HMS Bristol

HMS Bristol was a Bristol Class light cruiser. Despite being the name ship of the class, she was the last to be launched, and the last to be completed. In the four years before the First World War she served in the Home Fleet (1910-1913), Second Fleet (1913), 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron (1913-1914) and the 5th Cruiser Squadron (1914).

HMS Bristol from the right
HMS Bristol from the right

At the outbreak of war she joined the 5th Cruiser Squadron in the West Indies. There she had her first encounter with German cruisers, when she engaged the SMS Karlsruhe in a short skirmish (6 August). The Karlsruhe went on to sink sixteen Allied ships before exploding on 4 November 1914.

The Bristol was one of the ships sent to the Falklands in the aftermath of the German victory at Coronel. She was thus present at the battle of the Falklands (8 December 1914). On the morning of the battle the Bristol had her fired drawn, and was taking on coal. By the time she had raised steam, the chase was on and it was too late for her to take part. Instead she was sent after the German colliers (with the AMC Macedonia). After the battle the Bristol took part in the hunt for the SMS Dresden, the only German cruiser to escape from the Falklands, but was not part of the squadron that eventually found her.

The Bristol served in the Mediterranean during 1915, the Adriatic during 1916-17 and around South America in 1918. In the aftermath of the war she was paid off into the reserve in June 1919, and was sold to be broke up in 1921.

Displacement (loaded)

5300t deep load

Top Speed



5,070 nautical miles at 16kts

Armour – deck





Two 6in 50 calibre breech loading Mk XI
Ten 4in 50 calibre breech loading Mk VIII
Four 3pdr
Two 18in torpedo tubes (submerged)

Crew complement



23 February 1910


December 1910

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (6 September 2007), HMS Bristol ,

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