Light cruiser HMS Gloucester

The light cruiser HMS Gloucester belonged to the Bristol class, which was built as the first subcategory of the Town class and should mainly take over the protection of British trade routes.


Launching and design:

The five-ship Bristol class was the first sub-category of the Town-class ships, whose construction began in 1909.

With a maximum displacement of 5.300 tons, the ships were among the lightest in the class. The armament with two 15,2-cm and ten 10,2-cm guns was overall quite weak, with the 10,2 -inch guns were mounted in casemates side and thus were no longer operational in medium and heavy swell.

The launching of the HMS Gloucester took place on October 28, 1909, the commissioning in October 1910.



HMS Gloucester


HMS Gloucester




History of HMS Gloucester:

After commissioning and testing the Gloucester was initially assigned to the 1st Battle Squadron of Home Fleet, then moved in January 1913 to the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in the Mediterranean.

Together with the ships HMS Weymouth, the HMS Chatham and the HMS Dublin was made starting in July 1914 a round trip through the British station area to introduce the fleet.

Due to the increasing political tensions and the fear of an outbreak of war, the trip was canceled and the ships ran to Malta.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the ships in the Mediterranean, under the leadership of Admiral Archibald Berkeley Milne, were ordered to observe and track the two German ships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau.

On 4 August, two British battlecruisers sighted the German ships that had previously fired at French ports in Algeria. Since at that time only war between France and the German Reich existed but not yet with Great Britain, pursued the British battle cruiser the German ships only.

When German ships left Messina again on 6 August, HMS Gloucester took over the persecution. Due to the interference of the radio transmission, the messages could only be forwarded by the Gloucester incomplete. So it happened that the other British ships did not know exactly where the Germans were.

On the night of 6 to 7 August, the British ships had to stop the pursuit, only the Gloucester could still keep close to the SMS Breslau. As the ships approached in the afternoon, the Gloucester opened the fire, but landed only a minor hit and had to stop because of low coal reserves also the pursuit.

In November 1914, the HMS Gloucester was relocated to the Indian Ocean to participate in the search for the German small cruiser SMS Emden. However, since this was sunk on 9 November by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney, the Gloucester was ordered back into the Mediterranean.

After another search operation in West Africa after the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm, the ship was assigned in February 1915 the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron.

When on April 24, 1916 Irish Republicans began the Easter Rising for Ireland's independence from Great Britain, the Gloucester had to be relocated to Galway in the west of Ireland and bombarded the fields around Athenry, where several hundred rebels had gathered. After the withdrawal of the rebels, the allocation was made to the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron with which the ship also participated from 31 May to 1 June 1916 at the Battle of the Skagerrak.

In December 1916, the ship was sent back to the Mediterranean and assigned to the 8th Light Cruiser Squadron. During the night of 22 to 23 December, four Austrian destroyers tried to break the barrier at Otranto and attacked the guards deployed there. Because of the poor visibility, it came to several clashes between the French and Italian ships, the Austrian destroyers were meanwhile escape.

After a short stay at the East India Station in India in April 1917, the HMS Gloucester remained in the Adriatic until the end of the war.





After the First World War, the HMS Gloucester was ordered back to Britain in April 1919, where the ship was decommissioned in Devonport and assigned to the reserve.

In May 1921, the ship was finally sold and scrapped in Briton Ferry.




Ship data:


HMS Gloucester


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Light cruiser




Wm. Beardmore & Co., Dalmuir




October 28, 1909


Oktober 1910


Sold in May 1921 and scrapped in Briton Ferry


138,1 meters


14,3 meters


4,7 meters


Max. 5.300 tons


411 - 480 men


12 Yarrow steam boilers

4 Parsons steam turbines


22.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

25 kn




2 x 15,2 cm L/50 BL Mk XI guns

10 x 10,2 cm L/50 BL Mk VIII guns

4 x 4,7 cm L/50 QF guns

4 x .303 machine guns

2 x torpedo tubes 45,7 cm

1 x 3 inch anti-aircraft guns


Deck 50 mm

Slopes 20 mm

Command tower 100 mm






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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