Eclipse second class cruisers

The Eclipse class second class cruisers were built after the previous Astraea class ships were criticized for their light armament. While they only carried one extra main gun, the proportion of 6in guns was increased from two in ten on the Astraea class to five in eleven on the Eclipses. This was achieved by adding a second 6in gun on the quarterdeck and replacing the forward 4.7in guns on the side with a 6in gun.

This was not a great improvement, especially for ships that were 33 feet longer and over 1,000 tons heavier than their predecissors, and in 1903-195 all eleven guns were replaced by a uniform armament of more modern 6in guns. The mistake would be repeated on the Arrogant class, initially armed with four 6in and six 4.7in and rearmed with 6in guns in the same period.

By the start of the First World War HMS Dido had been converted to serve as a depot ship, supporting a number of destroyer flotillas at Harwich. HMSs Diana, Eclipse and Talbot formed part of the 12th Cruiser Squadron (or Cruiser Force “G”), serving in the western approaches to the English Channel. They also helped to escort the first Canadian troop convoy across the Atlantic. HMSs Doris, Isis, Juno, Minerva and Venus served with the 11th Cruiser Squadron, based in Ireland and operation to the west of Ireland to protect the trade routes. This concentration lasted until 1915, when the seven active members of the class were dispersed to a variety of overseas stations.

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed


Armour – deck


 - gunshields


 - engine hatch


 - conning tower




Armaments as built

Five 6in quick firing guns
Six 4.7in quick firing guns
Six 3pdr quick firing guns
Two machine guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Armament after 1905

Eleven 6in guns
Three 12pdr guns
Three 18in torpedo tubes

Crew complement






Ships in class in 1914

HMS Diana
HMS Doris
HMS Eclipse
HMS Isis
HMS Juno
HMS Minerva
HMS Talbot
HMS Venus

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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 November 2007), Eclipse second class cruisers ,

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