Ceres Class Cruiser (1917)

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The five light cruisers of the Ceres Class were completed in 1917 and 1918.

Overview of 5 vessels
Citations for this data available on individual ship pages
Name Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Ceres John Brown & Company 11 Jul, 1916 24 Mar, 1917 Jun, 1917 Sold 5 Apr, 1946
Cardiff Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company 22 Jul, 1916 12 Apr, 1917 Jun, 1917 Sold 23 Jan, 1946
Coventry Swan Hunter 4 Aug, 1916 6 Jul, 1917 Feb, 1918 Sunk 14 Sep, 1942
Curacoa Pembroke Royal Dockyard Jul, 1916 5 May, 1917 Feb, 1918 Collision 2 Oct, 1942
Curlew Vickers 21 Aug, 1916 5 Jul, 1917 Dec, 1917 Sunk 26 May, 1940



In 1916, it was stated that ""C" and "D" class light cruisers" have three 52.5 kw dynamos at 105 volts.[1]


The ships were armed as follows.[2]


  • Five 6-in 45cal B.L. Mark XII guns on P. XIII* mountings on the centre-line with a maximum elevation of 30 degrees.[3][4] The guns had armoured shields of 1/4 inch on the face, 3/16 inch on sides and top, weighing 1.25 tons.[5]
  • Two 3-in 20cwt Q.F. on H.A. mountings
  • Four 3-pdr
  • Two 2-pdr pom-poms


As the 6-in guns fired over these, they proved untenable for manned firing as the 6-in guns would have necessitated a blast shield projecting fully 18 feet from the muzzle. The ugly expedient taken was to train the tubes to a pre-arranged bearing on coming to action stations and to use remote firing from the primary and secondary control positions.[6]

In 1918, the Ceres class was one of several light cruiser classes ordered to receive refits so that their A.W. torpedo tubes would use two impulse charges firing in a cascade to increase the torpedo discharge velocity and thus reduce the angle at which the torpedoes entered the water.[7]

Fire Control

Mechanical Aid-to-Spotter

By 1920, all ships were likely equipped with four Mechanical Aid-to-Spotter Mark II*s with Evershed Bearing Transmitters.[8] The installations generally consisted of placing one on each side of the foretop, driven by flexible shafting from a gearbox on the director tower.[9]

Supplies of these devices began in June 1918.[10]

Range Dials

In 1918, it was ordered that these and ten other classes of light cruisers should receive "range instruments for concentration of fire". Presumably, this meant range dials.[11]

As of 1920, all five ships had two Range Dial Type Cs with 10 foot dials and a Range Dial Type L.[12]


Sometime during or after 1917, an additional 9-foot rangefinder was to be added specifically to augment torpedo control.[13]

By June, 1918, it was determined that the ships would probably eventually carry one 15-foot, one 12-foot and two 9-foot rangefinders.[14]

A slightly contradictory source indicates that there would be two 12-foot R.F.s on the fore control position to port and starboard and close enough to each other that they might possibly be mounted on slightly different levels to permit them to swing through. It was seen that both of two 9-foot R.F.s might be removed.

The 15-footer would be in the position originally for the conning tower, and it was to transmit ranges to receivers on the upper bridge, T.S., fore top, and aft torpedo control position. It would have hand-following equipment of types E.E. and T.L.. [15]

By 1921, the ships were equipped as follows:[16]

Evershed Bearing Indicators

These ships almost certainly had Evershed gear for gun control from delivery, as they followed the Centaur class.[17]

Orders for Evershed installations for searchlight control from February 1917 applied to the Danae class, but may not have applied to Ceres.[18]


All ships were completed with gunnery directors in place.[19] The director was in a tower on a pedestal mounting..[20] It is not known if "X" or any other gun acted as a directing gun as in the earlier Caledon class.[21]

The ships of the first group, at least, had 6-in P. XIII Type Elevation Receivers with electrical tilt correction capable of indicating 30 degrees elevation, Pattern V.E. 1. The Small Type Training Receivers on all were pattern number 20 on #1, #2 and #3, whereas #4 and #5 had pattern number 21.[22]

Transmitting Stations

Dreyer Table

These ships had no fire control tables.[23]

Fire Control Instruments

Torpedo Control

Torpedo Control, as proposed in 1916[24]

In 1916, it was decided that all light cruisers of Bristol class and later should have torpedo firing keys (Pattern 2333) fitted on the fore bridge, in parallel with those in the CT, and that a flexible voice pipe be fitted between these positions. [25]

By 1917, modifications to the torpedo control voice pipe system were desired. The voice pipes (port and starboard) to the C.T. were ordered to be removed in 1917, and in 1918, stop cocks were to be added to allow the after control position to be chopped out to improve the acoustic efficiency of the networks to remaining the rangefinder platform control position forward. [26]

Additionally, all light cruisers with submerged tubes were to receive torpedo order and gyro angle instruments between torpedo flats and both control positions. The "C" class (which may or may not encompass the Ceres class) was to receive Chadburn's Torpedo Telegraphs to meet this need. Otherwise, Barr and Stroud would be a likely choice.[27]

In 1916, torpedo control lessons pertinent to the equipment of light cruisers and destroyers that had been taken from experience the Battle of Jutland were to be apply to light cruisers "of Penelope class and later". The baseline capabilities required that primary control be exercised from the fore bridge, where Fore Bridge Firing Gear and a sight or director would be fitted, and that this position should enjoy efficient communication to a similar secondary position located some distance away. Additionally, the ships would need:

  • Fore Bridge Firing Gear
  • order instruments from control positions to A.W. tubes
  • deflection instruments
  • fire gongs and alarm gongs

The A.W. tubes were to have local sights fitted, and the tubes should enjoy order and sightsetting instruments from the control positions as well as firing gongs in case fore bridge firing should fail. [28]

This work was still underway in the various light cruisers as of early 1918.[29]

The Ceres and Caledon classes were similar in having a roofless forward control position before and below the compass platform rather than in the C.T. where space was too limited. The torpedo control communications did not provide a means for repeating orders from tubes to control positions. Voicepipes were provided from compass platform to tubes, but in late 1917, these were to be augmented by navyphones, as the voicepipes were proving unreliable given the distance and the presence of an extension between aft control and aft tubes. New stop-cocks to isolate this long voicepipe were being tried in 1917. [30]

In mid-1920, it was decided that the ships in this class should each receive a Renouf Torpedo Tactical Instrument Type A.[31]

See Also


  1. Annual Report of the Torpedo School', 1916', p. 120.
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. p. 61.
  3. Progress in Naval Gunnery, 1914-1918", p. 10.
  4. The Director Firing Handbook. p. 144.
  5. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 4, Part 34. p. 18. I presume this is what is referred to as "C" class.
  6. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 35. I am inferring that the faults in Caledon carried through to this class.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 81.
  8. Manual of Gunnery, Volume III, 1920, p. 35.
  9. Manual of Gunnery (Volume III) for His Majesty's Fleet, 1920. p. 35, 37.
  10. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. pp. 25-6.
  11. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 376. (C.I.O. 3492/18, N.S. 11226/18).
  12. Manual of Gunnery (Volume III) for His Majesty's Fleet, 1920. p. 45.
  13. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 199. (possibly pertinent: C.I.O. 481/17).
  14. Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Orders. 21/6/1918, p. 116.
  15. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. pp. 178, 179 (A.L.G. 4657/18).
  16. Handbook for Naval Range-Finders and Mountings, Book I. p. 169.
  17. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 29.
  18. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 29.
  19. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 3, Part 23. p. 11.
  20. Handbook of Captain F.C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918., p. 142.
  21. Handbook of Captain F.C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918., Plate opposite p. 142.
  22. The Director Firing Handbook. pp. 144-146.
  23. absent from list in Handbook of Capt. F.C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, p. 3.
  24. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 86, applicable to this class per p. 152.
  25. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 146.
  26. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 214. CT VP removal per C.I.O. 4037/17.
  27. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 146.
  28. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. pp. 29-30.
  29. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. p. 209.
  30. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1917. pp 209-210.
  31. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1919. p. 119.


  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1917). The Director Firing Handbook. O.U. 6125 (late C.B. 1259). Copy No. 322 at The National Archives. ADM 186/227.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1910). Handbook for Fire Control Instruments, 1909. Copy No. 173 is Ja 345a at Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Branch (1918). Handbook of Captain F. C. Dreyer's Fire Control Tables, 1918. C.B. 1456. Copy No. 10 at Admiralty Library, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • Admiralty, Technical History Section (1919). The Technical History and Index: Fire Control in H.M. Ships. Vol. 3, Part 23. C.B. 1515 (23) now O.U. 6171/14. At The National Archives. ADM 275/19.
  • Admiralty, Gunnery and Torpedo Division (July, 1919). Progress in Naval Gunnery, 1914-1918. C.B. 902. The National Archives. ADM 186/238.

Ceres Class Light Cruiser
Ceres Cardiff Coventry Curacoa Curlew
<– Caledon Class Minor Cruisers (UK) Danae Class –>