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HMS Sussex (96)
HMS Sussex (96).jpg
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: County-class heavy cruiser
Name: HMS Sussex
Builder: R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, Limited, at Hebburn-on-Tyne
Laid down: 1 February 1927
Launched: 22 February 1928
Commissioned: 19 March 1929
Decommissioned: 3 January 1950, Handed over to British Iron and Steel Corporation
Out of service: 2 February 1949
Fate: Scrapping started on 23 February 1950 at Arnott Young, Dalmuir.
General characteristics
Displacement: 9,750 tons standard
13,315 tons full load
Length: 633 ft (193 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draught: 21 ft (6.4 m)
Propulsion: Eight Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Four shaft Parsons geared turbines
80,000 shp (60 MN)
Speed: 32 knots (59.3 km/h)
Range: 4,715 km (2,930 miles) at 31.5 knots, 20,116 km (12,500 mi) at 12 knots; 3,210 tons fuel oil
Complement: 650 (peace), 820 (war)
Original configuration:
  • 8 x 8 in (203 mm) dual guns,
  • 4 x 4 in (102 mm) single AA guns,
  • 4 x 2 pdr (40 mm) single pom-poms,
  • 2 x 2 pdr (40 mm) quad pom-poms,
  • 2 x 0.5 in quadruple Vickers machine gun mount,
  • 2 x quadruple 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes.
  • 1 to 4 in magazine box protection,
  • 1.375 in deck,
  • 1 in side-plating,turrets and bulkheads,
  • 4.5 in belt,
  • 4 internal boiler room sides (added 1936-1940).
Aircraft carried: One aircraft, later three. One catapult.
Notes: Pennant number 96

HMS Sussex was one of the London sub-class of the County-class heavy cruisers in the Royal Navy. She was laid down by R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, Limited, at Hebburn-on-Tyne on 1 February 1927, launched on 22 February 1928 and completed on 19 March 1929.


Mediterranean, Australia and Spanish Civil War

Sussex served in the Mediterranean until 1934,[citation needed], when she was sent to serve with the Royal Australian Navy while HMAS Australia operated with the Mediterranean Fleet.[1] Sussex's exchange tour concluded in 1936,[1] and she resumed her presence in the Mediterranean again until 1939. During the latter trip, she defended the neutral shipping along the eastern Spanish coast on the last days of the Spanish civil war, supported by the destroyers HMS Intrepid and HMS Impulsive. She obtained the release of at least four British cargo ships arrested by Spanish nationalist forces, but was unable to prevent the capture of the London-registered freighter Stangate by the nationalist merchant raider Mar Negro off Valencia, on 16 March 1939.[2][3][4]

Second World War service

Atlantic theatre

In September 1939 she operated with Force H in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean during the search for the enemy German raider Admiral Graf Spee. On 2 December she and the battlecruiser HMS Renown intercepted the German passenger ship Watussi. Before the German ship could be captured she was scuttled by her own crew. Following the scuttling of the Graf Spee in December 1939, she returned to the UK, and served with the Home Fleet during the Norwegian Campaign. She entered refit at Liverpool in March 1940 and in May after sea trials joined 1st Cruiser Squadron in Scapa Flow where she was deployed in search patrols and convoy duties.[5] In August her crew detected a defect with her propulsion machinery so she was set to Glasgow for repairs to her turbine blades, and while undergoing work, was struck by bombs on 18 September 1940. These caused serious fires, gutting the after end, and she settled on the bottom with a heavy list. She needed extensive repairs and did not return to service until August 1942.

During these repairs at Stephen's shipyards, Govan she was fitted with new radar equipment, fire control equipment, 10 Oerlikon 20 mm cannon and 2 eight barrelled Pom Pom Guns.[5] Having returned to her squadron in Scapa flow for more interception duties and exercises she was then sent for another refit in November, this time at the Tyne shipyard.

Indian Ocean

Having spent January 1943 back with the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Sussex then took passage to Mombasa and was redeployed with the 4th Cruiser Squadron of the Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean.[5] On her way she intercepted and sunk the German Tanker Hohenfriedburg just south west of Cape Finisterre on the 26th of February[5][6] but was then attacked by German submarine U-264, fortunately for Sussex she avoided the four torpedoes fired at her.

Pacific theatre

General Itagaki signs the surrender of Singapore on board HMS Sussex

Sussex spent 1944 in the Pacific, and covered operations in the Netherlands East Indies following the cessation of hostilities. On 26 July 1945 her Task Force was attacked by two Aichi D3A "Val" dive-bombers acting as "Kamikaze" suicide weapons. On Wednesday, 5 September 1945 at 1130am., HMS Sussex entered Singapore Harbour carrying the Flag of the Rear-Admiral Cedric Holland. General Seishirō Itagaki, the commander of the garrison at Singapore was brought on board, where he signed the formal surrender of the army, thus completing Operation Tiderace, the allied plan to recapture Singapore.


HMS Sussex was paid off in 1949, handed over to the British Iron and Steel Corporation on 3 January 1950, and arrived at Dalmuir in Scotland on 23 February 1950 where she was broken up by W. H. Arnott, Young and Company, Limited.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Cassells, The Capital Ships, p. 22
  2. Royal Institute of British International affairs: Survey of International affairs. Oxford University Press, 1977. Page 386.
  3. Gretton, Peter: The forgotten factor: The Naval Aspects of the Spanish civil war. Oxford University Press, 1984. Page 469.
  4. Parliamentary debate, 20 March 1939
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3
  6. hohenfriedberg


  • Cassells, Vic (2000). The Capital Ships: their battles and their badges. East Roseville, NSW: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7318-0941-6. OCLC 48761594. 
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwhich: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Raven, Alan; Roberts, John (1980). British Cruisers of World War Two. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-922-7. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Cassell. ISBN 1-86019-874-0. 

External links

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