Protected cruiser HMS Amethyst

The protected cruiser HMS Amethyst belonged to the Topaze class and was the world's first cruiser, which had a turbine drive.


Launching and design:

The construction of the HMS Amethyst took place on January 7, 1903 at the Armstrong Whitworth shipyard. The ship belonged to the Topaze class, a type of ship of protected cruisers. Overall, four cruisers were provided for this class, the amethyst was the second cruiser.

In contrast to the HMS Topaze and the two sister ships, a turbine drive was installed in the amethyst for the first time. Although some destroyers were already equipped with it before, for larger ships the performance was not enough by that time.

Despite a speed of 21.75 knots, the German warships equipped with a turbine engine were faster.

The launch of the HMS Amethyst took place on 5 November 1903, the commissioning on 17 March 1905.



HMS Amethyst


HMS Amethyst




History of HMS Amethyst:

After the commissioning and the test drives, the ship was assigned together with the sister ship HMS Diamond the battleship group of the Atlantic Fleet with base in Gibraltar.

1907 followed the transfer to Portsmouth, where the ship was at anchor until 1909 as a reserve with reduced crew.

After reactivation, the HMS Amethyst served in the British South America and visited in addition to the Argentine ports and some in West Africa. When the celebration of the 100-year-old Independent of Argentina was to take place, the British monarch Eduard VII died and the ship was ordered back to Britain.

In 1912, the transfer to the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, where it was assigned in 1914, shortly before the start of the First World War, the Harwich Force.




Use in the war:

When World War I broke out, the HMS Amethyst took part in one of the first forays into the German Bight on 5 August 1914. Shortly thereafter, the ship was replaced by the more modern HMS Arethusa and used at another point on the Thames.

After the German submarine U-9 sank the British armored cruiser HMS Cressy, HMS Aboukir and HMS Hogue on September 22, 1914, the amethyst was sent along with other light warships to the site of the fight, but could no longer afford help.

Subsequently, the first was transferred to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron and then in the 6th Battle Squadron before the ship was relocated to the Mediterranean.

After the entry of the Ottoman Empire, British units were also bound in the Mediterranean, including warships. Since Great Britain wanted to conquer the straits in the Dardanelles, troops and ships were contracted accordingly. After the transfer to the Mediterranean, the HMS Amethyst together with the HMS Albion was commissioned from 19 February 1915 to bombard Ottoman forts and coastal fortifications. After the failure of the first attempt at landing in the Dardanelles, wounded British soldiers were taken on 4 March 1915 and on 5 March the transport ships Soudan and Braemar Castle were handed over. The ship received a heavy hit in the morning hours of 14 March 1915 by mobile Ottoman artillery. A total of 26 members of the crew were killed and 34 were injured. For the necessary repairs, the ship went to Tenedos in the local shipyard.

As of April 24, 1915, the HMS Amethyst was involved in the landing at the Gallipoli Peninsula. In the process, soldiers were brought ashore by small boats or the Ottoman positions were bombarded with artillery. The inclusion of the wounded was also part of the task. A hit on the ship killed one of the crew members, four others were injured.

After the repair, the HMS Amethyst was used to secure the Adriatic exit. After an overhaul from 28 July to 17 August 1915, the ship was in the port of Brindisi to serve as a tender for British submarines. On November 19, 1915, the ship ran out to return to its home port to Portsmouth.

By May 1916, the HMS Amethyst had been canceled to South America. There she visited several ports and was hunting for the German commercial bugs Möve, which had to be canceled without success.

On June 25, 1918, the ship returned to the United Kingdom in Devonport and from there to Barrow -In-Furness, where it was from 1 July 1918 in dry dock for repairs to the end of the war.





After the war, the decommissioning took place. Only for the funeral for the former President of Portugal, Sidónio Pais, on 21 December in Lisbon, the ship was used again.

The second and last decommissioning took place on February 10, 1919. On October 1st, 1920, it was sold to the company Towers and scrapped by this.




Ship data:


HMS Amethyst


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Protected cruiser




Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick




November 5, 1903


March 17, 1905


Sold on October 1, 1920 and scrapped in Milford Haven


113,8 meters


12,2 meters


Max. 4,42 meters


Max. 3.000 tons


296 man


10 Yarrow boiler

3 Parsons turbines
on 3 waves


13.000 PSw

Maximum speed:  

21,75 kn




12 × 102 mm L / 40 rapid-fire gun

8 × 47 mm L / 50 rapid-fire gun

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Deck 12-51 mm

Cannon shields 25 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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