Made of steel – the Shiny Sheff was a lucky warship

NOW HEAR THIS The bosun's mate and a Royal Marine bugler make a routine broadcast over HMS Sheffield's communications system during the Second World War
NOW HEAR THIS The bosun's mate and a Royal Marine bugler make a routine broadcast over HMS Sheffield's communications system during the Second World War

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Ron Wood thought readers would be interested in the history of the cruiser HMS Sheffield in the Second World War.

Ron, of Nutwick Road, Denvilles, Havant, has discovered a pub in Sheffield called The Shiny Sheff which has the history of the warship on display around its walls. It also has a shipbuilder’s model of the ship in a glass case.

HMS Sheffield under way in 1944

HMS Sheffield under way in 1944

She was launched on the Tyne in July 1936 and had a company of 700 and main armament of 12, 6in guns.

She also carried an anti-aircraft armament of eight 4in and eight pom-pom guns.

Her maximum speed was 32 knots.

Unlike most Royal Navy ships of her time, her fittings were constructed from stainless steel instead of the more traditional brass.

This was an attempt to reduce the amount of cleaning required on the part of the crew. Her nickname stemmed from this.

A prototype radar system was placed into service in August 1938 in Sheffield. She was the first vessel in the Royal Navy to have this equipment.

Apart from a brief spell with Force H at Gibraltar in 1940-41, Sheffield served with the Home Fleet throughout the war.

She was decommissioned and scrapped at Inverkeithing in 1967.

On November 27, 1941, she was one of the escorts for the Russian convoy PQ-5. In that convoy were the merchant ships Briarwood, Trehala, Chumleigh, St Clears, Empire Stevenson plus two Russian ships Pevtrovski and Komiles. They all reached Murmansk safely.

When leaving Iceland on March 4, 1942, she hit a mine, but was repaired and resumed convoy duties in July that year.

She was a lucky ship. She also survived an attack from one of our own torpedo bombers when shadowing Bismarck which showered the after-decks with shrapnel.

Before being scrapped in 1967 she was anchored in Portsmouth Harbour for several years and served as a training ship.