HMS Prince George (1895)

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HMS Prince George
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Prince George
Namesake: Prince George, the future King George V
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: 10 September 1894[1]
Launched: 22 August 1895[1]
Completed: November 1896[1]
Commissioned: 26 November 1896[1]
Decommissioned: 21 February 1920[2]
Renamed: HMS Victorious II in July or September 1918;[3] name reverted to Prince George in February 1919[4]
Fate: Sold for scrapping 22 September 1921
Notes: Converted to a destroyer depot ship May-October 1918
General characteristics
Displacement: 14900 tons normal, 16000 tons full load
Length: 421 ft (128 m)
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draught: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Propulsion: Water tube boilers, 2 × vertical triple expansion engines, 2 shafts, 12,000 ihp
Speed: 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h)
Capacity: 2000 tons coal
Complement: (Officers and Ratings) = 670

Main guns - 4 × BL 12-inch (304.8 mm) Mk VIII guns[5] (2 × 2)
12 × QF 6-inch (152.4 mm) guns[5] (12×1)
16 x 12-pounder quick-firing guns
12 x 2-pounder quick-firing guns

5 × 18-inch (457-mm) torpedo tubes (four submerged, one above water)

Harvey armour

Side belt 9 inches (229 mm)
Upper belt 6 inches (152 mm)
Bulkheads 14-12 inches (356-305 mm)
Barbettes 14 inches (356 mm)
Gun houses 10 inches (254 mm)
Casemates 6 inches (152 mm)
Conning tower 14 inches (356 mm)
Deck 4-2.5 inches (127-63.5 mm)

HMS Prince George was a Majestic-class predreadnought battleship launched in 1895. She was named after the future George V of the United Kingdom and was the fourth and final ship to bear that name.

Technical description

HMS Prince George was laid down at Portsmouth Dockyard on 10 September 1894 and launched on 22 August 1895.[1] She began trials in September 1896[2] and was completed in November 1896[1][2]

When the lead ship of the class, HMS Majestic, was launched in 1895, at 421 ft (128 m) long and with a full-load displacement of 16,000 tons, she was the largest battleship ever built at the time. The Majestics were considered good seaboats with an easy roll and good steamers, although they suffered from high fuel consumption.[6] Prince George began life as a coal-burner, but was converted to burn fuel oil by 1907-1908.[7] Prince George and her sisters were the last British battleships to have side-by-side funnels, successor classes having funnels in a line.

Prince George had a new design in which the bridge was mounted around the base of the foremast behind the conning tower to prevent a battle-damaged bridge from collapsing around the tower. Prince George and six of her sisters had pear-shaped barbettes and fixed loading positions for the main guns, although her sisters Caesar and Illustrious had circular barbettes and all-around loading for their main guns,[6] which established the pattern for future classes.[7]

Prince George and the other Majestic-class ships had 9 inches (229 mm) of Harvey armor, which allowed equal protection with less cost in weight compared to previous types of armor. This allowed Prince George and her sisters to have a deeper and lighter belt than previous battleships without any loss in protection.[7] She was divided into 150 watertight compartments.

The Majestics boasted a new gun, the 46-ton 12-inch (305-mm) 35-caliber Mk VIII[5], the first new British battleships to mount a 12-inch (305-mm) main battery since the 1880s. One hundred thirteen miles (182 km) of wire were wrapped around each gun barrel, and each gun took nine months to manufacture. Prince George carried four such guns in two barbettes (one forwad and one aft) with up to 400 rounds for each. The new gun, which would be the standard main armament of British battleships for sixteen years, was a significant improvement on the 13.5-inch (343-mm) gun which had been fitted on the Admiral and Royal Sovereign classes that preceded the Majestics.[6] and was lighter. This saving in weight allowed Prince George to carry a secondary battery of twelve 6-inch (152-mm) 40-caliber[5] guns, a larger secondary armament than in previous classes.[7] She also had four submerged torpedo tubes in the bow and one above water in the stern.

Operational history

HMS Prince George commissioned at Portsmouth Dockyard on 26 November 1896 to serve with the Channel Fleet. She was present at both the Fleet Review at Spithead for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria on 26 June 1897 and the Coronation Fleet Review for King Edward VII on 16 August 1902.[2]

On 17 October 1903, Prince George was badly damaged when her sister ship HMS Hannibal rammed her in heavy seas at 9 knots off Spain, punching a large hole below the waterline on Prince George's starboard quarter. Prince George was in danger of sinking for several hours, but managed to make it to Ferrol, steering with her engines and with her sternwalk awash. After temporary repairs at Ferrol, she departed on 24 October 1903 for Portsmouth, where her repairs were completed.[2]

File:HMS Prince George (1895).jpg
Prince George after her 1904 refit.

Prince George ended her Channel Fleet service in July 1904, and began a refit at Portsmouth. Upon its completion, she commissioned into the reserve there on 3 January 1905. On 14 February 1905, she commissioned for service with the Atlantic Fleet, which had been the Channel Fleet until a fleet reorganization on 1 January 1905. On 3 March 1905 she collided with the German armored cruiser Friederich Karl at Gibraltar without serious damage.[2]

On 17 July 1905, Prince George transferred to the new Channel Fleet, ending this service on 4 March 1907 when she paid off at Portsmouth.[2]

Prince George recommissioned on 5 March 1907 to serve as the flagship of the Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth Division of the new Home Fleet which had been organized in January 1907. On 5 December 1907 she collided with armored cruiser HMS Shannon at Portsmouth, sustaining significant damage to her deck plating and boat davits.[8] She was relieved as flagship in February 1909, and from March 1909 to December 1909 she underwent a refit at Portsmouth[2], during which she had radio installed.[4]

Prince George was reduced to a nucleus crew and placed in the commissioned reserve in December 1910. She moved to Devonport in 1911.[4]

In June 1912 Prince George became part of the 7th Battle Squadron, 3rd Fleet. Upon the outbreak of World War I in Prince George returned to full commission on 8 August 1914[4] and briefly was the squadron's first flagship, until relieved in this role by battleship HMS Vengeance on 15 August 1914. On 25 August 1914, Prince George covered the passage of the Plymouth Marine Division to Ostend, Belgium, and in September 1914 she covered the movement of the British Expeditionary Force from England to France.[2]

Prince George's Channel Fleet service ended in February 1915 when she transferred to the Dardanelles for service in the Dardanelles campaign[2] as a "mine-bumper".[4] She arrived at Tenedos on 1 March 1915, which would be her base until February 1916. She took part in attacks on Ottoman Turkish forts covering the Turkish Straits on 5 March 1915 and 18 March 1915. On 3 May 1915, while firing Turkish batteries, she took a 6-inch (152-mm) hit below the waterline, and returned to Malta for repairs.[2]

Prince George was back in action on 12 July 1915 and 13 July 1915, supporting French troops with gunfire support from off of Krithia and Achi Baba. On 18 December 1915 and 19 December 1915 she covered the evacuation of Allied troops from Suvla Bay, and the evacuation from West Beach on 8 January 1916 and 9 January 1916; she was hit by a torpedo off Cape Helles on 9 January 1916, but it failed to explode and she suffered no damage. She was at Salonika in January and February 1916.[2]

Prince George left the Mediterranean at the end of February 1916 and paid off at Chatham Dockyard in March 1916 to provide crews for antisubmarine vessels. She remained at Chatham in a care and maintenance status through February 1918, serving as an auxiliary sickbay and in other subsidiary duties,[4] then served as an accommodation ship there from March to May 1918.[9]

In May 1918, Prince George began a refit a Chatham for conversion to a destroyer depot ship. She was renamed Victorious II in September 1918[10] and emerged from refit in October 1918. She was then attached to repair ship (her sister ship and former battleship) HMS Victorious at Scapa Flow, where she served as a depot ship to destroyers of the Grand Fleet.

She reverted to the name Prince George in February 1919,[4] and in March 1919 transferred to Sheerness to serve as depot ship to destroyers based on the Medway.[2]

Prince George was placed on the disposal list at Sheerness on 21 February 1920, and was sold for scrapping to a British firm on 22 September 1921. She was resold to a German firm in December 1921, and departed for Germany for scrapping. During the voyage, Prince George was wrecked on 30 December 1921 off Camperduin, the Netherlands.[2] She subsequently was stripped of valuable materials and left as a breakwater, remaining there to this day.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Burt, p. 114
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Burt, p. 133
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921, p. 7 puts the name change in July 1918; Burt, p. 133 puts it in September 1918
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921, p. 7
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905, p. 36
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1860-1905, p. 34
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Gibbons, p. 137. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Gibbons, p. 137" defined multiple times with different content
  8. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921, p. 7, says that this collision occurred in December 1909
  9. Burt, p. 133; Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921, p. 7
  10. Burt, p. 133, although Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921, p. 7, says she was renamed in July 1918


  • Burt, R. A. British Battleships 1889-1904. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
  • Chesneau, Roger, and Eugene M. Kolesnik, eds., Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905, (Conway Maritime Press, London, 1979), ISBN 0-85177-133-5
  • Dittmar, F. J and J. J. Colledge. British Warships 1914-1919. London: Ian Allen, 1972. ISBN 0-7110-0380-7.
  • Gibbons, Tony. The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships and Battlecruisers: A Technical Directory of All the World's Capital Ships From 1860 to the Present Day. London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983.
  • Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1985. ISBN 0870219073.

External links