HMS Vengeance

HMS Vengeance was a Canopus class battleship that served as the flagship of Admiral de Robeck at the Dardanelles. Like the rest of the class, HMS Vengeance formed part of the 8th Battle Squadron of the Channel Fleet, helping to defend the BEF as they crossed the channel. She remained with the squadron through August, being used to transport the Portsmouth battalion of Marines to Ostend at the end of the month.

HMS Vengeance before 1904
HMS Vengeance before 1904

In November she was detached to act as the supporting battleship for the Cape Verde Station, as part of a general transfer of ships designed to free HMS Black Prince and HMS Warrior to return to Britain.

On 22 January 1915 Admiral de Robeck was ordered to switch his flag to the Vengeance and take her to the Dardanelles, where he was to serve as second-in-command. She reached the Dardanelles by the start of February, where she became flagship of the 2nd Division of the battleship fleet then taking shape.

On 19 February she took part in the bombardment of the Turkish forts. Her initial orders had been to observe the fire of her division, but problems on HMS Cornwallis forced the Vengeance to take part in the bombardment. Her main target was the Orkanie Fort, which she attacked without success. The fleet was then ordered to move closer, to increase the power of the bombardment. In this phase of the attack the Vengeance came under heavy fire from the land. She took no direct hits but four near-misses did damage her rigging.

Vengeance also took part in the bombardments of 25 and 26 February. On the second day parties of marines were landed to destroy apparently abandoned Turkish forts. During this sortie Lieutenant-Commander E. G. Robinson won a Victoria Cross. The Vengeance then had to return to Mudros to work on her boilers.

On her return she took part in the bombardment of 6 March, an unsuccessful attempt to attack forts inside the straits from safer waters outside. She was one of the British ships that took part in the attempt to force the straits on 18 March (Ocean, Irresistible, Albion and Vengeance). Only Vengeance and Albion survived this attempt. 

Plans of Canopus Class Battleships
Plans of Canopus Class Battleships

The failure of this final naval attempt to force the straits led to the Gallipoli landings. HMS Vengeance was used to support the landings at the tip of the peninsula. On 25 May she avoided U 21, a German submarine that then went on to sink HMS Triumph.

By the end of 1915 the Vengeance was back in Britain, but in December she was dispatched to support Admiral King-Hall off the east coast of Africa. On 11 February 1916 she became the flagship of the new commander of the squadron, Rear-Admiral E. F. B. Charlton. She remained on overseas duties until 1917, returning to Britain to act as an ordnance depot. 

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – belt


 - bulkheads


 - barbettes


 - gun houses


 - casemates


 - conning tower


 - deck



421ft 6in


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

Crew complement



25 July 1899


April 1902


Bertram  H. Smith (1914, 1915)
Williamson (1916)

Sold for break up


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cover cover cover

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (31 October 2007), HMS Vengeance ,

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