scout (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Holmes, RN) and HMS Falmouth (Cdr. C.C. Hardy, RN). (1)

15 Mar 1940
HMS Pandora (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, RN) conducted exercises off Hong Kong with HMS Falmouth (Cdr. C.C. Hardy, RN) and HMS Thracian (Lt.Cdr. H.G.D. de Chair, RN). (1)

24 Jun 1940
The Italian submarine Galvani (offsite link) was sunk in Gulf of Oman by the British sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. C.C. Hardy, RN).

23 Jan 1942

Convoy BM 12.

Convoy from Bombay to Singapore.
Departure date: 23 January 1942.
Arrival date: 4 February 1942.

This convoy was made up of the following ships;
British troop ships; Devonshire (11275 GRT, built 1939), Empress of Asia (16909 GRT, built 1913).

French troop ship (under British control) Felix Roussel (17083 GRT, built 1930)

and the Dutch transport Plancius (5955 GRT, built 1923).

The convoy initially proceeded unescorted.

On 26 January, the British sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) joined the convoy in position 07°53'N, 76°23'E.

On 27 January, the British light cruiser HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN) joined the convoy in position 04°30'N, 78°15'E. HMS Falmouth parted company with the convoy at dusk.

On 28 January, the convoy made rendez-vous with convoy DM 2 which was made up of the following ships;
British troopships Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937), Empress of Australia (21833 GRT, built 1914) and Warwick Castle (20107 GRT, built 1930) and the British transports City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Malancha (8124 GRT, built 1937) and Troilus (7422 GRT, built 1921). This convoy was escorted by the British armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN) which then parted company.

On 31 January, the British light cruiser HMS Danae (Capt. F.J. Butler, MBE, RN) and the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN) joined the convoy in position 05°05'S, 94°00'E after which HMS Emerald parted company with the convoy.

On 1 February, the Indian sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN) and the Australian sloop HMAS Yarra (Cdr. W.H. Harrington, RAN) joined the convoy.

On 2 February, the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. O.L. Gordon, MVO, RN) joined around 0800 hours and a little over two hours later the British destroyer HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. N.V.J.T. Thew, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire (Cdr. W.T.A. Moran, RAN) also joined the convoy.

On the morning of 3 February the British destroyer HMS Encounter (Lt.Cdr. E.V.St J. Morgan, RN) joined. Later the same day HMAS Vampire split off from the convoy with the part of the convoy that was to proceed to Batavia. These were all the ships that had been in convoy DM 2 except the City of Canterbury which went to Singapore.

Around 0200 hours on 4 February 1942, HrMs Java parted company with the convoy. Shortly before noon the convoy was attacked by Japanese aircraft and the Empress of Asia was straddled. Around 2130/4, HMS Exeter, HMS Jupiter and HMS Encounter parted company to intercept Japanese warships that were reported to the north of Banka Strait. HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.L. Howden, CBE, RAN) was ordered to join them there. They did not find any Japanese ships and proceeded to Batavia where they arrived on 6 February.

The convoy arrived at Singapore shortly after noon on 5 February 1942 but not before a heavy enemy air attack was carried out. The Empress of Asia was set on fire, the Felix Roussel was also hit and the City of Canterbury had her steering gear damaged. (2)

12 Feb 1942

Convoy SJ 1

This convoy departed Batavia, Netherlands East Indies on 12 February 1942. Destination for the majority of the convoy was Colombo where the convoy arrived on 21 February 1942

The convoy was made up of the following ships; British; Anglo Indian (5609 GRT, built 1938), City of Canterbury (8331 GRT, built 1922), City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937), Clan Alpine (5442 GRT, built 1918), Halizones (3298 GRT, built 1920), Madura (9032 GRT, built 1921), Malancha (8124 GRT, built 1937), Yuen Sang (3229 GRT, built 1923), Dutch; Batavia (1279 GRT, built 1938), Van der Capellen (2073 GRT, built 1940) and Van Swoll (2147 GRT, built 1930).

Two damaged British warships were towed by two of the merchant vessels of the convoy. Both these warships had been damaged in 1941 while in action in the Mediterranean and had been sent to Singapore for repairs and refit. These were not completed when the Japanese attacked. Both ships had been towed from Singapore to Batavia. The warships were the destroyer HMS Isis (Lt. L.R.P. Lawford, DSC, RN) and the submarine HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. G.H. Reynolds, RN). They were towed by the Malancha and the City of Pretoria respectively.

Escort was provided by the destroyer HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and the sloop HMIS Sutlej (Capt. P.A. Mare, RIN). On 14 February 1942 the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSC, RN) joined until the 17th when she parted company with the convoy. On the 20th the convoy was joined by sloop HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN). The Malancha with HMS Isis in tow and the City of Pretoria with HMS Rover in tow then parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Trincomalee where they arrived on 21 February 1942 escorted by HMIS Sutlej. The remained of the convoy arrived at Colombo, also on the 21th, they were escorted by HMS Express and HMS Falmouth. HMS Express had suffered from a fire in the no.1 boiler room which could not be repaired at Singapore / Batavia / Surabaya so the was sent to Colombo for repairs.

14 Jul 1942
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN) carries out an A/S exercises off Colombo with the British sloops HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR). (3)

15 Jul 1942
HrMs O 23 (Lt.Cdr. A.M. Valkenburg, RNN) carries out an A/S exercises off Colombo with the British sloops HMS Falmouth (Cdr. U.H.R. James, RN) and HMS Shoreham (Lt.Cdr. E. Hewitt, RD, RNR). (3)

31 Jan 1945
HMS Vigorous (Lt. J.C. Ogle, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Kilindini with HMS Falmouth (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Woodhead, RD, RNR) and HMS Marguerite (T/Lt. G.K. Wrigley, RNVR). (4)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16397
  2. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/1185
  3. File 2.12.03.6424 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  4. ADM 173/20272

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


Return to the Allied Warships section