Protected cruiser HMS Highflyer

The protected cruiser HMS Highflyer belonged to the same class of ships, which consisted of three ships and in World War I was at war against German auxiliary ships.


Launching and design:

The ships of the Highflyer class were based on the Eclipse class and were almost identical in basic design, but in these cruisers, the armament and propulsion system should be consistent and no longer mixed.

For this purpose eleven 6-inch guns were selected as the main armament and for the drive system water tube boiler, which not only saved weight but also made the ships faster than the Eclipse class.

The launch of the HMS Highflyer took place on June 4, 1898, the commissioning on December 7, 1899.



HMS Highflyer




History of HMS Highflyer:

After commissioning the HMS Highflyer should first test the built-Belleville boilers on their reliability by several test drives. For this purpose, the ship sailed into the Mediterranean Sea and went in late June 1900 towards East Indies Station, where the HMS Eclipse should be replaced as a flagship.

From November 1902 to March 1903 the Highflyer supported with other British ships of the squadron the military campaigns in Somaliland. British troops were unloaded at the ports or the rebels' supply routes blocked over the water.

After the replacement by the sister ship HMS Hyacinth the Highflyer moved again to the East Indies station. From 1906 to 1907, the ship briefly changed to the North America & West Indies station, but then back to the East Indies Station.




Use in the war:

When the First World War broke out, the HMS Highflyer was assigned to the 9th cruiser squadron and moved to the northwest of Spain. It was the Dutch passenger steamer Tubantia be raised, which had 150 German reservists and a grain delivery and gold for the German Empire on board.

After the conclusion of the action, the ship was subordinated to the 5th cruiser squadron and should assist in the search for the German auxiliary cruiser Kaiser Wilhelm the Great, who operated after the last reports before Rio de Oro on the Sahara coast. On August 26, 1914, the German ship was sighted. First, the Highflyer called on the Kaiser Wilhelm der Große  to surrender, after the German captain summoned to the neutral waters in which the ship was, this was ignored by the British and opened the fire. After the entire ammunition had been fired, the German captain let his crew disembark and sink the ship. The Highflyer had received a hit in the main steam pipe and then had to repair to Gibraltar.

From the end of October 1914 to 1917, the HMS Highflyer was involved in securing troop transports from South Africa to Britain, in the search for the German East Asia squadron, the naval battle at Coronel and the Falkland Islands.

1918 was finally the transfer to the East Indies Station in Bombay, where the ship remained until the end of the war.





The HMS Highflyer remained in the East Indies Station until 1921, as the ship was ideally used as a flagship.

After retiring, it was sold June 10, 1921 and scrapped in Bombay.




Ship data:


HMS Highflyer


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Protected cruiser




Fairfield, Govan


around £ 300,000


June 4, 1898


December 7, 1899


Sold on June 10, 1921 and scrapped in Bombay


113,46 meters


16,47 meters


6,7 meters


Max. 5.600 tons


450 men


18 Belleville steam boilers

2 four-cylinder
Triple expansion steam engine


10.000 ihp (PSi)

Maximum speed:  

20 kn




11 x 152 mm Mk.III guns

9 x 76-mm QF Marine guns

6 x 47-mm guns

2 x 45-cm torpedo tubes under water


Armor deck 76 - 127 mm

Command post 152 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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