Allied Warships

HMS Voltaire (F 47)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 47 
Built byWorkman Clark & Co. Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland) 
Laid down 
Launched14 Aug 1923 
Commissioned4 Jan 1940 
Lost4 Apr 1941 
Loss position14° 30'N, 40° 30'W

On 27 October 1939 the passenger ship Voltaire of the Lamport & Holt Ltd, Liverpool was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 4 January 1940.

Displacement: 13245 BRT
Armament: 8x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 14.5 knots

January 40 - April 40: Mediterranean Fleet
May 40: Halifax Escort Force
June 40 - March 41: Bermuda and Halifax Escort Force
April 41: South Atlantic Station

On 4 April 1941 HMS Voltaire (A/Capt. James Alexander Pollard Blackburn, DSC, (retired), RN) was on isolated patrol in the central Atlantic, about 900 nautical miles west of the Cape Verde Islands: at 0615 hrs she was spotted by the lookouts of the german raider Thor (Schiff 10, 3862 tgr, 6-150 {5.9"}, 4-21" tubes, FK Kähler) and the ships headed for each other.
At 0645 hrs the opponents opened fire and by 0649 hrs Voltaire was ablaze, by 0715 hrs only 2 guns remained in action and by 0800 hrs she hoisted a white flag, sinking shortly afterwards by the stern with a heavy port list in position 14º30'N, 40º30'W. 75 dead and 197 survivors rescued by the Germans. In the action, Thor expended 724 rounds of 15-cm.


Commands listed for HMS Voltaire (F 47)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Capt. (retired) Claude Lindesay Bate, DSO, RN25 Sep 193921 Sep 1940
2A/Capt. (retired) James Alexander Pollard Blackburn, DSC, RN21 Sep 19404 Apr 1941

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.

Return to the Allied Warships section