HMS Capetown (D88)

HMS Capetown was a C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the South African city of Cape Town. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. She was part of the Carlisle group of the C-class of cruisers.

United Kingdom
Name: HMS Capetown
Builder: Cammell Laird
Laid down: 23 February 1917
Launched: 28 June 1918
Commissioned: February 1922
Out of service: Sold 5 April 1946
Fate: Broken up from June 1946
General characteristics
Class and type: C-class light cruiser
Length: 451.4 ft (137.6 m)
Beam: 43.9 ft (13.4 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Speed: 29 knots
Range: carried 300 tons (950 tons maximum) of fuel oil
Complement: 330-350
  • 3in side (amidships)
  • 2¼-1½in side (bows)
  • 2in side (stern)
  • 1in upper decks (amidships)
  • 1in deck over rudder

She was laid down by Cammell Laird on 23 February 1918, and launched on 28 June 1918. She was sailed to Pembroke Dock for outfitting, a process finally completed in February 1922. Capetown was commissioned too late to see action in the First World War, but served in the Second World War. Like most of her sisters, she was originally assigned to the Mediterranean and later to the Red Sea.

Capetown rescued the 20 survivors of the Arabis-class sloop-of-war HMS Valerian after Valerian foundered in the Atlantic Ocean 18 nautical miles (33 km) south of Bermuda on 22 October 1926 with the loss of most of her crew.[1][2] She spent a large part of her career with the Eastern Fleet, including a period between the wars from July 1934 until August 1938, when she returned to the United Kingdom for a refit. She rejoined the Mediterranean Fleet in August 1940. While deployed in the Red Sea, she was torpedoed and severely damaged by the Italian motor torpedo boat MAS 213 off Massawa, on 6 April 1941. Seven members of her crew lost their lives. After a year of repairs at Bombay, she served with the Eastern Fleet until 1943. She then returned to the UK and joined the Home Fleet.

During the Normandy landings in June 1944 Capetown was deployed as a Shuttle Control/Depot ship at Mulberry A placed to seaward in order to direct incoming convoys to berths or anchorages.[3][4] Ceres was anchored inshore to control returning convoys of unloaded vessels with Shuttle Control Command for both ships being embarked in Capetown.[4] Shuttle Control Command was responsible for keeping the Army informed of expected arrivals and directing them to the proper unloading sectors.[4]

She survived the war and was sold on 5 April 1946. She arrived at the yards of Ward of Preston for breaking up on 2 June 1946.


  1. "Naval sloop lost". The Times (44411). London. 25 October 1926. col E, p. 16.
  2. "The Valerian". The Times (44411). London. 25 October 1926. col E, p. 17.
  3. "HMS Capetown". Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  4. Naval Conmander Western Task Force (CTF 122) (26 July 1944). Report of Normandy Invasion (Annex "U"—Build Up (PDF) (Report). p. 168. Retrieved 25 May 2015.


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