Allied Warships

HMS Curacoa (D 41)

Light cruiser of the Ceres class

HMS Curacoa in 1941 after reconstruction

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
PennantD 41 
Built byPembroke Dockyard (Pembroke, Wales): Harland & Wolff (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
OrderedApr 1916 
Laid downJul 1916 
Launched5 May 1917 
Commissioned18 Feb 1918 
Lost2 Oct 1942 
Loss position55° 50'N, 8° 38'W

HMS Curacoa was rearmed as an Anti-Aircraft cruiser from August 1939 until April 1940.
Armament as reconstructed was;
8 4" AA guns (4x2)
4 2pdr AA (1x4)
8 .5" MG AA (2x4)

HMS Curacoa was engaged in convoy escort duties with the Queen Mary. While both ships were zigzagging, the Curacoa (Capt. John Wilfred Boutwood, RN, survivor) crossed the Queen Mary's bow with insufficent clearance. The Queen Mary knifed into her at a speed of 28 knots, cutting the Curacoa in two. Separated by about 100 yards, she sank instantly with 338 casualties in position 55º50'N, 08º38'W. The Queen Mary did not falter or slow down, despite the fact of a 40 foot gash in her bow, for fear of German submarines. The convoy behind picked up 26 survivors.


Commands listed for HMS Curacoa (D 41)

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

1Capt. Edward Arthur Aylmer, DSC, RN5 Dec 19394 Feb 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Lionel Haultain Phillips, RN4 Feb 194011 Feb 1940
3Capt. Edward Arthur Aylmer, DSC, RN11 Feb 194010 Aug 1940
4Capt. Cecil Charles Hughes-Hallett, RN10 Aug 194020 Feb 1942
5Capt. Stuart Henry Paton, RN20 Feb 194213 Jun 1942
6Capt. John Wilfrid Boutwood, RN13 Jun 19422 Oct 1942

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Notable events involving Curacoa include:

24 Apr 1940
After four days serving as AA protection off Aldansnes, Norway HMS Curacoa (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN) is seriously damaged by bombs from German aircraft. Repairs lasted into August. (1)

28 Jan 1941
HMS Prince of Wales (Rear Admiral L.H.K. Hamilton, DSO and Bar, RN) departed Liverpool for Rosyth. She was escorted by the destroyers HMS Highlander (Cdr. S. Boucher, RN), HMS Hesperus (Cdr. D.G.F.W. MacIntyre, RN) and HMS Havelock (Cdr. E.H. Thomas, RN).

At 1825 hours the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Curacoa (Capt. C.C. Hughes-Hallett, RN) also joined.

At 0850/29 the destroyer HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN) joined until 1253 hours when she departed the screen.

Shortly before 1600/29 light cruiser HMS Nigeria (Capt. J.G.L. Dundas, CBE, RN) and the destroyers HMS Inglefield (Capt. P. Todd, DSO, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr. H.T. Armstrong, DSC, RN) and HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr M.J. Clark, RAN) joined. HMS Hesperus and HMS Havelock were then detached.

For the daily noon positions of HMS Prince of Wales during the passage from Liverpool to Rosyth see the map below.


Media links

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Thomas, David A. and Patrick Holmes


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 53/114884

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

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