Caroline class light cruisers

The Caroline class light cruisers were the first “C” class cruisers, of which twenty four ships in seven classes saw service during the First World War. The Caroline class ships were slightly modified versions of the previous Arethusa class of light armoured cruisers, approved as part of the 1913 naval construction programme, and completed during the first year of the war. Their initial armament was not as well laid out as on the earlier ships – the forward 6in gun was moved to the rear and placed on top of the aft deckhouse, while a pair of 4in guns was placed on the forecastle. In 1916-17 these two guns were replaced by a single 6in gun.

Like the previous class the Caroline class ships were significantly modified during the war. As well as the forward 6in gun they were given tripod masts and director fire equipment during 1918. Their 13pdr anti-aircraft gun was replaced by a variety of different combinations of 3in, 4in and 2pdr guns. Two attempts were made to allow a number of them to carry aircraft, first in 1915 and again in 1917-18, but without success.

During the First World War the six ships of the Caroline class were split between the Grand Fleet and the Harwich Force. Caroline, Comus and Cordelia were all present at the battle of Jutland. All six survived the war, and remained in service throughout the 1920s. HMS Caroline is still afloat, serving as the Headquarters of the Ulster Division Naval Reserves, and is the second older British warship still in commission (the oldest is HMS Victory). She is also the only ship to have taken part in the battle of Jutland still afloat.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


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
Four 21in above-water torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Caroline
HMS Carysfort
HMS Cleopatra
HMS Comus
HMS Conquest
HMS Cordelia

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 October 2007), Caroline class light cruisers ,

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