HMS Black Prince (1904)

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HMS Black Prince
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Class and type: Duke of Edinburgh class armoured cruiser
Name: HMS Black Prince
Builder: Thames Ironworks
Launched: 8 November 1904
Commissioned: 17 March 1906
Fate: Sunk 31 May 1916 at the Battle of Jutland
General characteristics
Displacement: 13,550 tons
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 73.5 ft (22.4 m)

6 x BL 9.2-inch (233.7 mm) Mk X guns
10 x BL 6-inch (152.4 mm) Mk XI guns

22 x 3pdr guns

HMS Black Prince was a Duke of Edinburgh class armoured cruiser of the British Royal Navy during World War I. At the beginning of the war, the Black Prince was one of the four armoured cruisers serving in the First Cruiser Squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Ernest Charles Thomas Troubridge. She participated in the Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau.

Captain Frederick Dundas Gilpin-Brown was her captain when war broke out. He was succeeded by Captain James Douglas Dick in January 1915, who was in turn succeeded by Captain Thomas Parry Bonham, RN.

As a member of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Keith Arbuthnot's First Cruiser Squadron, the Black Prince participated in the Battle of Jutland, where she was sunk with heavy loss of life. The circumstances under which she sank were mysterious for some years after. During the battle, the ship lost contact with the rest of the British fleet, sending off a wireless signal at 8:48 to report a submarine sighting. As the British had lost contact and did not see the ship destroyed, they were unsure as to whether a submarine or surface ship was responsible for sinking the Black Prince. [1]

Recent historians, however, hold to the German account of the ship's sinking. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, the Black Prince approached the German lines at approximately midnight. Realizing his error, Bonham ordered his crew to turn around, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed the Black Prince in its spotlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment. Most of the German ships were within 1000 yards of the Black Prince; she was sunk within 15 minutes.

The wrecksite is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986[2].


  1. Admiral Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, "The Grand Fleet 1914-1916: Its Creation, Development and Work" p. 481
  2. SI 2008/950 Designation under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986


When last seen, she was mistaken for a German battlecruiser, with two widely-spaced funnels. The two midships funnels must have collapsed. Flames were pouring out of her and her magazines later blew up.

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