HMS Argonaut (1898)

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HMS Argonaut
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Argonaut
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan
Launched: 24 January 1898
Reclassified: Hospital ship at Portsmouth 1915
Accommodation ship 1918
Fate: Sold for breaking up 18 May 1920
General characteristics
Displacement: 11,000 tons
Length: 435 ft (133 m) (462 ft 6 in (140.97 m) o/a)
Beam: 69 ft (21 m)
Draught: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Propulsion: 2 shaft triple expansion engines
16.500 - 18,000 hp
Speed: 20 - 20.5 knots
Complement: 760

16 x single QF 6-inch (152.4 mm) guns
14 x single QF 12-pounder guns
3 x single QF 3-pounder guns
2 x 18-inch torpedo tubes
as Minelayer:
4 x 6-inch guns
1 x 12-pounder gun

354 mines
Armour: 6 inch casemates
4.5-2 inch decks

HMS Argonaut was a ship of the Diadem-class of protected cruiser in the Royal Navy. She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Govan and launched on 24 January 1898.

She commissioned at Chatham, Kent in 1900 for service on the China Station from 1900-1904. The Commanding Officer, Captain George H Cherry RN, was a martinet and an extraordinarily stern disciplinarian: some 250 punishment warrants were read in two-and-a-half years from 1900-1902. As a consequence, the ships' officers paid for about one hundred of the "Cherry Medal" to be struck by Gamages of London, the medal to be a memento of their enduring such a captain: on the obverse it read "Argonaut China 1900-1904" and showed a foul anchor (for the Royal Navy), a fleece (for Argonaut) and a dragon (for China); on the reverse are a cherry tree and a representation of the officers who survived the commission. One of the medals was presented to King George VI but many were to be lost with ships sunk in the First World War.

During the First World War she was part of the Ninth Cruiser Squadron, operating in the Atlantic. In 1915 she was converted to a hospital ship in Portsmouth and in 1918, to an accommodation ship. She was sold to Ward of Milford Haven on 18 May 1920 and arrived there for breaking up on 4 September 1921