Unknown Cruiser Found On NCAP Photo

Discussion in 'History' started by sea_mine, Jun 7, 2014.

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  1. Hi All,

    I found an unusual photograph in the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) archive a few days ago while playing around with different search terms on their site. Having inserted the single search term 'sea', the search engine came up with a number of photos but one in particular caught my eye. It shows the forward two thirds of what I take to be a heavy cruiser underway, supposedly off the Aberdeenshire coast in the North Sea:
    [​IMG]
    Image Credit: RCAHMS/www.aerial.rcahms.gov.uk

    The date of the sortie, M/039/NLA/065, is the 17th June 1943 and there are 22 other frames online - see the results page here. It seems to me to be some sort of training flight in oblique photography techniques. In any event, I would like to find the name of this vessel if possible and am hoping some naval folk might give us a hand here.

    First, I had a look round the web to make sure we are looking at a heavy cruiser and not some other type of vessel. The page here appears to show other very similar vessels with the same funnel layout. The Wiki page here on 'County' Class Royal Navy cruisers would also appear to support this theory.

    Of the three sub groups of 'County' Class vessels, I think the 'Kent' group most closely matches the photograph. The seven vessels in this group were:

    • HMS Berwick
    • HMS Cornwall
    • HMS Cumberland
    • HMS Kent
    • HMS Suffolk (of Bismark hunt fame)
    • HMAS Austraila
    • HMAS Canberra
    I know 'Cornwall' was lost off Ceylon in April of 1942, 'Suffolk' was with the Eastern Fleet from 1942-45 and I assume the two Australian ships also served in the Pacific. So, if I am on the right road, that leaves 'Berwick', 'Cumberland' and 'Kent'.

    Can anyone confirm or correct my theory?

    The thread on my own Forum has so far failed to turn up an answer but I know you guys are the experts in naval matters.

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. You're correct in that it's a County class heavy cruiser and on that link you supplied, the photo next to it has the same coding on the top with the photo number next in sequence, it's also labelled HMS Kent ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Hi Wreckert,

    I had noticed the caption on the other photo indicating HMS Kent but that photo appears to be captioned incorrectly. The zoomed version below shows a vessel with single gun turrets:
    [​IMG]
    Image Credit: RCAHMS/www.aerial.rcahms.gov.uk

    Can you confirm the first photo as HMS Kent without the aid of the (incorrect?) caption on the photo in this post?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  4. Both phots marked up as taken on the same day, so good chance they took a phot of the Kent and an escort
     
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    This looks a bit like a V Class Destroyer, possibly HMS Vigilant on trials after build in Wallsend, she was later that year tasked as an anti-submarine escort destroyer on the Russian convoys from September.
     
  6. Thanks Guys,

    Still hoping someone knows HMS Kent well enough to ID her without any captions.

    One other thing; how often, if ever, was the dazzle camouflage pattern changed on ships in WWII? I assume the patterns were changed periodically to deter enemy recognition. I don't want to discount any ground photographs on the mistaken assumption that the patterns do not match the above photos.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  7. From another website:

     
  8. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Just noticed, pennant number on the escort destroyer indicates (I think), R97 - HMS Grenville.
     
  9. Well spotted Ninja, I missed that.

    I thought it was a W class
     
  10. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Grenville's the odd one out, the only U - class not beginning in "u" and not scrapped until 1983.
     
  11. Hi Guys,

    I appreciate your efforts on this query.

    alfred_the_great, please pass my thanks to the people on the other Forum who confirmed HMS Kent.

    I would be interested in getting a look at the log entry of Kent for perhaps three days straddling the 17th June 1943. I know the NA do not have ships' logs digitised and it can be expensive to obtain manually produced copies of log entries. Before I go down that road though, how likely is it that her log would reference the names of her escort?

    Thanks,

    Pat
     
  12. One of them is naval_gazer, but I will do.
     
  13. If you check out the other classes from the same era, you will notice that there tends to be an odd one out in them all, Flotilla leaders were named after people rather than given a name to suit the Letter of the Class
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Running the Normandy related 'Whitebeam' Forum precludes me taking a more active part on 'Rum Ration' so I hope you guys don't mind me dropping in occasionally with naval queries. I see the '1919 Diary ID' thread still has the highest number of views in the History section thanks to Naval_Gazer and other regulars at the time answering the very many questions posed by this researcher.

    A great bunch of people here.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  15. sea_mine, can you give me a web site address for the Normandy forum please. I am trying to get info on LCT 7029.
     
  16. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It's in his signature block : Whitebeam Battlefield Research Forum
     
  17. Hi Onion,

    Yes, the address for the Whitebeam Forum is Whitebeam Battlefield Research Forum as in my signature below. You are very welcome to sign up and post your query if you want but you will get more specialist knowledge here on Rum Ration and I would be happy to work here with you to repay the work done on this and other threads.

    BTW, I came up with my pen name very early one morning about 3:30am and should really have waited until after breakfast :icon_smile:

    My name is Pat Curran and I live in County Kilkenny.

    Regards,

    Pat
     
  18. Welcome back, Pat.
     
  19. Thanks Rob,

    Hope to help where I can, especially on anything Normandy related.

    Regards,

    Pat
     

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