Allied Warships

HMS Kent (54)

Heavy cruiser of the Kent class

HMS Kent after refitting at Devonport Dockyard September 1941

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.): Hawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered19 May 1924 
Laid down15 Nov 1924 
Launched16 Mar 1926 
Commissioned25 Jun 1928 
End serviceJan 1945 

From completion until 1939 was assigned to the China Station in the 5th Cruiser Squadron, undergoing a reconstruction in 1937-38.
Her initial war duties were anti-raider patrols on the China Station and then was reassigned to troop convoy escort in the Indian Ocean early in 1940. Following the declaration of war by Italy, she was reallocated to the Mediterranean Fleet, arriving Alexandria in August 1940 with the 3rd Cruiser Sqn.
Torpedoed by an Italian VTB in 9/40 and was out of action for a year, after completing repairs, in early 1942 she was reassigned to the Home Fleet to escort convoys to North Russia. In 1944 covered the carrier raids against tarhets on the Norwegian coast.
Paid off into reserve in January 1945 and was not employed thereafter. Sold to be broken up for scrap on 22 January 1948. Arrived at Troon on 31 January 1948 to be broken up by West of Scotland Shipbreakers.


Commands listed for HMS Kent (54)

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1Capt. Leslie Haliburton Ashmore, RN7 Apr 193812 Sep 1939
2Capt. Douglas Young-Jamieson, RN12 Sep 193924 Feb 1941
3Cdr. (retired) John Henry Venville, RN24 Feb 194115 May 1941
4Capt. Angus Edward Malise Bontine Cunninghame-Graham, RN15 May 19419 Jul 1943
5Capt. Geoffrey Alan Brooke Hawkins, DSC, RN9 Jul 194322 Dec 1944
6Capt. (retired) Douglas Cuthbert Lang, RN 27 Feb 1945
7Capt. (retired) Walter Herman Gordon Fallowfield, RN27 Feb 194514 Oct 1945
8Capt. (retired) Philip Hugh Calderon, RN8 Sep 19454 Nov 1946

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Notable events involving Kent include:

There is a ceremony in Rochester Cathedral every Saturday morning at 11 A.M. The ship's bell of the 8" cruiser (County Class) is in the Rochester Cathedral and preceding a short ceremony 8 bells are sounded on the bell. From time to time various veterans of the wartime crew attend the ceremony as occasionally have members of the present ship!s company. On the 29th July 2006 5 ex Royal Marines from the 1938 - 1940 commission are meeting there (one from Canada) and following the 11 A.M. ceremony will have lunch at a local pub. Any other shipmates will be more than welcome.
If you want information on a contact address let us know, we will then supply the contact's e-mail address. (1)

16 Sep 1939
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) departed the area to the south of Japan for Hong Kong after being relieved by HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN). (2)

25 Sep 1939
HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) arrived in the area south of Japan relieving HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) which then set course to return to Hong Kong. (2)

17 Aug 1940
In the early morning the British battleships HMS Warspite (Capt. D.B. Fisher, CBE, RN), HMS Malaya (Capt. A.F.E. Palliser, DSC, RN), HMS Ramillies (Capt. H.T. Baillie-Grohman, OBE, DSO, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN) escorted by the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hostile (Lt.Cdr. A.F. Burnell-Nugent, DSC, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Ilex (Lt.Cdr. P.L. Saumarez, DSC, RN), HMS Diamond (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Cartwright, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN) and the Australian destroyers HMAS Stuart (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN), HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN) and HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN) carried out a bombardment of Italian positions around the fortress of Bardia.

24 Aug 1940
HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN) and HMS Defender (Lt.Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, RN) departed Alexandria to patrol in the Aegean and to provide cover for two merchant vessels (Palermo (British, 2928 GRT, bult 1938) and Vasco (Spanish, 1193 GRT, built 1926) departing Pireaus for Port Said.

HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) also sailed with these ships until 1930/25 when she parted company and proceeded to Malta. (3)

27 Aug 1940
At 0755 hours (zone -3), HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN) and HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), were attacked by Italian torpedo bombers in position 32°53'N, 27°02'E. No hits were obtained.

Around 1800 hours, HMS Kent, HMS Gloucester and HMS Hereward, arrived back at Alexandria. (4)

17 Sep 1940
British raid on Benghazi;
Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (Capt. D.W. Boyd, DSC, RN) attacked Italian ships in Benghazi harbour. Also mines were laid off the harbour. The destroyer Borea was sunk by torpedo, The destroyer Aquilone was mined and sunk. The merchants Gloria Stella (5490 GRT) and Maria Eugenia (4702 GRT) were also sunk during the attack.

Illustrious was escorted by the British battleship HMS Valiant (Capt. H.B. Rawlings, OBE, RN) the British heavy cruiser HMS Kent (Capt. D. Young-Jamieson, RN), the British light cruisers HMS Liverpool (Capt. P.A. Read, RN) HMS Gloucester (Capt. H.A. Rowley, RN), HMS Orion (Capt. G.R.B. Back, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Nubian (Cdr. R.W. Ravenhill, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Hero (Cdr. H.W. Biggs, DSO, RN), HMS Hasty (Lt.Cdr. L.R.K. Tyrwhitt, RN), HMS Hyperion (Cdr. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Hereward (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Greening, RN), HMS Decoy (Cdr. E.G. McGregor, DSO, RN), HMS Jervis (Capt. P.J. Mack, DSO, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Waterhen (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RAN).

After the attack HMS Kent, escorted by HMS Nubian and HMS Mohawk, was detached to bombard Italian positions at Bardia early on the 18th. However before this could materialise HMS Kent was torpedoed and heavily damaged by Italian torpedo bombers just before midnight. Kent was hit in the stern and badly damaged. Kent was towed to Alexandria by HMS Nubian, escorted by light cruiser HMS Orion, AA cruiser HMS Calcutta (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN) and destroyers HMS Mohawk, HMS Jervis, HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Janus (Cdr. J.A.W. Tothill, RN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Vendetta (Lt.Cdr. R. Rhoades, RAN).

2 May 1944
HMS Trusty (Lt. E.T. Stanley, DSO, DSC, RN) conducts attack exercises with HMS Kent (Capt. G.A.B. Hawkins, DSC, MVO, RN). (5)

12 Nov 1944
HMS Kent (Flying the Flag of Adm. R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN) in company of light cruiser HMS Bellona, the destroyers HMS Myngs, HMS Zambesi, HMS Verulam and HMCS Algonquin, raided shipping south-east of Egersund, Norway.
At position 58°20'N, 06°00'E, the TF fell in with a German convoy, 4 freighters escorted by M 416, M 427, UJ 1221, UJ 1223, UJ 1713 and one more, unidentified auxiliary submarine chaser. Opening fire at 2300 hrs, the cruisers and destroyers sank 2 of the freighters and all the escorts above except the unidentified one.


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 53/108347
  3. ADM 199/386
  4. ADM 199/386 + ADM 53/112347 + ADM 53/112529
  5. ADM 173/19125

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

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