HMS Prince George

HMS Prince George was a Majestic class battleship that helped protect the BEF as it crossed the channel in 1914, and then took part in the Gallipoli campaign. In June 1912 she joined the 7th Battle Squadron with Caesar, Jupiter and Majestic. Pre-war planning assumed that the rest of the class would join this squadron at the outbreak of the First World War, but instead in August 1914 only the Prince George and Caesar were actually with the squadron. Jupiter and Majestic were in the dockyard, and the rest of the class were dispersed on other duties.

Plans of Majestic Class Battleships
Plans of
Majestic Class Battleships

HMS Prince George began the war as flagship of the squadron, under Admiral A. E. Bethell. The squadron assembled at Portland, and helped to guard the BEF as it crossed the channel in August 1914. On 25 August she was used to transport ships herself, taking the Plymouth battalion of Marines from Portland to Ostend, during an operation designed to protect that port.

In February 1915 the Prince George was dispatched to the Dardanelles. By 2 March she was part of Division I of the Anglo-French battleship fleet at the Dardanelles. On 3 March she took part in a bombardment of Fort Dardanos that did not achieve much. It was then decided to risk the super-dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth, whose 15in guns were expected to be much more effective against the fort. However, no risks could be taken with the Queen Elizabeth, and so the Prince George sailed between her and the Turkish shore to act as a mobile gun shield.

On 18 March she took part in the failed attempt to force the narrows. In April she was used to protect the main landings at Gallipoli. On 25 April she was placed in the mouth of the straits, with orders to target Turkish gun batteries on the Asiatic shore. While performing the same duty on 3 May she was holed when a 6in shell hit just behind her armour. She was forced back to Mudros, and then all the way to Malta for repairs.

The Prince George was back at the Dardanelles in time to take part of the evacuation of 8-9 January 1915. With the Mars she took off 3,400 troops. After that she was paid off, and used as a support ship. Somewhat ironically, after the war she was sold to a German firm to be broken up, but sank on her way across the North Sea.

Displacement (loaded)

15,730-16,060t

Top Speed

16kts natural draught
17kts forced draught

Armour – belt

9in

 - bulkheads

14-12in

 - barbettes

14in

 - gun houses

10in

 - casemates

6in

 - conning tower

14in

 - deck

4in-2.5in

Length

421ft

Armaments

Four 12in guns
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Sixteen 12pdr quick firing guns
Twelve 2pdr quick firing guns
Five 18in torpedo tubes, four submerged

Crew complement

672

Launched

22 August 1895

Completed

November 1896

Sold for break up

1921

Captains

A. V. Campbell (1914, 1915, 1916)

British Battleships 1889-1904 New Revised Edition, R A Burt. Magnificent study of the Royal Navy's pre-dreadnought battleships, amongst the most powerful ships in the world when built, but seen as obsolete by the outbreak of war in 1914. Traces the development of the 'classic' pre-dreadnought design and the slow increase in the power of the secondary armament, leading up to the all-big gun ships that followed. [read full review]
cover cover cover

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 October 2007), HMS Prince George , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_HMS_Prince_George.html

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