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Birmingham file photo [4802]


CountryUnited Kingdom
Ship ClassTown-class Light Cruiser
BuilderDevonport Dockyard, Plymouth, England, Britain
Laid Down18 Jul 1935
Launched1 Sep 1936
Commissioned18 Nov 1937
Displacement9,100 tons standard; 11,350 tons full
Length558 feet
Beam62 feet
Draft21 feet
MachineryFour-shaft Parsons geared turbines, four Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Power Output75,000 shaft horsepower
Speed32 knots
Armament4x3x6in guns, 4x2x4in guns, 4x3pdr, 2x4x2pdr, 6x21in torpedo tubes


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Last Major Revision: Sep 2007

Light Cruiser Birmingham Interactive Map

Birmingham Operational Timeline

18 Nov 1937 Birmingham was commissioned into service.
21 Oct 1938 Before dawn, HMS Birmingham sailed along the coast of Gulangyu island, an international zone, near Xiamen, China. At 0800 hours, she sailed into Xiamen harbor between four columns of Japanese war ships by surprise; Birmingham's crew was able to take photographs of classified Japanese naval equipment such as fire controls and radar antennae before the Japanese crew was able to cover them up. At 1100 hours, Birmingham set sail for Hong Kong.
16 May 1939 HMS Birmingham arrived at Gulangyu island, an international settlement off Xiamen, China in response to the arrival of a Japanese Special Naval Landing Force detachment nearby. She disembarked a contingent of sailors and marines.
26 May 1939 HMS Birmingham departed Xiamen, China with Vice Admiral Percy Noble aboard.
22 Apr 1941 Light cruiser HMS Birmingham arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom at 0602 hours after completing escort duties which began on 8 Feb.
5 Oct 1943 Task Force 19 consisting of Essex-class carriers Essex, Lexington, and Yorktown with light carriers Cowpens, Independence, and Belleau Wood escorted by cruisers New Orleans, San Francisco, Birmingham, Nashville, Santa Fe, and Mobile and destroyers Hull, Hazelwood, Bancroft, Caldwell, Coghlan, Braine, Halford, Kidd, Bullard, Chauncey, John Rodgers, Harrison, Murray, Ringgold, Sigsbee, Schroeder, Dashiell, Conner, Burns, Boyd, and Bradford began two days of strikes against Wake Island. So intense was the bombardment that island commander Rear Admiral Sakaibara Shigemitsu was convinced it was a prelude to an invasion and he ordered the execution of all 98 remaining POWs that had been there since 23 Dec 1941, many of whom had been civilian contractors at the time of their capture.


French cruiser La Motte-Picquet at Shanghai, China, late May or early Jun 1939; note HMS Birmingham ahead of  La Motte-Picquet, USS Chaumont aft of La Motte-PicquetHMS Birmingham at Shanghai, China,  late May or early Jun 1939

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Nancy Durrell says:
3 Apr 2013 04:58:02 AM

I just came onto your post and found it quite interesting. I am also associated with heating birmingham, central heating birmingham, boiler replacement birmingham and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thanks again for writing such a good post.
2. Victor John Alfred Hillier says:
27 Apr 2020 10:55:07 AM

My uncle Alfred Arthur Frank Hillier served aboard HMS Birmingham he was one of the able bodied seaman who died when the ship was torpedoed by the submarine U407 he is buried in the war cemetery in Alexander Egypt many thanks Victor
3. David Faulkner says:
7 Sep 2020 02:43:52 PM

My Uncle Danny (Daniel Rankin) was a stoker on HMS Birmingham when she was torpedoed in the med. She limped to Alexandria North Africa.

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Light Cruiser Birmingham Photo Gallery
French cruiser La Motte-Picquet at Shanghai, China, late May or early Jun 1939; note HMS Birmingham ahead of  La Motte-Picquet, USS Chaumont aft of La Motte-PicquetHMS Birmingham at Shanghai, China,  late May or early Jun 1939

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