HMS Royalist

HMS Royalist was an Arethusa class light cruiser that fought at the battle of Jutland. In March 1915 she joined the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. It was in that role that she took part in the battle of Jutland, forming part of the submarine screen that protected the battle squadrons as they steamed south towards the battle. She then took part in the destroyer fight at 7.15-7.30 pm (31 May), as her squadron was the only Light Cruiser Squadron to have kept in her battle position. Later on she launched a torpedo at German capital ships, identified as either the pre-dreadnaught battleships or the battlecruisers.

In August 1916 Admiral Jellicoe was absent from the Grand Fleet, recovering from an illness in southern Scotland. The Royalist was the cruiser chosen to wait for him at Dundee, in case the German fleet came out. On 18 August the Germans did indeed make a sortie, and the Grand Fleet put to sea without Jellicoe. He made his way to the Royalist, and was taken to the Iron Duke, to take over command of the fleet.

In February 1917 she was converted to carry 74 mines and joined the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron. She was the most prolific minelayer of her class, laying 1,183 mines in 16 trips.

Late in the war HMS Royalist was significantly modified, gaining twin 3in anti-aircraft guns, a kite balloon and having her two rear 4in guns replaced with one 6in gun.

HMS Royalist spent four months in the Baltic (January-April 1919), then spend the rest of the year with the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron at Harwich.  In January 1920 she joined the Portsmouth Reserve.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - belt





Two 6in Mk XII guns
Six 4in quick firing Mk IV guns
One 3pdr anti-aircraft gun
Four 21in torpedo tubes above water

Crew complement



14 January 1915


March 1915

Sold for break up



Captain Meade

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 October 2007), HMS Royalist ,

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