HMS Penelope

HMS Penelope was an Arethusa class light cruiser that was based at Harwich during the First World War. She entered service in December 1914, as part of the Harwich Light Cruiser Squadron, before joining the 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, still at Harwich in August 1915.

Commodore Reginald Tyrwhitt (1870-1951)
Reginald Tyrwhitt

While with the 5th LCS, Penelope took part in the March 1916 raid on the German base at Hoyer (Sylt). On 25 April 1916 she was one of the ships sent to sea to track down the German ships that had attacked Lowestoft. She was hit by a torpedo from UB 29, which destroyed her rudder and steering gear, but she was still able to maintain 20kts, and reached home in safety. Commodore Tyrwhitt, commander of the Harwich force, was not allowed to make his way to sea during the battle of Jutland, so Penelope took no part in that battle.

In January 1917 she took part in an operation launched by the Harwich Force to intercept German destroyers sailing to Zeebrugge. The operation failed, partly because the captains involved came from both Harwich and the Grand Fleet, and Tyrwhitt had not had time to train them all to anticipate his wishes.

In June 1917 Penelope was one of the ships involved in the bombardment of the German base at Ostend. In November 1917 she was converted to carry 70 mines, laying 210 mines over three trips.

In March 1918 she was transferred to the 7th LCS of the Grand Fleet, and was present at the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. After the war she entered the Nore Reserve, before being placed on the disposal list in 1921.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt





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

Crew complement



25 August 1914


December 1914

Sold for break up



Captain H. Lynes

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 October 2007), HMS Penelope ,

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