HMS Terrible (1895)

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HMS Terrible, two years after her launch, at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review in 1897
United Kingdom
Name: Terrible
Builder: J. & G. Thomson, Clydebank
Laid down: 1894
Launched: 27 May 1895
Renamed: Fisgard III, August 1920
Reclassified: Training School, August 1920
Refit: =
Fate: Sold July 1932
General characteristics
Class and type: Powerful-class cruiser
Displacement: 14,200 long tons (14,400 t) (full load)
Length: 500 ft (150 m)
Beam: 71 ft (22 m)
Draught: 27 ft (8.2 m)
Installed power:
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Complement: 894
  • 2–6 in (51–152 mm) deck
  • 6 in (152 mm) barbettes
  • 6 in (152 mm) gun shields

HMS Terrible was a ship of the Powerful class of protected cruiser in the Royal Navy. She served with her sister ship, Powerful on the China Station and provided landing parties which fought in the relief of the Siege of Ladysmith in the Second Boer War. Crews from the two ships also took part in suppressing the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Terrible 1898 Trials[1][edit]

  • 60 hours at 1/5 power (20 boilers) 5084 ihp = 12.8 knots (23.7 km/h)
  • 60 hours at 2/5 power 10,246 ihp (7,640 kW) = 17 knots (31 km/h)
  • 60 hours at 3/5 power 15,554 ihp (11,599 kW) = 19.6 knots (36.3 km/h)
  • 60 hours at 3/4 power 18,515 ihp (13,807 kW) = 20.3 knots (37.6 km/h)
  • 8 hours (22,000 ihp nominal) = 23,053 ihp (17,191 kW) = 20.7 knots (38.3 km/h)
  • 4 hours at full power = 25,513 ihp (19,025 kW) = 21.9 knots (40.6 km/h)

Service history[edit]

HMS Terrible QE2 73.jpg

Terrible was built by J.& G. Thomson on Clydebank and launched on 27 May 1895. December 1898 sea trip, Portsmouth to Gibraltar, 12,500 ihp (9,300 kW) = 18 knots (33 km/h) average. Gibraltar to Malta, average 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h).[1]

Boer war and Boxer rebellion[edit]

Captain Percy Scott was appointed in command in September 1899, to take the ship for service on the China station. Expecting hostilities to break out in South Africa, Scott managed to persuade the Admiralty to allow him to make passage via the Cape of Good Hope rather than the originally planned Suez Canal route.[2] Terrible arrived at the cape in October to find war imminent. With no threat from the sea, Scott set about determining how he might adapt the navy's guns by mounting them on wheels for use on land as to support the army which lacked any long range artillery and found that its ordinary guns were out-ranged by the Boer artillery. The mountings looked somewhat amateurish, causing the authorities to regard them with some considerable suspicion. However, they proved very effective and the role of two of his 4.7inch guns at the Siege of Ladysmith became a matter of some notoriety.[3] At the end of October Scott was appointed Military Commandant of Durban and arrived in Terrible to take up his appointment on 6 November.[4] A naval brigade from the Terrible accompanied the Ladysmith relief force, taking part in the battles of Colenso (December 1899) and Spion Kop (January 1900) and the actual relief of Ladysmith on 28 February 1900.[5] Their time in South Africa came to an end in March 1900, almost coinciding with the relief of Ladysmith, and the Terrible proceeded on its way to China.[6]

In China Terrible and its crew became involved in the Boxer Rebellion and once more they dismounted the guns to provide assistance to land forces and making a significant contribution to the capture of Tiensin.[7] After hostilities ceased Scott returned to working up his ship's gunnery capabilities, devising novel training aids. After target practice Scott was in the habit of posting his comments on the ship's notice board. On one occasion he had praised nine out of the twelve gun crews but had described the other three as most discreditable. This was somehow picked up by the Press which pointed out that the three gun crews which had been criticised had achieved scores of 41%, a score achieved by no other crew in the Navy using the same guns, the average score being 28%.[8] In the Navy's 1901 prize firing Terrible achieved a score of 80%, the best of any ship in the Navy. Consequent to this the captain of HMS Barfleur adopted the Terrible training regime and saw a doubling in its score within a month.[9]

During the Spring of 1902 Terrible spent several months at Hong Kong, providing relief and condensed water for the dockyard, amid an outbreak of cholera in the city leading to a water famine.[10] In July 1902 Scott received orders to return with his ship to Britain,[11] and after visits to Colombo and Aden, passed via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean where she visited Malta and Gibraltar before she returned to Portsmouth on 19 September.[12][13] On her return, 700 of her officers and men were hosted to a public dinner in Portsmouth,[14] before she payed off.

Later career[edit]

After 1904 Terrible was laid up as an economy measure. During the First World War, she had most of her armament removed and served as a troop transport and, later, as an accommodation ship.

After the end of the war, Terrible was renamed Fisgard III in August 1920 and converted to a training ship. After twelve years of such service, she was sold in July 1932 to be broken up.


  1. ^ a b Janes Fighting Ships 1900, p108
  2. ^ Scott (1919), p. 91
  3. ^ Scott (1919), pp. 95-105
  4. ^ Scott (1919), p. 106
  5. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36875). London. 17 September 1902. p. 5. 
  6. ^ Scott (1919), p. 126
  7. ^ Scott (1919), pp. 130-137
  8. ^ Scott (1919), p. 142
  9. ^ Scott (1919), pp. 157-158
  10. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36815). London. 9 July 1902. p. 5. 
  11. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36835). London. 1 August 1902. p. 8. 
  12. ^ "Naval & Military intelligence - The return of the Terrible". The Times (36878). London. 20 September 1902. p. 9. 
  13. ^ Scott (1919), p. 169
  14. ^ "The return of the Terrible". The Times (36881). London. 24 September 1902. p. 4. 


External links[edit]