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:


25 Aug 1939
Around 1430/25, the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) departed Portsmouth. At sea she joined the passenger/cargo ship Dunera (11162 GRT, built 1937) to escort her to Gibraltar.

Around 2000/25, the light cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. R.J.R. Scott, RN) departed Plymouth to join HMS Dauntless and Dunera which she did around 2315/25.

Around 1800/26, they were joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, RN, flying the flag of Commodore H.H. Harwood, OBE, RN) which remained with HMS Dauntless, HMS Colombo and the Dunera until around 1330/28.

HMS Dauntless, HMS Colombo and the Dunera arrived at Gibraltar around 0630/29. (1)

31 Aug 1939
HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises off Gibraltar. (2)

2 Sep 1939

Convoy AB 1/1.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 2 September 1939 and arrived at Capetown on 29 September 1939.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Ardour (British (tanker), 7124 GRT, built 1928), British Loyalty (British (tanker), 6993 GRT, built 1928), British Motorist (British (tanker), 6891 GRT, built 1924), British Princess (British (tanker), 7019 GRT, built 1917), British Progress (British (tanker), 4581 GRT, built 1927), City of Hereford (British, 5101 GRT, built 1927), City of Shanghai (British, 5828 GRT, built 1917) and Rowanbank (British, 5159 GRT, built 1919).

On departure from Gibraltar the convoy was escorted by the light cruisers HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN) and HMS Despatch (Capt. A. Poland, RN). Shortly after sailing four destroyers joined for A/S escort. These were HMS Douglas ( Cdr. R.F.B. Swinley, RN), HMS Watchman (Cdr.(Retd.) V. Hammersley-Heenan, RN), HMS Wishart (Cdr. E.T. Cooper, RN), HMS Wrestler (Lt.Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, RN) and they remained with the convoy until 0800/3.

At 1300/11, HMS Dauntless parted company with the convoy and proceeded to Freetown where she arrived around 1100/13.

At 0830/13, HMS Despatch turned over the convoy to HMS Durban (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, RN) which had departed Freetown around 1900/12 to join the convoy. HMS Despatch arrived at Freetown around 0615/14.

At 1045/29, the convoy was dispersed near Capetown after which most of the ships proceeded into Capetown harbour. HMS Durban arrived at Simonstown around 1700/29. (3)

14 Sep 1939

Convoy SL 1.

This convoy departed Gibraltar on 2 September 1939 and arrived at Liverpool on 1 October 1939.

This convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Barrister (British, 6348 GRT, built 1939), Cliftonhall (British, 5063 GRT, built 1938), Ettrickbank (British, 5138 GRT, built 1937), Henry Stanley (British, 5026 GRT, built 1929), Jose de Larringa (British, 5303 GRT, built 1920), Luciston (British, 5017 GRT, built 1924), Peebles (British, 4982 GRT, built 1936) and Scientist (British, 6198 GRT, built 1938).

On departure from Freetown (around 1600/14), the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (Capt. G.D. Moore, RAN).

At 0715/21, HMS Dauntless was relieved by the light cruiser HMS Capetown (Capt. T.H. Back, RN) which had departed Gibraltar around 1630/17. HMS Dauntless then returned to Freetown arriving there around 0700/25.

HMS Capetown parted company with the convoy at 1735/24. She returned to Gibraltar around 0715/27.

Part of the convoy arrived at Liverpool on 1 October 1939. (4)

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). (5)

27 Apr 1942

Convoy WS 17.

Convoy from South Africa to several destinations in the Far East.

On 27 April 1942 the Capetown section departed. It was made up the following transports / troop transports; Almanzora (British, 15551 GRT, built 1914), Cameronia (British, 16297 GRT, built 1920), City of Edinburgh (British, 8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (British, 8039 GRT, built 1938), Dunedin Star (British, 11168 GRT, built 1936), Glaucus (British, 7596 GRT, built 1921), Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (Dutch, 19429 GRT, built 1930), Kina II (British, 9823 GRT, built 1939), Nieuw Holland (Dutch, 11066 GRT, built 1927) and Samaria (British, 19597 GRT, built 1921).

On departure the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Dauntless (A/Capt. J.G. Hewitt, DSO, RN).

Off Port Elizabeth the convoy was joined by the transports; Brazil (American, 18298 GRT, built 1928), Monterey (American, 18017 GRT, built 1932) and Mormactide (American, 7773 GRT, built 1941).

Off Durban the convoy was joined by the transports / troop transports; Elizabethville (Belgian, 8351 GRT, built 1922), Khedive Ismael (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922), Mendoza (British (former French), 8199 GRT, built 1920), Nova Scotia (British, 6796 GRT, built 1926) and Windsor Castle (British, 19141 GRT, built 1922).

The submarine depot ship HMS Adamant (Capt. R.S. Warne, RN) also joined the convoy off Durban.

The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. L.V. Morgan, CBE, MVO, DSC, RN) also joined off Durban to escort the convoy.

On 8 May 1942 the battleship HMS Royal Sovereign (Capt. R.H. Portal, DSC, RN) and the armed merchant cruiser HMS Corfu (Capt.(Retd.) J.P. Landon, RN) departed Mombasa to take over the escort of the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Arrow (Cdr. A.M. McKillop, RN) and HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. W. Harmsen, RNN).

They joined the convoy at 1600/8 after which HMS Revenge proceeded to Mombasa escorted by the two destroyers. They arrived at Mombasa around 1300/9.

At 1900/8, HMS Dauntless was detached for Mombasa taking Almanzora, Cameronia, Khedive Ismael, Mendoza, Nova Scotia and Samaria with her. They also arrived at Mombasa around 1300/9.

HMS Adamant had already arrived at Mombasa on 8 May. She had parted company in the early afternoon of 7 May and proceeded ahead of the convoy.

HMS Royal Sovereign and HMS Corfu then proceeded further north with the remainder of the convoy.

On 10 May the following vessels departed Mombasa for Bombay; Almanzora, Cameronia, Chantilly (British (former French), 9986 GRT, built 1923), Khedive Ismael, Mendoza, Nova Scotia and Samaria. They were escorted by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Ranchi (Capt.(Retd.) Sir J.M. Alleyne, DSO, DSC, RN).

Aound 0900/11, HMS Corfu parted company with the convoy taking with her the City of Edinburgh, City of Lincoln, Elizabethville and Glaucus. These ships were to proceed to Aden.

HMS Royal Sovereign meanwhile continued on to Bombay with the Dunedin Star, Johan van Oldebarnvelt, Kina II, Nieuw Holland and Windsor Castle.

HMS Royal Sovereign with her part of the convoy arrived at Bombay on 16 May 1942.

HMS Ranchi with her part of the convoy arrived at Bombay on 19 May 1942. (6)

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. (7)

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) departed Kilindini for exercises.

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. (8)

11 May 1943
During 11 and 12 May 1943, the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex (Capt. W.Y.La R. Beverley, RN) and light cruisers HMS Kenya (Capt. D.P. Evans, RN) and HMS Dauntless (Capt. N.J.W. William-Powlett, DSC, RN). These included night exercises. (9)

Sources

  1. ADM 53/108070 + ADM 53/108214 + ADM 53/108578
  2. ADM 53/108214
  3. ADM 53/108215 + ADM 53/108289 + ADM 53/108429
  4. ADM 53/107946 + ADM 53/108215
  5. ADM 173/16466
  6. ADM 199/426
  7. ADM 199/426 + ADM 199/429
  8. ADM 199/1861
  9. ADM 53/11705 + ADM 53/118603

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


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