Protected cruiser HMS Hyacinth

The protected cruiser HMS Hyacinth belonged to the Highflyer class, which consisted of three ships and was used in Africa in the fight against the German colonies.


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 launching of the HMS Hyacinth took place on October 27, 1898, the commissioning in September 1900.



HMS Hyacinth




History of the HMS Hyacinth:

After commissioning, the ship was initially provided to the parliament under the group boiler committee. This was to test the quality and reliability of the built-in water tube boiler, which caused problems especially in the sister ship HMS Hermes in early 1900.

After the test drives, the HMS Hyacinth 1903 was sent to the East India Station in Bombay to replace her sister ship HMS Highflyer as a flagship there. This activity interrupted the ship during the 4th campaign in Somaliland on April 20, 1904 to depose 500 soldiers at the mouth of the Gulluli, where they fought against the rebels.

With a short laytime at the Devonport shipyard in 1906, the Hyacinth was reused in the East Indies Station after deployment in Somaliland.

In 1913, the transfer to the Cape Station in South Africa took place to replace HMS Hermes as flagship.




Use in the war:

As diplomatic tensions in Europe increased and a war was feared, orders were issued to British squadrons in South Africa to oversee the German small cruiser SMS Königsberg in Dar es Salaam. On July 31, 1914, the German ship left the harbor, but was able to escape by its high speed and several course changes the British squadron.

After some troop carriers were escorted from South Africa to Great Britain in September, the HMS Hyacinth was requested after the lost naval battle at Coronel on November 1, 1914 in support of the fight against the German East Asia squadron. After this was destroyed in the Falkland Islands, the Hyacinth could return to South Africa.

From January 1915, the ship first supported the fight against German troops in German Southwest Africa, then moved it to the Rufiji Delta in East Africa, where the German small cruiser SMS Königsberg entrenched.

When it became known in April 1915 that the German troops were waiting for a supply ship from the German Empire, the HMS Hyacinth was shut down to intercept this ship. On April 14, the freighter Rubens used as a utility could be spotted. During the pursuit of the ship, the Hyacinth suffered a machine damage and had to first turn off, repair the drive system and then start the pursuit again. In the meantime, the Rubens on the coast of Tanzania at the Mansabucht could run as planned. Although the Hyacinth found the utility quite fast and set the ship on fire, the crew had not yet been on board and taken most of the cargo. Attempts to bring British soldiers to the ship, the German troops replied with machine guns.

After the destruction of the SMS Königsberg, the HMS Hyacinth moved again to the Cape station in South Africa and remained there until the end of the war.





After the First World War, the HMS Hyacinth was ordered back to Britain, decommissioned in August 1919, sold on October 11, 1923, and scrapped in Swansea.




Ship data:


HMS Hyacinth


Great Britain

Ship Type:  

Protected cruiser




London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Company, Glasgow


around £ 300.000


October 27, 1898


September 1900


Sold on October 11, 1923 and scrapped in Swansea


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 Marine Gun

6 x 47-mm guns

2 x 45-cm torpedo tubes under water


Armor deck 76 - 127 mm

Command post 152 mm






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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.

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