HMS Coventry (D43)

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HMS Coventry (1918).jpg
Career
Class and type: C-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Coventry
Builder: Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne
Laid down: 4 August 1916
Launched: 6 July 1917
Commissioned: 21 February 1918
Reclassified: Converted to Anti-Aircraft cruiser before the Second World War
Fate: Damaged and scuttled 14 September 1942
Badge: HMS Coventry boat's badge.jpg
General characteristics
Displacement: 4,190 tons
Length: 450 ft (140 m)
Beam: 43.6 ft (13.3 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Two Brown-Curtis geared turbines
Six Yarrow boilers
Two propellers
40,000 shp
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: carried 300 tons (950 tons maximum) of fuel oil
Complement: 327
Armament: 5 × 6 inch (152 mm) guns
2 × 3 inch (76 mm) guns
2 × 2 pounder (40 mm) guns
8 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Armour: 3 inch side (amidships)
2¼-1½ inch side (bows)
2 inch side (stern)
1 inch upper decks (amidships)
1 inch deck over rudder
For other ships of the same name, see HMS Coventry.

HMS Coventry was a C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the English city of Coventry. She was part of the Ceres group of the C-class of cruisers.

Early career and wartime service[edit]

Coventry was initially going to be called HMS Corsair. She was laid down on 4 August 1916, launched 6 July 1917 and completed for naval service in February 1918. HMS Coventry was in the 5th Light Cruiser squadron from February 1918 till May 1919, and served in the Baltic in this time. Commissioned with the pennant (D43) in May 1919 she was accepted into the Atlantic fleet, until in 1920 when HMS Coventry became the HQ ship for naval Inter allied Disarmament Commission. She went into refit in late 1920 and once the refit was completed she joined the 2nd Light cruiser squadron and she became flagship to the Rear admiral Atlantic Fleet, Andrew Cunningham. A Torpedo explosion while in Malta in March 1923 caused the death of two of her crew. At the outbreak of World War II HMS Coventry was serving with the Home Fleet between 1939 and 1940, and was damaged on 1 January 1940 in a German air attack on the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland. She was assigned to the Mediterranean fleet in 1940, and was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Neghelli in the eastern Mediterranean. Coventry also participated in the Battle of Cape Spartivento.

The Victoria Cross[edit]

On 18 May 1941 the first Victoria Cross of the Mediterranean campaign was awarded poshumously to Petty Officer Alfred Edward Sephton for "great courage and endurance" while on HMS Coventry as she was being attacked by Geman Stuka dive bombers while off Crete. The Coventry had gone to the assistance of a hospital ship which was being attacked by German dive-bombers. When the enemy engaged Coventry, raking her with machine-gun fire, Petty Officer Sephton was mortally wounded, a bullet actually passing through his body and injuring an able seaman beside him. Although in great pain and partially blinded, he stuck to his instruments and carried out his duties until the attack was over. He died of his injuries next day. Petty officer Sephton was buried at sea. His VC was on display at Coventry Cathedral but was stolen on 25 September 1990.

Loss[edit]

HMS Coventry was heavily damaged in the Eastern Mediterranean, north-west of Alexandria, Egypt by 16 German Junkers Ju 88s of I./Lehrgeschwader 1 under the command of Joachim Helbig, whilst participating in Operation Agreement. The ship was on fire and had to be scuttled by HMS Zulu

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°48′N 28°17′E / 32.800°N 28.283°E / 32.800; 28.283