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HMS Birmingham (1913)
HMS Birmingham (1913).jpg
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Town-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Birmingham
Ordered: under 1911 Naval Estimates
Builder: Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick
Laid down: 10 June 1912
Launched: 7 May 1913
Commissioned: February 1914
Fate: Sold for scrapping February 1931
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,440 long tons (5,530 t)
Length: 457 ft (139.3 m) o/a
Beam: 50 ft (15.2 m)
Draught: 15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)
Installed power: 25,000 shp (18,642.5 kW)
Propulsion: 4 × Parsons steam turbines
12 × Yarrow boilers
4 × shafts
Speed: 25.5 kn (29.3 mph; 47.2 km/h)
Range: 4,680 nmi (5,390 mi; 8,670 km) at 10 kn (11.5 mph; 18.5 km/h)1
Capacity: Coal: 1,165 short tons (1,057 t) (maximum)
Fuel oil: 235 short tons (213.188 t)
Complement: 433
Armament: 9 × BL 6 in (152 mm) Mk XII guns
1 × 3 in (76 mm) anti-aircraft gun
4 × 3-pounder guns
2 × machine guns
2 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: 3 inch side amidships
1½ inch side (forward)
1¾ inch side (aft)

HMS Birmingham was lead ship of the Birmingham group of three ships of the "Town" class of light cruisers built by the Royal Navy. Her sister ships were Lowestoft and Nottingham. The three ships were virtually identical to the third group of "Town" ships, but with an additional 6 in (150 mm) gun worked in on the forecastle.


Birmingham was built at Elswick, launched on 7 May 1913 and completed in January 1914. She joined the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914, visiting Kiel in June that year.

On 9 August 1914, she spotted the German submarine U-15, whose engines had failed as she lay stopped on the surface in heavy fog, off Fair Isle. The crew of Birmingham could hear hammering from inside the boat from attempted repairs, and so fired on her but missed. As the U-boat began to dive, she rammed her, cutting her in two. U-15 went down with all hands, the first U-boat loss to an enemy warship.[1] Birmingham also sank two German merchant ships that year and took part in the Battle of Heligoland on the 28 August, and the Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915.

In February, she joined the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, attacking a u-boat on 18 June 1915 without success.

Birmingham under fire at the Battle of Jutland

She also took part in the Battle of Jutland as a member of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, during which she sustained damage caused by splintering during the night of the battle. After the First World War, she was flagship to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919-1920, after which she was transferred to the Nore from 1920-1922. She was recommissioned in November 1923 to the Africa Station with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron as Flagship, relieving Lowestoft. She then continued to serve in foreign stations until being sold in 1931. She arrived at the yards of Ward, of Pembroke Dock on 12 March that year to be broken up.


External links

  • "An Echo from Jutland" Pathe newsreel dated 24 October 1921, in which the Lord Mayor of Birmingham receives the ship's battle scarred ensign.

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