Summary of Service: HMS Southampton, 1921-1926

HMS Southampton was built by Messrs John Brown & Co, laid down at Clydebank, 30 March 1911 and launched, 06 May 1912 by Lady Katherine Somerset. She was a light cruiser of 5,400 tons, 15,400 HP with an armament of eight 6in guns. She was the fourth ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Southampton.

The Southampton was first commissioned at Portsmouth with a nucleus crew on 26 November 1912 by Captain A E M Chatfield CVO, who was succeeded in March 1913 by Captain A A M Duff. On 05 July 1913 Captain W E Goodenough MVO hoisted his broad pendant in the ship as Commodore commanding 1st Light Cruiser Squadron.

Joining the Grand Fleet at the outbreak of war the Southampton was present at the Heligoland Bight action, 28 August 1914, and took part in the pursuit of the German squadron which carried out the raid on the Yorkshire Coast on 16 December 1914. The Southampton was again in action at the Dogger Bank fight 24 January 1915. In February 1915 as a consequence of a reorganisation of the battle cruiser and light cruiser squadrons, the Southampton became flagship of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Battle Cruiser Fleet (broad pendant of Commodore Goodenough). In this capacity she took part in the battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916, in which she was heavily engaged and sustained the loss of 35 killed and 41 wounded. In the course of the battle the Southampton torpedoed and sank the German cruiser FRAUENLOB. (A graphic account of her experiences is given in “A Naval Lieutenant 1914-18” by “Etienne” (Commander Stephen King Hall who was serving in her as one of her lieutenants).

A fortnight after the Battle of Jutland, Commodore Goodenough was promoted Rear-Admiral and flew his flag in the Southampton with Captain E A Rushton as her Commanding Officer. The Southampton continued as a flagship until December 1916 when Rear Admiral Goodenough gave up command of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron which was then commanded by Commodore C F Lambert, with his Broad Pennant in the Southampton.

Upon Commodore Lambert being promoted to Rear Admiral and hoisting his flag in HMS Birmingham as a Rear Admiral Commanding 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, Captain B V Brooke took command of the Southampton.

In July 1918 the Southampton conveyed the First Lord, Sir Eric Geddes, to the White Sea to confer with the military authorities regarding the proposed expedition to Archangel.

In 1918 the Southampton was transferred to the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron and on 21 November 1918 was present at the surrender of the German Fleet.

On 20 May 1919 she was re-commissioned as Flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, South America, Rear-Admiral A T Hunt CB CSI (Captain T Hallett OBE). After two years on this station the Southampton was transferred to the East Indies and flew the flags of three successive Commanders-in-Chief: Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Tothill KCMG CB, Vice-Admiral Sir L Clinton-Baker KCVO CB CBE (April 1921), and Rear Admiral Richmond CB (October 1923). Her Captains during this period were successively L W Braithwaite CMG, W A Egerton CMG and N F Lawrence DSO.

The Southampton returned to England and paid off into Reserve, 30 August 1924. She was sold to Messrs T W Ward Ltd, for breaking up, 23 July 1926.

Reference

FOI 2019/01021 dated 06 February 2019.

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