Warships

The naval force to be deployed to the Baltic Sea was approved on 24 November 1918 and consisted of five C-class light cruisers (the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron), nine V and W-class destroyers (the 13th Destroyer Flotilla) and seven minesweepers (the 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla) as well as two minelayers and three tankers. Due to their deep draft, the minesweepers turned out to be unsuitable for the Baltic Sea and were sent back to Great Britain. The squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Alexander Sinclair had technologically advanced war ships built in 1916–1918, so it was a truly cutting-edge and highly mobile unit.

Light cruisers

Destroyers

Light cruisers

HMS Cardiff

  • Sinclair’s flagship
  • Length-width-draft: 137.2 m x 13.2 m x 4.5 m
  • Displacement: 4260 tonnes
  • Turbine: 40,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 29 knots
  • Armament: 5 x 1-152 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft guns and 4 x 1-2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 460

Cardiff was built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Glasgow Shipyard. Accepted into service on 25 June 1917 and commissioned as the Flagship of the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron. During World War I, Cardiff was engaged in combat operations in the North Sea, primarily as an escort and picket vessel for various convoys.

On 20 November 1918, the UK Government decided to dispatch a flotilla of war ships to the Baltic Sea to provide assistance to the Baltic States, and the light cruiser Cardiff was appointed its Flagship on 24 November. From 1–4 December and 9–11 December 1918 the light cruisers and destroyers of the British squadron were in the port of Liepāja. Then Sinclair decided to take the bulk of the squadron to Tallinn, where it remained from 12–15 December. On 14 December, Cardiff spent fully 45 minutes firing at the positions of the Red Army in Aseri and Purtse from its 152 mm guns, destroying Purtse Bridge and cutting the Red Army’s supply routes and rear lines of communications. The light cruiser Cardiff’s final service in Tallinn was between 28 December 1918 and 1 January 1919, returning to its home port of Rosyth on 10 January.

In the 1920s and 1930s the light cruiser Cardiff saw service in the Mediterranean and Indian Oceans. She was still in operational service during World War II, sailing for patrols in the North Sea. In October 1940, the vessel was prepared for service as a gunnery training ship. Cardiff was decommissioned on 3 September 1945.

HMS Calypso
  • Length-width-draft: 140 m x 13.1 m x 4.4 m
  • Displacement: 4190 tonnes
  • Turbine: 40,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 29 knots
  • Armament: 5 x 1-152 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft guns and 4 x 1-2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 344

Calypso was built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co Shipyard and accepted into service on 21 June 1917. During World War I, she conducted patrol service in the North Sea as part of the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron. The Ship was also used as as a convoy escort. On 17 November 1917, she took part in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, during which all of the bridge personnel including the Commanding Officer were killed by a shell.

On 24 November 1918, the light cruiser was appointed to the Baltic squadron to be led by Rear Admiral Sinclair. On 1 December 1918, as Calypso was entering the port of Liepāja, she struck an unidentified underwater obstacle. The resulting damage to her propellers meant that the light cruiser had to be sent back to the UK for repairs on 7 December. Meanwhile, Sinclair decided to leave a part of his force, namely, two light cruisers and three destroyers, in Estonia. The Commanding Officer of Calypso, Captain Bertram Thesiger, was appointed the Commander of these vessels. The light cruiser Calypso arrived in Tallinn for service on 21 December. By 23 December Calypso and the destroyer Wakeful were called upon to provide defence during the first amphibious landing of the Estonian fleet in the Bay of Kunda. Naval gunfire forced the Red Army to withdraw from Kunda, after which the Estonian assault party took the town. On 26 December, the British war ships stationed in Tallinn captured the Soviet Russian destroyer Spartak, which had entered the area for a scouting mission. On the following day, Calypso was the command vessel for monitoring the Bolshevik destroyer Avtroil, which resulted in the capture of the enemy ship near Mohni Island. On 2 January 1919, Thesiger handed the Russian destroyers Spartak and Avtroil over to the Estonian Navy, after which they were renamed Lennuk and Wambola respectively. At the end of December 1918, Calypso assisted in transporting over 600 Finnish volunteers to Estonia, who would form units to be sent to the front lines. On 5 January, Calypso took part in the naval operation, which entailed the conduct of patrols between Aegna and Suursaar. On the same day, the light cruiser also supported the amphibious landing of Estonian naval forces in Tsitre with naval gunfire. The light cruiser Calypso left Tallinn for the port of Rosyth on 5 January 1919.

In the 1920s and 1930s the Ship was in operational service with the Mediterranean Fleet. At the beginning of World War II, Calypso was in service with the 7th Cruiser Squadron and was assigned to the North Sea, but was soon transferred back to the Mediterranean, where she sank on 12 June 1940 after being torpedoed by an Italian submarine (39 of the ship’s company lost their lives).

HMS Caradoc
  • Length-width-draft: 137.2 m x 12.9 m x 5 m
  • Displacement: 4260 tonnes
  • Turbine: 40,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 29 knots
  • Armament: 5 x 1-152 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft guns and 4 x 1-2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 438

Built in Greenock, by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd and accepted into service on 15 June 1917. During World War I, Caradoc was an escort vessel in the North Sea within the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron. The squadron also took part in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917.

On 24 November 1918, the light cruiser was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. Initially, Caradoc remained in Copenhagen as a communications vessel. She arrived in Tallinn on 12 December and engaged the positions of the Red Army in Aseri and Purtse with her 152 mm guns on 14 December. She again operated as the squadron’s communications ship in Copenhagen between 15 and 22 December. She was then ordered to proceed to Tallinn, where she returned on 23 December 1918. In the first months of the Estonian War of Independence, the vessel was engaged in the following actions: the capture of the destroyers Spartak and Avtroil on 26 and 27 December; patrols in the area between Aegna and Suursaar with Calypso and the destroyer Vortigern; and supporting the landing of an Estonian amphibious force in Tsitre with gunfire on 5 January 1919. Caradoc left Tallinn on 5 January 1919.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the light cruiser saw service in the Mediterranean Fleet and in the Far East. At the beginning of World War II, she was in service as an escort and patrol vessel in the Pacific Ocean. In 1943, the light cruiser was prepared for service as a gunnery training ship. In 1944 she was an accommodation ship and in the same year became the flagship of the East Indian fleet unit in the Indian Ocean. Decommissioned in December 1945.

HMS Ceres
  • Length-width-draft: 140 m x 13.3 m x 4.3 m
  • Displacement: 4260 t
  • Turbine: 40,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 29 knots
  • Armament: 5 x 1-152 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft guns and 4 x 1-2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 327

Built in Clydebank by John Brown & Company and accepted into service on 1 July 1917. Ceres saw operational service as an escort vessel in the North Sea.

On 24 November 1918, she was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. The vessel never entered an Estonian port: she was in the port of Liepāja on 1–4 December 1918; served as the squadron’s communications ship in the port of Copenhagen on 7–16 December; was in Riga on 17–19 December, in Liepāja on 19–21 December and in Riga again from 21 December 1918 to 5 January 1919.

From 1919–1932 the light cruiser was in service in the British Mediterranean Fleet, after which she was part of the operational reserve. During World War II, she was an escort and patrol vessel in the North Sea from 1939-1940, in the Mediterranean Sea in 1940 and in the Indian Ocean from 1940-1943. Ceres was assigned to support the Normandy landings as a depot ship and control ship in 1944. She was used as an accommodation ship in Portsmouth from 1945 and decommissioned in 1946.

HMS Cassandra

  • Length-width-draft: 140 m x 13.3 m x 4.3 m
  • Displacement: 4190 tonnes
  • Turbine: 40,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 29 knots
  • Armament: 5 x 1-152 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft guns and 4 x 1-2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 327

Built by Vickers Limited in Barrow-in-Furness and accepted into service with the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron in June 1917. Cassandra served as an escort and patrol vessel in the North Sea, and was the only ship of the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron to have an aeroplane platform, built at the request of the British Admiralty. Aircraft were primarily used by the navy for intelligence purposes.

On 26 November she was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. Cassandra was in the port of Liepāja from 1–4 December. While in the Latvian port, Rear Admiral Sinclair decided to sail for Tallinn, and the vessel set off for Estonia on 4 December. Passing west of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa during the night, Cassandra struck a mine and sank on 5 December 1918. The explosion claimed the lives of 11 members of the ship’s company, the remainder were transferred to the destroyer VendettaThe loss of a virtually new light cruiser was such a shock for the British Admiralty that it even considered withdrawing the squadron back to the United Kingdom.

Destroyers

HMS Valkyrie
  • Length-width-draft: 91 m x 8.1 m x 2.7 m
  • Displacement: 1188 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,500 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 1 x 1-76 mm anti-aircraft gun and 4 x 1-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 115

Built by William Denny & Brothers Ltd in Dumbarton and accepted into service on 16 June 1917.

She was the first V-class Flotilla Leader with pennant number F 83. Assigned to operational service in the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, she mainly operated as an escort and intelligence vessel, but sometimes also as a convoy support ship in the North Sea. On 22 December 1917, she struck a mine, which claimed 21 lives. Then the destroyer remained in the Chatham Shipyard under repairs until the summer of 1918, when in July 1918 she was assigned to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla.

On 24 November the Ship was assigned to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. It was based in the port of Liepāja from 1–4 December and 9–11 December, in Tallinn from 12–15 December, in Riga from 17–19 December, in Liepāja from 19–20 December, in Copenhagen from 20–27 December and in Liepāja again from 27 December 1918 to 1 January 1919. On 2 January, Admiral Sinclair took the ship to Riga to assess the situation in Latvia.After that Valkyrie left for Copenhagen and then sailed for the UK.

The destroyer was reduced to the Operational Reserve in 1921 and decommissioned in 1936.

HMS Vendetta

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 9 m x 4.5 m
  • Displacement: 1090 tonnes
  • Turbine: 29,417 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 35 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 119

Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company and accepted into service on 17 October 1917. In operational service primarily in the North Sea as an escort and support ship. Took part in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917.

On 24 November 1918, Vendetta was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. She was based in Liepāja from 1–4 December; participated in rescuing the crew of the light cruiser Cassandra after it struck a mine on 5 December; was in the port of Liepāja from 9–11 December; in Tallinn from 12–15 December; and was firing at the positions of the Red Army on the coast of Northern Estonia on 14 December. Returned to Tallinn on 22 December 1918. On 26 December, Vendetta participated in the operation for the capture of the Bolshevik destroyer Spartak, after which it towed the Russian warship to the port of Tallinn. She also assisted in capturing the Bolshevik destroyer Avtroil. It is a noteworthy fact that on 31 December 1918 Vendetta and Vortigern, which were on patrol near Keri lighthouse, launched the first depth charges in the Estonian War of Independence in an attempt to destroy a Bolshevik submarine which was said to have been seen by Estonian lighthouse operators. The destroyer Vendetta left Estonia for Copenhagen on 1 January 1919 and soon sailed for the UK.

In the 1920s and 1930s the Ship continued operational service in the British Mediterranean fleet.In 1933, the destroyer was transferred to the Australian Navy. During World War II, she engaged in combat action in the Mediterranean Sea from 1940–1941, in the Pacific Ocean from 1941–1943, and in the vicinity of New Guinea from 1943–1944. Vendetta was decommissioned on 27 November 1945.

HMS Verulam
  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.2 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1272 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co and accepted into service on 3 October 1917.
In 1918, transferred to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla, in which she saw service as an escort and support ship in the North Sea.

On 24 November 1918, assigned to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. Was based in Liepāja on 1–4 December. After the demise of the light cruiser Cassandra, the squadron set off for Copenhagen. On 6 December, Verulam and Westminster collided in the fog. Both vessels sustained serious damage, so the squadron commander sent both destroyers to the UK for repairs on 7 December 1918.

The destroyer Verulam returned to the Gulf of Finland in the summer of 1919, in an unfortunate incident she struck a mine laid by the British forces near Koivisto and sank.

HMS Wakeful
  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.2 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1100 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built in Clydebank by John Brown & Company and accepted into service on 6 October 1917. Was in operational service mainly in the North Sea.

On 24 November 1918, was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. In the month that followed, the vessel visited the ports of Liepāja and Riga with the squadron and arrived in Tallinn on 22 December, accompanied by the destroyer Vendetta. Together with the light cruiser Calypso, supported the first amphibious landing of the Estonian naval forces in Kunda with gunfire, forcing the enemy to retreat from the town. On 26–27 December, participated in capturing Bolshevik destroyers Avtroil and Spartak. Admiral Sinclair arrived in Tallinn on 28 December for the inspection of the captured destroyers. On 1 January 1919, destroyers Wakeful and Vendetta left Tallinn with the squadron flagship and then returned to the UK.

The destroyer Wakeful was reduced to the Operational Reserve in 1930s but was recommissioned for operational service on the outbreak of World War II. In May 1940, she participated in the evacuation of the British troops from the beaches at Dunkirk. When transporting rescued troops, the destroyer Wakeful was torpedoed by the German submarine S-30 and sank on 29 May 1940. The sinking claimed the lives of 638 soldiers and 85 members of the Ship’s Company.

HMS Wessex

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.2 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1100 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co and accepted into service on 11 May 1918.
In November of the same year, assigned to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea.

Was in Tallinn on 12–15 December and fired at the positions of the Red Army in Aseri and Purtse on 14 December. Was based in Estonia again on 1–5 January 1919 for patrols and supporting the amphibious landing of Estonian naval forces in Tsitre. Arrived in Copenhagen on 5 January, after which sailed to the UK.

In 1920s–1930s, the vessel was in service as a part of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning of World War II, the Ship was ordered to support the British troops on the coast of Northern France. On 24 May 1940, the destroyer Wessex came under attack from German aircraft and sank after being hit by three bombs.

HMS Westminster

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 9 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1100 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built in Greenock by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd and accepted into service on 18 April 1918.

At the end of the same year, assigned to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. During its service in the Baltic Sea, Westminster only visited Liepāja as, on 6 December, she was involved in an accident with the destroyer Verulam. Both destroyers were sent back to the UK the following day.

In the 1920s, she served in the 6th Destroyer Flotilla of the British Atlantic Fleet, after which she was reduced to the Operational Reserve. During World War II, the Ship was prepared for combat action in the North Sea. She served as an escort and support ship during the Normandy landings in 1944. Was decommissioned in 1946.

HMS Windsor

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.2 m x 3.4
  • Displacement: 1100 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built in Greenock by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd and accepted into service on 28 August 1918. Soon after, the Ship was assigned to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea.

The destroyer Windsor took part in defending Tallinn on 12–15 December 1918 and firing at the positions of the Red Army on 14 December. In December 1918, Windsor was mainly based in Latvian ports or Copenhagen, and remained so until 3 January when the destroyer set off for the UK.

In the 1920s, Windsor served with the 6th Destroyer Flotilla in the Atlantic Ocean. Together with WakefulWessex and Westminster, she took part in the evacuation of British troops in 1940 and served as a support ship during the Normandy landings in 1944. Was reduced to operational reserve on 15 August 1945.

HMS Wolfhound
  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.1 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1100 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company and accepted into service on 27 April 1918.

In November, the vessel was sent to the Baltic Sea. The British Baltic squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Sinclair arrived in Tallinn on 12 December and stayed there until 15 December. After that, Wolfhound was mainly based in Latvian ports, taking aboard refugees. In January 1919 it sailed to the UK with the rest of the squadron.

Continued service in the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla in the Atlantic Ocean but was reduced to reserve in late 1920s. Was recommissioned during World War II and participated in the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk in 1940  In 1940–1942, the Ship had a major overhaul and returned to operational service as an escort vessel for convoys in the North Sea from 1943–1945. Was decommissioned in 1945.

HMS Woolston

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 9.3 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1120 tonnes
  • Turbine: 30 000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 36 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 3 x 2-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 134

Built by John I. Thornycroft & Company and accepted into service on 28 June 1918.

On 24 November 1918, was appointed to the British squadron to be deployed to the Baltic Sea. Was based in Tallinn from 12–15 December 1918, after which mainly it stayed in Latvian ports. In January 1919 went back to the UK.

In the 1920s served in the 4th Destroyer Flotilla and the British Mediterranean Fleet. During World War II, operated as a support ship for convoys in the Atlantic Ocean in 1941 and in the North Sea from 1941–1945. Was reduced to operational reserve in 1945.

HMS Vortigern

  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 8.2 m x 3.4 m
  • Displacement: 1272 tonnes
  • Turbine: 27,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 34 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 110

Built by J. Samuel White and accepted into service on 21 January 1918.
Was soon assigned to the 13th Destroyer Flotilla, in which Vortigern saw patrol service in the North Sea.

When destroyers Verulam and Westminster were sent back to the UK from the Baltic Sea, Vortigern and Viscount were deployed in their place. The destroyer Vortigern set out for the Baltic Sea on 14 December 1918 and joined the squadron in Liepāja on 18 December. As the situation became critical Sinclair decided to dispatch a unit of two light cruisers and three destroyers to Estonia to defend Tallinn. Vortigern reached Tallinn on 23 December 1918. In the Estonian War of Independence, the vessel engaged in the following events: assisted in capturing Bolshevik destroyers on 26–27 December; carried out patrol service in Estonian coastal waters and in the vicinity of Aegna and Naissaar; launched depth charges with Vendetta on 31 December in attempts to sink an enemy submarine; and supported the amphibious landing of Estonian naval forces in Tsitre with gunfire. Vortigern left Estonia on 5 January 1919.

In the 1920s, it served in the 1st Destroyer Flotilla and was reduced to the Operational Reserve at the end of the decade.During World War II Vortigern served as a convoy escort ship and a patrol ship in the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. The destroyer Vortigern sank after being torpedoed by a German submarine on 15 March 1942.

HMS Viscount
  • Length-width-draft: 95.1 m x 9,.3 m x 3.2 m
  • Displacement: 1120 tonnes
  • Turbine: 30,000 shaft horse power
  • Speed: 36 knots
  • Armament: 4 x 1-102 mm artillery guns, 2 x 1-40 mm anti-aircraft guns and 2 x 3-533 mm torpedo tubes
  • Company: 134

Built by John I. Thornycroft & Company and accepted into service on 4 March 1918. Assigned to the Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow.

As a result of the accident involving destroyers Verulam and WestminsterViscount was deployed to supplement Sinclair’s squadron in the Baltic Sea. Arrived in Liepāja on 22 December. On 28 December, escorted the light cruiser Cardiff to Tallinn. In the following days, carried out regular patrols in Estonian waters. Left Tallinn for the UK on 5 January 1919.

Came back to the Gulf of Finland once more in June 1919, when she took part in operations against the Operational Force of the Soviet Russian Baltic Fleet.

Was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet of the United Kingdom in 1920. A year later, the Ship joined British light cruisers and destroyers on a visit to the Baltic States. Was in service with the British Mediterranean Fleet in the mid-1920s. During World War II (from 1939–1945) performed escort vessel service in convoys in the Northern Atlantic, the English Channel and the route between Great Britain and Gibraltar. Was decommissioned in 1945.