HMS Cassandra (1916)

HMS Cassandra was a C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was part of the Caledon group of the C-class of cruisers. Cassandra had a short career, being commissioned in June 1917 and sunk by a mine during the British intervention in the Russian Civil War on 5 December 1918.

HMS Cassandra in Copenhagen
United Kingdom
Class and type: C-class light cruiser
Name: HMS Cassandra
Builder: Vickers Limited, Barrow in Furness
Laid down: March 1916
Launched: 25 November 1916
Commissioned: June 1917
Fate: Sunk on 5 December 1918 by mine near Saaremaa (Oesel) isle
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 4,190 tons
Length: 450 ft (140 m)
Beam: 43.6 ft (13.3 m)
Draught: 14 ft (4.3 m)
  • Two Brown-Curtis geared turbines
  • Six Yarrow boilers
  • Two propellers
  • 40,000 shp
Speed: 29 knots
Range: carried 300 tons (950 tons maximum) of fuel oil
Complement: 327
  • 3 inch side (amidships)
  • 2¼-1½ inch side (bows)
  • 2 inch side (stern)
  • 1 inch upper decks (amidships)
  • 1 inch deck over rudder

She was built by Vickers Limited, Barrow in Furness and laid down in March 1916, launched on 25 November 1916 and commissioned into the Navy in June 1917.


Cassandra initially joined the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. She suffered a mishap when she and sister ship Caradoc ran aground on Fair Isle on 15 August 1917 but both ships were successfully salvaged.[1] Following the end of the First World War, the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron, including Cassandra, formed part of a force sent to the Baltic under the command of Rear-Admiral Edwyn Alexander-Sinclair to support the independence of the newly founded Baltic States against the Bolsheviks.[2] On 5 December 1918 Alexander-Sinclair's force was on passage to Tallinn, threatened by a Bolshevik army, when Cassandra struck a mine, part of an uncharted German minefield, near Saaremaa in the Gulf of Finland. Cassandra quickly sank, but most of her crew were rescued by the destroyers Westminster and Vendetta with only eleven of her crew lost. (Ten were killed by the initial explosion while one man fell overboard during the rescue attempt).[3][4]


The Estonian Navy and Estonian Maritime Museum announced in August 2010 that they had located the wrecks of HMS Cassandra, and two Flower-class sloops HMS Myrtle and HMS Gentian near Saaremaa Island in depths of 60–100 metres.[5]


  1. Gardiner and Gray 1985, pp. 60–61.
  2. Bennett 2002, pp. 33–34.
  3. Bennett 2002, pp. 35–36.
  4. Dittmar and Colledge 1972, p. 48.
  5. Wainwright, Martin (23 August 2010). "British warships sunk 90 years ago found off Estonian coast". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2010.


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