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HMS Cairo (D87) was a C-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, named after the Egyptianmarker city of Cairomarker. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name. She was part of the Carlisle group of the C-class of cruisers.

She was laid down by Cammell Laird at Birkenheadmarker on 28 November 1917, launched on 19 November 1918 and commissioned on 24 September 1919. She was converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser in 1939.

Cairo was not ready for service in World War I and her first posting was to the China Station in 1920, followed by the East Indies Station from 1921 to 1925. After a temporary attachment to the China Station until 1927, she joined the 8th Cruiser Squadron on the America and West Indies Station.

From 1928 to 1930, Cairo was in the Mediterranean as flagship for the Rear-Admiral (D). After a refit in 1931 - 1932, she was with the Home Fleet as Commodore (D).

In World War II she took part in the Norwegian Campaign where she was damaged by German planes off Narvikmarker.

In the Mediterranean she led the escort of a six cargo-ship convoy from Gibraltarmarker to Maltamarker, code named Operation Harpoonmarker, which endured intense air strikes. The British squadron also faced the attack of an Italian cruiser division in the Sicilia channel. Four merchantmen and two destroyers were sunk, while Cairo itself was hit by two 6" rounds from the Italian cruiser Montecuccoli and lost two members of her crew.

In August 1942, Cairo took part in Operation Pedestal, the escorting of a convoy to Maltamarker. During the operation she was sunk by the Italianmarker submarine Axum north of Bizertamarker, Tunisiamarker on 12 August 1942.


  1. The suffix "D" indicates responsibility for flotilla(s) of destroyers.


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