I have been asked to identify these 4 County Class cruisers

It is difficult to track down the 4 County Class Type 8 inch gunned Cruisers in this quite unusual photograph.

8 inch County Class Cruisers

It was obviously taken  pre WW2, there is no sign of any radar displays on the masts of any of these ships.

The 8 inch cruisers were divided into several different classes.

The York Class.

These two ships were the last 8 inch cruisers built for the Royal Navy, and trying to break away from the 10,000 ton Washington Treaty ships, they had only three 8 inch turrets, opposed to four 8 inch turrets in the other heavy cruisers. They thus saved 1,800 tons in the tonnage of York, and Exeter. The other main difference, these two ships had two funnels against three in the other 8 inch ships. ( except for London )

The Dorsetshire C Type ships.

Dorsetshire and Norfolk ( had a Tripod Mainmast )

The London B Type Ships.

London ( two funnels ) Devonshire, Shropshire, Sussex.

The Kent A type ships.

Kent, Cornwall, Cumberland ( had a cutaway quarterdeck ), Berwick, Suffolf, Australia, and Canberra.

If I had to choose a class that these ships in the photograph came from, it would have to be the Kents, ie. Kent, Cornwall, Cumberland and Berwick. But I must stress that I cannot be positive in my identification.

Perhaps some one visiting our site may be able to be positive about their identification.  E-mail us if you have any ideas.


15 November 2003

Dear Sir,

I studied the photo: you are on the right way, a ship is CERTAINLY the cruiser Kent (up, on the left side of the photo). Only 3 ships of the "Kent" class had a catapult placed after the third funnel: Kent, Australia and Canberra (!!). The unit in foreground and the one after the Kent (it placed down the "upper" unit in the photo) were probably the Australian cruisers. Probably catapults was removed from units before becoming Australian ships ( in a 1942's Canberra's photo there wasn't the catapult)

The fourth cruiser is without catapult, it was the Cornwall or the Berwick. It's my opinion that the photo was made from 1929 to 1935.

Excuse me if I made mistakes but I'm Italian and I studied English many years ago.

Massimo Bruni

Dear Masimo,

Thank you for taking the trouble to E-Mail me about the four cruisers. I am afraid that Canberra and Australia were both fitted with catapults. At Dakar in September of 1940, Australia had her Walrus aircraft shot down by the French, at that time I was serving in her as a Midshipman.

Then when Canberra was sunk at the Battle of Savo Island in August of 1942, I was also there then as a Sub Lieutenant. One of the first areas to be hit by Japanese shells was the catapult with the Walrus sitting on it.

In another E-Mail I will send you a photo of the Walrus being launched from Canberra.

I am indeed grateful for your help.

Best regards from Australia.

Mac. Gregory.

Photo of Walrus on Canberra's Catapult.

Photo of Walrus on Canberra's Catapult.


HMAS Australia in WW2 with her Walrus on the catapult.

HMAS Australia in WW2 with her Walrus on the catapult.


Here is Massimo's from Italy final think about the identification of these four Cruisers. 10 January 2003.

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