Capetown Class Light Cruiser.

On a Field Black, a sea-lion holding a lotus flower Proper.

Watch this short video about the Dunkirk where HMS Calcutta saw action.

Damage Report.

HMS Calcutta Memorandums dated 13th and 14th February 1940.  

By kind permission of Antony Atkin, whose grandfather also Anthony Atkin KX79257 Stoker 1st class  served on HMS Calcutta

HMS Calcutta.

JACK LACEY. Information by kind permission of his son, Tony Lacey.

Jack Lacey served on the Light Cruiser, HMS Calcutta, as a marine.

On the 1st June 1941 the Calcutta was sunk by German JU88 bombers with the loss two officers and 116 ratings.

Jack remembers particularly a commander giving up his life jacket to a junior rating as the ship was sinking. The Officer was amongst the casualties.  (Jack thought his name might be possibly be Arbuthnot. But the only matching officer is Commander Hunter-Blair)

Jack told of a marine bugler being concerned as what to do with his bugle. Jack told him to tie it to the rail and jump overboard, which he did.

He also recalls that the gun turret being manned by the marines had earlier jammed. But as the ship sunk, it continued firing.

For many years amongst Jack possessions, was a punch for punching the shells into the barrel of the ships guns, which he had with him as the Calcutta sunk.

Jack was always very proud of HMS Calcutta and also HMS Anson on which he served in the artic. Like many men, some of the more distressing events Jack witnessed, did rather haunt him

 Calcutta, ship loss.(MPK = Missing Presumed Killed)

HMS Coventry rescued 23 officers and 232 ratings, but two officers and 116 ratings were lost.

ALLTON, George A, Chief Engine Room Artificer (Pens), C/M 6255, MPK
ANDERSON, Kenneth C, Able Seaman, RNVR, C/LD/X 33287, MPK
ANSCOMBE, William E, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 221145, MPK
AYLING, Leslie G, Canteen Assistant, NAAFI, MPK
BALDERSTON, Arthur L, Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 66827, MPK
BARNES, William L, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 91951, MPK
BARTLETT, James, Stoker 2c, P/KX 111007, MPK
BENFIELD, Kenneth A, Painter, P/MX 55009, MPK
BLANCH, William G G, Stoker 1c, C/KX 94658, MPK
BRIGGS, Henry L, Able Seaman, C/JX 158927, MPK
BROAD, Bernard, Boy, P/JX 160180, MPK
BROOKS, Edwin A, Supply Assistant, P/MX 68084, MPK
BROOMHAM, George D, Supply Assistant, P/MX 68082, MPK
BURDEN, John, Stoker Petty Officer, P/K 57255, MPK
CAPP, James J, Able Seaman, C/JX 195729, MPK
CHALMERS, James S, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 157617, MPK
CLARKE, Edward G, Able Seaman, C/JX 15576, MPK
COOPER, Albert, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), C/K 59118, MPK
CROCKER, Kenneth B, Leading Stoker, C/KX 84910, MPK
CUNNINGHAM, Arthur, Able Seaman, D/JX 191164, DOW
DAVIS, James F, Canteen Manager, NAAFI, MPK
DAWSON, William, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106605, MPK
DRISCOLL, James W, Able Seaman, RFR, C/SS 11921, MPK
DUNWOODIE, Robert, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 196895, MPK
DYBLE, William J, Able Seaman, C/JX 159627, MPK
EBBAGE, Geoffrey G, Able Seaman, C/JX 159852, MPK
EDWARDS, Cornelius D, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106611, MPK
EKE, James, Stoker 1c, C/KX 99502, often reported as Missing Presumed Killed. We are delighted to report that James Eke survived the sinking of the Calcutta and went on to live in to his  eighty's.
ELLEN, David M, Ordinary Signalman, D/JX 214010, MPK
EVANS, William J, Leading Stoker, RFR, C/K 62010, MPK
FOREMAN, Wilfred J, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106618, MPK
FORSHAW, George, Stoker 1c, C/KX 92590, MPK
FOSTER, Edward C, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 119958, MPK
FRENCH, Frederick P G, Stoker 1c, C/KX 95633, MPK
GARDNER, Herbert J, Able Seaman, RNVR, C/LD/X 4394, MPK
GIBBS, James W J, Supply Assistant, RNVR, C/CD/X 129, MPK
GRIMWOOD, Spencer A J, Able Seaman, C/JX 159239, MPK
HALL, Frederick H, Able Seaman, C/JX 160351, MPK
HARRINGTON, William J, Ty/Act/Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 66260, MPK
HAYNES, William R, Canteen Assistant, NAAFI, MPK
HEXTALL, Ronald, Ordinary Seaman, P/JX 241034, MPK
HICKS, Oliver J S, Stoker 2c, D/KX 111666, MPK
HOLLIDAY, William, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 119084, MPK
HOPKINS, John R W, Able Seaman, C/SSX 128303, MPK
HUBBARD, Arthur, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 124805, MPK
HUNTER-BLAIR, Gaspard P, Commander, MPK
JOEL, Thomas J, Chief Petty Officer Stoker (Pens), C/K 60951, MPK
JONES, Robert A, Able Seaman, D/JX 125063, MPK
KNIGHT, Dennis A, Stoker 1c, C/K 94274, MPK
LEE, Bernard F T, Supply Chief Petty Officer, C/M 37625, MPK
LEE, Stanley J P, Stoker 1c, C/KX 102672, MPK
LEGG, Arthur S, Able Seaman, P/J 111714, MPK
LEWIS, Joseph, Petty Officer Steward, E/LX 20157, MPK
LILBURN, Arthur S S, Stoker 2c, D/KX 110864, MPK
MAHONEY, Henry C, Stoker 2c, C/KX 109373, MPK
MAJOR, Frederick W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 102675, MPK
MARCH, Frederick J, Lieutenant, MPK
MARKHAM, James I, Able Seaman, C/JX 193645, MPK
MARSHALL, Wilfred C, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, C/JX 140113, MPK
MASKELYNE, Edward L, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 200489, MPK
MATTHEWS, Henry R T, Stoker 2c, C/KX 100951, MPK
METCALFE, Joseph L, Stoker 1c, C/KX 97669, MPK
MOON, Francis S, Leading Stoker, RFR, C/K 61162, MPK
MOORE, Denis, Act/Engine Room Artificer 4c, P/MX 78308, MPK
MUNDELL, Henry T, Act/Joiner 4c, P/MX 64801, MPK
NEWTON, Sydney J, Stoker 1c, C/K 97665, MPK
OLIVER, Clifford C, Stoker 1c, C/KX 101358, MPK
OVENDEN, George L, Ty/Act/Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 65299, MPK
OWERS, Kenneth V, Leading Stoker, C/KX 83028, MPK
PAY, Leonard L, Cook, C/MX 54298, MPK
PEAKE, Arthur J, Stoker 2c, P/KX 109527, MPK
PEARCEY, Thomas H, Stoker 2c, D/KX 110952, MPK
PHILLIPS, Frederick A J, Petty Officer, P/JX 126281, MPK
PRATT, Thomas E, Regulating Petty Officer, C/M 40163, MPK
QUAYLE, Robert, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 221249, MPK
RAINFORD, John, Leading Seaman, C/JX 138670, MPK
RALPH, Stephen H, Ordnance Artificer 4c, P/MX 64324, MPK
RHODES, Charles, Armourer (Pens), C/M 31174, MPK
ROGERS, Alfred W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106687, MPK
ROSCOW, Wilfred, Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 66685, MPK
ROWDEN, James H, Stoker Petty Officer, RFR, C/K 67130, MPK
RUDKIN, Frank C, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106688, MPK
RYAN, Frederick J, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 179088, MPK
SADLER, Alfred, Leading Seaman, RFR, C/J 96028, MPK
SALMON, William J, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 214840, MPK
SAMPSON, William E, Petty Officer, C/J 103536, MPK
SANDERSON, Leonard, Act/Blacksmith 4c, C/MX 59799, MPK
SCOTT, Eric, Engine Room Artificer 5c, C/MX 56236, MPK
SMITH, Henry F, Mechanician, C/K 55304, MPK
SMITH, John H, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 104653, MPK
SMITH, Reginald E, Signalman, C/JX 156462, MPK
SPALDING, Walter, Able Seaman, RFR, C/J 98542, MPK
SPRINGETT, William G, Stoker 1c, C/KX 97354, MPK
STANLEY, Jack V, Able Seaman, RNVR, C/LD/X 4569, MPK
STOAKES, Richard S, Stoker 1c, C/KX 97880, MPK
STONE, William J, Act/Leading Seaman, P/SSX 23573, MPK
SUTTON, Donald J, Stoker 1c, C/KX 97603, MPK
THOMAS, James G, Marine, CH/X 2584, MPK
THOMPSON, Ernest, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106490, MPK
TWYMAN, John A, Stoker 1c, C/KX 93530, MPK
TYLER, George W, Stoker 2c, P/KX 111308, MPK
VICKERS, Peter A, Supply Petty Officer, P/MX 51196, MPK
WALLIS, John H, Ordnance Artificer 1c, C/M 38683, MPK
WILKINSON, George W, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106500, MPK
WILLIAMS, Leslie, Able Seaman, RNVR, C/LD/X 3003, MPK
WILSON, Samuel T, Stoker 2c, D/KX 112980, MPK
WISE, Stanley A, Stoker 1c, C/KX 106497, MPK
WOLLAGE, John A, Engine Room Artificer 5c, C/M 53168, MPK
YOUNGER, Henry, Stoker 1c, RFR, C/SS 121316, MPK

Over the following days men died of their wounds. (DOW = Died Of Wounds)

2 June 41
FINAN, Thomas, Stoker 2c, P/KX 112005, DOW
KNOWLES, James R, Ty/Act/Petty Officer, RFR, C/J 102177, DOW
TEASDALE, James, Petty Officer Cook, C/MX 46590, DOW

3 June 41
HUDSPITH, Thomas, Able Seaman, C/SSX 14781, DOW

4 June 41
WILLIAMS, Frank B, Chief Petty Officer, C/MX 46466, DOW

6 June 41
 TAYLOR, Clifford E, Leading Sick Berth Attendant, C/MX 48127, DOW

8 June 41
GRAY, William P, Petty Officer Cook, C/MX 45984, DOW

13 June 41
WILLARD, Thomas, Petty Officer, C/JX 133263, DOW

 OFFICERS from Navy List August 1940
(Rank. Name, Date joined ship.)

Captain. D. M. Lees, DSO. 18 Mar 40
Lieut. Com. G. P. Hunter-Blair. 24 Aug 39
Lieut. Com. J. J. Arkwright, DSC. 28 Apr 39
Lieut. Com. L. S. Widdicombe (ret). 24 May 40
Lieutenant (G) S. A. G. St. John. 24 Aug 39
Lieutenant. J. A. Harper. 23 Dec 39
Lieutenant. D. S. Williams (ret). 11 May 39
Lieutenant, R.N.V.R. C. P. C. Noble. 23 Aug 39
Lieutenant, R.N.V.R. Temp. T. B. Raeside. 16 July 40
Eng. Com. E. B. Collins (ret). 18 July 39
Lieut. Com. (E) A. E. Crouch. Nov 39
Lieutenant RM. P. Beeman. 27 Aug 39
Lieutenant RM. L. de W. Lyons-Montgomery (act) 22 Dec 39
Paym. Com., R.N.R. S. D. Newton,RD. 24 Aug 39
Surg. Lieut. Com. R.N.V.R. Temp. J. C. Moor MB, BS. 25 Aug 39
Temp Surg. Lieut., R.N.V.R. D. C. Brown, MB, 1 July 40
Paym. Lieut., R.N.V.R. F. A. K. Betty. 1 July 40
Sub-Lieut., R.S. Woolrych. 31 Aug 39
Sub-Lieut., J. R. Marigold. 1 May 40
Sub-Lieut., R.N.R. F. H.B. Smith. 14 May 40
Sub-Lieut.Temp RNVR. R. M. Herbert-Smith (prob). 21 May 40
Sub-Lieut.Temp RNVR. (E)  K. Atkinson (prob) 11 Nov 39
Temp. Paym. Sub Lieut. RNVR. J. V. Morris. 25 Aug 39
Gunner. A. F. H. Lanaway. 3 Jan 39
Gunner. F. J. March (For D/F Duties.) 28 Aug 39
Wt. Engineer. L. H. Norgato. 25 Aug 39.
Wt. Engineer. F. J. Eames (act). 21 Nov 39.
Wt. Elect. C. A. Brown (act). 23 Oct 39.
Schoolmaster J. Gammon, BSC. 29 Feb 39
Paym. Mid J. P. Mollett. 24 Aug 39

OFFICERS from Navy List June 1941 

Captain. D. M. Lees, DSO. 18 Mar 40
Commander.  G. P. Hunter-Blair. 24 Aug 39. 

Lieut. Com. J. J. Arkwright, DSC. 28 Apr 39
Lieut. Com.  I. H. H. Meiklejohn.(Ret) 21 Oct 40
Lieutenant (G) S. A. G. St. John. 24 Aug 39
Lieutenant. (N) J. A. Harper. 23 Dec 39
Lieutenant. D. S. Williams (ret). 11 May 39
Commander (E)  RNR R. H. Bryan (Act) (Ret) Jan 41
Lieutenant (E) J. A. Le Geyt. Temp. 5 Aug 40
Lieutenant (E). K. Atkinson. 31 July 40.
Lieutenant RM. P. Beeman. 27 Aug 39
Lieutenant RM. M. F. S. Burn (prob) 1 Sep 40
Surg. Lieut. Com. R.N.V.R. Temp. J. C. Moor MB, BS. 25 Aug 39
Temp Surg. Lieut., R.N.V.R. D. C. Brown, MB, Bch (proby) 1 July 40
Paym. Lieut., R.N.V.R. F. A. K. Betty. 1 July 40
Sub-Lieut., R.S. Woolrych. 31 Aug 39
Sub-Lieut., J. R. Marigold. 1 May 40
Sub Lieut. RNVR. G. A. J. Wells.  8 Aug 40
Sub-Lieut.Temp RNVR. R. M. Herbert-Smith (prob). 21 May 40
Gunner. A. F. H. Lanaway. 3 Jan 39
Gunner. F. J. March (For D/F Duties.) 28 Aug 39. 

Wt. Engineer. F. J. Eames (act). 21 Nov 39.
Wt. Elect. C. A. Brown (act). 23 Oct 39.
Schoolmaster J. Gammon, BSC. 29 Feb 39
Paym. Mid. I. C. Fuller. 8 Feb 41.

 If you, your father or your grandfather have any additional information about this ship, crew lists, stories, photographs, please send copies of them to be added to our records and this website.

Thank you.



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15 March 40. HMS Calcutta arrived at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands.

21 March 40. HMS Calcutta departed Sullom Voe for duty as the anti-aircraft ship for Norwegian convoys. At this point Norway had not entered the war. 

1 April 1940. HMS Calcutta provided AA defence for inward Norwegian convoy HN20.

HN Convoys travelled between Methil in Scotland and Norway. Many of these ships carried Iron Ore from Sweden, shipped through Narvik, which was badly needed to manufacture war materials.

It is known the Calcutta escorted convoys HN12, HN15, HN23A, HN23B, and HN25. During the voyage of convoy HN23A the Finish cargo ship “Signe” was sunk by the German Submarine U 38. The cargo ship straggled behind the convoy and was torpedoed east of the Orkney Islands with the loss of all 19 crew.

7 April 40. HN Convoys suddenly stopped when Germany attacked Norway and HMS Calcutta was recalled. Only a few days later the Norwegian Campaign commenced.

The Norwegian Campaign (9 April to 10 June 1940), was fought in Norway between the Allies and Germany in World War II after the unprovoked invasion of Norway by Germany. Although the British and French were forces to withdraw from Norway the damage inflicted on the German Navy would later lessen the threat to the Dunkirk Evacuation.

16 April 40. HMS Calcutta was reconnoitring in the Aandalsnes area of Norway when she sighted a U-boat on the surface but was unable to attack the submarine with depth charges due to its proximity to the shore.

22 April 40.  HMS Calcutta engaged the enemy and gave covering fire to French Troops as they landed from the French ship Ville D'Alger at Namsos in Norway.

27 April to 29 April. Under constant air attack by the German Luftwaffe the Calcutter was deployed as an Anti-Aircraft Guard ship in the Romsdalfjord and provided anti-aircraft defence during the evacuation of allied troop from Andalsnes. The Calcutta evacuated troops from Andalsnes.

1 May 40. HMS Calcutta landed 41 Officers and 717 troops evacuated from Norway at Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. They also landed the crew of HMT Cape Chelyuskin which had been bombed and sunk off Trondheim. All, one officer and nine men, were wounded.

6 May 40. HMS Calcutta departed Scapa Flow for the Narvik area.

9 May 40. With the destroyer HMS Zulu, the Calcutter was sent to intercept German troop ships taking reinforcements to Hemnesberget to cut off the British Troops fighting there. HMS Calcutta and Zulu where at different location when the command was given and too far away. The interception failed and the German troops had already landed when they arrived. These reinforcements enabled the capture of Mosjoen by the Germans.

HMS Calcutta and Zulu did however arrive in time the shell, torpedo and sink the troop carrier Nordnorge with the supplies for the German troops still on board.

HMS Calcutta and Zulu bombarded German emplacements at Hemnesberget and the petrol dump was demolished.

HMS Calcutta assisted with the evacuation of Allied troops from Mo and Mosjoin and provided anti-aircraft cover for the withdrawal of the evacuation fleet to Great Britain.

26 May 40. HMS Calcutta was transferred to the Nore Command for evacuation of allied troops from Dunkirk.

27 May 40. HMS Calcutta with destroyers Anthony, Gallant, Impulsive, Sabre, Vivacious (from Sheerness) Vimy (from Sheerness) and four minesweepers, including Skipjack and Halcyon operated off the coast of La Panne and Dunkirk.  

28 May 40. HMS Calcutta Evacuated 656 troops from beaches and took them to Sheerness.

​On return helped to rescue survivors from HMS Wakeful.

A survivor of the HMS Wakeful tells how on the 28 May 1940 he set sail from Dunkirk with 640 other troops. The Wakeful was hit by two torpedoed midships and sank very quickly. (By German E-boat, S-20.) He made his way on deck but by then the ship was listing badly and he slid down the deck into the sea. Without life jackets only twenty-six were saved. (only one of the 640 allied troops and 25 of Wakeful's crew survived.)

After sending sometime in the sea he was pulled into a rowing boat by sailors and taken to a small naval boat. From here he was transferred to HMS Calcutter wearing only a blanket. He remembers with pride of the Calcutta’s guns blazing at the enemy planes in the sky and the dedication of the Royal Navy in bringing troops back from Dunkirk. He also tells of his dismay to find he was being taken back to Dunkirk while the Calcutta rescued more troops.

29 May 40. HMS Calcutta returned to the Dunkirk beaches. Unable to get close to the beach because of the shallow water the minesweepers Salamander and Sutton, tug Java and eight smaller ships ferried 1,200 troops to the Calcutta which she took home to Sheerness. In total HMS Calcutter rescued a total of 1,856 troops from the beaches of Dunkirk.

1 June 40. HMS Calcutta departed Sheerness late on 31 May escorted by patrol sloops Mallard and Shearwater and operated off Dunkirk near Bray.

2 June 40. HMS Calcutta fought off three different air attacks between X and Y buoys and was slightly damaged by near misses.

Tons:                       4,190 tons.
Length:                   451.4 feet (137.6 m)
Beam:                     43.9 feet (13.4 m)
Draught:                14 feet (4.3 m)
Propulsion:            Parsons geared turbines. Yarrow boilers. Two propellers.
Speed:                    29 knots (54 km/h)
Complement:        350 Officers and men.
Armament:            5 × 6in guns, 2 × 3in anti-aircraft guns, 4 × 3pdr guns, 2 × 2pdr pom-poms, 1 × machine gun, 8 × 21in torpedo tubes.
Armour:                  3 in (76 mm) side (amidships), 2,25 inch – 1.5 inch (57–38 mm) side (bows), 2 in (51 mm) side (stern), 1 in (25 mm) upper decks (amidships), 1 in (25 mm) deck over rudder.

4 June 1940.With the surrender of the French rear guard the evacuation of Dunkirk came to an end, but the evacuation of other ports in France continued.

18 June 40.HMS Calcutta Assisted with evacuation from La Verdone (Operation AERIAL) and was deployed to intercept enemy ships off the Gironde estuary.

23 June 40. HMS Calcutta embarked troops and other personnel at St Jean de Luz (on the French Spanish border) and took them to Portsmouth.

25 June 40. HMS Calcutta and Canadian destroyers Fraser and Restigouche patrolled off Bordeaux covering the evacuation of St Jean De Luz where troopships Ettrick, Arandora Star, Batory, and Sobieski were loading troops from 22 to 24 June 1940.

While manoeuvring at high speed the Calcutta collided with the Canadian destroyer HMCS Fraser cutting her in two. The front part of the Fraser sank with the loss of 64 of her crew. HMS Calcutta and HMCS Restigouche picked up the survivors and scuttled the stern half which had not yet sunk.

27 June 40. HMS Calcutta arrived at Plymouth to land survivors from HMCS Fraser with part of Fraser superstructure still entangled in her bow.

28 June to 20 July 40.Under repair at Tyne Shipyard.

20 Jul 40. Repairs completed the Calcutta escorted minelaying ships of 1st Minelaying Squadron in SW Approaches (Operation SN31).

22 Aug 40.HMS Calcutta together with HMS Valiant (Battleship), HMS Illustrious (Aircraft Carrier) Cruiser HMS Coventry, HMS Sheffield and destroyers of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla departed Liverpool escorting a Military Convoy destined for Suez in Egypt. This convoy was intended to pass through the Mediterranean but part of it travelled via the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa while the ships carrying personnel and tanks went through the Mediterranean.

23 Aug 40.HMS Calcutter Joined Force H in the Atlantic, 800 kilometres from Gibraltar and sailed  with it to Gibraltar.

On the 10 June 1940 the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs informed the British Ambassador in Rome that at one minute past midnight on the 11/6/40, a state of war would exist between Italy and the United Kingdom. With Italy in the war against Britain “Force H” was assembled to prevent units of the Italian Fleet breaking out of the Mediterranean and to carry out offensive operations against the Italian Fleet and the Italian coast.

29 Aug 40,20.30 hours HMS Calcutta with Force H arrived at Gibraltar.

30 Aug 40, 08.45 hours HMS Calcutta with Force H sailed from Gibraltar on operation HATS.

The objectives of Operation HATS were to cover the passage of Force F which carried vital military supplies for Malta and to carry out air strikes on Cagliari in Sardinia.

1 Sep 40. While planes from the Aircraft Carrier Ark Royal attack the airfield at Elmas, Cagliari, HMS Calcutter with force H sped towards Malta.

2 Sep 40. At 0500 hours Calcutta, Coventry, Nubian, Mohawk, Janus and Juno were detached to Malta. On arrival at Valletta HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry unloaded desperately needed military supplies. These included eight 3.7in anti-aircraft guns with flight predictors and height finders to support the guns, replacement gun barrels for the anti-aircraft guns, 10,000 rounds of 40mm Bofors ammunition, 100 Bren guns and ammunition etc. As they unloaded the supplies they were attacked by Ju 87’s of the Italian Airforce.

Once unloading was completed HMS Calcutta rejoined the fleet which had been re-designated Force I and comprised; battleship Warspite, Valiant, Illustrious, Calcutta, Stuart, Voyager, Decoy, Defender, Hereward, Imperial, Hyperion, Ilex, Hasty, and Wryneck. Force I then set course east to pass north of Crete to attack the Italian airfields on Rhodes which had been causing the Mediterranean Fleet and the Aegean convoys a great deal of problems.

13 Sep 40.While escorting Convoy AN3 from Port Said to Piraeus (Port of Athens) the Convoy and escorts Calcutta, Kent, Liverpool and Glasgow were attacked by enemy aircraft.

1 Oct 40.  HMS Calcutta rejoined the fleet after being detached from escorting Convoy AN4 from Port Said (Egypt) to Piraeus (Athens, Greece)

8 Oct 40.HMS Calcutta and HMS Coventry escorted Convoy MF5 from Malta.  Arrived at Malta on the 11 Oct 40 and returned with the same ships and escorted them to Alexandria. An Italian attack by torpedo boats was repelled by the British covering Fleet and three enemy ships were sunk.

Nov, Dec 40.Continuation with escort duties between Alexandra in Egypt and Malta.

The Malta Convoys were to be some of the most fiercely fought battles between aircraft and escort ships during WW2. Malta was of strategic importance to the British in stopping the Italian and later the German convoys to Libya to supply Rommel’s African Korps. The Italians and then the Germans would do anything to starve and crush Malta and the British would do anything to resupply and save it.

2 Jan 41.HMS Calcutta with the Mediterranean Fleet sailed from Alexandria on Operation MC 5. (Operation MC 5 was the bombardment of Bardia in Libya (close to the Egyptian border) to support the British Western Desert Force offensive against Italian forces.

18 April 41.HMS Calcutta was with the British Battle Fleet which sailed from Alexandria to Suda Bay in Crete. (The Battle Fleet included, battleships Warspite (the Flagship), Valiant and Barham, aircraft carrier Formidable, light cruiser Phoebe, anti-aircraft cruiser Calcutta and destroyers Juno, Jaguar, Kingston, Kimberley, Griffin, Havock, Hereward and Encounter.

20 April 41. Calcutta detached and joined destroyers Diamond and Nubian escorting convoy ME 7 from Malta to Alexandria, therefore she did not take part in the bombardment of Tripoli by the Fleet on the 21 April.

10 May 41.In the evening of the tenth five Anti-Aircraft cruisers Calcutta, Carlisle, Coventry, Dido and Phoebe were detached and sent ahead to join the TIGER convoy. Both cargo ships New Zealand Star and three minutes later Empire Song detonated mines. HMS Foresight went alongside the Empire Song and took off her crew although 19 of her crew were lost. Loaded with munitions and on fire it was decided her cargo was too important to lose and a volunteer crew was sent across to the Empire Song. As they rowed towards her, she blew up. In the devastating explosion the whaler was sunk, fortunately with the loss of only one life.

12 May 41. The Convoy arrived at Alexandria with the Army and RAF receiving reinforcements of 238 tanks, 64 Hurricane fighters and a considerable amount of ammunition.

20 May 1941, Germany parachutists and gliders attacked Crete. At first the Germans found it difficult to gain a foot hold in Crete but their relentless momentum pushed back the British. The evacuation of Crete was inevitable.

28 May to the 1 June. Troops were evacuated from Sfakia on the south coast of Crete, where about 6,000 troops were rescued on the night of 29/30 May 1941. Many of the evacuation ships were attacked by Luftwaffe dive bombers on the voyage back and suffered losses.

June 1941.Supply convoys to Malta from Alexandria became very difficult coming under attack from the German Luftwaffe and Italian Regia Aeronautica bases in Crete and Libya.

1 June 41.HMS Calcutta (Captain D. M. Lees DSO) and HMS Coventry left Alexandria to assist the returning Crete evacuation Convoy.  When around 100 nautical miles (190 km) from Alexandria the Calcutta was attacked by the Luftwaffe. Two bombs from a German bomber JU88 hit the Calcutta and it sunk in minutes.

Damage Report.

 John H. Wallis, Ordnance Artificer 1c, C/M 38683, who sadly lost his life when HMS Calcutta was sunk by enemy aircraft on the 1st June 1941. 

1933 to 1938. HMS Calcutta was berthed at Chatham and used as a Training Ship where many future sailors would gain the experience, skills, knowledge and tactics required to fight the forthcoming war.

Aug 1938 to July 1939. HMS Calcutta was at Chatham undergoing a refit to an Anti-Aircraft Cruiser and trials.

Aug 1939. HMS Calcutta departed the Thames Estuary and the Nore Command to joined the Home Fleet.

September. HMS Calcutta was assigned to the Humber Force, acting as an anti-aircraft escort for North Sea convoys.

'Per ardua stabilis':  'Steadfast in difficulties'

HMS Calcutta was laid down on 18th October 1917 and launched on 9th July 1918. In 1927 she was placed in Reserve.

HMS Calcutta was attached to the Nore Command for short periods of time as requirements dictated.

HMS Calcutta was a frequent visitor to Sheerness mainly in late 1939 and early 1940 and in May and June 1940 when she famously evacuated large numbers of troops from the beaches of Dunkirk and disembarked them at Sheerness.

Commander Gaspard Hunter Blair on HMS Calcutta picking up troops from Dunkirk.
(Photograph by kind permission of his great-grandson Arthur Sauverin.) 

Thank you to Clive Callow (New Zealand) for the photograph and information.

John Hector "Jack" Wallis 1900-1941.  Ordinance Artificer, 1c.

Photo supplied by Fiona Lawson (nee Wallis) his grand-niece.

John Hector Wallis was a career Navy man, having enlisted near the end of WW1 and re-enlisted in 1924.