The fourth H.M.S. Southampton to serve in the Royal Navy was one of the three 'Chatham' class light cruisers ordered for the fleet in 1910. Displacing 5,400 tons and measuring 458 feet in length with a 49 foot beam, they carried a main armament of 8-6in. guns and could steam at 25½ knots. The order for Southampton went to John Brown at Clydebank where she was laid down in April 1911, launched in May 1912 and completed that December. After pre-War service with the Home Fleet, she was flagship to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron, 1915-17, during which period she fought at Jutland where she sustained serious damage when sinking both the German cruiser Fraunlob and TB 530. Repaired and returned to service, she survived the War but was laid up in 1924 and scrapped in 1926.
Her successor, another cruiser, was also built on Clydebank by John Brown and was laid down in November 1934. The nameship of five 'Southampton' class cruisers, she and her sisters displaced 9,100 tons and measured 591 feet in length with a 62 foot beam. Oil-fired and capable of 32 knots, each was armed with 12-6in. guns amongst a variety of other weaponry and were an extremely valuable addition to the fleet when completed. Southampton herself was launched in March 1936 and entered service the following spring. Flagship to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron from 1937-39, she remained in Home Waters until going to the Mediterranean in 1940. After a successful action against Italian torpedo boats on 10th January 1941, one of which was sunk, she was lost the next day when she had to be scuttled due to serious fires resulting from an attack by German bombing aircraft in the Sicilian Narrows.
Although trained as a doctor of medicine, Oscar Parkes, O.B.E. (1885-1958), was a notable maritime author whose books included the definitive work on British Battleships. Long-time editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, 1918-35, he was also a talented artist who, during the Great War, had been an official Naval Artist in addition to his work as Director of the Naval Photographic Section