HMS Chatham (1911)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Chatham.
HMS Chatham AllanGreen2.jpg
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Chatham
Namesake: Chatham, Kent
Builder: Chatham Dockyard
Laid down: 3 January 1911
Launched: 9 November 1911
Commissioned: December 1912
Out of service: lent to Royal New Zealand Navy in 1920
Fate: Sold for scrap, 13 July 1926
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: Town-class light cruiser
Displacement: 5,400 long tons (5,487 t)
  • 430 ft (131.1 m) p/p
  • 457 ft (139.3 m) o/a
Beam: 49 ft (14.9 m)
Draught: 16 ft (4.9 m) (mean)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 4 × shafts; 3 × Parsons steam turbines
Speed: 25.5 kn (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph)
Range: 4,460 nautical miles (8,260 km; 5,130 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 475

HMS Chatham was a Town-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 1910s. She was the name ship of her sub-class of the Town class. The ship survived the First World War and was sold for scrap in 1928.

Design and description[edit]

The Chatham sub-class were slightly larger and improved versions of the preceding Weymouth sub-class.[1] They were 457 feet (139.3 m) long overall, with a beam of 49 feet (14.9 m) and a draught of 16 feet (4.9 m). Displacement was 5,400 long tons (5,500 t) normal[2] and 6,000 long tons (6,100 t) at full load. Twelve Yarrow boilers fed Chatham's Parsons steam turbines,[1] driving four propeller shafts, that were rated at 25,000 shaft horsepower (19,000 kW) for a design speed of 25.5 knots (47.2 km/h; 29.3 mph). The ship reached 26.1 knots (48.3 km/h; 30.0 mph) during her sea trials from 26,247 shp (19,572 kW).[3] The boilers used both fuel oil and coal, with 1,200 long tons (1,219 t) of coal and 260 long tons (264 t) tons of oil carried, which gave a range of 4,460 nautical miles (8,260 km; 5,130 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[2]

The main armament of the Chathams was eight BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XI guns. Two of these guns were mounted on the centreline fore and aft of the superstructure and two more were mounted on the forecastle deck abreast the bridge. The remaining four guns amidships were raised to the extended forecastle deck, which meant that they could be worked in all weathers. All these guns were fitted with gun shields.[1] Four Vickers 3-pounder (47 mm) saluting guns were also fitted. The armament was completed by two submerged 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.[4]

Construction and career[edit]

The ship was laid down on 3 January 1911 by Chatham Royal Dockyard and launched on 6 November. Upon completion in December 1912, Chatham was assigned to the 2nd Battle Squadron and was transferred to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean in July 1913. She was detached to operate in the Red Sea when the war began in August 1914. In November of that year Chatham was involved in operations against the German commerce raider SMS Königsberg, sinking collier in the Rufiji Delta to blockade her and capturing one of her supply ships. In May 1915 the ship returned to the Mediterranean to support the Allied landings at Gallipoli. In 1916 she returned to home waters and joined the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. On 26 May 1916, Chatham struck a mine off the Norfolk coast and had to be towed to Chatham for repairs. The ship was placed in reserve in 1918. After the war, Chatham was lent to the Royal New Zealand Navy from 1920 to 1924,[5] and was sold for scrapping on 13 July 1926 to Ward, of Pembroke Dock.[6]

In 1922, the crew of Chatham donated a cup to the New Zealand Football Association. This became the Chatham Cup, New Zealand's local equivalent of the FA Cup, and its premier knockout football trophy.


  1. ^ a b c Gardiner & Gray, p. 53
  2. ^ a b Friedman, p. 384
  3. ^ Lyon, Part 2, pp. 59–60
  4. ^ Lyon, Part 2, pp. 55–57
  5. ^ Gardiner & Gray, pp. 53–54
  6. ^ Lyon, Part 3, p. 51


  • Brown, David K. (2010). The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906–1922. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-085-7. 
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  • Corbett, Julian. Naval Operations to the Battle of the Falklands. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents I (2nd, reprint of the 1938 ed.). London and Nashville, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum and Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-256-X. 
  • Corbett, Julian (1997). Naval Operations. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents II (reprint of the 1929 second ed.). London and Nashille, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum in association with the Battery Press. ISBN 1-870423-74-7. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2010). British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-59114-078-8. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7. 
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 1". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (1): 48–58. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 2". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (2): 54–61. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 3". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (3): 46–51. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Newbolt, Henry (1996). Naval Operations. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents V (reprint of the 1931 ed.). Nashville, Tennessee: Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-255-1. 

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