HMS Berwick (1902)

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HMS Berwick.jpg
Berwick at anchor
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Berwick
Namesake: Berwickshire
Builder: Beardmore, Dalmuir
Laid down: 19 April 1901
Launched: 20 September 1902
Christened: Lady Houstoun-Boswall
Completed: 9 December 1903
Fate: Sold for scrap, 1 July 1920
General characteristics
Class and type: Monmouth-class armoured cruiser
Displacement: 9,800 long tons (10,000 t) (normal)
Length: 463 ft 6 in (141.3 m) (o/a)
Beam: 66 ft (20.1 m)
Draught: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Complement: 678

HMS Berwick was one of 10 Monmouth-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was assigned to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet upon completion in 1903 and was transferred to the Home Fleet in 1906. She accidentally rammed and sank a British destroyer in 1908. Berwick was refitted in 1908–09 before she was transferred to the 4th Cruiser Squadron on the North America and West Indies Station later that year.

She captured a German merchant ship shortly after World War I began. The ship patrolled for German commerce raiders and escorted convoys for the war. Berwick was assigned to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919 before she was paid off and sold for scrap in 1920.

Design and description[edit]

Berwick was designed to displace 9,800 long tons (10,000 t). The ship had an overall length of 463 feet 6 inches (141.3 m), a beam of 66 feet (20.1 m) and a deep draught of 25 feet (7.6 m). She was powered by two 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, which produced a total of 22,000 indicated horsepower (16,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph). The engines were powered by 31 Niclausse boilers.[1] She carried a maximum of 1,600 long tons (1,600 t) of coal and her complement consisted of 678 officers and enlisted men.[2]

Her main armament consisted of fourteen breech-loading (BL) 6-inch Mk VII guns.[3] Four of these guns were mounted in two twin-gun turrets, one each fore and aft of the superstructure and the others positioned in casemates amidships. Six of these were mounted on the main deck and were only usable in calm weather.[4] They had a maximum range of approximately 12,200 yards (11,200 m) with their 100-pound (45 kg) shells.[5] Ten quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder 12 cwt guns were fitted for defence against torpedo boats.[2] Berwick also carried three 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns and two submerged 18-inch torpedo tubes.[1]

Beginning in 1915, the main deck six-inch guns of the Monmouth-class ships were moved to the upper deck and given gun shields. Their casemates were plated over to improve seakeeping. The twelve-pounder guns displaced by the transfer were repositioned elsewhere. At some point in the war, a pair of three-pounder anti-aircraft guns were installed on the upper deck, although Berwick had hers removed before the end of the war.[6]

The ship's waterline armour belt was four inches (102 mm) thick amidships and two-inch (51 mm) forward. The armour of the gun turrets, their barbettes and the casemates was four inches thick. The protective deck armour ranged in thickness from 0.75–2 inches (19–51 mm) and the conning tower was protected by ten inches (254 mm) of armour.[7]

Construction and service[edit]

Left rear oblique view of Berwick

Berwick, named for the Scottish county,[8] was laid down by Beardmore at their shipyard in Dalmuir on 19 April 1901 and launched on 20 September 1902 when she was named by Lady Houstoun-Boswall.[9] She was completed on 9 December 1903[1] and was initially assigned to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet. She was transferred to the Home Fleet in March 1906. On 2 April 1908, she accidentally collided with the destroyer Tiger when the destroyer crossed Berwick's bows during a night exercise in the English Channel, south of the Isle of Wight. Tiger was sliced in two and sank with the loss of 36 lives. After a refit at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard that ended in April 1909, she was assigned to the 4th Cruiser Squadron on the North America and West Indies Station.[10]

She was still there when World War I began in August 1914 and captured a German merchant ship, SS Spreewald, on 10 September. She patrolled for German raiders and escorted convoys for the rest of the war. Berwick was assigned to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in 1919[11] before she was sold for scrap on 1 July 1920. The ship was eventually broken up in 1922 in Germany.[8]


  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.


  1. ^ a b c Chesneau & Kolesnik, p. 70
  2. ^ a b Friedman 2012, p. 336
  3. ^ Friedman 2011, p. 81
  4. ^ Friedman 2012, pp. 251–52, 260–61
  5. ^ Friedman 2011, pp. 80–81
  6. ^ Friedman 2012, pp. 280, 286
  7. ^ McBride, Keith, p. 21
  8. ^ a b Silverstone, p. 217
  9. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36879). London. 22 September 1902. p. 8.
  10. ^ Gardiner & Gray, pp. 12, 19
  11. ^ Gardiner & Gray, p. 12


External links[edit]