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HMS Caledon History

HMS Caledon and her sister ships were ordered in 1915 as repeats of the original
C class cruiser design. These ships were designed with excellent seagoing chara
cteristics which allowed them to operate in the rough North Atlantic waters. The
cruisers carried main guns of similar caliber to contemporary warships but in f
ewer number. However, the center-line arrangement of the main armament allowed f
or all guns to be fired on a full broadside. Additionally, the armor of the C cl
ass cruisers was centered mostly around the main belt with only limited armor ar
ound the ends of the ship and on the decks.
Caledon and her sister ships were nearly identical to the preceding subclasses w
hen built, except they were fitted with newer turbines and deck mounted torpedo
tubes instead of underwater launchers.
By the beginning of World War II, Caledon was considered old and outdated. Rathe
r than modernize and refit her for service as a proper light cruiser, she was co
nverted into an anti-aircraft cruiser. Caledon s original main battery and torpedo
tubes were removed and her superstructure was altered to accommodate the new ar
mament. Numerous Bofors guns and other 20mm guns were mounted during her first a
nd second refits with more added as the war continued. Caledon's sister ships Ca
lypso and Caradoc did not receive extensive modifications after their constructi
on was complete.
Caledon joined the Grand Fleet in March of 1917 and was assigned to the 6th Ligh
t Cruiser Squadron. She participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in
November of 1917, where she was damaged by a 12in shell but survived. Remaining
in commission, she served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the interwar
period until she was placed in the Naval Reserve in 1931.
Recommissioned in 1939, Caledon was posted to the North Atlantic until mid-1940
when she was transferred to the Mediterranean for convoy duty and as support for
British operations in Somaliland. In 1941, Caledon was transferred to the Easte
rn Fleet and operated in the Indian Ocean until 1942, when she returned to the U
K for conversion into an anti-aircraft cruiser. Following conversion, in 1943, C
aledon was again sent to the Mediterranean for convoy duty, and participated in
Operation Dragoon in 1944. She survived the war and was eventually paid off for
scrapping in 1948.
Calypso joined the Grand Fleet with Caledon and also participated in the Second
Battle of Heligoland Bight. She was also damaged, a shell destroying her bridge
and killing all present, including her commander. After the war, Calypso was ass
igned to patrol duties and anti-Bolshevik operations in the Baltic, capturing tw
o destroyers, Avtroil and Spartak, in December of 1918. She was placed in reserv
e in 1932.
Recommissioned in 1939, Calypso was also assigned to the Northern Patrol along w
ith Caledon. From September to November of 1939, Calypso captured three German m
erchants and participated in the hunt for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. In 1940, sh
e was also sent to the Mediterranean, where she was sunk by an Italian submarine
in June of 1940.
Caradoc, while also assigned with her sisters to the Grand Fleet, escaped damage
in World War I. She was present and participated in the capture of Avtroil and
Spartak with Calypso in December of 1918, serving her interwar years in the Medi
terranean, China, and the Americas until she was transferred to the reserve in 1
Caradoc was reactivated along with her remaining three sisters in 1939. Her firs
t mission of note was the transport of gold to Halifax as payment for war materi
als. Transferred to the Caribbean until 1942, Caradoc captured two German mercha
nts before sailing to New York for refit in late 1941. Having finished her refit
in February of 1942, Caradoc sailed to the Indian Ocean to join the Eastern Fle
et. There she served in various administrative capacities until the end of the w
ar in 1945. Caradoc was paid off and sold for scrapping in 1946.
The fourth ship of the Caradoc sub-class, Cassandra, also served with the Grand
Fleet in World War I. Operating on Baltic patrol duties after the end of hostili
ties in 1918, Cassandra