HMS Doris

HMS Doris was an Eclipse class second class cruiser that served in Home Waters, off the coast of Syria, at the Dardanelles and on the East Indies station during the First World War. In August 1914 she was part of the 11th Cruiser Squadron, performing trade protection patrols west of Ireland.

In November 1914, the Doris was detached from the 11th Cruiser Squadron and sent out to Egypt. By this time she was equipped to carry a seaplane, which was used to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of the Turkish positions at Beersheba. In December she was part of the force available to Admiral Peirse, off the coast of Syria. He received orders to harass Turkish communications on the Syrian coast. The Doris, under Captain Larken, attacked Turkish forces at Askalon, carried out a reconnaissance of Haifa and Jaffa and then landed a party four miles south of Sidon, cutting the telegraph to Damascus.

HMS Doris from the right
HMS Doris from the right

At Alexandretta Captain Larken was particularly active. He began late on 18 December by dropping a landing party north of the city, cutting both the railway and the telegraph. The next day the Doris appeared outside Alexandretta, and demanded the surrender of all military stores and railway engines in the city. This was entirely in accord with the Ninth Hague Convention of 1907, which allowed for bombardments of towns only after an ultimatum had been refused. The initial Turkish response was to threaten to execute one British prisoner for every Turkish citizen killed during the bombardment, but on 22 December the ultimatum was accepted. The military stores had been sneaked away, but two railway engines were destroyed

From Alexandretta, the Doris went to Ayas Bay, in an attempt to capture the Deutsche-Levante liner Odessa, but she had been scuttled by her crew. She then visited Mersina, before returning to Port Said. In early January she returned to Alexandretta, making more attacks on the railways, with mixed success. At the time Alexandretta was being considered as a possible target for an Allied offensive against Turkey, either instead of the Gallipoli landings or as a secondary target. With this in mind, the Dorisbombarded the cliffs north of the city in an attempt to block the coastal road.

In April the Doris was based at Port Trebuki on Skyros, guarding the troop convoys taking British troops from Egypt to the Dardanelles, in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign. Early on 16 April the Turkish torpedo boat Demir Hissar launched an attack on the troop transport Manitou. Over the course of a rather disorganised attack, the Turkish ship fired two torpedoes at the Manitou, both of which missed. The Doris was then sent to help the troop transport, while the Demir Hissar was hunted down and beached by her crew.

By 19 April the Doris had been allocated to the Third Squadron at the Dardanelles, along with the battleship Canopus, the cruiser Dartmouth and two destroyers. On 25 April she was part of a force sent to attack the Turkish lines at Bulair, in an attempt to draw Turkish troops away from the real landings at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula. Later on the same day she moved south to support the Anzac landings. On 27 April her seaplane observed the Goeben and the Torgud Reis (the Turkish flagship) firing on the British forces. As a result the Queen Elizabeth opened fire on the German ship, driving her away.

The Doriswas then used for a number of detached duties. In May she was sent to search the area around Smyrna for any possible U-boat anchorages. On 1 October she was sent to Salonika to prove a radio link to the planned landings. On 21 October Captain Larken and the Doris led the squadron that bombarded the Bulgarian coastline around Dedeagatch, attacking the railway that linked Salonika to Constantinople.

In March 1917 the Doris was sent from the Mediterranean to the East Indies station. By the end of that month she was active between Fremantle and Mauritius, while in November during a hunt for German raiders, she was at Aden. In 1919 she was sold off at Bombay.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - gunshields


 - engine hatch


 - conning tower




Armaments as built

Five 6in quick firing guns
Six 4.7in quick firing guns
Six 3pdr quick firing guns
Two machine guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Armament after 1905

Eleven 6in guns
Three 12pdr guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



3 March 1896


18 November 1897


F. Larken (1914)

Sold for break up


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 November 2007), HMS Doris ,

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