HMS Cornwall (56)

HMS Cornwall (56).jpg
Cornwall at anchor, 1929
United Kingdom
Builder:Devonport Dockyard (Plymouth)
Laid down:9 October 1924
Launched:11 March 1926
Completed:8 May 1928
Identification:Pennant number: 56
Fate:Sunk by Japanese carrier aircraft, 5 April 1942
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type:County-class heavy cruiser
Length:630 ft (192.0 m)
Beam:68 ft 5 in (20.9 m)
Draught:20 ft 6 in (6.2 m)
Installed power:80,000 shp (60,000 kW)
Speed:31.5 knots (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph)
Range:13,300 nmi (24,600 km; 15,300 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

HMS Cornwall, pennant number 56, was a County-class heavy cruiser of the Kent sub-class built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1920s. The ship spent most of her pre-World War II career assigned to the China Station. Shortly after the war began in August 1939, she was assigned to search for German commerce raiders in the Indian Ocean. Cornwall was transferred to the South Atlantic in late 1939 where she escorted convoys before returning to the Indian Ocean in 1941. She then sank the German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin in May. After the start of the Pacific War in December 1941, she began escorting convoys until she was transferred to the Eastern Fleet in March 1942. The ship was sunk on 5 April by dive bombers from three Japanese aircraft carriers during the Indian Ocean Raid.


Cornwall displaced 9,850 long tons (10,010 t) at standard load and 13,520 long tons (13,740 t) at deep load. The ship had an overall length of 630 feet (192.0 m), a beam of 68 feet 5 inches (20.9 m) and a draught of 20 feet 6 inches (6.2 m). She was powered by Parsons geared steam turbines, driving four shafts, which developed a total of 80,000 shaft horsepower (60,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph). Steam for the turbines was provided by eight Admiralty 3-drum boilers. Cornwall carried a maximum of 3,425 long tons (3,480 t) of fuel oil that gave her a range of 13,300 nautical miles (24,600 km; 15,300 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph). The ship's complement was 784 officers and men.[1]

The ship mounted eight 50-calibre 8-inch (203 mm) guns in four twin gun turrets. Her secondary armament consisted of four QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mk V anti-aircraft (AA) guns in single mounts. Cornwall mounted four single 2-pounder (40 mm) light AA guns ("pom-poms"). The ship carried two quadruple torpedo tube above-water mounts for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes.[2]

Cornwall was only lightly protected with little more than a single inch of plating protecting vital machinery. Her magazines were the exception and were protected by 2–4.375 inches (50.8–111.1 mm) of armour. Space and weight was reserved for one aircraft catapult and its seaplane, but they were not fitted until after she was completed.[3]