HMS Ramillies (1892)

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HMS Ramillies
Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Ramillies
Builder: J & G Thomson, Clydebank
Laid down: 11 August 1890
Launched: 1 March 1892
Commissioned: 17 October 1893
Decommissioned: August 1911
Fate: Sold for scrapping 7 October 1913
General characteristics
Displacement: 14,190 t; 15,580 t full load
Length: 410 ft 5 in (125.10 m) oa
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draught: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
Propulsion: Twin coal-fired Humphreys & Tennant 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, two screws; 9000ihp
Speed: 15.7 knots max
Complement: 712

4 × BL 13.5-inch (342.9 mm) guns (2 × 2)
10 × QF 6-inch (152.4 mm) guns (10 × 1)
10 × 6 pdr (10 × 1)
12 × 3 pdr (12 × 1)

6 × 18 in Torpedo Tubes (4 above water, 2 underwater)
Armour: Belt 18 in (457 mm) compound, deck 3 in (76 mm), turret 17 in (432 mm)
Nickname: The Royal Sovereign-class battleships were known as the "Rolling Ressies"[1]

HMS Ramillies was a pre-dreadnought battleship of Royal Navy and part of the seven ship Royal Sovereign' class.

Technical Characteristics

Ramillies was ordered under the Naval Defence Act Programme of 1889, built and engined by J and G Thompson of Clydebank and launched on 1 March 1892 at a cost of just over £900,000.[2] She was built at such a shallow inclination that it took her 86 minutes to slide down the ways, even with rams pushing and tugs pulling her, sometimes moving at a rate too slow to be perceived by the human eye, and most of the crowd gathered to see her launching had left before she was in the water.[3]

She displaced 14,150 tons and was 380 feet (120 m) long with a beam of 75 feet (23 m) and a draught of 27' 6". She produced 13,000 horsepower (9,700 kW) and could make 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h). At full strength she carried a complement of over seven hundred. At the time of their completion, she and her sisters were perhaps the best all-round battleships in the world. Their greater freeboard enhanced their seagoing capabilities, enabling them to engage the enemy in rougher seas than previous designs, an important consideration in the North Sea and North Atlantic; however, they tended to develop a heavy roll in some conditions, and after HMS Resolution rolled badly in heavy seas in 1893 the entire class was nicknamed the "Rolling Ressies," a name which stuck even though the problem was quickly corrected by the fitting of bilge keels.[1] . The ships were also faster and better armoured than their predecessors and carried a potent secondary armament but these features inevitably increased their weight, with previous battleships seldom topping 10,000 tonnes. [2] Her main armament consisted of four 13.5-inch (343-mm) guns in two barbettes with a secondary set of ten 6-inch (152-mm) guns. She also sported an array of smaller guns and seven 18-inch (457-mm) torpedo tubes. She had a partial belt of 18-inch- (457-mm-) thick steel.

Operational history

Ramillies was commissioned at Portsmouth, United Kingdom, on 17 October 1893 as Flagship, Mediterranean Fleet, flying the flag of Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour, KCB. She departed Spithead on 28 October 1893 for the Mediterranean, arriving at Malta on 8 November 1893, where she relieved battleship HMS Sans Pareil as flagship.[3] She served as one of the flagships of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1897, alongside battleship HMS Revenge, and flew the flag of Admiral Sir John O. Hopkins, the Commander-in-Chief.

On 9 December 1896, Ramillies recommissioned at Malta for further Mediterranean Fleet service. In July 1899, she became a private ship in the Mediterranean Fleet, relieved as flagship by battleship HMS Renown. On 12 January 1900, she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, second-in-command of the Mediterranean Fleet.[3]

In 1902, Ramillies missed combined maneuvers off Greece when she was detained at Malta from 29 September 1902 to 6 October 1902 due the illness of Rear Admiral Watson.[3]

On 16 October 1902, Ramillies was relieved as flagship by battleship HMS Venerable. In August 1903 she took part in combined maneuvers off Portugal. She then paid off from Mediterranean Fleet service and returned to England, where she went into the Portsmouth Reserve to undergo a refit at Chatham. On 3 January 1905 she commissioned into reserve at Chatham.

On 25 April 1905, Ramillies transferred her crew to battleship HMS London. The next day, she recommissioned with a new crew for service in the Sheerness-Chatham Reserve Division. On 30 January 1906, she transferred that crew to battleship HMS Albemarle and recommissioned with yet another crew for service in the Chatham Reserve.[3]

In June 1906, Ramillies participated in combined maneuvers of the Atlantic Fleet, Channel Fleet, and Reserve Fleet. During the maneuvers, she collided near the Tongue Lightship[4] on 16 June 1906[5] with battleship HMS Resolution, suffering stern damage and having her propellers disabled. On 6 November 1906, she transferred her crew to the battleship HMS Africa.[3]

On 9 March 1907, Ramillies recommissioned at Devonport with a reduced crew in the Special Service Division of the Home Fleet. In October 1910, she became Parent Ship in the Home Fleet's 4th Division.[3] Her sister ship HMS Royal Oak relieved her of her Parent ship duties in June 1911.[6]

Impressive as they were upon their completion, ships such as Ramillies were entirely outclassed by the new dreadnoughts that began to appear in 1906. She was reduced to material reserve at Devonport in August 1911, and was stripped and laid up at Motherbank for disposal in July 1913. She was sold for scrapping on 7 October 1913, and was towed to Italy to be scrapped in November 1913.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Burt, p. 66
  2. HMS Ramillies
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Burt, p. 81
  4. Burt, p. 84
  5. Burt, p. 81, although Burt, p. 84, says the collision date was 15 July 1906
  6. Burt, p. 82


  • Burt, R. A. British Battleships 1889-1904. Annapolis, Marylad: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0870210610.
  • Roger Chesneau and Eugene M. Kolesnik, ed., Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1860-1905, (Conway Maritime Press, London, 1979), ISBN 0-85177-133-5