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HMS Birmingham

Postcard of a ship the HMS Birmingham.

HMS Birmingham

By Collections blog

This is a postcard from our Museum store which shows a photo of the WW1 ship HMS Birmingham. HMS Birmingham was launched on the 13th of May 1913 and was commissioned in February 1914. She joined the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet in 1914, visiting Keil in June that year.


On August 9th 1914, she spotted the U-15, whose engines had failed as she lay stopped on the surface in heavy fog, off Fair Isle. The crew of Birmingham could hear hammering from inside the boat from attempted repairs, and so fired on her but missed. As the U-boat began to dive, she rammed her, cutting her in two. U-15 went down with all hands, the first U-boat loss to an enemy warship. Birmingham also sank two German merchant ships that year and took part in the battle of Heligoland on August 28th and the battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915. In February 1915, she joined the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, Attacking a U-boat on 18th June 1915 with no success.


She also took part in the battle of Jutland as a member of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, during which she sustained damage caused by splintering during the night of the battle.

After the First World War, she was flagship for the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919-1920, after which she was transferred to the Nore from 1920-1922. Considered (with two other two shaft ‘Towns’) for conversion to a mine layer, but the idea was not pursued. She was recommissioned in November 1923 to the Africa Station with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron as flagship, relieving Lowestoft. She then continued to serve in foreign stations until being sold in 1931. She arrived at the yards of Thos W Ward, of Pembroke dock on 12th March that year to be broken up.


If you’re interested in the history of the Second World War, you might find this book from our online shop of interest:

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