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HMS Hawke (1891)

Coordinates: 57°47′05″N 00°11′50″E / 57.78472°N 0.19722°E / 57.78472; 0.19722
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HMS Hawke
United Kingdom
NameHMS Hawke
BuilderChatham Dockyard
Laid down17 June 1889
Launched11 March 1891
FateSunk by U-9, 15 October 1914
General characteristics
Class and typeEdgar-class protected cruiser
Displacement7,770 long tons (7,895 t)
Length387 ft (118.0 m)
Beam60 ft (18.3 m)
Draught24 ft (7.3 m)
Installed power12,000 ihp (8,900 kW)
Speed20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range10,000 nmi (11,510 mi; 18,520 km) at 10 knots (18.5 km/h; 11.5 mph)

HMS Hawke, launched in 1891, was the seventh British warship to be named Hawke. She was an Edgar-class protected cruiser. In September 1911 the Hawke collided with the ocean liner RMS Olympic. The damage smashed the Hawke's bow and damaged the stern of the Olympic.


Hawke was laid down at Chatham Dockyard on 17 June 1889, one of nine Edgar-class cruisers ordered for the Royal Navy under the Naval Defence Act 1889, and launched on 11 March 1891.[1] Sea trials in March 1892 were satisfactory, with her engines reaching the required power,[2] and the ship was completed on 16 May 1893.[1]

Hawke was 387 feet 6 inches (118.11 m) long overall and 360 feet (109.73 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 60 feet (18.29 m) and a draught of 23 feet 9 inches (7.24 m). She displaced 7,350 long tons (7,468 t).[1]

Armament consisted of two 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns, on the ship's centreline, backed up by ten 6-inch (152 mm) guns, of which four were in casemates on the main deck and the remainder behind open shields. Twelve 6-pounder and four 3-pounder guns provided anti-torpedo-boat defences, while four 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes were fitted.[1] The Edgars were protected cruisers, with an arched, armoured deck 5–3 inches (127–76 mm) thick at about waterline level. The casemate armour was 6 inches (152 mm) thick, with 3-inch (76 mm) thick shields for the 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns and 10 inches (254 mm) of armour on the ship's conning tower.[1][3]

Hawke's machinery was built by Fairfields, with four double-ended cylindrical boilers feeding steam at 150 pounds per square inch (1,000 kPa) to two 3-cylinder triple expansion engines,[2] which drove two shafts. This gave 12,000 indicated horsepower (8,900 kW) under forced draught, giving a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph).[1]


On commissioning, Hawke joined the Mediterranean Fleet, remaining on that station for most of the rest of the decade.[4]

In early 1897, Hawke deployed to Crete to serve in the International Squadron, a multinational force made up of ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, French Navy, Imperial German Navy, Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina), Imperial Russian Navy, and Royal Navy that intervened in the 1897-1898 Greek uprising on Crete against rule by the Ottoman Empire. The uprising prompted Greece to land a Greek Army expeditionary force of 1,500 men on Crete to support the Cretan insurgency, which in turn precipitated the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, also known as the Thirty Days War, in April 1897. The war ended in a quick and disastrous Greek defeat, and the ceasefire agreement required the Greek Army to withdraw from Crete. Accordingly, the Greek expeditionary force embarked aboard Hawke on 23 May 1897 for transportation to Greece.[5][6] The uprising on Crete continued, however, and the International Squadron continued to operate off Crete until December 1898. In August 1901 Hawke was paid off at Chatham and placed in the Fleet Reserve.[7]

In February 1902 she received orders to prepare to convey relief crews to the Cape of Good Hope Station,[8] and she was commissioned for this duty on 1 April.[9] She left Chatham the following week with new crews for the British vessels Forte, Dwarf and Partridge,[10] and arrived at Simon's Town on 10 May.[11] She left South Africa ten days later,[12] stopping at Saint Helena, Ascension, Sierra Leone, Las Palmas and Madeira before she arrived at Plymouth on 16 June 1902.[13] She took part in the fleet review held at Spithead on 16 August 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII.[14] Following the review she left Chatham to convey relief crews for the vessels HMS Vulcan, HMS Foam, HMS Bruizer, HMS Dragon, and HMS Boxer, all serving in the Mediterranean.[15] She arrived at fleet headquarters at Malta on 27 August.[16] She returned to Chatham the following month with the relieved crews of the Vulcan, Boxer, Bruiser, and Foam.[17] She paid off into the A division of the Fleet Reserve at Chatham on 4 October 1902.[18]

In January 1903, she was again ordered to convey relief crews to ships on the Mediterranean station, this time HMS Pyramus, HMS Speedy, HMS Dryad, and HMS Imogene, all recommissioned for new terms on the station.[19] The ship paid off in March 1903.[20]

In November 1904, Hawke became Boy's Training Ship as part of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, serving in that role until August 1906, when she joined the torpedo school at Sheerness. In 1907, Hawke joined the Home Fleet.[4][21]

Collision with the liner Olympic[edit]

Photographs documenting the damage to Olympic (left) and Hawke (right) following their collision

On 20 September 1911, Hawke collided in the Solent with the White Star ocean liner RMS Olympic. In the course of the collision, Hawke lost her bow. (This was replaced by a straight bow). The subsequent trial pronounced Hawke to be free from any blame. During the trial, a theory was advanced that the large amount of water displaced by Olympic had generated a suction that had drawn Hawke off course, causing the Olympic's voyage to be delayed. The White Star Line lost on appeal.[22]


German artistic impression of the sinking by Willy Stoewer 1914

In February 1913, Hawke joined the training squadron based at Queenstown, Ireland (Cobh since 1920), where she served along with most of the rest of the Edgar class. In August 1914, on the outbreak of the First World War, Hawke and the other Edgars from Queenstown, formed the 10th Cruiser Squadron, operating on blockade duties between the Shetland Islands and Norway.[23][24][25]

In October 1914, the 10th Cruiser Squadron was deployed further south in the North Sea as part of efforts to stop German warships from attacking a troop convoy from Canada. On 15 October, the squadron was on patrol off Aberdeen, deployed in line abreast at intervals of about 16 km (10 miles). Hawke stopped at 9:30 am to pick up mail from sister ship Endymion. After recovering her boat with the mail, Hawke proceeded at 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) without zig-zagging to regain her station, and was out of sight of the rest of the squadron when at 10:30 a single torpedo from the German submarine U-9 (which had sunk three British cruisers on 22 September), struck Hawke, which quickly capsized. The remainder of the squadron realised anything was amiss only when, after a further, unsuccessful attack on Theseus, the squadron was ordered to retreat at high speed to the northwest, and no response to the order was received from Hawke. The destroyer Swift was dispatched from Scapa Flow to search for Hawke and found a raft carrying twenty-two men, while a boat with a further forty-nine survivors was rescued by a Norwegian steamer.[26][27][28] 524 officers and men died,[21] including the ship's captain, with only 70 survivors (one man died of his wounds on 16 October).[26][29]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Chesneau & Kolesnik 1979, p. 66.
  2. ^ a b "H.M.S. Hawke" (PDF). The Engineer. 18 March 1892. p. 229.
  3. ^ Brown 2003, pp. 132–134.
  4. ^ a b "NMM, vessel ID 368320" (PDF). Warship Histories Vessels, Vol. I. National Maritime Museum. p. 1923. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  5. ^ Clowes 1997, p. 445.
  6. ^ McTiernan 2014, p. 27.
  7. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36541. London. 23 August 1901. p. 4.
  8. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36684. London. 6 February 1902. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36731. London. 2 April 1902. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36737. London. 9 April 1902. p. 10.
  11. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36766. London. 13 May 1902. p. 10.
  12. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36767. London. 14 May 1902. p. 12.
  13. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36797. London. 18 June 1902. p. 14.
  14. ^ "The Coronation - Naval Review". The Times. No. 36845. London. 13 August 1902. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36822. London. 17 July 1902. p. 9.
  16. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36858. London. 28 August 1902. p. 4.
  17. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36875. London. 17 September 1902. p. 5.
  18. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36889. London. 3 October 1902. p. 8.
  19. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36983. London. 21 January 1903. p. 8.
  20. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times. No. 36948. London. 11 December 1902. p. 10.
  21. ^ a b Gardiner & Gray 1985, p. 11.
  22. ^ Mayo 2016, p. 37.
  23. ^ Gardiner & Gray 1985, pp. 10–11.
  24. ^ Dittmar & Colledge 1972, p. 38.
  25. ^ Jellicoe 1919, p. 11.
  26. ^ a b Corbett, Julian S. (1938) [1920]. Naval Operations: Vol. I To the Battle of the Falklands, December 1914 (Part 1 of 2). History of the Great War. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Retrieved 31 May 2014 – via Naval-History.net.
  27. ^ Massie 2007, p. 139.
  28. ^ Jellicoe 1919, pp. 142–143.
  29. ^ Kindell, Don (2011). "1st – 31st October 1914: in date, ship/unit & name order". World War 1 – Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy and Dominion Navies. Naval-History.net. Retrieved 31 May 2014.


External links[edit]

57°47′05″N 00°11′50″E / 57.78472°N 0.19722°E / 57.78472; 0.19722