Liner HMS Prince of Wales

The battleship HMS Prince of Wales belonged to the Formidable class, a pre-Dreadnought ship type that was considered technically obsolete shortly after commissioning by the HMS Dreadnought.


Launching and design:

With the naval program of 1897, the construction of eight new battleships for the Royal Navy was decided, which should significantly increase the clout of the fleet.

The planning and construction was subordinated to Sir William White, which was mainly oriented to the Majestic class, but included technical innovations of the Canopus class.

Especially the armor was significantly improved by the use of Kruppstahl, although in later ships of the class the deck armor was reduced. After the hull shape was adjusted to improve maneuverability, water-tube boilers were installed for the propulsion plant, which were still more experimental and the technology was not yet mature.

As a main armament, four 305 mm Armstrong 12 inch L/40 guns were selected, each housed in two twin towers. In addition, the ships received twelve 152 mm Vicker's 6-inch L/45 guns housed in the side casemates.

The launching of the HMS Prince of Wales took place on March 25, 1902, the commissioning on May 18, 1904.


HMS Prince of Wales




History of HMS Prince of Wales:

After commissioning and testing, the ship, along with the other ships of the formidable class of the Mediterranean fleet was assigned.

During one of the first trips in the Mediterranean there was an accident on 29 July 1905, when the ship rammed the steamer SS Enidiven. Both ships, however, were spared from major damage.

In April 1906, an attempt was made to test the maximum speed of the ship. This resulted in an explosion in the engine room in which three crew members were killed and another four were injured.

From May 28, 1906 to September 8, 1906 took place at the shipyard in Portsmouth Dockyard a first overhaul of the ship. Subsequently, the HMS Prince of Wales was used as flagship again in the Mediterranean.

In February 1909, the ship was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet as flagship in Gibraltar. After the dissolution of the Battle Squadron of the Atlantic Fleet took place on May 13, 1912, the allocation to the Home Fleet in the 5th Battle Squadron in Portsmouth.



HMS Prince of Wales 1912 in Portsmouth




Use in the war:

With the outbreak of the First World War, the ships of the Formidable class, which at that time all belonged to the 5th Battle Squadron, used to 25 August 1914, the Portsmouth Marine Brigade to Ostende in Belgium to translate. The British unit was there to stop the advance of the German troops.

After the transport of the soldiers, the ships remained until December 30, 1914 in Sheerness, as an invasion of German troops was feared.

From 19 February 1915, the British troops began to occupy the Ottoman Dardanelles and Gallipoli. When an attempt to break through the Dardanelles with warships failed, the HMS Prince of Wales was ordered to the Mediterranean and assigned to the operating before the Dardanelles Association. On May 22, 1915, the ship participated in the landing in Gallipoli when it landed with small boats parts of the 3rd Australian Brigade.

After Italy's entry into the British side, the HMS Prince of Wales, along with the HMS Implacable, HMS London and HMS Queen, was assigned to the 2nd Detached Squadron to assist the Italian Navy in its fight against the Austrian-Hungarian navy.

In February 1917, the ship was withdrawn from the Italian Adriatic and entered the UK in Devonport. There it was taken out of service and used until the war as a residential ship.



HMS Prince of Wales 1915 in Malta


HMS Prince of Wales about to be scrapped





After the First World War, the HMS Prince of Wales was finally decommissioned on November 10, 1919, sold to Ward on April 12, 1920, and scrapped in Milford Haven in June 1920.




Ship data:


HMS Prince of Wales


Great Britain

Ship Type:  





Chatham Dockyard, Chatham


around 1,100,000 British pounds sterling


March 25, 1902


May 18, 1904


Sold on April 12, 1920 and scrapped in Milford Haven from June 1920


131,7 meters


22,9 meters


7,7 meters


Max. 16.105 tons


747 men


20 Belleville water-tube boilers

Two triple expansion engines


15.264 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

18 kn




4 x 305 mm Mk.IX guns in double turrets

12 x 152 mm Mk.VII guns

16 x 76 mm guns

6 x 47 mm Rapid fire guns

2 x machine guns

4 x 457 mm torpedo tubes under water


Belt armour up to 231 mm

Deck 25 - 76 mm

Bulkheads 231 - 305 mm

Towers 203 - 254 mm

Bar beds 305 mm

Casemates 152 mm

Command tower 360 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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