The original design of the Colony Class cruisers evolved from the earlier successful Southampton Class of heavy cruiser. It incorporated four triple 6″ turrets as the main armament and also facilities for three seaplanes. During the build of these ships a modified design with only three triple 6″ mountings as main armament and additional close range AA armament were provided. The fourth mounting was not considered suited to the smaller displacement and it reduced the habitability. Three ships including HMS Newfoundland were completed to the revised design and became known as the Modified Colony Class or Ceylon Class cruisers. Seaplanes facilities were not included in the design of the Ceylon Class and were removed in 1942 from the earlier design. The ships completed to the original design became known as the Fiji Class.
Deep displacement as built was 10,840 tons but this was increased during WW2 when additional radar and weapon equipment was fitted. Ships of this class were 555.5 feet in overall length with a beam of 62 feet and a mean draught of 16.5 feet.
Nine 6″ Mk XXIII guns in three Mk XXIII mountings.
Eight twin 4″ XVI guns in four Mk XIX mountings. Close range AA weapons. Twelve 2pdr Pom-Pom guns in three quadruple mountings and sixteen 20mm Oerlikon guns. Two twin mountings were fitted at the forward end of the Bridge, 2 twin mountings on the Hanger and two on the after superstructure. Single 20mm mountings were fitted on the upper deck amidships. Two triple 21″ torpedo tube mountings were installed on either side of the upper deck. 4, 40mm Bofor guns were fitted in 1944.
Armour and protective plating
was provided for the Magazine crowns and sides, Engine Rooms and Boiler Room crowns and sides as well as on the roofs of the 6″ turrets.
The ship was designed for a complement of 750 but this was increased significantly due to the addition of more Radar Equipment and additional Close Range AA weapons.
The speed of the ship was 29 knots in service, this was attained by four propellers driven by steam turbines with a shaft horsepower of 72,500 .
Radar fitted during WW2
Radar Type 272. Aerial sited forward of the Director on the Bridge. Outfit developed for the detection of surface objects using 10cm wavelength. Detection of ships and surface submarines, land and also used for navigation.
Radar Type 293 Replaced type 272 in 1944. 10cm wavelength. Aerial sited at the top of the foremast.
Radar Type 277 Fitted in 1944. Additional 10cm outfit. Also provided means of determining height of the aircraft as well as surface warning.
Radar Type 281 Two aerial units sited at the top of the foremast and mainmast. Outfit using 3.5cm wavelength. Provided warning of aircraft and could be used for control of friendly aircraft for interception. Radar type 281B, replaced type 281 in 1944. Modernised version using only one aerial on the mainmast.
Radar Type 284 Used for main armament, aerial was sited on the Main Director, it had a wavelength of 50cm used for ranging and fall of shot.
Radar type 274 Fitted as a replacement for Type 284 in 1944. It was a new design using a wavelength of 10cm.
Radar Type 285 Used for secondary armament, aerials were sited on the HA. Three 50cm outfits using Directors on either beam and on the after structure.
Radar Type 283 Used for Barrage control of the Main Armament. It was a modified variant of Type 285 with the aerial sited on the ne Barrage Director on the forward Bridge structures. It was fitted in 1944.
Radar Type 282 Used for fire control of Close Range weapons. Type 285 variant fitted on the after Close Range Director in 1944.
All information used for this page was provided by TOM Roxby