HMS Nottingham

HMS Nottingham was a Birmingham class light cruiser sunk by three torpedoes from U-52 in August 1916. At the start of the First World War it had been hoped to use Nottingham to reinforce the East Indies squadron, but there were not enough good light cruisers available in home waters, so she remained with the 1st Light Cruiser squadron in home waters.

HMS Nottingham from the left
HMS Nottingham from the left

She was present at the battle of Heligoland Bight, with Division 2 of the Light Cruiser Squadron (with her sister ship Lowestoft ). Together they were dispatched to support the British destroyers, and spent the early morning chasing German destroyers in the mist, before becoming detached from the rest of the fleet in the mist.

In late September 1914 she was used to escort submarine E 5 on its way into the Baltic. On 15-16 December she was one of the light cruisers used during the attempt to catch the German ships that had launched a raid on the Yorkshire Coast. The squadron came close to catching the German light cruisers, but a confusing order really intended for the unengaged Nottingham ended their chase.

Nottingham was present with the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron at the battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915. In the next month she was transferred to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron. On 20 June, during a cruiser sortie in the North Sea, she was attacked by U 17 and U 6 . Both German submarines fired torpedoes at her, but missed. In August 1915 Nottingham and Birmingham were amongst the ships mobilised in an attempt to catch the German mine layer Meteor .  

Nottingham was present at the battle of Jutland, taking part in the night clash between the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron and the German 4th Scouting Group. She kept her searchlights turned off, and avoided coming under fire, suffering no casualties during this clash.

On 19 August both the High Seas Fleet and the Grand Fleet were once again at sea. No battle followed, but the British suffered several losses. Amongst them was the Nottingham. Just before 6 am she was hit by two torpedoes from U 52 . Despite the efforts of the Dublin to keep the submarine away, at 6.25 am a third torpedo struck home and ten minutes later the Nottingham had sunk. Only 38 men were lost, mostly during the initial impact. By the time the third torpedo struck, Captain Miller had already got his men into the boats – all power was gone after the first attack. The loss of the Nottingham played a part in Jellicoe’s cautious movements on 19 August, although the chance of a second Jutland was never all that high.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,140 nautical miles at 16kts

Armour – deck

1 ½in over steering gear
3/4in over machinery
3/8in elsewhere

 - belt

2in armour on 1in plate

 - conning tower





Nine 6in guns
Four 3pdr guns
Two 21in submerged torpedo tubes (beam)

Crew complement



18 April 1913


April 1914


19 August 1916


C. B. Miller (1914, 1915, 1916)

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 October 2007), HMS Nottingham ,

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