HMS Brilliant (1891)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Brilliant.
HMS Brilliant (1891).jpg
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Brilliant
Builder: Sheerness Dockyard
Laid down: 1890
Launched: 24 June 1891[1]
Commissioned: 1893
Fate: Scuttled as blockship, 23 April 1918
General characteristics
Class and type: Apollo-class cruiser
Displacement: 3,600 tons[1]
Length: 314 ft (95.7 m)
Beam: 43.5 ft (13.3 m)
Draught: 17.5 ft (5.3 m)
Speed: 19.75 knots (36.58 km/h)
Complement: 273 to 300 (Officers and Men)

HMS Brilliant was an Apollo-class cruiser of the British Royal Navy which served from 1893 to 1918 in various colonial posts and off the British Isles as a hastily converted minelayer during the First World War.

Operational History[edit]

Brilliant was commissioned at Portsmouth on 1 October 1901 by Captain Hugh Pigot Williams, for service with the Cruiser Squadron.[3] In May 1902 she was taken into Portsmouth for a refit, and later that year she served in the 1902 Coronation review.[4]


In April 1918, Brilliant was deliberately scuttled in the mouth of Ostend harbour in Belgium during the failed First Ostend Raid. This operation was intended to block the harbour mouth and prevent the transit of German U-boats and other raiding craft from Bruges to the North Sea. German countermeasures were however too effective, and Brilliant and fellow blockship HMS Sirius were eventually destroyed by their crews outside the harbour mouth after running aground on a sandbank. The wrecks were broken up postwar.


  1. ^ a b The Times (London), Thursday, June 25, 1891, p.7
  2. ^ Admiral Percy Scott quotes 6 x 4.7 inch guns on sister ship HMS Scylla in 1899. "Fifty Years in the Royal Navy" published 1919, page 88
  3. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36575). London. 2 October 1901. p. 10. 
  4. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36756). London. 1 May 1902. p. 6.