HMS Dragon (D46)

Dragon c.1924, probably during her visit to Australia. Note the hangar structure built into the bridge. Photo by Allan Green, in the collections of the State Library of Victoria.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

HMS Dragon (D46) was a D-class cruiser, also called Danae-class, laid down in January, 1917. She was launched in 11 months, and was in time to see some action near the close of World War I. In 1919, Dragon carried the future King Edward VIII to Canada, before supporting the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, suffering minor damage from a shore battery in October. Dragon participated in a Royal navy round the world cruise in 1924, visiting various countries in the Commonwealth, as well as the US and Dutch holdings along the route. Dragon spent most of 1930 undergoing a major refit, and was attached to the China Station in 1933. Dragon spent most of the 1930s in and out of commission, and was attached to the 7th Cruiser Squadron after the outbreak of war with Germany. She spent the next three years on patrol duties, ranging from the Shetland Islands to the Java Sea, but her only major action was the attack on Dakar in September, 1940. Dragon was handed over to the Polish Navy in January, 1943, and renamed ORP Dragon (Dragoon in English). During the Normandy landings, she engaged the 21st Panzer Division with long-range gunfire. Dragon was torpedoed on 8 July, while she was salvageable, it was decided to scuttle her as part of the breakwaters off Normandy. This was completed on the 20th of October.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: As reported in a 1934 article, Dragon may have fired the last British shots at sea during World War I, when she engaged a German flying boat on 9 November, 1918.