HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean was a Canopus class pre-dreadnought battleship lost during the naval attempt to force the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915. At the start of the First World War the Canopus class ships were formed into the 8th Battle Squadron, part of the Channel Fleet. There they helped to protect the BEF on its journey across the channel.

Towards the end of August the Admiralty began to believe that the Germans might be planned to use their battlecruisers as commerce raiders. A number of older battleships were sent to overseas stations to support the light cruiser squadrons. HMS Ocean was sent to Queenstown in southern Ireland.

In early September she was sent to Cape St. Vincent to replaced HMS Albion, and was then diverted to the East Indies station to help protect the Indian Army as it moved to the Middle East. The entry of Turkey into the war left the British oil supply vulnerable. The main refinery and oil terminal was at Abadan, at the head of the Persian Gulf. It was decided to send the VI Indian Division to the gulf to capture the oil terminal. HMS Ocean was selected to escort the troop convoy. She met up with the convoy on 18 October and left with her detachment. They arrived at Bahrain on 23 October. The Ocean was unable to take part in the final stage of the attack, as she was unable to cross the bar at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab.

The Albion was then posted to Egypt, to protect the Suez Canal, entering the canal on 29 December. Captain Hayes-Sadler was appointed Senior Naval Officer in the canal. She was present during the Turkish attack on the canal. She was posted in the southern part of the canal, where she helped to fight off the southern Turkish attack at El Kubri.

In February 1915 she was placed on standby to join Admiral Carden at the Dardanelles. She had joined his fleet in time to take part in the 1 March attack on the Turkish forts and the 4 March bombardment and landings. Captain Hayes-Sadler was given command of one of the landings because of his experience in the gulf. On 6 March she was used to cover HMS Queen Elizabeth when that much more valuable ship took part in another bombardment.

Plans of Canopus Class Battleships
Plans of Canopus Class Battleships

On 18 March the Ocean was part of the 3rd Sub-Division of the Second Division of the fleet (Ocean, Irresistible, Albion and Vengeance), the British contribution to the force that attempted to force its way through the narrows. At 6.05pm, while that force was pulling out of the straits, the Ocean hit a Turkish mine. Her helm jammed hard a-port and a coal bunker and a number of passages were flooded. A Turkish shell then hit the same part of the ship, flooding the tiller-room and the starboard steering engine-room. She was now out of control and Captain Hayes-Sadler ordered the destroyers Colne, Jed and Chelmer to evacute her crew. She was still floating, and was in a current flowing out of the straits, so Captain Hayes-Sadler remained nearby in the hope that she might float to safety. After dark, he returned to his ship to rescue four men who had been left behind earlier, but at 7.30pm contact with the ship was lost. According to Turkish reports she sank in Morto Bay at around 10.30pm.

Displacement (loaded)

14,300t

Top Speed

18kts

Armour – belt

6in

 - bulkheads

10-6in

 - barbettes

12in

 - gun houses

8in

 - casemates

6in

 - conning tower

12in

 - deck

2in-1in

Length

421ft 6in

Armaments

Four 12in guns
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Ten 12pdr quick firing guns
Six 3pdr guns
Four 18in torpedo tubes, four submerged

Crew complement

682

Launched

5 July 1898

Completed

February 1900

Captains

A. Hayes-Sadler (1914, 1915)

Mined

18 March 1915

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 October 2007), HMS Ocean , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Ocean.html

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