World Cruise

  • PDF
  • Print
  • E-mail

The 1923-24 World Cruise

The British Special Service Squadron Cruise from 27 November 1923 to 28 September 1924 was one of several World Tours during the 20th century.

Known as the 'World' or 'Empire' Cruise it served as a reminder to both friends and enemies of Britain’s strength. It was a successful public relations exercise for the Navy and empire.

Six ships took part these included HMS Hood and HMS Repulse four Light Cruisers.

They travelled over 38 152 miles visiting many countries. On the voyage as they headed southeast to Africa, round the Cape of Good Hope, into the Indian Ocean, Ceylon, Malay peninsular, Australia and New Zealand. After crossing the Pacific Ocean they would visit Canada, USA, transit the Panama Canal into the Caribbean and South America, before heading north back to the British Isles.

The crowd on arrival at Freemantle. (RNM)

Huge crowds greeted the ships as they came into port and thousands came onboard to visit.

The host cities organised entertainment for sailors when they came into port. Often there were different events for officers and ratings with souvenir programmes listing the events and local history.

Sailors taking part in Donkey racing. (RNM)

Ships and local teams held friendly matches in football, hockey, cricket, boxing and rugby. Many took part in trips inland too. A group from the Light Cruiser Squadron even travelled 1647 miles to Livingstone from Durban in South Africa in order to see the Victoria Falls and attend a dance.

A ticket for free travel on public transport. (RNM)

The sailors also had free train or tram passes allowing them to travel easily around the cities as well as free admission to private clubs, parks and gardens. On top of this there were dances and concerts in the evenings and parades during the day.


Article Highlights:

  • Introduction

  • The ships

  • African Ports

  • Meeting King Neptune

  • Into the Indian Ocean

  • The Far East

  • New Zealand and Australia

  • Across the Pacific to Canada and USA

  • The final voyage