HMS Hilary (1908)

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Career (United Kingdom) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: SS Hilary
Owner: Booth Steamship Company
Builder: Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Dundee, Scotland
Cost: £124,000
Launched: 31 May 1908
In service: 8 August 1908
Fate: Requisitioned by Royal Navy in 1914
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Hilary
Commissioned: 7 December 1914
Fate: Torpedoed 40 mi (64 km) west of Lerwick, Shetland Islands, 25 May 1917
General characteristics
Tonnage: 6,329 long tons (6,431 t)
Displacement: 3,033 long tons (3,082 t)
Length: 418 ft 6 in (127.56 m)
Beam: 52 ft 2 in (15.90 m)
Draught: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
Propulsion: 2 × triple expansion steam engines
2 × screws
Armament: 6 × 6 in (150 mm) guns, 2 × 6-pounder guns[1]

HMS Hilary was combined passenger/cargo vessel and originally named SS Hilary. During the First World War, it was commissioned into the Royal Navy and in 1917 was sunk by a German submarine.

The ship was constructed in 1908 for the Booth Steamship Company to operate on the Europe/South America route, and carrying 200 first-class and 300 third-class passengers.

On the outbreak of the First World War, the ship was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser and assigned to the 10th Cruiser Squadron. She formed part of the Northern Patrol blockading trade to Germany. It was torpedoed and sunk 40 mi (64 km) west of Lerwick, Shetland Islands by the German submarine U-88 whilst Hilary was leaving her patrol area to refuel at the naval base at Scapa Flow.


  1. Gray 1985, p.101