Allied Warships

HMS Dauntless (D 45)

Light cruiser of the D class


HMS Dauntless during the war

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeLight cruiser
ClassD 
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 
History

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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CommanderFromTo
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)

18 May 1942
Ships from the Eastern Fleet departed Kilindini in the morning for several days of exercises, these were; light cruisers HMS Caledon (A/Capt. H.J. Haynes, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Dragon (Capt. R.J. Shaw, MBE, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN), HMS Enterprise (Capt. J.C.A. Annesley, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN), HMS Griffin (Capt. H.St.L. Nicolson, DSO, RN), HMS Hotspur (Lt. T.D. Herrick, DSC, RN) and HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN).

They were joined in the afternoon by the battleships HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN, flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN), HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN) (the C-in-C had transferred his flag to HMS Adamant temporary), light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. P.B.R.W. William-Powlett, DSO, RN), HMS Birmingham (Capt. H.B. Crane, RN) and the destroyers HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMAS Nestor (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, DSO and Bar, RAN) and HMS Foxhound (Cdr. G.H. Peters, DSC, RN).

Exercises continued on 19 and 20 May although several ships returned to harbour. HMS Dauntless (A/Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN) joined the exercises on the 19th.

At dawn on the 20th the last exercises were concluded and the ships proceeded as follows;

HMS Revenge, HMS Warspite, HMS Dauntless, HMS Caledon, HMAS Napier, HMAS Nestor, HMAS Norman and HMS Foxhound proceeded to Zanzibar.

HMS Newcastle, HMS Birmingham, HMS Griffin, HMS Fortune and HMS Decoy proceeded to Tanga.

HMS Emerald and HMS Enterprise proceeded to Manza Bay.

At dawn on 21 May, HMS Caledon and HMS Dauntless departed Zanzibar for Tanga where they were to join the ships that had proceeded there on their departure from Tanga.

Around 0800 hours all the other ships left their anchorages and proceeded to sea. Some ships were to conduct gunnery exercises (including night exercises), these were; HMS Revenge, HMS Warspite, HMS Decoy and HMAS Napier. They used a target that was being towed by HMS Dragon

The other ships returned to Kilindini on that day.

The ships that had been involved in the gunnery exercises returned to Kilindili on 22 May. (2)

16 Aug 1942
The battleships HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN , flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), light cruisers HMS Dauntless (A/Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), destroyers HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) and escort destroyer HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN).

17 Aug 1942
HMS Resolution (Capt. A.R. Halfhide, CBE, RN , flying the flag of A/Vice-Admiral A.U. Willis, DSO, RN), HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. D.N.C. Tufnell, DSC, RN), HMS Valiant (Capt. L.H. Ashmore, RN), HMS Dauntless (A/Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN), HMAS Norman (Cdr. H.M. Burrell, RAN), HMAS Nizam (Lt.Cdr. M.J. Clark, DSC, RAN), HMS Griffin (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), HMS Foxhound (Cdr. C.J. Wynne-Edwards, DSC, RN), HMS Decoy (Lt.Cdr. G.I.M. Balfour, RN) and HMS Blackmore (Lt. H.T. Harrel, RN) make rendez-vous with another group of warships which came from Colombo, these were HMS Warspite (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral J.F. Somerville, KCB, KBE, DSO, RN), HMS Illustrious (Capt. A.G. Talbot, DSO, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral D.W. Boyd, CBE, DSC, RN), HMS Mauritius (Capt. W.D. Stephens, RN), HrMs Jacob van Heemskerck (Cdr. E.J. van Holte, RNN), HMAS Napier (Capt. S.H.T. Arliss, DSO, RN), HMS Inconstant (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Clouston, RN), HMS Fortune (Lt.Cdr. R.D.H.S. Pankhurst, RN) and HMS Active (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Tomkinson, RN).

Exercises were then carried out on the 17th and on the 18th all ships entered Kilindini.

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. (3)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16466
  2. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/429
  3. ADM 199/1861

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


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