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HMS Birmingham (C19)

Southampton Class Light Cruiser

docked in South Africa - probably 1948
docked in South Africa - probably 1948
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Built by Devonport Dockyard. Laid Down 18th July 1935.

Launched 1st September 1936. Completed 18th November 1937.

Torpedoed 28/11/43 Med - Norfolk for repair 7/44 - 11/44.

Paid off December 1959. Broken up by Ward, Inverkeithing, 1960.

Birmingham served on the China Station from completion, with the 5th Cruiser Squadron. After war was declared she went to Malta to refit and then joined the Home Fleet. She took part in the Norwegian campaign and in the anti-invasion measures before refitting between September and December. From January to April 1941 she escorted troop convoys to the Middle East via the Cape, and later participated in the hunt for Bismarck. In July 1941 she became flagship of the South American Division, and in February 1942 transferred to the Eastern Fleet, but was detached in June for Operation Vigorous in the Mediterranean. Her duties in the Indian Ocean were mainly of a patrol and escort nature. In April 1943 she returned to Britain for refit, and on passage back through the Mediterranean after refit to rejoin the Eastern Fleet she was torpedoed by U407 off Cyrenaica on 28 November and very seriously damaged. After temporary repairs she lay at Alexandria until June 1944, then sailed to the USA for full repairs, which were completed at the end of November. On her return to home waters she joined the 10th Cruiser Squadron at Scapa Flow, and then took part in sweeps along the Norwegian coast until the end of the war. Postwar she was refitted at Portsmouth and then served in the East Indies with the 4th Cruiser Squadron until 1950, with a period in the South Atlantic command in 1948. She went out to the Far East in 1952 for the 5th Cruiser Squadron, and was present during the Korean war, then in 1955 transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet as flagship, 1st Cruiser Squadron. She remained in commission with the Home and Mediterranean Fleets until paid off at Devonport on 3 December 1959, being the last of the class in service. She was placed on the disposal list in March 1960, and arrived at Inverkeithing on 7 September 1960 to be broken up by T. W. Ward.

pre-war
pre-war
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Birmingham off Shanghai, probably late May or early June 1939. Union Jacks painted atop awnings and turrets to assist identification from the air, and carries a Supermarine Walrus amidships. At left is the stern of USS Augusta. NH 81986
Birmingham off Shanghai, probably late May or early June 1939. Union Jacks painted atop awnings and turrets to assist identification from the air, and carries a Supermarine Walrus amidships. At left is the stern of USS Augusta. NH 81986
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Votes185
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early in the war, air radar has been removed by the censor
early in the war, air radar has been removed by the censor
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Votes457
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pre-war in China colours
pre-war in China colours
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Votes508
score6.864
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Plymouth 1943
Plymouth 1943
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score6.851
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November 44 with the hangers blocked off - note X turret removed
November 44 with the hangers blocked off - note X turret removed
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score6.858
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probably 1945
probably 1945
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some time in the period 1945 - 1952
some time in the period 1945 - 1952
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score6.810
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South African waters - post 1952 - note new bridge
South African waters - post 1952 - note new bridge
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late picture - Malta
late picture - Malta
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a fine late photo
a fine late photo
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score7.068
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1960 and awaiting the breakers
1960 and awaiting the breakers
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Votes196
score6.827
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