The Royal Navy in the 1930s was faced with the need to renew and replace its diminishing force of long-range trade protection vessels. Limited by the London Naval Treaty of 1930, the result was the construction of a sizeable force of modern Light Cruisers. These ships, often light in name only, were deployed around the world and were present at most of Britain’s major naval engagements during the Second World War. This paper considers the design and evolution of these vessels and the extent to which they became critical to the Royal Navy’s operations and sea control.


Thomas Arnold completed his MA in the History of War at King’s College London in 2015. Since then, he has worked at SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity. He is also a Conservation Volunteer on board HMS Belfast, working on anything from repainting sections of the ship to refitting and restoring its weapons and other equipment.

This King’s Maritime History Seminar will be held online and in-person. For those joining online, the Zoom link will be sent by email two days before the event.

At this event

Alan James

Alan James

Reader in International History

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