Birmingham class light cruisers

The Birmingham class light cruisers were slightly improved versions of the previous Chatham class, carrying one extra 6in gun on the forecastle, but otherwise virtually identical (five more crew, one foot shorter and 40 tons heavier, but with the same armour and speed as the Chatham class) and built as part of the 1912 programme.

HMS Birmingham from the right
HMS Birmingham from the right

Lowestoft was completed with a tripod foremast for director fire equipment. The same equipment was later added to Birmingham. In 1915 the three completed ships were given a 3in anti-aircraft gun,

HMS Birmingham served with the Grand Fleet during the First World War, taking part in the battles of Dogger Bank and of Jutland.

HMS Lowestoft began with the Grand Fleet, taking part at Dogger Bank, but was posted to Mediterranean from 1916-1918, missing the battle of Jutland. After the war she served on the Africa Station until 1924.

HMS Nottingham was present at the battles of Dogger Bank and of Jutland, surviving both. On 19 August 1916, during another fleet sortie, she was hit by three torpedoes from U 52, despite attempts to protect her after the first hit, and sank, although with light losses.

HMAS Adelaide was built at the Cockatoo Dockyard in Sydney, as had been HMS Brisbane. She was not launched until 1918, and took another four years to complete. She included all of the improvements made to the earlier ships, and saw service during the Second World War.

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






Ships in class

HMS Birmingham
HMS Lowestoft
HMS Nottingham
HMAS Adelaide

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 October 2007), Birmingham class light cruisers ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy