Large light cruiser HMS Glorious

The large light cruiser HMS Glorious belonged to the Courageous class and was originally intended for a landing company in German Pomerania, but was rebuilt after the war in an aircraft carrier.


Launching and design:

The plans for the construction of the two ships of the Courageous class went back to the First Seelords Lord Fisher. In his time as a high admiralty officer this was a big supporter of the capital ships and drove its construction significantly forward. His strategy was to build ships with heavy guns of long range, superior speed, and only weak armor. These ships should remain in their speed and the range of the guns always out of enemy range and bombard the ships themselves.

The actual plan with such ships even in the case of a war with the German Empire existed before the First World War. These ships should penetrate quickly into the Baltic Sea and unload there in Pomerania soldiers to carry out an attack. For this purpose, the ships should have the lowest possible draft, have a high speed and the range of the guns are above those of German ships.

When the First World War broke out, the British Navy Department adopted these plans and commissioned the construction of two ships with precisely these specifications.

These were then classified as a large light cruiser or as a light battle cruiser.

As a main armament, four 38.1-inch rapid-fire cannons were selected, each of which was housed as a pair in a tower at the stern and at the bow. In addition, 18 10.2-cm rapid-fire cannons were mounted in triple-barreled torpedo-boat-mounted guns. Since the ships were to operate close to the coast, attacks with such boats were the most dangerous, especially since the German Empire had a large number of them.

It powered four Parsons geared turbines on four shafts driven by 18 Yarrow oil-fired narrow-tube boilers.

To achieve a desired speed of 32 knots, the armor was kept very weak. An internal armor was therefore used, which delayed the explosion of projectiles and splinter longitudinal and transverse bulkheads should limit the explosive effect. Overall, the Panzerstärke more suited those of a light cruiser.

Overall, both ships of the class were classified as faulty construction. On the one hand, because of the weak armor, on the other hand, the entire construction of the ship was designed so weak that the recoil of their own heavy guns could cause damage to the construction. Another shortcoming was the fire control method used, which at a high speed could not provide the required accuracy of impact that would have been required.

The launch of the HMS Glorious took place on April 20, 1916, the commissioning in January 1917.



HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious




Use in the war:

After the commissioning and the test drives the HMS Glorious was used as flagship first in the 1st later in the 3rd light cruiser squadron.

Together with the HMS Courageous and the HMS Repulse, the ship took on 17 November 1917 in the Heligoland Bay in the battle with the German warships, but received no hit.

In early 1918, the ship was for some time in the yard for overhaul. In addition, short departure ramps for aircraft were mounted on the two turrets.

After the surrender of the German Empire, the HMS Glorious was involved in the entry of German warships in Scapa Flow, which had to be delivered to one of the provisions to Great Britain.




Use after the war and conversion to an aircraft carrier:

After the First World War, HMS Glorious was assigned to the Marine Artillery School in Devonport, serving as a training ship. Subsequently, it was assigned to the reserve fleet and used as a flagship.

On February 6, 1922, the Washington Naval Treaty was signed, which regulated the naval forces of the United States, Britain, France and other states. The HMS Glorious had according to its provisions too much tonnage and could not be used in their former condition.

Since the half-sister ship HMS Furious was converted to an aircraft carrier during the construction phase to a large light cruiser end of the war, developed the British Navy Department plans for the two ships of the Courageous class to use this as an aircraft carrier and thus the provisions of the Washington Naval Conference.

Almost at the same time as with the HMS Courageous was begun from 1924 with the conversion. First, the two large gun turrets were removed and mounted two flight decks, the departure deck was smaller in the front and was slightly lower than the main flight deck. In total, 48 aircraft should be accommodated on the carrier

  • Fairey Flycatcher
  • Blackburn Ripon
  • Fairey III

Aircraft existed. Later came

  • Fairey Swordfish
  • Gloster Gladiator

add aircraft.

When the shipyard in Rosyth had to close in 1929, on which the Glorious was rebuilt, the ship had to be brought to the shipyard to Devonport, which delayed the completion by several months. In early 1930, the reconstruction work was completed and the ship could be put back on 10 March 1930 in the service.

From 1935 to 1936 further modifications were made. Anti-aircraft guns were mounted on the forward flight deck and two aircraft catapults were installed to tow the heavier new aircraft.



HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious


HMS Glorious




Use in the Second World War:

When World War II broke out, the HMS Glorious was relocated to the Mediterranean from where the ship sailed further to the Indian Ocean in October. At this time, the Royal Navy sought in the area the German ironclad Admiral Graf Spee.

When the German Wehrmacht began its occupation of Norway on April 9, 1940, the Glorious was immediately ordered back to Britain. As of April 24, she led together with the HMS Ark Royal attacks on positions of the German Wehrmacht.

From June 5, 1940, the Operation Alphabet began, the withdrawal of British troops from Norway. The Glorious picked up planes and brought them to the UK, so they are not captured or destroyed by the Wehrmacht.





On June 8, 1940, the HMS Glorious again took Gloster Gladiators and Hawker Hurricanes planes to save them from the Wehrmacht. On the way to Great Britain the association of the HMS Glorious and the accompanying destroyer HMS Acasta and HMS Ardent was intercepted by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

In the subsequent naval battle, all three ships were sunk, 1519 crew members died and 45 were saved.




Ship data:


HMS Glorious


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Large light cruiser

From March 10, 1930:
Aircraft carrier




Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Irland


£ 2,119,065


April 20, 1916


Januar 1917


Sunk on June 8, 1940 by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau


240 meters


27,75 meters


7,5 meters


Max. 22.360 tons
after reconstruction: 26.518 tons


829 men
after reconstruction: 1.200 men


18 boiler of Yarrow

4 sets of Parsons transmission turbines


91.195 WPS

Maximum speed:  

31,42 Kn (56 km/h)




4 x 381 mm guns

18 x 102 mm guns

2 x 7,62-mm anti-aircraft cannon

14 torpedo tubes


as carrier:

16 x 120 mm guns

24 x 2-pounder 38 mm guns

14 x 12,7-mm machine guns


Pages 7,59 cm

Deck 2,53 cm

Command tower 25,3 cm

Front 22,77 cm

Blankets 10,75 cm

Barbettes 17,71 cm






You can find the right literature here:


British Battleships of World War One

British Battleships of World War One Hardcover – November 15, 2012

This new edition of a classic work on British battleships is the most sought after book on the subject. Containing many new photographs from the author's exhaustive collection this superb reference book presents the complete technical history of British capital ship design and construction during the dreadnought era. Beginning with Dreadnought, all of the fifty dreadnoughts, 'super-dreadnoughts' and battlecruisers that served the Royal Navy during this era are described and superbly illustrated with photographs and line drawings.

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The British Battleship: 1906-1946

The British Battleship: 1906-1946 Hardcover – October 15, 2015

Norman Friedman brings a new perspective to an ever-popular subject in The British Battleship: 1906-1946. With a unique ability to frame technologies within the context of politics, economics, and strategy, he offers unique insight into the development of the Royal Navy capital ships. With plans of the important classes commissioned from John Roberts and A D Baker III and a color section featuring the original Admiralty draughts, this book offers something to even the most knowledgeable enthusiast.

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British Battlecruisers 1905-1920

British Battlecruisers 1905-1920 Hardcover – December 15, 2016

The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as "super-cruisers" whose job it was to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into the first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the "Splendid Cats" of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual "light battlecruisers" of the Courageous type are also covered.

The well-publicized problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament, and armor, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full color. This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.

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British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel)

British Battlecruiser vs German Battlecruiser: 1914–16 (Duel) Paperback – November 19, 2013

Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.

Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.

Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.

These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.

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