Royal Navy Dido Class Light Cruisers


HMS Sirius




24 or 25 June 1944. The Royal Navy’s big guns support the Allied armies in Normandy on board the cruiser HMS SIRIUS in the Sword area. The number of shells used by Royal Marines manning the twin 5.25 inch gun X turret can be gauged by the shell cases massed on X-gun deck. They number more than 2,000. (Photo by Lt. C. H. Parnall, Royal Navy official photographer, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

(Comments Charles McCain: One or more of the gun turrets aboard Royal Navy ships of cruiser size and above were manned by a crew drawn from the ship’s contingent of Royal Marines. Destroyers sometimes has Royal Marine complements but typically for special assignments and not as a permanent part of the ship’c company. As in the days of sail, when it was thought that the Royal Marines would always be loyal to the officers, the Marines were berthed between the common seamen and the ship’s officers.

One of the great shocks to the Admiralty during the Invergordon Mutiny of 1931 was that many Royal Marines sided with the sailors and refused orders to muster.)




Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum shows HMS Sirius Underway leaving Portsmouth.

British Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Sirius. Commissioned 6 May 1942. She was one of sixteen Dido-class light cruisers built this figure includes the five Bellona sub-class cruisers). Most were named after mythical figures of classic Greek history including Naiad, Argonaut, Cleopatra, Scylla, Charybdis, Phoebe, etc.

Ten survived the war. Some were sold to foreign governments. Others continued in operation service until the early 1960s. Others, such as HMS Sirius, were withdrawn from service, placed in the reserve fleet and eventually scrapped. (Sirius broken up in 1956)

The ships were built in different groups with each group being slightly different. General characteristics were a length of 512 feet, width of 50 feet, fully loaded displacement from 6,900 tons to 7,600 tons. Ten 5.25 inch guns in dual turrets.



 Normandy, June 1944 The Royal Navy’s big guns support the Allied armies in Normandy as seen on board the cruiser HMS SIRIUS in the Sword area. From information passed by forward observation units operating ashore near the front line, the cruiser’s artillery officer; Captain C I Chapman, RA, of Scarborough, Yorks, and Lieutenant F C Boys, RN, of London, the Gunnery Officer, direct the fire of the naval guns. Here they can be seen on the bridge of the cruiser, with a map of the beaches in front of them. (Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)