HMS Prince of Wales 

HMS Prince of Wales was a London class pre-dreadnought battleship that served in the channel, at the Dardanelles and in the Aegean during the First World War. In August 1914 her entire class was formed into the 5th Battle Squadron (with the similar Formidable class ships), taking part in the operations to protect the BEF as it crossed the channel. HMS Prince of Wales served as the flagship of the squadron, for Rear-Admiral Bernard Currey. She was then used to transfer part of the Portsmouth Battalion of Marines to Ostend during an unsuccessful naval attempt to defend that channel port.

Plans of Formidable and London Class Battleships
Plans of
Formidable and
London Class

By February 1915 she was one of only four battleships left with the Channel Fleet. A War Council meeting of 19 March, held the day after the failure of the naval attempt to force the Dardanelles, it was decided to send Prince of Wales and London to the Dardanelles. She arrived in time to take part in the Gallipoli landings on 24 April, helping to transport 1,500 men of the 3rd Australian Brigade to their landing beach.

She was soon moved again. In May 1915 the Italians came into the war. One of the conditions of their entry was that the British would provide them with a battleship squadron to help counter the threat of the Austro-Hungarian Fleet. On 15 May Queen, Prince of Wales, Implacable and London, left the Dardanelles, arriving at Taranto on 27 May. The Austro-Hungarian threat never appeared, and by April 1917 HMS Prince of Wales had returned home to be paid off. Her crew were then used to man new ships needed for the anti-submarine campaign.

Displacement (loaded)


Displacement (Queen and Prince of Wales)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - gun houses


 - casemates


 - conning tower



431ft 9in


Four 12in guns
Twelve 6in quick firing guns
Sixteen 12pdr quick firing guns
Six 3pdr guns
Four 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement



25 March 1902


March 1904


R. N. Bax (1914, 1915)

Sold for break up


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 (2 November 2007), HMS Prince of Wales  ,

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