H.M.S. Manchester

The War Illustrated, Volume 4, No. 77, Page 196, February 21, 1941.

H.M.S. Manchester, a 9,400-ton cruiser of the same class as the ill-fated Southampton, was commissioned in 1938, and since then has seen war service in many seas, from the Indian Ocean to beyond the Arctic Circle. In the spring of 1940 she was promoted to be flagship of Vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Layton, second in command of the Home Fleet, and took part in the Namsos, Aandalsnes and Molde operations off the Norwegian coast. In November of last year she was sent to reinforce Admiral Sir James Somerville's squadron in the Western Mediterranean and led the line when that force chased an Italian Fleet sighted off Sardinia on November 27, 1940. The big silk ensign presented to the ship by the Corporation of Manchester to be flown in action was hoisted for the first time, and cheers broke out from the crew as it was broken at the masthead. But the Italian squadron, despite immense superiority in numbers, refused battle and made for their home base. The Manchester set one enemy cruiser ablaze aft and then hit (and probably sank) a destroyer before the greater speed of the Italian vessels enabled them to get away. Prior to this action the Manchester, which has no ancestors in the Navy List, had therefore no battle honours. Today her honours' board bears the name of her first victory: "Spartivento, 1940." In a year she has steamed 55,000 miles.