HMS Challenger

HMS Challenger was the nameship of the Challenger class of second class cruisers. She spent most of the First World War on the African stations, taking part in the invasion of the Cameroons and the East Africa campaign. At the start of the war she was part of the 9th Cruiser Squadron, based at Portland. Her duty was to guard against minelayers at the entrance to the Bristol Channel, and also to seize German shipping. During this period she captured the German steamer Ulla Boog, bringing a cargo of pit props from Archangel to south Wales.

In mid-August she was transferred to Admiral de Robeck’s Finisterre station, to replace her half-sister HMS Highflyer. In September she was sent to West Africa, to form part of the naval squadron assisting the attack on the Cameroons (with HMS Cumberland and the French cruiser Bruix). Her first task was to escort General Dobell and his staff to the area. On 25 September she was used to cross the barrier at the entrance to Duala, having been lightened to reduce her draft. Two days later Duala surrendered, but the campaign went on into 1915. By January 1915, she was engaged in the blockade of Edea, under the command of Captain C. T. M. Fuller, who had been transferred to her from the Cumberland. At the end of April, the Challenger was relieved by the Astraea, and once against Captain Fuller swapped ships, remaining off the Cameroons.

Early in 1915, the Challenger was moved to the East Africa station, to take part in the operations against the German cruiser Königsberg in the Rufiji River. She remained on the East Africa station to the end of the war, bombarding Dar-es-Salaam on 13 June 1916, and remaining close to that German port during 1917.



Top Speed


Armour – deck

1.5in – 3in

 - conning tower


 - gunshields


 - engine hatches





Eleven 6in quick firing guns
Nine 12pdr quick firing guns
Six 3prd quick firing guns
Two 18in submerged torpedo tubes

Crew complement



27 May 1902


3 May 1904


Captain Beaty-Pownall
Captain C. T. M. Fuller (to March 1915)
Captain A. C. Sykes (from March 1915)

Sold for break up


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 November 2007), HMS Challenger ,

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