HMNZS Leander

HMNZS Leander was a light cruiser which served with the Royal New Zealand Navy during World War II. She was the lead ship of a class of eight ships, the Leander-class light cruiser and was initially named HMS Leander.

British light cruiser HMS Leander (75) underway at sea in 1945
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Leander
Ordered: 18 February 1930
Builder: HMNB Devonport
Laid down: 8 September 1930
Launched: 24 September 1931
Commissioned: 24 March 1933
Recommissioned: 27 August 1945
Decommissioned: February 1948
Out of service: loaned to Royal New Zealand Navy 30 April 1937
Identification: Pennant number: 75
  • Sold for scrapping 15 December 1949
  • Scrapped 15 January 1950
New Zealand
Name: HMNZS Leander
Commissioned: 30 April 1937
Out of service: Repair and refit at Boston 8 May 1944
Identification: Pennant number: 75
Fate: Returned to Royal Navy 27 August 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: Leander-class light cruiser
  • 7,270 tons standard
  • 9,740 tons full load
Length: 554.9 ft (169.1 m)
Beam: 56 ft (17 m)
Draught: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Installed power: 72,000 shaft horsepower (54,000 kW)
  • Four Parsons geared steam turbines
  • Six boilers
  • Four shafts
Speed: 32.5 knots (60 km/h)
Range: 5,730 nmi (10,610 km; 6,590 mi) at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 570 officers and enlisted
Aircraft carried:


Leander was launched at Devonport on 24 September 1931. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Leander on 24 March 1933. Along with Achilles she served in the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy.

In 1941 the New Zealand Division became the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and she was commissioned as HMNZS Leander in September 1941.

Italian ship Ramb I sinking after the engagement with Leander

In World War II, Leander served initially in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Commander Stephen Roskill, in later years the Royal Navy's Official Historian, was posted as the ship's executive officer in 1941. In action on 27 February 1941, she sank the Italian armed merchantman Ramb I near the Maldives, rescuing 113 of her crew and taking slight damage. On 23 March 1941, Leander intercepted and captured the Vichy French merchant Charles L.D. in the Indian Ocean between Mauritius and Madagascar. On 14 April, Leander deployed for support of military operations in Persian Gulf and, on 18 April, joined the aircraft carrier Hermes and the light cruiser Emerald. On 22 April, Leander was released from support duties in the Persian Gulf and took part in search for German raider Pinguin south of the Maldives.

In June 1941, Leander was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet and was active against the Vichy French during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign. After serving in the Mediterranean, Leander returned to the Pacific Ocean in September 1941.

On 13 July 1943, Leander was with Rear Admiral Walden Lee Ainsworth's Task Group 36.1 of three light cruisers: Leander and the US ships Honolulu and St. Louis. The task group also included ten destroyers. At 01:00 the Allied ships established radar contact with the Japanese cruiser Jintsu, which was accompanied by five destroyers near Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands. In the ensuing Battle of Kolombangara, Jintsu was sunk and all three Allied cruisers were hit by torpedoes and disabled. Leander was hit by a single torpedo just abaft 'A' boiler room. 26 crew from the boiler room and the No.1 4-inch gun mount immediately above were killed or posted missing[1]. The ship was so badly damaged that she took no further part in the war. She was first repaired in Auckland, then proceeded to a full refit in Boston.

She returned to the Royal Navy on 27 August 1945. In 1946 she was involved in the Corfu Channel Incident. She was scrapped in 1950.

The superyacht Leander G, owned by Sir Donald Gosling, is named after HMS Leander, the first naval vessel on which he served.[2]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gosling, Donald. "Sir Donald Gosling's superyacht memories". Boat International. Retrieved 12 March 2016.


  • Campbell, J. (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
  • Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J. J. (1968) [1964]. British and Dominion Warships of World War Two (orig. pub. Warships of World War II ed.). Garden City, NY: Doubleday. OCLC 440734.
  • HMNZS Leander at
Supermarine Walrus SLV AllanGreen
Catapult-launched Supermarine Walrus from HMNZS Leander, ca. 1938, used as a fleet spotter
Action of 27 February 1941

The Action of 27 February 1941 was a single ship action between a New Zealand cruiser and an Italian auxiliary cruiser. It began when HMNZS Leander ordered a flagless freighter to stop for an inspection. Instead of complying, the freighter, Ramb I, raised the Italian colours and engaged the cruiser, Leander sinking Ramb I shortly after. Most of the Italian crew were rescued and taken to Addu Atoll, then Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Leander patrolled southwards, to investigate more reports of commerce raiders.

Anglo-Iraqi War

The Anglo–Iraqi War (2–31 May 1941) was a British-led Allied military campaign against Iraq under Rashid Ali, who had seized power during the Second World War with assistance from Germany and Italy. The campaign resulted in the downfall of Ali's government, the re-occupation of Iraq by the British Empire, and the return to power of the Regent of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, an ally to imperial Britain.

Attack on Convoy BN 7

The Attack on Convoy BN 7 was a naval engagement during the Second World War between an Allied force defending a convoy of merchant ships and an attacking flotilla of Italian destroyers. The Italian attack failed, with only one merchant ship being slightly damaged. The destroyer HMS Kimberley sank the Italian destroyer Francesco Nullo. Kimberley was then hit and disabled by Italian shore batteries at Harmil Island and towed to safety by the cruiser HMNZS Leander.

The Italian ships had carried out their plan but lost one destroyer for no result; the British escorts were criticised for a lack of aggression, despite the danger in leaving the convoy to chase ships at night and in misty weather. The Italians made another fruitless sortie on 3 December, cancelled one in January 1941 after Manin was damaged by a bomb and on 24 January sortied again with no result.

Aubrey Mansergh

Vice Admiral Sir (Cecil) Aubrey (Lawson) Mansergh KBE, CB, DSC (7 October 1898 – 31 July 1990) was a Royal Navy officer who became President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

Battle of Kolombangara

The Battle of Kolombangara (Japanese: コロンバンガラ島沖海戦) (also known as the Second Battle of Kula Gulf) was a naval battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the night of 12/13 July 1943, off Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands.

George Raymond Davis-Goff

Commodore George Raymond Davis-Goff (24 September 1905 – 30 May 1987) was a senior officer in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Born in 1905, he joined the precursor to the RNZN, the New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy as a boy seaman in 1921. By 1941, he had attained commissioned rank. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his services during the latter stages of the Second World War, where he served aboard firstly HMNZS Leander and then HMNZS Gambia in the Pacific. He later commanded a RNZN frigate during the Korean War. He finished his military career in 1959 with the rank of commodore. He was the first New Zealander to have progressed to this rank from entering the naval service as seaman. He died in 1987 as a result of an accident at his home in Auckland.

Gordon Bisson

Sir Gordon Ellis Bisson (23 November 1918 – 14 November 2010) was a New Zealand Court of Appeal judge and a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.

HMS Gambia (48)

HMS Gambia (pennant number 48, later C48) was a Crown Colony-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was in the service of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) as HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. She was named after the then Crown colony of the Gambia, and has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name.

History of the Royal New Zealand Navy

The history of the Royal New Zealand Navy leads back to early New Zealand-based gunboats used in controlling the British interests in the new colony, as well as to the strong linkages to the British Navy itself.

Italian auxiliary cruiser Ramb I

The Italian ship Ramb I was a pre-war "banana boat" converted to an auxiliary cruiser during World War II. Ramb I operated as an armed merchant in the Red Sea and was ordered to sail to Japan after the fall of Massawa in allied hands. She was sunk in the Indian Ocean before she could reach her intended destination.

Jack Davies (swimmer)

John Cecil Wright Davies (12 December 1916 – 25 July 1997) was a New Zealand swimmer who represented his country at the 1938 British Empire Games.

Leander-class cruiser (1931)

The Leander class was a class of eight light cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s that saw service in World War II. They were named after mythological figures, and all ships were commissioned between 1933 and 1936. The three ships of the second group were sold to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) before World War II and renamed after Australian cities.

Leander Glacier

Leander Glacier (71°56′S 167°41′E) is a tributary glacier in the Admiralty Mountains of Antarctica, draining the area west of Mount Black Prince and flowing south between Shadow Bluff and the McGregor Range to enter Tucker Glacier. It was partially surveyed by the New Zealand Geological Survey Antarctic Expedition (NZGSAE), 1957–58, which also observed the upper parts of the glacier from Mount Midnight and Mount Shadow. It was named by the NZGSAE for the light cruiser HMNZS Leander which served in World War II.

List of cruiser classes of the Royal Navy

This is a list of cruisers of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom from 1877 (when the category was created by amalgamating the two previous categories of frigate and corvette) until the last cruiser was decommissioned more than a century later. There are no longer any cruisers in the Royal Navy.

Red Sea Flotilla

The Red Sea Flotilla (Flottiglia del mar rosso) was part of the Regia Marina Italia (Italian Royal Navy) based at Massawa in the colony of Italian Eritrea, part of Italian East Africa. In World War II, the Red Sea Flotilla was active against the East Indies Station of the Royal Navy , from the Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940 until the fall of Massawa on 8 April 1941.

The squadron was isolated from the main Italian bases in the Mediterranean by distance and British dispositions. The British capture of Massawa and other Italian ports in the region ended the Italian naval presence in the region in April 1941.

Royal New Zealand Navy

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN; Māori: Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa, "Warriors of the Sea of New Zealand") is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. The fleet currently consists of ten ships and eight naval helicopters.

Stephen Roskill

Captain Stephen Wentworth Roskill, (1 August 1903 – 4 November 1982) was a senior career officer of the Royal Navy, serving during the Second World War and, after his enforced medical retirement, served as the official historian of the Royal Navy from 1949 to 1960. He is now chiefly remembered as a prodigious author of books on British maritime history.

Leander class
Amphion class
(Modified Leander class)
Other incidents


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