HMS Calliope

HMS Calliope was the name ship of the Calliope class of light cruisers, two ships very similar to the Caroline class cruisers but with geared turbine engines. During the First World War she served as flagship of the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron, fighting at the battle of Jutland.

In August 1915 the Calliope took part in the hunt for the German minelayer Meteor, patrolling off the Norwegian coast. In February 1916 she took part in the hunt for the raider Greif. Both hunts ended in success.

HMS Calliope from the right
HMS Calliope from the right

At the battle of Jutland the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron formed part of the anti-submarine screen for the Grand Fleet as it sailed towards the battle. During the main battle it took part in the destroyer battle between the two fleets (7.15-7.30pm).

After the German battleships had turned away for the second time, the Calliope was one of the few British ships to maintain contact, firing a torpedo from 6,500 yards before coming under heavy fire for ten minutes while retreating. During the battle she was hit by four shells, and suffered 10 dead and 9 wounded.

In October 1917 Calliope and the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron were amongst the ships deployed in an attempt to find German ships believed to be at sea. The effort failed, and the Germans were able to attack and destroy a Scandinavian convoy, before returning home safely.

Calliope took part in the last great fleet movement of the war in April 1918. This saw the High Seas Fleet attempt to destroy a British battle squadron known to be guarding another Scandinavian convoy. The Grand Fleet came out to sea in response, but the German timing was wrong. They reached the convoy route in a gap between sailings, and returned to Germany before the Grand Fleet could reach them

After the war HMS Calliope served on the North American and West Indies Station in 1919 and 1920. From 1924 until 1926 she was part of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron in the Atlantic Fleet. She then entered the Nore Reserve, emerging to act as a troop ship in 1927-1928. She was then recommissioned and served with the 3rd Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean Fleet from 1928 to 1930.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

Calliope 29.5kts
Champion 29kts

Armour – deck


 - belt


 - conning tower





Two 6in Mk XII guns
Eight 4in quick firing Mk IV guns
One 13pdr anti-aircraft gun
Four 3pdr guns
Two 21in above-water torpedo tubes

Crew complement



17 December 1914


June 1915

Sold for break up




Flag of

Commodore C. E. Le Mesurier

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 October 2007), HMS Calliope ,

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