HMS Vindictive (1897)

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HMS Vindictive's damaged superstructure following the Zeebrugge Raid
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Launched: 9 December 1897[1]
Commissioned: 1899
Fate: expended as blockship, 1918
General characteristics
Displacement: 5,750 tons
Length: 342 ft (104 m)
Beam: 57 ft 6 in (17.53 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion, 2 screws, 10,000 hp
Speed: 19 kts
Complement: 480
Armament: QF 4.7-inch (120-mm) guns, later replaced with 10 x 6 inch gun, 9 x 12 pdr guns
Armour: Deck 3 in

HMS Vindictive was a British protected cruiser of the Arrogant class built at Chatham Dockyard. She was launched on 9 December 1897 and completed in 1899. She was refitted in 1909-10 for service in the 3rd Division of the Home Fleet. In March 1912 she became a tender to the training establishment HMS Vernon. Obsolescent by the outbreak of World War I, in August 1914 she was assigned to the 9th Cruiser Squadron and captured the German merchantmen Schlesien and Slawentzitz on 7 August and 8 September respectively. In 1915 she was stationed on the southeast coast of South America. From 1916 to late 1917 she served in the White Sea.

Early in 1918 she was fitted out for the Zeebrugge Raid. Most of her guns were replaced by howitzers, flame-throwers and mortars. On 23 April 1918 she was in fierce action at Zeebrugge when she went alongside the Mole, and her upperworks were badly damaged by gunfire, her Captain, Alfred Carpenter was rewarded a Victoria Cross for his actions during the raid. She was sunk as a blockship at Ostend during the Second Ostend Raid on 10 May 1918. The wreck was raised on 16 August 1920 and subsequently broken up. The bow section has been preserved in Ostend harbour serving as a memorial.

The Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids, with their associated crop of VCs, had given the ship late celebrity and her name was perpetuated by re-naming the aircraft carrier HMS Cavendish, which was under construction, as Vindictive.

See also


  1. The Times (London), Friday, 10 December 1897, p.7