HMS Gloucester (1909)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Gloucester.
HMS Gloucester (1909).jpg
Gloucester in 1918
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Gloucester
Namesake: Gloucester
Builder: William Beardmore and Company
Laid down: 15 April 1909
Launched: 28 October 1909
Commissioned: October 1910
Fate: Sold for scrapping 9 May 1921
General characteristics (as built)
Class & type: Town-class light cruiser
Displacement: 4,800 long tons (4,877 t)
  • 430 ft (131.1 m) p/p
  • 453 ft (138.1 m) o/a
Beam: 47 ft (14.3 m)
Draught: 15 ft 3 in (4.65 m) (mean)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 4 × shafts; 2 × Parsons steam turbines
Speed: 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 5,830 nautical miles (10,800 km; 6,710 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 410

HMS Gloucester was a Town-class light cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century.

Design and description[edit]

The Bristol sub-class[Note 1] was rated as second-class cruisers suitable for a variety of roles including both trade protection and duties with the fleet.[2] They were 453 feet (138.1 m) long overall, with a beam of 47 feet (14.3 m) and a draught of 15 feet 6 inches (4.7 m). Displacement was 4,800 long tons (4,900 t) normal and 5,300 long tons (5,400 t) at full load. Twelve Yarrow boilers fed Gloucester‍ '​s Parsons steam turbines, driving four propeller shafts, that were rated at 22,000 shaft horsepower (16,000 kW) for a design speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph).[2] The ship reached 25.85 knots (47.87 km/h; 29.75 mph) during her sea trials from 22,406 shp (16,708 kW).[3] The boilers used both fuel oil and coal, with 1,353 long tons (1,375 t) of coal and 256 long tons (260 t) tons of oil carried, which gave a range of 5,830 nautical miles (10,800 km; 6,710 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[4]

The main armament of the Bristol class was two BL 6-inch (152 mm) Mk XI guns that were mounted on the centreline fore and aft of the superstructure and ten BL 4-inch Mk VII guns in waist mountings. All these guns were fitted with gun shields.[2] Four Vickers 3-pounder (47 mm) saluting guns were fitted, while two submerged 18-inch (450 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted.[5] This armament was considered rather too light for ships of this size,[6] while the waist guns were subject to immersion in a high sea, making them difficult to work.[7]

The Bristols were considered protected cruisers, with an armoured deck providing protection for the ships' vitals. The armoured deck was 2 inches (51 mm) thick over the magazines and machinery, 1 inch (25 mm) over the steering gear and 34 inch (19 mm) elsewhere. The conning tower was protected by 6 inches (150 mm) of armour, with the gun shields having 3 inches (76 mm) armour, as did the ammunition hoists.[8] As the protective deck was at waterline, the ships were given a large metacentric height so that they would remain stable in the event of flooding above the armoured deck. This, however, resulted in the ships rolling badly making them poor gun platforms.[7] One problem with the armour of the Bristols which was shared with the other Town-class ships was the sizable gap between the bottom of the gun shields and the deck, which allowed shell splinters to pass through the gap, giving large numbers of leg injuries in the ships' gun crews.[9]

Service history[edit]

The ship was laid down on 15 April 1909 by William Beardmore and Company at their Dalmuir shipyard and launched on 28 October. On being commissioned in October 1910, the ship was assigned to the 1st Battle Squadron. In January 1913, Gloucester was transferred to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean. She was involved in the hunt for the German cruisers SMS Goeben and Breslau in August 1914. Later that year, Gloucester was operating off the west coast of Africa, hunting for German raiders. In February 1915, she was reassigned to the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. It has been long rumoured that she shelled Galway, Ireland during the Easter Rising in April 1916,[2] but she was probably confused with HMS Laburnum, which did shell the outskirts of Galway a day before Gloucester arrived in Galway Bay landing 100 marines.[10]

On 31 May-1 June 1916, she took part in the Battle of Jutland and later that year was reassigned to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron. In December 1916, Gloucester was transferred to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron in the Adriatic. She also served in East Africa in 1917.[2] She survived the war and was sold for scrapping on 9 May 1921 to Ward, of Portishead and Briton Ferry.[11]


  1. ^ Sometimes known as the Glasgow class.[1]


  1. ^ Lyon, Part 1, p. 56
  2. ^ a b c d e Gardiner & Gray, p. 51
  3. ^ Lyon, Part 2, pp. 59–60
  4. ^ Friedman, p. 383
  5. ^ Lyon, Part 2, pp. 55–57
  6. ^ Lyon, Part 1, p. 53
  7. ^ a b Brown, p. 63
  8. ^ Lyon, Part 2, p. 59
  9. ^ Lyon, Part 2, p. 57
  10. ^ Witness Statement
  11. ^ Lyon, Part 3, p. 51


  • Brown, David K. (2010). The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906–1922. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-085-7. 
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  • Corbett, Julian. Naval Operations to the Battle of the Falklands. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents I (2nd, reprint of the 1938 ed.). London and Nashville, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum and Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-256-X. 
  • Corbett, Julian (1997). Naval Operations. History of the Great War: Based on Official Documents II (reprint of the 1929 second ed.). London and Nashille, Tennessee: Imperial War Museum in association with the Battery Press. ISBN 1-870423-74-7. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2010). British Cruisers: Two World Wars and After. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-59114-078-8. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7. 
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 1". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (1): 48–58. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 2". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (2): 54–61. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Lyon, David (1977). "The First Town Class 1908–31: Part 3". Warship (London: Conway Maritime Press) 1 (3): 46–51. ISBN 0-85177-132-7. 
  • Newbolt, Henry (1996). Naval Operations. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents V (reprint of the 1931 ed.). Nashville, Tennessee: Battery Press. ISBN 0-89839-255-1. 
  • [1] Witness Statement to Shelling Incident in 1916, Given to Irish Bureau of Military History in 1950

External links[edit]