Weymouth Class Light Cruisers

The Weymouth Class light cruisers directly followed on from the Bristol Class, themselves the first light cruisers designed for the Royal Navy since the Highflyer class of 1896-7. The Weymouth class was approved as an “Improved Bristol Class” in the naval estimates of 1909-1910.

HMS Falmouth from the left
HMS Falmouth from the left

The Bristol Class had carried a mix of guns, with one 6in gun at each end and five 4in guns on each side. Mixed armament was very much out of fashion by this point, and so the eight 4in guns of the Bristol class were replaced by six more 6in guns, giving the Weymouth class eight 6in guns.

The shielded waist guns on the Bristol class also proved to be difficult to use when travelling fast at sea. They were carried at normal deck level, and were very exposed. This was solved on the Weymouth class in two ways. The two forward waist guns were placed on an extended forecastle, which now reached back to the first funnel. The rear and middle waist guns were protected by bulwarks, making them easier to use when underway.

The Weymouth class ships carried similar deck armour to the Bristol class ships, designed to protect the magazines and vital machinery of the ship. 4in armour was added to the conning tower. These ships had the same top speed as the Bristol class but a slightly shorter range.

The four members of the class were modified several times during the war. In 1915 all four were given a 3in anti-aircraft gun, located between the middle two turrets. In 1917 the surviving ships were give a tripod foremast and director fire control for the 6in guns. HMS Weymouth and HMS Yarmouth were given an aircraft platform in 1918.

Two of the Weymouth class ships, the Dartmouth and the Weymouth spent most of the First World War on overseas stations, while the Falmouth and the Yarmouth served with the Home Fleet. Both survived the battle of Jutland, but the Falmouth was sunk by a U-boat in August 1916.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



4,500 nautical miles at 10kts

Armour – deck


 - conning tower





Eight 6in 50 calibre breach loading MK XI
Four 3pdr
Two 21in torpedo tubes (submerged)

Crew complement






Ships in class

HMS Dartmouth
HMS Falmouth
HMS Weymouth
HMS Yarmouth

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 September 2007), Weymouth Class Light Cruisers, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_weymouth_class_cruisers.html

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